Skip to content

Thorin and Company: Flies and Spiders

by on May 14, 2014

 

Bilbo and the giant spiders by Marc Daniel Goecke

After finding a magic ring, riddling with Gollum, and escaping the goblin caves, Bilbo was rescued from wargs and goblins by the eagles, together with the rest of Thorin’s company. After receiving hospitality and provisions at the home of the skinchanger Beorn, Thorin and Company made their way to the eaves of Mirkwood. Gandalf had other business to attend to, so he left them there, warning them to not leave the path through the forest: there are dark and deadly creatures in the gloom of Mirkwood.

This quest is played with a 53-card deck: the original deck with the Burglar version of Bilbo Baggins, plus Sting and Orcrist. (Bilbo’s Magic Ring will be added during setup.) Glamdring is not added, since Gandalf is not there, and I will not use Gandalf to deal damage or to attack during this quest. His other abilities can be thought of as being an inspiration for the company (questing and card draw), behind the scenes help (threat reduction, perhaps by drawing the attention of some enemies to Southern Mirkwood and Dol Guldur), and luck (defense).

GENERAL STRATEGIES

With the exception of Dark Bats, the enemies in this quest are spiders that poison any character they damage, perhaps making them unconscious. The poison mechanic is interesting, and several shadow effects make defending more dangerous (although few directly raise attack). Unconsciousness is similar to the sacks from We Must Away, Ere Break of Day, though unconscious heroes have the disadvantage of not collecting resources. This quest is combat heavy, but it starts pretty gently. Enemies have moderately high engagement costs, ffg_captured-by-spiders-otdand poison becomes more dangerous over time. Captured by Spiders is a nasty shock, discarding all resources and making everyone except Bilbo unconscious. (In multiplayer, only the first player advances to stage three and has his characters made unconscious. The other player advance directly to stage four.) One of the fun and challenging parts of this quest is Bilbo heroically facing the spiders alone at the beginning of stage three. With Sting, Bilbo’s Magic Ring, and perhaps Fast Hitch and Ring Mail, Bilbo can be quite formidable. It’s important, however, to not be overwhelmed by the encounter deck in the next couple of turns, while heroes are being readied. Stage four is more combat intensive, with one or two new enemies each round. Here are some of my tactics for this quest:

Use stage one to build up attachments: Since all characters become unconscious at the beginning of stage three, allies in play are not very helpful in those crucial first rounds of stage three. It’s important to control at least five dwarves, so that Thorin and Ori’s abilities apply. (Ori’s ability is not triggered, so it applies even when he is unconscious.) Beyond that, the focus should be on attachments. Weapons, Ring Mail, healing, Fast Hitch, and Unexpected Courage can all help a couple of heroes to survive until reinforcements arrive. Thorin should be the first hero readied, since Bilbo with Sting and Bilbo’s Magic Ring already serves as a decent defender. With his two resources every turn for new allies, and with two Baggins resources each turn that Bilbo doesn’t need his ring for defense, reinforcements should come quickly. It can also be helpful to save in hand a copy of Sneak Attack and Gandalf for emergency defense or questing early in stage three.

Complete stages at the right moment: As mentioned above, it’s important to prepare for stage three during stage one. It can be helpful, though, to complete stage one before threat forces you to engage a tough enemy in the staging area, like Old Tomnoddy. If it’s in the staging area, it goes away during stage two (for solo play, according to the errata). When deciding who to commit to the quest, no encounter card is more than three threat, but there are treacheries that reduce willpower. The heroes and Gloin, Oin and Bofur still contribute willpower if Weighed Down shows up. The possibility of Fighting Among Friends means that it’s good to commit several Leadership characters to the quest, or perhaps several Lore characters. It’s also good to ready most unconscious characters before advancing to stage four, since there are more enemies when The Spider’s Glade in play. (I want all the members of Thorin’s company to be in play and conscious at the end of the quest.)

Keep Bilbo conscious: If Bilbo becomes unconscious, he needs to be readied to travel to The Spider’s Glade in stage four. If he doesn’t already have 2 resources in stage three or four, then the only way to ready him is for the other characters to explore a Giant Web. It’s much simpler if he never becomes unconscious in the first place. This means he needs to be careful questing and defending. Unless both copies of Caught in Webs are discarded, he should never be the only hero questing. He also shouldn’t quest when he has two poison, unless all copies of Lazy Lob are discarded. (Of course, A Test of Will can provide insurance.) When defending, Bilbo needs to worry about shadow effects like those of Wicked Spider and, if already poisoned, Lazy Lob. Having a resource on Balin provides some insurance, but many shadow cards give out one or two poison. If Bilbo is (almost) certain to remain conscious, then defending with him can be beneficial. If the enemy has two hit points remaining, or even three, Sting has a decent chance of killing it before the shadow card is resolved.

Be careful with poison: If a defending character becomes unconscious as the result of a shadow effect, the attack is undefended and might kill a hero. Consider that possibility when assigning defenders. It’s dangerous to have a hero as your only unconscious character, because of the shadow effect of Poisoned by Spiders. Be careful travelling to Forest Stream if you don’t have A Test of Will ready. Lazy Lob next turn might leave you stuck with no questers. Sometimes it’s good for a character to become unconscious: that character is no longer vulnerable to Poisoned by Spiders’ when revealed effect, and you gain knowledge of what remains in your deck when the poison cards are discarded.

