The Line Unbroken – 19-21: The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill

And so we move forwards in expansions but backwards in time for The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill. These aren’t really my favourite boxes, because I don’t generally play Dwarves and I have mixed feelings about the quests, but I do greatly appreciate how thematic all the quests and player cards are. Fitting of course for the first time the game was actually directly representing book events rather than just imitating them as before.
It should be mentioned of course that the addition of the Hobbit boxes to the card pool obviously throws up some thematic oddities, since there’s nothing rules-wise to stop you taking Thorin Oakenshield against the regular quests which are set about 60 years after his death, or playing the Hobbit quests with, for example, Aragorn, who at the time of The Hobbit was about 10 years old. But never mind.

In terms of player cards, we get a bunch of Dwarves, setting up that very powerful 5 Dwarf threshold approach along with some good means of causing your allies, Dwarves in particular, to swarm quite fast. For all that as I’ve said, I don’t play Dwarves that much, I generally prefer to just pay around with the five Dwarves stuff like Thorin and Ori rather than just Daining everything.

The quests on the other hand take us through some more interesting and varied encounters, from the trolls to the stone giants and goblins in the misty mountains, to more goblins, wargs and riddles. They’re sufficiently varied that if I really wanted to tune my decks for the scenarios I probably would build a separate deck for each, but they’re still such that I think I should do fine with a couple of more generic decks, though I’ve been considering the possibility of sideboarding a few cards to be swapped in for the different quests. With that said, I will try and adhere somewhat to the different requirements of the scenarios, so let’s go over those.

We Must Away, ‘Ere Break of Day is inevitably somewhat similar to Conflict at the Carrock. As I said when I tackled that quest, I prefer Carrock to We Must Away. To go into more detail, I actually like the quest mechanics of WMA more, with the separate sack deck ensuring that we do definitely have to deal with them rather than being subject to the whims of the encounter deck in that regard. And then the option to win by running out the encounter deck so the trolls turn to stone is also very thematic. What I hate about this quest is the encounter deck, with cards like No Campfire and Wind-Whipped Rain, and almost no other enemies, so you’re mostly subject to a big mix of potential location lock and treacheries galore. So treachery cancellation is handy and location control wouldn’t hurt though it’s more relevant with more players. On the other hand, we have to deal with the trolls, and given Tom’s passive effect, we need to do it with one very high attack character. And this is difficult to achieve, since Wind-Whipped Rain will discard all our attack-boosting attachments.

Over the Misty Mountains Grim really suits just sprint questing to the finish. Getting through stage 2 fast can allow one to just never bother engaging the Stone Giants, and then once the Great Goblin is dead so many things can just spiral out of control if they’re left unchecked. On the other hand if you can take down Stone Giants in a somewhat timely fashion stage 2 can be an OK place to build up an ally army before progressing (not attachments though, damn rain again).

Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim obviously has as its main gimmick the riddles with Gollum, for which you really want a fairly consistent deck in terms of spheres, types and costs. Now if I’m building decks to run through all three scenarios without changing I can’t really do much about the sphere balance, but I can try and be somewhat consistent on costs, and since I’ll be primarily using Dwarves, focusing the decks mostly on allies makes sense anyway.

Other than that, the Saga quests of course give us the Saga hero version of Bilbo Baggins. Often Saga heroes end up as a bit of an afterthought, an added bonus to a pre-existing deck. But in this case, I’d really like to try and actually get some reasonable power out of Bilbo. So we’ll see how I can do with that:

Gathering the Company

Heroes:
Thorin Oakenshield
Ori
Bifur

Allies (26):
Longbeard Orc Slayer x2
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Longbeard Map-Maker x3
Erebor Record-Keeper x3
Erebor Battle Master x2
Longbeard Elder x3
Fili x2
Kili x1
Dori x2
Warden of Healing x2
Master of the Forge x3

Attachments (13):
Cram x3
Legacy of Durin x2
Fast Hitch x3
Narvi’s Belt x2
Hardy Leadership x1
Song of Battle x1
Boots from Erebor x1

Events (14):
A Very Good Tale x2
Burglar Baggins x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
We Are Not Idle x3
Lure of Moria x3

Thoughts: You may be noticing some unusual omissions from this deck – no Sneak Attack/Gandalf, and no Steward of Gondor. Both were originally in the deck, but since I’m trying to show off so much Dwarf stuff, I had to cut something. I figured SA/Gandalf shouldn’t be needed with an army of Dwarves at my disposal, and Steward is unthematic (plus not so necessary with Thorin). Plus it makes things a bit more challenging. The two unthematic options I’ve left in are of course the Warden of Healing and Master of the Forge, because the latter allows me to run less copies of key attachments, while the former is just generally great. Otherwise it’s just a load of Dwarves to dump on the table and swarm forwards to victory. Song of Battle obviously is intended for the other deck, as probably is Legacy of Durin since this side should be OK for card draw between Master of the Forge, Ori and Daeron’s Runes; plus We Are Not Idle, which I’ll probably actually use the resource part of rather than just letting it make my deck smaller for free like I usually do. A Very Good Tale will also help churn through the deck faster.

A Surprisingly Unthreatening Bear

Heroes:
Nori
Eleanor
Beorn

Allies (24):
Bofur (Ta) x3
Gandalf (OHaUH) x3
Veteran Axehand x3
Erebor Battle Master x3
Zigil Miner x3
Imladris Stargazer x3
Arwen Undomiel x3
Veteran of Nanduhirion x3

Attachments (12):
Spare Hood and Cloak x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Dwarrowdelf Axe x3
Ring Mail x3

Events (14):
Burglar Baggins x3
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2
Will of the West x2
Fortune or Fate x1

Thoughts: Nori never entirely made thematic sense to me. The more dwarves you amass, the less the forces of Sauron notice you? The name is just referencing Nori’s ability, Beorn is actually quite threatening. Eleanor is here primarily for We Must Away, because I hate the treacheries in that quest, but she’ll still be useful later on. Foe-hammer and Goblin-cleaver have been left out because although especially with the treasures I might stand reasonable chances of having weapons, my only hero attacker is Beorn, who can’t have them, and those events only work with weapons attached to heroes, not allies. Will of the West is there to reshuffle in the event that I discard too many useful things to A Very Good Tale on the other side, or to Zigil Miner on this side. The one unthematic choice is Arwen, because of course she’s just fantastic, and I ran out of Dwarves to put in. Ring Mail is intended for Bilbo obviously, but also Dori (who should also get the Boots from Erebor from the other deck), so he can become an effective damage sponge to protect Beorn. I also have that one copy of Fortune or Fate to bring him back should it come up and I actually draw it.
I realised subsequent to starting the videos that I forgot to put Feint in this deck, but unless things go really horribly I’m going to try and just deal with it.

So there we are, let’s see how these work out for me.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/1784/the-line-unbroken-over-hill-and-under-hill
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/3984/the-line-unbroken-over-hill-and-under-hill-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/3985/the-line-unbroken-over-hill-and-under-hill-deck-2-1.0

Youtube videos:
We Must Away
Over the Misty Mountains
Dungeons Deep

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