After eating enough turkey to nearly send me into early hibernation, I am ready to get back to business. It is time to announce my choice for the winner of the Ring-maker contest. As the community grows, these contests become increasingly difficult to judge. There are simply too many excellent cards, it’s enough to make a bear’s head hurt.
The winning card is an interesting design by reader John Michel. His version of the One Ring allows you to take advantage of Secrecy cards, even when your threat is above 20. With some fantastic Secrecy cards, and more being released in the Ring-maker cycle, this is a very powerful effect. I especially like how it allows aggressive decks with a high starting threat to take advantage of these cards, but with a risk. Here is the creator’s description of his card:
For this card, I thought about the One Ring – but especially from the time frame of this game: Before Sauron’s awakening, it is not yet acting as the Ruling Ring. Its effects are generally limited to making its wearer invisible and allowing him to accomplish things not normally possible. The ill effects are not immediately evident, but over time they completely overwhelm and destroy him.
Canceling treacheries or preventing damage is great, but are fairly narrow in target and have been done already. Adding secrecy is not only something new and in my opinion welcome, but supports many strategies and play styles. Plus, it’s potential expands with the secrecy card base. I think it represents pretty well the seemingly benign nature of the ring’s help.
As for the drawback, I went with threat limit reduction because I think it’s an interesting version of threat raise. It’s weaker than threat raise in a way because it carries no immediate consequences. But it’s stronger in a way because it cannot trigger effects that prevent or reverse threat raising – and lore Aragorn is powerless to protect the heroes from it. I thought it would better represent true temptation than a straight-up threat increase. It will be much harder to predict how it will affect you until later in the game.
The cost set at 3 was to counter the immediate power of secrecy effects. The cost of secrecy effects is so reduced that I felt it wise to balance them by giving the Ring a full turn’s worth of resource cost. It’s too expensive for a casual splashing of secrecy, but provides a way to build heavily around that mechanic without losing those effects a few turns into the game due to early threat increase or bad luck in your card draw. Requiring the attached hero to exhaust I thought was not only appropriate for the card’s theme, but would also entice the player to put it on the smaller, simpler heroes with less potent abilities. It’s not limited to hobbits, but it makes them a natural target for attachment.
It is only appropriate that this use of the true Ring of Power can lead to a player’s downfall. Each time you use this effect, your threat limit is reduced by 2 (from 50 to 48, etc.). With a deck that has more than 20 current threat, reducing the threat limit for being eliminated from the game is no trivial matter. I am fond of cards that play with the fundament aspects of the game in unique ways. Congratulations to John Michel on winning a copy of Celebrimbor’s Secret. Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest. To see the winner that Ian chose for this contest, head on over to Tales from the Cards.