Note: The text in green is purely thematic. It describes what happened each round according to the cards, but with the underlying influence of Tolkien’s text.

SESSION REPORT

Heroes: Thorin Oakenshield, Balin, Ori, Bilbo Baggins

Starting Threat: 29

Starting Hand: Gloin, Kili, Bofur x2, A Test of Will x2

I mulligan.

New Starting Hand: Fili, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Sting, We Are Not Idle, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will

M1652Thoughts: The first hand was full of unplayable cards, with no access to Spirit or Tactics resources and no card draw. Also, playing Gloin as my first ally means I can’t use his response. The second hand is very good. It allows me to control five dwarves during the first round and includes Sting and Sneak Attack, both useful.

Encounter Deck Setup: I shuffle Bilbo’s Magic Ring into my deck. I reveal Crazy Cob (2 threat), who makes an immediate attack (3 attack) against Balin. Balin (2 defense, 4 hit points) defends, and the shadow card, Wicked Spider, gives Balin 2 poison. Balin takes 1 damage and 1 poison (3 hit points remaining, heavily poisoned).

ROUND 1 (2 threat in staging area, 0/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – None, 29 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 1, Balin – 1, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Draw: Narvi’s Belt

New Hand: Fili, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt, Sting, We Are Not Idle, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will

Planning: That was a rough start, especially with the shadow effect that gave Balin two poison. Poisoned by Spiders would kill him now. I spend a Baggins resource use Bilbo’s new ability, searching my deck for Bilbo’s Magic Ring and adding it to my hand. I notice that Orcrist is not in my deck. It’s one of Balin’s poison cards, which is unfortunate. I play Sting and Bilbo’s Magic Ring on Bilbo. I play We Are Not Idle, exhausting Ori to give Thorin a resource and drawing Bifur. I play Fili, searching my deck for Kili and putting him into play. Next turn I plan on playing Narvi’s Belt, allowing for A Test of Will.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 0, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 5; Balin has 1 damage and 3 poison.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Thorin, Fili, and Kili to the quest, for a total of 5 willpower (keeping Bilbo back for potential combat). I’m guaranteed to at least break even in questing, so I won’t have to engage Crazy Cob this turn.

Staging: Dark Bats (2 threat).

Resolution: I have 5 willpower committed against 4 threat, so I place 1 progress token on 1B. I then proceed to engagement.

ENGAGEMENT

I do not optionally engage Crazy Cob. Dark Bats engage me.

COMBAT

Enemy attack: Bilbo (2 defense) exhausts to defend against Dark Bats (2 attack). I use Sting’s response, discarding Caught in Webs, and don’t kill Dark Bats. I don’t use Bilbo’s Magic Ring, since Bilbo is unlikely to be damaged. The shadow card, Fat Spider, gives Bilbo a poison. Bilbo is unharmed and is moderately poisoned. I then refresh, raising my threat to 30.

Bilbo looked back wistfully to where he had last seen Gandalf, heading back to the house of Beorn with the ponies they had borrowed. Bilbo had enjoyed sleeping in a bed and feasting in Beorn’s house, but now his heart sank at the enormous dark forest ahead, imagining all sorts of savage creatures hidden in its gloom. Ori helped Bilbo to shoulder his heavy backpack, and he headed into the imposing tangle of trees beside Thorin, Balin, Ori, Fili and Kili. Suddenly a dark shape dropped down from a tree and bit back of Balin’s neck. The other dwarves rushed to Balin’s side, but the creature scurried up a thread and was lost in the darkness of the treetops. Balin did not seem to be seriously hurt, but looked pale and sickly. Bilbo felt in his pocket to ensure that his ring was there, and then drew the elvish blade he had found in the troll cave. A couple of large black bats flew at Bilbo, and one briefly bit his shoulder. He felt a moment of queasiness, but frightened them away by waving his blade.

ROUND 2 (2 threat in staging area, 1/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – None, 30 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 1, Ori – 2, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Draw: King Under the Mountain, Bofur

New Hand: Bofur, Bifur, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt, King Under the Mountain, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will

Planning: If I play Narvi’s Belt on Thorin to allow for A Test of Will this turn, Balin won’t have a resource for his ability, which is important with two enemies. I spend Thorin’s resources to play King Under the Mountain on Thorin and I use it, keeping Bifur and discarding King Under the Mountain. Next turn I plan on playing Bifur and Narvi’s Belt. There are only two copies of Poisoned by Spiders in the 33 card encounter deck, so it’s unlikely to kill Balin this turn.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 1, Ori – 2, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Dwarves in play: 5; Balin has 1 damage and 3 poison. Bilbo has 1 poison.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I will have to fight at least Crazy Cob and Dark Bats this turn. I commit Ori and Kili to the quest, for a total of 3 willpower (keeping Thorin, Balin, Bilbo and Fili back for combat).

Staging: Hidden Path (3 threat).

Resolution: I have 3 willpower committed against 5 threat, so I raise my threat by two, to 32. Since I don’t have the Baggins resources to travel (and I’m saving Bilbo’s Magic Ring for defense if needed), I proceed to combat with Crazy Cob, which engages me, and with Dark Bats.

