Sept 2006 Newsletter Contributions (prep and discussion)

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Post by thorondor »

here is my contribution for this issue, which deals about the collector´s part of MECCG:
The typical MECCG player is not only enjoying the game but also collector of the wonderful cards. Thanks to the great artwork it´s really a wonderful feeling sitting at home in front of a fireplace, taking the binder and looking at Cirdan thinking “Ah, yes! That´s exactly how an old and wise Elf should look like.” Of course the passionate collector has to make a decision first: Should I take the finnish or the italian binder today, or maybe the japanese? Am I in the mood of some shabby unlimited cards (after a bad day at work maybe)? Or should I have a look at my collection of Promocards, especially the very rare spanish and japanese ones? Maybe it is even time again to reassure myself, that this japanese Fury of the Iron Crown is real! (“Aaahh yes, it is …”)
Now the collectors among us know, that it is a long way to finally complete a set. With special thanks to Chris Cable fantastic trading centre it´s not that tiresome, most of the time even a pleasure, since it offers the chance to get in touch with many cool MECCG folk. Many of us wouldn´t have learnt to know each other but for some email contact for trading business.

Now when I started with MECCG collecting the cards became important very soon. As a fan of Tolkien´s stories I loved it to finally get a face to some of the characters. Of course I also hated some of those faces!! (Was Elrond an Indian? Maybe Michael Jackson is Glorfindel III?)
Naturally I wanted to have one of every card. As a player from the beginning I was aiming a a player´s collecting very soon, meaning I needed three of all non-unique cards. And since I was playing with my wife, we needed 2 complete player´s collections (one in english and one in german). After having completed this, my need for collecting was satisfied for a while.
For a very short while! After I have become a very passionate trader, I couldn´t simple stop then. So I decided to collect MECCG in all languages, that is: english, spanish (TW-WH), german (TW-AS), french (TW-LE), japanese (TW-DM), italian (TW), dutch (TW) and finnish (TW). Many years of still being among the collector´s community were guaranteed!
But after all I also finished this task (just a few months ago). The card that filled the final slot in my collection was a common: Friendship (japanese) – which was overlooked all those years. Another chapter closed, so what to collect next?
The first that came to my mind: a complete set of signed cards! Some time ago I already contacted many artists, and most of them them have been very friendly and I got my cards signed by them. Soon I had to find out, that a complete collection is a thing of impossibilty. Too bad …
But I found out something else: there are many cool items connected with MECCG. And the Gollum in me soon convinced me: we musssst have all of thissss preciousssesss …
Most of the stuff is commonly known, such as the different card boxes (english and german), all the player guides and rules books (for TW also in german, spanish and japanese). I should also mention the MERP books The Northern Waste and Hands of a Healer, which contains scenarios for MECCG, as well as A Long Expected Party.
Of course there are dice and maps in different variations. Then there are some still not very hard to find items like the german MP counter, the dutch card binders with artwork from John Howe or the hobbit tokens from the english beginner set. ICE also gave away pins with the images of all the avatars. The winner of US Nationals was awarded with a Council of Lorien coin (there are gold and silver ones existing). Lidless Eye T-shirts are very sought after nowadays. Hardly anyone knows, that there also exists a cap with the Lidless Eye (the proof is at my home ;-). I have heard about Burning Eye temporary tatooes. Maybe one of the biggest curiosities are the Warlord-backed MECCG cards. Of course a misprint mixture of two different CCGs, still giving the collector who owns a few big pleasure. Finally there are also playtesting cards with a blank front side.
And why not also collecting the jigsaw puzzles from ICE, since all 7 of them contain artwork from the CCG. And of course there is the promo jigsay Gandalf´s Mark!
Chasing after all of these items may take a very long time. And even if you think you have got them all, the collector is never spared the feeling, that there is still something out there. So it happened to me, that an american ex-player offered me some Lidless Eye stickers. In addition he sent me some postcard-sized advertising cards with images of the backs of our cards. Very nice indeed!!
One might think it´s difficult enough to collect all of these things. Actually there is MECCG folk out there, that even started to create their own stuff!! And I would never consider my collection completed without Mark Alfano´s pins or Mikko Vihtemaki´s stickers nor Nigel Buckle´s pendants, and all of what is still to come to make my collectors life a neverending story – which is exactly what I am looking for!
At the COE we have been thinking of making a compreehensive list of all the official items, that have something to do with MECCG. You will find it at the COE homepage. If any of you knows of something, that is mentioned in this article yet, please contact me at
In case the Gollum in many of you has just been awakened, the author of this article is not to be blamed of course.
Last edited by thorondor on Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by zarathustra »

