Getting back to Arkham!

Hey everybody!
After talking more about the general boardgames in recent weeks, rather than bombarding you all with news of my hobby progress etc, I thought I’d come here and ramble for a bit about how it went with my Arkham Horror LCG core set campaign!

It’s been ages since I had originally started this, of course, and I had actually had to re-start so that I could once again get into the game and its various mechanics.

So I took Daisy and Skids off on an adventure to save the world from a diabolical cult, and it actually went fairly well – my initial thought about two investigators causing more problems didn’t really pose that much of an issue, as there were also more clues being spawned and we got through the encounter deck a lot quicker, etc.

I must say, I’m quite surprised at the differences between this game and Lord of the Rings, which I’d recently gotten back into of course, and my approaches to them. Skids had pretty much been tooled-up to be the heavy hitter, while Daisy was scampering off investigating clues etc, but there is a distinct lack of enemies that require beating up for the Skids deck as I’d been building it to really work.

While there are plenty of monsters here, and that’s also true of the board game antecedent also, the game is less about combat than it is about, well, everything else! I quite like that about it, as I’m not really looking for a beat-’em-up style experience all the time.

The Dunwich Legacy

For now, anyway, I’ve made my way through the core set campaign, Night of the Zealot, and while I’m sure at some point I’ll be investing in the campaign box they recently brought out, for now my attention has been firmly fixed on Dunwich. I’ve been putting this off for an age now, of course, but I really want to actually make it to the first cycle of expansions and just see what they’re all about!

My initial investigations have shown that it has no real link to the core set, so I have retired my Daisy and Skids decks, and instead have been looking to build decks with the new investigators from the deluxe expansion. This sort of thing does bring with it an interesting situation, as the investigators here have a completely different sort of limitation upon their deckbuilding, which involves a lot more thought than the core investigators, and just mashing together two factions into a single deck! Of course, I still haven’t made the leap for a second core box, so my deckbuilding options are a little slim as far as that goes, so I’m thinking I may well be buying that second box before Christmas gets here.

I’m very much looking forward to getting back into the whole card gaming world of LCGs this autumn/winter season, so stay tuned for more exciting updates!!

Arkham Horror LCG

Dead Sky, Black Sun

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The third volume in the Ultramarines series by Graham McNeill, this one forms a direct sequel to both the previous installment, Warriors of Ultramar, as well as McNeill’s earlier novel, Storm of Iron.

While Uriel Ventris may have played a successful part in repelling the tyranids on the world of Tarsis Ultra, his unorthodox methods were not approved of by the larger Ultramarines Chapter, and so he and his sergeant Pasanius are exiled from the Chapter on a Blood Oath to destroy some daemonic engines that Chief Librarian Tigurius has seen in a vision. All of this is dealt with by the short story Consequences that precedes the main story proper, anyway.

Dead Sky, Black Sun sees Ventris and Pasanius on their way to discover just what this vision could have meant, when their ship is attacked in the Warp by the Omphalos Daemonium, a daemon engine we saw briefly in The Enemy of My Enemy, the short story I’d read following Storm of Iron. The daemon takes the Ultramarines to Medrengard, the homeworld of the Iron Warriors deep within the Eye of Terror, and tells them that the daemon engines they seek are to be found within the stronghold of Khalan-Ghol, but its purpose is hardly altruistic, as it tasks Ventris with retrieving the Heart of Blood from within the fortress – “you will know it when you see it”.

While Ventris of course has no intention of keeping a bargain with the daemon, he nevertheless uses all opportunities presented to him to help fulfill his Blood Oath. And so he and Pasanius begin their journey. Along the way, they meet up with Ardaric Vaanes and his Renegades, and attempt to infiltrate the fortress only to be caught by its lord, none other than the half-breed Honsou!

The Space Marines are given over to the Savage Morticians deep within the bowels of Honsou’s fortress, creatures I’d have expected to be more at home in Commorragh than here, but whatever. Ventris himself, for defying Honsou, is stitched inside the Daemonculaba, a horrific Warp-spawned engine/womb hybrid where the Iron Warriors seek to make more of their kind. Somehow, Ventris manages to escape his grisly fate, and along with significantly less renegades, escapes the Savage Morticians only to find themselves in the land of the Unfleshed – the failures of the Daemonculaba process. These horrific brutes at first fight the Space Marines, though their leader smells the Daemonculaba on Ventris and takes them in as kindred. Eurgh.

