The Seventh Level: Refresh

I wondered after Into the Pit whether too much time spent with the quest had blinded me to its inadequacies. There was also the recurring issue, left unsaid at the time, of recency bias. Having played The Seventh Level a number of times, I can confidently assert that neither of these are issues. Into the Pit is a good quest. The Seventh Level is not.

I know what they were trying to accomplish: Continue reading “The Seventh Level: Refresh”


The Seventh Level: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

After the success of my first attempt at a themed deck as opposed to the usual sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut approach, the prospect of The Seventh Level left me with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. At least, it did until I recalled that my 5-year-old son, he of the Devil’s own luck, is quite content to let me read him The Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story “but not the songs!” With a sense of foreboding duly instilled, let’s break down Sam’s contribution to Frodo’s lament for Gandalf. I mean, the encounter deck: Continue reading “The Seventh Level: Planning”

Second Theme (Book Two)

The question posed at the end of the previous post was: does the use of thematic decks enhance the experience? Dwarf decks are an obvious partner with this deluxe expansion, and it arrived on the scene two months after Return to Mirkwood so you can be certain the designers expected players to have Dáin Ironfoot in their collection. Combine them all and you have a thematic home run, right?

Short answer: no. Continue reading “Second Theme (Book Two)”

Into the Pit: Refresh

It was, as recorded in the Planning post, a proper chore bringing my first themed decks into the world. Every one of my initial efforts was a complete bust, and the frustration was multiplied by the knowledge that the quest can’t be that hard. I had beaten it when my card pool consisted of three (two proxied) Core Sets, the Black Riders, the first three Shadows of Mirkwood adventure packs, and (obviously) Khazad-dûm. Dáin Ironfoot was meant to be the pivot around which kickass Dwarf decks turned! What was I doing wrong?!

This wasn’t a case of the tide turning gradually. Continue reading “Into the Pit: Refresh”

Into the Pit: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

I cannot tell a lie. I found building a Dwarf deck far more cumbersome than I expected. Possessing as I did all but one part of the Khazad-dûm/Dwarrowdelf cycle (dark muttering about the missing piece), the first Hobbit Saga box, and the indispensable element that is Leadership Dáin Ironfoot, it seemed like it would be straightforward enough. A quick search on Hall of Beorn to see how many Dwarf heroes there are and..,

Hmm. 19 in total. I only owned nine of them when I started out building the decks – On The Doorstep did not arrive until later in my endeavors – and two of them are the same character (add in Spirit Dáin Ironfoot). Building two decks should be easy – if only because I have so few choices.

Naturally the place to start is with Leadership Dáin Ironfoot. The next consideration is the balance between the four spheres. Continue reading “Into the Pit: Planning”