Great article!

here's a couple other items you might want to add:

(1) Northern Waste expansion
(2) Long Expected Party expansion
(3) There are actually 2 different CoL coins: one gold in color, the other silver
(4) Jigsaw puzzles of card art (the map, Helm of Her Secrecy, Fast Asleep, Show Things Unbidden, An Unexpected Party [though with different art from the card])
(5) Burning Eye temporary tatoos
(6) Playtesting cards (site or burning eye back, blank front)
(7) Mikko's stickers
(8) My pins

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Post by thorondor »

thanks mark, i tried to put it in.
if there is still something missing, please just add it! i have to leave tomorrow for a few days (returning sunday evening), so i can´t make any changes till deadline.

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Post by Frodo »

Hello everyone,

The new deadline for the newsletter is extended until Sunday October 1st. This means it may only come out every other month.

I will post much more info tomorrow about article types, lengths, etc. and responses to people here.


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Post by Frodo »

Hello everyone! I am very happy to see so many articles floating around already, and such cool ideas! I only wish I had the time to commit to doing this every month, although perhaps in the beginning it's not so bad to have a newsletter every 2 months, considering some players still haven't read the first issue yet! In the next issue I am going to put out a call for an "Assistant Editor." I think Mark has been doing the work of an Assistant Editor at present (informally), but since Mark does so many things for this game I'd like to take that load off him and give it to someone interested in helping me manage this project. If you are interested, let me know!

I have posted the "Submission Guidelines" to the public newsletter forum, and also after this message. Please peruse them.

All writers: It's good to post drafts to this forum first to get feedback from other writers and readers--I'm glad we're doing this. After you finalize your articles, be sure to email me your articles DIRECTLY AS ATTACHMENTS. I prefer MS-Word format. Read the Submission Guidelines first! Also, note that not all articles will be accepted, especially Tournament Reports and Play of the Months--see the Submission Guidelines.

Charles: Your sealed deck article looks strong; after making adjustments, email it to me directly.

Brian M: Email me directly.
Mark: Email me all your articles directly. Question: Is it only council members who have access to this site? Ideally, I'd like any author or potential author who emails you to be given access to this forum so he/she can post drafts for commenting. Also, I suggest retitling these forums to "September Newsletter Article Drafts for Commenting", since this suggests the forum's purpose more clearly.
Manuel: Your "style points" FW article sounds GREAT!! I'd suggest coming up with a draft and posting it here for comments first.
Thorondor: 1) Your old Worlds Report got cut from the first issue because there were many writing errors in it--for some reason your spider article was much better edited. I thought your primary purpose was to send it to the listserve, not to write it for the newsletter (your email suggested that), so if I was mistaken, I apologize. Also, I thought you could cut some sections which moved more slowly than others. See my coments on Tournament Reports in Submission Guidelines. 2) Your new article on collecting sounds awesome! Please email it to me directly.
Miguel: I really like your Nordic Cup Report. Please email it to me directly (attachment).
Jambo: Can you email me your play of the month directly, and incorporate your comment about the Two Towers tie-in more directly into your introductory paragraph? You might consider adding even more specific references to the story tie-in as you detail the game's unfolding. If I get other Play of the Months, I can't guarrantee this one's acceptance, although so far I do like it.

That's it for now! Unless anyone can get me a copy of Adobe Indesign for Mac...


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Submission Guidelines

Post by Frodo »

Submission Guidelines for The Red Book of Westmarch
By Joe Bisz, Red Book Editor

The Red Book is always looking for more articles about MECCG or Tolkien. We try to fit articles into already existing columns, but we might create a column if you have a cool idea for a piece. These guidelines may change from issue to issue, so be sure to look them over before you send me something!

