Most Valuable Card: Oh, Sam. When will it be your day? Not this day. While he was great defending and attacking back while equipped with Sting, I think the better option here is Fellowship of the Ring. I already chose the Redbook of Westmarch, and while I am not explicitly not choosing a card twice, it think it makes sense to give this card it’s due. It wasn’t until this card entered play that I felt 100% comfortable that I was going to quest successfully each round and place enough progress on the locations and quest card to actually make it through the scenario.
Thematic Win: Beating the second cave troll with a group of characters. It’s a subtle thematic accomplishment, but in a scenario where Caleb has explicitly said that he wanted to break with the books here, at least a little, to provide the option for players to outrun the Balrog, it’s something. Especially since I decided to take Caleb up on his alternate universe option of outrunning Durin’s Bane. So having a small group of folks gang up and kill the cave troll felt pretty good.
First and foremost, I need to get this out of the way. I may have interpreted the rules incorrectly, but the Fellowship contract is vague about what happens during the saga with boons. And by vague, I mean it’s not mentioned at all. I was forced to interpret the rules and used the burden precedent that says to shuffle the burden into your deck after it hits the table. There is also a line in the Black Riders Rules document on page three that says that “…players may include any boon cards as recorded in the
Campaign Pool in their decks. These cards do not count against their deck minimum.” And while this doesn’t necessarily apply because the contract talks about a deck maximum, it does give some credence to my theory that boon cards don’t count when counting the number of cards in your deck. It may be a poor decision on my part, but if it invalidates all my wins, so be it. I chalk this up to it being a solo game and I can play it how I want. But, I am uncertain that adding two extra cards to my player deck, and sphereless cards at that, will greatly impact the outcome of my game play. If you have any insight into this rule, please leave a comment.
Next, I have to take the bigger view and talk about BOTH versions of this scenario I posted. For this entry, I’m not going to give you a behind the scenes run of the game but rather more of a report of the feel of these plays. I was so excited to put Thorongil on Fellowship Frodo to get a spirit resource and use him as a defender that I completely didn’t even read the card. And I would guess that we are all guilty of that. In fact, I made the same mistake again in a later scenario with, of all heroes, Spirit Aragorn. Don’t worry though, you’ll see that play as well. But I played these scenarios and it wasn’t until after they were edited and I had moved on that I was told that the Thorongil on a fellowship here is verboten. It was during our live play of Epic Multiplayer Helm’s Deep that Joseph Forster casually mentioned that Thorongil could only be played on “normal” heroes. I asked him to repeat what he had said and I also looked it up on Hall of Beorn. Lo and behold, it says it right there in plain English. I was crushed because I had already put this episode in the can. But, it definitely a big enough error that I knew it impacted the outcome. Spirit Frodo is a great defender. I used him as such. I needed to play it again. I was bummed.
But, surprisingly, I was able to win in much the same fashion as I did on my error video. I was able to get through fairly easily in just the perfect number of rounds. At the time, I thought the plays were very different. But as I look at them now, they are pretty similar. Also, the feeling at the end in outrunning the Balrog was the same.
Lastly, by outrunning the Balrog, it saved me from having to enter the “Do Balrogs have wings?” debate and just not including those scenes in the video.
So enjoy this weeks double feature.