Run time: 32:13, Watch the Video
Most Valuable Card: Through just the first few scenarios it’s hard to not just start picking Sam each time for the MVC. His 3 willpower and readying and all his tricks just make him so good. So with a standard that is already set higher than most other cards, Sam really was just his “normal” utility hero. So with him out of the running, I think the winner is probably Frodo. With the exception of A Test of Will early on, he was able to quest for 2 most rounds and also get rid of some of the nastiest treacheries in the game. Combined with the One Ring, this was amazingly helpful.
Thematic Win: Even though I played the Dagger of Westernesse early, in the second round, I only was using late in the game after reaching the third stage to attack the Wights. While this was not the most exciting way to score a thematic victory, it sure worked. I was able to defend with Treebeard and then use Sam with the dagger to score some hefty damage on those enemies. And not that I need to belabor the point, but I find it interesting the wights have higher engagement cost and the Dagger gets a bonus when attacking enemies with a higher engagement cost than your threat. It’s not just a hobbit “thing,” but also a wight “thing” too which scores a little extra in the thematic category. But mostly this is reflective of just plain ole thoughtful game design.
Another scenario that has very little content to splice in from the movies! I knew this was going to happen, but I just wanted to get to fun stuff. But, as the Ents would say to my beloved hobbits, “Don’t be hasty!”
You’ll also notice that the videos are getting shorter. I am pretty sure that it took me a few videos to get down the whole balance between editing for play and keeping the videos interesting enough to keep you engaged. I am pretty sure that this video was over 45 minutes long before a started editing it down. Quick math means about 25% of the play was edited out to help move everything along. As a more personal comment, I spend a bunch of time pausing and saying “so” and “uh” during recordings, and I cut all that out.
As the play of this scenario started, it was fun to use the clips that are reflective of the scenes in Bree; Mr. Underhill, and using the One Ring are just two of those scenes that helped to put the viewer at (roughly) the right spot in the books, and subsequently, the movies. I know, I know… the Barrow Downs aren’t Bree. But the Barrow Downs scene is what happens right before Bree in the book and I was happy to have some overlap in those clips.
It’s completely interesting to me how many times I saw the worst treacheries in this play. Frozen by Fear and Chill Fog are horrible cards. They can totally wreck your board state. And that I was able to deal with them as they came off the deck and didn’t have to feel the effects of them. It speaks volumes about the power of both A Test of Will and Black Riders Frodo. To just be able to say “no” to a card, whether it’s replaced (like with Frodo) or not (as with A Test of Will) just gives me a sense of comfort. You’ll see that happen throughout the saga as long as Frodo is fellowship hero.
As this play went on, I think I was pretty lucky to get through it as unscathed as I did. I don’t think I played this scenario several times to get through it and it seemed like this was just another scenario on the way to Mordor. That said, of course every scenario could go sideways. But during this play I was able to handle the enemies as they came off the deck, the locations as they arrived, and the split staging area mechanic was not an issue. I did get a little lucky transitioning from stage 3 to 4 by being engaged with an enemy and therefore not needing to discard Treebeard. I was also lucky that when Ancient Barrow flipped, I was able to easily “sacrifice” Bill the Pony to it and it caused little or no hassle to my board state. There have been moments in other scenarios where losing Bill meant I immediately lost two or more hobbit heroes because the lost his hit point boost. I also would have been crushing to lose Treebeard and lose the resources and advantage that I gained by playing him in the first quest phase. Bill cost nothing to bring into play and I exploited that twice in the scenario.
I wish there were more scene inserts that I could have made, but as I alluded to in the previous play, I didn’t want to use anything other than the PJ Lord of the Rings Films. So, with that, I look forward to the rest of the scenarios where with the exception of the Siege of Gondor, there is plenty of movie magic to insert.