Alternate Art: Nouveau Hunters

Art Nouveau was a style of art, architecture, and crafts which came into prominence in the late 19th century. Even today, more than a century later, Alphonse Mucha is associated with the Art Nouveau. Unlike many artists from earlier movements, his style was commercially accepted. In fact, much of his work is from advertisements for various products.

Social media, with its false promise of “free”, has ushered in Big Brother-style “advertisements” where our online profile is exchanged as a kind of pseudo currency. It may be anachronistic, but when I look at Mucha’s gorgeous illustrations with their curving lines and immaculate composition, I feel nostalgic for a time when advertisements were simpler. I beg pardon, dear readers, for no one is here to read the confused mutterings of a grizzled bear. This deck proudly features art by Alphonse Mucha, and I hope that you enjoy the theme and style as much as I do.

As with all of my decks, you can find the deck list on RingsDB. A word of warning, for those who want to try out this deck: it is not intended for solo play. Alphonse Mucha almost exclusively chose women as the subjects of his art, and his subject matter stayed far away from martial combat. On the contrary, the organic lines of Art Nouveau harken to the Eldar of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Beatific beings, surrounded by finely wrought items of exquisite taste. Naturally, I wanted this list to fit his style as much as possible, so this is decidedly not a combat deck.

While combat might not be its bailiwick, this deck is a powerhouse when it comes to the quest phase. Worst case scenario, it can quest for 8 on the first turn, 12 if you are blessed with Galadriel’s ring in your opening hand. Other than Unexpected Courage (intended to be played across the table on ranged or sentinel heroes), every attachment included is aimed at boosting this deck’s ability to quest. I’ve continued with my recent fascination of Three Hunters decks, so we again feature that contract.

Frankly, this deck does not need allies to perform its role. Flipping the contract to the B-side should be relatively easy in a mono-sphere deck with card draw effects aplenty. Once flipped, your heroes alone should approach 20 willpower without breaking a sweat. As with any respectable support deck, it features plenty of cancelation and threat reduction. The goal is to lower the threat of the more aggressive combat decks and use A Test of Will to avoid the worst treacheries. The fact that we get healing on the B-side of the contract is a nice bonus, especially when direct damage is one of the remaining weakness for most mono-Spirit decks.

As with any Three Hunters decks, the discount for the A-side of the contract will often leave you with extra resources to spare. In the early rounds, we’re not so much concerned with which restricted attachments our heroes receive, so distributing the less expensive attachments to quickly flip the contract is often the best plan. This strategy inevitable leaves us with extra resources by the middle game and is only compounded by the fact that we are mono-Sphere and Arwen transforms duplicate cards into extra resources. Have no fear, there are several late-game plans for these riches.

In multiplayer games with heavy combat, Shadows Give Way can turn an otherwise tense round into a leisurely walk in the park. Likewise, Light the Beacons will transform another player’s Beregond or (my favorite) Grimbeorn the Old into an invincible blocking machine. Depending on the quest, and the strengths of your partners’ decks, keep these late game bombs in mind as you play how to spend your resources. Finally, Arwen can donate to an Aragorn on the board, or any esteemed Noldor like Elrond and Erestor, who quite often show up in multiplayer games.

As I stated at the top, combat is not in any way the focus of this deck, but some quests have forced engagement effects so you nevertheless may need to deal with enemies from time to time. In a pinch, Lords of the Eldar empowers Arwen as a serviceable defender. Éowyn with Herugrim and Snowmane becomes an impressive attacker, especially once the contract has flipped. Ultimately, the goal is to survive, focus on our support role, and let the combat-focused decks do the dirty work.

Reach out and contact The Hall if you would like printable copies of this deck. I hope that you enjoy the inimitable Art Nouveau style of Alphonse Mucha. If you have any suggestions for artists to feature in future alternate art decks, please leave them in the comments below. Happy travels in Middle-earth!

