The Dead Marshes: Refresh

It was not my intention to turn this blog into an exercise in ranking the scenarios. It was meant to be about understanding each one better so that I’d have a reference to how to play them should I return to them at some point in the future. It’s surprising that I didn’t contemplate it until I was several scenarios into the project. And yet, when you consider that it didn’t occur to me until I had reacted badly to a particular scenario, it’s not surprising at all. The most popular restaurant reviews are those where the writer gives the unfortunate establishment both barrels.

What does all this meandering tell us about The Dead Marshes? Continue reading “The Dead Marshes: Refresh”


The Dead Marshes: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

Speaking of the time of writing, The Dead Marshes stands alone among the 19 that I have completed at Normal level at the time of writing. Yes, I have kept count. Yes, I am a bit odd. It is the only one that I have only completed one-handed, i.e. just using one deck. It is like A Journey to Rhosgobel in that I completed it at the first attempt. It is unlike A Journey to Rhosgobel in that there was actually some strategy involved in going one-handed for The Dead Marshes rather than the pulling a Homer that was beating Rhosgobel.

The strategy was minimising the likely damage for the unique element of The Dead Marshes, the Escape test. I was going to paste the entire text relating to Escape tests in the manual that came with the scenario, but it’s probably simpler to link to the pdf. Read it? Understand it? Good, we’ll move on.

Oh, okay. To understand the Escape test, let’s look at the quest cards: Continue reading “The Dead Marshes: Planning”

The Hills of Emyn Muil: Refresh

I’ve noticed that looking back on a quest causes me to look at it through rose-coloured glasses. This is partly because of the satisfaction from a scenario well-thrashed, and partly (mostly) because the elusive theme in such a mechanistic game emerges when the quest is reviewed in its totality. A Journey to Rhosgobel, a scenario that exhausted my reserves of affection for the game for several months, looked much better when you could picture searching Forest Grove for Athelas and every member of your party taking damage in the process. The frustration from drawing Exhaustion as a shadow recedes into fuzzy memory once you tie a neat bow on the quest.

I will not be viewing this quest through those glasses. Continue reading “The Hills of Emyn Muil: Refresh”

The Hills of Emyn Muil: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

The Hills of Emyn Muil then, aka Location Location Location. 8 locations, 18 location cards, 1 quest card:

The Hills of Emyn Muil
Setup: Search the encounter deck for Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw, and add them to the staging area. The shuffle the encounter deck.
Quest Points: 1
Setup: Search the encounter deck for Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw, and add them to the staging area. The shuffle the encounter deck.
Forced: If there are no location cards in the staging area, the first treachery card revealed during the quest phase gains surge.
Players cannot defeat this stage unless there are no Emyn Muil locations in play, and they have collected at least 20 victory points.

That’s not all the locations though as there are two additional sets from the Core Set, so let’s jump straight into breaking down the encounter deck. Continue reading “The Hills of Emyn Muil: Planning”

A Journey to Rhosgobel: Refresh

I did not enjoy cracking this quest. Initial irritation with it put me off playing the game for a number of months, easily the longest period without playing in the two years since I started down that road. The irritation was such that I felt I needed to do something to break the logjam, and that something was to create a hall of fame, where I could unceremoniously dump A Journey to Rhosgobel into the darkest pit where the likes of Fëanor dwell until their final judgement.

Now that I come to write about it though, am I being a bit harsh? Really worse than Escape to Dol Guldur, with its ruinously high difficulty level for a starter set? Really worse than The Hunt for Gollum with its absurd swinginess? The mission that I ended up recording was pretty fun to play, and the irritation all those months ago was partly a function of coming after the rootin’ tootin’ splendour of Conflict at the Carrock, while The Hunt for Gollum goes up the ranks by dint of being a fresh face and coming after the slog that was Escape from Dol Guldur.

I’m not going to apologise for being subjective though. Continue reading “A Journey to Rhosgobel: Refresh”