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Decipher Inc: Tom Lischke and Chuck Kallenbach! 20/10/01
<DarthCaeser> Welcome Folks, to the first Decipher/TheOneRing.net Developer's chat. Our guests this evening are Tom Lischke and Chuck Kallenbach, Designer's of the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game.

<DarthCaeser> Tom Lischke is a designer of the Lord of the Rings TCG, along with Chuck Kallenbach and Mike Reynolds. He has been in the Decipher TCG studio for 3 years, working on other licensed TCGs. Tom qualified for the Middle Earth: The Wizards world championships in 1998, and considers it an honor to work in the world of Professor Tolkien.

<DarthCaeser> Chuck Kallenbach has been a Decipher game designer for four years. He's worked on STCCG, SWCCG, YJCCG, JKTCG, and happily now the LOTR TCG. He's the Rules editor for the game, and also a Macintosh jockey :)

<DarthCaeser> Please send all your questions to Berendir or Jincey in a Private Message (double-click on their names or type /msg Jincey <question>)

<DarthCaeser> OK, lets get started

<DarthCaeser> From Tookish: We were sad to see DecipherCon cancelled, but understood why. Will there be any events or activities to go along with the premier of the game?

<Tom_Lischke> Yeah, an unfortunate result of a very sad circumstance. We have a series of events planed around the release of LotR TCG. We are basicly taking what was going to be a centralized event and spreading out to the various retail spaces around the world.

<Tom_Lischke> Tournaments, demos, etc. supported directly by Decipher.

<DarthCaeser> Mith_Istari asks: will the card game be accurate as to the characters abilities? IE: Is Gandalf hurling lightning bolts right and left while frodo destroysorcs and trolls with sting? Or will the character be realistically limited in ability (possibly to the worsening of gameplay but more accurate to the books)?

<Chuck> It's our job to faithfully interpret the characters and plotlines of the book and movie. So we'll stick to our source as much as possible. We have to strike a good balance between gameplay requirements and story requirements, but that's what we do all the time!

<Chuck> Next question.

<DarthCaeser> Jam asks: What were lessons learned from passed CCG's that helped develop LCCG?

<DarthCaeser> (the LOTR TCG)

<Tom_Lischke> Interesting question. Chuck and I both worked on another TCG in the past year, and there were many many lessons learned from that. I learned a lot about pacing and elegance of mechanics. It is very difficult to strick a balance between game play depth and accessibility of the the game. I firmly believe now that the only solution to this equation is experience and testing. I think LotR TCG is the best work that I have ever done, so I feel real

<Tom_Lischke> Next question

<DarthCaeser> this one is from Targhan: The strategy Decipher used for Starwars was to print "counter cards". If card A was unbalanced, card B was designed to stop it. Unfortunately, this just make people play both cards A and B. Eventually the metagame became choked with unbalanced and cards and their counters. With this in mind, how do you plan on addressing unbalanced cards in the new TCG?

<Chuck> We will be using several kinds of systems to streamline that particular problem in the new game. While we don't want to ban cards like some other companies do, there are other avenues of control for gameplay. The real solution is just more and more testing, and that's what we've done with LOTR TCG. It's very tight indeed.

<Chuck> Next question.

<Tom_Lischke> wait a sec

<DarthCaeser> :)

<DarthCaeser> go ahead Tom

<Tom_Lischke> I just wanted to comment that the cultural system does a lot to help with the meta game, and you'll see cultures responding to other cultures rather than cards responding to other cards (elves strong against orcs, goblins strong against dwarves, etc.)

<Tom_Lischke> Go ahead :)

<DarthCaeser> Tookish asks: What are your favorite moments from The Lord of the Rings? Who are your favorite characters?

<Chuck> I love the moment at the Council when Frodo says he will take the RIng. And I'm rather partial to Elves and Elven culture.

<Tom_Lischke> Hah! That is a tough one. For me, it isn't usually any individual moment (although the Council of Elrond is my favorite part of the book). I just get lost in the writing. The language is just gorgeous. What was really nice was seeing how well the movie captures that feel.

<Tom_Lischke> Favorite character? Gandalf, all of the power, all of that restraint.

<Tom_Lischke> Next question?

<Chuck> That certainly is a tough question. I reserved "Celeborn" as a nickname on our message board, but that's just because I'm old and wise. :)

<Chuck> Go ahead.

<DarthCaeser> One of the coolest features of the new TCG is the "Twilight Pool" could you please explain what it is, and what it does for the gameplay?

<Chuck> It's a shared interactive resource system. It means that the more you play, the more I can play. Very cool, and original too.

<Chuck> When the Free Peoples player plays a card, she places tokens into a pool on the table. When the Shadow player plays a card in the same turn, he takes tokens from that pool to pay for costs. Therefore, when the fellowship is more active, the Shadow takes notice.