Attachments

Events

Player Side Quests

Posted in Alternate-Art, Deck Lists, Fun, Mono-Sphere, Multiplayer, Strategy, Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Custom Cards: Filling in the Gaps

One of the biggest challenges with making thematic decks is that some characters are only available in hero form. Even with the new Bond of Friendship contract, there are four hero spots in your deck. This makes it almost impossible to create certain thematic decks (e.g. 9 Walkers of the Fellowship, or the 14 members of Quest for Erebor) without resorting to multiple decks.

With the release of The Fortress of Nurn, the game has come to a hiatus. Unfortunately, many of the hoped for unique allies were not included in the final cycle. This means the characters like Aragorn, Balin, Théoden, and Frodo can only be included in a deck as heroes. With that in mind, I’ve designed custom cards for many of these characters, along with alternate versions of a few members of the Fellowship which did receive ally versions. None of these cards are official, but I like to think that they fit within the themes and mechanics of the official cards.

I hope that you enjoy these custom cards. If you have your own ideas for how you would like to see these characters portrayed as allies, feel free to leave them in the comments. Happy adventures in Middle-earth!

Posted in Art, Card Lists, Custom Cards, Game Variant, Metagame, Saga, The Hobbit, Theme, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Contest Winners: Carry on the Story

Last month, I started a contest to give away a set full art cards for The Mines of Moria and Escape from Khazad-dûm. The deadline has passed and I want to thank each and everyone who shared their favorite moments. I was happy to see that some of the moments were from conventions or other community events. It brings especial joy when you read a story and realize half way through that you witnessed at least part of that story first hand.

Without further ado, here are the winners of the Carry on the Story contest:

The Mines of Moria Preorder Promotion Full Art Cards have been won by Marc Lommert!

The Escape from Khazad-dûm Preorder Promotion Full Art Cards have been won by Zyg Jarczyk!

I have used the email addresses associated with your WordPress users to contact the winners. Obviously the speed of shipping will depend greatly on where in the world the winners are located, by my hope is to these shipped and on their way soon. Unfortunately, I do not have access to Eagles to delivery these prizes, so I am reliant on mortal logistics which are feeling the strain of the pandemic.

I have posted the stories submitted by the winners below, but I encourage everyone to go back to the original contest and check out all of the submissions. Thanks again to everyone who entered and don’t be discouraged if you didn’t win – I will be holding more contests in the future!

Marc Lommert’s favorite moment:

The highlights are simply too many. Playing Dream Chaser with 4 players was awesome. I loved playing a different angle in Ians First Age. Completing the Saga felt great, but so did beating Epic Multiplayer Dol Goldur PoD. I fear I just cannot pick a favorite quest, but I CAN pick a specific favorite moment. My Mulligan at The Watcher in the Water Solo.

Playing Secrecy Silvans with my this Deck (https://ringsdb.com/deck/view/208254) I managed to get this Mulligan:
– 1x Steward
– 1x Resourceful
– 2x Timely Aid
– 1x Light of Valinor
– 1x O’Lorien
– 1x A Very Good Tale

Played Steward at Denethor and Resourceful at Bifur. 2x Timely Aid brought me Legolas and Galadhrim Minstrel (which gave me Tree People). Played Light of Valinor on Glorfindel and attached O’Lorien to Denethor (although IMHO it should read “attach to a Silvan Hero”, but okay). I used A Very Good Tale to exhaust Legolas and the Minstrel to add Silvan Tracker and Galion to my Area. Then I took back the Minstrel with Tree People and there came Henamarth Riversong, which showed me there came a second location besides Stagnant Creek, so no combat at all the first round. Used O’Lorien to play the Minstrel again, with gave me second Very Good Tale. Exhausted Silvan Tracker and the Minstrel to grab Galadhrim Weaver and Greenwood defender.

