Beorn’s Path: Part 9 – Conflict at the Carrock

lotrlcg-carrock-boxMy apologies for the long wait since we last traveled Beorn’s Path. In this installment we find ourselves in a Conflict at the Carrock. Now the Carrock is not just a rock to me, it is part of my home and I take it very seriously when Trolls think that they can just wander into my backyard and start running amok.

Before we deal with the troll problem, we first need to update our deck with the latest player cards from this Adventure Pack. While this scenario is difficult, it is not so challenging as to require the use of two decks. So we will stick with our Leadership/Lore deck and make some minor additions in preparation for our battle with the Stuart, Rupert, Morris and Louis.

When we tuned it in preparation for The Hunt for Gollum, our deck consisted of 45 cards. Since we are playing casually there has not been a rush to get to the official size of 50 cards. Now that we have access to a couple of Adventure packs, we should have enough quality player cards to bring our deck to a full fifty cards.

Rather than waste many words going into great detail on the changes, we will review them briefly here and then dive right into playtesting. Ultimately all of the analysis in the world is meaningless without a putting our new deck to the test. So, in order to prepare for this epic battle with the trolls, we will be adding 6 cards and removing 1. The added cards will be 2 copies each of: A Burning Brand, Dunedain Warning and Radagast’s Cunning. Lastly, we will remove 1 copy of Self Preservation. The modified deck can be found on the decks page.

These changes roughly fall into 2 categories: defense boosting, and threat mitigation. A Burning Brand and Dunedain Warnings will be attached to Denethor who will serve as our primary troll defender. If we are lucky we can recruit my son Grimbeon the Old, but we don’t want our strategy to rely solely on luck. In case Grimbeorn doesn’t show up, additional defense will be even more important than healing as we need to be able to survive a troll attack each round of stage 2. We can’t heal a character this has died defending an attack so we will need to get Denethor to a point where he can handle the troll attacks without attrition of his remaining hit points.

While we are building our defenses we also may resort to chump blocking in a pinch. With half the deck consisting of allies, we should have a character to spare in an emergency. The Secret Paths are being added back to the deck to specifically help with high-threat locations like Brown Lands and East Bight. While questing is not the primary challenge of this quest, we must avoid questing unsuccessfully at all costs. Threat management is key in this scenario, so that we can avoid engaging all of the trolls at once. The threat gain that results from failed questing will only make it harder to stay under the 34 engagement cost of the trolls.

Setup and Opening Hands

Other than the obvious need for Steward of Gondor, some defense boosting and threat reduction (Gandalf) are our priorities. With that in mind we draw our opening hand of: Radagast’s Cunning, Forest Snare, Snowbourn Scout, Son of Arnor, For Gondor and Dunedain Mark. This hand gives us nothing that we are looking for, and there isn’t even card draw to get to what we need, so the correct choice here is to take a mulligan. The new hand we draw is much better: Steward of Gondor, Self Preservation, Guardian of the Citadel, A Burning Brand and two copies of Gleowine.

1 Setup

While we don’t have much help with willpower and Gandalf is not here to help lower our threat, the card draw from Gleowine will pair perfectly with the extra resources from Steward of Gondor. With our hand set we will commence setting up the scenario, adding The Carrock to the staging area and setting aside the unique trolls and 4 copies of Sacked!. We shuffle one of those copies of sacked back into the encounter deck, since this is a solo game. Now we are ready to start the first round.

Round 1: Stage 1B (0 of 7 progress)
28 threat (First Player)
Hand: Self Preservation, Steward of Gondor, Guardian of the Citadel, A Burning Brand, Gleowine x2
— Aragorn: 1 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 1 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock

After resources are added we draw our first card: a Dunedain Mark. This is a good thing to see because we will need to boost Aragorn’s attack strength to help slay the trolls. With 2 defense (boosted by the Carrock and Stuart’s ability) and a massive 10 hit points, we will need all the attack strength we can muster. For planning we will pay 1 resource each from Aragorn and Theodred to give Denethor his rightful title as Steward of Gondor. After exhausting Steward of Gondor for two additional resources, we will pay 2 resources from Denethor to pay for Gleowine. Definitely a great start for this deck.

For questing we want to be aggressive enough to avoid threat gain, but conservative enough not to make much progress on stage 1. This scenario is a prime example of the importance of pace. If we quest too quickly, we will face 4 trolls in the staging area, and we won’t have the allies to be able to quest successfully and help fell these terrible foes. We want to build up an army quickly, keeping an eye out for Gandalf to help lower our threat and help with troll-killing.

With that in mind, we will commit Aragorn, Theodred and Gleowine to the quest. Theodred will add 1 resource to Aragorn’s resource pool, but we will not spend it to ready him. There aren’t too many enemies in this scenario and we need resources more than anything right now. As much as we might want to use Gleowine’s ability, we need to be successful questing. Once we get the Guardian of the Citadel into play, we can reassign Gleowine to his intended purpose.

