The Red Book: Sixteen Brave Heroes Gather

(Note: I will be using “The Red Book” category to recount specific play sessions or special events that I attend.)

Yesterday I had the free time (thanks to the Better Half) and the good fortune to attend a new bi-monthly gathering for Our Beloved Game at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville, MN. I’ve been to many events there, including an Against the Shadow tournament in January 2014 that (I’m pretty sure) crowned MD and myself the reigning World Champions of the competitive LOTR:LCG world. Okay, I jest. Sort of. But the competitive, cave-man side of my brain says that, as far as I know, there’s never been another one, and no one can take away my championship belt.

But I digress. This new groups includes prize support from FFG employees. This time around, we had sixteen players, and six prizes were raffled off, including the following:

  1. Nightmare On the Doorstep
  2. A Bard the Bowman deck box
  3. A poster of Haldir of Lorien
  4. Alternate-art Aragorn
  5. A copy of the CotR podcast’s “Keeping Count” variant
  6. A Hands Upon the Bow playmat (everyone wanted this)

I was only able to stay for about two hours, but that was enough to get in a four-player game of Across the Ettenmoors with Caleb Grace, the game’s current developer, Sean from Cardboard of the Rings, and Matt, an FFG employee. My luck in the past with four-player has not been great, but we just happened to bring four decks that worked really well together: a Silvan lineup featuring Celeborn, Haldir, and Rossiel, a very strong ranged deck that included Eowyn, Legolas, and Beregond, an attachment-heavy deck featuring Treebeard, Elrond, and Gloin, and my most recent deck-craft creation.

We absolutely crushed Across the Ettenmoors, which I had never played before. However, after a brief break, the Ruins of Belegost, this year’s Gen-Con quest, destroyed us. We had incredible questing, combat, healing, and cancellation at the table, but no location control, and eventually lost to location lock. However, it was still a blast, and it’s always such fun to play with people who grasp the intricacies of Our Beloved Game. While I won’t be able to make the twice-monthly schedule work for me, my hope is to continue going there as much as I can.

While the post this week is short, rest assured that a lot of projects are in the works for Peace and Thought. I’m working on setting up the technical infrastructure to be able to broadcast games on OCTGN, and now that I have my hands on a copy of Keeping Count, generously donated by Sean of CotR fame, look for a review of that soon. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

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Deck-Craft: The Lady, the Master, and the Captain

Since 2013, my most common companion in the world of LOTR: LCG is my Better Half (a.k.a. the Wifey, Dear Wife [DW], My First Wife [MFW]). Since I am traveling a lot for work lately, some of my two-player time has been taken up with nights away from home. As I’m packing for a few days away, I like to bring a quest and one pure solo deck that is incredibly versatile. So, without further ado, I present to you my most recent creation, The Lady, the Master, and the Captain.

Inspiration
I’ve been listening to the Cardboard of the Rings podcast almost since its beginning. In addition to the friendly banter and the antics of Brandon, the podcast’s founder, I really appreciate the deckbox that Sean, one of the hosts local to my beloved state of MN, has put together. Over the past few months, he and the other hosts have curated a number of great decks with piloting instructions.

It’s a long-running joke on the podcast how much Brandon loves Tactics Boromir, and he’s been playing with a deck called Boromir Shows His Quality, or variations thereof, a lot on their Twitch stream. But I wanted to see if this deck could be tweaked just a bit to make it more solo-friendly. With just a few minor changes and one hero swapped out, I’ve had stunning success against a variety of quests, including Peril in Pelargir, Into Ithilien, and The Nîn-in-Eilph. Kudos to the COTR guys for inspiring me!

galadriel

Merry is angry because he’s shorter than everyone in this deck.

Total Cards: 50

Heroes: 3
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Boromir (The Dead Marshes)

Allies: 19
2x Silvan Refugee (The Drúadan Forest)
2x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dum)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
2x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)

Attachments: 20
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Protector of Lorien (Core Set)
2x Captain of Gondor (The Antlered Crown)

Events: 11
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Hidden Cache (The Morgul Vale)
2x Power of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)

Strategy
In this deck, you are looking to get Boromir, Captain of Gondor, loaded up with all sorts of goodies: Horn of Gondor for resource generation, Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Shield for defense, Gondorian Fire for attack, and Captain of Gondor for a little bit of both. Meanwhile, Galadriel will exhaust to draw you cards and lower your threat, and Merry will be held back from questing in case an enemy is revealed, allowing him to drop your threat further. These two in tandem will help keep your threat at or close to your starting threat of 26, even while you are readying Boromir multiple times a turn.

