Beorn’s Path: Part 13 – Return to Mirkwood


After many wanderings, poisonous spiders, deadly trolls and dead ends, we come at last to the final stretch of our journey on Beorn’s Path. Like many adventures in life, everything ends where it began. We are returning to Mirkwood, with the prisoner Gollum joining us as an unwilling companion.

Much like our narrow Escape from Dol Guldur, this scenario is not really designed for solo play. One player takes control of Gollum and the creature’s behavior has not improved since being caught. At the end of each round, the player controlling Gollum raises their threat by 3 (this is in addition to the automatic threat raise at the start of the Refresh phase) and may then pass control of Gollum to another player.

This makes for an interesting multiplayer game, as players must strategically manage their threat, and the decision of when to pass Gollum to new guards becomes life-or-death. In a solo game, there is obviously no one to take the pitiful creature and one can look forward to raising your threat by 4 each round.

The easy answer would be to just tune our Tactics/Spirit deck and play it alongside our Leadership/Lore deck against this scenario, much as we did to Escape From Dol Guldur. As a bear, and fearless Troll-slayer, I am not overly fond of the easy solution. Besides, what is the point of developing our skills as deck-builders and strategists if we are going to cower at the first sign of a challenge? The challenge will be significant, but we can defeat this scenario using only one deck. With a little luck, and using all of the skills that we have gained over the last 8 scenarios, we can fulfill Gandalf’s quest and return Gollum to the Elven-King’s halls.

Because this scenario has a tremendous amount of threat gain, the Leadership/Lore deck is not a good fit. We need more than just Gandalf for lowering our threat, so we are going to bring back out Tactics/Spirit deck from earlier scenarios. There are six Adventure Packs worth of player cards since we last used this deck, so we will be making some major improvements.



Our heroes worked well, and there are not any compelling replacements, so we will keep Gimli, Thalin and Eowyn. As always, the shield-maiden of Rohan will hold an important role in this deck, allowing us to quest heavily with an eye towards finishing the scenario as quickly as possible. Thalin also helps in this regard, while softening up enemies in the staging area for his Dwarven brethren. Gimli brings his tremendous versatility to the table, and if we are fortunate to get a hold of Unexpected Courage we will certainly be attaching it to the son of Glóin.

Allies: 22
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Winged Guardian x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
West Road Traveller x3
Escort from Edoras x3
Eagles of the Misty Mountains x2
Northern Tracker x2
Gandalf x3

Vassal of the WindlordWith the Eagles, Tactics gained some of the most efficient and useful allies in the entire Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. With speed at a premium, it would be foolish not to include some of these in our deck. Bolstering the three Gondorian Spearman that are a staple in any Tactics-heavy deck, we will include a full set of Vassal of the Windlord and Winged Guardian. While these allies leave play after performing their intended duty, they are so powerful for their cost that they will provide an immediate punch to our deck. As a bonus, when they leave play, these less expensive allies can attach and boost the Eagles of Misty Mountains. Since these eagles are more expensive, we will limit them to two copies in the deck.

Escort of EdorasFor questing, Spirit has some great options in the form of West Road Traveler and Escort from Edoras. Each of these allies has great willpower for their cost, so will add three copies of each. The Traveler can help us avoid unwanted travel effects and potentially clear the staging are of a high-threat location. The escort is an amazing card, especially if we have Horn of Gondor out to benefit from his leaving play. While he doesn’t stick around for long, being able to quest for 4 addition willpower will be a great help in clearing this quest quickly.

Rounding out our allies, we will include two copies of Northern Tracker and three copies of Gandalf. The Tracker can be helpful in combat, with stats that work well for both attacking and blocking. In the event that the staging area fills up with locations, his ability can be indispensable for avoiding location-lock. While the usefulness of the Northern Tracker can depend on the circumstances, we go into this scenario knowing that Gandalf will be absolutely essential to our survival. Between him and our few Spirit events, we will need to lower our threat as much as possible. Fool that he is, Gollum will be perfectly happy to call down the hordes of Mordor, to overrun us before we reach Mirkwood.

Attachments: 10
Horn of Gondor x1
Ancient Mathom x3
Song of Travel x3
Unexpected Courage x1
Citadel Plate x2

Song of TravelAside from Song cards, this cycle did not provide us with attachments that will help us much in this scenario. Three copies of Song of Travel will help ensure that we have the Spirit resources to pay for our threat-reduction events and high-willpower allies. It is unfortunate that the core set only includes 1 copy each of Horn of Gondor and Unexpected Courage as these cards are both very powerful.