Together with the Unfleshed, the Marines storm the citadel once more, and all hell breaks loose when they release the daemon bound to its centre, the Heart of Blood. At this point, the Omphalos Daemonium shows up and there ensues a titanic battle between the two, with the Heart of Blood victorious. However, the Omphalos Daemonium’s daemonic engine is left behind, and Ventris, Pasanius and the remaining Unfleshed use it to flee from Khalan-Ghol. Honsou, barely surviving the attack on his fortress, teams up with Vaanes and a grisly by-product of Ventris’ time within the Daemonculaba – what appears to be a Chaos clone of the Ultramarine…


This is one hell of a grisly book!

I know it’s set within the Eye of Terror, so anything goes, but still! There is a lot of swimming through blood and body parts, and various mutant hybrids, and it’s all just really quite grim!

Maybe because of that, I found myself enduring this one rather than enjoying it, as I did with the previous two. I suppose the pared-down nature of the story, with just the two Marines rather than the whole company, didn’t really help there, though. I enjoyed the earlier Ultramarines novels because they showed how the Space Marines fit into the Imperium, and whatnot. There was a really quite nice sense of world-building in that regard there. Here, however, the story felt a little more small-scale, and while I suppose it offers a fascinating look into the worlds of Chaos and what the Iron Warriors get up to on their home turf, I just wasn’t feeling as into it as I had previously.

The way that the novel brings together the Iron Warriors and Ultramarines novel-universes, though, was really very good, and I’m glad I took the time to read Storm of Iron before getting back into this series.

Having briefly looked over the remaining three novels in this series, I find myself a bit dismayed to discover that the next two seem to be dealing with Ventris’ attempts to rejoin the Chapter, as I’d hoped for more general Ultramarines action. It’s not to say Ventris isn’t an interesting character, or that his arc is not worth reading – I think I just prefer to see Space Marines fighting on the larger scale.

But I guess we’ll just have to see!

The Nighthaunt

Hey everybody!
For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking about getting back into Age of Sigmar, and trying out some of the fantasy stuff that I’ve been studiously ignoring for a number of years, no matter how amazing the miniatures might be. It’s been tough, particularly this year as a number of awesome armies have been re-released for the system – I’m thinking of you, Daughters of Khaine! I had been selling off all of my fantasy stuff in order to focus more directly on 40k, but I’ve finally made the leap back into the system, and have been looking first at Beastmen, and now more properly at the beautiful models that comprise the Nighthaunt release!

I keep saying “getting back into it”, though I have only played the game twice, back when it first came out, with the Stormcast Eternals army that I had been building up for the latter half of 2015. I’m still very pleased with a lot of those models, and while I currently have no interest in adding to that force, I do think they’re a nice collection that I plan on keeping for the time being. At any rate, AoS has since been released in a second edition since I last visited the Mortal Realms, and I do feel a little bit of a fish out of water trying to keep up with the whole thing. Aside from the core rules growing in size from that 4-page pamphlet, there’s all these Allegiance Abilities and whatnot going on now, and it’s making me both excited and a bit confused…

Confused, because I haven’t yet bought the core rule book. But I have been watching the really useful series of videos on the Warhammer TV youtube channel that explains the basic premise of the game – which luckily doesn’t seem to have changed all that much since I was last involved!

The Soul Wars box that came out this summer follows the Dark Imperium release of last year for 40k, and includes a hardback copy of the main rulebook, which is a wonderful idea, but has made it so that I don’t want to buy it separately, as I plan to get that box for all of the Nighthaunt goodness within! So I’m currently having to wait to save up for the big box, and therefore don’t know how all of these new tricks work (except for what I’ve managed to glean from the internet, but moving on!)

The Nighthaunt had grabbed my attention a couple of times since the reveals started happening for Soul Wars. I love the ancient Greek vibe that Daughters of Khaine have, and the Idoneth Deepkin are such an incredible idea that I also want to get in on that action, but pretty much the entire Nighthaunt range has got me so fascinated that I’ve found them just too irresistible! I’m sure I’ll at some point get a force of allied elves going on, but for now, my focus is entirely on these spooky ghosts!

