Difficulty Rating System for Lord of the Rings LCG

As I’ve described in a previous Blog article, my aim is to create a new system for rating the difficulty of the various Quests in Lord of the Rings LCG.

The existing, official system, seems to suffer from a number of issues – the scores seem to fluctuate wildly, take no account of variable player numbers, and don’t really reflect the ever-changing nature of the card pool.

To counter this, my plan is for a new scheme where every quest will have 8 ratings – one for each of the four numbers of players, in two categories – using decks custom-built for the scenario, and using a generic deck.

I hope that in time, we can get enough numbers into this for it to become a useful resource for all players of this game, but to make that happen, I need your help. I’d like people to submit ratings (the more the better, but with no lower limit) for quests they’ve played, specifying:

  • The quest
  • The number of players
  • Whether you deck-built for that scenario specifically.

Ideally it should be somewhere along these lines.

10 – Even with a really well-honed deck, and experienced players, I’d need a lot of luck to get through this one, and would only expect to beat it really rarely.

7 – This one is a challenge, and needs a decent deck, but a competent builder/player with a bit of luck will beat it fairly regularly

5 – A good deck or a good draw from the encounter deck are useful, but you can beat it consistently with one or the other, and don’t need both.

3 – Even with a mediocre deck, I’d expect to beat this most of the time.

1 – I basically feel I can just turn up with whatever I have, and still know I’m going to win.

To begin with, this will be a bit hit & miss, but over time, as we amass enough data, I think we can produce a useful guide for comparisons.

One Deck To Rule Them All

Limited Card Pool

Custom Decks

If you want to help with this, you can email me at dorcuartholblog@gmail.com, post something on my Facebook Page, or you can just add a comment to the page, or one of the forum threads I’m going to set up.

8 thoughts on “Difficulty Rating System for Lord of the Rings LCG

  1. Gwaihir the Windlord

    The Siege of Cair Andros; 2 players; One deck custom built for it, the other custom built to take on Heirs of Numenor (So, yes? Maybe? You decide). Rating: 7.

    Thoughts: This is probably my favorite non-saga quest yet, and it has aged decently with the growing card pool. Just a few days ago I had the closest game of my life with it (One player eliminated, at 49 threat, all or nothing questing) but I’d still call it a seven.

  2. EricF

    All of these ratings are based on Solo play, with a generic, but powerful deck (Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, with all the most powerful cards – built as a “one deck to rule them all,” so not customized for individual quests).

    5 or lower (100% win rate, not sure how hard it would be with a less powerful deck)
    All quests not mentioned below

    Not Played:
    The Road Darkens quests
    The Ring Maker quests
    Nightmare: On the Doorstep expansion

    Rated 6 (Basically 100% win rate, but could lose if I got unlucky)
    Nightmare A Journey to Rhosgobel
    Road to Rivendell & Nightmare of same
    A Shadow of the Past
    Nightmare We Must Away, Ere Break of Day
    The Battle of Five Armies
    The Morgul Vale

    Rated 7 (can beat regularly, but it is a challenge):
    Nightmare Journey down the Anduin
    Nightmare Return to Mirkwood
    Into Ithilien

    Rated 8 (a bad encounter draw at the beginning can kill, and that draw isn’t unlikely. 50%+ win rate)
    Battle of Laketown

    Rated 10 (beatable, but very likely to lose depending on the setup / first few turns)
    Escape from Dol Gondur & Nightmare version

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  4. EricF

    I’ve now played these with the same deck:
    The Road Darkens quests – all 5- (normal and campaign mode – by outracing the Balrog)
    The Ring Maker quests:
    To Catch an Orc – 6
    The Dunland Trap – 6
    Others – 5-

    Flies and Spiders Nightmare – 8 (played without treasure cards)
    (other two not yet played)

    Nightmare Against the Shadow (any unmentioned are 5-):
    Peril in Pelargir – 6
    Into Ithillien – 6 (also, revise the original down to 6 – I adjusted my baseline deck to have more attack power, which didn’t hurt the success rate elsewhere)
    The Blood of Gondor – 7
    The Morgul Vale – 8

    Escape from Dol Gondur – reduce normal version to 9 (can beat regularly by picking which hero is captured, 30% win rate with 2/3 of possible starts just not worth playing out)

    1. Dor Cuarthol Post author

      Thanks – I’ve updated the ratings for the standard quests. I think Nightmare will probably be a separate page, which I’ll try to get to at some point, but may not be for a little while.

  5. Mickie Chadco

    I’d like to propose an alternative method of assessing the difficulty level. We all know that both decks (player and encounter) are subject to the luck of the draw, even though we try to minimize this by having a consistent/well-tuned player deck. Players cannot consistently affect the encounter deck and this fact greatly affects how easy or how hard the scenario will play out. Though the type of player deck (whether well-tuned or ‘generic’) will greatly influence how the difficulty of the scenario will appear to be (how easy or hard the scenario will play out), my concern is that this will still be subjective. What is a ‘well-honed’ deck? It depends on the player’s available card pool. One player’s ‘well-honed’ deck may not be someelse’s because it does not use some suitable cards but which the first player might not own. We already know that a deck specifically built for a scenario will have a better chance of succeeding against that scenario, as compared to a deck which is ‘generic’.

    What I propose is a difficulty rating (one rating for solo and another for 2-player) that also takes into account the variance of the encounter deck (which some of the above posts mentions as depended on the setup or draw of the encounter deck). This encounter deck variance will be like a + or – rating adjustment to the scenario’ difficulty (for solo rating and multiplayer rating). A scenario that tends to have wild swings in its difficulty based on the encounter deck draws/setup will have a much wider +/- difficulty rating adjustment. The plus difficulty (harder rating) is when the encounter draws lean towards the more difficult encounter draws and the minus difficulty (easier rating) is if the ‘cards that will show up’ were on the easy side). For example, the Khazad-dum’s 2nd scenario, ‘The Seventh Level’, officially rated as difficulty 3, could hypothetically be rated as:
    Solo: 4 +/- 2 or ie, Difficulty 2-6
    Multiplayer: 3 +/-2 or DF 1-5

    This way, players would have an idea that a scenario could be as easy as 1 or 2 (if the encounter cards turned up very ‘friendly’) but could also swing to as high as 5 or 6 (if the cards showed up as “brutal”), but generally, or on the average, about 3-4 DF.
    A scenario that does not have wide variance (or swings in its encounter draws) could have a smaller or 0 variance (+/- 0 df).

    Just a suggestion.

    1. Dor Cuarthol Post author

      Thanks – that’s definitely a worthwhile idea to consider – working out exactly what makes a deck variable will probably take a bit of thinking, but you’re right, some recognition that it won’t always be the mean average is useful.

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