Ancient MathomWithout access to the efficient card drawing effects of the Lore or Leadership spheres, we have to hope to for some good luck to bring us essential cards. Ancient Mathom represents the one consistent form of card drawing that we have in this deck. With Eowyn, we should be able to explore most locations relatively quickly, so the conditional nature of this attachment should not be a problem.

Citadel Plate completes our attachments. While expensive, the armor acts as the perfect compliment to Gimli’s ability. We must be mindful in this scenario however, as damage from undefended attacks must be assigned to Gollum. With 5 hit points, he may be able to survive one such attack, be we cannot afford to let our prisoner die before we get him to Mirkwood. So we will need to use Gimli a bit differently than we have in the past, but being able to pile damage on the Dwarf will still be a great way to turn him into a killing machine.

Events: 18
The Eagles Are Coming! x3
Feint x2
Quick Strike x2
A Test of Will x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
Hasty Stroke x2
Swift Strike x1
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2
Stand and Fight x3

The Eagles Are ComingLast but not least, we have events. Three copies of The Eagles Are Coming! will give us a limited form of card draw, and we will take what we can get. Every extra ally can prove the difference between a solid defense and watching an enemy kill our prisoner. Two copies each of Feint, A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke are all essential. These cards are staples in their respective spheres and there inclusion here goes without saying.

The Galadhrim's GreetingThe Galadhrim’s Greeting is one of the most important cards in our deck, as it allows us to lower our threat by 6 with one effect. It is a testament to the extreme difficulty of this scenario that a reduction of 6 threat does not even offset 2 full rounds of guarding Stinker. Our single copy of Dwarven Tomb will most likely used to maximize our uses of The Galadhrim’s Greeting, but the fact that it can return any Spirit event will give us choices.

Two copies of Quick Strike and a single copy of Swift Strike may come in handy for eliminating pesky enemies, but we should not hesitate to discard these cards, if it will mean that Eowyn can clear a critical location or quest stage. Likewise, Stand and Fight may be quite useful for bringing back cheap Eagle or questing allies, but with three copies this card also may end up fueling Eowyn. The completed deck can be found on the Decks page.

Setup and Opening Hand

With an eye towards threat-reduction our opening hand is exactly what we need: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Unexpected Courage, West Road Traveler, The Eagles Are Coming!, and Gondorian Spearman. Unexpected Courage in particular, is great to see here, as it will allow Gimli to quest and participate in combat. The only concern at this point will be how to pay for all of these Spirit cards. With only Eowyn providing Spirit resources, we need to find a Song of Travel as quickly as possible.

Gollum (Return to Mirkwood)For setup, we reveal one card from the encounter deck. Wood Elf Path is added to the staging area. Lastly we take control of Gollum. Appropriately, he provides no benefit and his thrashing and complaining draws attention to us from all around. In addition to the usual 1 threat gained at the beginning of the refresh phase, our unhappy prisoner will be raising our threat by 3 at the end of every round.

Adding insult to injury, damage from undefended attacks must be dealt to our prisoner, and if we dies, we lose the quest. We will need to be extra careful about planning how many characters to send to the quest, to ensure that we have adequate defenders to protect our charge.

Round 1: Stage 1B (0 of 12 progress)
29 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Unexpected Courage, West Road Traveler, The Eagles Are Coming!, Gondorian Spearman
— Gimli: 1 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Thalin: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 1 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Wood Elf Path
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

After collecting resources, we draw Dwarven Tomb, which is another welcome sight. We will be saving this to get a second use out of The Galadhrim’s Greeting, once we have some more Spirit resources. For planning we will start off by playing The Eagles are Coming!, which nets us a Vassal of the Windlord. The other, non-Eagle cards are shuffled back into our deck. We need save up resources at this point, so we will pass on playing anything else this phase.

Wasted ProvisionsWe need to be aggressive, before Gollum brings down every Orc in the Wilderlands on our heads, so we will commit each of our heroes to the quest. For staging we reveal one of the more annoying treacheries in this scenario, Wasted Provisions. This causes us to discard: Gandalf, two copies of Eagles of the Misty Mountains, two copies of Quick Strike, Citadel Plate, Hasty Stroke, Horn of Gondor, West Road Traveler and Escort from Edoras. With our only copy of Horn of Gondor already in the discard pile, we are not going to have any help when it comes to resource generation.

