The Line Unbroken – C12: Shelob’s Lair

Shelob’s Lair rounds out the Land of Shadow box. The second half of Two Towers in general must have been very difficult to adapt into the game, with this quest being perhaps the most problematic bit of all. Passage of the Marshes turned the dead faces in the marshes into actual undead enemies, not exactly true to the book but it worked in-game. Journey to the Crossroads had us participate in the ambush on the Southerlings, it was fine. Here, though, for Shelob’s Lair, the focus of the quest should really be dealing with Shelob herself, but having just one enemy doesn’t necessarily work so well because everything can become too predictable. The designers kind of managed to make it work, including a few orcs and a couple of Nazgul but still mostly sticking to Shelob and having some means of keeping things more unpredictable – though some of the ways they did so can make the quest rather frustrating instead. Continue reading

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Deck: Brave Warriors

I’ve been on a little bit of a deckbuilding spree over the last few days, so I’ll be getting a few of those decks published on RingsDB and posted on here as soon as I get round to doing write-ups and coming up with good names for them. I’ve mentioned in the past how sometimes my deckbuilding is inspired by a card review, and that was the case here – at the end of my review on the Henneth Annun Guard I noted that he might work better now than when he was released given the possibilities of boosting him with Raiment of War and/or Narya, so I extended that to a deck generally focused on the various useful Warrior allies and more recent cards which work with the trait; and from there it ended up expanding out into three different decks. This is the one I’m posting first partly because it’s the most true to the original idea and partly because it’s the one I already have a name for, even if it is kind of generic. Continue reading

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Single Letter Challenge – G

The next of my selection of community-suggested challenges I’m going to tackle is this one from 987654321 on the FFG forums: Use only cards that begin with a certain letter.
I will mention now that as a general principle, some of these challenges I may tweak to make them easier/harder/more interesting. With this one there are a fair few possibilities I could’ve gone for, but the one I’ve chosen is simply that I’ve allowed myself the leeway to disregard the words ‘A’ and ‘The’ when I realised I would otherwise run out of reasonable cards that I could use. Continue reading

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Design Debates – Doomed Player Cards

In this edition of Design Debates, I’m going to be taking a look at Doomed player cards. Some of the points I’ll be making I’ve already kind of made in some of my cards reviews, but here I can go into a bit more detail and cover everything all together. The Doomed player cards have been a rather scattered affair – certainly they didn’t particularly live up to most people’s expectations that we’d end up able to build some sort of cohesive Isengard/Doomed deck by the end of the Ring-maker cycle, but there are some rather good cards in there, and certainly a lot of scope for examining the design. Continue reading

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The Line Unbroken – C11: Journey to the Crossroads

Journey to the Crossroads continues the trend in the Lord of the Rings sagas which I’ve previously mentioned – that the second quest of the box is the most likely to brutalise the players. An additional point which I only just realised is that in the cases of Road Darkens, Treason of Saruman and Land of Shadow specifically it is rather more likely to brutalise the players in campaign mode than just regular play – Journey in the Dark becomes easier without the burdens around and it’s easier to sacrifice a hero to The Balrog when you won’t have to live with it for many more quests afterwards; Helm’s Deep offers an easier start in exchange for Poisoned Counsels, which is much more acceptable when you’re taking it for only one quest rather than 6; and Journey to the Crossroads is noticeably easier if you’re willing to let a few enemies go to The Black Gate because you’re not in campaign mode and so they won’t come back for Pelennor Fields. Continue reading

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The Line Unbroken – C10: Passage of the Marshes

I’m now taking The Line Unbroken slightly out of the actual release sequence, as in previous cases with Saga expansions, as a means of keeping the Sagas to narrative breaks in the cycles. In this case, the narrative break in the Angmar Awakened cycle comes after Treachery of Rhudaur, but the initial GenCon release of Land of Shadow came after Escape from Mount Gram, so I figured I’d just continue on with the campaign through Land of Shadow before going back to the cycle.
As I’m now at the point where the Fellowship are divided, I’m going to try somewhat to keep things coherent and avoid characters (and significant equipment) being in two places at once, though I’m going to let the Leaf-wrapped Lembas and Three Golden Hairs be Schrodinger’s boons, so they’re in both places until I actually use them at which point obviously they were there the whole time and not in the other branch of the story at all. Continue reading

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Archetype Analysis: Silvan

The next archetype I want to explore is that based around the Silvan trait. I’ve been meaning to get this done since The Drowned Ruins was released, as that pack contained a couple of nice new Silvan cards, but obviously other things have occupied my time in the interim. Better late than never though, and it’s not like this is a subject which can particularly lose relevance with time. Continue reading

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