Across the Ettenmoors
Some shiny new toys were delivered earlier this week in the form of awesome new cards! My eyes were both wide with excitement and fear. The latest AP, Across the Ettenmoors, is now in my grubby hands and I couldn’t be more excited. I also purchased the Nightmare pack for the Voice of Isenguard, gulping nervously as I poured over the cards and then quickly setting the evil cards aside along with all the others in a box exclusively filled with the stuff of nightmares… Seriously, why do I keep buying these harder cards? I think I need help… @_@
Anywho, I dove right in the new quest when I had the free time available busting out the deck I used previously with some minor modifications from last time.
- -1 Elrond
- -1 Will of the West
- +2 Wellinghall Preserver
Scavenging for Supplies slowed me down quite a bit at the start, even with the extra resources from Easy mode. The first trek across the moors had our heroes spotting a Secluded Cave off in the distance, but some Biting Wind weakened the group. Very little progress was made on the sidequest. Next round Gandalf showed up to help push through and the heroes were successful in scavenging for supplies, netting a free Wellinghall Preserver. The troll was quickly returned to the stating area when I traveled to a safe location, Secluded Cave. At that time, Make Camp was in the stating area and with the Safe keyword, it’s text was blank but there was no ent to heal with the Wellinghall.
At the time, Treebeard and Quickbeam entered play. Thanks to Galadriel’s ability, a readied Quckbeam can quest without exhausting this round. The heroes made a camp with no worry (the Safe location protected them from a weather treachery). And the three ents stayed back as the campfire roared. But stomachs were grumbling as Forage for Food was revealed from Quest Stage 2A (discarding half of the encounter deck too…). Also, what do ents eat?
The next round I quested hard through the main quest, Miserable Journey. The crew can eat later while I was at the safe location Abandoned Camp. With only 1 threat in the stating area – the little troll that could, 1 for the active location, I quested for 17 total progress! So close, yet so far away. But I did get Lost in the Wilderness that round… My hand was huge, nearly 20 cards huge so that stung a bit. With two cards revealed each staging step now that the Safe location is gone, I had to move on, despite being lost and hungry, but I eventually made it unscathed. Quest Stage 3A had me discarding the entire encounter deck because all the side quests were all gone. Quickbeam died in a defense against the pint-sized troll that came down from a treachery giving it 2 more shadow cards (they all whiffed surprisingly).
I couldn’t ignore grumbling stomachs anymore (I needed to play cards) so I quested through that handily, but a baby troll spotted us (revealed during staging). My threat was low the entire game so his puny self stayed at bay. Now re-energized with stuffed bellies, I powered through the final main quest stage canceling Weight of Responsibility and with Saruman’s help pitching in for the final push (that meant bye bye little troll).
Result: Victory! (But the heroes were somehow still Lost in the Wilderness… So did we truly escape?)
Round one had me damage every hero thanks to their grumbling stomachs (didn’t you guys just eat…?) for a very good reason, turn one Gandalf! As they foraged for food, they needed to Scavenge for Supplies. Next round I scavenged for some supplies netting me a free Wellinghall Preserver. Stage 2A pops up revealing Lie Low. Since I’m still in the quest phase and haven’t put any progress on Lie Low that round (despite it’s unexpected arrival), it triggered, and the pint-sized troll came down. Gandalf successfully defended and he swung back with a pathetic Flame of Anor buff, or lack thereof (thanks Daeron’s Runes for the whiff…). The troll survived with 1 HP left as several hobbits, an ent and a grey wizard dog piled him…
I quested through Lie Low this round and that meant the new baby troll revealed this round through staging was shuffled back into the deck. The heroes seeked shelter in the Abandoned Camp returning the injured troll back to the staging area. The next round I powered through the main quest and unfortunately Bilbo was in bad shape (No Rest) and with 3A, they all got Lost in the Wilderness… The next round I powered through with everything I had – it was all or nothing! Elrond slapped Bilbo into shape discarding that Condition sapping his strength, and I powered through the final quest stage with a whopping 24 Willpower against 5 in the stating area (2 Wellinghalls, Gandalf, Elrond, Treebeard, Quickbeam, Nenya, plus Hobbits!).
Result: Victory! (They’re still oddly enough still Lost in the Wilderness…)
A piddly 2 progress was made on Scavenge for Supplies on round 1. I played Sarumon needing some Willpower badly. Pressing Needs had me grab the least dangerous side quest I could find, Lie Low. Sarumon already winked away the only enemy in the staging area, so its effects thankfully whiffed. Scavenged for Supplies got me a free Gandalf! I immediately traveled to the Patch of Woods to return that pesky troll back to the staging area and blanked out Lie Low.
With the extra resources from Patch of Woods, and the penalty of player cards removed from Scavenge for Supplies gone, I was able to pump out a crazy amount of cards the next round. I played a Wellinghall Preserver, Quickbeam, Nenya, and Gandalf’s Staff! I quested through Lie Low and the resulting stage 2B (2A revealed Make Camp) the next few rounds with relative ease. But a Ruthless Hill Troll showed up just before I plowed through quest stage 2B. And 3A reveled an old friend, Lost in the Wilderness…
My threat was getting high and the troll was guaranteed to come down to engage next round if I didn’t do anything. Luckily I drew The Galadhrim’s Greeting that round. But my plans to quest over the Ruthless Hill Troll was foiled when Arador’s Bane showed up. I chose the Ruthless Hill Troll just to get 2 threat out of the staging area. The troll pounded Quickbeam into a pulp with 10 attack (Rugged Country x2 as shadows, 3rd shadow whiffed)! Bye, bye Quckbeam, you took one for the team again. I left the troll alone knowing I would win next round (I did quest for a ton this round netting 14 progress on the main quest).
Locations were piling up in the staging area along with a few pint sized trolls. But with only 3 more progress to go on the main quest, I had no doubts I would get the win this round. A Goblin Pursuer was not enough to hold me back and I quested with 22 Willpower with only 8 in the staging area.
Result: Victory! (Not surprisingly, I was still Lost in the Wilderness despite escaping… seriously how does that happen?).
Another 3 wins. I was surprised about that really. When I think Trolls, I think some of the toughest beasties out there and I expected to get my face stomped in. But I noticed I rarely engaged enemies. Only treacheries and side quests forced me to engage. I kept my threat low throughout most of the game and with some trolls only having 1 or 2 threat, it was easy enough to quest over them. In addition to that, safe locations meant enemies go right back into the staging area in addition to their other benefits.
There is a very important note about Easy mode for this quest. All copies of the meanest enemies in the encounter deck (A Giant and an Oni-looking Troll) and one location are removed completely. And that does scew things in the player’s favor quite a bit. As a result I never felt threatened by enemies playing this quest. It might be beneficial to play Normal mode (or a normal mode variant with the extra resources at setup) just to add that danger and tension back in that troll enemies are known for.
Side quests are featured prominently in this scenario. Every quest stage will have you get another and you’d be hard pressed to get rid of them all (I always had at least one in the staging, sometimes two by the end of the game). I really liked quest stage 1B in particular because defeated side quests will transfer their progress points to the main quest stage so you don’t feel like you’re wasting time.
And my favorite part is the randomized setup. You randomly choose one of three Ettenmoor side quest and one of the four safe locations, which is then guarded by the random side quest. That randomness adds some repeatability and I’m a big fan of that. It gives me another reason to replay the scenario beyond trying other decks.
All in all, I enjoyed this quest, even if it was a little on the easy side. I will most likely bump up the difficulty for this one when I play it again…
Side note: Also, Arwyn never showed up in any of these games. Is this going to be a growing trend? I kind of feel bad leaving her trapped in Mount Gram.