COMBAT

M1659Enemy attacks: Bilbo (2 defense) defends against Crazy Cob (3 attack), using Sting’s response to discard Fat Spider (2 threat), killing Crazy Cob. Balin (2 defense) defends against Dark Bats (2 attack). The shadow card, Fat Spider, would give Balin a poison, but Balin spends his resource to cancel it and replace it with Wicked Spider, which gives Balin two poison, knocking him unconscious. His poison cards (Oin, Nori, Gandalf, King Under the Mountain and Orcrist) are discarded. Dark Bats’ attack is now undefended. Ori takes 2 damage (1 hit point remaining) and Dark Bats attaches to Ori, reducing his willpower, attack and defense each by one. I then Refresh, raising my threat to 33.

As the company advanced, their eyes adjusted to the dark green dimness all around them. Thorin called out, “We will make it through this forest, and then I will claim my inheritance!” Just then a dark shape dropped down next to Bilbo. He could barely make out eight hairy legs, and saw a cluster of hideous eyes right in front of him. Instinctively he thrust his blade into the midst of that cluster. Black blood spurted forth, and the giant spider jerked about horribly and fell down dead. Feeling fiercer and bolder, Bilbo cleaned his hobbit-sized short sword on the grass and said, “I shall call you Sting.” At that moment the two bats returned. The smaller of them bit Balin, and suddenly he crumpled in a heap. As the dwarves rushed to his side, the larger bat fastened on Ori’s neck and began sucking blood. By the time the dwarves had managed to chase away the bats for good, Ori had lost a good deal of blood. Pale and weakened, he examined Balin. “He was poisoned by the spider and is unconscious,” Ori said. “We will have to carry him. I do not feel poisoned, however: I can continue. Well done, Mr. Baggins, for killing that spider!” Looking at Balin’s motionless form, Bilbo did not feel encouraged.

ROUND 3 (3 threat in staging area, 1/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – None, 33 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 0, Ori – 3, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: Dori, Unexpected Courage. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Oin (Longbeard Elder) and discarding Bofur.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Bofur, Bifur x2, Dori, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt, Unexpected Courage, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will

Planning: Losing Balin hurts: I no longer have a defender or shadow cancellation. Poisoned by Spiders now won’t kill Balin during staging, but will kill him if it shows up as a shadow card (unless someone else is unconscious). I’d like to reach the next stage fairly soon so that I can ready unconscious characters, but I want to build up my attachments a bit more first. Playing Dori this turn is an alternative to Bifur, but I like card draw and Dori can enter play through Sneak Attack in an emergency. I play Bifur, drawing Narvi’s Belt and Sneak Attack. I don’t play Narvi’s Belt this round, since I wouldn’t have any resources to use it with.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Dwarves in play: 6. Balin is unconscious and has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached. Bilbo has 1 poison.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Thorin, Ori and Fili to the quest, for a total of 5 willpower (keeping Bilbo, Kili and Bifur back for potential combat).

Staging: Wicked Spider (1 threat).

Resolution: I have 5 willpower committed against 4 threat, so I place 1 progress token on 1B, for a total of 2/14.

TRAVEL

I spend two Baggins resources to travel to Hidden Path. I then proceed to combat with the Wicked Spider that engages me.

COMBAT

Enemy Attack: In order to kill Wicked Spider this turn, I will sacrifice Kili. I give Kili one poison from Wicked Spider’s forced effect, and Kili (1 defense, 2 hit points) defends against Wicked Spider (4 attack). If the shadow effect makes Kili unconscious, Thorin can take the undefended damage. The shadow card, Giant Web, has no effect. Kili is destroyed and his poison card, Lure of Moria, is discarded.

Player attack: Bilbo (2 attack) and Bifur (2 attack) together destroy Wicked Spider (1 defense, 3 hit points). I then Refresh, raising my threat to 34.

Carrying Balin, the company came to a place where the path ahead was overgrown and unclear. Bifur caught up with them there, as Bilbo peered into the gloom ahead. “Gandalf warned us not to leave the path, but I can see it continuing this way,” said Bilbo, pointing. The company advanced into the underbrush, but a giant spider ran out of the trees and nipped at Kili, piercing through his chest. Bifur hit it with a branch and Bilbo ran at it with Sting, killing it. Fili ran to his brother, who was barely breathing. “He’s in no condition to walk,” Fili said. “I’ll carry him, while someone else carries Balin. We may have to leave a bit of food behind.”

ROUND 4 (0 threat in staging area, 2/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – Hidden Path, 34 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 4, Balin – 0, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Draw: Dwalin, Dawn Take You All. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping A Good Harvest and discarding Bombur.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Dwalin, Bofur, Bifur, Dori, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt x2, Unexpected Courage, Sneak Attack x2, Dawn Take You All, A Test of Will, A Good Harvest

Planning: Dwalin’s a good (and inexpensive) defender who can help to replace Balin. Dawn Take You All is expensive, but can be critical shadow prevention while Balin’s unconscious. I play Narvi’s Belt on Thorin, and exhaust it for Spirit, playing Dwalin. I plan to complete this stage next turn. There are cards I want that I haven’t drawn, but I don’t want to lose Balin if Poisoned by Spiders appears a shadow card.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 1, Balin – 0 Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Dwarves in play: 6. Balin is unconscious and has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached. Bilbo has 1 poison.

