Arda Janus variant

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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:26 pm

Arda Janus variant

Post by cdnlife » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:10 pm

I’m a complete newbie and I want to start an Arda game at 4 players. My concern is I want to make it without the deck building part, too abstract for newbie participants at the beginning. I want to include all my cards, maybe 700, from the sets of The Wizards, The Dragons, Dark Minions, The Lidless Eye, Against the Shadow, The White Hand, The Balrog.
After reading Arda rules 5.1, one thing is striking: there is still a deck-building setup part, even if the deck is shared. Not only that but also the deck must be either Wizard or Minions, not both. Why so much setup time? Why to remove half the cards? Why not dump all the collection cards into a giant shared deck? What changes should be done in order to make an Arda game, with all cards, playable and fun? Thus I propose the Arda Janus variant:
Draw Hand
Each player draws a random Play Hand of 12 cards plus a Marshalling Point Hand of 6 cards. Since all cards are included in the Arda deck, there will be many cards difficult or impossible to play, so having a hand of 12 cards ensure at least 1 or 2 will be playable. The others must be exchanged, traded, discarded or kept, just in case.
Raise Avatar
Each player starts the game setup with 1 Avatar, chosen out of 2 random. This is to ensure every Avatar has an equal chance to be played sooner or later. Each player is entitled to a second Avatar who will come later, depending on the luck of the draw. Of course, some players will feel like exchanging one of their 2 Avatars with the other players. After all exchanges are finished, the non-chosen Avatar is shuffled back in the Avatar deck.
- 5 Wizards (Alatar, Gandalf, Pallando, Radagast, Saruman)
- 9 Ringwraiths (Adunaphel, Akhorahil, Dwar, Hoarmurath, Indur, Khamul, Ren, Uvatha, The Witch-King)
- 5 Fallen Wizards (Alatar, Gandalf, Pallando, Radagast, Saruman)
- 1 The Balrog. Add 2 more copies, to name #B and #C, so that there are 3 Balrogs #A, #B, #C.
There are 22 Avatars. Each player is allowed to have 2 Avatars in play at the same time. They could be any 2 combinations of the 22 Avatars. The Wizards and their Fallen Wizard counter-part cannot exist at the same time, i.e. if Fallen Gandalf is in play, Gandalf cannot enter play. And vice-versa.
Gather Company
Each player then select a company of maximum 6 characters, with 20 Mind points. Each player declares her /his Avatar type and receives at random 1 character with 6 Mind or higher (taken from the Roving Character Deck), character who is specifically compatible with the Avatar type. For example, a Balrog Avatar must have 1 Balrog faction character of Mind 6+; a Ringwraith Avatar must have 1 Ringwraith faction character of Mind 6+. The 5 other characters are given at random, but the total Mind points of the company must stay at 20 or lower. Of course, some players will feel like exchanging characters or even Avatar with the other players. If exchanges are finished and a player ends up with un-playable characters, like a Ringwraith Avatar leading Frodo and Gimli, those incompatible characters must be discarded to the Character Deck and new random ones must be drawn, up to reaching a situation of 6 compatible characters totalling 20 or less Mind points; in the example, those 5 random ones can be of any Minions type, not only Ringwraith.
Gather second company
Later in the game, when a second Avatar is played, a second company can be added, using a separate quota of 20 Mind points. The starting company could be Free People heroes, like Gandalf, Frodo, Gimli, Aragorn. The second company could be made of character Minions like Adunaphel, Asternak, Belegorn, Broin. Companies can freely split as usual. However, companies of a given player cannot interact at all with incompatible companies of the same player. For example, a Minions company and a Free People company. They are oblivious to each other, phased out, in a different dimension of existence, like one is in the ethereal state compared to the other one. They cannot exchange items, influence characters away, etc. They totally ignore each other, like a Janus personality with 2 faces occupying the same area.
This way, at 4 players, there can be any combination, like player #A Balrog and Fallen Wizard, player #B Wizards and Wizards, #C Ringwraith and Wizards, #D Wizards and Fallen Wizards. The likelihood of encountering another player company is much higher. Each player has a much higher chance to be able to play hazards against everybody, to exchange an item or faction with another player.
