- -Spirit Glorfindel (Hero)
- +Merry (Hero)
- -2 Unexpected Courage (I only own one Core)
- -3 Light of Valinor
- -2 Dwarven Tomb
- +2 Fast Hitch
- +3 Hobbit Pony
- +1 Daeron’s Runes
Total Cards (51), instead of (52) cards originally.
Escape from Mount Gram
Starting Hero: Bilbo
The first few rounds I couldn’t quest successfully. Cruel Torturer came out round one easily overpowering Bilbo’s measly 1 Willpower. The first Prison Cell did net me Galadriel but without her ring I was stuck with 1 Willpower for a long while. The Dungeon Guard came out next turn adding more to my plight. I eventually had to take both enemies to remove the threat from the staging area. Bilbo was the defacto defender thanks to his fast hitch, but his weak attack meant I couldn’t deal any damage back. Luckily the next revealed card, Feeble and Weary, whiffed (Bilbo was unexhausted thanks to Fast Hitch).
Bilbo took a single point of damage from the Torturer in his defense but with no one else to defend I had to take an undefended attack from the Guard. The next round things turned bad into worse. Bilbo obtained a second Fast Hitch one turn too late. Another Feeble and Weary came by, and whiffed, but the combat had me take an undefended attack from the Torturer otherwise Bilbo would’ve died as his defense of was only 2 vs the Torturer’s 3 attack. Galadriel took one for the team. Bilbo defended successfully against the Guard. Then things turned around and I drew Protector of Lorien! With a hand the size of my deck (thanks to my heroes’ abilities and Daeron’s Runes) I had a lot of fodder for this amazing attachment. I was now able to quest and defend successfully. Saruman entered play and winked out nothing from the staging area, but his main mission was to kill that Torturer. I needed that Torturer gone once and for all! Bilbo defended both attacks thanks to Protector of Lorien and Saruman assassinated that pesky torturer. And lo and behold, Gandalf was rescued from the Torturer!
The next round Gandalf joined my group and things went smoothly after that. Treebeard came into play for free thanks to the Dungeon Guard that has tag-teamed with the Torturer from the beginning of the game. Merry was also rescued that round. Later rounds had me pimp out Gandalf with his missing Staff, his trusty Steed and Treebeard found a familiar pal, Quickbeam. Elrond came in to play for a short while for free thanks to the Travel effect of Prison Cell. The entire team laughed in the face of Jailor Gornákh once the final stage entered play, but he nearly killed Gandalf with one swing leaving him with one hit point! Luckily he was quickly defeated. The rest of the orcs didn’t stand a chance and the dream team escaped Mount Gram. Galadrial sacrifice was not in vain.
But poor Arwyn, she was still captured, left, and forgotten in the mad dash to escape. Maybe they’ll come back for her?
Result: Victory! 😀
Starting Hero: Bilbo
I drew a Fast Hitch in my starting hand. First card revealed for Staging was Captives of Gornakh, which whiffs thankfully. I didn’t make any progress that round but traveling to the 1st Prison Cell gave me two amazing options, Gandalf or Treebeard for free! Having Gandalf out on Round 1 was amazing. It didn’t take long to get Treebeard rescued, and a round later Gandalf was running around with a free Shadowfax thanks to a 2nd Prison Cell revealed and subsequently traveled to on Round 2. I was sailing smoothly after I equipped the wizard with his trusty staff. And Merry showed up just in time as my hand was getting filled with Spirit cards. Last thing was the every helpful Protector of Lorien on Bilbo.
But I quested too fast, too soon. I ended up on Stage 3 earlier than I hoped. I wanted to get more allies and resources before plowing through, but with
an empty staging area and only treacheries revealed that round, that’s a lot of progress being made that I didn’t want. The Jailor showed his ugly mug and I pulled him down to kill him off as fast as I can. Things turned for the worst when I defended with Gandalf and the shadow effect stole all his attachments away! The Jailor robbed Gandalf of his toys. That slowed me down a down a lot and his ugly face stayed too long for comfort. After 3 rounds of suffering his attacks, I finally killed the Jailor securing Gandalf’s goodies and all that was left was to mop up the rest of the orcs breathing down my neck.
Galadriel came in very late. Her first task was to soak an attack undefended so I can kill some orcs. She was left with 1 HP. Elrond, thanks to Galadriel, quested for free the round he came in and healing her grievous wounds. He defended an attack from an Angmar Captain successfully allowing the Treebeard and Gandalf to stomp him to the ground. Resources were tight and I erred on the side of caution to use Gandalf’s Staff to discard shadow cards so Bilbo can defend without fear using Protector of Lorien as needed with perfect precision. Elrond came back in for the final push through the Southern Gate to escape and to sweet, sweet victory!
Result: Victory! (Sadly Arwyn was left behind again, but she has Quickbeam to keep her company this time).
Starting Hero: Merry
This last game was relatively smooth. Gandalf showed up on Round 1again and the last two cards under Prison Cell were none other than the beautiful maiden, Galadriel and her powerful ring, Nenya. How lucky is that!? Treebeard was sadly discarded from the top of the deck by Interrogation raising my threat by his cost, but even then, my threat was still low, sitting at a safe 10.
Gandalf quickly found his staff and trusty steed and the group treaded through the area carefully to muster strength and gather resources. Bilbo was rescued as the last card under stage 2B and the heroes faced off against the lone Jailer Gornakh. Even with the might of the Flames or Anor, the Jailer survived the attacks of the Grey Wizard and two hobbits. But he was slain the next round with the help of Elrond for defense.
The heroes were beset by a smattering of threats, a few lowly Dungeon Guards and an Angmar Marauder. They finally made it to the Southern Gate, Saruman joining in for the final push, whisking away the only card in the staging area, a simple Prison Cell. An Angmar Orc stood in their way and instead of revealing another threat; Saruman sacrificed himself to the orc allowing the heroes to escape Mount Gram.
Result: Victory! (And, again Arwyn and her new prison buddy, Quickbeam, were forgotten and left to rot in their cells)
This quest is a lot of fun. It’s a bit on the easy side, especially for easy mode, but I do love a good prison break. The mechanics are so unique and interesting. Starting off with just one hero and no equipment you have to be crafty, and a bit lucky, to rescue your allies from their fate to even hope to succeed. When playing for the first time, I thought I would choose the starting hero with the highest willpower (sans Galadriel of course), but I took a chance and chose Bilbo instead just to get access to Lore. Fast Hitch and Protector of Lorien were pivotal to my success in my first two games allowing Bilbo to truly shine alongside Gandalf.
And I realized with Bilbo’s effect for card draw (and later with Galadriel’s help), I had more than enough cards to fuel Protector of Lorien for questing and defense when needed. They synergized very well. The only con against this quest is the setup can take a bit of time. However, this is easily one of my favorite quests (of what little I’ve played 😛 ). This quest is a lot of fun. I can see myself play this quest a lot, making it a staple for me.
Oh, and poor Arwyn. Maybe next time you’ll get rescued…