QUESTING

M1650Commit Characters: I commit Thorin, Ori, and Fili to the quest, for a total of 5 willpower (keeping back Bilbo, Bifur and Dwalin for potential combat).

Staging: Forest Stream (1 threat because of Hidden Path’s effect, 4 quest points)

Resolution: I have 5 willpower committed against 1 threat, so I clear Hidden Path and place 3 progress tokens on 1B, for a total of 5/9.

TRAVEL

I travel to Forest Stream. This might delay completing this stage, but it should allow me to have Bilbo unpoisoned for the next stage. I then Refresh, raising my threat to 35.

The company slowly made their way through the underbrush, with Thorin leaving a clear trail for the dwarves behind them. As they reached the main path again, Dwalin caught up to them and saw Fili carrying Kili and Bifur carrying Balin. He cried out, “My brother!” and ran forward to help with Balin. Just then Bilbo called out, “Our way is blocked.” There was a swift dark stream running across the path, which Beorn had warned them not to drink from or bathe in. Wooden posts near the bank showed that there had been a bridge over the stream, but now there seemed to be no way to cross it.

ROUND 5 (0 threat in staging area, 5/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – Forest Stream, 35 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 3, Balin – 0, Ori – 2, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: A Test of Will, Kili. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Dwarrowdelf Axe and discarding Fili.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Kili, Bofur, Bifur, Dori, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt, Unexpected Courage, Dwarrowdelf Axe, Sneak Attack x2, Dawn Take You All, A Test of Will x2, A Good Harvest

Planning: I can’t play both Dwarrowdelf Axe and Unexpected Courage this turn, since the ability to play A Test of Will is crucial (Lazy Lob would remove all my characters from the quest, and I would be stuck without questers). I’ll wait a turn to advance, using Dawn Take You All to protect Balin if an enemy engages me. I play A Good Harvest, choosing Tactics, and spend Bilbo and Ori’s resources to play Dwarrowdelf Axe on Thorin and Bofur.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 3, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 7. Balin is unconscious and has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached. Bilbo has 1 poison.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Thorin, Ori, Fili and Bofur to the quest, for a total of 7 willpower (keeping Bilbo, Bifur and Dwalin back). I exhaust Narvi’s Belt, choosing Spirit.

M1653Staging: Lazy Lob (3 threat). I play A Test of Will, cancelling the When Revealed effect.

Resolution: I have 7 willpower committed against 3 threat. I clear Forest Stream, discarding Bilbo’s poison card, Will of the West. I then proceed to combat with Lazy Lob, which engages me.

COMBAT

Enemy attack: Two of the 24 cards in the encounter deck are Poisoned by Spiders, which would kill Balin. Before Lazy Lob attacks, I play Dawn Take You All and discard its shadow card, Fighting Among Friends. Bifur (1 defense, 3 hitpoints) defends against Lazy Lob (3 attack). Bifur takes 2 damage and 1 poison (1 hit point remaining, moderately poisoned). Bifur defended instead of Dwalin so that Dwalin is undamaged for tougher attacks later.

Player attack: Bilbo (2 attack) and Dwalin (1 attack) together kill Lazy Lob (0 defense, 3 hit points). I then Refresh, raising my threat to 36.

The company paused near the edge of the stream, unsure of how to proceed. They shared one of Beorn’s delicious honeycakes. It made Bilbo thirsty, and his water skin was starting to run low. Just then Bofur rejoined Thorin, and gave him an axe in case they needed to clear any more underbrush or fight spiders. “Look!” Bilbo called out. “I can see a small boat on the far bank. Can any of you throw a rope?” Fili, who had the best sight among the dwarves, peered into the gloom ahead and threw their longest rope with a hook attached. On his second try, the hook caught in the boat and the dwarves pulled it to their side. The company travelled across the stream in small groups. As Bifur and Bofur reached the far bank with Balin, a giant spider on a thread swung out of the trees, landing on Bifur and knocking the water skins he was carrying into the stream. Heedless of his safety, Bofur pulled Balin out of the boat, which was in danger of being swept away in the current. At that moment, a slender beam of sunlight pierced through the canopy overhead, falling on the spider, which seemed to recoil before biting Bifur. Dwalin and Bilbo attacked the spider, killing it. Bifur had suffered a nasty wound, but Ori bandaged it, and he seemed ready to continue. The company now had very little water remaining.

ROUND 6 (0 threat in staging area, 5/9 progress on 1B, Active Location – None, 36 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 0, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Draw: Durin’s Song, Dori. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Bombur and discarding Dwalin.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Kili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Narvi’s Belt, Unexpected Courage, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, A Test of Will

Planning: I haven’t drawn Gandalf, Fast Hitch, Ring Mail or healing, but it’s time to advance. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt, choose Spirit, and play Unexpected Courage on Thorin.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 0, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Dwarves in play: 7; Balin is unconscious and has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached. Bifur has 2 damage and 1 poison.

QUESTING

M1657Commit Characters: I commit Thorin, Ori, Fili and Bofur to the quest, for a total of 7 willpower (keeping Bilbo, Bifur and Dwalin back). I ready Thorin with Unexpected Courage.

