Lord of the Rings:LCG - reviews and general thoughts

It all started with accepting 100 plays challenge and pledging to comment each play. Soon my thoughts outgrew the BGG comment format and also FFG's forum. I decided to post them in a form of a blog here. In time I got rid of session reports and replaced them with expansions reviews. Enjoy.
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Escape from Dol Guldur - the one cursed by all solo players

Wojtek Wojcik
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Board Game Designer
I very much like designing games but I think I prefer to play them.
Metallum ... game I most proud of.
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Here is a compilation of my comments on the scenario, note that they were made some time ago and I have not edited them much so they tell a story of how my view point changed (but my current opinion may differ). They are presented chronologically in each section.

[Session Reports]
I attempted the third scenario (escape from Dol Guldur) again trying to apply what I have learned throughout my plays of Journey down the Anduin and was trounced by the scenario. It is very badly suited for solo play as you get 3 cards from the encounter deck right from the get go and only if you are very very lucky you have a chance to start to progress (if you start with two enemies or two locations then you are pretty much toasted). Once you get going (by clearing the staging area) then the things are looking better but ... you soon discover that you are running out of cards. Then the Nazgul comes and eats you allies faster then you can field them (especially if supported by other enemies attacking you).

Finally I decided to try my battle (Massing at Osgiliath) tested deck against the bane of all solo players - Escape from DG. Come on, the old core set scenario, how hard it can be? Well as you can see from my results despite the fact that my pool of cards was greatly enhanced since first attempts it is still pretty much un-winnable . I lost two or three games on setup (say two enemies amd caught in the web guarding objectives). In few others I was not able to move past the first stage of the quest. The most interesting attempts were the first one and the last one.
During the first one I got a decent hand and average encounter deck draws (some terrible some easy ones). I was able to move past stage one, have a prisoner rescued and was able to balance the threat from the staging area for several turns that allowed me to draw two sneak attacks and Gandalf. I was ready to announce that I will do it! Then I got a treachery that forced me to discard all events from my hands ... after that few enemies appeared back to back in the staging area and slowly I was overwhelmed.
Last attempt was even more successful. I was able to move past stage two and I even was ready to take the Nazgul down. Threat was very high at this point unfortunately and enemies plus shadow effects soon took me above 50. I decided to play just to see how much over I would go ... I was able "to win" with threat dial showing 58.

[General Thoughts]
This scenario should be in the core set despite the fact I think it is unbeatable with the cards from the base game (unless you will get 1-in-a-million lucky). It intrigues, it forces you to tweak your deck tons and tons of times. At the same time I understand why it lowers the value of the base game for many people. They will see it as unbeatable (solo) and claim that the game comes with only two playable scenario. I think that FFG would do much better by including fourth scenario with a difficulty close to Journey down Anduin.

My thoughts on Escape from Dul Guldur are not settled yet - I like the challenge on one hand but I am cursing the ridiculous difficulty on the other. I will try to make my mind about it latter as I decided to see if further player cards will make this beatable.
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