Submission is NOT a guarantee of publication, especially for Play of the Days or Tournament Reports. I may decline a submission for various reasons, including poor editing, length, or that I don’t want to cover your topic right now, perhaps because I have another related article. The newsletter is meant to highlight the most valuable of all writing on the game right now, not just to publish everything. But I encourage you to post your submission to the forums in the event that your piece is declined. If you want to write a long article only for the purposes of this newsletter, you should query me first (i.e., email me with an outline of the subject you have in mind).

All submissions, letters, and correspondence to The Red Book may be edited and published unless the piece says otherwise. We also welcome letters to the editor!

Follow these five steps.

1) Check your article carefully for missing words, unclear sentences, or even just boring writing. Edit, edit, edit! (Note: If you have been given access to the "Newsletter Contributions" private forums for authors, you might consider posting a draft of your article here to get feedback from people first.)
2) Look at my “Word Length Maximum” Chart below and try to match your article’s length somewhere between the maximum word count and 225 words less than this maximum. If you go over the maximum by a small amount of words (less than 225), I will cut words from your article to make it fit on a page. If you go over the maximum by a large amount of words (over 225), I will simply put it on an extra page.
3) Try to match your article to an existing column, and tell me the name of this Column in your submission cover letter (see “Columns, Public” below). If you are writing a Play of the Day or Tournament Report, see my comments on this below.
4) Save your article as a Microsoft Word format, if possible.
5) Email your article as an ATTACHMENT.

Because I am formatting these articles for a newsletter, I need to have word length maximums. Below I have listed a few word length maximums depending on the general length of the article you wish to write. I ask you to look at how long your article is at present, then shorten your article to fit the closest word length below. Do this by matching your article’s length somewhere between the maximum word count and 225 words less than this maximum. If you are really confused as to how to shorten your article, don’t worry about it; I will do it myself! Note: If you use a lot of “lists,” the article will take up more room than expected, so please make your submission a little shorter than the given word length.

3480 words for eight-column articles (4 newsletter pages)
1740 words for four-column articles (2 newsletter pages)
870 words for two-column articles (1 newsletter page)
450 words for single-column articles
610 words for “Fellowship” (and any cover article)

Please do not send me articles that much shorter than 450 words. I will not usually publish articles longer than 3480 words. Use endnotes, not footnotes! Section titles are highly recommended for articles more than two-columns long. I also strongly recommend using hyperlinks to refer to other webpages and documents you are talking about.

This column will feature musings on ethical questions involved when playing our great game.

Essays and discussions of Tolkien, including his books or his life. Discussions of MERP or ICE and how these things relate to MECCG are also welcome.

This takes a tough concept (like what can be played on-guard) and breaks it down nice and simple. Maybe we’ll all learn something!

This section would address newbie concerns and perhaps teach some basic element of the game.

Here we’ll publish one sample deck list, either “fun” or “tournament-level.”

Write an article on one of the many MECCG cards, as was happening on once upon a time before it dried up. Each review could come with a “usefulness” score if you like. The old Card of the Day archives on, I think, Trevor Stone’s page were a wonderful source of information.

Someone’s story of pulling a win from the jaws of death or, conversely, being utterly destroyed by your opponent in an amusing way! When submitting to this column, please indicate whether you would like your column illustrated by the card “Wit” (if your report has many good plays) or the card “Dragon’s Breath” (if your report mentions many mistakes that you made and you want to give it a more “humble” feeling).

Note: I usually receive a lot of these reports. I will only publish ONE. If yours is not selected, no hard feelings!

Great reports from players playing tournaments in the vast regions of our Middle-earth!

Note: I usually receive a lot of these reports. I will publish one or two at most. If yours is not selected, no hard feelings! (You will improve your chances of publication if you edit your report carefully to include only game moments that are particularly exciting, although of course you can build up to these moments. It also helps to have a brief introduction to where the tournament took place.)

This section would briefly talk about some advanced Meccg “tricks” that not everyone necessarily knows about, like being able to play Marvels Told in the untap phase. Or, the section could give pointers to combat certain deck types, like Mark’s article in Issue 1.