Staging: Poisoned by Spiders. Bifur takes 1 damage and is destroyed. His poison card, Lure of Moria, is discarded.

Resolution: I have 7 willpower committed against 0 threat, so I complete stage one and advance to stage two. I am the only player in the game, and the staging area is already empty. I advance to 3A, discarding Bilbo and Ori’s resources, and make Thorin, Ori, Fili, Dwalin and Bofur unconscious. I then advance to 3B. I exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource. I then Refresh, raising my threat to 38.

The company continued on, unsure of how they might find water or properly tend to their wounded and unconscious. That evening, Bilbo saw the red twinkle of a fire, some distance from the path. They drew as near as they could while staying on the path, and heard faint sounds of laughter and singing. Thorin said, “I will see who is there, and whether they can help us.” The rest of the company followed him, carefully noticing what direction they were heading from the path. As they approached the ring of stumps around the fire, Bifur began to sway back and forth, then tripped on a root and lay still. Bofur looked at him, and saw that Bifur’s skin near where the spider bit him had turned a sickly yellow. “Bifur needs healing,” he called softly. Thorin now saw that woodland elves were feasting around the fire, and he boldly stepped into the light. At that moment, dead silence and complete darkness fell as if by magic. Disorientated, Bilbo ran around blind, calling out the names of the dwarves. He heard them calling out also, though after a while they seemed to be calling faintly for help. Finally he was left alone in silent darkness. Exhausted, miserable, and surrounded by dangers, Bilbo put on his magic ring and fell into sleep.

ROUND 7 (0 threat in staging area, 0/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – None, 38 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: Gandalf, Fili. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Ring Mail and discarding Gandalf.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf, Narvi’s Belt, Ring Mail, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, A Test of Will

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Thorin.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 6; Balin, Ori, Fili, Dwalin and Bofur are unconscious. Balin has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Thorin to the quest for a total of 3 willpower (keeping Bilbo back). Thorin uses Unexpected Courage to ready.

Staging: Poisoned by Spiders, which has no effect and surges into Wicked Spider (1 threat).

Resolution: I have 3 willpower committed against 1 threat. I place 2 progress tokens on 3B, for a total of 2/11. I then proceed to combat with Wicked Spider, which engages me.

COMBAT

Enemy Attack: Thorin takes a poison from Wicked Spider’s forced effect (barely poisoned). Bilbo (2 defense, 3 hit points) defends against Wicked Spider (4 attack). Bilbo uses Sting’s response, discarding Fat Spider and dealing 2 damage to Wicked Spider (1 hit point remaining). I then exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 3 to cancel all damage from this attack. The shadow card, Weighed Down, has no effect and Bilbo is unharmed.

Player Attack: Thorin (4 attack) kills Wicked Spider (1 defense, 1 hit point). I then Refresh, raising my threat to 42. During the Refresh phase, I exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource. This respects the once per round limit on the Ring’s first ability, and I won’t need Bilbo for defense next turn.

Bilbo awoke in the dim gloom that was daylight in Mirkwood. He was determined to find the dwarves while avoiding dangerous creatures, and guessed at the direction he had heard them calling from last night. He advanced silently, wearing his ring, until by sheer luck he came to a tree with a tangle of black spider-webs beneath it. He heard a sound above and looked up. A huge black spider was crawling along a branch above, and pinching at a nose that stuck out of bundle of sticky threads. Bilbo was horrified to see thirteen bundles all hanging from the branch, though he was relieved to see some bundles squirming: at least some of the dwarves were still alive. He saw a thick spider thread hanging low, and climbed it quietly to the branch. The spider was at the far end of the branch, and seemed to be resting. Bilbo took off his ring, to avoid startling the dwarves, and used Sting to cut through the threads wrapped around the nearest dwarf. It was Thorin, and with Bilbo’s help he shakily pulled himself up onto the branch. The spider noticed this, and ran at Bilbo. Panicked, Bilbo said to Thorin, “I am going to disappear.” He put on his ring, vanished, and stabbed at the spider with Sting as it stopped in confusion. Thorin was amazed, but pulled his axe from his belt and gave the spider a finishing blow.

ROUND 8 (0 threat in staging area, 2/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – None, 43 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: Dwarven Tomb, Song of Travel. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Gloin and discarding Gloin.

New Hand: Gloin, Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf, Narvi’s Belt, Ring Mail, Song of Travel, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, A Test of Will, Dwarven Tomb

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Balin. I save Thorin’s resources so that I can sneak attack Gandalf as a defender if needed.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 0, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 6; Ori, Fili, Dwalin and Bofur are unconscious. Balin has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

M1656Commit Characters: I don’t want to advance to stage four before most of the dwarves are in play and conscious, so I commit only Thorin to the quest for a total of 3 willpower (keeping Bilbo and Balin back). Thorin readies with Unexpected Courage. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt and choose Spirit.

Staging: Caught in Webs. Thorin is removed from the quest and made unconscious. This is annoying, but not harmful enough to cancel. His poison card, Self Preservation, is discarded.

Resolution: I have 0 willpower committed against 0 threat. I proceed to Refresh, raising my threat to 44. During the refresh phase, I exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource.

