We’ve Traversed the Land of Shadow

Though I had a friend pick it up for me at Gen Con last year, it’s taken me nearly a year to complete the Saga quests from The Land of Shadow. My Beloved Wifey and I took our time, knowing that once we head beaten these three quests, there would be a wait until Flame of the West arrived. But last Thursday night Tactics Merry triumphantly put two Daggers of Westernesse through Shelob‘s gullet, and Frodo was captured.

It was a bittersweet victory. My wife returned to her hobbit deck for Land of Shadow, and I tried out Seastan’s “Everything Costs Two” deck. They worked remarkably well together, with Beregond doing yeoman’s work protecting the hobbits until Sam Gamgee could come into his home as a defender. The ranged characters in Seastan’s deck also helped take down the many baddies my wife wanted to engage (to get Pippin’s card draw as frequently as possible). I’m definitely going to save both decks as a Fellowship and possibly return to them again when we get to the last Saga box.

For now, it’s time to wait…wait…wait…until we can battle outside the walls of Minas Tirith.

The Red Book: Fellowship 2015

After an excellent experience with Fog on the Barrow Downs last year, I was very excited to join with my gaming crew for a resounding Fellowship 2015, and it did not disappoint! According to co-developer Matt Newman, about 100 players showed up at the Fantasy Flight Game Center for the event. Here’s a panorama I took about two hours in:

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All in all, I think the event was better attended than last year, which is a good sign for the health of the game! I ended up playing two-player the whole afternoon with my good friend RS, who I have not seen in a while. He played my Lady, Master, Captain deck, and I piloted a slapped-together deck that worked surprisingly well: Celeborn, Haldir, and Rossiel with a full contingent of Silvan allies and victory display cards such as None Return and The Door is Closed. We lost both times to Murder at the Prancing Pony, but quickly rebounded by beating Intruders in Chetwood and The Weather Hills.

As much fun as the games were, though, I truly enjoyed the camaraderie of the afternoon. I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people through this game, and it was great to have most of us in one room, playing together. There were a lot of folks brand new to the game as well, and with LOTR:LCG now quite mature in terms of its development, it’s awesome that new people are still entering the game. I was even fortunate enough to sit next to a couple who were playing and discovered “Sneak Attack + Gandalf” for the first time.

Once I’ve had a chance to digest the quest a bit more, I’m sure I’ll post on it, but for now…it’s very encouraging to see that LOTR:LCG is in such good hands and has such an amazing community gathered around it.

 

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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