Happy new year! 2016 was certainly an eventful year for the game and this blog, so as last year I’m going to go over some things that have happened.
In terms of the game in general we actually had two deluxe expansions released in the same year for the first time ever, Grey Havens and Sands of Harad. That was pretty cool, though with Sands turning up in December, we only just managed it.
In the community, we’ve had a couple of new blogs pop up; the Cardboard of the Rings Discord has taken off; CotR had their fantastic 100th episode (seriously, even if you don’t care about the podcast in general and listen to nothing else, if you’re seriously interested in this game you should definitely consider listening to CotR Episode 100 Part 2, the triple developer interview); the Progression Series was revived/rebooted; and RingsDB was created. This year has been frankly huge for the LotR LCG community.
And now I turn to myself, to my own little corner of the community on this blog. I’m doing pretty well, putting out content, gaining a certain amount of popularity I think. Apparently my highest number of daily views actually happened on new year’s eve, which is a bit weird – don’t people generally have other things to be doing on NYE? Whatever, it’s obviously not like I really mind. I’ve been a bit up and down on how much I manage to post, because as much as I like this game and do kind of enjoy watching my stats go up, I have other things going on and it’s not like I’m getting paid for this. I do want to try and be a bit more consistent though, rather than posting 5 times in a week and then nothing at all for a fortnight (I don’t think I’ve ever gone quite that extreme, but you take the point).
Outside the blog itself, I did a couple of twitch streams, and I should really try to do some more at some point; obviously I put a bunch of stuff on RingsDB, both decks and card reviews; and I created the Warden of Arnor facebook page. If you follow that facebook page then a lot of the things I bring up in this post you may have already seen, but I think there are one or two which you won’t, and you may have forgotten things as well.
So, odd things I’ve done this year:
Aside from my idea of applying the LotR ruleset to Discworld, I have one other custom card I designed this year. When a guest writer on Tales from the Cards was running a custom hero contest, I decided to put something together, then decided I didn’t particularly want the prize so I didn’t submit it. I still wouldn’t mind showing people that custom hero though, so here it is.
I decided to go for a new version of Bilbo Baggins, since the old one has some serious issues. However unlike some of the Bilbos which were submitted to the contest, I decided to stick to both the original stats and the original overinflated threat cost. Consequently I knew the ability would have to be pretty powerful. In trying to think what I could do with Bilbo, I thought of his most famous song, The Road Goes Ever On (which of course got a card of its own in Sands of Harad), and figured it’d make sense to have Bilbo do something with locations. This was also an interesting idea since there is as it stands no hero in the card pool whose ability directly supports location control, so I figured I’d make one. The final question was how the ability would be triggered. I struggled to fix on an idea and wondered if there was anything else that would be thematic for Bilbo, thus inadvertently hitting on my answer when I considered the Song of Earendil. Since Song of Earendil doesn’t have any flavour text, we don’t know if it’s actually the song Bilbo came up with in Many Meetings, but it seems plausible, so it’d make some sense for a new Spirit Bilbo to synergise with it. And there was my answer. Location control triggered by threat raise. This also by complete coincidence means that this custom Bilbo would synergise nicely with the other Spirit Hobbit heroes, whose abilities are all about playing with your threat.
Obviously he’s a bit specialised, definitely a multiplayer-focused hero, but I think he could be pretty viable. Any thoughts, custom card fans?
Notepad files – mostly text logs
I don’t keep the text logs of all the games I play by any means, but sometimes there are notable ones which I want to consider possibly writing up play reports for. Of course, since I haven’t yet written up any of these it seems unlikely I will now, with one possible exception.
3H Carn Dum. When playing through all the quests 3-player we stalled out a bit at Battle of Carn Dum, and after a few failed attempts I was getting a little aggravated by my companions’ complaining that it seemed impossibly hard. So to prove it could be done I picked out 3 of my own decks I thought would stand a decent chance – but note, not custom-built for the quest – and played it out. I won on the first attempt. Some luck, maybe, but I feel my point is demonstrated. That said, since Carn Dum still gets talked about like some sort of bogeyman to scare children with (Eat all your vegetables, kids, or you might have to play Battle of Carn Dum), I feel like it might be worth doing that write-up to make the point again, for all that the prospect of writing up a 3-handed game is a bit daunting.