Bilbo took off his ring, and said to Thorin, “I found a ring that makes me invisible. I’ll explain later, but now we must rescue the others.” He cut through the threads of the next bundle, and Thorin helped him to pull Balin up onto the branch. Balin had regained consciousness, though he still looked sickly. Just then Bilbo saw that there were dozens of spiders sleeping in the branches higher above, and some of them were beginning to stir. “I will draw the spiders away from you, while you rescue the others,” he said to Thorin and Balin. Bilbo hurried down the spider thread to the ground, put the ring on, and began to sing loudly, “Old fat spider spinning in a tree! Old fat spider can’t see me! You’ll never catch me up your tree!” This got the spiders’ attention, and just in time: one had already dropped some sticky threads on Thorin, and he was hopelessly entangled. All the spiders furiously rushed to where the voice was coming from. He headed further away from the dwarves’ tree, singing, and the spiders followed.

ROUND 9 (0 threat in staging area, 2/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – None, 45 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 1, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: Legacy of Durin, Fast Hitch. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping We Are Not Idle and discarding We Are Not Idle.

New Hand: Gloin, Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf, Narvi’s Belt, Ring Mail, Legacy of Durin, Fast Hitch, Song of Travel, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, A Test of Will, Dwarven Tomb

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Thorin. I save my other resources for now.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 1, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 6; Ori, Fili, Dwalin and Bofur are unconscious. Balin has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Thorin to the quest for a total of 3 willpower (keeping Bilbo and Balin back). Thorin readies with Unexpected Courage. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt and choose Spirit.

Staging: Wicked Spider (1 threat).

Resolution: I have 3 willpower committed against 1 threat. I place 2 progress tokens on 3B, for a total of 4/11. I then proceed to combat with the Wicked Spider that engages me.

COMBAT

Enemy attack: I spend one of Thorin’s resources to sneak attack Gandalf, lowering my threat to 40. I give Gandalf a poison when Wicked Spider attacks, and Gandalf (4 defense) defends against Wicked Spider (4 attack). The shadow card, Hidden Path, has no effect, and Gandalf is unharmed.

M1642Player attack: Bilbo (2 attack) and Thorin (4 attack) kill Wicked Spider (1 defense, 3 hit points). At the end of the phase, Gandalf returns to my hand and I discard his poison card, Healing Herbs. I then Refresh, raising my threat to 41. During the refresh phase I exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource.

As the sound of Bilbo’s song grew fainter, Balin was trying to find a way to free Thorin from the sticky webbing that had ensnared him. Finally he managed to pull Thorin’s axe free, and used it to cut through the threads that bound Thorin. Meanwhile, a lazy giant spider had awoken from a deep sleep and saw Thorin and Balin below it. It lowered itself on a thread to just above them, and was about to take a large bite out of Balin. By a stroke of luck, Balin bent down out that moment to look at the next bundle, and the spider missed. Just then a small stone came flying up through the air and hit the spider, who fell onto the branch. Thorin quickly killed it, and looked down: Bilbo had returned. Bilbo saw that they needed more time to free the dwarves, and called softly, “I’ll distract the spiders, but I don’t know how much longer I can keep them away.” Putting his ring on again, he headed back towards the spiders.

ROUND 10 (0 threat in staging area, 4/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – None, 42 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 3, Balin – 2, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: My deck is empty.

New Hand: Gloin, Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Kili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf, Narvi’s Belt, Ring Mail, Legacy of Durin, Fast Hitch, Song of Travel, We Are Not Idle, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will, Dwarven Tomb

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Ori. I spend 2 of Thorin’s resources and 1 of Balin’s resources to play Gloin, returning 2 resources to Thorin. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt and choose Spirit. I play Kili. I then play We Are Not Idle, exhausting Thorin, Balin, Ori, Gloin, and Kili to give Thorin 5 resources. I ready Thorin with Unexpected Courage. I play Dwarven Tomb, retrieving Will of the West, and play it. I then use King Under the Mountain, keeping A Test of Will and discarding King Under the Mountain. I spend one of Thorin’s resources to play Song of Travel on Balin. I’m now in a good position. I just need to finish reviving the unconscious dwarves and to play the remaining dwarves before winning.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 1, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 8; Fili, Dwalin and Bofur are unconscious. Balin has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: Since both copies of Caught in Webs are in the encounter discard pile, I commit Bilbo to the quest, for a total of 2 willpower (keeping Thorin back, together with the possibility of sneak attacking Gandalf).

Staging: Forest Stream (2 threat, 4 quest points).

Resolution: I have 2 willpower committed against 2 threat, so I break even. Since I don’t have any poison to remove (and for thematic reasons), I don’t travel to Forest Stream. I proceed to Refresh, raising my threat to 43. During the refresh phase I exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource.