This special column will feature an experienced or master player making his or her observations on up-and-coming decks to fear, good hazard plays against certain deck types, etc. 8)

We welcome the “thoughts” of all players, and we hope that this column will show the personality and thinking process of the player writing it. The Red Book also recognizes the fact that there are some rather famous players in this game. Because we particularly wish to have the best players contributing to this column on an ongoing basis, we are offering, as an additional perk, a unique “image” to be assigned to some writers each time that writer writes this column. We wish we could assign everyone a unique image, but because we want the images to reflect characters who have looked into Palantirs or “seeing waters” or have some kind of “second sight,” we have only 11 images for this purpose at present, though we may develop more. Therefore, the editor will assign these images to the first players to submit to this column, at the editor’s discretion, if the editor believes that player will contribute regularly and that player’s is very experienced in the game. These images are avatar representations which will always be used for you when writing this column. You may select from the following list of titles/avatars:

1. Denethor’s Palantir
2. Aragorn’s Palantir
3. Frodo in the Mirror (reserved: Joe Bisz)
4. Gandalf the Wise
5. Pool of Pallando
6. Saruman’s Palantir (reserved: Mark Alfano)
7. Radagast in the Sky
8. Sauron's Palantir (reserved: Brian Min)
9. Elrond
10. Pippin’s Palantir
11. Galadriel

The image of “Align Palantir” will be used after the uniques have been assigned. On a side note, the editor is wondering if anyone knows who the character in the picture of Palantir of Minas Tirith, minion version, is supposed to be.

I’m looking for ideas on how to create this column. Basically, I’m hoping to perhaps host some ads here and maybe make some advertising money to be applied for Worlds prizes, site maintenance, etc. All ads would be about ONLY things relating to this card game, or anything Middle-earth or Tolkien-related at all, including figurines, collectibles, other strategy Tolkien games, etc. Our readers are very interested in where they can buy cool Tolkien stuff, and the cards too.

Write up your cool Meccg scenario or rules system into an article! Please playtest your scenarios before recommending them to the world, though.

We welcome your comments on the newsletter, good and bad!

In this section the Council of Elrond will bring the Middle-earth community up to speed with new and old developments. (This column is reserved for COE Members.)

Here we’ll publish the latest Council of Elrond Digest. (This column is reserved for the official MECCG rules rep, Chad Martin.)

(This column is reserved for Council of Elrond Members or for the Head of a certain project. It will ask for volunteers to work on particular game projects, or the Head of a particular project may report on that project and solicit volunteers. Projects might include Worlds Tournament preparations, Strategy Guides, GCCG program work, etc.)

Here we, the Council of Elrond, will list a bunch of practical projects and dream projects that will serve the MECCG game and openly ask any interested players to contact us to develop these projects. We have hundreds of players playing this game, right? Well surely we can get a few dozen to do stuff like work on GCCG program improvements, website stuff, Worlds tournament prep, Color Underdeeps Map, etc. (This column is reserved for COE Members.)

(This will be written by the Editor only.)

Home of Newsletter: The Council of Elrond Forums
(Go to, then the “Newsletter” link under “Public Stuff”)

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Post by zarathustra »


(1) I will send you all articles soon, after I edit them.

(2) This particular board is not viewable by the public. Only the boards under the 'public stuff' heading can be seen by everyone.

(3) I'll fiddle with the names so that it's clear what's what and who can see it.

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Post by zarathustra »

Counter Article to mine on Cheeze, by Jamie (attached is a version with full formatting):
Jambo wrote:What is Cheeze?

I was asked if I would provide a direct reply to Mark’s “What is Cheeze?” article since because I am a big proponent of UEPs it was thought I would have an opposing view. Having read over Mark’s article I’m not sure my view on Cheeze is necessarily that opposing, but what it may be instead is just a little less narrow in scope. Anyway, I thought I’d write this article off-the-cuff and see where I end up.