Needless to say the first round was a peace of cake, and on top of everything my card draw for the second round was King Under the Mountain. Took me a few rounds to get the Song of Battle, but to be honest: the watcher didn’t stand a change…

Zyg Jarczyk’s favorite moment:

Well, with my on and off again play, I enjoy playing a quest for the first time, and not knowing what is coming. I try to not look at any spoilers and just enjoy the beating that is coming my way. Conflict at the Carrock.

Posted in Community, Contest, Contest Winner, Discussion, Full Art Preorder Promotion, Fun, Thanks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alternate Art: Nightmare in the Fog

Last month, I had the privilege to write a quest review for Nightmare Conflict at the Carrock over on the Vision of Palantir. It had been a few since I played that quest, and as part of researching the article I built a new deck specifically for the article. The deck list didn’t fit in the article, so I’ve decided to post it here with alternate art cards. As always, you can find the full deck list on RingsDB. If you are interesting printing these alternate art cards for yourself, please contact the hall.

The deck is designed to be thematic, which means that it does sacrifice some power for a more narrative approach. Still, with a good start it can become quite powerful. In particular, Gwaihir with Support of the Eagles attached should be able to join Beorn in slaying many troublesome trolls. Messenger of the King doesn’t provide much benefit with Gwaihir, but the extra 3 threat from the hero version would have pushed the starting threat too high for comfort.

Also, the ally version of Gwaihir still readies as normal at the end of the refresh phase. This makes the deck less likely to stall in the middle game if it doesn’t draw enough eagle allies. For those who insist on power decks and are less interested in the theme, feel from swap out Gwaihir for Tactics Eowyn. Beyond the hero lineup, this is a relatively straight-forward eagle deck.

One advantage of the hero lineup is that Radagast and Gwaihir allow us to use Gwaihir’s Debt on turn one. This event allows us to drop Gandalf or Descendant of Thorondor into play during any action window, which is quite powerful. Unlike events like Sneak Attack, the ally stays in play until the end of the round.

One of my favorite combinations in this deck takes advantage of this detail. If you choose to put Gandalf into play with Gwaihir’s Debt, he will return to you hand at the end of the refresh phase. All characters ready at the beginning of the refresh phase, which means that Gandalf will be ready before he returns to your hand. It just so happens that there is a player action window in the middle of the refresh phase. This means that you can exhaust Gandalf to help pay for Word of Command, right before he returns to your hand.

Word of Command is the most powerful kind of card draw: full deck search. It’s perfect for fetching whatever is missing from your setup: Radagast’s Staff, Eagles of the Misty Mountains, or the aforementioned Support of the Eagles. Radagast’s Staff is especially critical for this deck, as it reduce the cost of the expensive Eagle allies which are the bulk of this deck. In the late game, once your army of Eagle allies is fielded, the staff can be used to ready a copy of Eagles of Misty Mountains, no mean feat when they can easily grow to monstrous size.

I hope you enjoy the deck, and the alternate art cards that accompany it. May your quests in Middle-earth, Nightmare and otherwise, end in victory.

Allies

Attachments

Events

Sideboard

Posted in Alternate-Art, Community, Deck Lists, Fun, Playtesting, Strategy, Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contest: Carry on the Story

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
– Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

As deliveries of  The Mines of Moria and Escape from Khazad-dûm arrived this week, many players were dismayed to find that the promotional art cards they ordered were missing. I am fortunate to have a copy of each of these sets of promotional cards and I want to use this opportunity to give back to community. The Hall of Beorn is pleased to announce a contest so that two lucky readers can win these promotional cards.

The rules of the contest are simple. Submit a comment below with your favorite story related to the game. It can be a description of an epic game moment, an anecdote from a convention, or even a link to a RingsDB deck with an explanation for why you enjoy playing it. Anything that relates to your experience with the game is encouraged. Feel free to leave multiple comments, just know that each person only receives one entry in the contest.

