Intruders in Chetwood
Well it appears there are no new shiny quests to play so while I salivate at the new player cards for the next AP and, not to mention, dread the quest that comes along with it, I will turn my attention to previous quests. I started this blog around the time Escape from Mount Gram was fresh off the presses and worked my way through each subsequent AP since before backpedaling back to the Wastes of Eriador, the first AP in the Angmar Awakens cycle, before hopping forward to Treachery of Rhudaur. So there were a lot of hops and skips, twists and turns, and leaps ahead, but that’s what I get for being a sucker for new and shiny things and starting my late adventures in the middle of a cycle. So with the Battle of Carn Dum traveling across the pond, where does that leave me next?
How about some more confusing turn arounds? Time to go back in time just a tad and focus my attention on the deluxe expansion that kicked things off for the current cycle – The Lost Realms. I do recall playing the first two quests in this expansion as they came out, but for the sake of the blog and completeness, I will give it another bash for you fine folks here.
For the first quest, Intruders in Chetwood, I am using the same deck from before, Champion of Gondor.
The one and only quest stage
The first thing I noticed right off the bat as I was making the encounter deck is that I see my old nemesis return, Lost in the Wilderness! I can’t tell you how many times that damn side quest has shown up to steal my hand, and it’s always at the worst possible time. And with the encounter deck being as small as it is, I feel we’ll be clashing again quite often…
This quest is an odd one. Namely because it only has one stage, Stop the War Party. And man is it a big one. I forgot it required 30 progress tokens. But going in, you know what you’re up against, there are no surprises when advancing to the next stage as there is none. So the goal is pretty straight forward. Still feels weird though.
I attempted to tackle this quest earlier in the week only to scoop a few rounds in. Why? Boromir got smacked around hard and died. A lowly Angmar Orc wounded Boromir to the cusp of death thanks to attack boosting shadow effects (Angmar Marauder). And the next round I took a chance to defend with Boromir again (he had a slight defense buff with Dunedain Warning) but another nasty shadow destroyed my plans before they even had a chance to get the ball rolling. Borders of Bree-land as a shadow lowered Borimir’s defense to where the Angmar Orc dealt just a single point of damage, enough to land the killing blow. And I never had a resource on Balin to cancel it, so that was game. Scoop!
That killed my mood to continue playing. So I came back to the quest a few days later to take another crack at it. This time I will learn from my mistakes and press forward. And hopefully I don’t get screwed by card draw (I did have 3 Faramir’s in my hand in that last game… >_> ).
Second game went much better. Chetwood Forest came out in staging Round 1 and with so much threat on the field already (3 from the War Party and 2 from Rugged Country) I had thought it was advantageous to travel to Chetwood Forest forcing me to engage the War Party clearing up 6 threat for next round. I chump blocked with a lowly eagle (Angmar Captain as a shadow yay! :D). Boromir and a self-buffed Sam wounded the orc for 2 damage. Next turn, I sniped the orc for the rest of the 4 damage with a hard casted Gandalf. Orc Ambush came out and to satisfy the Forced effects, I pulled the Boromir killer, Angmar Orc to engage. With only one person readied – take a guess who – I had no choice but to defend with Boromir. Luckily I had resources on Balin in case anything went wrong. However I was greeted with the best shadow effect ever, Lost in the Wilderness! I’m so glad to see that go away!
Lady Luck continued to favor me in combat, which is what I needed. That single orc stayed engaged with my for multiple turns. I just couldn’t afford to hold anyone back for combat, I needed to quest. Iarion promptly gets captured and luck would have it the next round Pressing Needs forced me to switch quests or grab a side quest from the encounter deck. Orc Rearguard was the only quest left and I took the risk to stay on track to save the ranger from certain doom so I chose to have the Orc Rearguard in play. And as far as I’m concerned, the most pressing need is to save him. But that did slow me down quite a bit as I was only able to put a maximum of 3 progress tokens on quest cards. I saved Iarion with time to spare and the following round quested through the Orc Rearguard.
During this whole time that one orc stayed engaged with me and Boromir deflected his attack time and time again. It was like a final epic battle between the hero and his most hated foe, but umm… maybe not as exciting. It was kind of dull because I still couldn’t penetrate his 3 Armor with one dude (seriously that guy has a lot of defense for being a typical orc…). And in anti-climatic fashion, I had Gandalf just snipe the orc. I got tired of seeing his ugly face.
Everything went smoothly after that. Finished the last bits of progress on Stage 1B without much trouble from the encounter deck. Victory!
Ok, things are looking up. I fire up another game for the tie breaker. Iarion gets captured on Round 1. Typical. *sigh* Time to save him again. Luckily I had eyes in the sky. My army of Eagles were growing in numbers with Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Vassal of the Windlord and Winged Guardian in play. And then Orc Rearguard shows up during staging guaranteeing I won’t rescue the ranger in one go. Deja vu (did I shuffle the cards at all?). What’s worse I only succeeded at making 2 progress this round on the side quest… With 4 progress to go and being restricted to only placing 3 progress each round I had no room to make mistakes. After this round end I only had 2 Time counters to spare.
I focused on questing with everyone I had for the next two rounds, even with Boromir. In fact he was doing triple duty – questing, attacking and defending each round. With the help of the eagles he was swinging for 8 and took down the War Party with ease in those rounds. I purposely over quested to save Iarion from his fate and it paid off. I didn’t have a choice really. But things went down south very fast.
The rest of the side quests showed up, Orc Ambush, and my favorite Lost in the Wilderness… >_> However, with 4 quests in play Iarion was a beast! So that was cool. However, with locations piling up and sidequests distracting me, I slogged through them slowly. And all this time my threat kept rising. To make matters worse the lone enemy I kept optionally engaging with, Angmar Orcs, kept bouncing back to the staging area after attacking from shadow effects. This happened 3 times in a row! Boromir was so bored. His 9 attack was going to waste. All he wanted to do was to smash some orcs into paste. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so as I couldn’t make any headway and reached 50 threat. Game over.
- Game 1: Devastating defeat!
- Game 2: Victory!
- Game 3: Dismal defeat…
Maybe I had bad luck or the deck I used wasn’t the best fit, but I didn’t really care for this quest all that much. There were too many distractions and red herrings. Those side quests are a pain to deal with, especially when they combo off each other like Orc Rearguard and Rescue Iarion. Then there are the enemies that are all about those hit and run tactics. You can never be so sure whether you’ll be able to return fire. It’s frustrating to see them bounce back to the staging area time and time again.
But the big crux is the one quest stage with a very high requirement to pass. 30 progress is a lot! And unlike The Treachery of Rhudaur, you don’t have any clues to obtain that lowers that limit. With so many side quests to distract you, they tend to just get in the way from the main beefy quest. But I guess that is by design. You have to prioritize. It’s still a bit frustrating though. In addition that encounter deck is small. There’s a good chance you’ll go through it each game or close to it. Not sure I like that. Sure it’s more consistent and efficient, but if you’re guaranteed to see 90% of the cards each time you play (and I’m playing solo, you’ll chew through it faster with more players), you’ve seen it all after a few plays and that limits replay ability.
hmm… I don’t know if I see myself returning to this one all that much in the future.