To begin with, I think each player out there probably has slightly differing views of what constitutes Cheeze and therefore there probably isn’t just one definition. Personally, I believe Cheeze is a style of play to which each player has a varying tendency towards. I’d argue that we could split the Cheeze aspect of someone’s play into resource Cheeze and hazard Cheeze, with some having a tendency towards the former, some the latter, and some ultimately towards both.

So, what makes a hazard / resource card or strategy Cheezy? For hazards I think it’s mainly due to certain non-unique cards that are easy to play and yet extremely powerful – these I’ll call the “no-brainer” type. Enter the staple no-brainers like River, Beorning Skin-Changers (vs. hero only) and Unabated in Malice. You can put these into any hazard deck without much thought and know they’ll cause most opponents hassle. You don’t need a combo, although combos can be quite devastating with these cards (e.g. Tidings of Bold Spies). You can play them readily (River and Skin-changers can be dumped even if they’re not going to do damage) and therefore they don’t clog the hand, which is major plus. The reason I haven’t included uniques is because of just that – they’re unique and therefore potentially unreliable.

For resources, cards that exploit loopholes (e.g. Sneakin’ and Paths of the Dead) or strategies that are known for giving high reward for little danger are generally more likely to be regarded as Cheezier than others. For example, the Balrog 3-mind rule and squatter decks like Pallando, Cirdan and Elves of Lindon, Fallen Radagast at Rhosgobel, Balrog with Orcs of Moria and Stinker and the minion Aiglos/Dragon-helm.

In terms of Mark’s “necessary and sufficient conditions” -

“A certain use of cards is cheezy if, and only if, it

(1) is non-thematic,
(2) is non-counterable,
(3) is not the intended use of card(s),
(4) probably would have been errata'd if ICE were still around, and
(5) can be used in a very powerful deck.”

I’d pretty much agree with 1, 3 and 5, sit on the fence with 4 and remain unconvinced with 2.

“Non-counterable” for me is too vague a statement. Many cards and plays in MECCG have varying levels of counterability - some are easily countered, some require very specific cards in very specific situations, and some counters are themselves extremely easy to counter! Simply stating “non-counterable” therefore isn’t sufficient. If a certain play has only one counter and the card in question is otherwise useless against any other deck type, then is it reasonable to even list it as a valid counter? I’ve seen a few hazard suggestions to tackle extremely strong decks, but they tend to be extremely specialised. Are we to head down the route of designing hazard portions that target specific deck types?

“Probably would have been errata’d if ICE were still around,” is a tough one because Cheeze is clearly a subjective issue. One man’s Cheeze is another man’s style. Is it just lazy, boring, or exploitative play, or is it playing strategies that are perceived to be overpowered or imbalanced, or is it a mix of the two? The reality is that we simply don’t know what ICE would have done if they were still around. There are so many new tricks and strategies, which have been honed and toned since ICE’s demise, that it’s almost impossible to judge one way or another. I guess the Balrog set is the only set of which we could make the judgement that ICE never had time to revisit, since ICE went boom pretty soon afterwards.

From a personal point of view, under the title of “what constitutes Cheeze?”, I’d also include another criterion in the conditions:

(6) is bad for the meta-game.

This is a subjective category and could be seen as the “lame” category for Cheeze and for that reason alone I imagine it will raise the most eyebrows with the readers. It’s also probably the biggest difference between Mark’s and my opinion on what constitutes Cheeze, as I actually label “lame” as Cheeze. So how does this additional category impact on the examples Mark included in his article:

1. Pallando and Cirdan with the Elves of Lindon.
2. Balrog’s ability to play 3-mind characters.
3. Hazard limit reducers.

