They await the King
The Snarky Sloth
there has been much talk in the forums about if Lonely Tree expansion is good or not, so I guess it's worth writing a quick review to answer some of the frequently asked questions.
Of course, I'm no reviewer, so I only hope to be clear in what I write, and that what it's written here helps other people in making informed decisions.
Beware, part of this review has mild spoilers (I will describe roughly some mechanics involved with this expansion).
This expansion has a Lonely Tree miniature(a big tree) that comes with its Terrain Card, a BASIC hunt event, the usual monster AI/HL/Resources deck, a very small manual. There are six detachable "fruit" miniatures, that can be either hooked to the tree branches or used in game (rules in monster's AI), and a pinup female model that has no game purpose.
A brief overview of this expansion
This expansion can be introduced in your campaign right away, but its mechanics are unusual to say the least. Basically, the Lonely Tree is neither a Nemesis nor a Quarry: you stumble into it when you draw its terrain as a random terrain or when you get its basic hunt event. In that case, the LT is added to the showdown AS A TERRAIN (not a monster you fight), complicating a bit the showdown for the quarry you were hunting. Long story short, in the aftermath of a Showdown with the Lonely Tree terrain, you gain a Resource that can make you fight the actual Lonely Tree in a Special Showdown by triggering a Story Event.
Like I said, it's not a Hunt or a Nemesis, but it's rather a Special Showdown with a very particular monster.
The fight with the Lonely Tree
Well, this is lots of fun. It's difficult (on par with strong Nemeses), punishing, with very smart mechanics and requiring "unusual" gear to get into it prepared. It's fun and very tactical, and it is a Special Showdown, so it's an extra showdown in the same year.
The rewards, the gear and the game impact
The rewards depend on the Tree you fought, and are always moderately rewarding consumables. There is no gear, no fighting art or else. I think this is the underwhelming part of the expansion.
The game impact is small: you pay a cost of sort to encounter the tree, you make a fun encounter that can definitely result in a TPK, you get rewarded, apart with the usual hunt and proficiency XPs, just with some consumable resources with nifty (but ultimately survivor-bound) permanent bonuses.
So, why the cost?
This expansion is justified 90% by a Terrain miniature. The miniature is gorgeous, both big and detailed (absolutely top quality even for the standards of KD:M), and it's a pleasure to have it on the game board.
The showdown is fun and a welcome extra, but it has the aforementioned underwhelming rewards.
All in all, you pay the miniatures and have the chance to fit them in the game.
What's with the typos?
Basically, fruits have been renamed among the cards and the manual. This gets annoying because at first you have difficulties in getting them straight. They are unnerving, of course, but they are as bad as other ones easily forgiven (DBK's Prepared Tunnels/Ground Pound, all typos/unclear writing in Tyrant's AI, Sunstalker's changing survival actions (I will assume that the Secret Farts are intended, of course )).
TL;DR: Should I buy this?
Well, at a certain point, of course. If you don't plan to try all KD:M flavors AND you don't feel like spending big on a terrain, postpone this purchase, you don't need it this badly.
If you like miniatures and you would have made a 3d terrain of the tree anyway, then absolutely purchase it.
If you just want a fun showdown that is different, then the Lonely Tree is for you, but please think if you are willing to pay the full cost for it- just for the encounter.
This is all. Does this clear things up a bit?
It's hard to remember we're alive for the first time. It's hard to remember we're alive for the last time.
Thanks for the review! This was one I was wondering about myself
Thanks so much for posting this detailed review of the tree. Right now (Black Friday weekend 2016) it's %50 off and your post helped me make up my mind. Can't wait to paint it up.