With 7 willpower against 1 threat in the staging area, we make 6 progress on stage 1. This is a good first round, but we will need to ramp up our questing efforts and find some more threat-reduction if we want to keep pace in this frantic race to Mirkwood. At the end of the first round, we ready our characters, raise our threat, and Gollum throws his first tantrum. With our threat at 33, we move on to the next round.

Round 2: Stage 1B (6 of 12 progress)
33 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Unexpected Courage, West Road Traveler, Gondorian Spearman, Dwarven Tomb, Vassal of the Windlord
— Gimli: 2 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Thalin: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 2 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Wood Elf Path
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

For this round, we draw Ancient Mathom. Card drawing is great to see; hopefully it will bring us more threat-reduction effects. For planning, we will attach Unexpected Courage to Gimli and play a Vassal of the Windlord. Being able to use Gimli two commit to the quest and participate in combat will be critical. The rest of our resources will be saved with an eye toward playing Gandalf in a later round.

Woodman's GladeIn the quest phase, we will commit each of our heroes to the quest and exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Gimli. For staging, we reveal Woodman’s Glade which gives us a total of 3 threat in the staging area. Our 7 willpower gives us 4 more progress on stage 1. We now have only 2 progress to go until we clear the first stage. We could discard to boost Eowyn’s willpower, but we need to get some allies in play before we move to the later stages. Stage 3 in particular will not allow us to play allies, so we need at least one more round to setup.

For travel, we will exhaust Gimli to make the Woodman’s Glade the active location. In the refresh phase, we ready our cards, raise our threat and Gollum throws his second fit. Two rounds into the game, and we can already see the insane pace of this scenario for solo play. We’ve barely gotten started and we’re already at 37 threat.

Round 3: Stage 1B (10 of 12 progress)
37 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Gondorian Spearman, Ancient Mathom
— Gimli: 3 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Thalin: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 1 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Wood Elf Path
Active Location: Woodman’s Glade
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

With resources collected, we add Feint to our hand. So far our luck is holding out as this card will help us avoid undefended attacks that would damage Gollum. For planning we will spend two tactics resources to play Gondorian Spearman. The Spearman can help finish off an enemies on the defense. Thalin’s ability will soften up enemies, Gimli will attack the tougher ones, and the spearman can give the coup de grâce.

Goblin SniperOnce again, Gimli, Eowyn and Thalin will commit to the quest. Gimli readies and we reveal a Goblin Sniper for staging. The Sniper takes a damage from Thalin’s ability. This enemy can be very dangerous when the staging area already has enemies, but alone like this it is mostly harmless. Our willpower totals 7 and with 3 threat in the staging area we explore Woodman’s Glade and put the last 2 progress that we need to pass stage 1.

Wood Elf PathNext, we can travel the Wood Elf Path. We want to travel as much as possible, to keep the staging area clear of locations. In addition, we can play Ancient Mathom on this location next round, and use it to draw some cards. Because the Goblin Sniper is the only enemy in the staging area, we can optionally engage it right away. We cannot afford to leave the Sniper in the staging area to shoot us with arrows every round.

After dealing the smelly Goblin a shadow card, we declare Gondorian Spearman as a defender. The Goblin Sniper takes another damage, and is killed before it even has a chance to attack. The combination of the Thalin’s ability and using Gondorian Spearman as a defender is a great way to deal with enemy attacks and avoid potentially devastating shadow effects. Ending the round, we raise our threat to 38 and Gollum’s struggles raise it up 3 more to 41.

Round 4: Stage 2B (0 of 3 progress)
41 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Ancient Mathom, Feint
— Gimli: 4 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Thalin: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 2 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Empty
Active Location: Wood Elf Path
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

Our deck continues to play out perfectly – our new card is Song of Travel. We should no longer have a problem paying for our more expensive Spirit cards. We will pay 1 resource from Thalin to attach Song of Travel to Gimli. With our threat at 41 and climbing, The Galadhrim’s Greeting and Dwarven Tomb in our hand are going to be very important. In need of more cards, we will pay 1 resource from Eowyn’s pool to attach Ancient Mathom to the Wood Elf Path.

Attercop AttercopAgain our quest phase starts with committing Gimli, Eowyn and Thalin. We will ready Gimli with Unexpected Courage and prepare for the next card from the encounter deck. For staging, our worst fears are realized and Attercop, Attercop comes bursting into the staging area.

This is by far the most dangerous card in the encounter deck, and in a solo game there is no way to avoid engaging it. With a massive 8 attack and a stout 4 defense, this enemy is the strongest we have faced in our travels. We are going to need to come up with a solution to this terrible foe, or it will surely destroy everyone in our party.

Thalin’s ability deals 1 damage to the Spider, and with 7 willpower against the Attercop’s 2 threat we explore Wood Elf Path and add 2 progress to stage 2. We are not yet ready to move to stage 3, so we will pass on discarding any cards for Eowyn’s ability. After the active location is explored, we will trigger the response on Ancient Mathom and draw three cards: Citadel Plate, Song of Travel and Hasty Stroke.

For the encounter phase, the Attercop immediately engages us. This is a great example of the challenge inherent in tackling this scenario solo. If we had multiple players, one player could deal with the Spider while the others focus on the quest. With no other players to rely on, we are going to have to find solutions to both of these problems.

FeintFor combat, we deal the hideous spider a shadow card and then pay 1 resource for Feint. Thankfully, Ancient Mathom allowed us to draw Citadel Plate. Attached to Gimli, that should allow us to actually defend against the spider, at least for one round. Since Gimli has yet to don his armor, we have not choice but to use Feint to buy us a round.

With its thick chitinous hide proving 4 defense there is no way that we can do any damage to the Attercop for this round. The end of another round has come, once again Gollum plays his increasingly dangerous game and our threat climbs to 45. Time is running out for us to make it to Mirkwood alive. We need to finish off the Attercop and rush through the rest of the quest.

Round 5: Stage 2B (2 of 3 progress)
45 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Citadel Plate, Song of Travel, Hasty Stroke
— Gimli: 4 resource, 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)
— Thalin: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 2 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Empty
Engaged: Attercop, Attercop
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

With our threat climbing dangerously high and a terrible foe ready to tear us apart, we are looking for answers. Swift Strike is expensive so it is not the best card to be drawing in this circumstance. For planning we will play The Galadhrim’s Greeting to lower our threat to 39. In addition, we will equip Gimli with a Citadel Plate, which will actually allow his to defend against the Attercop this round and survive to tell about it.

Great Forest WebWe need Gimli for combat this round, so we will only send Eowyn and Thalin to the quest this round. For staging we reveal Great Forest Web, which is good to see since we do not want to deal with another enemy at this point.

We cannot afford to exhaust a hero to travel, so we will pass for traveling for now. With 5 willpower against the 2 threat in the staging area, we make 3 Progress on stage 2 and move on the third stage. This is where things get really dangerous, because as long as we are on quest stage 3, we cannot play cards from our hands. This means that we need to kill the spider and plow through this stage before our threat gets out of control.

For combat we deal a shadow card to Attercop, Attercop and Gimli exhausts to defend. The shadow card is Mirkwood Bats and Gimli takes 6 damage. Thanks to the Citadel Plate, the Dwarf survives and thanks to Unexpected Courage he can ready and counter-attack. Together Gimli and the Gondorian Spearman are able to fell the terrible Creature and give us some small hope. The end of the round brings our threat back up to 43 and the clock is ticking.

Round 6: Stage 3B (0 of 7 progress)
43 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Citadel Plate, Song of Travel, Hasty Stroke, Swift Strike
— Gimli: 1 resource, 6 damage (3 of 9 hit points)
— Thalin: 1 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 1 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: Great Forest Web
Active Location: None
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

Scrambling for our lives, we know that we need to clear this stage before our threat gets any higher. Unfortunately, we cannot play cards during this stage, so the Gondorian Spearman that we draw is not going to make a difference. At least we were able to kill the Attercop, but that will be a small comfort if we cannot make it To The Elven King’s Halls.

The Spider's RingIn desperation, we will send everyone to the quest, and hope for some good luck. Gimli readies, thanks to Unexpected Courage, and we await our fate from the encounter deck. All things considered, The Spider’s Ring isn’t too bad of a card to see, it’s certainly better than another Attercop.

We need to make as much progress as possible, so we will discard Swift Strike to give Eowyn +1 willpower. Our 8 total willpower against the 5 threat in the staging area puts 3 progress on the stage. We need to get 4 more progress next round, or Gollum will raise our threat to high and we will not survive. For travel we go to The Spider’s Ring. The fact that it has higher threat than quest points means that is effectively provides progress towards our goal. With the round over, we raise our threat to 47 and hope for a bit of good luck.

Round 7: Stage 3B (3 of 7 progress)
47 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Citadel Plate, Song of Travel, Hasty Stroke, Swift Strike, Gondorian Spearman
— Gimli: 2 resource, 6 damage (3 of 9 hit points)
— Thalin: 2 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 2 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Spider’s Ring
Active Location: None
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

With our threat at 47, this round is our last chance to clear stage 3 and have any hope of surviving this quest. We draw a Winged Guardian, another great ally, but at this point the Eagles is nothing more than fuel for Eowyn’s ability. Unfortunately, with the threat in the staging area, if a location or enemy is revealed, we will not have enough willpower to pass the stage, even with discarding a card to Eowyn. This is one of the rare times in the game that we actually want a treachery to be revealed from the encounter deck.

We commit each of our heroes to the quest, ready Gimli and hold our breath for the staging step. Our death sentence will have to wait until next round, because a second copy of Wasted Provisions means that we will pass this stage. Before we move on, the treachery does discard another 10 cards from our rapidly shrinking deck. Song of Travel, Stand and Fight, two copies of The Eagles Are Coming!, Gandalf, A Test of Will, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Ancient Mathom and our only two copies of Northern Tracker are all discarded to this nasty effect.

Dwarven TombThe Galadhrim's GreetingBefore resolving the quest, we will discard Winged Guardian to boost Eowyn’s willpower. With 8 total willpower, we explore The Spider’s Ring and place exactly 4 progress on stage 3.

With no time to spare, this allows us to move on to the final stage of the quest. The worst prisoner ever, Gollum is set to raise our threat above 50 at the end of the round. If don’t lower our threat immediately our survival will be short-lived.

Fortunately, now that we are on stage 4 we are no longer prevented from playing cards so we will pay all of our remaining Spirit resources to return The Galadhrim’s Greeting from the discard pile to our hand and then play it. Our threat is at 41 and we have a glimmer of hope. For travel we will exhaust Gimli to allow us to move on the Great Forest Web. Fortune still smiles upon us, but Gollum, vile creature that he is, has raised our threat back up to 45. As always with this quest, time is of the essence.

Round 8: Stage 4B (0 of 2 progress)
45 threat (First Player)
Hand: Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, West Road Traveler, Citadel Plate, Song of Travel, Hasty Stroke, Swift Strike, Gondorian Spearman
— Gimli: 1 resource, 6 damage (3 of 9 hit points)
— Thalin: 3 resource, 0 damage (4 of 4 hit points)
— Eowyn: 1 resource, 0 damage (3 of 3 hit points)
Staging Area: The Spider’s Ring
Active Location: None
Gollum: 0 damage (5 of 5 hit points)

Drawing what will hopefully be our last card of the game, we get a West Road Traveler. While the extra willpower might seem appealing, we aren’t going to have a problem with the 2 quest points on this stage, and we need those resources for Gandalf. For planning we will spend all of our resources to play Gandalf and lower our threat to 40. Without including multiple ways to reduce our threat in this deck, we would never have stood a chance in returning Gollum to Mirkwood.

King SpiderFor the quest, will will commit Gimli, Eowyn, Thalin and Gandalf. Thanks to Unexpected Courage, Gimli readies. If we don’t draw an enemy, we should win immediately. Unfortunately, the encounter deck is not going to let us escape that easily.

King Spider is revealed and forces us to exhaust the Gondorian Spearman. With 11 willpower we explore Great Forest Web and place 7 progress on the final stage. Since we only needed 2 progress to clear the stage, the only thing standing between us and victory is a smelly King Spider. After traveling up and down the Anduin, under caves, over hills, on boats, and through dark forests, I will be happy if I never see another spider again in all my life.

For the encounter phase, we engage the King Spider. Vassal of the Windlord will defend against the spider. The Shadow card is a Wood Elf Path and the Vassal is killed, sacrificing himself for a good cause. Gimli hefts his axe and casually cuts the King Spider into approximately 27 equal-sized pieces. With the staging area empty, 7 progress on the stage, and only 12 cards left in our player deck, we have won the game!

Score and Recap

Wow, what a rush. Of all of our adventures on Beorn’s Path, that was the one of the most intense. It literally came down to one card – if the last card revealed in stage 3 had not been a treachery we would have lost the game. This is a great reminder of why we should never give up. With our threat at 47, a staging area filling up, and a crippling inability to play cards from our hands, the situation seemed hopeless. Instead of giving up, we pushed on, and with a little luck, we pushed through to victory.

It is worth reiterating: this scenario is very difficult to play solo. No guarantees are made for any player using this deck, or any other, to make a solo attempt against this scenario. This scenario gets easier the more players that you add, especially because you can design a deck with threat reduction to take full-time Gollum guarding duty. The purpose of playing this scenario solo was not to give players a false sense of security, but rather to try to showcase all of the deck-building techniques and game strategies that we have learned over the course of this series.

This game is challenging, particularly for those who have not previously played other deck-building games. While most of this series has focused on solo play, the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is cooperative by nature. Whether you play with a friend, or using another deck in “two-handed” mode, a whole new aspect of the game is opened up when playing with more than one deck. For anyone who struggles with this, or any other scenario in the game, I strongly encourage you to experiment with multi-player. Having different decks focus on the various aspects of each round can make the game a lot easier.

With a threat of 40, we took 7 full rounds to finish the scenario, and ended up with only 6 damage on Gimli. This gives us a final score of:

40 (Threat) + 70 (Rounds) + 6 (Damage) + 0 (Victory) = 116

Gollum has been safely returned to his prison in the Elven King’s Halls and we can rest easy, knowing that we helped Gandalf with an important task. When a wizard asks for something, one would be wise to pay heed. Middle-Earth is a dangerous place, and it is always good to have Gandalf on your side.

Our Return to Mirkwood concludes the Core Set and subsequent Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. This also brings us to the end of Beorn’s Path. While it is fun to visit the elves in Mirkwood, I am keen to get back home to my hall. Mead, friendship and good tales await, and the Beornings are in need of their leader. To all of the readers who have traveled Beorn’s Path with me, my deepest thanks. After many miles, it is time to settle down for a bit. If anyone has suggestions of what they would like to see from the Hall of Beorn, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

May you find peace at the end of whatever road you follow!


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21 Responses to Beorn’s Path: Part 13 – Return to Mirkwood

  1. Whew, intense recap! Have yourself a well earned pint of mead back at your Hall.

  2. Landroval says:

    Could you have exhausted Gollum in the last round instead of the Spearman?

    Or do the rules forbid this?

    Never sure why Gollum had the Creature trait and not the hobbit trait. Could have loaded him with Dunedain Attachments and Fast Hitches for some Gollum Hero action.

    In this scenario, I have never succeeded without the use of Elfhelm.

    Also – you can use radagast to heal gollum from undefended attacks (except attacks fro Attercop.. of course).

    • Beorn says:

      Great point about exhausting Gollum to fulfill the When Revealed effect of the King Spider. Unfortunately it would do no good to add to Gollum’s stats. In the Rules Sheet for Return to Mirkwood ( it specifically mentions that Gollum cannot be used to attack, defend or commit to a quest. So having boosted stats is a lost cause with that creature.

      You can also attach cards to him, and since he counts as an ally Self Preservation is a logical choice. Even if I had access to the Lore sphere, I would honestly think twice about using Self Preservation on Gollum though. First of all the card is expensive, and better suited for actual defenders like Aragorn, Denethor or Gildor Inglorion. Secondly, having Self Preservation on Gollum implies that you actually plan on taking undefended attacks, something that I would prefer not to risk in this scenario. Thanks for the good suggestions though. I do hope that the saga expansions include a Gollum ally that does more than just sit there and throw fits.

  3. Nano says:

    Awesome, as always. Those post are so educational and have helped me a lot before going through the quests on my own.

    I would love to see Beorn having a little and well deserved rest, and then taking on the depths of Minas Moria in the next cycle!

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks Nano, I’m glad that Beorn’s Path has been helpful. We’ll have to see about continuing the Journey to Khazad-dum – these play reports can be very time consuming to play and create, and I have even less free time now than when I started the blog. The next series may end up evolving into videos or some other form that takes less time to create.

      • Nano says:

        We’ll be following, and with expectation, no matter what! As a dedicated blogger, I know how hard and time-consuming these posts are, and for that I thank you even more!

