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Campaign Mode: A Knife in the Dark (Part 1)

by on October 14, 2013

weathertop

Last time around, our heroes survived the journey out of the Shire, although Nazgul dogged their steps at every turn. However, the long road to Rivendell still lies ahead, as there will be no true rest until the Ring lies within the safety of The Last Homely House. Campaign Mode now takes us to A Knife in the Dark, the second scenario in The Black Riders expansion, and one that represents the path from Bree to Weathertop. Just like in A Shadow of the Past, our goal is to minimize contact with the Nazgul as much as possible, although the mechanics of how this works are quite different. We also have other foes to face aside from the Nine this time around, as some of the shadier inhabitants of Bree are in the service of the Enemy. Will our heroes be able to meet these new challenges? Will they be able to keep a low profile? Or will they decide to dance on tavern tables, lustily singing tuneful ditties, attracting the attention of every ne’er do well in the greater area? As always, you’ll have to read on to find out!

If you are not familiar with Campaign Mode, and did not read the first article in this series (Campaign Mode: Shadow of the Past), I recommend that you at least look at the first part of it now so that you can have some familiarity with the rules governing this mode of play. From there, I would recommend also briefly skimming my decks and the outcome of the quest from last time, so you can have a good idea of where I am picking up from here.

Due to the length of these Campaign Mode articles, I have decided to publish them in segments, both for readability’s sake, and for my sanity as a writer. Here you will find my discussion of the A Knife in the Dark scenario, including the general strategies I have found most useful in defeating this challenging quest. In Part 2, I will review my decks, and outline changes I have made to compensate for the particular needs of the scenario. Finally, Part 3 will feature the detailed session report and the return of the flavor text describing the adventures and misadventures of my group of heroes. Hopefully, you will find this segmented approach agreeable, and I will collect all the pieces into one big article at the end for those who prefer to have everything in the same place.

Part 1 – General Strategies

For my money, A Knife in the Dark is easily the most difficult of the three scenarios in The Black Riders expansion. It is also the lengthiest, and it can sometimes be frustrating to spend a couple of hours trying to defeat this quest, only to meet with failure. As such, I hope that this section on general strategies, filled with insights won through hard-earned victories (and defeats) can help spare you this fate. I will say, though, that this is my favorite quest in the box, and perhaps one of my favorite all-time quests, as it is dripping with theme and meaningful decisions.

1) “…When I arrive at my destination, I am gonna kill Bill”

Bill Ferny was a pesky and treacherous resident of Bree who worked to facilitate the search of the Nazgul for the Ring. With this theme in mind, the game version of Bill plays a very similar role, as he threatens to bring Ringwraiths into the encounter deck, and thus into the path of the heroes, as long as he remains in play. Let’s take a look at the exact game text of this enemy:

Players cannot optionally engage Bill Ferny.

Forced: At the beginning of the staging step, either shuffle 1 out of play Ringwraith into the encounter deck or each player raises his threat by 1 for each non-[Fellowship] hero he committed to the quest.

Without understanding the full picture of this scenario, it is difficult to appreciate the sheer menace presented by this effect. There are five Ringwraiths that begin the game out of play, and are not brought into play except by the workings of Bill Ferny, alongbill ferny with a few other encounter and quest card effects. Without these Nazgul in the mix, what you are up against, in terms of enemies, are 2 copies of Rider of Mordor and several copies of various non-Nazgul enemies with the spy trait. This is a manageable load, for the most part, but introducing multiple copies of Ringwraith (3 threat, 5 attack, 4 defense, 5 hit points) can suddenly up the difficulty level dramatically. However, this is not the worst of it. Once you reach the final stage of the quest, you are instructed to search the encounter deck and discard pile for every single Nazgul enemy, putting them all into the staging area. The first time I read this text, which immediately brought out about six or seven Nazgul onto the board at once, I thought the designers were playing a sick joke, but then I realized what this quest is really all about: keeping those copies of Ringwraith out of play permanently. If you can do this, then you will only be facing the 2 copies of Rider of Mordor and the Witch King during that last stage (and clearing the board of Nazgul is the victory condition for this quest).

