Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

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Should Middle-earth: The Northern Waste (MENW) be made fully compatible with standard DC gaming?

1) All MENW cards should be allowed in a DCGO format.
11
42%
2a) MENW sites should not be allowed in a DCGO format (but characters, resources and hazards should).
0
No votes
2b) MENW characters and sites should not be allowed in a DCGO format (but resources and hazards should).
1
4%
2c) MENW characters, sites and hazards should not be allowed in a DCGO format (but resources should).
0
No votes
3) Some MENW cards should be allowed in a DCGO format, others should not (the designers decide case by case).
12
46%
4) MENW cards should be reserved for scenario use only.
2
8%
 
Total votes: 26

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Now that we are dedicated to make of ME: The Northern Waste the next completed DC set, first issue is to decide how to fit MENW into the DC game as thusfar developed. Should we view MENW as a normal DC expansion, should it be considered for scenario games only, or some mixture of the two?

Some DC players have made clear, via the poll or personal contact, that they are not enthusiastic about an expanding of the map used in meccg. Introducing many new regions and sites can decrease familiarity with the game, and have other impacts such as reduced direct interaction between players.

Moreover, most of the peoples and creatures inhabiting these new lands do not feature in Tolkien's works as such, but are the creation of Iron Crown's writers, and many players have not (yet) been introduced to them. We have all read The Hobbit and love to play a game that features Bilbo, Gandalf, and Smaug. But few have read MERP: The Northern Waste and thus know about Nestador's quest to free the North of Morgoth's lingering blight.

Then again, of the 29 agents in ME: Dark Minions, only 4 appear in Tolkien's work. There are 9 Dragons in the game, but only 2 are actually mentioned by Tolkien. And 8 of the 9 Nazgul were given names and backstories by ICE. And all who have indeed read The Northern Waste can confirm that it is excellently written, deeply grounded in both Tolkien lore and anthropological/ linguistical expertise. Some trust in the MERP creations is justified.

DC players are by nature adventurous, eager and able to learn new cards and backstories. Yet, before the release of First Folk, when our tournaments included simply all DC cards as presented on gccg, comments were often heard that the world we shaped was too big, and the card pool too large. How can one prepare a deck able to face an opponent in both The Northern Waste, Gondor, The Sun-lands, and Under-deeps? That is indeed a problem, already inherent in standard meccg, but made bigger in DC games. Fans of thematic gaming often prefer scenario play, where resources and hazards match more closely, and both players aim to complete the same goals, or directly oppose each other.

The decision wether or not to use MENW cards outside of a scenario gaming has of course implication on their design. Balance must be more closely observed, introduction of new concepts or mechanisms particular to a Northern Waste setting be limited. On the other hand, cards that would be too cool not to use in a regular DC game might be left out of the set.

Since we want Dreamcards to appeal to as many players as possible, your opinion and imput is important. After all, cards are not made to sit in binders.

For this poll, the question is phrased with respect to the official DC rules in a General Opponent game (DCGO). Of course, in casual games we are all free to do as we please. There might be many more options than the ones presented in the poll, so feel free to leave comments below.

yours, The DC Team


Some considerations:
When talking about "scenario only", that is not limited to playing official Northern Waste scenarios (as designed by ICE or by us). It simply means that both players build a Northern Waste deck and agree to face those off against each other. You might be playing a fixed scenario from the books with special rules/goals, or one of the MENE quest cards, or just set your own plan. But scenario only here means not in DCGO, which for casual gaming is also a good guideline: agree with your opponent to play a NW deck.

Nb. Forochel and Withered Heath are part of The Northern Waste territory. From later expansions (Great Wyrms), so are Grey Mountains, Dragon Gap, and Forovirkain.

ad 2) If sites are not eligible in a DCGO game, many (but not all) resources will not be used either, since they are playable (or have a decent effect) only at sites in The Northern Waste. Most hazards already affect only companies moving in The Northern Waste, which there will not be if sites from MENW are not allowed, thus rendering these hazards limited in use.

ad 3) We would indicate which cards are scenario-specific with a clearly visible icon on the card.
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tyhjaarpa
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by tyhjaarpa »

I like the idea of using as many of the cards as possible in DCGO to have more variation and possibilities to use the cool cards we are about to make without breaking the whole experience too much. Like said it could be good idea to limit the sites and some site specific cards.
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Moriquendi
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Moriquendi »

Khamul is also mentioned by name in LotR and Unfinished Tales :wink:

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CDavis7M
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by CDavis7M »

A scenario-only set is a lot of work for the designers for such a small benefit for DC Casuals while seemingly being a detriment to the DC Veterans. I don't see any sense in printing a scenario-only, especially when you can already play the existing MERP Northern Waste x MECCG site cards and scenarios (let me know if you want to play on Cardnum, I have a deck). The DC MENW set really needs to be fully DCGO compatible to be worthwhile. By the way, requiring the 2020 Complainers to learn the Northern Waste regions and sites is no different than requiring the '97/'98 Complainers to learn the Minion and Fallen Wizard rules.