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve been involved with Nighthaunt miniatures, as I had built and painted the Spirit Hosts when they first came out during the End Times in 2014. While they were an interesting experiment with painting entirely with washes, I think I’ll be changing up my colour scheme from the purple and blue…

Age of Sigmar Nighthaunt project

So far, I’ve treated myself to a couple of the new kits, which I’ve been steadily building up over the last few days to great success – success, in as much that I still love the models and can’t wait to get them properly painted up! Before I move onto painting, though, I think I should probably mention the building aspect of things, because these chaps are difficult to put together…

The easy-to-build stuff, fair enough, is easy enough to put together. Just two or three pieces that do push-fit together, but they’re better with a bit of glue to really seal those joins. The Dreadscythe Harridans are also quite straightforward to assemble, and are constructed so that, by and large, the joins are hidden by the spectral flowing “hair” of these creatures. The most complicated of all these models has got to be the Mortarch herself, Lady Olynder. I suppose it’s only natural for a character model to be a complex build, but my goodness, there were a couple of times where I almost came unstuck!! It’s my own fault, as I wasn’t entirely paying attention to the instructions, but I did make it unnecessarily complex to build her up, so could have done without that! I have built her in one piece, also, but this is because I want the whole thing to appear as sleek as I can get it, so I feel that I have to paint her while she’s fully-assembled. I’ll let you all know how that has turned out in a couple of weeks when, hopefully, she’s finished!

For paint scheme, I’ve decided to follow along largely with The War Gamer’s tutorial for the Briar Queen mini from the Nightvault set. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, then now is the time to change that! It’s a really nice looking scheme that (I’m hoping) shouldn’t take too long to follow, but still yield some really good results! There are a couple of things I want to change up though, so will be putting my own little twist on things anyway…

As an aside, the Nightvault set does look really awesome, and I’m reliably informed is a really good game, so I’m glad I picked that up the other day! So far, I’ve assembled all of the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband in a couple of hours, and they look fantastic. Much like with previous releases for Shadespire, GW has released warscrolls for the miniatures so that they can be used in the regular AoS game, so I’m pleased about that!!

The game does look really interesting, and while I’m not a competitive player by any means, that aspect does seem to have attracted more people to it than perhaps would otherwise have given it a go, meaning there are a lot of folks around who seem to be playing right now. Which can only be a good thing, right?

Hopefully they do warbands for Beastmen or Deepkin or Daughters of Khaine (or all three!) so I can have the perfect excuse to start on those armies with the same gusto I’ve launched myself into the Nighthaunt!!

While I’m not really into all of this Halloween nonsense, I am planning to get as much of this force painted up in time for the end of the month, as it would be really thematic to come here and show off some spectral paint jobs! So stay tuned for that!!

Age of Sigmar Nighthaunt project

Age of Sigmar, the return

Hey everybody!
After trying to resist for so long, I think I’m once more getting myself into the fantasy setting of Age of Sigmar, having very recently sold off pretty much all of my fantasy projects in order to focus solely on 40k. Oh, will I ever learn?! I’d been hooked in when the Beastmen previews were going up last month, that Herdstone looked just too good to pass up! So after collecting up a small force of goat-people, I’ve been doing a bit of research into the whole thing, and have recently really fallen into the Mortal Realms once again!

I suppose there’s just something that really speaks to me on a very blunt level when it comes to the fantasy miniatures from GW. Of course, plenty of the minis that were around back when I was getting into the whole thing have since left the range, as they bring out better and better sculpts. Several times, I’ve found myself thinking about getting a Slaanesh daemons army, and have come very close to both Daughters of Khaine and Idoneth Deepkin. My current love of Beastmen, however, has since been supplemented with a real fascination with the Nighthaunt range, and I’ve been busily building and painting a small force of these ghosts in order to try out the new edition.

These spectral guys are just fantastic, and while I have previously built up some of those spirit hosts and done precisely nothing with them, I think now is the time to really get into the swing of things with this army. I’m still definitely feeling that hobby goodness that comes from having a new project to enjoy, at any rate, so I’m excited to share some progress with you all here on this very blog!