As Bilbo invisibly threw stones and sung taunts at the spiders, Thorin and Balin worked on the next three bundles and freed Ori, Gloin and Kili. All were weak, but seemed relatively healthy. Ori examined Kili, and said to him, “The spiders seem to have given you a poison that kept you motionless but helped to heal your earlier bite. I imagine they like their meat hung and fresh.” Thorin spoke up, “We will not die here unburied, as meat for foul spiders. Our quarrel is with Smaug, but let us help to make Mirkwood a brighter place by killing any spiders we can on our path to the Lonely Mountain.” As he turned to the next bundle, Balin began to sing softly: “The wind was on the withered heath, / but in the forest stirred no leaf: / there shadows lay by night and day, / and dark things silent crept beneath. / The wind went on from West to East…”

ROUND 11 (2 threat in staging area, 4/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – None, 44 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 4, Balin – 2, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: We Are Not Idle, Orcrist. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Lure of Moria and discarding Gloin.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Bifur, Bombur, Dori x2, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf, Narvi’s Belt, Ring Mail, Legacy of Durin, Fast Hitch, Orcrist, We Are Not Idle, Lure of Moria, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack, A Test of Will x2

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Bofur. I play Orcrist and Legacy of Durin on Thorin. I spend 2 of Thorin’s resources and 1 of Balin’s resources to play Oin (Longbeard Elder), drawing Healing Herbs. I play Healing Herbs on Ori. I play We Are Not Idle, exhausting Thorin, Balin, Ori, Kili, Bofur, Gloin and Oin to give Ori 7 resources and drawing Dwarven Tomb. I ready Thorin with Unexpected Courage. I play Bifur, drawing Oin (Longbeard Elder), Dwalin and Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker). I play Dori, drawing King Under the Mountain. I play Fast Hitch on Bilbo. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt, choose Tactics, and play Ring Mail on Bilbo. I plan on completing this stage next turn and winning the following turn.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 0, Balin – 1, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 11; Fili and Dwalin are unconscious. Balin has 1 damage. Ori has 2 damage and Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

M1649Commit Characters: I commit Bilbo and Thorin to the quest, for a total of 5 willpower (keeping Bifur and Dori back, together with the possibility of sneak attacking Gandalf). I ready Bilbo with Fast Hitch.

Staging: Giant Web (3 threat, 3 quest points).

Resolution: I have 5 willpower committed against 5 threat, so I break even.

TRAVEL

I travel to Giant Web. I proceed to Refresh, raising my threat to 45. I then exhaust Bilbo’s Magic Ring and raise my threat by 1 to give Bilbo a resource.

Thorin drew Orcrist, which cut through the webs more quickly than his axe. Led by Thorin, the dwarves who were free rescued Bofur, Bifur, Oin and Dori. Bifur looked especially sickly and yellowish. Four bundles remained when Bilbo returned and climbed up to the branch. “I led the spiders on quite a chase,” he said. “Some of the spiders are heading back though, perhaps to make sure their prisoners are safe. We must leave quickly. To the left there seem to be less spiders, though there is an enormous web blocking our path that we shall have to cut through.” Seeing Bifur, he started, and took some leaves out of his pack, saying to Ori, “I picked these in Beorn’s garden because they smelled fresh and wholesome. Could they help Bifur?” Ori crushed some of them and held them under Bifur’s nose. Bifur breathed deeply, and was invigorated. “Bravo, Mr. Baggins,” said Balin, handing Bilbo his mail shirt and a coil of rope. “You are indeed resourceful, and you are not slowed by poison. You may make better use of these than I would.” Thanking Balin, Bilbo climbed down and hurried to the web, trying to cut through its strands with Sting.

ROUND 12 (2 threat in staging area, 4/11 progress on 3B, Active Location – Giant Web, 46 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 2, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 2

Draw: Sneak Attack, Gandalf. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping Self Preservation and discarding Kili.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili, Dwalin, Bombur, Dori, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker) x2, Gandalf x2, Narvi’s Belt, King Under the Mountain, Self Preservation, Lure of Moria, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, A Test of Will x2, Dwarven Tomb

Planning: I spend 2 Baggins resources to ready Dwalin. I exhaust Narvi’s Belt, choose Lore, and play Bombur, drawing We Are Not Idle. I play We Are Not Idle, exhausting Thorin, Balin, Ori, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dwalin, Gloin, Oin and Dori to give Thorin 11 resources and drawing Fili. I play Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), drawing Gandalf. I play Self Preservation on Balin and exhaust it, healing him completely. I play Lure of Moria, readying all dwarves. I exhaust Ori and discard Healing Herbs to heal Ori completely. I’m just about ready to win.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 2, Balin – 2, Ori – 0, Bilbo Baggins – 0

Dwarves in play: 13! Fili is unconscious. Ori has Dark Bats attached.

QUESTING

Commit Characters: I commit Bilbo, Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Kili, Bifur, Bofur, Gloin, Oin and Nori to the quest, for a total of 17 willpower (keeping Dori and Bombur back, together with the possibility of sneak attacking Gandalf). I ready Bilbo and Thorin, using Fast Hitch and Unexpected Courage.

M1648Staging: Hidden Path (3 threat, 1 quest point).

Resolution: I have 17 willpower committed against 5 threat, so I clear Giant Web, readying Fili, and complete stage three. At the end of the phase, I advance to 4A and add The Spider’s Glade (1 threat, 9 quest points) to the staging area. I then advance to 4B.

TRAVEL

I exhaust Bilbo to travel to The Spider’s Glade. I proceed to Refresh, raising my threat to 47.