For staging we reveal one card from the encounter deck: Muck Adder. With 3 threat in the staging area, we make 1 progress on stage 1 of the quest. We cannot travel to the Carrock until stage 2, so we move on to the encounter phase. With an engagement cost of 20, the Much Adder will be engaging immediately. His ability can be very dangerous, but Denethor’s high defense should mean that we survive this encounter.

2 Round 1 CombatAfter dealing the snake a shadow card, we exhaust the Steward and declare him as our defender. The shadow card is Bee Pastures which has no effect and Denethor is unscathed. While no shadow effect is nice, it is unfortunate to see this card discarded as Grimbeorn is an invaluable ally to have at hand. With the attack resolved and all of our character exhausted, we move on to the refresh phase and round 2.

Round 2: Stage 1B (1 of 7 progress)
29 threat (First Player)
Hand: Self Preservation, Guardian of the Citadel, A Burning Brand, Gleowine, Dunedain Mark
— Aragorn: 2 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 4 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Engaged: Muck Adder

After adding resources and drawing a card, we have a Snowbourn Scout added to our hand. His ability may come in useful for location control, but more likely the poor scout is on the lunch menu for one of the hungry trolls. For planning we will trigger Steward of Gondor and then spend 2 of Denethor’s 4 resources to attach A Burning Brand to the son of Ecthelion. The brand is essential to ensure that our defender is not caught at unawares by a nasty shadow card. Spending all of our available Leadership resources, we will attach Dunedain Mark to Aragorn and play a Guard of the Citadel.

For questing we can finally hold back Gleowine so we will commit Aragorn, Theodred and the Guard of the Citadel. Theodred’s resource is added to Aragorn, and we will immediately spend it to ready our ranger. With the Dunedain Mark, Aragorn is strong enough to kill the snake with a single strike. For staging we find ourselves in an Oak Wood Grove, enjoying a brief respite before facing our enemy. With 4 threat in the staging area we did not make any progress on stage 1, which is exactly what we want. It is far too early for us to be progressing to stage 2 of this quest so holding even is just fine. After traveling to the Oak Wood Grove, we deal the Much Adder a (now useless) shadow card and prepare for combat.

3 Round 2 Combat

Denethor blocks the adder, but our burning brand means that the shadow card will not have any effect. The shadow card is A Frightened Beast, which can be absolutely terrible as a treachery but is thankfully harmless here. With Denethor again untouched, Aragorn counterattacks for 4 damage and kills the deadly snake. We will exhaust Gleowine to draw an additional card, in this case Gandalf. The minstrel from Rohan has brought excellent new indeed. The grey wizard will help us lower our threat and provides an impressive 4 attack for troll-slaying in stage 2. Another round is complete and we move on.

Round 3: Stage 1B (1 of 7 progress)
30 threat (First Player)
Hand: Self Preservation, Gleowine, Snowbourn Scout, Gandalf
— Aragorn: 1 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 3 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Active Location: Oak Wood Grove

The resource phase brings each hero the usual allotment of resource along with Faramir. This is more good news as his ability is essential to allow our non-combatants to handle questing by themselves. Moving to planning, we will go head and exhaust Gleowine to draw an additional card. Because this scenario does not have any direct damage treacheries that would punish us for exhausting the bard before staging, we will take the extra card during planning, when it can be most useful. In the unlikely event that we do somehow lose Gleowine, we can always play his replacement from our hand.

Gleowine allows us to draw a Rivendell Minstrel and our deck is now in full swing. With 2 additional resources from his title, Denethor allows us to pay 3 Lore resources, and now Gleowine’s solo singing has become a harmony. After the Rivendell Minstrel is played, we trigger her response and search our deck for the copy of Song of Kings. By spending 1 resource from Theodred we can now grant Denethor access to the Leadership sphere. With extra resources and access to both of our deck’s spheres, Denethor is truly the heart of our strategy.

Gladden FieldsFor questing we will commit Theodred, Aragorn, Guardian of the Citadel and Rivendell Minstrel. Aragorn will use the resource from Theodred to ready. This may result in some progress, but with an active location it will not push us into the next quest stage. For staging we reveal The Gladden Fields. With 5 threat in the staging area and 6 total willpower, we explore the Oak Wood Grove and do not make any progress on the quest.

We cannot risk letting the staging area fill with locations, so we will reluctantly travel to the Gladden Fields. While this will raise our threat 2 this round instead of the usual 1, we know that Gandalf is going to be making an appearance soon to bring our threat under control. With no enemies to deal with, we are finally free to use Denethor’s ability and scry the top of the encounter deck. The River Langflood coming up is just what we want, a harmless location that will give us more time to muster our troll-slayers. We will leave that card on the top of the encounter deck and move to the next round.

