The Line Unbroken – N20: Nightmare Over the Misty Mountains Grim

I think it’s pretty rare in this game I find myself damning with faint praise, but here I would have to say that Over the Misty Mountains Grim is certainly the least objectionable of the quests in the first Hobbit box. The two-part nature of it is somewhat interesting, but both parts have the potential to destroy unwary or unlucky players in different ways, and the Nightmare version largely accentuates this.

With that being said, the additional cards added in the Nightmare deck are all pretty reasonable. The stuff that’s going to ruin your games is all from the original box – Wind-whipped Rain, No Campfire, Galloping Boulders, Guffawing of Giants; Grip, Grab! Pinch, Nab!, Chaos in the Cavern… The Nightmare cards on the other hand, while some of them can be pretty punishing, the only thing which stands out to me as real cause for frustration is the shadow effect on Narrow Ledge: “Shuffle all copies of Galloping Boulders from the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck.” – and once again the reason it’s bad is because of a card from the original quest. Actually Narrow Ledge in general I think is the card I have the most problems with from this Nightmare deck since it’s also high threat and while the restriction on questing with lots of characters didn’t cause me issues it certainly could. It also doesn’t clearly tie into any sort of mechanical theme in the quest.
The other Nightmare cards mostly do tie into the themes of the quest – making it hard to hold on to your Baggins resources for when you advance and dealing direct damage while outside the mountains and swarming nasty Goblins while inside the mountains. Dark Passages is an odd one which doesn’t seem to tie into those themes, but it’s also rather inoffensive (in fact the When Revealed is potentially actually helpful).
Looking at this quest in more detail does give me a greater appreciation for the solid ideas behind it. You start off outside the mountains taking direct damage due to the horrible conditions and your combat is all about a small number of very big and dangerous enemies. You struggle through probably taking some damage and make it inside where the dynamic changes as the big dangerous enemies are replaced with less dangerous but far more numerous enemies swarming you. If things go wrong then the direct damage you took outside could easily lead to hero deaths should you be short of defenders, so the mechanics of the two sections tie together quite nicely in addition to the shift between them demanding diversity from your player decks. It’s just a shame about some of the encounter cards.

Enough generalised pontificating though, how am I going to handle this quest? Well, there’s not a lot to be done about the Stone Giants on stage 2. They can be dealt with if I have defensive options but I feel to a large extent it makes more sense to view stage 2 as an opportunity to set up for stage 3. My main thought for stage 3 is that Goblin swarms are always good targets for direct damage effects. Outside of that, there are some nasty locations in both parts of the quest so location control seems an obvious route to go for, and while I’m not going to reprise Eleanor (partly because I still need to fit in willpower and defence), cancellation for some of the treacheries is still very important.

Over the Misty Mountains

Pippin (Lo)
Frodo Baggins
Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (18):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Northern Tracker x3
West Road Traveller x3
Westfold Horse-breeder x3
Warden of Healing x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3

Attachments (15):
Light of Valinor x3
Hobbit Pipe x3
Asfaloth x3
Fast Hitch x3
Resourceful x3

Events (17):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
A Test of Will x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2

Thoughts: While this deck starts in Secrecy, it’s only there for Resourceful, mostly as I wanted to be able to afford Northern Trackers given my aforementioned desire to have location control working for me. That’s also obviously the reason for Glorfindel to enable Asfaloth, and handily he also enables Secrecy so it ties together nicely.
Frodo is here as my main defender, Pippin was chosen primarily to get that Secrecy but the increase to engagement costs and the extra card draw can certainly be useful and I do like the Hobbit synergy with the Saga version of Bilbo hanging around. Arwen is in to make Frodo a Sentinel and the Fast Hitches are also primarily for Frodo, though depending on how things turn out I can consider playing them onto Sam or Bilbo as well.
Beyond that it’s mostly pretty standard. Card draw, threat reduction, willpower, healing. Dwarven Tomb can be used for the threat reduction events but is primarily intended for Test of Will so I can keep cancellation available for all the many horrible treacheries in this quest.

Under the Misty Mountains

Sam Gamgee

Allies (19):
Gandalf (Core) x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Bofur (Ta) x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Snowbourn Scout x3
Bill the Pony x1

Attachments (16):
King Under the Mountain x3
Hobbit Cloak x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Dagger of Westernesse x3
Rivendell Bow x2
Spear of the Citadel x2

Events (15):
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
Foe-hammer x3
Goblin-cleaver x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3

Thoughts: The two big starting points I was looking at here were direct damage and location control, hence Thalin and Legolas, Gondorian Spearman plus Spear of the Citadel, and Goblin-cleaver with Bofur to help me find the weapons. And Snowbourn Scouts for that little bit of extra progress. On stage 3 the larger issues with locations are effects while they’re the active location so Legolas is very good for that, particularly of course in combination with Hands Upon the Bow.
Hobbit Cloaks should in theory provide that significant defence boost against most enemies in the quest so getting one on Frodo is significant, but of course Sam and Bilbo can also be potential defenders with a Cloak. Meanwhile on the offensive front, Daggers of Westernesse tie into my attempts to stay below engagement costs (aided by Pippin), Blades of Gondolin synergise nicely with the progress from Legolas and provide the attack boost against all the Goblins on stage 3, and of course Rivendell Bow is there so Glorfindel can be Ranged as well.



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