A month from today, I will draw two names based on everyone who has commented. One person will win The Mines of Moria promotional art cards, and another will win the promotional art cards for Escape from Khazad-dûm. The Hall of Beorn will cover shipping anywhere in the world. Sadly, with the logistics logjam caused by Covid-19, Eagle delivery is not currently available so I make no promises about how quickly your cards will arrive.

The game has brought me countless moments of joy over the years, and I want players to share their experiences. On of the pillars of this game is an excellent and welcoming community. The game may be officially going on hiatus with the completion of the current cycle, but the game will continue unabated for the players. Solo games, especially, live as long as their players find enjoyment in them.

I look forward to reading everyone’s stories and I am happy to be able to give back to the community. Good luck!

Posted in Community, Contest, Fellowship Event, Story, Thanks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Vision of the Palantir: Nightmare Conflict at the Carrock

Durin’s Father gave me the opportunity to write a narrative-based review of Nightmare Conflict at the Carrock, over on Vision of the Palantir. For anyone who likes brave tales of bears and eagles and wizards, or who just wants a deep dive into the strategies of defeating that quest, I encourage you to check it out!

Posted in Community, Key Concepts, Multiplayer, Nightmare Mode, Stories, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isolation and Tribalism

Isolation is a bitter pill. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it is becoming clear that I will look back on my life before the outbreak of Covid-19 as one belonging to someone else. Essentially every one of my daily routines has been disrupted. Where before I would meet with the Austin LotR Group every Thursday, we have struggled to keep the group alive through OCTGN. It’s nice to have software to help maintain some kind of contact, but it’s not the same as face-to-face interactions around a table and playing the game with actual, physical cards. This shift from tangible to virtual environments has come to pervade life so totally it is sometimes overwhelming. Whether it was chatting with coworkers in the break room, social board games, or playing in my basketball league, everything in life has changed.

I’m grateful for my health and the health and safety of my loved ones, but the quarantine can still be draining. It’s nice to have the community as a sounding board, or somewhere to go when I need a break from every day responsibilities which have continued unabated. This is all a long-winged way of saying that it’s nice to see everyone coming together to support each other. The support of a vibrant community becomes all the more important in light of an event like the death of George Floyd.

In polite circles, speaking about “politics” or controversial subjects is considered gauche. In the case of systemic racism, “polite circles” are part of the problem; ignoring injustice to others does not make it go away. The fact that we have let human rights become a forum for political signaling is abhorrent and should make us question our priorities and fundamental assumptions.

For those who only read this blog for the (infrequent) rambling about card games, I invite you to check out my previous articles. Better still, check out the work of my more prolific and better qualified compatriots. What follows is me attempting to collect and synthesize my thoughts about the last few months. I cannot promise that it will be coherent, but I shall endeavor to find some meaning in all of this upheaval.

For those who are still with me, thanks for joining a weary traveler on the road. I’ve expressed my thoughts about racism in the past. It remains a point of bitter-sweet irony to me that my highest rated deck on RingsDB is a satirical commentary on the antagonistic immigration policy of the current US administration. It boggles the mind to think that the last year has been so over the top that stories about families being split apart on the US border and stuck in camps has now fallen off of the news radar. Our collective distractibility is understandable, when every day brings a story more shocking than the day before.

All well and good, but “what does immigration have to do with George Floyd?”, you might ask. The systematic mistreatment of Latino immigrants is much more closely related to the tragedy of George Floyd’s death than many would imagine. Tribalism is how society formed to begin with. The first city ever founded was undoubtedly a group of related people who wanted to stay in one place for mutual protection. This made all kinds of sense, when we were discovering fire and using pointed sticks to keep the wolves away.

Culture and nationalism are fickle. One minute, they give us strategies to survive and prosper, the next they give us a reason to hate and mistrust. Tribalism can even be the seeds of our self destruction. In the name of pride and a flag, we send each other off to fight unjust wars against enemies with which we have no quarrel. Few people have the strength of character to question the gravity of the culture in which they have lived, to see through the rhetoric and realize that their leaders are just as flawed (often more-so) than themselves.