Oh, I also solo’d Nightmare Return to Mirkwood with my solo campaign deck which was pretty impressive, though it took about 5 attempts.
In notepad files which aren’t text logs I also obviously keep a list of all the cards I’m planning to review on RingsDB, and at some point I created a list of all the heroes I’ve used and not used on RingsDB with the goal of trying to get RingsDB decks up with all the heroes used. I haven’t kept that up to date though.
This is the big one. I take a reasonable number of screenshots, especially now that I can just post them on the Warden of Arnor facebook.
Firstly, I have some RingsDB-related ones, from when I hit 666 rep (thus concluding that Sword-thain+Ceorl shenanigans must be the work of the devil), and of course stroking my ego by keeping a record of the three times I’ve had two decks on the RingsDB front page simultaneously, and the time I actually had all four front page slots.
Secondly, another couple of amusing spellcheck oddities.
And the larger category come from games I’ve played this year which I felt were somewhat noteworthy (and for some reason I only tend to take screenshots of games I played alone, not multiplayer ones).
Solo campaign against Journey to the Crossroads. I didn’t stream it because I expected to lose and then tweak the deck before streaming when I thought I stood more of a chance. Since I won I took a screenshot. This is still where my solo campaign is sat, I haven’t moved on to Shelob’s Lair yet.
I was going through updating some of my older decks, in this case Great Cleavage and The Wisdom of the Istari, and I decided to test the new versions of them together, against Battle of Five Armies.
Hasten the Ents against Nightmare Druadan Forest. A pretty good pick, since while my heroes don’t gain resources in the resource phase, Treebeard still does.
Testing The Invisible Army (which went through a couple of different placeholder names while I was working on it) against Nightmare Assault on Osgiliath. Beat it fairly handily despite the fact I was getting continually screwed up by Relentless Attack (which is a ridiculous card for dragging games on)
I was testing these two decks before posting them on RingsDB, alongside my mono-Leadership House of Stewards, against Dread Realm. Just to be clear, the seven enemies on the right hand side are all engaged with the Dunedain/Side-quest deck.
Testing out the updated Wisdom of the Istari against Road to Isengard (yes, uniqueness, I’ve got two Aragorns, there’s a limit to how many times I can be bothered to generate random quests, and I’m more lenient about these things when I’m testing rather than playing properly)
Testing The Invisible Army again, got what might possibly be considered the perfect opening hand. Still didn’t work out, Wastes of Eriador is not a good quest for that deck, certainly not in solo.
My victory against Nightmare Return to Mirkwood with my solo campaign deck.
When the Flight of the Stormcaller image pack turned up on OCTGN I figured I’d quickly blast through it with my Treebeard Elf-friend deck. Turned out to be an incredibly close game.
VictoryBear NMFoS, VictoryBearVD, VictoryBearLostBeorn
Another case of just playing Nightmare quests at random, in this case Foundations of Stone with this deck (VictoryBear is my shorthand nickname, Victory Display + Bear = VictoryBear). Firstly showing my victorious board-state. Secondly showing how much ended up in the Victory Display. And finally, earlier in the game I revealed Lost and Alone. Since Beorn had taken a fair amount of damage I figured I’d shuffle him into my deck since he’d be fully healed when he came back out. He stayed in my deck to the end of the game (frustratingly, I realised that Gather Information wouldn’t even help, since Lost and Alone only says to put the hero into play when you draw them, nothing about adding them to your hand)
The only screenshots I have from multiplayer games. Two separate attempts at Wastes of Eriador with ridiculously harsh setups. Let’s count up shall we?
1 – 11 threat in the staging area, Make Camp in play, and we’re all up 2 threat.
2 – 13 threat in the staging area, Make Camp in play, we’re all up 4 threat, and it’s Night. This quest is a bit crazy.
And that concludes this quick look through odd interesting things from my past year with the game. Here’s to 2017 being at least as interesting!