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Deck Spotlight: Heroes of Pelennor Fields

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Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings or seen the films has dreamed of recreating the epic heroics of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, from Legolas and Gimli competing to see who could deal the most damage to the Enemy to Eowyn standing face-to-face with the Witch King and coming out on top (I know the kill competition actually only took place at Helm’s Deep in the books, but bear with me here!). When LOTR LCG was first released, and I found out Legolas and Gimli were part of the Core Set, I immediately wanted to place them side-by-side so that I could implement their little game of one-upmanship into the experience. Unfortunately, using that pair together never quite worked for me, especially in solo play, but all that has changed with the larger card pool we now have to work with, and it is indeed possible to play out your own version of that friendly rivalry. Read on and before you know it, you’ll be shouting, “That still only counts as one!”
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The Road Darkens: Attachments Review

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The Road Darkens is packed full of attachments. Most of these, though, are special Boon attachments that can only be used in Campaign Mode, which does make me thrilled at the prospect of continuing the epic two-handed Campaign that I began seemingly ages ago (look for the first installment of the continuing adventure soon!), but also a bit sad that there are only three “real” attachments in the box, one of which is also Saga-specific, since it is part of the Fellowship sphere. Both of the remaining attachments are pretty much tied at the hip to Gandalf, which means that if you are not at all interested in using hero Gandalf, The Road Darkens doesn’t give you much in the attachment department, and attachments tend to be the most powerful card type in the game. Still, if you are even slightly interested in giving hero Gandalf a spin, you’ll want to pay close attention to both the Wizard Pipe and Gandalf’s Staff.
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The Road Darkens: Allies Review

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Much of the attention around The Road Darkens has understandably focused on the amazing new Gandalf hero, as well as the other cards in the box that serve as “Gandalf’s toys”. However, as difficult as it is to believe, there are indeed other cards and characters to be found in this latest Saga Expansion, and they actually represent some of the most important characters in The Lord of the Rings story. From two of the Wise to a mighty warrior to the O.H. (Original Hobbit), these are key figures that helped to shape the destiny of Middle-earth and can similarly help to shape your success and failure in the game. In this latest TftC review, we will give these notable personages their proper due, and examine their impact on the greater card pool.
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Lost in the Fog: LOTR LCG Fellowship Event 2014 Report

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After several seasons of focusing organized play for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game exclusively around Nightmare quests, Fantasy Flight Games decided to change it up a bit by creating a special Fellowship event centered around a brand new quest, Fog on the Barrow-Downs. We’ve seen scenarios created for special events at the past four instances of Gen Con, but this is the first time we’ve seen a quest created just for a special event outside of Gen Con. While The Old Forest event was unveiled at Gen Con this past August, the Fellowship 2014 event, held this past weekend, October 10-12, at stores around the country and the world, continued the story with a trip through the Barrow Downs. Both of these quests can be integrated into the Campaign Mode introduced by The Black Riders, and it’s great to see the designers fill in the gaps of the story found in The Lord of the Rings and usually left out of game portrayals. Fortunately, my local game store, Games of Berkeley, was able to participate in the event, and 7 of us gathered to take on fierce wights in the chill fog of the Barrow Downs. I thought I’d share some of my experiences from the event, as well as some of the specific cards that make up the scenario. Warning: If you want to go into the quest with no knowledge of the quest, turn from the path now!
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TftC Mailbag: Deck Building #7

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In last week’s mailbag, I helped a reader construct a deck from a limited card pool that could be successful against The Black Riders campaign. However, that same reader also had asked about deck building assistance for Siege of Cair Andros as well. There are varying schools of thought when it comes to building a deck for one specific scenario. Some prefer to build decks that can take on as broad an array of scenarios as possible, while others prefer the subtle tinkering and tweaking of decks to meet the specific needs of each quest. As with many areas of the game, I tend to be an “all of the above” type of player, in that I both build decks that are designed to tackle anything that might come my way and decks that focus in on one scenario in particular. While some players might dislike the idea of building with only one quest in mind, I actually find this kind of challenge an intriguing puzzle that helps to keep the game fresh. With a more limited card pool, I also find the need to deck build for specific quests even more pressing, at least for the more difficult ones, as trying to fashion a “one deck to rule them all” is understandably a bit more challenging with fewer cards available. I have found that this has become even more true from the Heirs of Numenor expansion/Against the Shadow cycle onwards, where quests have become increasingly demanding of a specific focus. This is best exemplified by the battle/siege mechanic, but is by no means restricted to it.

With that in mind, I took on the challenge of unlocking the Siege of Cair Andros with a limited card pool. As a reminder, the original message from the reader was as follows:
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The Road Darkens: Hero Review

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Just the act of typing the words “The Road Darkens” before the word “review” feels a bit surreal. It was just a couple of months ago that I stood in Fantasy Flight Games’ line in Gen Con, disconsolate in the knowledge that The Road Darkens would not be mine after all. It’s been a long wait since then, and the excitement has only built with each new spoiler. Some players have been a bit disappointed with the relatively small number of player cards for a larger expansion, but I’m still too busy basking in the glow of finally being able to continue my Lord of the Rings campaign to complain much. Of course, this criticism has partially extended to the fact that we’ve only receive one new hero in The Road Darkens, rather than the four that have been part of previous Saga boxes and the two that are standard for deluxe expansions (I’m leaving aside Fellowship heroes from the count for what should be obvious reasons). However, if there was any one hero that perhaps deserves to occupy the spotlight by himself, it is surely Gandalf. While we may debate the relative merits and reasons for this hero count and that player card count, there is little doubt that finally getting a character of the import of Gandalf in hero form is a momentous moment in the life of LOTR LCG.
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TftC Mailbag: Deck Building #6

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It’s been awhile since I dipped into the mailbag, but I’ve received a few interesting deck building questions and challenges of late, and I’ll be sharing them over the next few weeks. One common theme is the issue of restriction. In many cases, this means that some players, especially newer ones, are building decks with a limited card pool. Trying to help players build decks with this kind of limitation is illuminating, because it outlines just how reliant I have become on certain cards and on having access to the entire card pool in my own deck building. It’s not simply a matter of building a “progression style” deck either, where someone has all the cards of the Core Set up to the end of the Mirkwood cycle or up to the middle of the Dwarrowdelf cycle either. Players often don’t or can’t buy expansions in order, so they build from a variety of different expansions instead, depending on what is most interesting to them. It’s actually a highly intriguing exercise to try this for myself, and I recommend experienced players and deck builders to try such random restrictions for themselves, just to sharpen up their skills and see how they would deal with the lack of certain crucial cards. Another kind of restriction that comes up when players contact me is the desire to implement decks that fit a certain theme. This issue doesn’t necessarily come up here, but look out for it in future editions of the mailbag.

With that preamble out of the way, let’s look at our piece of mail for today. It comes from a reader asking for help in building decks against some particular quests with a limited card pool:
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