Round 4: Stage 1B (1 of 7 progress)
32 threat (First Player)
Hand: Self Preservation, Gleowine, Snowbourn Scout, Gandalf, Faramir
— Aragorn: 2 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 3 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Active Location: The Gladden Fields

During the resource phase we draw another Dunedain Mark. With Gleowine’s ability we draw our second copy of A Burning Brand. These extra cards can at least be put to use as discard fodder, if we can find a copy of Protector of Lorien. During planning we will pay 4 Leadership resources for Faramir. Denethor’s youngest son will greatly improve our ability to quest, which will be essential in stage 2.

Since we know what’s coming from the encounter deck this round, questing will be easy and we won’t need to ready Aragorn for combat. We will commit Aragorn, Theodred, Guard of the Citadel and Rivendell Minstrel. Theodred will give an extra resource to Aragorn and we will trigger Faramir’s ability. It is vital that we clear the Gladden Fields so that we don’t have to suffer the increased threat yet again.

River LangfloodFor staging we reveal the expected River Langflood which results in us exploring The Gladden Fields, adding it to our victory display, and adding 3 progress to stage 1. We now have 4 of the needed 7 progress to complete this stage. With the active location explored, we will go ahead and travel to River Langflood. Since its passive effect is only an issue while it is in the staging area, we don’t need to worry about this location causing problems in the next stage.

We aren’t quite ready to move on to stage 2 just yet, as we lack the attack strength to actually defeat a troll once it’s engaged. Using Denethor’s ability, we find another copy of Frightened Beast on top of the encounter deck. Even though this would only raise our threat by 2, at this point we want to avoid any more threat gain if we can. So we will place Frightened Beast on the bottom of the encounter deck and hope for the best next round.

Round 5: Stage 1B (4 of 7 progress)
33 threat (First Player)
Hand: Self Preservation, Gleowine, Snowbourn Scout, Gandalf, Dunedain Mark, A Burning Brand
— Aragorn: 3 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 5 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Active Location: River Langflood

Between our normal draw and the songs of Gleowine, we have added Son of Arnor and Radagast’s Cunning to our hand. Both of these cards are going to come in useful in our upcoming battle. For planning we will attach another Dunedain Mark to Aragorn and Self Preservation to Denethor. Lastly we will play Snowbourn Scout and place 1 progress token on the River Langflood. One of the nice things about Faramir’s is that he makes it so that Snowbourn Scouts are useful for more than just chump blocking after they come into play.

For questing we don’t want to over-commit and find ourselves in stage 2. So we will send Theodred, Guard of the Citadel, Rivendell Minstrel and the Snowbourn Scout to the quest. Theodred will give himself an extra resource and we will trigger Faramir’s ability. With Aragorn all geared for war, we actually wouldn’t mind a nice squishy enemy to come up here.

Misty Mountain GoblinsUnfortunately, staging reveals another copy of The Gladden Fields. It looks like the encounter deck wanted us to have some extra threat, one way or the other. With 5 threat in the staging area and 8 total willpower, we will explore the River Langflood and add 1 more progress to stage 1. We will travel to The Gladden Fields as we cannot afford to leave it’s 3 threat in the staging area, knowing that 8 threat of trolls will be on its way.

We are now only 2 progress away from advancing to stage 2 and we need to be ready for troll-killing very soon. Before ending the round, we will use Denethor’s ability to scry a Misty Mountain Goblins atop the encounter deck. This is just the kind of squishy enemy that we are looking for. The Goblin not only helps Aragorn test that his sword is still sharp, but even removes progress from the current quest card, which might come in handy to help us time our arrival into stage 2.

Round 6: Stage 1B (5 of 7 progress)
35 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, Gandalf, A Burning Brand, Son of Arnor, Radagast’s Cunning
— Aragorn: 2 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 5 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Active Location: The Gladden Fields

The resource phase brings us a welcome sight: Sneak Attack. Now we have everything that we will need to be able to run circles around these silly trolls. Using Gleowine’s ability at the begging of planning we also draw a Daughter of the Nimrodel. With Self Preservation on Denethor, we may not end up needing her healing, but thanks to Faramir she quests for 2. After exhausting Steward of Gondor, Denethor has a whopping 7 resources so we might as well spend 3 to play Daughter of the Nimrodel.

At the beginning of the quest phase we will pay 1 resource from Theodred to pay for Sneak Attack. Gandalf comes into play and immediately lowers our threat to 30. Next we commit Theodred, Rivendell Minstrel, Guard of the Citadel and our sneaky wizard friend will all commit to the quest. Theodred will give himself an extra resource.

With a total lack of surprise, our party discovers a band of Misty Mountain Goblins around the next bend in the road. It sure is nice to have access to a Palantir that sees the future – it almost feels like cheating. With 4 threat in the staging area and 8 willpower, we explore The Gladden Fields, adding it to our victory display and placing 1 more progress on the quest stage. We have only 1 progress to go before the next phase, though our little ugly foe will soon change that.

4 Round 6 Combat

After questing resolves, Gandalf returns to our hand, with a glint of future mischief in his wise eyes. We engage the Misty Mountain Goblins and this time Faramir will assume the defensive duties to free up Denethor for scrying. With two defense and 3 hit points Faramir has no fear of a silly little Goblin.