But that isn’t to say that I’m abandoning 40k – far from it! I’ve recently been re-evaluating my whole gaming situation, and have tried to get rid of a lot of things that I own but no longer get any enjoyment from. Included in this, of course, have been several Warhammer kits for armies that I either already have a model saturation for, or else I have fancied building but have just never managed to get anywhere with them. Space Marines is a chief casualty there, as it happens. I do still want to get my small Novamarines force off the ground, of course, but I think I can get by without thousands of the blighters waiting in the wings…

Dark Eldar, Necrons and Tau will forever be a big part of my collections, but I have been dramatically thinning down everything else that has been hanging about.

Kill Team Expansions

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Hey everybody!
So the Kill Team train has been going pretty much full speed since the game dropped over the summer, and in addition to the main box and the first major expansion, we’ve seen a whole ton of re-packaged models alongside this, comprising, to date, four waves of models. I’ve picked up a couple of these things now, so thought I’d come here today and ramble for a bit about my thoughts on the way Kill Team is moving so far.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

As you can see, I’ve picked up some of these boxes that most fit along with existing armies that I have – I’m going to get the Necrons box at some point as well, for sure! I suppose I’ve been looking at KT almost in the opposite way to perhaps how GW wants me to look at it, and building teams out of existing armies that I own, rather than going for models that I’ve always wanted to paint just a couple of, and then sliding into a full-blown army. But I suppose I’ll get to that point a bit more shortly…

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Each of these boxes includes a plastic infantry squad, a plastic terrain piece (or pieces), and the necessary rules bumph that allows you to use the plastic in your games. So in the above photo, we have a Drukhari infantry squad, which happens to be Wyches, alongside some Deathworld Forest terrain, and all of the tactics cards, squad cards, and tokens that we’d need to use these folks. There are also two mission cards included that make use of the terrain – notably, they tend to include a requirement for more terrain than comes in the box – and a little booklet that has some fluff and a few photos of the fully built and painted kill team.

Interestingly, the Drukhari kill team that they suggest you build – The Slicing Noose – is only 86 points in matched play. The T’au team is 94 points, and the Scions team 58 points. I find this interesting that the suggested teams don’t aim to maximise the 100-points available, though I suppose something like a five-man Scions team could never be very points-effective, given the costs of the units you can make with just one box of Scions. And it’s something that has been there since the core box, where the Ad Mech and Genestealer Cultist teams were not exactly points-efficient.

This brings me on to a minor tangent that I’ve mentioned before, of course,  but I’m still bemused to see mentioned around the internets. A lot of people seem to be genuinely baffled as to why GW are releasing the kill teams that they are – why not include more variety in the models? It’s been very clear since the core rules box came out that the “official” Kill Teams are comprised from single kits that are already available for 40k, so we won’t see a proper mix of units if you can’t make that unit from the whole kit supplied – I suppose in the case of the Necrons box, it got a bit confusing because there were Deathmarks and Immortals in the team. But enough of this rant!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

The boxes are, I think, pretty decent in terms of value for money. At MSRP, you’re getting a five or ten-man squad, all of their rules, plus some terrain, for a lot less than it would cost to get these things separately. The above Tempestus Scions box costs £30, and you get roughly £51-worth of models (I say roughly, because the Munitorum Containers box contains three sprues of containers, while you only get two of them here). There is a lot of value to be had by getting these things, and I’m really excited to see these sorts of products being made.

There have been a few issues of course, notably the coloured plastic they use for the infantry feels somehow softer than the plastic of the regular kits, and the Scions in particular have some really terrible mould lines.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Re-packaged kits aren’t the only expansions to come for the game, of course – Rogue Trader landed last month while I was on honeymoon, and I managed to finally pick it up a couple of weeks ago. The set contains a whole load of new models – 33 of them, to be precise, along with some small-scale terrain that is mainly in the form of bulkhead doors and the odd treasure chest. I suppose the biggest thing about this is the fact that it happened at all, and brought the Rogue Trader, an iconic character class from the very earliest days of 40k, into the game with new models.