Working quickly, the dwarves cut Dwalin, Nori, Fili, and Bombur free of the threads that bound them, while Bilbo cut through the web, one thick strand at a time. By the time all the dwarves were free, however, the spiders had returned. They swarmed through the treetops, weaving webs in an attempt to trap the dwarves. “Don’t stay up there and be netted!” cried Bilbo, who had cut an opening in the web just large enough for Bombur to pass through. There was a pile of leaves near the tree, and several dwarves jumped into the pile, while the rest scrambled down the tree. Meanwhile, Bilbo ran beneath the spiders and sang, “Here am I, naughty little fly; / you are fat and lazy. / You cannot trap me, though you try, / in your cobwebs crazy.” He put on his ring, and the enraged spiders rushed to where they had seen Bilbo. The dwarves hurried to the giant web, and passed through it into a clearing. Ori made a simple poultice from the leaves Bilbo had given him, and applied it to the place the bat had bitten his neck. He looked stronger, as did Balin now that his feet were on the ground. “Press on,” called out Thorin, as Bilbo removed his ring after following the last dwarf into the clearing. “The Lonely Mountain’s treasure awaits!” “And there are dozens of spiders behind us,” said Bilbo. “I think I see a ring of stumps at the far end of the clearing, like I saw at the elf fire. Let’s head that way, quickly.”

ROUND 13 (5 threat in staging area, 0/3 progress on 4B, Active Location – The Spider’s Glade, 47 threat)

PREPARATION

Resources: Thorin Oakenshield – 4, Balin – 3, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Draw: Lure of Moria, Dawn Take You All. I use King Under the Mountain, keeping A Good Harvest and discarding Bofur.

New Hand: Oin (Longbeard Elder), Fili x2, Dwalin, Dori, Nori (Longbeard Map-Maker), Gandalf x3, Narvi’s Belt, King Under the Mountain, Lure of Moria, Durin’s Song, Sneak Attack x2, Dawn Take You All, A Test of Will x2, Dwarven Tomb, A Good Harvest

Planning: I use one of Balin’s resources to sneak attack Gandalf, lowering my threat to 42. It’s time to finish this.

Resources after Planning: Thorin Oakenshield – 4, Balin – 2, Ori – 1, Bilbo Baggins – 1

Dwarves in play: 13. Ori has Dark Bats attached.

M1651QUESTING

Commit Characters: At the start of the phase, The Spider’s Glade has me search the encounter deck for a spider. I add Old Tomnoddy (3 threat) to the staging area. I spend one of Balin’s resources to sneak attack Gandalf, lowering my threat to 37. I commit everyone to the quest, for a total of 24 willpower.

Staging: Old Tomnoddy (3 threat). The tough spiders showed up too late.

Resolution: I have 24 willpower committed against 11 threat. I clear The Spider’s Glade and complete stage four, winning the game.

As the company hurried through the clearing, Bilbo was pleased to see that the light ahead was more green than grey. Several spiders were following them, but two gigantic hairy-legged spiders passed all the rest and were catching up with the company. Bilbo sang out, “Old Tomnoddy, all big body, Old Tomnoddy can’t catch me!” Both spiders ran towards Bilbo, who put on his ring, and then dashed to join the rest of the company at the ring of stumps. Several of the dwarves were exhausted, and could go no further. When the spiders reached the elf-made ring, however, they turned back, not daring to enter the elves’ domain. Relieved, the company decided to rest there.

Soon the dwarves were asking Bilbo about how he vanished, and he had to tell them the full story of Gollum and how he had found the ring. They thanked him for rescuing them from the spiders, and were beginning to have quite a high opinion of Bilbo. Accordingly, they seemed to expect him to find a way out of their current difficulty: they were lost, hungry and thirsty, and had almost no food or water. As they were falling asleep, a large band of Wood-elves armed with bows and spears surrounded them and a tall elf said, “You are trespassing in our realm and must come with us. Our king wishes to know why you are here.” The company was in no condition to fight against expert archers, so they surrendered. Thorin, however, was determined to tell the Elvenking nothing about their quest, since he knew the Elvenking desired treasure. The elves had not seen Bilbo, and he slipped on his ring and stealthily followed the elves as they led their prisoners to the Elvenking’s fortress, hoping to find a way to rescue them.

CONCLUSION

The encounter deck was challenging early on, with poison on Bilbo, Balin becoming unconscious, and Ori having Dark Bats attached. Balin was in danger of dying from Poisoned by Spiders in rounds one through four. On the other hand, my deck did well early on, playing Fili in round one, and soon getting out some good allies and key attachments. I (temporarily) lost Kili and Bifur in this quest, which I try to avoid. Sacrificing Kili was the right choice, but I probably should have used Dwalin instead of Bifur to defend against Lazy Lob. I was about to advance to stage three, where Balin would be readied before Dwalin, so I didn’t need to avoid damage on Dwalin. In stage three, the encounter deck was fairly gentle, with few enemies and harmless shadow effects. Because of my attachments and the ability to sneak attack Gandalf, I was relatively prepared for whatever it might throw at me. Not using Will of the West would have been an interesting but unthematic choice: an empty deck means that characters cannot be poisoned. Using Will of the West also gave me more resources, from extra copies of We Are Not Idle, to finish the quest more quickly. With the full company in play and conscious, stage four didn’t stand a chance. After Bilbo finds a way to rescue his companions from the Elvenking, Thorin and Company will come to the goal of their quest: the Lonely Mountain, and its legendary treasure hoard guarded by the great worm Smaug.

 

Advertisements

From → Strategy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: