Poll Results: Hardest Standard Scenario


In our previous poll, we asked readers what they thought was the most difficult of the standard scenarios (basically everything but Nightmare and GenCon scenarios). The result, by an overwhelming margin, was Escape from Dol Guldur. Ever since the Core Set, this scenario has been imprisoning and slaying heroes from all over Middle-Earth.

As you can see from my experience on Beorn’s Path, escaping from the dungeons of the Necromancer is no easy task, particularly limited to cards from the core set. Newer cards, like the Spirit version of Glorfindel, have helped to some extent. Even so, Escape from Dol Guldur remains one of the most punishing solo scenarios in the entire game.

Rounding out the rest of the list, we have other notoriously challenging scenarios like Return to Mirkwood, Shadow and Flame, and Into Ithilien. Some of these, like Return to Mirkwood, are much harder to defeat with a solo deck, whereas newer scenarios like Into Ithilien tend to scale better and have a fairly consistent level of difficulty no matter how many players are involved. On the other end of the spectrum are scenarios like The Drúadan Forest, which can be relatively easy in solo play, but becomes absolutely punishing in 3 and 4 player games.

With release of The Morgul Vale completing our fight Against the Shadow, the difficulty of that cycle has evened out a bit. As you may recall, many players commented about the extreme difficulty of the Heirs of Numenor scenarios when that expansion was first released. Certainly, powerful cards like Gondorian Shield, Ranger Bow and now Visionary Leadership have helped to bolster players decks in the ensuing releases.

Thanks again to everyone who took part in the voting for this poll. If you haven’t already, take a look at the latest poll about what other kinds of games everyone plays.

Scenario Votes Percent
Escape from Dol Guldur 60 40%
Into Ithilien 29 19.33%
The Siege of Cair Andros 27 18%
Shadow and Flame 15 10%
The Battle of Five Armies 6 4%
Return to Mirkwood 5 3.33%
Other 4 2.67%
Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim 3 2%
The Drúadan Forest 1 0.67%
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6 Responses to Poll Results: Hardest Standard Scenario

  1. the only reason I didn’t vote for Into Ithilien is because I hadn’t played it yet. Wish I could change my vote. 😛

  2. TalesfromtheCards says:

    My vote will always go to Into Ithilien until something tougher emerges (besides nightmare). I banged my head against that quest more than any other. It is more manageable now, but still tough. It is interesting though that perceptions of difficulty can sometimes be subjective based on playstyles, deck preferences, etc.

    • Beorn says:

      Absolutely, although in a weird way I have come to really enjoy Into Ithilien. Perhaps it’s a case of Stockholm Syndrome. It is interesting to see the skew towards solo play in these results, otherwise I would expect to see The Drúadan Forest get more votes.

      • Pickles says:

        You are begging the question. If you already know what scenarios are most difficult with different numbers of players why ask? 😛
        But my real point is that to get any meaning you need to split this into 2+ polls for 1 player 2 player & maybe for 3+ though I have never played anything with 3+ except intro games.
        I came to hate Into Ithilien as in managed to reduce the game to feeling like a random number generator, which in a sense it is but it does a good job of making us feel like we are making meaningful decisions & having a good narrative too. I played II enough that I knew I won if 3 did & that was all that mattered. (The horrible cards were of course Blocking Wargs, Mumaks & others I cannot now remember)

      • Beorn says:

        I know which scenarios I think are most difficult, but I use my own decks and strategies. The reason for this poll was to see what other players think are the most difficult scenarios. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers, this is a matter of opinion. The fact that everyone does not agree highlights the challenge that the designers have in trying to define difficulty ratings for each scenario.

        I think the reason why I like Into Ithilien is that it made me improve my deck building skills and use very specific strategies in the game (particularly in which characters I committed to the quest). Blocking Wargs, Mumak and Watcher in the Wood are all very powerful cards, but each of them can be mitigated by different cards and strategies. An unlucky draw can definitely mean defeat, but if all of the scenarios were easy, this game would quickly become boring.

  3. Pingback: Deck: Out of Ithilien | Hall of Beorn

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