Contest: A Very Good Tale

ImageIt’s that time again – The Hall of Beorn is holding another contest. Thanks to the speedy delivery of some friendly eagles, we have in our grubby massive paws, an extra copy of The Morgul Vale Adventure Pack. I just finished playing the scenario the other night, and this one is a lot of fun.

Not only does it bring the narrative of the Against the Shadow cycle, but the story has a surprise ending. For those interested in making Rohan decks, there are some interesting player cards as well. In any case, this is an Adventure Pack that should have something for everyone.

As any fans of the books will recall, I am a great fan of good stories. If your story is good enough, I’ll even let you stay in my hall, and share my mead and honey cakes. For this contest I am interested to hear your favorite story related to the game.

You might tell how you were first introduced to this fine game. Or perhaps you prefer to recount an epic tale of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Maybe you want to relate your favorite passage from the writings of Tolkien, in your own words. You could even tell a joke or a poem. You can write whatever you would like, as long as it is original and relates to the game in some way. Everyone is invited to leave their stories in the comments below.

The contest will run for one week until Friday, November 29th at midnight CST. At that time I will decide which entry I like the best and declare a winner in a follow-up post. The winner will receive their very own copy of The Morgul Value. As with all previous contests, my eagle friends handle delivery so readers from all around the world are eligible to participate. Good luck to everyone and I look forward to reading your very good tales!

Bear Reading

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9 Responses to Contest: A Very Good Tale

  1. chibipaul says:

    With Spirit, Leaders and Lore
    We’ll show those Goblins what for!
    The Tactics will fight
    With all of their might
    Sauron’s Orcs will be defeated for sure!

  2. GrandSpleen says:

    Aragorn was tasked with returning Gollum to the halls of Thranduil, and with him he took Denethor and Beregond, who insisted upon protecting his liege while abroad. They were joined in their quest by Aragorn’s friends Glorfindel and Elrond. Denethor, mistrustful of elves, bade Prince Imrahil keep watch over the Eldar throughout their quest. Gollum was captured and marched back to Mirkwood. The noise the wretch made was formidable, and attracted all manner of creatures. Our heroes were beset in ambush on all sides. With the eye of Sauron nearly upon them, Aragorn knew the only hope lie in quickly dispatching all enemies and secreting Gollum into the halls of the Woodland king. Denethor and Elrond were bound fast in the webbing of Mirkwood’s enormous spiders, and it was all Beregond and Imrahil could do to keep the beasts at bay. At last Beregond, wielding a spear of his master’s citadel, felled one spider in counter-stroke. Only one remained. Were it defeated swiftly, our company would surely find refuge and safety this night. Any delay, however, would surely bring more foes and the ire of the Dark Lord himself. With the company traveled a tracker from Ithilien, and a hammersmith from Erebor, both prepared to strike alongside Aragorn and Denethor. Though separated from the rest of the group, Glorfindel also made to strike from afar with his bow of Rivendell make. Aragorn assessed his men’s strength. Not enough, just not enough. The spider was as large as they come and would be gravely wounded by such an attack, but they lacked an edge. Aragorn despaired. Then Elrond, though far from the fight and unable to lend his own strength, looked within. He sensed the blessing of the Valar upon his brow. Elrond closed his eyes and focused his thoughts on his Ring of Air. Something was nearby. Pouring his strength into the ring, he besought the presence to reveal itself. Aragorn dared delay no more, and commanded the attack. All flew at the spider, but it looked as though the creature would fend them off — then, through the air whistled an arrow unlooked for, and struck a fatal blow in the monster’s eye. Aragorn gaped, and looked to Elrond. Beside the Lord of Rivendell stood a lone archer of Silverlode, called by the ring, his body yet tensed from sudden bowshot. Spent, Aragorn smiled, but dared not tarry. With their enemies defeated, the company quickly gathered together and escorted Gollum the last weary steps to the gates of Thranduil’s hold.

  3. Korey says:

    For me, this game will always remind me of my son. He was born at the end of March of this year. I had been pretty into the Game of Thrones LCG, but after a few weeks of fatherhood, I realized it was going to be awhile before I could regularly meet up with the game group again. I felt like I needed to choose: play only AGOT, or play a wider variety of other games. I started looking for options to trade or sell AGOT.

    Somehow, I was reminded of the Lord of the Rings card game, and remembered that it could be played solo. After reading all the information I could find, I wanted it. Badly. A couple weeks later I had 2 core sets and all of the Mirkwood cycle. As my son slept in the next room, always a moment away from waking up and screaming for milk, I set up the core Leadership deck and the Passage Through Mirkwood quest. I loved it.

