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LotR LCG: Over the Edge of the Wild

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"There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go." - The Hobbit, chapter VII In a slightly bizarre episode, someone got their hands on the Crossings of Poros AP as long ago as July 2017, and spoiled the accompanying flavor text , which strongly indicated that the next deluxe would be set in Dale. Finally, in December, the Wilds of Rhovanion deluxe expansion was announced, and promised for the first quarter of 2018. We got it at the very end of June. John Howe: An Unexpected Party , 2000. ** Journey up the Anduin - DL 5 I wonder why they still bother with the difficulty levels? Journey Up the Anduin is obviously a sort of revisiting of the second core set quest, Journey Down the Anduin. What with the Hill Troll and everything, the original quest is, in my mind, one of the true classics of the game. I still remember the first time I beat it solo . The reverse journey here uses most of the same encounter cards as the original did, and this return to the core set had a lot of us thinking that this would definitely be the last deluxe expansion! Luckily we were wrong . The quest itself is okay. I liked using the old encounter cards mixed in with the new stuff; I disliked the "evil creatures" deck, because it feels fiddly. But the difficulty level felt manageable, and while this quest doesn't hold a candle to the brilliance of the original, it was perfectly decent. ** Lost in Mirkwood - DL 5 Once we've made it up the Anduin, the next quest is a retread of Passage Through Mirkwood, only with more spiders and way more locations. This really is location lock: the quest. The first time I tried it, we were completely swamped by locations, and with cards like Dark Black Woods and Twilight Hall in play, even Northern Tracker couldn't save us. On a second attempt with my partner's Tactics deck, we got the location control engine up and running, and actually managed to beat the quest! I'm kind of on the fence about Lost in Mirkwood; if you can manage to not get buried under the avalanche of locations the encounter deck provides, it's quite doable; even kinda fun. But if the locations hit just right, or you don't have the right cards to deal with them, this is a frustratingly impossible quest. ** The King's Quest - DL 5 Having made their way to Dale, for some inexplicable reason our heroes have volunteered to raid the Iron Hills version of Moria. Luckily there isn't a Balrog, but there is a dragon. This quest uses a "Deep" mechanic, where locations with the Deep keyword are replaced by locations from a Caves deck when you travel to them. This is actually a pretty clever mechanic, as it introduces some uncertainty into traveling. As a quest, King's Quest is a fairly straightforward dungeon crawl, with frankly slightly boring enemies (except the Werewolf and Hobgoblin !), that turns into a pretty decent bossfight against the dragon guarding its treasure. We damn near beat this quest on our first try; we were doing all right until the damn dragon murdered all of my questers! But it was fun. ** The player cards in this expansion are all Dale-themed. Of these, Bow of Yew should find a home in quite a few Tactics decks as a 0-cost weapon that can trigger events like Foe-hammer , and Leadership decks should like Hauberk of Mail . Another card of general interest is Necklace of Girion , which introduces the Guarded trait for player cards: the Necklace gets attached to a location or enemy card from the encounter deck, which you have to beat to get the attachment. This sounds like it might be fun! Other than these cards, everything revolves around the Dale trait and attachments, so in terms of player cards, get this if you're into that kind of thing? ** Because all three quests heavily feature locations and are most easily lost through location lock, this really is location lock: the deluxe expansion. If you're looking for quests, I can't recommend this expansion unless you have a deck that's not just decent, but good at location control. If Heirs of Númenor was the combat deluxe, this is the location control one. If you've got what it takes for locations, then this was a decently fun box; I didn't think any of the three quests were great, but they were perfectly competent. I kind of liked that they used the core set encounter cards, but then I also didn't think they did anything particularly clever with them. I can't remember when I've last seen an East Bight Patrol , though! I mentioned fiddliness in the context of the enemy creatures deck in Lost in Mirkwood, and I think it's been a recurring problem from since the first adventure pack cycle ever; there was something you needed to do when questing that we never could reliably remember to do in Hunt for Gollum. In my mind, the problem is that the core gameplay in this game is so solid, that what we at least want from a quest is to just sit down and play the damn game! Everything that breaks up the flow of the game - special tests or discards or whatever that are out of the normal turn sequence - is not only difficult to remember, but takes away from the core gameplay experience that we like so much. I find I much prefer straightforward quests, even if they're a little bit boring, to ones that try to have too many moving parts - where the end result tends to be that we forget to move said parts! Anyway I didn't think the quests in this deluxe were too fiddly, but these are some general thoughts brought on by thinking about the subject. ** It's been ages since I really played, but I did make a change to my deck! While I was initially kinda excited about Dúnedain Pathfinder , I've rarely found myself in a situation where I can play him - or when I can, we don't need him. This is kind of a "win more" card in my opinion: if we're clearing locations efficiently enough, then we don't really need two more willpower. Lately, with quests like Desert Crossing and Lost in Mirkwood and the like, the opposite has been the problem: even though we can put down a decent amount of questing and I have a bunch of location control tools, we still end up in location lock more often than not. I feel like the designers felt a need to compensate for the new location control tools we got since Grey Havens by burying us in horrible locations. Nonetheless, I think we need more help with location control, and with a Noldor and Dúnadan hero, I think the answer is Heirs of Eärendil . Finally, I figured I'd give the new Guarded mechanic a shot with Necklace of Girion . 56 cards; 30 Spirit, 20 Lore, 6 neutral; 22 allies, 12 attachments, 18 events, 2 side quests. Starting threat 28. Arwen Undómiel (TDR) Idraen (TTT) Rossiel (EfMG) Allies: 22 (15/6/1) 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 Elladan (TMoF) Gléowine Mablung (TLoS) Warden of Healing (TLD) x3 Gandalf (OHaUH) Attachments: 13 (5/6/2) Unexpected Courage x2 Ancient Mathom (AJtR) Light of Valinor (FoS) x2 A Burning Brand (CatC) x2 Cloak of Lórien (CS) x2 The Long Defeat (TBoCD) x2 Magic Ring (TCoP) Necklace of Girion (TWoR) Events: 19 (8/8/3) Flight to the Sea (TCoP) A Test of Will x3 Elven-light (TDR) x2 Heirs of Eärendil (TDoCG) 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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