So Bill Ferny really forces you to make a tough choice during each quest phase: shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck or raise your threat. Since Bill Ferny cannot be optionally engaged, and has a high engagement cost of 38, you can’t simply just choose to pull him down conventionally and dispatch him. This means that you need to come to this quest with a firm Bill Ferny strategy in place. If you just try to wing it, you may end up either with a bunch of Ringwraiths in your encounter deck, meaning a one-way ticket to defeat, or a sky-high threat. There are a few viable methods for dealing with Bill, and which one you choose is one of the many meaningful choices that are part of this quest. I’ll outline the major Bill Ferny strategies here:

A – Use direct damage to kill Bill

This is perhaps the most obvious strategy, and certainly a potentially effective one. By killing Bill Ferny as quickly as possible, you minimize the impact of his Ringwraith shuffling and/or threat-raising hijinks. There are plenty of options available, perhaps too many to mention here, but some notable ones are Core Gandalf, Hail of Stones, and Ranger Bow. The designers quite smartly chose to give Bill a meaty 5 hit points, so one Gandalf bomb is not enough to do the deed, instead you’ll likely have to combine 2 or 3 such effects together. You can also use effects that are not technically direct damage, but allow you to attack the staging area, such as Hands Upon the Bow and Great Yew Bow (keep in mind that Bill has 3 defense, though, so you’ll need a high attack character to pull this off). The advantage of this approach is that it gets Bill Ferny out of the way quickly, and you can include a few different direct damage effects in your deck(s) to make sure that at least some of them are drawn within the first few turns. The disadvantage is that it does still depend on drawing particular cards early, and it can also can tie up resources and deck space in dealing with a single foe. Of course, this particular enemy, as previously outlined, is one of the central dangers of the quest because of his effect.

*Note: It is not possible to reduce Bill Ferny’s defense (with a couple of Rivendell Blades, for example) and then Straight Shot him out of existence. As satisfying as this would be, Bill is a unique enemy, and thus an ineligible target for the latter card.

B – Use engagement trickery

Another option is to circumvent Bill Ferny’s immunity to optional engagement by forcing him to engage through some other means. Here, the possibilities are a bit more limited, but Son of Arnor, Knight of Minas Tirith, and The Hammer-stroke can all give you what you need. These cards can pull Bill Ferny down, allowing you to kill him through conventional attacks. As Bill only has 1 attack himself, he isn’t fearsome once you get to grips with him, though his 3 defense and 5 hit points require you to put in some work to make the kill (unfortunately, there’s no Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique card in existence). The advantage of this approach is that it really requires only a single card to work, as once Bill is in front of you, you can use the normal combat process to finish the job. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is reliant on drawing one of those forced engagement effects early on. It’s not much use if you draw your Son of Arnor, for example , during the last few rounds of the game when the damage has already been done.

C – Manage your threat

There is always the option of letting Bill sit in the staging area and simply choosing the option of raising your threat during questing each turn (1 point for each non-Fellowship hero that is committed to the quest). This way, you prevent the shuffling of copies of Ringwraith into the encounter deck, but don’t necessarily have to rely on drawing or including certain cards to destroy Bill Ferny. You will have to include other elements to make sure that your threat doesn’t spiral out of control, however. First of all, the starting threat of your deck(s) needs to be reasonably low. Second, you should probably include at least some threat reduction to compensate for the added load you will be taking on each turn (using Elfhelm also isn’t a bad call, at least for one player, to mitigate some of that threat madness). Third, since the threat increase is incurred by each non-Fellowship hero, bring along a bunch of high-willpower allies so that you can quest effectively without worrying about Bill. Fourth, use attachments to transform just a couple of heroes into questing powerhouses, so that you only need to quest with 1 or 2 non-Fellowship heroes. For that matter, since Frodo can quest at will, since he is a Fellowship hero, why not throw some willpower boosts his way? The benefit of this overall approach is that it is not as reliant on drawing specific cards within the first few turns. The drawback is that it can be risky to take on additional points of threat each turn, and you will need to move through the quest at a decent pace to compensate for this disadvantage. Still, I have used this option successfully more often than you might imagine.

D – Purposely raise your threat to 38

This is more of a niche option, but it is still a possibility, so I’ll mention it here. You can use effects that raise your threat to intentionally boost your threat all the way up to Bill Ferny’s engagement cost of 38, meaning that he will come down to you naturally during the encounter phase. Then, you can kill him using the normal combat process. Some possible means of accomplishing this are Tactics Boromir (simply keep exhausting and readying him until you hit 38; you could do this on the very first turn) or the Palantir (keep gazing into it like a crazy person until your threat reaches the sweet spot). Obviously, this strategy carries with it the very real need for substantial threat reduction, as jumping up to 38 threat in the first round is a risky maneuver. The Lore version of Aragorn is the most logical and simple counterpart to this approach, although including tons of other threat reduction effects is another possibility.