After dealing the Goblin a shadow card, we exhaust Faramir and reveal the card. The East Bight is an annoying location so it is nice to see if discarded as a harmless shadow effect. The Goblin’s forced effect does remove one progress from the current quest, leaving us with 5 out of 7 progress.

With our defense secured, Aragorn takes a few quick swipes with his sword and cuts the Goblins into pieces. Denethor will again scry the encounter deck, revealing a Wolf Rider. Because that card has surge we will always want to put it on the bottom of the encounter deck. Whatever badness is coming next we would have seen in any case, this way we don’t have any extra attacker to deal with. Denethor and Faramir may be excellent defenders, but we don’t want to let ourselves get overrun with vermin. We will need our full attention for the trolls.

Round 7: Stage 1B (5 of 7 progress)
31 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, Gandalf, A Burning Brand, Son of Arnor, Radagast’s Cunning
— Aragorn: 3 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 3 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 5 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Carrock
Active Location: None

After drawing our two cards (thanks to Gleowine), we now have another copy of Daughter of the Nimrodel and Protector of Lorien in hand. This planning phase will be a busy one. For 1 resource from Denethor we will attach Protector of Lorien to the Steward. Between that and A Burning Brand, the steward should be nigh on invincible. For three Leadership resources we will play Son of Arnor. While he doesn’t help with questing, his 2 attack is essential for helping us pierce the tough hide of the trolls. Last but not least, we will pay 5 resources and play Gandalf. Again, we will use his ability to reduce our threat, leaving us at 26. Now we have plenty of breathing room to take out the trolls one by one.

With planning out of the way, it is time to push through to stage 2. Since we want to be able to kill a troll this round, our questing is going to be a bit different. We will commit Aragorn, Rivendell Minstrel, Daughter of the Nimrodel and the Snowbourn Scout to the quest. We will pay Aragorn’s last resource to ready him then trigger Faramir’s ability to give each of our characters +1 willpower until the end of the phase.

The Brown LandsFor staging we reveal the Brown Lands. Talk about bad timing, this is not the location we want to see right before The Carrock becomes the active location. In any case, our 9 willpower is enough to overcome the 7 threat in the staging area and add the last 2 progress to stage 1. The Carrock immediately becomes the active location, which means that the Brown Lands is stuck in the staging area for the time being. As if that weren’t enough, four smelly trolls have come to visit my favorite suntanning spot!

We now have our work cut out for us. Fortunately, we planned ahead and we have the means to take one of the beasties out this round. With no options for travel, we will move to the encounter phase and optionally engage Stuart. The order that we engage the trolls is important. The idea here is to first take out the trolls that provide stat boosting to their buddies. We likewise need to get The Carrock explore as quickly as possible, to make the rest of the trolls easier to finish off and get The Brown Lands out of the staging area.

There are lots of ways to go about troll killing, but we definitely want to keep Louis for last, as he causes all troll attacks to raise our threat by 3. This battle is going to be hard enough without worrying about all of the trolls engaging us on the same turn. Having witnessed that first hand, I can tell you, even the strongest army will break under the frenzied attacks of four trolls.

5 Round 7 Combat

With Stuart engaged, we will deal him a shadow card and declare Denethor as our defender. Because The Carrock is the active location, Stuart will be attacking for 5. Fortunately, A Burning Brand means that we can’t get surprised by a shadow effect, and Self Preservation will mean that Denethor can heal the damage dealt. After exhausting our defender we reveal Misty Mountain Goblins as the shadow effect. We don’t have any progress on the current quest stage, but the effect is cancelled in any case. The smelly troll deals 2 damage to Denethor, which we immediately heal by exhausting Self Preservation.

When it comes time for counter-attacks, our odd-seeming questing strategy becomes clear. Aragorn, Theodred, Guard of the Citadel, Son of Arnor and Gandalf all attack Stuart. Between the Carrock and his own ability, his defense is boosted to 4, but the 14 combined attack strength of our characters is still enough to defeat the troll. We now have 1 troll down, and 3 to go. We also don’t have to worry about the other trolls being toughened by Stuart’s ability.

Round 8: Stage 2B (0 of 1 progress)
27 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, A Burning Brand, Radagast’s Cunning, Daughter of the Nimrodel
— Aragorn: 1 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 4 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Brown Lands, Morris, Louis, Rupert
Active Location: The Carrock

After adding resources we draw a Forest Snare. This may come in handy to hold off one of the trolls for a bit, but we ultimately need to defeat them in order to complete this quest. Using Gleowine during planning, we draw For Gondor! which also may come in handy, depending on how the combat plays out. For planning we will pay 3 resources from Denethor for another Daughter of the Nimrodel. She is expensive, but at this point we have so much threat in the staging area that we are in desperate need of more willpower.

