The Line Unbroken – 4: Hunt for Gollum

With the Core Set done, I move onto the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, beginning with The Hunt for Gollum. Thus far, this is the only regular cycle of adventure packs which (mostly) directly depicts events actually described in Lord of the Rings – the search for Gollum through the Anduin Valley, the Emyn Muil and the Dead Marshes, before taking him back to Mirkwood, though of course the game depicts these events somewhat differently to the book (for instance in the book it seems like the search was basically conducted by Aragorn and some of the time Gandalf and that was it).
Though this isn’t a quest I would generally pick to come back to, as it’s rather easy so long as you don’t get the staging area flooded with clues and hunters, I do rather like it. It’s simple, but the mechanics work and fit the theme pretty well, where you’re searching through the encounter deck for signs of Gollum. The player cards are decent for the most part, though Song of Kings I generally find to be the least useful of the Songs, as Leadership tends to have enough resources by just generating extra ones rather than needing to spread the resource icon around. And unlike the other three spheres, I can’t think of any attachments which go exclusively on Leadership heroes.
And of course, the new hero, Bilbo Baggins. The first hero whose threat cost is not equal to the sum of his stats, and as a result, a sadly lacklustre hero. I do very much like his ability, I’m sure I’d use him more were it not for the threat cost. That passive card draw is great to have, but it’s not worth +3 starting threat. I could maybe see it as a +1 ability, but no more. Given that Bilbo is such an iconic character, it’s disappointing that his hero version doesn’t hold up so well.

So, onto deck-building. By my self-imposed restrictions, I have to use Bilbo as one of my heroes. This isn’t as much of a problem as I may have made it sound in my preamble. Bilbo’s statline isn’t up to much, but his ability is really nice to have, it’s just the threat cost that’s an issue; and once again, this quest is not that hard.
Otherwise, of course there are still six heroes from the Core Set who I didn’t use, so I’d like to bring some of them out. Dunhere’s ability is really fun, but only works properly if a) you keep your threat low, and b) you can boost his attack power. Since this pack saw the release of the Dunedain Mark, the first reasonably priced universal attack boost, it seems like a good time to try and smash the staging area. Thalin pairs well with Dunhere by softening up the enemies for him, and we’ll keep Eowyn to make sure I can keep my quest power at reasonable levels.
On the other side, I need to keep my threat down so Dunhere can have a chance to do his thing, so Theodred and Denethor are the natural choices (Gloin could work, but if Dunhere can take out enemies in the staging area, we don’t necessarily expect to engage and therefore take damage that much). Denethor also makes some sense for this scenario, as he gives another way to dig through the encounter deck.
For the other new cards, no Song for reasons discussed above; and no Song means no Rivendell Minstrel. The two fetch events of course are pretty rubbish with almost nothing to fetch, but the related allies are good. Campfire Tales and Strider’s Path are also good enough choices so I put them in too.

Who says we need willpower?

Heroes:
Bilbo Baggins
Denethor
Theodred

Allies (18):
Snowbourn Scout x3
Gandalf x3
Daughter of the Nimrodel x2
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Henamarth Riversong x2
Gleowine x2
Faramir x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2

Attachments (14):
Dunedain Mark x3
Protector of Lorien x2
Forest Snare x2
Dark Knowledge x2
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x2

Events (18):
Campfire Tales x2
Strider’s Path x3
Sneak Attack x3
Radagast’s Cunning x3
Secret Paths x3
Common Cause x2
Valiant Sacrifice x2

Thoughts: My proportion of allies is better than it was in the Core Set. I think most of the choices here are fairly self explanatory, I’m bringing out some more of the standard Core Lore cards since I have two Lore heroes instead of one. The one odd card is Common Cause, but I figured that Bilbo’s actions really aren’t worth a whole lot, so if I can just give them to someone else that could be pretty useful. This deck is mostly there just to support the other deck to be honest, draw them cards, buff Dunhere’s attack, a little help with questing.

I’m already regretting my decision to try and name all my decks

Heroes:
Eowyn
Dunhere
Thalin

Allies (19):
Westfold Horse-Breaker x3
Winged Guardian x3
Veteran Axehand x2
Gondorian Spearman x3
Northern Tracker x3
Lorien Guide x2
Gandalf x3

Attachments (13):
Blade of Gondolin x2
Horn of Gondor x3
Dwarven Axe x2
Unexpected Courage x3
Favour of the Lady x3

Events (18):
Quick Strike x3
Feint x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2
Strength of Will x2
Hasty Stroke x3
Test of Will x2
A Light in the Dark x3

Thoughts: A Dunhere deck is one of the few cases where A Light in the Dark can justify its deckspace and cost in my opinion. I assume my decision to cut one copy of Test of Will was based on examining the When Revealed effects and not being too bothered by them. Quick Strike is great here to get use out of Dunhere’s ability even on enemies which would engage me. For all that the Dwarven Axe is overpriced if not played on a dwarf, I think I did intend those for Dunhere, to get as much attack power as possible. Other than that, after putting in all these crucial components I obviously started worrying about how little willpower I had, hence 3xFavour of the Lady. That’s probably also the reason for Protector of Lorien in the other deck.
These articles are going to get significantly easier to write once I get past the decks I pre-built months ago and start building them actually as I’m progressing through…

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/1194
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/2890
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/2891

Youtube video: Hunt for Gollum

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3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 4: Hunt for Gollum

  1. Laco says:

    How can you play two handed in octgn?

    Like

    • Steven A says:

      Start two copies of the OCTGN client. It’ll tell you another instance of OCTGN is already running, do you want to close it, obviously say no. DON’T log in. Start a game in one window, then go to the other and if you wait a bit you should see your own game appear and be able to join it.
      Once in game, obviously you can do it by just switching between windows to control the different decks, but if you want to control everything from the one window as I do, after loading up the second deck in the second game window and taking a mulligan if you want to, you go back to the window you’re going to be using and right click to take control of each of the other deck’s heroes, its hand, its deck and its discard pile. You will then be able to control both decks from the one game window.
      However you must remember that if controlling everything from the same window, the second deck will not automatically draw a card when you ctrl+N, you have to do this manually. Also ctrl+N will not move the first player token, so you have to keep track of that yourself as well.

      Like

  2. Laco says:

    Well, thank you. It needs a lot of practice. 🙂

    Like

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