Escape from Dol Guldur: Refresh

And with a single bound he was free! In something that is going to become a habit, I refer once again to durinsfather’s description of this quest:

Escape from Dol Guldur is one of the quests that I have beaten once, after many attempts, and never looked back at.

Amen, father.

Now, anyone who has read the Planning post for this quest (with emphasis on the ‘one’) might reasonably note that it’s not the quest’s fault that I made a complete hash of constructing decks for it and persisted with these decks long past the point where it should have been obvious that it wasn’t working. It would certainly be fair to note that a lot of the angst was down to the situation I was in and a reluctance to proceed with making notes unless I was convinced that I could win, an attitude that if I intend to carry into every quest should make me stop right now before I get to the Mountain of Fire. Considering I won with my very first attempt with the cobbled-together decks, it’s likely you will win more often if you simply reset early and/or cheat the appropriate prisoner into captivity.

All reasonable and fair, but that would be to ignore the overall context of this quest.  Continue reading “Escape from Dol Guldur: Refresh”

Escape from Dol Guldur: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

If Journey Down the Anduin is the most played scenario in the history of the game, based purely on the fact that everyone who bought the game will have played it, Escape from Dol Guldur might well be, if you could measure such a thing, the most reviled. I opined previously that locations were either introduced early on in the development of the game and forgotten about until the last minute, or introduced at the last minute. I wouldn’t put money on the truth of this theory, but I would be far more comfortable gambling on the idea that Escape from Dol Guldur was put in the game to ‘encourage’ the player to buy more cards, just so they can have a chance with this quest.

It’s not just the paucity of options in the card pool that make this quest hard. The most popular thread on the game’s BGG forum, in terms of upvotes, is ‘a killer deck using only cards from a single Core set‘. I’ve only ever glanced at the thread as I prefer to make my own mistakes (just as well, sez you), but the popularity of the thread demonstrates both its efficacy, i.e. that it’s possible to build a deck for this quest, and how much of a demand there is for such a thing. The other problem with the quest is that nothing in the first two quests prepares you for what it throws at you. Losing one random hero at the start of the game is bad enough in a two-player/handed game. Losing one in solo, as Jeff Hannes admits in his preamble about his killer deck, is calamitous. Trying to learn by doing is hamstrung from the off by the unpredictability of that variable. Reluctant to start writing about a quest with little hope of finishing it, I quickly assembled a pair of decks to see how I would get on. And guess what? Continue reading “Escape from Dol Guldur: Planning”

The Last Debate

I can’t Escape from Dol Guldur. Oh, I can gin up a win every now and again, but not reliably enough to be able to start comprehensively recording the outcome for posterity and I’d rather not start writing about a quest with little prospect of finishing it successfully. Even a 50% win rate would be nice, and while I think I have a pair of decks that is capable of that I have to play it a few more times before I can be confident. A diversion is welcome, and it has come in the form of a tremendous review of the game on BoardGameGeek.

It’s not the review itself that has inspired this post, but the discussion it generated on a burning topic: in what direction do you turn your cards to exhaust them? To which my Jesuitical answer is –  Continue reading “The Last Debate”

Journey Along the Anduin: Planning

Card pool at the time of writing

Journey Along the Anduin is the most played quest in the history of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.  I’m not going to try and source a survey for that, it should be self-evident. Everyone who has played the game has the Core Set. Everyone will find Passage Through Mirkwood too easy and Escape from Dol Guldur too hard. Everyone (well, more than a few) who has ever built a deck with the intention of applying it to a particular task will have tested it against this quest. It has three phases which require a different emphasis while dealing with a part of all the usual issues that the encounter deck throws at you.

  1. Deal with a big bad
  2. Deal with a lot of questing
  3. Deal with a lot of enemies

Let’s start as always by breaking down the encounter deck. Continue reading “Journey Along the Anduin: Planning”