6 Round 8 Quest

We really want to clear The Carrock this round so we are going to be very aggressive questing. We will commit Aragorn, Theodred, Denethor, Guard of the Citadel, Rivendell Minstrel, and both Daughters of the Nimrodel. We will then pay 1 resource from Aragorn to ready the Dunedain and trigger Faramir’s ability. This gives us an impressive total of 16 willpower, with a lowly Scout held back as troll-fodder. If all goes well, Aragorn and a Son of Arnor will be able to deal some damage as well.

For staging we reveal Sacked!. All things being equal this is not actually the worst outcome. We will attach Sacked! to Theodred knowing that we should be able to get him out of it next round. Before the quest is resolved, we will pay 1 resource from Denethor to play Radagast’s Cunning on Rupert. This brings the total threat in the staging area down to 9 which means that we explore The Carrock and even get 1 progress on the current quest stage. Now all we need to deal is kills these trolls and we can go back to making honey cakes!

For travel we can finally travel to the Brown Lands and it is explored immediately. For the encounter phase we will optionally engage Rupert. Without any copies of Sacked in the discard, but with one on poor Theodred, now is the right time to take on this guy. If we had waited and faced another troll, the Sacked! card that we discard from Theodred would only be shuffled back into the deck by Rupert. The poor Snowbourn fulfills his destiny and becomes an afternoon snack for Mr. Rupert. I wonder if they warn new recruits in Snowbourn Scout School that their life expectancy will be laughably short?

7 Round 8 Combat

Unfortunately, the shadow effect for this attack is Grimbeorn the Old. While we seem to have things under control, it sure would have been nice to have my son join in the fight. He is a great friend to have when you are facing down hungry trolls! Disheartened about the missed opportunity for Beorning aid, Aragorn and his friend the Son of Arnor do manage to deal 5 damage to Rupert, who is apparently still distractedly chewing on the scout.

Round 9: Stage 2B (1 of 1 progress)
28 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, A Burning Brand, Forest Snare, For Gondor
— Aragorn: 2 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 3 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area:  Morris, Louis
Active Location: None
Engaged: Rupert

Only Aragorn and Denethor collect resources this round. Sadly, Theodred is tied up in a smelly troll sack. Hoping for Miner of the Iron Hills, we draw another copy of Rivendell Minstrel. Not the best thing to draw at this point, but the extra willpower will allow other more combat-savvy allies to be held back from questing. Gleowine gives us our copy of Henamarth Riversong. If it is abundantly clear how important card draw is in this game, having Gleowine from round 1 has been all the difference.

For planning we will play Henamarth Riversong and use his ability immediately. Bee Pastures are waiting for us around the bend. What a fortuitous turn of events, the pastures will allow us to stop Grimbeorn from loafing around in the discard pile and get himself to the staging area. We will pay 3 more resources from Denethor and play our second Rivendell Minstrel.

8 Round 9 Combat

Since we already have the progress that we need for this stage, questing is now a much lower priority. In this case we will only commit our characters with no martial ability; two copies each of Daughter of the Nimrodel and Rivendell Minstrel are going questing. For staging we reveal Bee Pastures and add 1 more progress to stage 2. After traveling to Bee Pastures we bring Grimbeorn the Old from the discard pile and put him in the staging area. If we can recruit my wayward son to get off his lazy butt and help with combat, we’ll have these trolls mopped up in no time!

9 Round 9 Counterattack

For the encounter phase we will choose not to optionally engage either of the two trolls – we already have our hands full with Rupert. For combat we will deal Rupert a shadow card and exhaust Denethor to defend. The Shadow card is Wargs which is thankfully cancelled and Denethor takes 1 damage, which we immediately heal with Self Preservation. Aragorn and son of Arnor are then able to finally fell the great creature. We trigger the response on Rupert and remove Theodred from his burlap prison. We are left with only two trolls between us and victory. I hope that victory smells better than troll, because my nose hurts just being near these filthy things.

Round 10: Stage 2B (2 of 1 progress)
29 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, A Burning Brand, Forest Snare, For Gondor
— Aragorn: 3 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 2 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area:  Morris, Louis
Active Location: Bee Pastures

With resource collected we draw another copy of Son of Arnor. We will hold off on playing him just yet, as his ability might allow us to avoid Louis’s forced effect. Triggering Gleowine during the planning phase we draw a Sneak Attack. Again, this may come in handy but we’ll have to see. Before we do any planning we will trigger Henamarth Riversong to see what awaits us on the top of the encounter deck. It is a Marsh Adder. His 40 engagement cost means that we should not have to deal with him at all. Since all of our heroes have access to the Leadership sphere, planning this turn is simple. We will pay 8 resources to take control of Grimbeorn the Old.

For questing we know exactly how much threat we will be facing so we can commit just what we need. Theodred, along with both Daughters of Nimrodel and Rivendell Minstrels are sent on the quest. Theodred gives himself a resource and we trigger Faramir’s ability to bring us to 12 willpower. For staging we add the Marsh Adder to the staging area. With only 7 threat in the staging area, we explore Bee Pastures and add 3 more progress to the quest stage. For the encounter phase we will optionally engage Morris.