    It was the perfect way to find a little time for myself, as my son slept and my wife rested. Whether playing with each core deck (even Tactics) against the first quest, or switching to playing two-handed once I’d moved on to the Mirkwood quests, I loved every minute of it. I now have all the quests except the Against the Shadow cycle, and am currently loving the excellent combo of Loragorn, Frodo, and Spirfindel. Just crazy.

    Most of my games are now played later at night, with my son asleep for far more than one hour. I play the occasional other game with my wife or some friends, but LOTR is far and away my most played game. It fits my schedule well, and hopefully my son will enjoy games as much as me some day. If not, I can’t help but think of him as I play it.

  4. Pingback: The Grey Company Podcast – Episode 2 | Hall of Beorn

  5. Julian says:

    If you’ve played Journey Along the Anduin enough, you’ve eventually encountered the Double Troll situation, where you are confronted with not one but two hill trolls in Stage 1. Most of the time this meant instant game over, especially before the card pool has expanded to its current extent. This is the tale of my fiancee and I encountering this situation and trying nonetheless to fight through it.

    * * *

    Eowyn sighed. When the news had reached Edoras that Thranduil needed a group of heroes to send a message to Lady Galadriel, she had thrilled with the thought of adventure. But the journey had been a major disappointment thus far, in large part due to the oddities of her companions. Eomer had asked Dunhere to go along as a kind of chaperone, to protect Thranduil’s message from orcs and wargs, but more importantly to protect Eowyn from any men who showed the slightest bit of interest in her.

    Then there was Dwalin, who had been tasked to guide them through Mirkwood. All he did was grumble and complain about the last time he had been through the forest. And for some strange reason, Dunhere had been especially hostile to Dwalin ever since the dwarf had made a comment about the girth of his axe. The further comment that he hoped his weapon would see some action on this journey had not helped.

    And so they had trundled along, accompanied by a bodyguard of Legolas, Brand, and Gimli. They seemed interesting and friendly enough, but Dunhere had made sure she didn’t spend too much time talking to them.

    “There should be a boat around here somewhere,” said Dwalin. “Once we get to it we will have an easy ride down the river to Lothlorien.”

    “We’ll go scout the area first,” said Legolas. “Just to make sure nothing too bad is–arrrgh!” His words were cut short when a fearsome hill troll emerged from behind a pile of rocks!

    “Don’t worry, Lady Eowyn,” said Gimli confidently. “Let me show you how we handle–” The confidence evaporated when another troll appeared, accompanied by two savage beastmasters of Dol Guldur!

    Eowyn, Dunhere, and Dwalin shrank back into the cover of the treeline while the rest charged into the fray. But the combined might of Mirkwood, Lake-town, and Erebor would not prevail this day. Legolas managed to put a few arrows in a troll before being knocked out by a flying boulder, and Brand crumpled under a crushing blow from a troll axe. Eowyn could only look on in terror as a mighty kick sent Gimli flying back into the underbrush. The dwarf landed prostrate in the dust at Eowyn’s feet.

    “Here,” he gasped to Dwalin, “take this Dwarrowdelf Axe. And you, Eowyn, take the Horn of Gondor, which I managed to nick from Boromir. Leave us here…just get the message through!” And with that his senses left him.

    “What do we do? What do we do?” gibbered Dunhere, white as a sheet. Dwalin looked just as nervous as he gripped his axe tightly.

    But Eowyn grinned. At last, here was the adventure she was looking for–a chance to show her mettle, like the shieldmaidens of old.

    “Dwalin, you hold them off. Dunhere, ride around and strike the trolls while they are distracted. I’ll find help and get the boat ready. Go!”

    Dwalin stepped out of the brush. The trolls and orcs were standing about, not yet aware of the location of the three heroes. Then Dunhere burst from the undergrowth at a full charge, sinking his lance into a stunned Beastmaster. With a fierce war-cry, Dwalin beheaded the wounded orc, sending its black blood spurting from the severed neck.

    The ferocity of Dwalin’s attack seemed to stun and surprise the forces of Evil, who hesitated to engage. But their delay proved fatal, as Dunhere brought his horse around and wounded the other Beastmaster. The orc shared the same grisly fate as his confederate at the edge of Dwalin’s axe.

    Meanwhile Eowyn dashed towards the shore, hoping to find aid. Dunhere and Dwalin couldn’t hold out by themselves for long. But where would she turn? Clapping the horn to her lips, she sounded a long and resounding peal.

