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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: When does Siege of Annúminas take place? rss

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John Daker
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I haven't played this year's GenCon/Fellowship scenario, The Siege of Annúminas. Much has been made of its mega-player "Epic" mode that allows up to 12 players. But I'm more interested in the quest's thematic content, specifically its setting, which I haven't seen discussed anywhere.

(Those of you who are allergic to deep Tolkien lore can stop reading now, or skip to the tldr at the end.)

Here's the deal: every other official release for this game is set between Third Age 2941, when The Hobbit takes place, and T.A. 3019, when the One Ring was destroyed at the climax of The Lord of the Rings.

Unless I'm mistaken, The Siege of Annúminas is the first to break this pattern. From what I can gather about the quest, it seems to be set much earlier, between the emergence of the Witch-realm of Angmar around T.A. 1300, and T.A. 1975, when the Gondorian army destroyed Angmar's forces at the Battle of Fornost.

If this is right, two interesting consequences follow.

First, FFG has finally released content outside of the relatively narrow 80-year window of the end of the Third Age. If this sets a precedent, we could be in for more, future releases from other periods of Middle-earth's history. Yes, I know they legally can't use content from Tolkien's books other than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so for instance they're severely restricted with regard to the eras described in The Silmarillion. But there's plenty to draw from in the Appendices alone, so long as the designers are willing to be inventive -- as I think this standalone quest as well as the Dream-chaser and Haradrim cycles are demonstrating.

Second, for those who try to play this game thematically (e.g. no eagles in Moria, no Éowyn in The Hobbit quests, etc.), huge swaths of the existing cards would be ineligible for play in this quest, including, for instance, all non-elf, non-Istari unique characters from the books (none of whom would have been born yet), everything Rohan (kingdom founded T.A. 2510), etc etc. This actually poses a potentially fun challenge in deck-construction, for those interested in taking it on.

However, there is something strange going on here with regard to Middle-earth history. If the quest is indeed set during this period, the canon holds that Annúminas would have been mostly deserted and in ruins, having gone into decline well before this and abandoned around T.A. 861, the date of Arnor's civil war. Not until the beginning of the Fourth Age was Annúminas rebuilt under Elessar/Aragorn's rule. So, during the entire time of Angmar's existence, there would have been no one in Annúminas to besiege . . .

tldr: This quest would seem to take place much earlier in Middle-earth history than any previously released official content for this game, although, if so, the quest also constitutes a major discrepancy with the canonical Middle-earth chronology.
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Michael Schwarz
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For some reason, the first thing that comes to mind is Battle for Middle Earth II's expansion, which just went, "screw logic and reason," and dumped Arnor into the game as a playable faction.

Four possibilities come to mind.

1) It's a one-off, don't think about this too hard, anomaly to spice up these large events. A 12 player version of Siege of Helm's Deep, Gondor, or assaulting The Black Gates would all be amazing. Though a one off-out of context release to seriously test and streamline the format, before releasing one of those really iconic moments, wouldn't be the worst idea they've had recently. (That dubious honor would go to them allowing GW to escape their clutches.)

In this context, it may be as simple as someone is relating the story to the characters, and incorporating them into it along the way. Something that has a base in actual history, by the way.

2) It's FFG testing the waters for a "legends" era. Possibly, with it's own card pool, and drawing from the appendices. So, in essence, the challenge deck concept you were suggesting, but expanded into a full format.

3) It's set in The Third Age, and doesn't refer to the historic siege, but tasks a large number of heroes to venture into the ruins in an effort to learn something... resulting in a massive running battle and (judging by the title) a siege.

4) A wizard did it. It is the historical siege, and the players' characters are just... there, somehow.
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Dale Stephenson
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Very interesting topic, and I agree that setting a quest outside the usual window is interesting and encouraging. I'd LOVE saga expansions set from earlier material in the Appendices. I'd love to see a Helm Hammerhand or Isildur or even Bullroarer Took hero.