10 Round 10 Combat

Grimbeorn the Old volunteers to defend the attack from Morris, a task at which he is particularly adept. Morris is dealt a shadow card and Grimbeorn does not need to exhaust. The shadow card is yet another copy of The Gladden Fields which is always great to see discarded. Grimbeorn laughs off the measly two damage from Morris’ attack.

11 Round 10 Counterattack

On the counter-attack, Aragorn, Grimbeorn, the Son of Arnor and the Guard of the Citadel all work together to chop Morris into fish food. It’s no wonder the fish in this part of the Anduin are so ugly, if this is what they eat. With Morris defeated and only 1 troll left in play, we will use Denethor’s ability and scry the encounter deck one last time. It is another copy of Sacked!. While this card is certainly bad, victory is within our reach, and losing the abilities of one hero won’t stop us. So rather than get cute and put this on the bottom of the encounter deck, leading to a mystery card next round, we will leave it where it is and push on to victory.

Round 11: Stage 2B (5 of 1 progress)
30 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gleowine, A Burning Brand, Forest Snare, For Gondor, Son of Arnor, Sneak Attack
— Aragorn: 1 resources, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Theodred: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Denethor: 2 resources, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area:  Louis, Marsh Adder
Active Location: None

For our last round, we collect resource and draw a Miner of the Iron Hills. This will work out perfectly, as we now have the option to free Theodred from his sack immediately. Interestingly, although Theodred cannot collect resources while in the sack (he still has his two from last round), we can still spend resources from him to pay for cards and effects.

12 Round 11 PlanningWith that in mind, we will first spend all of our resources from Aragorn and Theodred to play Son of Arnor. After he enters play we will trigger his response to make Louis immediately engage us. Next, we will spend 3 resources from Denethor (after triggering Steward of Gondor) to play Forest Snare on Louis. Now that the troll cannot attack, he will not be raising our threat. It’s a nifty like trick that came so late as to not really matter, but it certainly will come in handy for closer games.

13 Round 11 CombatFor questing we will commit both of the Rivendell Minstrels. As we know, staging reveals Sacked!, which poor Theodred finds himself stuck in once again. With 4 willpower against 3 threat in the staging area, we make one more meaningless progress on the quest. With no where to travel we move on to our final combat phase.

Although Louis cannot attack, he is still dealt a shadow card. After Louis wiggles helplessly in the forest snare, we pay our last resource from Denethor for Sneak Attack and bring Miner of the Iron Hills into play. After he enters play, we use his response to free the son of Theoden from his smelly prison and prepare for the ultimate counter-attack. All ready characters with any skill of arms then attack poor, trapped Louis and send him to whatever foul hell is those creatures’ destiny.

14 Round 11 Counterattack

Score and Recap

Finally I can breathe a sigh of relief as my home has been rid of the foul stench of those retched trolls. A Burning Brand and Self Preservation allowed Denethor to become a super-defender and we completed the quest without any damage on our heroes. We end with a total threat of 30, after 10 full rounds (rounds tally during the refresh phase). The two copies of The Gladden Fields that we explored were worth 3 victory points each, so our final score is:

30 (threat) + 100 (rounds) + 0 (damage) – 6 (victory) = 124

Conflict at the Carrock is one of my favorite scenarios, particularly in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. Sure, a bear can’t be blamed for a bit of bias, when his home and his son get to have a featured role. Even so, this quest remains a great example of a challenge that requires deep understanding of pace. In order to defeat the trolls we had to quest, travel, and engage at just the right tempo to ensure that we progressed consistently but not so quickly that we had to engage too many enemies at once.

Gandalf remains key to this strategy as he remains the only non-Spirit solution for threat-reduction. He buys us valuable time for our allies to get established. Faramir is another important piece of this strategy, as he allows our non-combat allies to handle questing all by themselves. I hope you enjoyed this play-through and be on the lookout for our next adventure on Beorn’s Path as we take a Journey to Rhosgobel.

Bear Print - Part 9

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35 Responses to Beorn’s Path: Part 9 – Conflict at the Carrock

  1. Landroval says:

    very interesting read Beorn – i am currently working out if it is possible to beat We Must Away Ere Break of Day with Beorn, Gimli and Thalin, (using a rather different tactical approach – as i’m sure you’d appreciate!). Not sure whether it is legal to use Thicket of Spears given that Bilbo is under my control.

    If i manage it, i’ll be sure to give Carrock a shot too, although four trolls at once may be a it rich!

    I agree with you that Carrock is one of the very best scenarios made (along with WMAEBOD) I think this is due to the fact that the task seems unsurmountable on first impressions, but with a carefully thought out deck and strategy multiple trollicide can be most satisfying indeed.

    • Beorn says:

      That sounds like a fun deck. I am currently working on a Beorn deck with dwarves as well. In my case it will probably include Thalin and Balin. King Under the Mountain is just too good to pass up.