    She was almost about to give the horn another blow when lo! Gandalf the Grey came running towards her, with Elfhelm and a Northern Tracker by his side. “Quick! Bring down the trolls!” she ordered, pointing to the field of battle. In answer, Gandalf knocked one of the trolls down with a sorcerous blast. Rising to its feet, the troll swung its axe at the wizard, but he easily defended the blow.

    “Baruk Khazad!” cried Dwalin.

    “For the Mark!” screamed Dunhere and Elfhelm.

    And with help from the Northern Tracker, they brought the troll to its knees.

    The second troll, seeing the fate of the first, hung back. Emboldened by their success, the heroes prepared to end its foul existence. Gandalf had disappeared, but another Northern Tracker had arrived on the scene to lend his martial skill. Eowyn lifted the horn to her lips again and blew a bold victory flourish.

    “Can we take him?” said Dunhere.

    “Just imagine he’s a big creeper trying to stalk me,” replied Eowyn with a wink.

    “YOU KEEP YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF HER!” screamed Dunhere.

    And with that the warriors charged the bewildered troll. Bold Elfhelm led the charge and was crushed for his pains, but the brave Rider of Rohan was quickly avenged by the rest of the hardy band. Dunhere speared the beast through the heart just as Dwalin buried his axe in its brain.

    As the Trackers went to tend to the wounded, Eowyn breathed a sigh of relief. They had survived–and even more, they had taken down two gargantuan trolls! “The maidens of Edoras will never believe this,” she mused.

    “I could use a drink of mead right about now,” panted Dunhere.

    “Well we’ve still got to get this message to Lothlorien,” said Dwalin. “But that should be easy enough now. And once we get there the drinks are on me. Let me tell you, my lad, about miruvor…”

    And, arm in arm, the heroes sailed off down the Anduin.

    * * *

    When we saw the double trolls, we thought we were doomed, but I insisted we keep playing anyway. She was running the Tactics deck and was immediately beset by both trolls. All she could do was get me the Horn and the Dwarrowdelf Axe before her heroes went down. But with her elimination, I got a bunch of resources from the Horn. Thanks to a bunch of hapless orcs coming off the encounter deck, I was able to use Dwalin’s effect to keep my threat under 30 and avoid engaging the trolls until I got a good number of fighty allies (well, as fighty as Spirit allies can get) and Gandalf. This allowed me to take down the first troll.

    It took me two rounds to kill the second. Elfhelm defended the first attack and died, and my remaining allies wounded but did not kill the troll. Fortunately I had a second copy of Elfhelm in my hand and managed to play it, allowing him to defend the troll and die again. His sacrifice, however, enabled the rest of my allies to finish of the troll. From there, I easily strolled (or rowed?) to victory.

    This is the most epic game of LotR I’ve ever played. My fiancee still can’t believe we won–and that we took down the two hill trolls with a mono-Spirit deck!

  6. Megan says:

    Sometimes the most memorable moments in this game are unexpected. Sometimes the most unlikely hero may shape the fortunes of all, yielding the most nail-biting of victories. Such a hero is Denethor, son of Ecthelion II, 26th Steward of Gondor, a grim and silent leader, a proud man in whom the blood of Numenor runs almost true. He is renowned for his wisdom and keen foresight, for his leadership and strength of will—not for his skill with a pickaxe.

    But such was his role in one memorable Escape from Moria, when Denethor son of Ecthelion took the pickaxe dropped by his brave comrade Thalin of Erebor, marshaled unexpected courage, and picked his way to dusty victory.

    ***
    Denethor glanced at his companions fighting in the stagnant gloom of Moria, and then at the black smoking shadow that blocked the way to freedom. Why had he agreed to deliver a message to Balin, some dwarvish upstart who was claiming to be the new Lord of Moria? Why had he gotten dragged on this mad quest away from Gondor?

    He sighed and ducked an arrow. He always found in hard to resist his eldest son. When the White Council sought his support on this quest, Boromir had insisted that he and Faramir could handle the defense of Minas Tirith.

    Besides, Denethor was only supposed to be gone a few weeks, at most. The plan had been to meet up with Dain, King Under the Mountain, and his vassals Thalin and Bifur. They were joined with the elvish prince, Legolas, escorting a young Frodo Baggins, a short creature—a hobbit, he called himself.

    But the journey had gone terribly wrong. The Eastern gate stood rent asunder, and the halls of Moria echoed only with the skittering of goblin chatter. The dwarves were not to found, and orcs roamed everywhere. After finding Balin’s broken tomb, much to Dain, Thalin, and Bifur’s grief, they had been beset by many orcs and now blocked by a black shadow wreathed in flame.