<Chuck> What this does for gameplay is to tightly knit the decisions of one player to the decisions of all others.

<Chuck> Next question.

<Tom_Lischke> Three things add to the danger of the fellowship: playing new cards, number of characters in the fellowship, and the danger level of the site. The forces of Sauron can then translate that danger into actual punishment of the fellowship.

<Tom_Lischke> Go ahead.

<DarthCaeser> From Legolas: Which format will be used for qualifiers and large tournaments: double elimination or the standard swiss?

<Chuck> I'm not sure what the decisions were for those formats. Maybe Tom can help.

<Tom_Lischke> Hmmm, I'm not sure. We have talked about both, re-examining our tournament system to make sure we have the right one for the new game. You would need Dan Bojo from our marketing dept. to answer that. next Q?

<jincey> just a reminder: please pm any questions to myself or berendir. we will forward them to darth : )

<DarthCaeser> hat steps are you taking to keep the game simple while still allowing minute control over balance?

<DarthCaeser> oops

<Tom_Lischke> Chuck, you or me?

<DarthCaeser> From Mith_Istari: Looking at a game like Axis & Allies, the more balanced the game becomes, the more complicated, what steps are you taking to keep the game simple while still allowing minute control over balance?

<Chuck> I think we're double-teaming them now.

<Tom_Lischke> You take this one.

<Chuck> We've tried to avoid using jargon and gamespeak to write the actual card texts themselves. We've found that we can still provide lots of depth and gameplay without making the cards and rules hard to understand.

<Chuck> Also, the systems of the game are very intuitive and true to the story. That helps new players get into the game very fast. That's what we've seen so far with testing and demos.

<Chuck> Next question.

<DarthCaeser> This one is from PipeSmoke: Were all the pictures for your cards from movie-stills or were you able to make some of your own or to even request some be made by the production as it was happening?

<Chuck> We haven't made any images from scratch...yet. :)

<Tom_Lischke> next q.

<Chuck> Our relationship with New Line is terrific and they've been extremely helpful when it comes to providing images and information.

<Chuck> Go ahead.

<DarthCaeser> Interesting Side Note, some of if the images Decipher will use were cut fro the movie, so you'll see images you can't see watching the movie :)

<Tom_Lischke> Yeah, with our licensed stuff that tends to by the norm. It is something I've always liked :)

<DarthCaeser> And a foloowup question from me: Was there ever a time where you held back on adding something from the movies because you felt it strayed a bit to much from the books?

<Chuck> You should explain that, Tom.

<Tom_Lischke> Hmmmm, fair question.

<Tom_Lischke> There are a couple of things pulling in different directions here.

<Tom_Lischke> We only have so much movie footage to use for images, so we'll need to use it all eventually.

<Tom_Lischke> That being said, if there are differences, we'd prefer that people see them in the context of the film, not pulled out on one TCG card, so we're avoiding the differences for now.

<Tom_Lischke> Next q?

<DarthCaeser> From Jincey: Where did the dialog come from on the cards? Is this actual movie dialog? And will there be differant versions of cards with differant dialog?

<Tom_Lischke> I'll get this one Chuck.

<Tom_Lischke> First off, there are no different versions of the lore planned right now.

<Tom_Lischke> As to the orgin of the lore, we have the rights to both the movies and the book (as well as the Hobbit), so we were able to pick and choose. There really is some of that gorgeous writing that I was talking about on our cards. Next Q.

<DarthCaeser> There's quite a few questions about muliple players, can you have more then two players? and how would that work?

<Chuck> Sorry we didn't make that clear before.

<Chuck> The game is designed to work equally well with two or more players. There are some small rules differences, but they are very minor.

<Chuck> The multiplayer experience is lots of fun, and we hope that will build a lot of community for the game. Hopefully, we'll have a multiplayer tournament scene as well.

<Chuck> Each player gets his own fellowship, and on his turn, all the other players are Shadow players. Then everything changes when the next player starts her turn.

<Chuck> So everybody gets a chance to be the bad guys and the good guys. :)

<Chuck> Next question.

<DarthCaeser> From Olorin_: I read on the Decipher page once about being able to make a Hobbit deck. How would Hobbits differ in style of gameplay from other more-warlike cultures, such as Dwarves?

<Tom_Lischke> Shadow players try to (duh) stop the fellowship.

<Tom_Lischke> They're sneaky :)

<Chuck> Each culture has its own particular style of play. And that goes for Shadow cultures as well.

<Tom_Lischke> Actually, The Shire culture has a lot of stealth. The events revolve around avoidance, while the Dwarven culture has axes and other good things.

<Chuck> Nazgul are big and bad and nasty and few, while Moria Orcs swarm and overwhelm. Hobbits hide and Dwarves smash things (they mine too). There's a lot of character in the different cultures.