The expansion is pretty much what I think a lot of us were expecting from the off for Kill Team expansions, if I’m honest. The main rule book includes the rules for fielding regular troops that we can already purchase, whereas this box is full of all-new stuff that we’ve never seen before. I suppose I was hoping for something a bit like Shadespire, where we get new bands of miniatures that come with everything we need to play them – whereas we get everything we need to play with pre-existing sculpts. It’s a weird situation because, for the most part, we’re buying these expansion boxes in order to get the tactics cards and (perhaps) the scenarios to try. There are doubtless people who will benefit from these boxes who have not got the models either, for sure, but it does feel a bit weird when it comes to established players. I guess there’s an assumption that established players will be invested enough that buying five or ten more guys for an existing army is no big deal if they also want the tactics cards and scenarios. But I’m no business expert!

So are the tactics cards worth shelling out £37.50 for? Let’s take a look at the Drukhari box again. In the core book, there are four tactics available, which play into the theme of the army being lightning-fast, as well as being vicious reavers from outer space. The box gives us six more tactics that can be used by Drukhari teams in any warzone, and one that is specific to there being an Eldritch Ruin on the game board. More on this in a bit.

The six new tactics are a surprising bunch – two of them are specifically for Wyches (only one actually says it, Bloodied Grace, though there is the Hyperstimm tactic that affects any unit with the Combat Drugs ability – so, only Wyches). There are three more tactics that play into that lightning-fast theme of the force, and one that buffs Power from Pain, which both Wyches and Kabalite Warriors have access to. They’re a good mix, for sure, and they definitely give you some nice options that could potentially keep your guys alive, but I’m not sure if I would pay a premium to get them. Of course, the argument has already been made that you’re basically getting most of the terrain and all of the accompanying paper stuff for free when you buy these boxes, but that isn’t the only way we should be looking at these things, after all.

I think a lot of the Kill Team experience boils down to just that – the experience. We’ve seen GW selling us this sort of thing before when they have major new army releases, where we have to get the exclusive codex and the dice and all the fancy stuff. The fact that Kill Team comes with so much more gubbins than we’re used to in regular 40k is perhaps making this more obvious, as we have the faction-specific cards and tokens as well in these boxes. It’s in this respect, I think, that Kill Team comes very close to Shadespire, as we have the opportunity to make that sort of statement with our collections – we want to play Kill Team using our faction-specific cards and dice and tokens and all the rest of it, because we are that faction. It’s a really interesting way of selling these sorts of games, to me, because I am so often sucked-in to this whole experience! I’ve been collecting everything for Necromunda since day one, so have all of the gang-specific stuff even for those gangs I have no interest in playing! I just want that experience (and of course, I am a completionist).

Something I’ve talked about previously on my blog is the possibility that GW will do another round of these sort of repackaged kill team expansion boxes, where they give us more of our chosen faction’s options – for instance, I could totally see another Drukhari box with Kabalite Warriors, or T’au box with Pathfinders, and because I’m heavily-invested in both of these armies at this point, I would most likely buy them as well. It’s a really quite effective way they have of making money off something that basically already exists – that is, the miniatures. Not to discount the length of time that goes into designing a ruleset here, of course…

This post has been really long and quite rambling, so I’m going to draw it to a close now. Suffice it to say, I feel both excited about how much we’re seeing to support Kill Team, while at the same maintaining a decent cynicism about the whole repackaged theme that GW have got going on here. I really hope that we can see more unique products for Kill Team in the future, once the initial flurry of releases is over and each faction has had their kill team specific box. They don’t have to be particularly huge expansions like the Rogue Trader box, either, but just unique sculpts for existing bands of minis. Maybe that’s how we’ll eventually get new models such as new Chaos Space Marines, or plastic Flayed Ones. I’m really hopeful that Kill Team: Inquisitor will turn out to be a thing, and I would love to see similar styles of releases in the future, with specific warbands pitted against one another.

Kill Team Commanders

Before I do close this blog, however, I feel that I have to mention this bad boy. Up for pre-order this weekend, there’s a significant part of me that feels like this is getting a bit out of control. Gone is the idea of having a small team of five or ten models – games are now running to 200 points, and being led by such luminaries as a Genestealer Patriarch, or a Necron Overlord. What, now?! What happened to the small-scale skirmish?! I mean, for sure, it’s entirely plausible that kill teams can be led by these HQ choices – you can come up with all manner of fluff such as the big guy is out with his elite bodyguard cadre, or whatever, but as many people have already said, where is this going to end? Is the next thing going to be vehicles? Will I end up being able to bring an Annihilation Barge?

