The Treachery of Rhudaur
Between car repairs, dishwasher replacement, and some private issues I’m slowly wading through, these past couple of weeks has been a roller-coaster set to go downhill at the fastest possible speed. Life tends to get in the way like that. But despite the downs, there have been some ups. I received my copy of the new AP The Treachery of Rhudaur recently! 😀 Sure, in the grand scheme of things an AP won’t dispel all my woes, but it is good news nonetheless. So I can’t wait to dig in!
I’m going to do things a little differently from here on out. Instead of doing a summery of each of the three games I’ve played, I’m going to talk about my thoughts about the quest and my play through, what challenges I faced, badass moments, nail biting scenes, and my final thoughts and so on. Summarizing each game was a bit dry to write about, and I couldn’t remember every little detail that lead up to those events that I did make notes of. I was always thinking to myself, “wait a tick? Did I have enough resources for that? How did that come about? How did I make that much progress again?”, and so on and so on.
I was more focused on getting the play written down right than writing a fun, engaging article that flows better in my mind and on paper. And besides, I wasn’t doing a full play through write-up anyhow, it was still a summery so why am I stressing those details so much? I rather write about the impactful moments of gameplay than a sequential summery. This also gives me an opportunity to play the quest more than 3 times and still talk about my experiences without needing to make a boatload of extra notes. Anywho enough rambling, onwards to the quest!
The deck I used is Champion of Gondor (i.e. the Boromir Machine)
First half of the quest
(No unique setup)
This scenario is quite interesting. You’re faced with several choices at the start of each quest phase, choosing one of the three –beefy –side quests standing before you. These guys have a lot of progress points on them. They’re effectively equivalent to a normal main quest in terms of progress alone. The term side quest in a misnomer. What’s worse is the setup has you place The Great Hall as the active location with a hefty buffer of 8 progress points, and a not so friendly, but threatening location in the staging area, Ancient Causeway. Oh, and you have 5 rounds to make headway before the big bad comes out to play. So yeah…
It immediately becomes apparent that you have to hit the ground running and hope the encounter deck plays nice. Every game I played I always chose Quiet the Spirits. I had Boromir ready to smash face and with the help of eagles, I had enough firepower to regularly swat aside undead left and right helping me progress successfully. However, in each game Haunting Fog always tried to ruin my day. But a little bit of fog won’t stop the mighty Boromir!
The first game was a cake walk. With the help of Faramir and Eagle buffed Boromir killing undead, I plowed through Quiet the Spirits with ease. I had 2 Time counters left on Stage 1B and I figured I can make it through another side quest and secure another clue. I managed to keep my threat low to avoid the most damaging effects of Curse of the Years, and I was able to use Sam’s ability a few times despite the Boromir engine in full effect. In those last two rounds I secured another clue from Sift Through the Debris. And just in time too…
However, the second game I played was a whole other story. Search the Ruins revealed its ugly head quite early on. Along with some nasty locations in the form of x2 Forbidden Descent (i.e. progress hogs) in the staging area, it took me several rounds just to clear The Great Hall. I had no allies to speak of to help quest and I was quickly becoming location and side quest locked. My threat was rising too fast and there was nothing I could do about it. I was sneak attacking Eagles of the Misty Mountains just to scrape by in questing. It didn’t help that when I did get enough Willpower to finally get rid of Search the Ruins, the encounter deck decided to be mean and reveal Centuries of Sorry surging into Tragic Discovery to add salt to my wounds. That lovely 10 progress was wasted on another side quest… Just to add insult to injury, Eerie Halls (5 Threat!) showed up and needless to say, I threated out that round right as the last Time counter was removed…
The third game went much more smoothly. I had a turn one Faramir! Very few eagles showed up this game limiting my body count, but sneak attacking Gandalf twice and hard casting him later meant I kept my threat low to help fuel the one-man killing machine. I only nabbed one clue, Daechanar’s Brand from smacking undead around, but that’s really I all needed. Seal the Tomb showed up and it cracked open bringing forth a Traitorous Wight, but his ability did marginal damage. I ignored the rest of the clues and focused on sealing the tomb on the 5th round. I was confident in my ability to quest through Stage 2B and kill Thaurdir (well, not actually kill him but umm… at least damage his ego or something?).
