CME New Player's Review

I’ve now played four games of CME with opponents much more experienced at MEPBM. It has been a wonderful learning experience. I’ve had lots of fun and I think my game has visibly improved. I’m still a relative novice so forgive me if this all sounds naive but my thoughts on what works and what could be better below. Perhaps some food for thought for the tournament.

The Good

  • There’s a lot of strategic options at the beginning and this is a great strength. Both sides have a variety of opening gambits open to them and I think this makes it a much more fun experience for players new and old who don’t want to follow the tramlines of 1650.

  • The recruiting of and utilising recognisable heroes in the game from the setting is wonderful. I was drawn to the game for the setting and the character-driven order engine. This module was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play true heroes / villains. It felt like a Middle Earth game for the first time for me.

  • Besides a mistep in the first game I had, the economy was managable and supported the ambitions I had. It still required some management but it was a constraint rather than a wall you hit.

  • Turn arounds are FAST! Some days we had two turns in a day. But we were averaging 1 turn a day in most of these games with a slow up in the mid-teens. For learning the game, this is much, much preferable to 2-week turnarounds.

  • I was lucky on this perhaps but I had lovely opponents who took the time to review and discuss the game afterwards. I learned a lot from them.

The Bad

  • What I didn’t know early on and I’ve now learned the hard way, this is primarily a game about finding artifacts. If you’re not identifying and finding 6-10 artifacts per turn by turn 10 you are so far behind the game that it is a monumental feat to pull pack. (This gets worse with my final point below in the “Ugly” section)

  • So even if you accept this as a newbie mistake not to know this already, what this means is that the game becomes focused a lot on character assassination. With champion characters and limits on characters, it seems far too easy to kill characters because you can focus on a single other player unlike other modules. What this means is that other aspects of strategy (building up PCs, moving armies etc) don’t seem to matter as much. I know there’s counters to the agent game (well now I do!) but even when employed, it does become the focus of the game. This kind of detracts from my earlier “this is Tolkien game!” gushing. Armies prove to be quite insignicant when you can rout them so easily.

  • Victory conditions don’t make much sense. I think for CME it might be simpler to have a single victory condition - capture the other side’s capital. Woulld keep games focused.

The Ugly

  • Curse squads. So if one side gets 1-2 spirit mastery artifacts, the balance tips so heavily in their favour that even the counter-agent measures are not going to be enough. I can see maybe countering this early on with some luck and skill so maybe this is just a newbie problem. But the strategic freedom I mentioned disappears when it becomes a game about one uber-tactic.


I really enjoyed this module and will play another one again soon. I learned a lot and maybe I could do better next time round against some things but I think curses are too much in a game against just other player with champions.

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Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated.

It is interesting that several people think the module might be too heavily focussed on artifact-hunting, and the related curse squads. Because when we were testing, we found that artifact-hunting as a tactic would work against a slow-build, but could be countered by early aggression, and games were often over bar the shouting before anyone could get a curse squad into play (especially when Ed was playing!). So going for artifacts and mages is certainly a viable tactic, but not without its risks, as you are counting on the opposition going for a similarly slow tactic.

However, we are happy to run games with no curses allowed if both playes agree - just ask for this when you submit a join game request.

The victory conditions, by the way, can pretty much be ignored in CME at present. They are not a means of achieving victory, and are just a legacy from other modules. But we do have plans to introduce a new strategic victory based on victory conditions, which is why they are still there.

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