I wouldn’t say that any one of these options is necessarily superior to the others, it’s just a matter of what makes the most sense for the deck(s) you are using and how much you want to build your deck(s) around a particular strategy.

2) Pick the right moment to travel

One aspect of this scenario that I particularly enjoy is that a couple of the travel decisions are actually meaningful. In the past, the travel phase, and the decisions associated with it, has largely been trivial, and definitely an area of missed opportunity. However, two key locations, The Prancing Pony and Midgewater, require you to make some agonizing decisions, and failing to choose wisely can mean defeat.

Let’s tackle The Prancing Pony first. This iconic location gives you a boost when you travel to it, but a knife in the gut when you finish exploring it:

Reponse: After the players travel here, the first player puts 1 ally into play from his hand.

Forced: After The Prancing Pony leaves play, discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until X enemies have been discarded. X is the number of players in the game. Put each enemy discarded by this effect into play engaged with the first player.

The free ally is certainly a tasty prize (not literally, I hope), and The Prancing Pony gives you an incentive to include a couple of expensive, powerful allies in your deck(s). Keep in mind that this bonus goes to the first player, so there is some timing consideration involved as prancing ponyto which player has the best and most expensive ally in hand. However, it is really the forced effect, which triggers when you explore the location, that should govern your travel decision. Your natural impulse is to want to tear through the first stage, including The Prancing Pony, as quickly as possible, however exposing the first player to X enemies is something that requires some preparation (X being equal to the number of players). Just how much preparation is needed is heavily dependent on the number of players. With only 1 player, the Prancing Pony’s effect is not quite as intimidating as when you’re staring down the barrel of a 4 enemy swarm in a 4-player game. If you do happen to be in a situation where one player is going to have to face down multiple enemies, then you will need at least one deck to be capable of competently defending against this swarm and dispatching them fairly quickly as well. Obviously, the more players in the game, and thus the bigger the swarm, the stronger the combat capabilities will have to be. On the other hand, with more players, you should be able to organize yourselves to provide some support through ranged and sentinel. Regardless, there are a ton of options, more than can be covered here in a succinct summary, but getting some allies out for chump blocking purposes and/or having a strong defender with readying capabilities is a good start. The key to The Prancing Pony is that you need to time when to travel to it perfectly so that you don’t do it too early, and thus face enemies that you can’t deal with, and don’t do it too late, so that you get bogged down early in the game. It takes some trial and error and savvy to determine the ideal window, but I have found that taking some risk and hedging more towards the early travel often pays off.

Midgewater is the other location that requires some thought in determining the right moment to travel. This intriguing locale essentially “pauses” combat while it is the active location:

While Midgewater is the active location, enemies cannot attack, take damage, or be engaged.

Forced: After Midgewater becomes the active location, return each engaged enemy in play to the staging area.

While in some ways, preventing enemies from engaging or attacking is beneficial, there are important ramifications to this effect that can actually severely harm you if you travel to Midgewater at the wrong moment. Also, keep in mind that whenmidgewater you do travel to it, all enemies engaged with you have be returned to the staging area. If you don’t time your travel well, you may pin a bunch of enemies in the staging area that will be free to swarm you once you clear Midgewater and move to the last stage. If that wasn’t enough, that last stage just so happens to be the moment when all the Nazgul, including the Witch King, come out to play as well. So ideally, you want to clear the board of enemies before you travel to Midgewater, but that is obviously easier said than done. This brings up a few key questions to keep in mind when trying to decide on the right moment:

* Do I have enough combat capacity to handle the enemies in play right now, all the Nazgul that will come into play, plus any possible enemies that are drawn during staging next turn?

* Do I have enough willpower to overcome the threat of enemies that are returned to the staging area by Midgewater?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you should probably hold off on traveling to Midgewater until you can improve your board position by destroying some of the enemies currently in play. Of course, if you play things too cautiously, you may get stuck in a cycle of trying to clear the board while enemies just keep cycling out to replace the ones that were dispatched. Especially in a multiplayer game, you are likely going to have to travel to Midgewater with some enemies still in play, the key is in figuring out how many is too many, which is not necessarily an exact science. Note that those handy direct damage effects you included to deal with Bill Ferny can’t help you here, as the effect of Midgewater prevents enemies from taking damage at all. With 6 quest points, you need to be confident of clearing out Midgewater the turn after you travel to it. Any longer than that, and you risk flooding the staging area with too many enemies.