<Tom_Lischke> The dwarves inflict a real beating on Sauron Orcs and (goblins) Moria Orcs.

<Chuck> The Elves and Nazgul have a particular dislike for each other as well.

<Tom_Lischke> Hobbits tend to run out of hiding tricks after Moria, however :)

<Chuck> Men have their swords and armor to protect them, of course.

<Tom_Lischke> At that point, the better get really resourceful or find a wizard or king in exile to look out for them.

<Tom_Lischke> next q?

<DarthCaeser> From Nilson: After the "Mount Doom" expansion in 2004... will there be any more expansions?

<Tom_Lischke> Oh yeah.

<Tom_Lischke> We have a 5 year license with an option to extend for 6 more.

<Tom_Lischke> 11 years of Hobbits baby :)

<Tom_Lischke> Next?

<DarthCaeser> Here's one from Tookish: You mentioned The Hobbit. Are there plans for a Hobbit TCG?

<Chuck> We often get questions like this, about future plans. And the real answer is, we'd love to do it as much as you'd love to see it. But we don't have any image resources for that at this point. Who knows what the future holds? Let's all keep our fingers crossed. :)

<Tom_Lischke> We _will_ do something with that property. We've got three years of movies to go through first :)

<Chuck> Next question.

<DarthCaeser> From Olorin: How exactly does gameplay for the fellowship proceed? Do they enter scenarios, or simply have to visit sites in certain orders? Is game progression linear?

<Chuck> Tom, you getting this one?

<Tom_Lischke> You go ahead.

<Chuck> The fellowship must move at least once each turn, down an adventure path of nine site cards.

<Chuck> There are lots of different versions of sites at each site number, so the fellowship doesn't know what they'll encounter. The site cards themselves come from other players' adventure decks.

<Chuck> It's a race to get to site 9 and survive to win. But unfortunately, a lot of Ring-bearers meet their own personal doom before that happens.

<Tom_Lischke> Or get corrupted :(

<Chuck> So you can say that the adventure path is linear, but there's lots of surprises. :)

<Tom_Lischke> I guess that is doom :)

<Chuck> Next question.

<DarthCaeser> And the further you go the more it costs from the Twilight Pool to move, allowing the Bad Guys to beat up on you more, right?

<Tom_Lischke> Rangers can take a bit of the surprise out of the path however, but it takes commitment.

<Chuck> That's right. Increasing danger for the fellowship.

<Tom_Lischke> Yep Darth. The closer to Mordor, the more danger.

<DarthCaeser> Legolas asks: Do you think the LOTR TCG will have a broader appeal then your SciFi CCG's?

<Tom_Lischke> Of coure, in the initial release, the sites only go through the Falls.

<Tom_Lischke> You or me Chuck?

<Chuck> Go ahead.

<Tom_Lischke> I think it will have a very wide appeal. The movies are current, and everything that we've heard about the first one leads us to believe that it will amaze people. The books, well, nothing really needs to be said. Now we get to our game. I think that this game is the best work I've ever done, (don't know how the other guys feel) and it will have a very broad appeal.

<Tom_Lischke> One think to keep in mind that the reason that most people are in fantasy gaming is, at heart, the Lord of the Rings.

<Tom_Lischke> Next Q?

<DarthCaeser> From Jam: Why is there no sideboard? Will there be one in a future expansion?

<Chuck> I think we're all very proud of the work we've done on this game. I'm certainly proud as well. I've never worked this hard on anything in my professional career. And I've had a few, too. :)

<Tom_Lischke> Sideboard, eh?

<Chuck> Sounds to me like you like having a sideboard. :) You can actually change your starting fellowship from game to game during a tournament, so there is a little flexibility for now.

<Tom_Lischke> We suspect that we don't need it. I guess we'll see :)

<Chuck> We'll have everything you can think of in future expansions, if we end up going to the full 11 years.

<Chuck> And we plan to do just that! :)

<Chuck> Next q.

<DarthCaeser> Another one from Olorin: Does the fellowship split after lorien? Does boromir automatically die? Do the characters actually split apart and travel different paths towards eventual completion? If so, is there any control over which characters take each path?

<Chuck> Ah, more questions about the future.

<DarthCaeser> :)

<Chuck> Boromir doesn't "automatically" die. That's up to you.

<Chuck> Either as the fellowship player *or* the Shadow player, you can control that.

<Chuck> The game will certainly take some unusual twists and turns as we proceed through the story, that's very true. We have some plans already, of course.

<Chuck> Next question, if Tom has no comment there... :)

<Tom_Lischke> Nope. You covered it pretty well.

<DarthCaeser> From Targhan: When CCGs were first developed, cards were "Rare" if they were more powerful or more interesting. But more modern CCGs make cards rare if they are less likely to be used in a deck. (For example, in the old Middle Earth Card game, important cards like Wizards were free in the fixed sets while The One Ring was a rare, because very few decks used it.) What types of cards will be rares in the TCG?

<Chuck> You get that one, Tom.

<Tom_Lischke> Ok.

<Tom_Lischke> Well first, I think that analysis generalizes things a little too much. But instead of getting into that, I'll just get into what we are doing.

<Tom_Lischke> There will be versions of all of the fellowship members that are both rare, and lower than rare (for instance, Frodo, Gandalf , Sam, Merry, Boromir, Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn are all fixed in the starter decks). Now, if the "lower than rare" versions for lame, who would care about the fact that they existed at all? You would still have to chase the rares to be competitive.

<Tom_Lischke> LotR TCG isn't like that. When we developed 2 copies of a character, we made the balanced against each other, and then at the last second labled one a rare to give it some chase, and left another as much more accessible. You'll have to see, be we've made every effort to make this product the most customer friendly one we've ever produced.

<Tom_Lischke> Chuck, anything to add, or next Q?

<Chuck> Nope. Go ahead.

<DarthCaeser> From Jam: Is the site path ever going to be longer than 9 sites? How will that fit into game length?

<Chuck> That's a tricky question.

<Tom_Lischke> All you Chuck

<DarthCaeser> heh

<Chuck> Again, we must consult the crystal ball of the future.

<Chuck> It says, "Reply hazy, try again."

<Chuck> Okay, not really. :)

<Chuck> Of course, as later expansions are developed, the game must "cover more ground" than it does now. The story will extend past the Falls of Rauros. However, we don't want the game to get a lot longer, because about 20-30 minutes is very comfortable.

<Chuck> So it's possible that the game will never be longer than 9 sites, and it will never get longer to play in real time minutes. That's pretty much what our plan is right now. But we'll all see. :)

<Chuck> Next q.

<DarthCaeser> fair enough

<DarthCaeser> OK, the last question of the night, from Tookish: What is the roll of the Ring in the game? How does it effect play? Can it be passed to different characters?

<Tom_Lischke> Chuck, you again :)

<Chuck> One thing I wanted to mention in regard to rarity before, is that The One Ring is a rare card...and a common card. And you can find it in starter decks. You have to have a One Ring card to play at all, so we've made it very available.

<Chuck> The Ring protects the Ring-bearer in time of great need. However, it can only be worn when he is in mortal danger. And the cost for wearing the Ring is great indeed, as its terrific burden weighs heavily.

<Tom_Lischke> Another rarity comment. If you see the lable of Premium tied to any of the cards, they are fixed in the starter decks. (they are the Gandalf and Aragorn in the starter decks, and you get 2 copies of that card by buying the starter)

<Tom_Lischke> That _had_ to be from the rulebook.

<Chuck> In game terms, when the Ring-bearer is about to take a wound, he can put on the Ring for the rest of the turn. However, that wound becomes a burden token, and too many of them will corrupt him (and his player loses the game). So we address corruption in a new way.

<Chuck> We stayed with the story as far as who can be Ring-bearer. So it's Frodo, and if he falls, then only Sam may bear the ring.

<Tom_Lischke> It actually made it easier on the game engine too.

<Chuck> Any time we can streamline the game rules and make the story better, that's a win-win situation for all the fans, players and collectors.

<Chuck> I guess that would be a "win-win-win" situation, sorry. :)

<Tom_Lischke> Tell me the truth Chuck, was that first bit from the rulebook?

<Chuck> It was from my head. Honest.

<DarthCaeser> Anything else you guy's would like to add?

<Chuck> The work on this game has been really intense for all of us. Just ask my wife.

<Tom_Lischke> Mine too :)

<Chuck> Thanks so much for having us here.

<DarthCaeser> :)

<Chuck> This has been great! We need to do this again sometime.

<DarthCaeser> OK folks, that will do it for this chat, I'd like to thank Tom Lischke and Chuck Kallenbach for stopping by!

<DarthCaeser> Thanks Guy's!

<Tom_Lischke> Actually though, it is a lot of fun to be here. It is fun to see how true Tolkien fans react to the game, as it is very important to us.

<Chuck> Please tell all your web-visitors that they can email us with questions any time or just post 'em on our LOTR TCG message board.

<Berendir> Thanks Chuck and Tom, it's been great : D.

<DarthCaeser> We'll now open the room back up, you two are welcome to hang around for a few minutes and chat with the fans

<Tom_Lischke> Sure.

<jincey> or all night : )

<Chuck> Okay, for a while.

<DarthCaeser> And at 7:00 pm EST here will be having our regularly scheduled Hall of Fire chat, Topic: Bridge at Khazad-dum, chapter discussion

<Chuck> I'm getting kind of hungry... :)

<Tom_Lischke> Diablo calling Chuck?

<Targhan> By the way, I really appreciate the improvement of this game over ME:TW

<Chuck> Food first. Diablo later.

<N9IWP> test

<Targhan> ME:TW was a good game on many levels, but it felt like it came down to "Role play game with cards"

<N9IWP> (start with an easy one). If the Fellowship player decides not to move again, it says Shadow minions are discarded. Does that also include possetions? I assume conditions stay (in general)

<Targhan> I'm glad that this is a real, TRUE card game

<Chuck> How exactly do you mean that, Targhan?

<Tookish> Thanks for coming guys!! Our honor.

<Targhan> well, you roll dice for combat

* Tookish bows

<Tom_Lischke> I love ME:TW (only game I ever really collected). Trouble is game time and player base :)

<Targhan> yeah

<Targhan> I have say 5000 cards for it

<Chuck> Ah yes, dice. They don't like me.

<Targhan> 1.5 hours was a lot, and that's for a short game

<Targhan> the other problem was

<Targhan> you had to memorize the whole map of middle earth to play!

<Brilthonion> .

<Tom_Lischke> We want to make sure you always will have both, but if you like METW, you'll be very comfortable in our game.

<Mithrandir> Player base is the only thing which held me back from ME:TW

<Targhan> eventually when I built decks

<Chuck> Minions do lose their possessions when discarded, that's true. At least for now. :)

<Targhan> I have 5 of them laying around

<Targhan> I actually wrote hand scribed maps for use

<N9IWP> If the fellowship kills a unique minion, can it be played later?

<Targhan> detailing which sites were whwere

<Targhan> where to go

<Targhan> and overall play strategies for the deck

<Targhan> just to make play easier

<Tom_Lischke> Possessions go on Shadow cards when the things owning them go.

<Targhan> it worked well, but the game simply shouldn't require you have to do that

<Chuck> The focus of our game is so much different from the MECCG. We're focusing on Frodo's path.

<N9IWP> Question about the Goblin warrior card. It says that you may discard a dwarf ally or condition. Does that mean YOU the shadow player, or that you force the fellowship to discard?

<Chuck> Unique minions can be played later, yes.

<Targhan> agreed, I like that a lot

<DarthCaeser> 4We'll be having more chats with Decipher Devs in the future, look for a chat with the RPG team soon!

<Chuck> Well, the Shadow player chooses which Dwarven card to be discarded.

<Targhan> hehehe

<OhioYankee> lol beren

<N9IWP> Balrog card? Or will that be in the MofM expansion?

<Chuck> Thanks much for the pint! :)

<Tookish> lol

<Arathorn> my pleasure :)

<Chuck> Balrog on the way...soon...

<N9IWP> since (xen)Arwen is a companion, I assume other non-traditional companions could be there too (Fatty Bolger? Gloin?)

<Tookish> Hey Tom, Chuck, did you guys work with Steve on the RPG?

<Olorin__> How will hiding and 'sneaking'be represented in the game?

<Chuck> Companions are those who fought alongside The Nine Walkers, basically. Elrond didn't do that, for example.

<N9IWP> Whats the record for most strength in your test games? whats the highest possible (33 looks possible)

<DarthCaeser> Steve did a lot of the Text for the cards

<Targhan> What was the longest game you had in playtesting? What about shortest game?

<Tom_Lischke> Not RPG guys (but I think it'd be fun!)

<Chuck> We didn't work with Steve and Christian on the RPG. But they're cool guys, and they did a great job. I'm very anxious to play that game.

<Tookish> might there be a Hobbit TCG in the future as well?

<Tom_Lischke> Don't know about the strength record.

<Tookish> i mean.. RPG... sorry

<Tookish> lol

<Chuck> Hiding and sneaking is mostly canceling skirmishes. Sometimes implemented by removing twilight tokens (like covering tracks, sort of).

<Chuck> We used to get strengths of over 20 in playtesting, but I don't remember 33. That's a lot!

<Chuck> Oh, this game can be *very* short. You can lose on turn 2.

<Olorin__> Oh, btw, if Frodo puts the Ring on in Mordor, will Sauron crucsh him like a fly?

<N9IWP> thats witch king with sword and all 8 other wraiths

<Tom_Lischke> Longest: hour plus. Shortest? Dead Frodo on turn 1, 3 minutes (he was a sad little hobbit).

<OhioYankee> did u guys have nething to do with what might be in the LOTR video agmes, or is that outta ur area

<Chuck> It would be nigh-impossible to get all nine Ringwraiths in play at once. I'm sure Tom has tried.

<N9IWP> even in multi-player?

<Ostadan> All nine ulairi? That'd be what, 50 Twilight Pool points?

<Tom_Lischke> Aragorn took on 37 (6 orcs) last night and lived (defender +5!). It was cool.

<Chuck> I'll answer that Frodo in Mordor question...when we get to Mordor. Another year at least.

<Olorin> so, we cant win until after 2004???

<Chuck> You killed Frodo on turn 1? Was that the game with me?

<OhioYankee> lol

<Mithrandir> Defender +5?!?!

<DarthCaeser> Aragorn is a good guy to keep around

<Olorin> heh

<Mithrandir> Sounds like it

<Tom_Lischke> Not the video game company

<Tom_Lischke> I had it once Chuck.

<Chuck> We're not involved with the video game at all. Except maybe for playing it when it comes out.

<Olorin> lol

<N9IWP> Will The two towers be from sight 10-18 (9-17?), or will sight 1 be Amon Hen? (if you can tell me)

<Tom_Lischke> I don't think it'll ever happen again (it was before the rule of 9)

<Ostadan> Best thematic moment QUickbeam and I had was Frodo with Sting and Mithril coat (which isn't in the current card set, alas) standing up to cave-troll.

<Olorin__> How can I get free decks of cards? :D

<OhioYankee> lol olo

<Tookish> lol

<TheGrey> Since Frodo does not reach Mordor in the first movie, is this going to be just a three site trip to Rivendell in the first release?

<Olorin> yeah, thats what i wanted to know?

<Chuck> We're going through Rivendell and Lorien to the Falls of Rauros in our first set.

<Olorin> so, can we beat the game before 2004?

<Olorin> or does the first set have 9 sites, the second have 9, the third have 9?

<N9IWP> you win by getting to falls in 1st game

<Chuck> Another future question...

<DarthCaeser> with a live Ring Bearer

<TheGrey> Refresh my memory, where are the falls?

<Ostadan> And living to tell about it, N9IWP.

<Tom_Lischke> That is awesome Ostadan. We have had moments when playing when we'd be hip deep in gameplay, step back and realize we had just replicated something right from the book/movie. Those experiences have truly been some of the most rewarding of the whole process.

<Chuck> What's the lake, Tom. Nen Hithoel? Is that right?

<N9IWP> I assume you can stack S's ambition and get negative cost Uruk-Hai

<Olorin__> Falls are where the Fellowship Breaks

<Olorin__> Boundary of Gondor

<Chuck> It's where Tol Brandir is. And the Seat of Seeing. Where the Fellowship was broken, basically.

<Ostadan> (who's the photographer for that Nen Hithoel card, anyway? Maxfield Parrish??

<Tookish> How much input have Tolkien fans had into the game development and creation?

<Tom_Lischke> Don't know what you're asking Chuck

<Mithrandir> I don't think negative just 0

<Chuck> Parrish? I wish! :)

<Chuck> Is Nen Hithoel the name of the lake with Tol Brandir in it?

<N9IWP> How rough a cut of the movie did you guys see? (or have you jsut seen images)

<Tom_Lischke> We saw the Canne footage (only a couple of us)

<DarthCaeser> I think Steve saw the whole thing

<Chuck> Ooooh, it was great.

<Tom_Lischke> I can't really say more

<Arathorn> heh :)

<N9IWP> fair enough

<Tom_Lischke> Tookish, a lot.

<Tookish> lol...

<DarthCaeser> well, the current cut whever that took plac

<DarthCaeser> e

<Tom_Lischke> As much as we could work into the process

<N9IWP> Can you tell me how many people enetered last contest?

<HSV> is this the decipher chat ?

<Tookish> yeah i am impressed with that effort Tom

<Messiah> yep

<Tom_Lischke> Mainly, as much help as we could get from TOR

<N9IWP> the after chat chat

<Chuck> Lots of our playtesters were avid Tolkien fans. And so are we.

<Tookish> yes HSV

<Tom_Lischke> But we aren't the scholars that some are, so we appealed to them

<Chuck> Yeah, you guys helped us quite a lot.

<DarthCaeser> some of our Staffers are very heavily involved in the Development of the game

<N9IWP> Goblin Swarms. Only one orc can be stacked on it? I assume "play as if from hand" means you still play twilight costs

<Messiah> excellent answer

<Tookish> yep

<Olorin> lol

<Tom_Lischke> And then brought as much of that into the process as we could.

<Olorin> yep

<Ostadan> WIthout giving anything away, are cards like Old Toby and its relatives a "secret"? I haven't seen any mention of them.

<Chuck> N9: That's right. More than 1 Orc, though.

<Tookish> and your gaming teams out there.. awesome resource

<Tom_Lischke> Ost, I don't quite understand

<Ostadan> pipes

<Tookish> how old were you guys when you read LotR? are you old time fans?

<DarthCaeser> We helped name the Nazgul among other (more secretive) things

<Olorin> so, here's the ultimate question...you guys like TheOneRing.net? going to keep coming in here to answer questions and just generally 'hang out'?

<Berendir> We're always around Olorin ; )

<TheGrey> So, you will have to move 9 sites in this release to win? Or is reaching the Falls, whatever site that is 3, 4, or 5 enough? Or will there be many site 9's? So that the Falls can be 9 now and Mordor 9 later?

<Olorin> well, i know that you are berendir

<Olorin> heh

<Berendir> LOL Olorin

<Olorin> i'm a regular

<Tom_Lischke> Nope, not a secret. I played against one of those decks yesterday. He used the pipes to help draw into his goblin strat. Ug. Frodo died at site 9

<Olorin> i meant chuck and tom

<Olorin> lol

<Olorin> silly berendir

<Berendir> I know, i was giving you a good rogering : P

<Tom_Lischke> I was (in 4th grade, how old is that?)

<N9IWP> I assume the starter decks will have at least one of each sight

<Olorin> ahha

<OhioYankee> bout 10

<DarthCaeser> you can also win by killing or corrupting the opponents Ringbearer

<Olorin> note the lack of an answer ;)

<Tookish> fourth grade... about 9

<Olorin> lol

<N9IWP> 15,25 and 35 here

<Berendir> They're overwhelmed : P

<DarthCaeser> all the sites are numbered, you have to do 1-9

<Olorin__> If you always have it so that there are only ever 9 sites, won't that mean that you'll zip through Middle-earth like a bolt of lightning by the tiem you can reach Mordor?

<HSV> is decipher getting a private showing of fotr?

<Tookish> that's a whole lot of book for a fourth grader! good show :)

<Tom_Lischke> Olorin, only so many hours in the day, but I enjoy the environment here, and TOR has been a great help to us to be certain!

<Beregond_> and that the chronology won't be respected at all?

<Olorin> cool ;)

<DarthCaeser> no, the further along the adventure path you go, the more twilight points it costs to move

* Berendir formerally changes rogering to joking around.. was just told what it means.

<Tookish> any idea how many people have worked on the game collectively? including playtesters?

<Beregond_> cus one could use a new site three, coming after an old site 8 ?

<DarthCaeser> and the more the bad guys can wail on your fellowship

<Messiah> heh

<N9IWP> its a future question, I think amn hen will be new site 1

<Olorin__> lol Berendir

<Tom_Lischke> HSV, we may rent a theater on release day

<N9IWP> either that or TT starts at sight 10

<DarthCaeser> the adventure path has to be in order

<DarthCaeser> 1 - 2 - 3 and so on

<N9IWP> but just guessing

<Chuck> Man, you go away for a minute and you miss a lot.

<Olorin__> lol

<Olorin> so, guys, there are 9 sites in each release, right? so, are there 27 in the full game???

<DarthCaeser> each time a new hand starts, a player puts down a site on the adventure path

<Tom_Lischke> Tookish, 100? Just a guess, but around there

<N9IWP> there are multiple site "6"s for example, some nastier than others

* Tookish nods

<Olorin__> But the Big Question is, will there be a free plastic Ring in each starter set?

<Olorin> lolol

<Olorin> or gold

<Chuck> No plastic Rings, sorry.

<Beregond_> i know it'll be 1-2-3, but if you can mix old and new sites, the chronology of the story 'd be messed up, right?

<Ostadan> You gotta buy the Knizia boardgame for that Olorin.

<Tookish> Do you guys go around to the events and conventions?

<Tom_Lischke> Multiple choices for each site, yes.

<Messiah> onion rings..

<Olorin> lol!!

<Tookish> lol

<Olorin> yep, free onion rings

<Beregond_> heh

<Ostadan> Onion Rings to rule the mall.

<Olorin> with little engravings

<Olorin> lolololol

<DarthCaeser> I guess that would be up to the players to decide before hand

<Tom_Lischke> Tookish, we travel, but generally not to the left coast.

<Arathorn> lol, Ostadan

<Olorin__> Burn thorugh your fingers with all the vinegar on those rings

<Messiah> and the game cd will of course...make certain analogies..

<Tookish> yeah

<N9IWP> game CD?

<OhioYankee> yup

<Olorin> game CD?

<Beregond_> ?

<HSV> when is the game going to released on the day the fotr opens?

<Chuck> What did you guys think of Knizia's boardgame?

<TheGrey> 27 sites would make for a long game. MECCG 2-deck would be shorter.

<Olorin__> I've always wanted to make a LotR PC game, & i've always imagined how cool it would be to have a CD that reflected firey letters when the sun shines on it

<N9IWP> nov 6 for game

<Olorin__> Knizia's bg is awesome

<DarthCaeser> there wont be any software from Decipher, that infringes on EA's/Vivendi-Universal's license

<Tookish> Tom, Chuck, have you worked with Richard Taylor or other weta likes? and who from the production? any cast?

<Ostadan> I like Knizia's game a lot. Itching for the expansion set.

<Chuck> How many times have you played it?

<DarthCaeser> or so I've heard

<Olorin__> The expansion is in a local hobby store of mine

<DarthCaeser> I haven't played it yet

<Tookish> personally, i could not get into the board game

<Olorin__> But I don't see anywhere else with it

<Tookish> maybe i need to give it another chance

<Ostadan> Youre in the OK, Olorin?

<Olorin__> Not even the official site

<Olorin> eh?

<Ostadan> UK, I mean?

<Tookish> but my first run through, i thought it was laughable

<Tom_Lischke> Tookish, some others may have had contact with WETA, but we have not, unfortuantely.

<Olorin> Olorin__you really need a different nick

<Olorin__> So they may have picked off the back of a truck :)

<Olorin> thats really weird

<Tookish> this TCG however got me right on the first game

<N9IWP> Will buying the game have too many spoiler images?

<Olorin__> I am in the UK

<Tookish> tom, i hope you do. they are great fellas.

<Ostadan> Right; the expansion is in the UK, but not the US yet.

<Chuck> Great, Tookish. Thanks. We found that the Knizia boardgame was not much fun after about 4 or 5 playthroughs.

<DarthCaeser> interesting side note, you will not see Gollum or Balrog images before the movies release

<Tom_Lischke> So I hear Tookish

<DarthCaeser> cards I should say

<Tookish> aha!! finally some support! everyone seems to love the darn thing... lol

<Ostadan> Quickbeam's copy of the Knizia game is literally worn out from play.

<Olorin> yep

<Olorin> its not htat great

<Olorin> that

<Tookish> but i'm hopeful The Hobbit will be a better game

<Olorin> Ostadan: you related to quickbeam or something?

<Chuck> Wow! Worn out. Maybe he played it with lots of different people... :)

<Tom_Lischke> I agree with Chuck. Cool out of the box, replay.......not so much. Just an opinion.

<Beregond_> :)

<Ostadan> Same city, and we're both Greenbooks staff, Olorin.

<Chuck> It's a wonderful design, but it just doesn't have enough replay value for me.

<DarthCaeser> next time you see QB ask him to stop by the chat more often

<Olorin> i knew the greenbooks thing...cool :)

<Olorin__> What's the Hobbit boardgame like?

<N9IWP> back to the unique minion thing, you mean iof I somehow kill Lurtz he could come back?

<Chuck> Of course, Tom and I like CCGs, which absolutely ooze with replay value, so that may have something to do with that. :)

<Tom_Lischke> True.

<Olorin__> Well Sauron IS The Necromancer...:D

<Olorin> like MTG

<Chuck> Bad guys always come back. It's a heroic fiction staple

<DarthCaeser> Minions are discarded, not killed, I think

<Beregond_> have you, or will you make, minions that stay until they are killed?

<Chuck> We haven't...yet...

<Tom_Lischke> I gotta run all. It has been a blast, and I'll try to come by again. Which is the better place to go, the main room or the hall of fire?

<DarthCaeser> minions that have a "fierce" can attack multiple times

<N9IWP> but cards let you "bank" them

<Ostadan> There's no separate minion "dead pile", at present...

<DarthCaeser> the main room Tom

<Beregond_> (like the minion/event cards in meccg)

<Messiah> dreams haunt, badguys come back..check

<Olorin__> main room, more people there :)

<DarthCaeser> thank's for stopping by

<DarthCaeser> 'nite Tom

<N9IWP> thanks, answerd most of my questions

<Beregond_> bye

<Olorin> chuck, Tom, you guys rock

<Tom_Lischke> Yeah, it has really been a lot of fun.

<Arathorn> goodnight, Tom. thanks for the insight :)

<Tookish> night Tom!

<Ostadan> Gnight Tom, nice "meeting" you.

* Tookish bows

<Olorin__> Thanks a lot C & T, this was really helpful

<Olorin> lol

<OhioYankee> bye chuck:)

<OhioYankee> nice talking to u guys

<Messiah> later on

<N9IWP> well, I should go too. glad they stayed after, since none of questions got asked in the official chat

<Chuck> I have to get some supper, so I gotta go too. Thanks much. I'll try not to be a stranger! You folks are great.

<DarthCaeser> 'nite Chuck

<Berendir> Thanks Chuck! : D

<Strider> Thanks Chuck!

<Olorin> g'night

<Arathorn> thanks, Chuck :)

<N9IWP> understandably

<Tookish> thanks Chuck!

<Ostadan> bon appetite, Chuck. Mae Mado.

<OhioYankee> night chuck!

<DarthCaeser> again, thanks for stopping by

<Beregond_> bye

* Tookish bows

<Olorin__> bye Chuck

<Olorin__> !


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