With Beneath the Sands, we’re half way through the Haradrim cycle already. The final Saga expansion, The Mountain of Fire, should be released at GenCon 2017, so we can start to look ahead a bit, and wonder about where the next cycle will go. Chronologically speaking, cycles have taken us through Mirkwood; the Dwarrowdelf; Gondor, Pelargir and outlying areas; Rohan and Dunland; Fornost and the Northern reaches; the Grey Havens, and now Harad.
One cannot help but speculate where the designers might take us next. The poll has closed, all votes are tallied, and the consensus is that players want to see the next cycle set in Erebor and Dale. Both of the Hobbit Saga boxes are based in that region, and in addition to a bevy of Dwarves they gave us such iconic heroes as Bard the Bowman and yours truly.
It would be interesting to see a return to the North. Perhaps we could see a different version of Dain Ironfoot. It is unlikely that we will ever see a Dwarf hero with anything approaching Dain’s power level, but that is for the best as her is one of the more unbalanced heroes. A version of Dain in a different sphere (Spirit perhaps) with an ability based around the new digging archetype would be interesting. Given the proximity to Northern Mirkwood, we could even finally see a version of Thranduil in such a cycle.
The second most voted destination for the next cycle was surprising to me. We know that The Mountain of Fire will be going to Mordor, but it could be fun to have a cycle go there outside of the narrative of the books. I do wonder what sorts of heroes we would see in Adventure Packs based in and around Mordor, but I have no doubt that the quests would be thrilling and mercilessly difficult. Deluxe boxes allow players to live out an alternate history and it would be cool to see an army of Gondor and Rohan lay siege to Barad-dûr, or similarly outrageous hypotheticals.
The Shire comes in a distant third place in the voting. We saw a smattering of Hobbit and Hobbit-based cards (Fast Hitch) early in the game’s life, but there were only ever supplemental to other deck styles. It wasn’t until The Black Riders that Hobbits became an archetype in their own right. I quite the the engagement shenanigans that you can pull with Hobbit decks, and the way that the blend so well with Dúnedain is one of my favorite thematic wins in this game.
I would definitely like to see the game return to the Shire in a cycle as there are so many great characters which have yet to be represented in the game. The Gaffer is one of my personal favorites and I can only imagine how the designers would choose to represent an Hobbit with the fortitude to stand up to a Black Rider. They could even get adventurous and choose to represent the events of the Scouring of the Shire in a cycle, in case we don’t get those as part of a Fellowship event. For such a small quiet place, there is a lot of material left to explore.
Rounding out the voting we have lesser known locales like the Iron Hills and Rhûn, along side famous havens like Rivendell, Dol Amroth and Lórien. In our latest episode of the book club (to be released soon), we discuss Lórien at some length. With the descriptions of that magical place fresh on my mind it certainly seems like it would make a great setting for a cycle. Woe to any Orc or Warg that is foolish enough to cross into that wondrous land!
Thank to everyone who voted (even whoever wrote in “Tatooine” or “Space, the final frontier”). There is a new poll up, so make sure to weigh in on your favorite play styles. For obvious reasons, my heart is set on the next cycle being set around the Carrock, with an entirely new archetype around Beorning characters. It may be a faint hope, but a bear has to dream. No matter the destination, it will be exciting to see where the game takes us next.
|The Old Forest||27||3.74%|
|The Western Sea||10||1.39%|
As a bonus, here is a picture of the newest helper animal here that the Hall of Beorn. We found him stranded in a tree, so we named him Monkey.