Note that since Midgewater is not immune to player card effects, you can use effects that place progress tokens on locations directly, such as Asfaloth, Ride to Ruin, and The Riddermark’s Finest, to get rid of it without having to make it the active location. You can also use Thror’s Key, since Midgewater is added to the staging area by the quest stage, to make its text box blank, completely neutering it. This is a completely valid solution, although perhaps taking a bit of the fun out of the scenario.

(Special note: Those who haven’t played this scenario yet may be wondering why I left out any discussion of the other unique location, Weathertop. Ironically, this iconic location doesn’t need to be traveled to and isn’t part of the victory condition for the quest, so it pretty much is a non-factor. It does ease questing a bit, by reducing the threat of enemies while it is in the victory display, but most of the time I’ve simply ignored it.)

3) The Weather Hills are your friend

Speaking of locations, there is one, non-unique location in the deck that can prove quite useful: the Weather Hills. This location allows you to temporarily pull an enemy out of play:

Response: After the players travel here, place 1 non-unique enemy in play facedown under this location. While an enemy is under this location, it is out of play.

Forced: After this location leaves play, return each enemy under it to the staging area face-up.

Use this effect liberally to ease the combat load for a turn or two, especially during the last few rounds when the tendency is to get swamped with enemies. Weather Hills is especially handy to get a Nazgul out of play during that last dogpile of enemies (not including the Witch King, who is unique). The victory condition of this quest is having no Nazgul in play, and an enemy that is under Weather Hills counts as being out of play, so I have actually used Weather Hills to win me the game on a few occasions by sticking one Nazgul underneath it and destroying the rest.

4) Don’t be too cavalier with the One Ring

We all know that Frodo didn’t heed this advice in the Prancing Pony, which almost resulted in disaster. Learn from his mistake (look, when you’re supposed to be keeping a low profile, singing a song about the Man in the Moon while doing your best Coyote Ugly impression is probably not the best idea; go ahead, try getting that mental image out of your head). While in my discussion of A Shadow of the Past, I may have encouraged the fast and loose use of the One Ring to cancel nasty encounter card draws, and you should of course use it in this scenario when truly necessary, I tend not to be as quick to use it here. Mainly, this is because I run a Hobbit deck in Campaign Mode, and the Rider of Mordor and Witch King actually lose points from their engagement cost when the One Ring is exhausted. Not only does this mean that they will engage earlier than they would otherwise, this also could mean that certain cards lose their bonuses based on engagement cost, such as Sam Gamgee, Pippin, Hobbit Cloak, and Dagger of Westernesse. The bonuses from Sam and Hobbit Cloak can be especially hurtful to lose, as not only are you now faced with a tough Nazgul, but you also are left without the defensive strength you need to handle it.

4) Be aware of the Black Breath

This is a truly nasty treachery and condition attachment that renders one of your heroes effectively useless (other than for collecting resources):

When Revealed: Attach to a hero you control. (Counts as a Condition attachment with the text: “Limit 1 per hero. Reduce attached hero’s willpower, attack, and defense to 0.”)

What should you do when you draw this card? First, this is a case where I would recommend using the One Ring, unless it would put you in certain danger. If this is not possible, then you should of course put Black Breath on the hero that you can most bear to lose in terms of their contribution to questing and/or combat. I have sometimes thrown this on Frodo, as he is mostly a quester for me anyway, and I don’t risk him in combat at all. I would rather lose the services of this “extra” hero than one of my essential ones. Barring Frodo, Pippin has been the next choice in the particular decks I have used against A Knife in the Dark, as he has the lowest stats, and lowest contribution to questing and/or combat. In addition, it makes sense to include some copies of A Test of Will to cancel this card outright, and Miner of the Iron Hills can’t hurt either as the sole means of removing Black Breath once it’s already out on the table.

5) Don’t, I repeat DO NOT let Ringwraiths get shuffled into the encounter deck

I covered this already a bit under the Bill Ferny entry, but this surely deserves its own section. There are a few encounter and quest card effects that give you a choice between two different options, one of which is harmful in some way, and the other of which is shuffling in one of those out of play Ringwraiths. You might be tempted to take the Ringwraith option, as you ringwraithwon’t have to worry about it until later, while the other harmful option is more immediate, but DON’T DO IT. Anything is better than taking the Ringwraith. I would rather give a pedicure to a Mumak than shuffle in a Ringwraith. I would rather be the judge for a troll belly-dancing competition than shuffle in a Ringwraith. I would rather…well, you get the idea. I’m exaggerating slightly, but the point is valid. By some chance, you may be forced to take a Ringwraith, and if that happens, don’t immediately quit. You can still win, but every copy you add pushes the possibility of victory that much closer to the precipice.