Second Half of the Quest
The final quest stage seems quite daunting with its 30 quest points to progress. I think that’s the most I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I don’t have enough progress tokens for that! I think the core set only comes with 25… Luckily each clue objective you have reduces the required progress by 5, so there’s that.
The first time through this quest stage I was fortunate enough to have two clues. I was able to find a clue just before the last time counter was removed, but it wasn’t claimed just yet. In that round I decided not to quest with Sam and instead exhausted him to claim the clue objective. Effectively “questing for 5” right off the bat. With the help of Faramir and a motley crew of eagles, Gondor weenies, and a dwarf, I made considerable progress that round, about 16 total. For the entire game I kept the staging area clear of locations and enemies while weathering the treacheries that popped up. And fortunately, not a single side quest was revealed.
Thaurdir took a beating in the round he came into play along with his cohort, Cursed Dead (Stage 2A instructs the player to add an enemy, so I chose Cursed Dead, allowing me to avoid his nasty When Revealed effect). He was 1 damage shy of being “defeated”. He did attempt to heal and attack me during a hasty Dark Covenant but the writing was already on the wall, there was no escape for our undead friend. With an empty staging area, I easily quested for the requisite amount and my army piled on the lone undead to finish the job.
With the second game, I uh… well…, never made it past Stage 1B, so onward to game number 3! This particular game had me fight off a horde of undead, namely in the form of Cursed Dead. These little guys just won’t die! I attempted to pull one from the discard pile directly into play with Stage 2A to thin the herd in the graveyard, but luck would have it that very next round I reveal a Cursed Dead and it brought back the remaining one in the discard pile so now I had 3 of them to deal with… Fun…
Big Boss and his three buddies came at me with full force. Winged Guardian took one for the team chumping Thaurdir’s attack. One Cursed Dead had Tragic Discovery as a shadow and I took the 3 damage undefended since I needed to ready Boromir many times and the last thing I wanted was more threat, so Balin got bit by spectral teeth (at least I think they bite…). Boromir then took care of the Cursed Dead one by one.
The next round I powered through with a whopping 16 Progress (thank you Faramir!) and kept clearing locations round after round. I did a sizable amount of damage to Thaurdir, but I needed one more round to finish the job. Thing is though, the next round during staging I revealed another Cursed Dead… Now I had to deal with 4 of them… >_>
Boromir and my allies worked overtime pushing my threat to 41 from 35 defending every attack and counter attacking to get rid of the undead horde. As a result I did minimal damage to Thaurdir. Next round I revealed a simple location and made enough progress to clear the active location and place the final few points I needed. With the Support of the Eagles, Boromir defended for 8 (he was equipped with Gondorian shield and Eagles of the Misty Mountains had two cards beneath it) and I swung with everything I had for a total of 16 damage securing my victory (16 seems to be a common number for me. How odd…)
- Game 1: Victory!
- Game 2: Defeat…
- Game 3: Victory!
Once again the designers have managed to make side quests integral to the main quest with a unique twist all its own different from the rest of the APs released so far. These “major” side quests/clues are not simple side affairs like player side quests or annoyances like the early encounter side quests. They have real benefits and importance to your overall success. Getting one clue is paramount. Some shadow effects – punish you if you don’t have any clues. I imagine this might be difficult with more players as there is a good chance some players will be left without clues. As for solo, getting at least one clue will save you some headaches.
I also like clue cards themselves. As someone who loves ARPGs like Diablo 2 and Titan Quest, I love me some loot! Anytime I can find gear to equip to make me stronger, and much more likely to succeed on the challenges ahead I’m all for it. It’s a nice reward for all your trouble. They also help with the final quest stage reducing the required progress by 5. Not too shabby if I say so myself.
I did have troubles keeping track of various triggers. I’m always forgetting to add progress tokens to Sift Through the Debris when I clear a location or Quiet the Spirits when I defeat an enemy. As for Decipher Ancient Texts, I could never see myself choosing that as the active quest (I like my ally swarms), so I am always forgetting that card exists and therefore it’s secondary effects to spend resources to add progress. And then there are the Time counters. It usually takes me halfway through the round before I realize, “Oh right, a time counter should’ve been removed.”
All and all, I liked this quest. Not as good as Escape from Mount Gram, but this didn’t feel as unforgiving and cutthroat like Wastes of Eraidor. It’s a nice balance.