1. Is Pallando with Cirdan and the Elves Cheezy? Well, based on Mark’s categories and reasoning it’s easy to see why it wouldn’t be considered so, however, throw in my extra category to the mix and all of a sudden it might be a bit more so. I reckon about 50% of hero decks I experience on GCCG use this combination nowadays. Why? Well let’s see - it gives you 2 extra cards in hand, it gives you 3 easy Character Points and almost certainly 2 easy Faction Points. Not only that but for a small trip out to Old Forest one can notch up 3 easy Ally Points. So, with relative ease and efficiency it covers 3 of the 4 essential MP groups. Is it able to be countered? According to Mark - relatively easily with Stormcrow and DoN – and he’s right, it can. However, these are two cards that are themselves extremely easy to counter and in hero vs hero Stormcrow is unlikely to make an appearance, and this brings me back to the grey area that is this “non-counterable” category. It’s too broad and sometimes counters labelled as valid for a certain strategy are just too easily countered themselves. In all the times I’ve played using this specific combo or observed it in action I’ve never seen this counter work. The squatting combo is extremely common, very powerful, hard to effectively counter and also dull to play against, which to me makes it fall under the “bad for the meta-game” category. So it’s not surprising some might view this as Cheezy play.

However I think it’s unfair to list just the Pallando/Cirdan combo. There is also the Balrog raising 3 Faction Points and 2 Ally Points all at the Moria haven and Fallen Radagast raising a number of easy Ally Points and the Girdle at Rhosgobel. Both do it with relative impunity and in fact it could be argued that these are actually bigger offenders of Cheeze - do we ever see Balrog without Stinker and the Orcs of Moria? It’s as predictable as they come. If ICE had remained afloat then I seriously believe they’d have designed one or more hazard cards to tackle excessive squatting.

2. Balrog’s ability to play 3-mind characters. Well, I’m in agreement with Mark here, so there’s no difference in opinion here. This also falls heavily under my additional category.

3. Hazard limit reducers. Again, I’m in agreement with Mark. There’s a wealth of counters to this strategy. Enter the hazard limit increasers, enter Twilight/DoN for heroes and corruption for minions. Bad for the meta-game? Not for me. Some like to play with big companies, some with small; the hazard limit reducing strategy doesn’t render playing other strategies any less good.

4. Cards tackled by UEPs. The main Cheezemongers here are Sneakin’ and the loophole in playing Army of the Dead without necessarily having to use the special movement through The Paths of the Dead.

The others listed by Mark tend to fall mainly under my category. River forces companies to be made up of rangers, and not just one ranger, usually many rangers. The threat of it is omnipotent and it’s just the fact the card exists that it causes company composition to be dominated by rangers, ad nauseum. It’s thematic only up to a point. After all, how many rangers do we need to negotiate the rivers of Middle-earth? Would the high Elves and Gandalf have had problems negotiating the rivers of Middle-earth?

Even myself, when I’m trying to be creative with the hazard portion with things like No Escape from My Magic, Enchanted Stream or Chance of Being Lost, I find the devil sitting on my shoulder constantly muttering “What’s the point? You know 3 Rivers is always a much better alternative.” And that’s just it, it’s the easy choice, the no-brainer. Much like Unabated in Malice, its ease of use and power affects people’s creativity in the hazard portion. When you tie that in with the other hazards that are deemed essential, it doesn’t leave much room for creativity in the hazard side. Every time I play on GCCG, and the Rivers and Unabated in Malices come out in force, I just think to myself “here we go again.”

I think it’s a shame that it tends to be just the resource section of tournament-winning decks that get posted for all to see. Much might be revealed on the meta-game as a whole if the hazard portions were also revealed! Maybe people should be encouraged more to reveal their entire deck list, hazards and sideboard included. An interesting survey might be to find out how many decks at tournaments don’t contain river by default, or actually contain interesting or novel hazard sides?

My only beef with the Elf-lord is that it can target minion companies leaving Minas Morgul on the first turn. Imagine Itangast could target any hero company leaving Rivendell? Is it logical that one of the most powerful creatures is actually one of the most playable? Thematically speaking how many times did Elf-lords reveal themselves in wrath? In effect, any minion player up against Elf lords and attempting a Minas Morgul based deck is relying heavily on the luck of the draw just to make it past turn one. The nerf proposed in the Elf lord UEP simply aimed to lessen the possibility of this first turn annihilation whilst not removing the threat completely.