Ok, with that public service announcement out of the way, here’s some thoughts about how to deal with each of the cards that might throw a Ringwraith your way:

Bill Ferny: This was covered already in his separate entry. Given the choice, always take the threat.

Into the Wild: This quest stage removes X progress from itself at the end of the round (X being equal to the number of players). If you ever can’t satisfy this condition, by removing the full amount of progress tokens, then you have to shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck. What this means is that your main priority while on this stage (2B) is to make sure there is at least X progress tokens on it by the end of the round. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Almost anything else is less important than this.

* Squint-eyed SouthernerI really hate cards that make me reveal an additional encounter card. I hate them more than getting kidnapped by Uruk-hai while hiking through the woods. I still will pick the extra encounter card instead of shuffling in that Ringwraith, when given the option by Squint-eyed Southerner.

Unwanted AttentionThis treachery forces you to either remove 2 heroes you control from the quest (note that this is directed to whichever player is drawing this particular encounter card, refer to the special rules for this Saga Expansion explained in the first article) or to shuffle in a Ringwraith. What this essentially means is that you either need to have treachery cancellation available, use the One Ring, or always be willing to commit at least 2 heroes to the quest, so that they can be removed to satisfy the condition of this card if the need arises.

With these tips in mind, and if you have kept those Ringwraiths out of play, you WILL thank me for it when you hit that final quest stage.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

I could continue on with further strategies, but there is only so much space that can be devoted to one scenario without diluting the advice on offer. It goes without saying that you should come to the table with strong defenders and strong attackers, as mentioned in the A Shadow of the Past article, as you will again be facing fearsome enemies with high attack, defense, and hit points. If anything, it is even more vital to do so here, as clearing the board of Nazgul is the victory condition for this quest, and you will be facing a greater quantity of enemies than in the first scenario. For further advice on that subject, refer to that first article, as it provides specific details of how to accomplish this, along with Part 2 of the A Knife in the Dark article, as I will outline my specific approach in terms of concrete deck building. Barring that, I must be going, as there is a moon in the sky and a road that needs walking. Who knows where it will lead?

Look for Part 2 soon, as I’ll be breaking down my decks, and looking to build for the specific needs of A Knife in the Dark. I’ll end with some epic music for your epic battle with Bill Ferny.

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18 Comments
  1. Glowwyrm permalink

    Great article! A Knife in the Dark is already one of my favorite scenarios because of the challenge, theme, and all the strategic decisions you have to make. To add a suggestions to your option D, I’ve had lots of thematic fun with a Strider, Glorfindel, Fatty deck (paired with a hobbit deck) that raises its threat on purpose, then quietly lowers it all the way back down with Strider. Fatty is perfect for this strategy because Ferny will always be in the staging area so that you can always use his ability, you will always get some help with questing, and you can quickly raise your threat up to Ferny’s level, especially if the location that raises the threat of spies comes into play.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Of course, how could I forget poor ‘ol Fatty!

  2. Tonskillitis permalink

    A nice article for a fantastic scenario with many different aspects to consider for player strategy. Playing this for the first time, I had an unpleasant surprise with the final stage of the quest when I had not made efforts to avoid the Nazguls being shuffled into the encounter deck and suddenly we revealed – how many enemies? 8 Nazguls? Plus there were about 3 spies in play. With low threat decks we actually threated-out during staging the next turn in spite of questing all in. Still, the 10 enemies left in the staging area did give Faramir a nice bonus to his attack power. Note to self, must kill Bill Ferny! With 5 HP and 3 DEF a simple apple won’t do the trick this time.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I hope everyone gets a chance to play this scenario blind at least once all the way through, just to experience that feeling of having to pull out countless Nazgul.

  3. Tiandes permalink

    Small question about Weather Hills and the game in general, is using Thror Map considering traveling to the location you are making active?

    If it is so… then I think Weather Hills is going to be errata!

    Cause you could keep playing Thror Map, switching Weatehr Hill back and forth from the staging area and the active location area to put ennemies under it and keep it there!

  4. TalesfromtheCards permalink

    Hmm, that’s a very good question. Based on the wording of Thror’s Map, I don’t think it counts as traveling to Weather Hills, because it just says “make it the active location” rather than “travel to it”.

    • Tiandes permalink

      Ok, you can always switch it, explore the new active location and travel to weather hills “again” during the travel phase.