So it really only makes sense for DC MENW to be non-scenario. Unfortunately, the DC MENW set is already scenario-only because most of the cards can only be played in the NW. There are only a handful of cards usable in a non-NW deck (mostly wolf hazards and a few resources). And so the DC MENW set just does not offer much for a DC Casual, especially compared to the wealth of cards from FB/DF/NE that are usable in existing Hero and Minion deck strategies. But on top of that, Evermist has a far worse Hazard Risk to Resource Reward ratio compared to all of the other Havens (Lorien has way more to play and more MP while similarly dangerous, Rivendell is where you start, and the Gray Havens and Edhellond offer more limited hazard playability while still having similar MP playability.)

So then, who would even play the MENW set? I think it would only be people who want to Role Play the MERP module. But those people are likely DC Veterans who would already do so without printing the set. What is the purpose of printing the DC sets? Is the goal to bring in casual players to the DC world? Or to let the DC Veterans rest their scissor hand. Would DC MENW even achieve whatever the goal of printing a set is?



To me, the NW set is a missed opportunity:
  • A brand new set but no new game mechanics (Hoard in Dragons; Agents, Prisoners, Quests, and Underdeeps in Dark Minions; Minion alignment, Magic, and Detainment hazards in Lidless Eye; Minion Hoard, CvCC cards, and Maia hazards in Against the Shadow; Fallen Wizards in White Hand, Balrog and Spawn hazards in Balrog). Sure there are the rune items, spirit-namers, and disease in MENW but these concepts are shallow.
  • Double Wilderness region-types (ICE's decision) but then there are no new creatures keyable to double/triple/quad wilderness. Why have it be double wilderness at all?
  • A whole new world to explore but no sites worth visiting (limited item playability and low MP for high hazard risk)
  • New hazards but they are generally worse than the existing Cave Drake, Dire Wolves, and Assassin given the low playability of DC MENW hazards.


Where is the Northern Waste Theme?
  • If the Northern Waste has double wilderness regions, why not convert the NW-only creatures to be Double/Triple wilderness instead.
  • If the Northern Waste hazards are too strong and the Waste is supposed to be desolate with low encounter rate, then provide resources or rules to lower the hazard limit for NW companies so that fewer creatures are faced.
  • If the Northern Waste hazard has a low hazard encounter rate, then it is OK that the existing MPs are low. At least this provides a valid simulation and theme of the Waste.
  • If Jäämiehet or Icemen (Helechoth, in the speech of the Elves and Dúnedain) have a Helechoth faction resource, why is it only playable at the Lumimiehet village of Hyvat Kalat (and not a Jäämiehet village)?

I like the lore in the MERP module. And I like the cards in the DC MENW set. But I just can't come up with a decent MENW deck-- this coming from someone happy to play underpowered thematic decks. If DC MENW was scenario-only, I would play the Scenario. But I just don't know how many others would. I don't think it's worth the effort of printing a set to play the scenario. Better to just sharpen our scissors.

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

First a clarification. When talking about "scenario only", that is not limited to playing official Northern Waste scenarios (as designed by us or by ICE). It simply means that both players build a Northern Waste deck and agree to face those off against each other. You might be playing a fixed scenario from the books with special rules/goals, or one of the MENE quest cards, or just set your own plan. But scenario only here means not in DCGO, which for casual gaming is also a good guideline: agree with your opponent to (both) play a NW deck.

requiring the 2020 Complainers to learn the Northern Waste regions and sites is no different than requiring the '97/'98 Complainers to learn the Minion and Fallen Wizard rules.
That's what you would think, no? Except our brains and lives are 20 years older and busier. We are checking the pulse of DC gaming regularly, and notice that new sets are a lot to take in for many people. That's why I mentioned MENW as an interlude set. No new mechanisms is actually a good thing. Before we expand the metagame with Atani-lords or Dragon-lords, the cards from MENE and FF need to be deeply nested in the minds of DC gamers.

That being said, new concepts are there. If you think spirit-namers and rune items are shallow concepts, you must not be comparing them to Riddling or Offering attempts. And nobody said we are done developing MENW :wink: .

the DC MENW set is already scenario-only because most of the cards can only be played in the NW.
By that token most of METD is scenario, because most Dragons and Hoard items are played in Wilderland. Being region-specific does not equate to being scenario only. Yes most creatures are region-specific, because that's THEME. We don't want a Snow-lion to pop up when moving to Harondor. Should Snow-lion thus be better than your generic Deep Wilderness creature to warrant a place in sideboard against a NW deck? I suppose so. But if NW is scenario-only, then having a bunch of super touch creatures becomes a problem. Hence, the point of this poll.

btw. you can still see a Snow-troll pop up after Umagaur's attack. AND he can migrate into Anduin Vales, Arthedain or Northern Rhovanion with Fell-winter in play. Same for White Wolves btw., they can attack even into Rohan.

Is the goal to bring in casual players to the DC world? Or to let the DC Veterans rest their scissor hand.
We always hope for the first (admittedly, less so with this set). But the latter is definitely a major reason to start this whole thing back in 2012 :D
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by gollum51 »

My two cents:

There are 3 main options:
A. Make NW completely stand alone - it would be a waste as there could be good resources and hazard in this set (especially if you use this printing to bring forward some cards from other sets)
B. Make NW 100% DCGO official.
C. Make selected NW cards allowed in DCGO (in which case vote for 3 in the poll as it is more flexible than 2a,b,c)

So the real choice is between B and C (and this theory seems to be confirmed by the first 15 votes or so).

The main potential issue is geographical scope creep If NW becomes DCGO canonical, there is no reason why the other geographical sets should not be when they are released. Ultimately we will go from the Northern Waste to the Court of Ardor. I share Thorsten’s concerns about diminishing interaction whilst the released DC sets promoted more interaction. Plus a bigger world means that area based hazards (inc agents) become an even bigger gamble so they will be less played, paradoxically leading to less hazard diversity
And Option 4 leaves the door open for other tourney formats anyway (NW scenario, NW only, normal+NW, Expanded middle earth with NW plus Sun lands, Ardor, ...).

But in any case, this might just be a completely academic debate. if NW decks are underpowered we will not see many in dcgo anyway p. So allowing them in DCGO might not be an issue. :D

So Maybe the ultimate pragmatic option is to design this set with option 3 In mind (ie use an icon for cards that will always be legal in DCGO or maybe more elegantly the opposite, ie use an icon for cards potentially restricted) but allow all NW card in DCGO for the moment. We can subsequently review the situation when the Southern extensions will be published (or earlier if NW really creates a problem). The same icon could be used for Sunlands sets and others. So it would be possible in the future to run classic DCGO tourneys and expanded middle earth tourneys.
By doing so:
- NW fans will be able to play these decks in DCGO as soon as the set is released without having to wait for a NW event only
- We can still control geographical creep if it turns out to be a problem. And we will be ready for the Sunlands.
Worst case scenario is that we will have an icon that we will never use...

As I said, just my 2 cents...

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CDavis7M
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by CDavis7M »

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:35 pm
Some DC players have made clear, via the poll or personal contact, that they are not enthusiastic about an expanding of the map used in meccg. Introducing many new regions and sites can decrease familiarity with the game, and have other impacts such as reduced direct interaction between players.
I looked into it. Lindon to Gorgoroth is 11 regions distance in DC (10 normally). The furthest North-west region of Dor Bendor is only 11 regions away from the uttermost South-east region of Sakal an-Khâr. Gorgoroth is also 11 regions away from Sakal an-Khâr. Well done.

If your strategy requires interaction you will need movement enhancers in the normal game anyway.

It's not like sets are coming out every 6 months.

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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Darksatin »

Thorsten the Traveller wrote: ad 3) We would indicate which cards are scenario-specific with a clearly visible icon on the card.
If the "scenario option" is finally chosen, I think that we should rather use (if it is possible) a card border of a different color (silver ? golden ?....) for the "scenario cards". The NW cards usable in DCGO would still have a black border.
A different border is more visible than a small icon on the card.

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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Jesus »

I'd weigh in on the question of player interaction. As I have played several Sun-Land games against Vastor, who himself played either Court of Ardor down south or in Eriador, I did not experience a lack of interaction in the sense that my hazard strategy was unsuccessful.

One could argue that there are more specifics when it comes to playability (desert/double desert/specific regions). But that has always been the case even with the canonical sets: If I played a Dragon strategy based on regional reach, I would have had no luck against - let's say - Aragorn in Gondor. The same goes for other Hazards that were released with/after LE.

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Lindon to Gorgoroth is 11 regions distance in DC (10 normally).
That is not what defines interaction however. If I play a deck that looks for combat/influencing/spying, I don't start in Lindon or Gorgoroth, but in Lorien/Dol Guldur. From there the whole map is covered within 2 movements max., and 1 movement is much more likely.
Make selected NW cards allowed in DCGO (in which case vote for 3 in the poll as it is more flexible than 2a,b,c)
More flexible yes, but 1) you leave it up to the designers to (dis)allow specific cards, 2) there can be a lot of discussion about that, 3) it's not as clear and easy to remember, 4) you'd need a special icon or even as Dominique suggests a hugely visible distinction like a different coloured border (which I personally hate!).
if NW decks are underpowered we will not see many in dcgo anyway
But this is the core issue, we're still in the design phase, and some players complain about exactly this, that stuff in NW right now does not entice them because it doesn't hold up in a DCGO game (see CDavis' post up).


But it seems from the comments at least (for the moment) that nobody cares about seeing characters, items and creatures pop up in a GO game about which they have never even heard....

It's a concern of mine that, with other potential expansions in the future (admittedly that is very very far away), the amount of cards of the DC pool will be too big. We will create a Magic-type situation. This might narrow the appeal of DC gaming. Compartmentalizing, using geographical expansions like Northern Waste, Sun-lands, Court of Ardor, for specific game settings, can aleviate this problem.
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Fangorn »

MeFF and MeNE are wonderful and huge sets.
Even experienced DC players have many years of adventures with these sets.
I suppose most people answering this poll are experienced DC players, at least familiar with MeFF.

On the other hand, lots of people are just discovering MeFF nowadays, and most of them aren't active on forum, thus woun't answer the poll.
To encourage them to play DCGO, environment must be familiar.
I consider allowing the whole MENW set in DCGO will decrease their appeal to DC games.

In my first DC years for example, I didn't enjoyed at all some games against Northern Waste, Dragon-lord, Central Plains decks.
I was indeed only focused on discovering Elf-lords and Dwarf-lords, and it's easier to learn when facing an opponent with such a deck too.
At this time as a new DC player, I wasn't ready to face totally unfamiliar territories.

So I voted 3, to design MeNW set with only some cards allowed in DCGO.
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Re: Middle-earth: The Northern Waste

Post by Vastor Peredhil »

Merci Frank for your input,

MeFF and MeNE are wonderful and huge sets.
Even experienced DC players have many years of adventures with these sets.
I suppose most people answering this poll are experienced DC players, at least familiar with MeFF.
Actually the way I see it, it is about half old players and half new players - and by the rate ME-players go the will need 10 more years to really get all the cards , even I get new ways of playing them every 10th deck or so I create with them
On the other hand, lots of people are just discovering MeFF nowadays, and most of them aren't active on forum, thus woun't answer the poll.
well this is closed forum, so being able to answer goes through the DC-team (send me PM if you want to post on here) who allow access to Vastor's Dreamers group
To encourage them to play DCGO, environment must be familiar.
I consider allowing the whole MENW set in DCGO will decrease their appeal to DC games.
well the Northern Waste is actually the Oldest of my DC sets, we had it on the NET back in '97 on the Morgul-rats home page, as some of you might remember, and the even though it has grown over the decades - the key cards remained unchanged of years and only now will change due to our conversion of some of them into QUEST cards - which allowed for "almost scenario" decks to be on par with standard MP gathering decks (which we get from our feedback on our sets, so far people seem to love these mission cards and their easy way to play them)
In my first DC years for example, I didn't enjoyed at all some games against Northern Waste, Dragon-lord, Central Plains decks.
I was indeed only focused on discovering Elf-lords and Dwarf-lords, and it's easier to learn when facing an opponent with such a deck too.
At this time as a new DC player, I wasn't ready to face totally unfamiliar territories.

So I voted 3, to design MeNW set with only some cards allowed in DCGO.
Well this is another example of an issue of meccg that happened with every new set or alignment - remember your 1st game vs Minion, Mordor shuffle, FW Carambor, Malady or Balrog for most that was equally as bad -

Imaging some one playing vs an Characterless deck as his 1st game at LURE GO ?
some might never recover from that ;)
please check below on another example of how DC gets back wrap based on some few games ;)
I value all discussion, but I just do see what is an issue of the game in general and what is one of DC environment

yours Nicolai aka Vastor

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