      Incidentally, Thicket of Spears is totally playable while you control Bilbo. As long as you pay for it from three different hero’s pools, it is valid. In any case, trollicide is one of my all-time favorite hobbies.

  2. I often find myself grinning at your whimsical descriptions and asides which make your session reports so fun to read. The frequent first person references to your namesake make this one especially enjoyable!

    I may be slow on the uptake strategically since I spend most of my games thumbing through the Reader’s Companion soaking up lore, but I’ve never seen the Son of Arnor / Forest Snare combo before and think it’s really clever.

    I can also say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone questing with TWO Daughters of the Nimrodel and TWO Rivendell Minstrels at the same time in solo play. With that early Steward, you generated some serious resources in this game! One strategic question though. With Song of Kings on Denethor, is there a reason you didn’t just give him the questing response resource from Théodred each time? Were you just trying to keep your other two heroes from getting jealous?

    Finally, one quick fact check (as this seems to be the thing to do with session reports), you mean dealing 10 damage, not 4, to Stuart in Round 7, right?

    Thanks for the detailed report and I look forward to seeing your Company heal Wilyador in the next scenario. Happy questing!

    • Beorn says:

      Good catch on the typo, I meant to say 14 attack strength (for 10 damage). This is now corrected. As for giving Theodred’s bonus resource to Denethor, I can only do that when he commits to the quest. Because he is our dedicated troll-defender he usually stays back from questing. In any case, Theodred pairs perfectly with Leadership Aragorn as it means that we can ready our Dunedain friend after questing, even if we spent all of his leadership resources during the planning phase.

      I’m glad that you enjoy the silly tangents. Writing these session reports can be a bit laborious (there are only so many ways to describe the same game mechanics round after round) so the humorous asides are as much for me as they are for the readers. 🙂

      It is good to hear that people appreciate these session reports. My goal is to make them both valuable strategic resources as well as to highlight the lore and settings that underlies each scenario. It will be interesting to see how much I need to tweak my deck to be able to handle the next scenario.

      • Thanks for helping me realize that I’ve been playing Théodred wrong for over a year! For some earlier cards, I haven’t read the text carefully for a while and I’d been throwing his resource to any old hero, quest commitment notwithstanding. Whoops!

        The “silly tangents” make the review for me. Ugly fish from eating minced troll meat, the Snowbourn Scout “Meat Shield” Academy, and the endearing references to “your son” Grimbeorn!

        By the way, you better keep a closer eye on that little Beorning. The latest Nightmare Deck spoiler on COTR might disturb you. Welcome to Conflict at the Carrock Stage 3A. It’s 10 pm. Do you know where your children are?

  3. Pingback: Beorn’s Path: Part 10 – A Journey to Rhosgobel | Hall of Beorn

  4. TalesfromtheCards says:

    Always love your session reports. Even though I’ve played these quests a billion times by now, they make for a very entertaining read. I do think there is a misprint on the Snowbourn Scout card, it should have the “redshirt” trait.

  5. Gandalf says:

    You are playing in solo; Is it correct to exhaust Steward of Gondor (doing an action) for two additional resources and then play Gleowine, an ally?
    To gain the two additional resources you have to do an action, that can be doing after the first player plays ally or attachment cards.
    If there is only one player, there is only one window to play actions during planning phase, that begin when the player have finished to play ally or attachment cards.
    I think that if you do the action of Steward of Gondor to gain 2 resources, then you can’t play un ally because the planning phase is ended.
    What to you think?
    Thank you

    • Beorn says:

      The player action window during planning for playing allies and attachments stays open until a player “passes” or decides not to play any more allies or attachments. Players can still take other player actions (play events, trigger effects such as the one on Steward of Gondor) during this window, the only limitation is that the active player is the only one who can play allies or attachments from their hand during this window. It is even allowed, in a multi-player game, for another player to play effects like the Campfire Tales event, or triggering his ability to send Bifur a resource, all while it is the active player’s turn to play allies and attachments. Once the active player has passed on playing allies and attachments the next player to their left becomes active player and it is now too late for the previous active player to play allies or attachments. Since, in the above game, I had not yet passed on playing allies or attachments, it was perfectly legal to immediately use the resource that I gained from triggering Steward of Gondor’s effect. The player action windows in Living Card Games can be kind of confusing, so hopefully this explanation helped explain it in more detail. You also may want to consult the chart at the end of the game rules, which you can find here:

      Specifically, I am referring to this section on the Planning Phase:

      2. Planning Phase
      • Player actions.
      • *First player plays ally and attachment cards.* <– This is where I triggered the Steward of Gondor, Because it is marked in green, it means that any player can take actions and trigger effects. Only the active player can play allies or attachments, but a non-ally/attachment effect does not automatically mean that you have left this step of the planning phase. Only the active player "passing" on playing more allies/attachments makes you leave this step of the planning phase.

      • Player actions. <– I would not be able to play more allies during this step (if for example another player had played it on my hero during their, later, "play allies and attachments step".