  4. Wow that was a lucky Treachery. (I think you cheated in order to be able to win so you didn’t have to try again =P )

    • Beorn says:

      Nope, but I’m glad that it was a treachery! 😀

      If it had been otherwise, I was not looking forward to the prospect of playing this scenario again. Raising your threat by 4 each round is absolutely brutal.

  5. TalesfromtheCards says:

    Congrats on finishing up Beorn’s Path! I know it was a ton of effort but invaluable for new players, and Return to Mirkwood was a very fitting and tense end to it. This is still a tough quest solo, even with the entire card pool available, so I applaud your ability to get the job done with a limited set of cards. One question: why didn’t the heroes dunk Gollum in that stream in Mirkwood that knocks people out? Seems like a handy solution to me.

    • Beorn says:

      Thanks Ian! It’s cool to see that you are posting play sessions of Campaign mode for The Black Riders. I look forward to subsequent articles in that series.

  6. Iskander4000 says:

    Hi Beorn! Thank you so much for posting these. It’s been a lot of fun and I especially like that you built your decks only using cards available at the time. Really helps people like me who can only afford to buy one expansion at a time. I plan on buying the Khazad-Dum expansion in the near future and I’ll take what I’ve learned here and hopefully put it to good use! Thank you again sir.

  7. Shirysblade says:

    This scenario is definitely easier with 2 hands.

    I tried with only one hand with your tactics/spirit sphere deck – i got owned big times several times. 4 threat at the end is really difficult to handle, even if you see it coming. However, with two decks, this one plus the leadership/lore from “The Dead Marshes”, i went for a fairly easy stroll through the forest, except for that constant ruckus that Gollum keeps doing. Put him in his place a few times with my boot so he knew how to behave >:-(

    I guess i was pretty lucky though because at the last step for 2 entire rounds, there were no monsters up the horizon. I guess they couldn’t bear (bear, you get the joke?) having their provisions wasted as well, so they gave up.

    Will try it again for sure to see if it was just pure luck.

    Thanks for your helpful hints!

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, this scenario is clearly not intended to be played solo, especially when you are limiting yourself to cards from the Core Set and Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. It was masochistic of me to even attempt it, but I will definitely play it two-handed the next time I go back to this quest. I’m glad to hear that you were successful playing the two decks together, and there is nothing wrong with a little luck helping you along the way.

      My you have safe travels through Middle-earth!

      • Shirysblade says:

        Well, i played a lot of this game with the real cards. Bought all expansions (with Saga expansions too) + every cycle except for the most recent ones, but i realized the game requires a lot of well thought deck building, otherwise, the game will own you. Especially the scenarios in Heirs of Numenor, they are nasty. I can’t even think of playing it nightmare mode!

        I stopped buying cards for a while (though i’m a real fan of the game and LotR in every aspect) until i discovered OCTGN and your blog. I now play on this platform instead with your custom decks and, while i try to do some customization to decks, you are way better than me on building it.

        For example, for a thematic standpoint, i used to never put more than one copy of a unique card in a deck. Big mistake. You do it a lot and even if you cannot have more than one copy of a unique card in play at the same time, you draw it a lot faster! We learn from errors with time.

        Do you plan on covering all the new expansions (saga also) as well as the incoming ones? I will sure look forward to it.


  8. Scott says:

    I actually had better luck with the Leadership/Lore deck against this scenario than the Tactics/Spirit. It was definitely a race, but I was able to get out with a turn to spare twice.

    I think a big part of it was controlling the encounter deck with Denethor. With Tactics/Spirit my first game saw a turn 2 Hill Troll which proved too much. My second and third both saw a turn 1 Attercop.

    I think I’m addicted to the control and resource generation of the Steward of Gondor.

    • Beorn says:

      Yes, Leadership/Lore is a nice combo with resource acceleration and card draw. Denethor’s ability is incredibly powerful in solo play. Having access to Sneak Attack and Gandalf is always nice as well.

  9. PS says:

    Shouldn’t your final score be 126 because it took you 8 rounds (instead of seven)?

    • Beorn says:

      When calculating your score, you only count complete rounds (that go all the way to the refresh phase). Since I won during the combat phase of the 8th round, there were only 7 complete rounds and my score reflects that. Thanks for the question, and I hope this helps to clarify scoring.

  10. Mats says:

    Thanks for a great introduction to this game! I started playing it quite recently and was very happy to find your blog and learn about deck building in this progressive way. I’m also glad to see that the community still is as active as it is even since the game came out several years ago.


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