I’m a huge hypocrite, for I’ve already pre-ordered the book anyway, but there is a part of me that is just bemused by how this game line is progressing, cannibalising regular 40k as it goes…

New games!

Hey everybody!
I feel like it’s been a while since I really thought about playing board games and the like, though my recent foray into Middle Earth has gotten me thinking a lot more about the breadth of other games out there in the wild, so it was with no small amount of excitement that I read the news of the next deluxe expansion for the Arkham Horror LCG, The Circle Undone!

Arkham Horror LCG The Circle Undone

I haven’t played nearly as much of this game as I’d have liked by now – indeed, despite buying the expansions as they have come out, I’ve never yet made it beyond playing the core set! Since that time, of course, the deluxe expansions for this game have taken us all over the world, currently alighting in Mesoamerica, but it feels quite exciting to me that with this deluxe box the game will be returning to the city where it all began.

The box comes with a prologue scenario, where you play as specific characters and try to find out some clues that presumably help with the main scenarios of the box. This does sound pretty awesome, as I’m always a huge fan of alternative ways to play like this. Having a sort of prescriptive introduction sounds like it’s a narrative player’s dream, so I’m all for it!

I’m definitely feeling excited by this, and I’m thinking about breaking back into the game with a couple of the decks that I’ve had built for well over a year at this point. I mean, it would be a victory for me to just get to the Dunwich expansion, and see something new for the game!

Arkham Horror LCG

Arkham Horror is one of my all-time favourite games, for sure, and I really do love the board game version like an old friend. The card game has a completely different feel, for sure, but it’s not something that I don’t like – the reason why I’ve not gotten round to playing the game nearly as much as I feel I should is simply one of time. I’ve devoted so much of my time to Warhammer 40k over the past year, in addition to all of the real-life stuff that’s been going on, that I just haven’t had the time to sit down and enjoy a game as I once did.

It’s certainly a difficult game when playing solo (I tried to get my wife into it a few weeks back, but even though it’s a co-op game, it didn’t go down as well as Lord of the Rings or Elder Sign). I think this might be another reason why I’ve neglected it somewhat, but the fact that I was moving house and getting everything packed up during the first cycle has sort of put me back a little bit on getting into the game. I did recently take a look through all of the material that I have for the game, more in an attempt to try and organise it all, but I’ve still not yet played with any of the expansions – something that I really think it’s time that I changed!

You just know that any blog that I write cannot go without mention of Games Workshop! When Warhammer Underworlds first came out last autumn with Shadespire, I wasn’t particularly interested in it, as I was trying to focus more on 40k and wasn’t paying any attention to the fantasy stuff. As time went on, I did like seeing some of the models for these warbands, and I did go so far as to buy the Fyreslayers because I love the scenic bases in that kit, though I have since sold that on and stuff. However, the new season of the game, Nightvault, has brought out another slew of amazing-looking miniatures, particularly for the Nighthaunt range, and I’m now considering buying into it. One of my regular gaming buddies does actually have a set of Shadespire, so I’m thinking about giving it a go before I dive on in, but I have been particularly taken by the sculpts of these flying ghost-people, especially their leader, the Briar Queen.

The Nighthaunt range does look amazing, but I had been trying to resist the fantasy stuff during AoS2, and so hadn’t got anything for it. Now, however, I’m already building a Beasts of Chaos army, so I can see the slippery slope of getting back into fantasy is occurring, and I have been considering getting a few ghosts to try my hand at painting…

For now, I’m trying to keep my slide into AoS a slow one, so as not to overwhelm myself with too many models. I don’t really know what I’m doing with the game overall, yet, either – though that’ll be the subject for another blog, I think…

Returning to Middle Earth!

Hey everybody!
So, after my last blog, I was really feeling the need to get back into Middle Earth, and playing some Lord of the Rings LCG once again. It’s without a doubt my favourite game, so when I had some spare time last Sunday, I dusted off my elves deck and took a turn through the first two scenarios in the core set.