      • Next player plays ally

  6. Pingback: Troll of the Week: “Ray Lunettes” | Hall of Beorn

  7. Mr LongHair says:

    This quest is currently destroying me and my friend, we just cant reduce threat enough or the locations just bunch up and we get screwed over :/. Nice to see its possible with even just this limited card pool. (I only have 1xCore set and the entire Mirkwood cycle)

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, this quest can be very difficult, especially with a limited card pool. Cards like Feint, Forest Snare, The Galadhrim’s Greeting and Sneak Attack (with Gandalf or Beorn from the core set) can be very useful in this scenario. If you find yourself getting location locked, you may want to have one of the decks include two Spirit heroes and Northern Tracker. The Riddermark’s Finest is another good option, from The Hills of Emyn Muil AP. Good luck!

      • Mr LongHair says:

        Yeah those are all good cards we are using.. just not being lucky enough to draw them. My friend has a spirit/tactics deck and he is loathe to add the Tracker because its really expensive and we have had trouble getting resources onto the one spirit hero we have (Eowyn obviously 😛 ) I will look to tweak some decks and test play solo with two decks to see if I can manage this one 🙂

  8. Pingback: The Anatomy of a Defeat: Conflict At Carrock | Playthrough Board Games

  9. Pingback: Conflict at Carrock: Revolutions | Playthrough Board Games

  10. Maenas says:

    Hail Beorn!
    I am following your articles as a if it was a walk-through of the game. They are nice to follow and fun to read.
    By the way, today I was modifying the Lore/Leadership deck as per the step 9, where you say to add 2xSecret paths, and if I am not wrong, it should be “add 2xRadagast cunning”, because you asked to remove 2xRadagast cunning cards for those secret paths on the Hunt for Gollum chapter (step 7). I got aware of this because I played both steps today!
    Thank you a million for these series of writings! 😉

  11. Kevin Kelley says:

    How do you read the O8d file ?

  12. khannsingh says:

    Playing two-player, I used a hero setup similar to your two decks (with the same resources), but I played with Eleanor over Eowyn to lower starting threat and deal with the bad treacheries. Was this a good move?

    I won in seven rounds with 27 and 23 threat.

  13. Dremora says:

    Hi Beorn!

    I am pretty new to the game and have only til Conflict at Carrock. I am following these interesting series from the beginning, testing my own decks and taking into account your comments and suggestions to improve my play. It´s nice to discover the game together within its natural progress, one adventure after the other, exploring many possibilities in all of these awesome cards. Sadly I can see you stopped these series at the end of this AP. Are you planning to go forward with furthers packs or did you reach the aim of these articles? I am following other sections of this site as well, but find this particulary useful.

    I also would like to thank your humorous way of writing this articles. That´s really an added value of them and makes everything even nicer.

    Congrats and keep working on this amazing corner for LotR´s fans!

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Dremora! I have actually continued this series through Khazad-dum (Into the Pit), you can find links to all of the articles here:

      I would love to continue this series, but unfortunately it is very time consuming and I am not in a position in my life where I have the time to dedicate to writing these articles. I may look into recording subsequent quests as videos, but I don’t currently have a setup that would allow me to do this. I’m glad that you are enjoying the series and good luck in your travels through Middle-earth.

      • Dremora says:

        Thanks Beorn for being so honest! I understand your reasons, they are very reasonable. It´s ok for me, I just wondered about your future plans. xD

        Be sure I will enjoy the next articles and explore your fantastic blog.


  14. Kuba says:

    Quote: Because The Carrock is the active location, Stuart will be attacked for 5.
    Actually he should have 6 attack as he adds 1. Right?

    • Beorn says:

      Stuart gives engaged Trolls +1 Defense, it is Morris that gives engaged Trolls +1 Attack.

      • Kuba says:

        So all trolls including him? Meaning in stage 7 Morris will have +1 ATK for Carrock and another +1 ATK for his ability, giving him 6, not 5 ATK. Correct?

      • Beorn says:

        I left Morris, Louis and Rupert in the staging area, and only engaged Stuart. This means that I only need to deal with Stuart’s “while engaged” effect – I can ignore the effects of the other trolls because they are still in the staging area. With the +1 Attack from The Carrock, Stuart is attacking for 5. He does not receive the attack bonus from Morris because Morris is not engaged with me. Does that help to clarify everything?

      • Kuba says:

        Yes sir mr Beorn, you are right! I wrongly assumed it’s +1 for Troll in play. I’ve been trying lately to beat this scenario several times, succeeded only a few. Love the challange! Great article 🙂

  15. Stephen says:

    Hi – Can you please provide the deck?

    Clicking on the deck link take you to the deck page but then clicking on the CATC deck brings you straight back to this page 😦

  16. Mikemccool says:

    I just want to say Thank you for these playthrough commentaries of the game.

    Im new to the game (have core and 5 of the Mirkwood APs).

    Your writing is great and i will continue Reading them with joy!

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