The Drúadan Forest: Refresh

That was annoying, annoying on the double. I mentioned my use of Octgn to record the playthrough and I was grateful for that when I made a mistake right at the end. The bit in the quest phase of round eight where Drúadan Drummer gives Each Wose enemy in the staging area…+2 threat? I hadn’t noticed that until I came to write about it. Thankfully it was a relatively easy task with Octgn to reconstruct the state of play, and there was a curious satisfaction to be had in questing like a boss with Drûburi-Drû, so no harm done.

Far more annoying was realising that there is a mis-step in the decks. Continue reading “The Drúadan Forest: Refresh”

The Drúadan Forest: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing (complete)

As noted previously ad nauseum I’ve endeavoured throughout this blog to make my own mistakes, so usually only investigate blogs like Vision of the Palantír for a particular scenario after building a deck with which I was satisfied. That doesn’t mean completely ignoring everything that goes on there or elsewhere and, bearing in mind that I am not likely to write about it for a couple of decades at my current output, it was without concern for spoilers that I clicked on a recent article for Under the Ash Mountains, only to be greeted with the following opening line:

I know I said after my Drúadan Forest review some years ago that I would never cover a quest in such a negative tone again. But boy, did I find another quest that I find unfair, and you are all here to read me whining about it.

Not an auspicious start for this quest – although not as bad a start as poor ol’ Under the Ash Mountains, which must be quaking in its boots at what I might think of it when I get around to it in about, ooh, 2047.

Continue reading “The Drúadan Forest: Planning”

The Steward’s Fear: Refresh

Cardboard of the Rings recently discussed burnout and asked: is it a bad thing? If you were in a group and other members of that group were dependant on you always being there to get their particular gaming fix, such as needing seven bodies for Diplomacy or six for Dune, then I can see how it might be a problem. In a solo game though, just go away and do something else. Since the last post I immersed myself in the Peloponnesian War where I had the pleasure of getting feedback from the designer, Mark Herman. More exciting than a much-ballyhooed event on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the game that turned out to be 18 minutes of Nate French, MJ Newman and Caleb Grace doing a spot of freeform jazz based on their memories of the game? Yes, touching the hem of Mark Herman’s cloak was far more exciting.

I’m being bitchy, especially when you consider why I was suffering from ‘burnout’ after playing The Steward’s Fear: I spent many hours with what is an absolutely brilliant quest. Continue reading “The Steward’s Fear: Refresh”

The Steward’s Fear: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing (complete)

The Steward’s Fear is (in)famous in the community for the Outlands trait. The adventure pack contains a number of allies that, when on the table together, combine in an exponential manner to fearsome effect. You’d think, after the pounding dished out by the Heirs of Númenor quests (see: passim), that the community would rejoice at having the wherewithal to be able to lash back against the shadow, and if you thought that you would be quite wrong. A poll conducted by Tales from the Cards way back in September 2013 found that 42.1% of respondents thought that Outlands was ‘overpowered’, with 25% shunning the build type altogether.

I don’t get the disdain. Continue reading “The Steward’s Fear: Planning”


Just over three years ago I asked: “What does a complete set look like?”

It was around this time that I realised I was in this for the long haul and nothing less than completion would do. I had four Saga/Deluxe boxes and eight Adventure Packs, which seemed like a lot of cards given the number of plastic boxes I had bought from a local store, so what would seven (as it was at the time) complete cycles and nine Saga boxes look like? The mind boggled.

As it was, I went for the cheapest completionist option: the BCW box that stores no less than 5,000 cards. Had the game stopped at that point, it might have been enough. Continue reading “Mathom-house”

The Siege of Cair Andros: Refresh

A frequent question on BGG/Reddit is “where do I go next after the Core Set” and, for me, the answer is always the same: depending on availability, buy everything in publication order. The main reason for this is that, if you choose to skip the first few cycles in favour of the more mechanically sound later ones, you’re missing out on a truly voluminous trove of writing about the early iterations of the game. One such trove comes from the Warden of Arnor, and his discussions on Game Design. An article in the series, and it’s noteworthy for being the most recent one published (in 2018), thus demonstrating how the early game still dominates even relatively recent discourse, dealt with the Battle and Siege keywords. The article noted – spoilers! – that the developers did not expand on those concepts in future cycles and mused on why that might have been.

I’ll give my feedback on that, informed by the benefit of hindsight and the hindrance of being a bad deckbuilder: they’re crap concepts. Continue reading “The Siege of Cair Andros: Refresh”