Human nature is sadly one of habit and inertia. A strategy which works well for a time quickly becomes engrained. These engrained strategies, or traditions, live on long after they are no longer relevant. Traditions, like the buildings which birthed them, crumble into ruin. Sadly, it is easier for us to see in these physical edifices the relics of an earlier age. We are surrounded by anachronisms which, while at times posses beauty to inspire us, should not dictate our future. More often than not, the buildings of our “civilization” are built on the bones and blood of innocents.

For some reason, we lack this same insight into our culture. Abstract concepts are always more subtle, and there is a latency in our collective ability to transcend our past. Moreover, a simple desire to evolve a culture is not sufficient. Every society includes a subset – often the older statesmen – which appoints themselves the defenders of the old ways. When this involves keeping a language or art form alive, it is a healthy instinct and brings enrichment to a people. When this devolves into using violence or coercion against the vanguard of a new way of being, it is often the sign of a corrupt and decadent culture.

Where they prevent us from deepening our understanding of ourselves and others traditions are a trap. A siren song, they would lure us to smash ourselves against the rocks of barbarism. As beings of consciousness and conscience we are commissioned to overcome our base nature, to find a better way of being. Compassion is not easy, especially where our cultural baggage gives us ample excuses for mistrust and resentment.

At its worst, this cultural damage is carcinogenic. It festers in us, short-circuiting our ability to see others outside of our tribe as worthy of compassion. Power-hungry leaders might even foster these tendencies. It is easier to control a populace when you can give them a common enemy to hate. This is a cynical strategy employed by countless despots throughout history. Once a people no longer sees their enemies as human, all manner of atrocities become not only possible, but inevitable.

This is where, after many winding and turnings, the conversation comes back to George Floyd. The history of the African people in America is horrific. Slavery was an institution so base, it inculcated in generations of Americans that an entire group of people were less than human. Our culture made it normal, even moral, to treat other human beings as no better than animals. This kind of cultural damage is deep, and pervasive. It is not something which goes away in a generation, particularly when some refuse to admit that the damage is there to begin with.

Slavery was one of the many issues holding primacy over the American Civil War. The end of war did not magically heal this cultural damage. One would assume that something called “The Emancipation Proclamation” would bring freedom. The longer the name, the more it hides the truth. Abraham Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. The right of African Americans to vote was not constitutionally protected until the 15th Amendment in 1870, but organizations like the Ku Klux Klan intimidated and violently attacked African American voters. Next, a wave of oppressive laws (“Jim Crow” laws) were enacted in response to this amendment, to systematically disenfranchise African Americans.

As an aside, the fact that it took 15 edits to our founding document to mostly answer the question of “are all people really equal?” should be a reminder of our fallibility. Each generation implicitly believes that it is the height of human civilization. Even in the rare cases where a society has achieved noteworthy progress, we will inevitably be looked back on by future generations as naive savages, stumbling in the darkness of our own ignorance. To be human is to be flawed, we can only hope to be better than those who came before us. Often true progress must be passed on for several generations before it pervades and shapes a society.

It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s when African Americans were able to fully exercise their rights as American citizens. That’s 100 years after they were “freed” in the Emancipation Proclamation! Predictably, there remain groups fighting tooth and nail against what they perceive as a threat to the “American Tradition”. This tradition is a tradition of bigotry, of rationalizing the treatment of other humans as things to be bought and sold. This tradition, and all traditions of dehumanization must be allowed to die out and crumble into the dust of history.

The dangerous thing about culture is that it is invisible and unconscious. The officer who held his knee against George Floyd’s neck was not thinking about the Emancipation Proclamation. He wasn’t thinking about Jim Crow laws, or the Civil Rights movement. He wasn’t thinking about the hundred plus years – after the end of the Civil War – that African Americans had to fight just to be treated as human beings.

