The Line Unbroken – 14: Road to Rivendell

Having escorted Arwen safely over the mountains, now we just need to head up through the country of Hollin (aka Eregion) to Rivendell. Simple right? Wrong. As it turns out, the road through the usually deserted Eregion is somehow more dangerous than the trek over the perilous warg-infested and troll-inhabited mountains. Whatever, just accept it. It makes for a fun and interesting quest. Mostly.
I like the quest mechanics of Road to Rivendell – lots of quest points to represent the long journey, no healing on the last stage making it potentially just a dash to the finish, and the ambush keyword puts an interesting twist on things – while it can make questing easier because the enemies don’t contribute their threat after they engage you, one gets used to being able to control what engages who to a certain extent, and the ambush keyword messes with that. Of course one approach could be to just stay low threat, perhaps even making use of the Secrecy mechanic being pushed out in this cycle, and thus avoid those enemy engagements. On the other hand then you need more willpower, and if we’re actually going Secrecy that means less than 3 heroes which carries more problems for mustering willpower.
Anyway, point is I like the quest mechanics. Despite this, I will pretty much never play this quest, all because of one card (with 2 copies) in the encounter deck. I’m sure anyone familiar with the quest knows which one I mean – Sleeping Sentry. It’s pretty much the mother, father and any other family member you care to name of cancel-or-die cards, and the prospect of it really kind of spoils the quest for me.
I was really quite tempted by the idea of bringing Secrecy decks to this quest, as we are starting to get some of the pieces we need for some pretty effective ones, and it would avoid some of the potential issues with the ambush keyword, but it’s so hard to get out of the habit of planning for 3 heroes, and I want plenty of cancellation available, and since I’ll be using Elrond’s sons I may want heroes matching their spheres to be spending resources so the brothers can save up for use of their abilities (though Arwen helps with that once again), etc. So I decided against the Secrecy idea this time round. Here’s what I picked out instead:

The faith is still kept

Prince Imrahil

Allies (20):
Escort from Edoras x3
Faramir x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Gandalf x3
Dunedain Watcher x3
The Riddermark’s Finest x3
West Road Traveller x3

Attachments (13):
Dunedain Warning x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Dunedain Cache x2
Dunedain Signal x2

Events (17):
Renewed Friendship x3
Sneak Attack x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3
Hasty Stroke x3
A Test of Will x3
Parting Gifts x2

Thoughts: The faith referred to is both the alliance between Gondor and Rohan, and the historical alliance between the men of Gondor/Arnor and the Elves. It just seemed a decent name given my hero choices.
The primary focuses (foci?) of this deck and of the other are to power up the elf-twins and being prepared to stop a Sleeping Sentry if it comes up. Hence on the one side Dunedain Caches and Signals to make Elladan Ranged and Elrohir Sentinel, Steward of Gondor to give Elrohir the resources he’ll need and Dunedain Warnings to boost his defence (though those could go elsewhere too); and on the other hand the standard Test of Will and Hasty Stroke, plus Dunedain Watchers for an extra level of security against shadows. Then I threw in a bit of a sub-theme of characters leaving play to help Imrahil and fund the Horn of Gondor on the other side of the table – Escort from Edoras, Riddermark’s Finest, Valiant Sacrifice.
Finally, I’ve got Parting Gifts in there again, to pass excess Elrohir resources around (likely to Elladan), or pass Imrahil’s resources to one of the twins where needed; and Renewed Friendship, because there are a few attachments in each deck intended to be played cross-table, and it’s a card I’ve always wanted to find uses for.

Strong even in waning

Brand son of Bain

Allies (20):
Bofur x2
The Riddermark’s Finest x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
West Road Traveller x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Gandalf x3
Escort from Edoras x3

Attachments (15):
Keeping Count x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Horn of Gondor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ancient Mathom x3

Events (15):
Renewed Friendship x3
Hail of Stones x3
Feint x3
Hasty Stroke x3
A Test of Will x3

Thoughts: Eleanor’s card has the quote about Gondor still being strong even when it’s waning – a similar thing could be said of the elves, and Brand could be said, like Theoden, to be “a lesser son of great sires” – hence the deck name.
While Elrohir’s ability is to be funded by Steward, Elladan gets the Horn. The newly released Rivendell Blade obviously is perfect for the twins. I’ve always enjoyed Hail of Stones. Keeping Count is a card generally reckoned to be not that good, but I feel like this is a situation where it could work – Elladan can potentially use his readying ability to rack up a large number of kills, whereas Brand and Elrohir will be lagging behind and can thus get some sizeable boosts out of Keeping Count. Some more leaves play stuff – same as the other deck, plus Vassals and Bofur. Renewed Friendship again.
Once again, I’ve omitted a sphere – as I said above, I wanted heroes matching the brothers’ spheres so I could spend their resources on Leadership and Tactics cards while saving for the readying. And I also wanted Spirit on both sides, including Eleanor as one of the Spirit heroes, to guard against Sleeping Sentry. Which left no room for Lore. I think it’ll work pretty well though – the decks are fairly consistent again, so the lack of Lore’s card draw effects won’t be so much of an issue; and healing stops working on stage 3 anyway. An abundance of Spirit plus the twins means I can quest hard and keep enemies under control, so I don’t feel much need for Lore trickery.


Youtube video: Road to Rivendell

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – 14: Road to Rivendell

  1. Pingback: Design Debates – Cancellation | Warden of Arnor

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