Tänään on 23.01.2019 19:31 ja nimipäiviään viettävät: Enni, Eine, Eini, Ingegerd ja Ingela. Käytämme EVÄSTEITÄ | MOBIILIVERSIO M.BLOGIVIRTA.FI

LotR LCG: Return to Arnor

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Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. - The Lord of the Rings, book I, chapter VII Way back when we tried the Lost Realm deluxe expansion for the first time a couple of years ago, we weren't too impressed . It was a real shame, too, since I have a soft spot for Eriador. However, here we are: it was the last deluxe expansion before Wilds of Rhovanion that we haven't played, and since the Crossing of Poros was so interminably delayed, we had a bunch of time on our hands. So let's see what the experience is like with a considerably larger cardpool. ** Intruders in Chetwood - DL 4 In the first quest of the expansion, our heroes set off from Rivendell to help a ranger track a party of orcs heading for Bree. There's just a single quest stage, but you'll be hampered by encounter side quests, and also have to destroy all the Orc War Parties you come across. All the while your threat is raised by enemies in the staging area, but they don't make encounter checks so you have to pick them off one by one. There's quite a bit of ally hate and some multiple attacks by enemies, which is decidedly less fun with post- errata Boromir . There's also a lovely uncancellable Treachery where everyone suddenly attacks you. So in all, you need to quest, fight and do location control while your threat is racing upward. It's not a bad quest by any means, and I do have to say that the art on the locations is some of the best in the game. The enemies, however, are actually quite dull, which kind of detracts from the experience. ** The Weather Hills - DL 5 After intercepting the orcs, our heroes hunt down the survivors in the wilderness. Here you have to explore locations to find orcs to kill, and once you've killed enough of them, the final quest stage unleashes a flood of encounter cards that you have to quest through in a limited time. All this is done while also dealing with a pile of nasty weather treacheries. This is a quest I really want to like: it's got very pretty locations in Arnor, and very strongly Tolkien themes of ruins, travel and weather. In practice, though, we're facing almost the exact same orcs as in the previous scenario, and they're still boring. There's also an extra level of difficulty to the quest that we felt was unnecessary. I generally like it when different mechanics and themes in a quest interact with each other, but here they just pile difficulty on top of difficulty. Again, I wouldn't say this is a bad quest, but it's quite tough, and quite heavily dependent on either some strong combat ability or plentiful healing. I also suspect it would lend itself quite well to a We Must Away -style delay in finishing the first stage. ** Deadmen's Dike - DL 7 In the last quest of the expansion, our heroes end up in Fornost or something, and you have to fight a horde of the undead, as well as a special undead bad guy. I actually feel we did better against this quest than the others, but maybe that's just luck. Some of the sorcery effects are interesting, and the location art remains excellent throughout, but I dunno, this quest didn't exactly captivate us either. We were eventually overrun by a massive pile of undead in the last quest stage. ** As for player cards, this is a strongly thematic expansion, with almost every card directy associated with the Dúnedain trait. The heroes are Halbarad and Neil Young Aragorn , both of whose abilities are keyed to engaging enemies, which is what Dúnedain decks are all about. There's also a whole stack of Dúnedain allies, and an attachment to get them into play faster - provided you're engaged with an enemy, of course. There's a couple of nice touches, like Weather Hills Watchman , who lets you fetch a Signal card from your deck - say, one of those handy little stat-boosting attachments from way back in the Mirkwood cycle - and Dúnedain Hunter , who fetches an enemy from the encounter deck. The latter is clearly very handy for Dúnedain decks, but we've also had some success using him to find someone for Legolas to kill. There's also Ranger of the North , a unique player card in that you shuffle it into the encounter deck. A couple of other cards are also of broader utility: Secret Vigil gives Tactics some fairly rare threat reduction, and Athelas provides a whole bunch of healing, with a useful side effect of