News: A Long-extended Party – Mustering of the Rohirrim Spoilers

The origins of Bear Cavalry

For the most part, my involvement in A Long-extended Party has been as a player. I’ve admired the excellent quest and player card designs from a distance, with only minor input or feedback here and there. When plans became known about an Adventure Pack featuring new Beorning characters, my fuzzy ears perked up. It is only fitting then, that I’ve been more involved in the design of some of the player cards from Mustering the Rohirrim. This article will highlight two such cards which are personal favorites.

Long before A Shadow in the East gave us Sméagol/Gollum, the idea of a double-sided hero card intrigued many players. While that card was perfect, thematically, the prospect of adding treacheries to the encounter deck which transform my hero into an enemy does not at all fit my play style. Still, a hero who transforms from one form into another opens up all sorts of design possibilities. As Skin-changers, Beornings transform from a human form into giant Bears, so they seem like a natural fit for such a hero design.

Enter Osbera. She is a hero card on both sides, so there is no need to worry about an ill-timed treachery taking away one of your strongest characters. Her human side is a Lore hero with well-rounded stats. Looking at her Bear side, she has the Tactics sphere, the Creature trait, and excellent attack strength. Having two different spheres with differing stats gives Osbera excellent versatility, especially as she provides access to Lore cards in an archetype which can benefit from card draw and healing.

Looking beyond the stats and examining her abilities, we see that Osbera transforms from one kind of support character into another. A simple willpower boost would not have worked well with hero Beorn, as he is immune to player card effects. Instead, she lowers the threat in the staging area, a common theme for Lore. Her ability is based on other damaged Beornings in play, similar to the way a mother bear becomes protective when her cubs are in danger. Her Tactics side is more combat focused, which makes sense as nothing draws a momma bear’s ire quite like a stranger endangering her family.

Just as a willpower boost would have been a bit plain (and overlapped with factions like Gondor) a Beorning with a healing ability is not only unbalanced but it doesn’t fit the theme of the archetype. Instead, Osbera’s Tactics side has an interesting form of damage cancellation. As a response to a Beorning taking damage, another Beorning can take some of that damage instead. This ability is powerful, to be sure, but it is limited to once per round. There is an obvious synergy between her two abilities, which offers an interesting decision of whether or not to flip to her B-side depending on the situation.

Compared to Osbera, Beorning Pony is a much lower profile card, but it is near and dear to my heart. In a Living Card Game, it’s important for some cards to work in multiple different factions. If every card clearly supports one and only one faction, deck building becomes a fairly mundane exercise. Less powerful but useful “glue” cards, which work well with multiple styles of decks, make for a much richer and more interesting ecosystem.

You’d better not steal my ponies…

Beornings lack card draw and card search effects, but a card which simply draws more cards would be a bad design. Not only would Tactics card draw be potentially too powerful, but Beornings already interact with allies in the discard pile, so it would be a missed opportunity not to build on this theme. The pony gives a Beorning deck the ability to quickly find one of its most powerful cards, with the side effect that it will likely seed the discard pile with excellent targets for the Beorning Skin-changer. The archetype doesn’t have any good ways to fetch a powerful attachment or event so the Pony fills a useful niche.

One of the narrative details from The Hobbit which I’ve always enjoyed is the way that Beorn warned the Dwarves not to keep his ponies, but to instead send them back once they reached the eaves of Mirkwood. In fact, he was so mistrustful of the Dwarves that Beorn followed them from a distance, in bear form. Still, the ponies helped the Dwarves to continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Ponies lightened the load and provided welcome support. That is the theme that I wanted to capture with this card, and it fits perfectly with the Dwarven Digging archetype.

Aside from the more recent Nori ally, most of the “digging” effects are found in Spirit and Leadership. Part of making the card pool more diverse and interesting is introducing support for an archetype in a different sphere. This card probably won’t be included in the most “optimal” versions of the Dwarven Mining deck, but that was not the goal. One of the goals of A Long-extended Party which I wholeheartedly espouse is not to specifically improve the top tier archetypes. The existing Spirit/Leadership version of Dwarven Mining doesn’t need any help. On the other hand, if cards like Beorning Pony encourage players to branch out and discover a new version of the archetype then it will certainly have met my design goals.

A Long-extended party is an unofficial, fan-made project for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, a living card game by Fantasy Flight Games and is not endorsed, supported or affiliated by FFG. This project is entirely volunteer-driven, and the content created by ALeP is a non-commercial fan release, distributed without pay or profit, for the sole intent of private enjoyment by fans of the game.

This entry was posted in A Long-extended Party, Aggro, Archetypes, Books, Community, Legendarium, News, Series, Spoilers, Swarm, The Hobbit, Theme, Tribal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to News: A Long-extended Party – Mustering of the Rohirrim Spoilers

  1. Pingback: Deck: Be Our Guest | Hall of Beorn

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