    Throughout, he had to admit, his companion had fought valiantly, and his own Gondorian spearmen had stood and fallen repeatedly by his side. His wisdom had protected them against Fouled Wells, Hidden Threats, and Watchful eyes, but even he could not aid them against this foe, beyond even his mighty ken.

    Denethor stood back with Dain as his fellow heroes fought against goblins and snipers. Dain lent his fellow dwarves courage and even improved their battle prowess. But all knew it was a losing battle. The gate was blocked. They could not get out. A desperate gamble—running past shadow that blocked their path—offered only a vain hope

    But, aided by his strong courage, Denethor’s keen eyes and mind searched high and low for a way out, an alternative. And then he hit upon it—a pickaxe, likely abandoned by a dwarf miner, glinted in the light provided by a crack in the wall. Crying out, Denethor pointed to the axe and the crack. Startled, Thalin turned from his battle with a goblin sniper, saw the axe and reached for it.

    Yet before even one mighty blow, Thalin fell to the surprise attack of a goblin follower.

    The pickaxe fell at Denethor’s feet, and he bent to it. Raising it above his head, Denethor looked at wall—thinking only briefly of the indignity—and swung at the wall. The rock shook and dust and pebbles fell to the ground at Denethor’s feet. He swung again. More rocks fell.

    He swung a third time—even as the terror of the black shadow paralyzed the mighty elf. The weight of this pickaxe seemed markedly akin to his own white rod—what a random thought to have at such a time. But it gave him courage.

    Inspired by thoughts of home, Denethor rallied his courage, swung one final time, and coughed as a swirling cloud of dust and debris fell around him. Together with his companions, Denethor rushed out into the open air of a summer’s day in the mountains.

    Covered in dusk leaning on his pickaxe, Denethor smiled grimly. Even he could appreciate the irony that he, Denethor, Steward of Gondor, had saved the day with a mining tool.

    ***
    Meta-game note: my fiancée and I started playing when Hunt for Gollum came out. It took some time, but we worked our way through Mirkwood and came (over)-confidently to Khazad-dum. The final scenario took us several weeks to beat. This is our first victory.

    We were terrified that a single card would force us to flip over a new quest card (as had happen several times) and had brought Denethor along to avoid such cards and dig for the pickaxe. We had no idea how important he would prove. The tension rose with each swing of his axe, but we won! The final image is delicious, we think. I hope you enjoyed it.

  7. Thanatopsis says:

    “Keen-Eyed”

    Oh, sweet and innocent Hobbit of the Shire,
    Such youthfulness, as you frolic through a glen.
    How awkwardly you crouch with your aim so dire.
    What use are you in this world of men?
    How your keen-eye guides that stone’s throw.
    But alas, you will always be a lesser Halfling.
    The plights of the larger world, you will never know.
    A fool of a Took, your existence baffling.
    What’s this? That hitch you can so expertly tie,
    And those daggers of western craftsmanship,
    Even a pony lets your hardiness multiply:
    What prowess you possess to guide the fellowship
    Perhaps you can serve a lesson to us all,
    That some hobbits are not quite so small.

  8. catastrophic09 says:

    Thanks to my brother I got into this amazing game. I was visiting him for a fortnight and we were at his favorite local game store. He knew that I loved The Lord of the Rings so he thought I may enjoy the Living Card Game that he had seen before. The core set for $40 seemed expensive because I really didn’t know what the game would be like but it looked cool so I thought I’d give it a try. We got back to his place around 9pm and broke open the game to try it out. I remember instantly falling in love with the beautiful artwork and it took me into Tolkien’s magical Middle-earth. We each picked one of the suggested decks, I picked Spirit and he chose Tactics (which is still our preference when we play). Since we had no idea what we were doing we happened to pick Escape From Dol Guldur as our first quest (a terrible idea!!). After thoroughly being confused, trying to read the rules and wondering what to do with these three guarded items and extra cards to be added to them we were overwhelmed. We jumped on a computer to find some play through videos on how to play this game. By this time it was already past midnight but we were determined to play. Finally we found Fantasy Flight Games’ official instruction videos and after watching them things started to make more sense and we decided to try Passage Through Mirkwood (the proper beginner quest). We finally beat the quest after taking Beorn’s Path and we each had great fun and were eager to play more!
    I have almost fully caught up with the game now (I just bought The Blood of Gondor) and this is my favorite game and hobby. Not only is it great because I can play alone but whenever I get together with my brother we dive back into Middle-earth for some epic quests! I still look back and laugh at the first time we tried playing this since the first quest we tried is still considered one of the hardest! 😉

  9. Pingback: Contest Winner: A Very Good Tale | Hall of Beorn

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