The Rings(DB) of Power

The game is notoriously hard, and would have been harder back in the day before Easy mode. My method of approaching a new quest is to play it blind, usually with the deck from the previous quest. If I get absolutely hammered I’ll play it in Easy mode, both so I can get a sense for how the quest unfolds and just so I can get over the frustration. Not having that safety valve would have been a black mark against the game when it started out and must have turned many people off.

Nearly as frustrating would have been the realisation that certain quests need a certain kind of deck. I can clearly remember believing that the primary goal of additional adventure packs would be to construct One Deck To Rule Them All and also remember the dismay when I realised that such a thing is more elusive than the fate of Eluréd and Elurín. The thought of breaking down decks between each quest would be enough to put one off the game forever.

Fear ye not, for salvation is at hand in the form of RingsDB.

Continue reading “The Rings(DB) of Power”


Conflict at the Carrock: Refresh

I didn’t editorialise about the quest in the Planning post which was an odd oversight. It’s possibly a reflection of the restaurant review rule, i.e. bad reviews are much more compelling than good ones. There’s so much to like about this quest, from the goofiness of the names for the trolls – Tolkien would have pronounced it Lew-EE, not Lew-ISS – to the absence of the tiresome reveal-a-card-per-player mechanic in setup. When I first played it, I naturally got absolutely clobbered. Cottoning on to the ‘trick’ and seeing the plan for it unfold is most satisfying, and the control required to ensure everything goes to plan is a teachable moment for how the game works.

Of course, it helps when you have decks that are able to fight back. Continue reading “Conflict at the Carrock: Refresh”

Conflict at the Carrock: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

When I started out with this blog, I promised myself that I would make my own mistakes. There are many smarter voices out there (see: everything in the Links box in the sidebar) but at least this would be my voice. I would refrain from looking elsewhere for advice on scenarios and instead learn by doing. This has led to some calamitous mis-steps in building my decks, but it’s all been part of the fun (!).

At some point though I read, and naturally I have not been been able to locate where I read it, that the key to defeating Conflict at the Carrock was a ‘trick’. Without knowing the trick the quest was extremely difficult, but once you had worked out that trick it became a matter of routine. I’m not a tricksy type of gamer, adhering to the I-hit-it-with-my-axe school of thought (warning: Googling I-hit-it-with-my-axe is NSFW). In the various iterations of the Elder Scrolls games I have always played as a warrior of some description, eschewing fancy mage or ranged-related contortions and just beefed up my character then charged into a melee to, well, hit it with my axe/broadsword/mace/warhammer. When it comes to this game, it’s a case of loading up with the best cards and bludgeoning the encounter deck into submission.

With all that in mind, I was concerned that such an approach was doomed to failure here and I would be condemned to wander through the quest like Maglor after disposing of the Silmaril, singing songs of pain and regret. To ensure this was not the case, I had a quick peek at the analysis of the quest over at Vision of the Palantir to see if I had missed the trick.

(pause for dramatic effect)
Continue reading “Conflict at the Carrock: Planning”

The Hunt for Gollum: Refresh

Four-and-a-bit rounds into recording my escapades in The Hunt for Gollum, I was pondering the value of this whole enterprise. A previous effort with the same combination of decks had seen me whip the encounter deck in three rounds. What was the point if all I was proving was that some of the earlier quests were easy if you have the card-pool from a couple of future cycles in your arsenal?

Then Evil Storm came out at the most inopportune moment imaginable and I thought that the concept wasn’t so bad after all.

For narrative purposes I’m going to persist with the notion that the deck I assemble in each Planning post is the first one I built for the quest, except when I reference failed efforts like I’m going to do now. I’ll probably fail to persist with this in every quest. Yeah, I built a two-Leadership-heroes deck which looked good in the planning but proved to be unable to survive contact with the Enemy, a reality that anyone who just reads the Planning and Quest posts will be blissfully unaware. However, the parts in the Quest post where I foresaw the potential dangers of not having A Test of Will were not retcons. So while galling at the time, it was satisfying how it unfolded. At least, it was after I had managed to rescue the situation so smoothly, despite burdening myself with having to start 2B from scratch with no progress.

The quest is encapsulated by a single word in a comment on BGG: swingy. Continue reading “The Hunt for Gollum: Refresh”

The Hunt for Gollum: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

It’s rather poignant, in a first-world-problems kind of way, trying to imagine the frenzy that must have been created among the user base by the arrival of The Hunt for Gollum on the scene. You only have to hear the whoop of delight from Brandon and Andrew at the start of episode six – “episode six!“- of Cardboard of the Rings, having spun their wheels on content for the preceding episodes, to know that this was a big deal.

Then you play the quest and wonder how the game made it to the next deluxe, let alone seven of them.

I exaggerate for comic effect, but not by much. It’s a quest only memorable by dint of its place in history, and I bet a large section of the user base, having defeated the quest, promptly reached for the Core Set scenarios and incorporated the cards into multiple plays of those.

To illustrate the point…before we go on, a point about illustrations. I have played the game hundreds of times, beaten 17 different quests in Normal mode and written tens of thousands of words about the Core Set scenarios. I’m sure you know that last bit having read them all, right? Yet it was only having broken out the quest cards for The Hunt for Gollum that I noticed that the artwork on xA is a desaturated version of xB. How did I go all this time without noticing this? With doziness like that, fare thee well relying on the strategies contained within this blog. But I digress…

Continue reading “The Hunt for Gollum: Planning”