From his actions, it is clear that the officer felt entitled to treat the person in his custody differently. Once we categorize the “other”, we can rationalize all nature of atrocity as “normal” or “standard operating procedure”. It is easy to demonize the officer, and indeed his actions were atrocious. But the protests sweeping across the United States right now are not only about the actions of a few police officers in one city.

These protests, and the anguish and outrage which drives them, are a desperate cry of “enough!”. Enough with a system which repeatably undermines one groups right to be treated with the same dignity, respect, decency, and compassion which is due to all human beings. History does not progress in one smooth line. Like nature – with its punctuated equilibrium – history changes in fits and starts and huge seismic moments of upheaval.

The World Wars, the Cold War, the invention of the internet, these events all mold and shape our history. Even today I can trace the echoes of World War 2 and America’s ill-conceived conflict in Vietnam in the history of my own family. With Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, history has reached another inflection point. We must not stumble in taking this opportunity to shape a more just society.

We have an opportunity to transcend our base nature, to reach out a hand of compassion and shed the anachronistic tribalism which has burdened our culture and turned us against each other. We can seize this moment and prove that we have the emotional maturity to reject the traditions which no longer serve a purpose. In their place, we can craft new traditions, of inclusion, and compassion, and mutual respect for all peoples. I sincerely hope that we take this opportunity and make history for the better.

Below I’ve included an image which has profoundly affected me. I encourage everyone to read through this list and imagine these as the last words of your loved ones, your brothers and sisters. This is the kind of compassion we need to understand and support the protestors and help them fight for a better future. We all deserve to live in a world freed from the isolation of tribalism, to reach towards each other with love and understanding.

Posted in Community, Opinion, Tribute | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Alternate Art: Grimbeorn’s Path

For a while now I’ve wanted to create a saga deck with the latest card pool and play through all of the quests in a full campaign. It should come as no surprise that I wanted to build a deck around Grimbeorn the Old. I’ve also been greatly enjoying the player contracts introduced this latest cycle and deluxe, so I decided to build a Forth, The Three Hunters campaign deck around Grimbeorn the Old. This combination of design decisions proved fortuitous, as Grimbeorn is a hero who greatly benefits from an attachment-heavy strategy in general, and restricted attachments in particular.

While the goal was for the deck to be viable throughout the saga quests, this is not to say that I used the exact same deck list for every quest. Indeed, the deck features a full sideboard of fifteen cards, some of which proved invaluable for specific situations. The idea is to craft en engine which is consistently handles the various challenges presented in the saga campaign with minimal re-tooling between scenarios. At most, I substituted four or five cards for a given quest, and most of the early quests required no changes whatsoever. You can find the complete deck list on RingsDB, along with an outline of some quest specific strategies.

As as way of enhancing the game experience, I’ve made of point of finding alternate art for my favorite and oft-used decks. A deck which would be played for every saga quests certainly feels worthy of alternate art treatment. The Hobbit was first published in 1937, and The Lord of the Rings saw publication between 1954 and 1955. It wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that Tolkien’s works fully entered mainstream consciousness, but there are a few artists who have been crafting paintings and drawings inspired by Tolkien’s legendarium for over 30 years.

One such artist is the great Alan Lee. Lee’s Tolkien-themed works are so ubiquitous, that many are probably not aware of just how influential his visual style is the helping people conceptualize the world of Middle-earth. Among others, Alan Lee has pained the covers of The Hobbit, The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin. That list only scratches the surface of his various contributions, but suffice it to say that Alan Lee is a giant in the world of Tolkien art.

With that in mind, I went ahead and designed my saga deck so as to highlight the beautiful work of the inimitable Alan Lee. I wasn’t able to find appropriate hero art, so those images were created by other artists, but every other card in deck features art by Mr. Lee. Contact the hall if you are interested in printable images, or you have spare mead or honey-cakes in desperate need of tasting. I hope that you enjoy the deck and the beautiful art, and I wish you all many happy adventures in the wondrous realms of Middle-earth!

