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”

The Siege of Cair Andros: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

Into Ithilien was a bruising experience, to such an extent, in conjunction with the looming threat of something similar unfolding with The Siege of Cair Andros, that I took a break from the game. Even now, months on from hurling myself repeatedly against Into Ithilien and having little to show for it, I had enough lingering memory of it to not relish going through that again. So it was that I broke one of my cardinal rules for this blog, ‘to make my own mistakes’, and you may find it easier to watch this video: Continue reading “The Siege of Cair Andros: Planning”

Into Ithilien: Planning

The mission statement for this blog contained the following nugget of wisdom:

Back of the netdecking
RingsDB is an absolute wonder. I am certain that I would not have fallen for the game if I was either required to physically consult each card every time I was considering adding it to a deck or have a Rainman-level knowledge of the card pool. I don’t use other people’s decks though. Again, nothing against netdecking as a concept. I’ve decided to make my own mistakes, so please be gentle if you notice that I’ve missed something really obvious ohmigod Seastan spotted the use of this card in that quest years ago.

It’s a concept that has mostly survived contact with the Enemy and, strictly speaking, still applies in that I haven’t engaged in any netdecking. However, I’ve decided to make my own mistakes definitely contained the intention that I wouldn’t look for strategy guides to get me out out of a jam.

With Into Ithilien, this pious attitude crumbled in the face of reality. Continue reading “Into Ithilien: Planning”

Peril in Pelargir: Refresh

Way back in The Long Dark, I noted how the Heirs of Númenor deluxe was when the designers decided to ‘err on the side of doing something new’ when it came to the feel of the scenario. Perhaps it was inevitable, that you had to give the punters familiar places like Mirkwood and Moria before branching out into locales which only get referenced in throwaway lines or the appendices. Perhaps it was a sign of confidence on the part of the designers. The game is clearly a success, time to flex our creative muscles. Perhaps there is no pattern and I’m reading too much into it. Whatever it was, I approve of the new direction, and my approval is surely what FFG have been craving all along.

What is refreshing about Peril in Pelargir is how lowbrow it is. Continue reading “Peril in Pelargir: Refresh”