My goodness me, what a wonderful time was had!

I’d forgotten how good the elves were to play, having not had a game with that deck since 2016, when I had made a brief attempt to get playing this game again, and made a new Dúnedain deck. The elven strategy is to gain benefits from discarding cards; some of those benefits can be quite handy, and one of the most notable from my games at the weekend was that of Erestor, allowing me to cycle through my deck a lot more efficiently.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I feel like I have become a much better card-game-player since I started getting into Magic all those years ago, as the whole Magic scene better-prepares you for building decks etc than any other game I’ve ever come across.

The Wilds of Rhovanion

While I’m currently thinking that I’m going to try and play my way through the game from the start, cycle by cycle, the reason for me writing this blog today is that I have now taken delivery of both the latest (last?) deluxe expansion, and the first pack in the linked cycle! I’ve talked briefly about this before, but I do have the strong feeling that this latest expansion is bringing the game a whole lot closer to the early days of the Mirkwood cycle, when I really fell in love with it and obsessed over it.

The three scenarios take us along the Anduin once again, through Mirkwood Forest, and then under the Lonely Mountain on a quest for King Brand, who appears as one of the new heroes. The expansion has a really nice feel to it, and the Dale theme among the player cards does appear to be one that could be a lot of fun to work with. I’ve previously tried an Outlands human deck, but felt it was a little bland – the Men of Dale could be the men I’ve been looking for all these years! Ahem…

What’s really exciting about this latest expansion in the fact we’re re-using encounter sets from the core set – only a couple, but they’re there once again! It’s something I’ve wondered if they’d ever do for a long time now, and while it is only the core set encounters, I am left wondering how far they could feasibly take this in the game. Expansions of expansions are always a very dubious prospect, as it requires a player to have more than just the core set, but given that each cycle has required its deluxe expansion in order to function, it would really only be expanding on that theme…

Of course, I’m not going to get into the whole “is this the final cycle?” question just now.

The Wilds of Rhovanion
While I did say earlier that I was going to attempt to play my way steadily through all of the released content for the game, I might just have a sneaky game with this expansion at the weekend, perhaps make up a new deck especially for the occasion, and see whether the old magic still pervades the latest offerings for the game. And then I’ll get stuck into The Hunt for Gollum!


So what is my elven deck, you might be asking yourselves. Well, it’s something that I built a number of years ago, somewhat following on from this pair of articles on the FFG website, here and here. So, in the spirit of sharing, let me show you…

Glorfindel (spirit)
Elrond (lore)
Legolas (tactics)

Leadership:
Erestor
Orophin
Naith Guide

Tactics:
Rúmil
Galadhon Archer
Marksman of Lórien
Arod
Bow of the Galadhrim
Rivendell Blade (2)
Blade of Gondolin
Unseen Strike
Hands Upon the Bow
Quick Strike
Pursuing the Enemy
Rain of Arrows

Spirit:
Arwen Undómiel
Imladris Stargazer
Lórien Guide
Light of Valinor (2)
The Favor of the Lady (2)
Elrond’s Counsel (2)
The Galadhrim’s Greeting (2)
Fair and Perilous (2)
A Test of Will (2)
Island amid Perils
Children of the Sea

Lore:
Henamarth Riversong
Haldir of Lórien
Gildor Inglorion
Galdor of the Havens
Galadhrim Healer
Mirkwood Runner
Silvan Tracker
Asfaloth
Elf-stone (2)
Protector of Lórien
The Tree People
Lórien’s Wealth (2)
Leave no Trace

Neutral:
Vilya
Keen as Lances

The are, for sure, a number of cards in this deck that I think have been included more for theme than for actual utility – one of those themes being that the art is by Magali Villeneuve… But anyway! I think it’ll be useful to run through the deck soon and look at some of these cards, such as the very expensive Gildor Inglorion, and replace them with cards that might be better-placed overall. I play Lord of the Rings pretty much exclusively solo with one deck, so all card spaces are at a premium for me. Having cards in there just because the art is nice, or something, is not a good idea. But I don’t want to break the theme too much – it is an elven deck, and I want to have something that works off this theme overall.

 

It feels so good to be back in Middle Earth right now!