In conclusion, why do I believe this other category is important in defining Cheeze? Well, I’d argue that being exposed to excessive Cheezy play can adversely affect people’s desire to play the game, particularly if it’s during casual play. We’re a smallish community with a stagnant card set. A healthy player base is therefore critical to the game’s continued survival. I am in agreement with Mark in that anything goes in serious tournament play. By going to a tournament one should be prepared for “malignant” cheeze in all its heinous guises. If you are a proponent of excessive Cheeze you certainly won’t win many style points however, and worse still you might find willing opponents for casual play become increasingly harder to come by…
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Last edited by zarathustra on Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Jambo »

Oops I think that should be No Escape from My Magic...?

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Post by zarathustra »

Got it.

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Post by thorondor »

Your old Worlds Report got cut from the first issue because there were many writing errors in it--for some reason your spider article was much better edited. I thought your primary purpose was to send it to the listserve, not to write it for the newsletter (your email suggested that), so if I was mistaken, I apologize.
@joe: since i almost missed the deadline, i have been writing this till 4 in the morning. naturally there were amny writing errors ;-)
but i would really like to ask for someone, to have a look at my articles and correct them. i am not a native speaker, so there will always be many mistakes. while i personally have no problem with this, it might be annoying for some readers.
is there anybody out there who would be willing to correct articles of not-native speakers?? it´s not that much work, isn´t it??

@mark: so you do the quiz thing this time, right? what about prizes? i´d be willing to donate some signed cards (which is ideal, because shipping costs will be very low).
so we could make it like this:
there is a list of (lets say) 20 prizes (no reason not to make this list public). there will be a sort of quiz in every issue of the newsletter with one prize, that is announced with it (chosen randomly before).

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Post by zarathustra »

@Wolfgang: sounds great. How about this: if the winner is in North America, I will send a prize; if the winner is in Europe, you will send?

I can also edit stuff, which I've already been doing for the things I submitted as quotes on here.

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Post by thorondor »

@joe: when do you think will the next issue of the newsletter be ready?

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Post by Frodo »

The new deadline for new issue: Saturday 10/28, sometime at night. Please email submissions to me by then.

Sorry for the delay--I really need an assistant.


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Post by zarathustra »

Article on Japanese Cards by Steven Dajic:
The Japanese Middle Earth Community, Japanese Cards, Promos and Secrets of their Gathering

