It’s almost two years since I started to play the scenarios from The Lost Realm deluxe expansion for Lord of the Rings LCG, and in that time I don’t appear to have made any headway with the rest of the cycle! Despite some vague recollection that I had played it during the time leading up to the birth of the secondborn, looking at my boardgamegeek stats tells me otherwise. However, with a massive upsurge of interest in the game for me once again, I thought it was time that I got round to seeing through the cycle. I’ve mentioned this previously, of course, but I was an alpha playtester for Angmar Awakened, so have seen a lot of the cards (both encounter and player) in varying stages of draft, all text-only, so I’ve been looking forward to actually playing with the proper, full-art stuff!
The deluxe box introduced us to a Dúnedain theme as we embark on a quest to rescue Iârion from the fell wight Thaurdir. Having left the border fort of Amon Hen, we’re now into the snow-covered wilds of Angmar itself, and pursued by Wargs in the first adventure pack!
Seriously, these spectral wolves are the worst. They range from annoying beasts to horrific nightmarish things, and each time we advance the quest they come at us again! There is a very interesting day/night mechanic in the scenario, which inherently prevents engagement checks during the day, and then draws additional encounter cards at night, but the quest stages all interact with the time of day as well, and most of the encounter cards will have some additional effect if it is night, so there is a lot to keep track of.
I was using the same pair of Dúnedain-centric decks that I had built all those years ago to tackle this cycle, as I felt it would be thematic to do so. These were the very first decks that I had built to try out two-handed solo, and I do like the whole range of cards in there, it really felt like I was playing one massive fellowship towards the end, as I was playing cards across the board and making use of Ranged and Sentinel to really get the best out of them. That said, it does strike me as a bit weird having both decks as tri-sphere, with a Tactics/Spirit/Lore, and Leadership/Spirit/Lore mix. I’m currently thinking it would make more sense to have the two Spirit and the two Lore heroes in the same deck, for maximum efficiency. The only thing really stopping me doing that, for now, is not really knowing how things like Ranged and Sentinel are split across the spheres. They currently work fairly well together, so I don’t want to knock stuff out of sync by messing around just for neatness’ sake!
Anyway. I was really impressed with this pack, even if it was difficult. It’s still nice to see an encounter deck work well with itself, and the way this quest works to simulate the wargs coming at you during the night is really quite splendid at times! Of course, key is being able to keep your threat under control so they don’t all come at you at once, or being able to hit them while they’re still in the staging area. Luckily, this time, that was the strategy that was working for me.
I’m going to try and play more of this, and then do some write-ups as they happen, rather than waiting until I have played a few scenarios and risk forgetting what I’ve been doing! I’m also planning to make a start on the first of the Saga expansions soon, as well, so it’s going to be a very Tolkien-y time here on the blog for the foreseeable!!