Run Time: 26:47, Watch the Video
Most Valuable Card: This is the shortest play to date, both by time and by rounds. At just under 27 minutes and at four rounds, the race to the Ford of Bruinen seemed so easy. Trust me, behind the scenes, I played this scenario a few times where I really struggled to get going. But, by a long shot, the reason I was able to do so well on this particular play was because of the timing of drawing Frodo’s Intuition. For two Fellowship resources I was able to get 5 cards and every Hobbit hero was able to get an extra willpower. This made my Hobbit heroes alone quest for 20. That’s some powered up questing. But the beauty of the card isn’t really its willpower boost, although in this case, it was amazing. The beauty of the card is its card draw. And yeah, so Gandalf coming out was nice, but I was only able to get to Gandalf by playing Frodo’s Intuition. And, because of the timing coming out in the last round, it really was the card that pushed me over the edge for the win.
Well, here we are. The first major weird decision I had to make because of the difference between the movies and the book. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, its Glorfindel who rides the injured Frodo to Rivendell in the book, but the Peter Jackson made the decision to instead use Arwen to carry Frodo. While it is never stated in the movie, I hope that the horse used was still named Asfaloth, but I digress. The decision then becomes do I take the same liberty as PJ or do I try, somehow, to keep with the book. The Tolkien lover in me decided to honor the book as much as I could. That means that as much as possible I didn’t show Arwen’s face in the clips, but rather showed her from the back. When I reached the Ford, it was unavoidable for one clip, or so I thought, but up to that time, you can’t really see the face of the elf on the horse. So, if you have never seen the movies and you are only using the Theatrical Campaign as a reference, it’s possible that you could mistake Liv Tyler’s Arwen for the Balrog slayer himself, Glorfindel. You see that in the second cut scene where I only show the sweeping horse shot from the back. It’s Glorfindel, right?
This play of Flight was quick. I was able to rush through it in four rounds. I’m sure it’s not a record, but I’m also sure that it’s pretty quick. There’s a reason that Caleb decided to put 15 life counters on Frodo and not just five or ten. It’s because players may need them. And there were a few plays were I did need them. But I was so surprised by this play. All the cards I needed kinda just lined up for me. But that happens when I play the scenario a few times and record a few times. The cards on the win line up well.
While I hated it, the first round Nazgul was a pain. I was grumpy that it came out and I obviously should have played it different, but you can never predict what the encounter deck is going to throw at you, so I had an odd sense of satisfaction by choosing not to get a Nazgul, but then getting a Nazgul anyway. It felt more like a chase with more Nazgul.
The other part of the scenario that would get me is that the Fell Rider, the one that starts in the staging area, has an engagement cost of 30. That limited my time I could turtle in the first stage because my threat was 25. If something crazy happens, 30 is right around the corner. At least once I remember being forced to engage him when I wasn’t ready, and it was because of its 30 engagement cost. It wrecked me. But again, I love highlighting how powerful Bilbo is because he can effectively cancel threat and also deal direct damage passively and softening up enemies is, in my opinion, an underrated strategy in the community. In this particular play, I was able to engage the Fell Rider in the second round, it already had two damage on it from Bilbo, and then Sam was able to kill the thing outright. And that’s great.
As the final rounds progressed, I was completely shocked that I actually was able to get through the second and final stage in one big YOLO quest. Like totally shocked. The willpower I’m able to generate from the Hobbit deck is good. Usually it’s not top tier, but in this case to use 6 characters and commit 24 to the quest is phenomenal. Some quick math means that each character was questing for four. That’s Eowyn and Gandalf level stats. And I knew I needed it for just the one round. So the mega push came at the right time, and while I knew I’d clear the location, clearing the quest came as a surprise.
I know that I cleared the Ford and the quest in the same turn and I didn’t have to kill off the Witch-king using the Fords response, but I just felt I needed to honor the designer here. It was so obvious that the whole point of the Ford was to destroy the Nazgul chasing you. I was able to do that. And it was good. I even tried to setup killing two Nazgul using the Ford, but I just didn’t feel comfortable keep two engaged with me. One silly encounter card where they make an immediate attack or a bad shadow card and I’m toast. So cooler head prevailed and while I didn’t wipe out the whole pack of nine riders, I was able to take out their leader.
For a short play, this scenario really packed some tension. I hope you enjoy!