 

Attachments

Events

Posted in Aggro, Alternate-Art, Art, Beornings, Community, Deck Lists, Grimbeorn's Path, Key Concepts, Saga, Solo, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Community News: LotR Dutch Blogger

One of the interesting outcomes from self-quarantine is that many tabletop gamers have discovered, or re-discovered solo games. The Lords of the Rings: The Card Game remains one of the best solo games, with hours upon on hours of compelling content to distract us for a while from the pandemic. If online forums are any indication, the visibility and popularity of this game has seen a recent surge with players constrained to solo games and games that they can play with their housemates.

Just like Tolkien’s writing, this game has international appeal. Players hail from all over the globe, including community content in numerous languages. While the circumstances prevent us from meeting face-to-face and showing our solidarity, the community continues to support one another virtually. With that in mind, I wanted to mention a new Dutch-language blog for the game, supporting the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg) region. It is called LotR Dutch Blogger and they have started a quest analysis of the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. As I mentioned, the blog is in Dutch, but Google Translate does a decent job so that non-native speakers can still glean useful insights from their work. I encourage readers to checkout out their site and show your support! For more content from Dutch contributors, I also recommend Durin’s Father and his (English Language) site Vision of the Palantir.

Even in the best of times, this game has served as much needed respite from a hectic life. Up until recently, my local Austin LotR LCG Group was my weekly opportunity to disconnect from the digital world and share in-personal experiences with friends and new players alike. Now, more than ever, we face uncertain and trying circumstances and having a supportive community is of vital importance. On discord there is even has a Covid-19 channel for folks to share their thoughts and photos, and is a consistent source of encouragement for us here at the Hall as we try to avoid going stir-crazy.

Ordinarily, the delay in content of the game would be front-and-center in everyone’s mind, but with a global pandemic raging, it puts a few month delay into perspective. It is inspiring to see this community come together and support each other, in whatever way we can. I continue to be impressed by the hospitality and compassion exhibited. Stay safe everyone, and enjoy your adventures in Middle-earth.

Posted in Community, International, News, Solo, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nightmare Escape from Umbar

Editors Note: This is a Custom Nightmare version of Escape from Umbar, designed and created by KaiserWilly. He is a friend of the Hall who started playing in 2017. He was the runner-up in the competitve tournament at Con of the Rings 2019, so he knows a thing or two about designing difficult encounter decks.

First, I want to acknowledge what makes Escape From Umbar one of my favorite quests. It has a great theme and that is backed up by unique mechanics.  It doesn’t hurt that it is an easy quest to setup, with a short playtime and presents a straight forward challenge. There’s no big boss or victory display requirements, just a mad rush to escape the city. It tests players right out of the gate with questing demands and engaged enemies.

But what sticks out to me the most is the choices it offers players. Choosing between giving up progress to soften a blow to your board state feels like a meaningful, impactful decision and it puts you in the mind set of someone thinking fast while they race from the authorities.

This quest’s only downside is that it’s too easy! As FFG doesn’t seem to be continuing Nightmare development, I needed to take matter into my own hands.

My philosophy was to take everything that made this quest great and amp it up to 11. More choices between punishment and progress removal. More urgency to escape. More reasons to fear the Umbar Sentry!

The new end-of-turn rule on the nightmare card should be your first indication that spending hard-earned quest progress will constantly put players between a rock and a hard place. The decisions players are required to make about if and when to spend quest progress should make this scenario intense from start to finish. And don’t worry, that Southron Champion is still hanging around, waiting to wreck your day.

I hope the community enjoys returning to Umbar, please share your experiences on discord @Kaiserwilly. Below are printable versions of this Nightmare Mode quest. Feel free to contact the hall if you have any questions, and thanks to KaiserWilly for designing this excellent version of one of the game’s best scenarios.

NM Escape From Umbar

Setup

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries

Posted in Community, Custom Cards, Game Variant, Nightmare Mode, Playtesting, Tolkien | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments