Wizards or Elf-lords

playing with which avatars?

I'd rather play as wizard only
I would like to play as Elf-lord
I would like to play without avatar, if compensated
Other option...which I will mention in this thread
Total votes: 20

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Post by Frodo »

Okay, so I’ve actually played some real games of ARDA now (five!) with the new elf-lord avatars, rather than just theorizing about them in my head, and I have some comments to make.

First, I withdraw my statement that we should try to keep them not as avatars and try to mimic a traditional “Saw Further” strategy. In numerous games, players expressed confusion over just how exactly their Elf-lord was treated like a wizard, or felt bad when the elf-lord wasn’t treated like a wizard; they seemed to default to thinking that the Elflord was an avatar even though the Saw Further card clearly said it wasn’t. Also, in Barcelona Mario pointed out the biggest reason why my old idea couldn’t work: it was much too strong to allow Elf-lords to simply pop up a roving character alone, without the need for a company to be there, in part because it allowed for an unpleasant “stealing” of roving characters from other wizard players who moved to a site to play that character. Therefore, I am in agreement that the Elf-lords should stand as avatars.

Here is my new rule suggestion that we tested in our last game:
3) New Text for "Saw Further and Deeper":
"Choose Elrond, Cirdan, or Galadriel as your avatar, along with his or her ring of power. Your avatar is treated like a “Wizard” by all cards and rules. (The avatar’s mind does not count towards GI, and the game text -3MP kill penalty is ignored.) In addition, you have +5 GI ("defensive influence") that cannot be used to control characters.”

Now, I still have some questions about making these guys on-par with the wizards. Since the mind value is erased, Mario thought that there was no need for the +5 GI against characters anymore. (And of course, players who play these avatars still get a 10-character pool to choose from.) However, I think the +5 GI is still needed to make these guys on-part. I think Eric somewhere once suggested that that DI bonus provided by the Ring be permanent instead of tapping ability—this would be the only other option I can think of, but why bother? It’s more familiar to players to be tapping the ring to get the DI bonus, and the increase in GI by +5 effectively does the same thing as an increase in DI. Btw, here is what the rings look like at present. (Eric, I redid Vilya because I thought of a more interesting mechanic for it—what do you think?)

Unique. Ring of Water. Playable on Galadriel. Tap Nenya to give +2 prowess and +4 direct influence to Galadriel this turn, or +3 to another character’s corruption check. Galadriel makes a corruption check at -2.

Unique. Ring of Fire. Playable on Cirdan. Tap Narya to give +2 prowess and +1 body to bearer this turn, or to untap a character in his company. Bearer makes a corruption check at -3.

Unique. Ring of Air. Playable on Elrond. Tap Vilya to give +2 prowess and +2 direct influence to Elrond this turn, or to immediately take your just discarded long-or short-event resource into hand. Elrond makes a corruption check at -2.

Some suggestions: Galadriel is still the weakest character; I think her CC should drop to -1, and perhaps a 3rd ability for the ring should be added such as “or to cancel a hazard event.” I can also think of one more nifty ability that would add incredible theme and more power: “You may tap two elves in Galadriel’s company to untap Nenya.” This would lead to a ‘procession of elves’ strategy (or even just meeting up with them when canceling some key hazs on table is important) and help differentiate her from other avatars.

Narya: I think Narya CC should drop to -2. Also, it’s a little uninteresting; any suggestions, especially if they feel thematic to Cirdan? At least, maybe the character who untaps also gets +2 prowess and +1 body, so that Narya might be actually used to have enough character fight (rather than just for a sneaky untap). Maybe the ring also taps to take your just-discarded-from-table-resource that allows special or an additional movement back into hand (Bridge, Great Ship), or maybe these is a perm-ability?

There is still the problem of what to do about the Elf-lords in the basic game. I am tempted to simply keep the basic game “basic” and say that there are no elf-lords in it, only wizards and repeat wizards. They elf-lords do add a new feel so they seem to be part of the “Expanded World” idea anyway.

Finally, since they are avatars, we need a Fallen-version equivalent. Nicholas’s dream card templates are fine, but the game text needs to be replaced by a “mission of redemption.” After thinking about it a bit, I think I came up with some good ones that are different than the Wizards while still being interactive. Comments please!

Fallen Galadriel:
Flip this card whenever a card allows you to look at another player’s hand, or if you use Nenya on another Fallen avatar.
Fallen Elrond:
Flip this card whenever Elrond heals another character, or plays an item from Reforging.
Fallen Cirdan:
Flip this card whenever you enter Gandalf’s site and tap to give him your Narya. (If Gandalf is not in play, this can be any sage avatar.)

Note that Elrond’s ring no longer heals, so this part of his text will require some sort of special resource card that targets him.


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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Ok here some of my thoughts, this is all first stage of course, but it seems to me if we do play the lords, we better do it right.

Elf-lords as avatars: yes I had always thought they’d best be avatars, had not thought about the character play rule though, but it is just one more reason to treat them as full avatar, nice pick up from Mario!

I would also suggest they can play spells as if a wizard, to keep the differences to a minimum. Also, any hazard specifically mentioning wizard refers also to the elf-lord (stormcrow). There will always be individual issues such as: may the elf-lord bear wizard’s staff or wizard’s ring?

The rings were designed just as the off chance added bonus, not for permanent use from turn 1 of course. When played on a character in addition to a wizard, their strengths should be a lot smaller, or include more risks. Now in a redesign we should take a look at the strength of each lord, and even vis-à-vis the wizards and their items, more than the thematic ability of the ring I suppose. On the other hand, since a failed cc doesn’t loose you the character anymore, I see no problem with making a cc of 3 or so.

The ring could give bonus to prowess/influence until end of turn if you tap it. But, it could also have a built in recycler like the wizards clothes, so we take some of their edge. Then the bonuses could be permanent, like any other rings. Yes people understand tapping, but where before the rings were designed as a treat, now they will be vital to make the lords up to par with the wizards, so it’s not incidental use anymore, nor does it actually justify making ccs. Also you don’t want their abilities to be hampered by Slipped Treacherously or whatnot. They can still be tapped like the clothes though for recycling.

I think we still need the +5 GI for the Elf-lords, as long as we don’t increase their DI too much with the rings. Because a Lord with 6 di still has no way of controlling a Glorfindel/Thrain, which a wizard has, so he needs a bit more GI to maneuver his characters and not be victim immediately to influence attempts or Call of Home. We could of course make a race specific discounter, like all Elves in comp of Galadriel cost -1 influence to control, or all Dwarves in comp of Elrond. But Arda is also about flexibility….

the lords are lacking in active skills, none are rangers, only one is a scout. Since you don’t get to choose your character pool, you might end up without scouts/rangers at all, or only have weasly guys with these skills. Maybe we can fix some of that, for example, Nenya could cancel an environment hazard, river/enchanted stream…vilya could give Elrond ranger skill, if narya can still untap a guy you can untap a ranger/scout (but a general untap ability is too good).
Of course, any new versions of the lords can also include extra skills, that would be easier.

Wizards have items that help them focus on their strong point and recycle cards. Elrond is obviously very all-round, but with his prowess and sage skill is a good candidate for some more daring missions that require lore (dragon-lore, lost knowledge missions), perhaps he can recycle some lost knowledge or lore cards then (mirror: alatar). Galadriel is weaker indeed, we can up that with the ring, but I’d rather opt for more stealthy approach and healing (mirror: Radagast). Cirdan is a bit of a dark horse, it would be easy to let him focus on travelling the coastal area, but I’d be reluctant to do that in Arda, maybe he’s better as a collector of foresight and dreams of lore (mirror: pallando)

We can’t have squatting avatars in Arda, all must be active, but still some might focus more on dangerous sites and others on safer missions. Galadriel is obviously the soul-piercer, she could have an active Ren the Unclean ability and focus on visiting opponents.
Elrond is more of the mission fighter, visiting darkholds he’ll need some prowess either or healing. Or course he could also sing Praise to Elbereth, as his father Earendil is in the sky and in his house all historic events are remembered in song, and it helps him travelling to dark places. It would also be cool if he could use any bonus of any item, like Durin’s Axe as if a dwarf, or a dwarven ring. Cirdan has been about longest and knows most about ME, he should be a wise councilor and/or a designer of alliances.

Some abilities for the rings:

I dislike taking cards directly back into hand, this means they become exclusive domain of one player as well as get played so often to be boring. Yes the wizard items let them recycle stuff too, but at least it’s end-of-turn, so can’t be played twice per turn, and some wizards can have competition over these cards too (any spells with saruman or wizard’s staff, or radagast’s copying ability). There is Wit as an oddity that does the taking back to hand thing, that should be enough. The only good thing about taking to hand is that it minimizes going through discard pile.

It would be nice if some of the recycling cards the rings could get can overlap the wizard items, so there is some competition here also. I’m thinking mainly about Lordly Presence or New Friendship for Narya, Wizard’s river horses for Nenya, or Ringlore or risky blow for Vilya. True Fana would also be cool for Nenya, but actually I deemed it too powerful in Arda and even left it out of the deck and scratched it from Huntman’s Garb.

It would be useful to have a recycler for Use Palantir, currently only Saruman, Denethor and Pippin have the innate ability to use a palantir (denethor might not make the cut), others depend on this card, so if it gets discarded that’s a real pitty. I did make it a ritual so a wizard’s staff could get it, but I think for Cirdan, as keeper of the Palantir of Elostirion, it would be a nice card perhaps. Besides that, he also sent ships to rescue Arvedui with the two palantiri. I do want to see more Palantir play and brood on a new version for Ithil-stone.


Elrond: warrior/ranger/diplomat/sage Elf-lord
May tap to fulfill the requirements of Lost Knowledge being discarded. May use any items as if he were of the appropriate race.

Fallen: flip this card whenever you restore an item, or heal an opponent’s character. -1 MP to all your non-Elf characters (to a minimum of 1)

Vilya: +3 DI. 1 cp.
Ring of Air. Only playable on Elrond. Tap to heal a character at his site: Elrond makes a cc at -2. Tap during end-of-turn phase to take Praise to Elbereth, Reforging, or any card with the word Lore in the title, from discard pile to hand.

Lore cards, as far as I know: herb/hobbit-lore (no use to him (yet), ringlore, dreams of lore, lore of the ages, dragon-lore, test of lore, magic ring of lore. Quite an impressive list, but of course only from discard, so others will have to discard it first, and non shorts are not that quickly discarded especially not mp cards
His flip condition might need some work, what is it that Elrond actually sucks at? How can he prove his worth?

Galadriel: scout/sage/diplomat Elf-lord,
+1 to her corruption checks. Once per turn she may designate a character at her site: he must make a corruption check at -3. If the character is still in play afterwards, he may heal.

Fallen: flip back when Galadriel successfully makes a corruption check while bearing a unique ring item. -1 MP to all your non-ring items.

Nenya: permanent-event, 1 cp, +2DI, +1 prowess
Ring of water. +2 direct influence. Tap to cancel a River, Enchanted Stream or environment hazard short-event played against her company. Tap during end-of-turn phase to take Wizard’s river horses, Moon, or any card with the word Galadriel or Gold in the title, from discard pile to hand (she may play these cards as if at Lórien).

Since in fact Galadriel not only bears the ring of water, but also survived the passage along the grinding ice (!!), it would be cool to have her control all kinds of environment stuff and cancel snowstorm, but that would be too good I suppose. Yet, withered lands, choking shadows, new moon, that’s not bad.
As with Elrond, healing is done at the site, and cannot be done during m/h phase therefore.
She no longer has corruption bonus for others, but with a possible Hairs and Phial she should be ok.

Cards she can get: mirror/phial/earth, gold belt/golden hairs. That should serve her nicely, though all but mirror are unique so they won’t show up quickly, if at all.

Cirdan: warrior/scout/sage/diplomat Elf-lord
any palantiri in his company cannot be discarded. Cirdan may always make an influence attempt against an opponent’s Elf character at his site, regardless of any rule, card effect or his status.

Fallen: no idea yet, need some help

Narya: +2 direct influence, +1 body. 1 cp.
Ring of Fire. Tap to give +2 to any roll you have to make for his company or an associated entity: Cirdan makes a cc at -2. Tap during end-of-turn phase to take New Friendship, Use Palantir, or any light enchantment from discard pile to hand.

His palantir ability is very useful of course, he can take Elostirion wherever he wants (or did we already scratch that discard clause?), he can travel with Amon Sul/Osgiliath under 2 or 4 characters, if a bearer fails a cc, the palantir will just transfer to another character, who knows in the future what he can do with Ithil-stone.

Bit iffy on the second ability, idea is that he reminds any elf about their eventual plight in ME. Maybe he should get more bonus vs elves.

Current enchantments: I know anything/much about you, tales of the hunt, no strangers, gift of comprehension. Other option: get any diplomat only card. Get kindling of the spirit. Get a hazard, that would be something: Call of the Sea.

The +2 to any roll could be interesting, normal use of course is prowess or corruption, but the uses could be so much more varied, from testing a ring, to moving between underdeeps. Not sure if it also applies to defeating creature bodies though, I think not.

let's hear it!
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Re: Wizards or Elf-lords

Post by LiC »

Hi all,

it never came to my mind to allow having 2 of the same wizard in the same game, so the first "home rule" for me was to limit the Arda Game to 5 players. Adding the possibility to have the Elf lord is a very cool solution for the rare case of having more than 5 persons at the same table (when not in a convention).
I agree that they could be less interesting, but adding the option of using the "Saw further and deeper" and the rings I think it is much better; and because there are 8 Avatar but a max of 7 players it is interesting to see what is left at the end. anyway it can be that an avatar is less good or powerful but often this is subjective and depends on the player itself (otherwise everybody would use only one wizard...).
So it is enough that we think of some resources tha make a "balance of the things" and everybody would be happy!!!


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Re: Wizards or Elf-lords

Post by Frodo »

Thanks Luigi. That's how I feel as well...

And Eric, after the great success of ARDA at American GENCON convention (we ran two full 6-player games at the same time!!), I think it is time you and I spoke again!!

--joe (frodo)

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Re: Wizards or Elf-lords

Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Any time Joe :wink:

Well I've had some more experience with Arda games as well, not just the ones I've played myself, but also ones played by others, and their comments.

On Elf-lords: the people playing with my deck do like the rings and playing with Lords, Galadriel has a bit short end of the stick, though I used her powers myself at Lure and she was fine. Cirdan's +1 to any roll is generally liked, and Elrond's healing ability is also very attractive as many people fear being wounded in Arda, you only get +/- 5 turns or so and you play vs. many opponents, so loosing turns healing at Haven is just not an option.

On the other hand, it seems that there are people who actually dislike playing Arda with more than 4 players! :roll: They dislike simultaneous turns, as it becomes too chaotic to their taste and the players are less involved with eachother.

There are some that have devised their own Arda home rules. Playing with only 3 or 4 players is one of them. In this case there is no need of course for additional avatars (though Lords remain utterly cool 8))

Other examples of home rules:

1) instead of 4 roving characters, there are 6 numbered in line, and each turn one is discarded by the roll of 1 dice (could be extended to 12 and 2 dice)

2) roving characters with mind 4 or less may be played at any [-me_fh-], [-me_bh-], or [-me_rl-]

3) you must play an additional minor item (when playing a resource that taps the site) if you're able to

4) if any player has a card in hand specific to a character another player has in play (e.g. Return of the King), he must immediately give that card to him.

5) hazard play (without sim turns obviously) proceeds one by one, i.e. each player plays a hazard clockwise, and any player may play a boost card in response to a creature played. Passing hazards this way does not reduce the limit.

I would like to ask those who have designed these and other home rules, to post them on the board in more detail, and explain your reasons for designing these rules, so that we may all learn of/from them.

my short comments on the above 5:
ad 1) can make for some funny turn of events, but generally ruins the idea of moving to a site to pick up a character, so you decrease strategy in the Arda game (hey I'm a fan of strategy, not of games of luck).

ad 2) could be nice, as character play is indeed one of the trickier parts in Arda (hence some of the expanded world cards to remedy this). On the other hand, too large companies are not that nice. And people go for the safer sites enough as it is, just focussing on factions and allies.

ad 3) not a fan of this one, don't see the point, it is just "funny" because it stacks up on corruption.

ad 4) I understand the idea behind it, as it's a real bummer if an opponent does not want to trade with you. On the other hand, trading is a cool aspect of the Arda game. An intermediate solution could be that opponent must trade you the card (or perhaps this is the rule and I didn't understand it correctly).

ad 5) I don't see the need for it. Perhaps it creates a bit more interaction, but it also frustrates any combo's the hazard player might have in mind for himself, which I think many people enjoy a lot, thinking out a way to crush the opponent yourself. We might skip the limit reduction though, as experience shows that it is often not important and could rather spoil the fun. Ee already skipped it for small companies (2 or 3 size) as with a single canceller they might get through on a breeze. The boost card idea might be ok, as it's a pity if you have a boost but the creature is already played before you. On the other hand, we are generally dealing with the likes of Fili and Ghan-buri-Ghan in Arda games...

I look foreward to hearing more ideas
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

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