I am now the furthest into the Saga that I have ever been! It’s only been, what, almost a decade since they came out? Having tried a couple of times with the Lord of the Rings LCG saga, though, I am finally committed to trying, at least, to make it through!
After evading the Black Riders and managing to get out of the Shire to Bree, we arrive at The Prancing Pony and immediately there is trouble afoot. This scenario is actually a nice balance somehow, as each of the three quest stages brings in something very different, meaning there is a definite sense of moving through the quest. We start the game with Bill Ferny in the staging area, an enemy with 3 threat that we cannot optionally engage. The Prancing Pony has the benefit of allowing the first player to put an ally card from their hand into play for free, but when it is explored we need to discard from the encounter deck until we find two enemies, and engage them. Ouch!
The second stage is the journey through Midgewater, where enemies cannot attack, take damage, or be engaged. With six quest points, the Midgewater location card can be an absolute pain to deal with, especially if you are turning over a lot of enemies. (There are a lot of treachery cards in this one, so it should never be completely insurmountable, but even so!) The quest itself, however, has us shuffling in one of the out-of-play Ring Wraith cards into the deck, a theme that runs through the whole encounter.
When we get to the third stage, Weathertop, not only does the Witch-King get added to the staging area, but every Nazgul enemy from the encounter deck and discard pile – potentially four Ring Wraiths, and a further two Black Riders. We don’t win the scenario until all Nazgul enemies are defeated, so this can be a huge pain!
Now, whether it was due to my excellent playing, whether the decks that I’m using are just good against this scenario, or maybe I was forgetting some rules, but I managed to defeat this on my first play through today. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough, especially when I was turning over treachery cards that were reducing my hero stats to 0, or killing folks with 0 willpower, or whatever else was going on! My strategy was to ignore Bill, and progress as quickly as possible through the game, but after the first scenario in the saga, I was wary of those Ring Wraiths and so was raising my threat or whatever else I had to do to avoid putting too many in there. My threat was managed pretty well though, with enough reduction that I don’t think it was a huge problem, overall. Again, maybe the decks I’m playing are just well-suited for this scenario?
I didn’t have the right spread of cards this time, so it didn’t feel quite like the well-oiled machine I had in the first scenario, where I almost felt like I was just playing one big deck with six heroes, they played together so well!
Once again, Aragorn was in full-on beast mode, as I had him with the necklace attachment that gives him +2 willpower and gives an extra resource, then I slapped Unexpected Courage on him so he could basically take part in each stage of the game. Legolas wasn’t quite the MVP he was last time, though armed with a Rivendell Blade he was giving enemies -2 defence when he attacked, which came in handy at the end against the Witch-King. I had Eowyn with a golden shield, meaning she could defend for 5, which almost nullified any single enemy’s attacks – a Shieldmaiden, indeed! However, I am seeing a couple of areas where I could make some tweaks to the decks, in particular I think the fact I have Frodo collecting Fellowship resources to almost no end makes me want to include more neutral cards to give him stuff to do.
As I said last time, I’m not scoring this “officially”, but I did end the game with 6VPs in the victory display, so that was good!
Next up, we have the Flight to the Ford scenario, where we have to struggle to get the now-stabbed Frodo to Rivendell. Should be interesting!