      Not as strong as just switghing location, because you need to constantly draw new locations, but can become pretty interesting in the long run if you manage to keep the weather hills in play.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        Very true. There’s definitely some interesting shenanigans possible with Thror’s Map and the Weather Hills. Nice find!

  5. Firstly- thank you for your great blog! As a new player , this blog, and The Hall of Beorn, have been of great assistance, allow me to get the most out of this game.

    This is certainly a tough scenario. I tried, but to no avail with very a similar deck to you. In dealing with Bill, I could never get the steward of Gondor and Son or Arnor out quickly enough. Perhaps bad luck in the encounter draws also played a part. This quest does seem very luck dependent …… But luck does play a big ( too big?) part in this game. Once your threat starts to spiral out of control, and too many enemies are drawn, you’re in big trouble.

    I decided a new approach was need to kill Bill and I decided to take the threat increase and swap out a hero. Dunhere, to the rescue! And Eowin is on the bench. I added 3 copies of Denedain Mark for a +1 attack and 3 copies of Dwarven Axe for another +1 attack. I also added Master of the Forge to help hunting for attachments. As it turned out my I was able, on the first turn, to load up Dunhere with the Dagger of Westernesse and the Dunedain Mark for an attack of 5 into the staging area against Bill. Being able to deal with Bill, in two rounds, and some initial benign encounter cards set me up for my first win against this scenario. Other deck changes included Gondorian Spearman, Veteran Axehand and Galadhrim’s Greeting. The Norther Tracker also earned his keep. The Steward never showed up, neither did Beorn.

    The game ended with an exciting climax with Awen giving sentinel to Gandalf, so the wizard could defend against the Whitch-King and Sam and Merry attacking for 14!! The game took nearly 3 hours and I went through the encounter deck nearly twice.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Wow, 3 hours! This can certainly be one of the longest quests around because of the ability of those pesky Nazgul to keep showing up. I’m glad you were able to find a strategy that works for you, which is what it’s all about. Thanks for reading and stopping by to comment!

  6. Awesome review! Just picked up both Black riders and The Road darkens and played this quest with my wife last night.

    We got rocked by the ring wraiths in stage 3 the first time we played (really glad we didn’t spoil it and felt the pain).

    Had to edit our decks a bit after the first attempt. Found this review while making sure that I could optionally engage Bill with Westfold Outrider 🙂

    The second attempt started out awesomely. I was able to beef Merry up to 6 attack with the Dagger of Westernesse, and using a well timed Westfold Outrider (put into play by traveling to the Prancing Pony), I engaged Bill After enemies attacked, allowing me to Kill Bill on turn 1!

    Things turned ugly pretty quickly on turn 3. We accidentally explored The Prancing Pony and had during staging revealed a Power in their Terror (we really got 2 since we exhausted the ring and my wife picked up the second), which killed Bill the Pony and another ally of mine (which i needed for chump blocking/hit point boost). Since Prancing Pony was explored, I got a Spy and a rider engaged with me. I was able defend the rider with Sam but the spy was attacking and I had no allies to chump block with. I had the typical hobbit deck with Sam/Merry/Pippin, so I had no one to take the attack. I Didn’t opt in for Mr. Overhill so I had to kill off a Hero(which i chose Pippin) to a spy with 3 attack (which was frustrating)

    After a few turns of hard questing, Fortune or Fate brought Pippin back into the mix (so glad we included this card!). We lucky didn’t have to include any Ringwraiths so the 3 stage was do-oable. I was obligated give Sam 2 extra hitpoints for my boon 🙂

    Looking forward to the rest of the campaign!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience! I haven’t gotten a chance to play Knife in the Dark in awhile, but your story confirms one of the reasons I really like it, which is the way it can swing back and forth and create some tense victories (or shattering losses, for that matter).

  7. If your starting Threat is high enough, Bill’s forced effect can raise your threat to 38 fairly quickly. Additional benefit of this method: you don’t have to shuffle any Nazgul in while you wait.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      This will be a particularly good strategy once those Valour cards start being released!

  8. Fingolfin permalink

    Hello, I have a question regarding this card (Bill Ferny).

    If I don’t commit heroes to the quest, can I choose the second option and increase my threat by 0 (supposing that the number of hero committed is 0) ?
    I know the faq point 1.44, but the second option of this card should be considered as soddisfied, if I consider the number of committed heroes as zero?

    Thanks

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I believe you should be able to choose the second option, as you can count the number as 0.

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