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Spotlight Slapdash: Keeping Count!

by on April 21, 2016

Your starting hand.  It’s either the set of 5 digits and a palm that you use to turn the ignition in your car, or it’s 6 cards (+1 in Resource!) that you begin the game with.  And at times you may implore the gods of chance to bestow upon that starting hand a particular piece of cardboard, that you may start the game with a smile.

But the cardboard does not always come.

Keeping Count of Failure



Keeping Count is one of those cards that seems to be perpetually late to the party.  Here is objective evidence: I drew 10 setup hands (6 cards) while running 3 copies of Keeping Count with the following result (pre-mulligan):

Keeping Count on Round 1

Times Drawn

Times Hosed




As you can clearly see, the Times Drawn to Times Hosed ratio is unfavorable.

I took this experiment a step further and included Galdor to allow me to discard all cards excepting those, such as Daeron’s Runes, which may temporarily assume the role of Keeping Count Bounty Hunter.  For the 7 times that Keeping Count was not drawn in the setup hand, I pulled out many metaphorical stops and used all available means to draw a copy of Keeping Count in round 1.  And behold!

Keeping Count on Round 1 (with Galdor and card draw)

Times Drawn

Times Hosed




So there is good news!  If you are willing to Galdor or mulligan away your shiny Steward of Gondor, a turn 1 Keeping Count may be yours … about half of the time.  While Fantasy Flight would certainly deny this type of meddling, I suspect microchips, tribute to Sauron, and other forces at work, causing Keeping Count to always become buried in the bottom of your deck along with that weapon you need to use Foe-hammer and the Song of Wisdom you have to have in order to play Burning Brand on Beregond.


Those who claim to have played multiple games in which they have drawn Keeping Count on turn 1 are, statistically speaking, most likely to be on the payroll of Fantasy Flight Games.  Remember, Sauron does not want you to draw Keeping Count.

At this point I considered running actual statistics, but then I remembered that math was over almost two decades ago and why would I do that to myself again.  So instead, here are some things which may have the same probability of happening to you as does drawing into Keeping Count on round 1.

  1. Guessing Correctly with Small Target

Small Target is a card that screams why are you engaging multiple enemies leave that to the Tactics guy.  But you have a better chance of pulling Small Target off successfully, without scry, than you do of drawing into Keeping Count in any meaningful time frame.  Because fake math.

small target

  1. Joining a multiplayer game with a Palantir player

Pretty much the best card in the game that never hits the table.


  1. Not seeing an Oliphaunt on turn 1 in Journey to the Cross-roads.

Don’t believe the numbers.  Oliphaunts will always occupy at least two of the top three cards under The Cross-roads.


  1. Convincing that Lore player not to use Peace, and Thought.

It has its price.


  1. Drawing Keeping Count on Round 1.

Wait… what?

keeping count failures

You have been warned.


From → Card Spotlight

  1. Perfect.

  2. PocketWraith permalink

    There is one point of interest I feel you have neglected: As you say, Sauron does not want you to draw Keeping Count. This begs the question, why? Is Sauron afraid of this card? Does he perhaps feel simmilarly to you about mathematics, wishing to avoid it at all costs including using his great power to alter the sequence of your player deck? Armed with this knowledge, should we propose to the armies of Gondor that they assail the armies of Mordor with statistical analysis instead of weaponry?

    • Fouilloux permalink

      That’s a good question!

    • Piero permalink

      Needs we must troll the guild hall for some enterprising calculistadors, mathemagicians, and algebrangers.

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