For example, if there are no Balrog led company in play, most cards of the Balrog set are useless, discard them at the earliest. However, a player could suddenly decide to make her /his second Avatar a Balrog type, thus entitled to gather Balrog specific characters. In that case, the 3 other players could start playing Balrog specific hazard cards against the Balrog player. Later on, another player could also start a second Avatar as a Balrog.
Roving characters
When all companies are set, turn 6 roving characters face up from the Roving Character Deck. These characters are wandering and may be played by any player as if from hand. However, until each player has taken a first resource turn, no roving character may be played.
Minor items
Turn 6 minor items face up from the Minor Item Offering Deck. These minor items may be played by any player as if from hand.
Map Entry
Start the game at your Avatar’s home site.
This part is nearly the same as per Arda 5.1 rules.
The Turn Sequence
Untap and organization phase:
During the untap phase, if there are less than 6 characters roving, reveal characters from the Roving Character Deck until there are 6 again.
Do exactly the same for minor items from the Minor Items Offering Deck.
Characters may be brought into play under General Influence at their home site, as long as one of your characters is present (i.e. your Wizard does not need to be present, you can send someone to fetch the character on behalf of your Wizard).
There is an unlimited number of companies per Avatar.
Movement/hazard phase:
When the active resource player starts her /his turn, the first hazard player sits to her /his right.
Only the resource player and first hazard player draw cards from the Play Deck, and the first hazard player is her /his designated opponent (for purpose of interpreting certain card effects).
When a hazard player is finished playing hazards, he may “pass” to the next inactive player (that is, non resource player) sitting to her /his right. Passing hazard play in this fashion will reduce the hazard limit by 1. If the base hazard limit was less than 3 (as determined at the start of the movement/hazard phase), passing hazard play does not reduce the hazard limit.
Nb. You may not pass hazard play back and forth between players.
Only the first hazard player (and of course the active player) may resolve her /his hand after each movement/hazard phase.
Each player that is not an active resource player may freely trade resources from both Play hand and MP hand, but only on a one-on-one basis (e.g. 1 MP card for 1 MP card). This may be done at any time during the turn.
Nb. Hazards may not be traded!
Site phase and end-of-turn phase:
During the end of turn phase, each player may resolve her /his hands, and unless he has more cards in hand than her /his hand size, one card may be discarded from either the Play Hand or MP Hand.
During the end of turn phase, if no roving character has been revealed this turn, discard the character who has been revealed first (in line).
Nb. It is thus important to keep the roving characters always in order of being revealed!
Do exactly the same for minor items from the Minor Items Offering Deck.
Tip: When using Arda to introduce new players to the game, it is advisable to use the following general rule for the playability of MP resources (in addition to what the site cards mention). This will make choosing sites easier for new players:
Greater items at any Shadowhold, Darkhold and Dragon’s lair.
Major items at any Shadowhold, Darkhold, and Ruins & Lairs.
Information events at any Ruins & Lairs.
Gold Rings at any Ruins & Lairs in Wilderland or in a Coastal Seas region.
End of the Game:
If you have 20 Marshalling Points, you may call the Council, and all other players get another turn.
You only double Marshalling Points at the Council if no other player has MP’s from a certain type of resources (items, allies, factions).
Ring items are considered a separate source of Marshalling Points at the Council (rings are not considered items for the purpose of the Council).

Vastor Peredhil
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Posts: 1053
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:46 am
Location: Kempen (Niederrhein) Germany

Re: Arda Janus variant

Post by Vastor Peredhil » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:42 pm

Well I can only claim to have played like what 10 Arda games so far, but what you propose is hard to pull of, 2ndly the huge amount of cards there is the physical limitation of being able to pile cards only up to some size which is even less in sleeves

I did not bother to ready everything, but so far mixing hero & minion Arda always seemed to lessen the fun within it, as combo cards etc. get an even smaller chance to appear in a game when needed, even with bigger handsize and holding 12 +6 cards in hard as fuck, holder 6+ 4 is already hard enough

but you are welcome to try and share your experiences with us.

Also Arda can also be run on GCCG which is the easiest way to assemble huge decks to see how it works out

yours Vastor

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