also removing a condition attachment. I should also mention the first-ever player side quest, Gather Information ; after all, it's not every deluxe expansion that introduces a whole new card type. So basically, if you want to build a Dúnedain deck, you need this expansion, and they're a lot of fun to play! If not, there might be something useful for you, but nothing particularly unmissable. This really is a fairly tightly focused set of player cards. ** With a much broader card pool than last time, the quests of the Lost Realm are still difficult, but not kick-in-the-face difficult like, say, Heirs of Númenor . Still, there's a reason why I'm posting about this game so much less nowadays: it's that it's too hard to be fun any more. Each of these quests felt like a chore to play, because we barely felt we had a decent chance at beating them at all. The Dream-chaser cycle aside, where we actually managed to beat most of the quests, this has become the rule rather than the exception. The fact is, me and my partner barely play any more at all; we only tend to get the cards out if there's a third person interested in playing. The quests are too big, too fiddly and too frustrating; if I'm up for something big and exhausting, I'll rather play a board game like Star Wars: Rebellion or Game of Thrones . I still enjoy the deckbuilding aspect of the Lord of the Rings card game, but it's becoming painfully obvious that it's not really possible to make a take-all-comers deck, and neither of us is at all interested in starting to create bespoke decks for single quests. Increasingly, what this means in practice is that we'll buy new stuff, sometimes, for the player cards, but mostly we end up playing quests from the first two cycles, and some occasional later favorites. Because those quests were mostly fun. We still haven't even gotten round to starting the Lord of the Rings saga, and I don't even know if we will. I mean, I grew up playing Nethack, I enjoy a challenge; but we've been frustrated by so many quests that we found unreasonably difficult that the game just hasn't been fun any more. ** We did finally get the last two adventure packs of the Haradrim cycle, and they come with some excellent cards. One I absolutely have to try is Flight to the Sea : it lets you shuffle a copy of the brilliant Wind from the Sea into the encounter deck. This is the first player encounter card we've seen since Ranger of the North - introduced, appropriately enough, in the Lost Realm. Unlike Ranger of the North, Wind from the Sea has a shadow effect, and it doesn't have surge. In short, I think this is going to be a really, really good card, and I'm very much looking forward to trying it out. Another thematically irresistible card, especially now that I'm playing the sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor , is Magic Ring . At a limit of one per deck, I think this is kind of a no-brainer to include, but we'll see. Certainly it's high time we saw some magic items whose use carries risks! A change I'm considering is swapping Arwen for Lanwyn and Elven-light for ally Arwen . I had some success with Lanwyn in my hobbit support deck , and I might want to take a shot at building a Dale deck when(ever) Wilds of Rhovanion shows up. Her ranged attack and ally Arwen's sentinel-granting ability should make combat a little bit easier, and give us a little boost when facing surge, all at the cost of one willpower and Arwen's discard ability. But we'll leave that to the future, and concentrate on trying the new additions for now. 56 cards; 30 Spirit, 21 Lore, 5 neutral; 24 allies, 12 attachments, 16 events, 2 side quests. Starting threat 28. Arwen Undómiel (TDR) Idraen (TTT) Rossiel (EfMG) Allies: 24 (17/6/1) Jubayr (TM) Northern Tracker x2 Súlien (TCoC) Elrohir (TMoF) Lindir (TBoCD) Rhovanion Outrider (ToTD) x2 Bilbo Baggins (TRD) Galadriel's Handmaiden (CS) x3 West Road Traveler (RtM) x3 Dúnedain Pathfinder (RAH) x2 Elladan (TMoF) Gléowine Mablung (TLoS) Warden of Healing (TLD) x3 Gandalf (OHaUH) Attachments: 13 (6/6/1) Unexpected Courage x2 Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x2 Light of Valinor (FoS) x2 A Burning Brand (CatC) x2 Cloak of Lórien (CS) x2 The Long Defeat (TBoCD) x2 Magic Ring (TCoP) Events: 17 (6/8/3) Flight to the Sea (TCoP) A Test of Will x3 Elven-light (TDR) x2 Leave No Trace (EfMG) x2 None Return (AtE) x3 Daeron's Runes (FoS) x3 Keen as Lances (EfMG) x3 Side quests: 2 Double Back (EfMG) Scout Ahead (TWoE)

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