In your starting hand, look for either Zigil Miner, Imladris Stargazer, or Horn of Gondor to get your resource engine going. If that doesn’t happen, consider a mulligan unless Mirror of Galadriel is in hand.

In mid-game, once your key attachments are on Boromir and he has become a defending, attacking machine, use a Nenya-wielding Galadriel to place Protector of Lorien on him. By this point, you may be swimming in extra copies of “one-of” attachments, and you can discard the multiples for bonus willpower or defense. If you’re not really looking for any more key cards at this point, you can even “dig” for resources with Zigil Miner blindly. Guessing one will almost always net you at least one more resource, since 23 cards in the deck are one-cost.

Throughout the game, look for the right moment to play Envoy of Pelargir, which can help smooth resources between Boromir and Galadriel, two Nobles of different spheres. If you find yourself with way too many Tactics resources, for instance, and not enough questing power, playing the Envoy with two Tactics resources can place one Spirit resource on Galadriel, which, when combined the two resources she and Merry are collecting each turn, can allow you to play Silvan Refugee and Galadriel’s Handmaiden in one turn, netting you four more willpower and a drop in threat.

Reward: With its nice mix of utility cards and interesting decisions, The Lady, the Master, and the Captain is really fun to play. One happy moment occurred just a few days ago, when I realized that since Galadriel allows allies to commit to the quest without exhausting on their first turn in play, my Vassal of the Windlord was going to Battle quest for three and be able to attack in the same round!

In a week or two, I’ll be making my first attempt at recording a play session using this deck. Wish me luck. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!

 

 

 

Deck-Craft: Stout Squires of Support

With the 2015 Fellowship Event, Murder at the Prancing Pony, imminent, it’s time to start building for that event. I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 event at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville, MN, which is a mere twelve miles from home. At that event, I was able to play with three good friends, so we were able to build our decks together. This year, however, I want to be prepared for anything, so I’ll be bringing along a deck that is completely friendly to any multiplayer situation.

Since this is the first post for the blog, I also wanted to introduce what will become a regular feature here at Peace and Thought: Deck-Craft, in which I simply post a deck with some piloting instructions. Very soon, I’ll be introducing another feature, Double-Take. In short, this category of posts will take one idea for a deck and offer two different variations upon it. This allows for you to easily build version A, which was created in Deck-Craft, then pack the cards necessary for version B, introduced in Double-Take, so that you can switch out from one to the other with relative ease.

Okay, enough with the introduction: let’s get to it!

Inspiration
In LOTR:LCG, each deck must have a focus, especially in four-player games. This deck is designed to fill in a lot of the gaps that other archetypes don’t. At the same time, it uses as few unique allies, attachments, and events as possible so it can be easily used in a pickup game. With a strong focus on giving other players at the table what they need, when they need it, I call this deck The Stout Squires of Support.

stout

Total Cards: 52

Heroes: (3)
1x Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
1x Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Pippin (The Black Riders)

Allies: (17)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
3x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
2x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Errand-rider (Heirs of Numenor)

Attachments: (23)
3x Ranger Provisions (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Staff of Lebethron (The Land of Shadow)
2x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)

Events: (12)
3x Tighten Our Belts (The Nin-in-Eilph)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

Strategy: This deck is all about the goodies for other players. Look for Resourceful in your starting hand; it’s best on Pippin to pay for the large number of Lore cards, or Merry to pay for Galadrhim’s Greeting for other players. Other than that, use Ranger Provisions, Ancient Mathom, Elf-Stone, and Tighten Our Belts to dish out what other players need at exactly the right time. Even with table-talk restrictions, it should be easy to ask another player, “What do you need right now?” and get it to them as needed.

Regarding ally use, getting out an early Master of the Forge means you’ll be finding the right attachments at the right time. Erebor Hammersmith can help you fetch any attachments that have been discarded once the active location has been explored. Once you are a few rounds in, play Warden of Healing and Miner of the Iron Hills to help other players deal with damage and condition attachments. Meanwhile, Sam Gamgee is a sturdy defender. To be completely honest, you will need help in dealing with enemies, but a Tactics player with ranged characters or a Dúnedain deck that can bring enemies to it will work great.

Reward: For a lot of players, it really is all about the questing or combat. However, for the more peaceful, thoughtful player, a hobbit who enjoys a quiet brew or a luxurious bowl of pipe tobacco, this is a great deck to run. Watch your more straightforward companions steamroll to victory, content in the knowledge that you made it happen.

Look for a twist on this deck in an upcoming Double-Take feature. Until next time, mára mesta: good journeys!