By Steven Dajic

Hello to everyone out there. I shall be writing about the cards that were released in Japanese for Middle Earth: The Collectable Card Game and how it is possible to obtain them as I am sure many of the collectors out there are wanting to know. First of all I would like to explain about how the Japanese sets came into being. This may help those of you out there who don't exactly know much about the Japanese sets. It started shortly after ME:CCG’s English version was printed. I doubt they were simultaneously released as I looked at one of my unlimited starter deck boxes and found the copyright date to be 1997. Thus I would guess that the limited Japanese version of ME:CCG The Wizards came out in 1996 in Japan. The distribution rights were given to the company Yanoman which it seems from stories of friends of mine here in Japan, was quite active in prize support and promotion for the game. They would often at tournaments give out T-Shirts and the like. Yet, the prized promo cards (I’m sure you all know but I will list them anyways) Fury of the Iron Crown, The Iron Crown, Neeker-Breekers, Fatty Bolger and The Black Arrow, were not given out as prize support. As written on the Japanese version of Fatty Bolger could be obtained by purchasing the Japanese ME:CCG Players guide, The Iron Crown and Neeker-Breekers could be obtained by sending in 10 site or region cards to Yanoman and specifying which one you wanted, Black-Arrow was attainable through a promotion involving Middle Earth figurines. Unfortunately I do not know much more than this on the topic so I hope that this will do for all of you for now. Oh yes, there is the matter of if it is still possible to attain these Japanese promos nowadays. And that question leads me to my next topic: Yanoman and the sets of Middle Earth that were printed in Japanese.
In total, there are only three sets of Middle Earth that were printed in Japanese: The Wizards, Dragons, and Dark-Minions. This is partly because of the late release in Japan and because of financial reasons. Yanoman had financial problems and filed for bankruptcy a little time after Dark Minions came out in Japan (my guess is 1999 but shortly before I.C.E. filed for bankruptcy). So how does this tie in with the promos? I would like to say because there were many people who played Middle Earth in Japan there are a lot of the promos and cards still floating around. However that is not the case. The game did not take off very well as the CCG industry is quite competitive. Therefore the amount of promo cards that were distributed was very low. I was in Japan once before in 2002-2003 and at that time the number of Middle Earth players and collectors in Eastern Japan was, as far as we knew, a grand total of 9 people including myself. Since then everyone who is left that plays the game is either in their late 20s or early 30s and is too busy, has no time and cannot arrange a day in which everyone or anyone can meet on. That includes me as well (my last Middle Earth game I have played in Japan was in March). As well, I would like to note that the held every year Japan Nationals was not held last year nor will it probably not be held this year due to this phenomenom.
I am sure most or all collectors out there are aware of the extreme rarity of Japanese Fury of the Iron Crown(and now we know why). I myself have seen them in person as one of the players I used to meet and play with back in 2002/2003 had a fair number of them (as well as Iron Crowns, Neeker-Breekers, etc. By the way this collecter/player was not Akira Komachi). Therefore the only way to complete a set of Japanese promos is to get in contact with these Japanese players/collectors who have these cards or make ridiculous trades with someone you know who has one. I am aware that Akira Komachi has often helped many collectors complete their sets but I do not know his present status as I have not been in contact with him for well over a year. I, for the last 6-7 months have contacted one of players I know numerous times but have failed to make any sort of arrangement for gaming or meeting. Having said that, I am sure that things wont stay like this forever. However, concerning the promo cards, all I can say is hold on tight for now. When I am able to make contact with the Japanese players and collectors again, I will be sure to let you all know! Now that I am done explaining about the promos I would like to go on to explain about the sets of Middle Earth that were released in Japan.
Going back to when I was in Japanin 2002/2003, I by accident stumbled upon....not a ring but a stash of Japanese middle earth and in of all places: a department store. They were selling booster packs of the three sets: Wizards (unlimited only), Dragons and Dark minions for 100 yen per booster (That is approximately .85 USD, .67 EUR, .45 GBP and .95 CDN). I told my Japanese friends about this and they were so surprised and enthralled to hear about this one of them went to all of the company's department stores in the Greater Tokyo Area and bought out most of the middle earth he could find (Apparently, the Japanese middle earth community couldn't find Japanese middle earth for quite some time up until my discovery). Since then, it has been very difficult to find middle earth in anywhere in the Greater Tokyo Area. However, recently I searched for Japanese middle earth through Japanese websites on the internet. The only thing I was able to find after an exhaustive search was on Yahoo Auctions Japan there are two stores in western Japan that sell Japanese unlimited Wizards, Dragons and Dark Minions booster boxes, and for quite cheap. I myself was able to buy a box of Japanese unlimited wizards and dark minions for a combined price of 5000 yen (approximately 42 USD, 33 EUR, 22 GBP and 47 CDN). One of the stores does carry limited Japanese booster boxes and starters displays but the prices are insanely high usually having a reserve set around 25,000 yen (approximately 211 USD, 167 EUR, 113 GBP and 237 CDN). For those of you who are reading this and are thinking “great! I can finally get Japanese cards!”, I have to give you some bad news. Even though you may be able to buy Japanese middle earth from Yahoo Auctions Japan, all of the sellers only ship within Japan. Also the site is only in Japanese with no translations into other languages. I know that is the last thing many of you wanted to hear but there is not much else I can say. Except that I am willing to help those of you out who are in great need of finishing off your Japanese sets of Middle Earth(so long you don’t need promos or fixed cards!). Please send me an email to the email address at the end of the article and I will tell you how you can obtain Japanese cards from Yahoo Auctions (as it would be quite troublesome to post the explanation here).
I hope I was able shed a little light on the Japanese sets of Middle Earth and the conditions of acquiring Japanese cards for those who live within Japan and outside of Japan. And I apologize if I dashed the hopes of some of you out there. All I can say to those of you looking for limited edition Japanese The Wizards, promo cards or those of you who are trying to finish off your Japanese sets, until the Japanese middle earth community becomes active and functions regularly once again there may be many turns and doublings in your pursuits. Until then I will keep you all posted!

Contact info:

Steven Dajic


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