I have no inside information on the text from the quest, but I'd assume it takes place in 1975, when Angmar overthrew Arthedain. Since Annuminas is west of Fornost, it makes sense that Angmar's troops would reach it after the fall of Fornost. Also Arvedui's sons being "driven over the Lune" would likely go in that direct, as the city is on a direct line between Fornost and Lindon, their ally against Angmar (although given the nearby mountains, it would make more sense to go south then west, if possible). Further, the ruins may well offer usable makeshift fortifications for hard-pressed survivors pressed by the victorious forces of Angmar. Since it was deserted rather than destroyed when abandoned as a capital, it might be in reasonable shape for this purpose.

There's precedent in Osgaliath, which was "finally ruined" in 2475, but which was the site of clashes in following centuries -- and the subject of two different quests already released.
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John Daker
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dalestephenson wrote:
Further, the ruins may well offer usable makeshift fortifications for hard-pressed survivors pressed by the victorious forces of Angmar. Since it was deserted rather than destroyed when abandoned as a capital, it might be in reasonable shape for this purpose.


That's an excellent explanation. I guess its viability will depend on how the quest is presented.
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Andrew Brown
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dalestephenson wrote:
I have no inside information on the text from the quest, but I'd assume it takes place in 1975, when Angmar overthrew Arthedain. Since Annuminas is west of Fornost, it makes sense that Angmar's troops would reach it after the fall of Fornost.
actually, the turning point of Angmar's attack was in the Hills of Evendim, between Fornost and Lake Evendim, the latter of which is where Annuminas has its port

to my knowledge, there was no canonical battle at this time that took place in Annuminas itself

also not having seen the quest, i predict that many of the locations will reference ruins of Annuminas and give us a timeline, nearer to the novels

fighting in Annuminas has been explored quite a bit in video games, which have basically 'what if?' scenarios of Angmar attacking Annuminas (even though there isn't much of Angmar left at this time)
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Dale Stephenson
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dr00 wrote:
dalestephenson wrote:
I have no inside information on the text from the quest, but I'd assume it takes place in 1975, when Angmar overthrew Arthedain. Since Annuminas is west of Fornost, it makes sense that Angmar's troops would reach it after the fall of Fornost.
actually, the turning point of Angmar's attack was in the Hills of Evendim, between Fornost and Lake Evendim, the latter of which is where Annuminas has its port


I should have written 1974 above, as that was the year Angmar conquered Arthedian. 1975 was the year Earnur helped conquer Angmar, and I think this is the turning point you are referring to:

"Then Cirdan summoned all who would come to him, from Lindon or Anor, and when all was ready the host crossed the Lune and marched north to challenge the Witch-King of Angmar. He was now dwelling, it is said, in Fornost, which he had filled with evil folk, usurping the house and rule of the kings. In his pride he did not await the onset of his enemies in his stronghold, but went out to meet them, thinking to sweep them, as others before, into the Lune.

But the Host of the West came down on him out of the Hills of Evendim, and there was a great battle on the plain between Nenuial [Lake Evendim] and the North Downs. The forces of Angmar were already giving way and retreating towards Fornost when the main body of the horseman that had passed round the hills came down from the north and scattered them in a great rout. Then the Witch-king, with all that he could gather from the wreck, fled northwards, seeking his own land of Angmar...."

Earnur and Glorfindel catch him and not a man or Orc of Angmar is left west of the Mountains, though the Witch-King himself escaped.

Quote:
to my knowledge, there was no canonical battle at this time that took place in Annuminas itself


True, but to my knowledge there are few canonical battles known in the nearly seven hundred years where the Witch-King and the Arthedain co-existed. My speculation of hard-pressed survivors in a local action against pursuing enemies would hardly be significant enough to make The Tale of Years, but there must have been many such minor battles. However, given the geographical location of Annuminas, the only potential for conflict there based on the canonical sequence is in 1974 (Dunedain retreating west) and 1975 (Lindon/Gondor advancing East) -- and I think the situation in 1974 is more likely to justify a quest than in 1975, given that the good guys had overwhelming force on their side at the point that they passed Annuminas.

And pass Annuminas I think they would. The sparse description makes clear that the advance force came "out of the Hills of Evendim" to fix their foe on the plain between Lake Evendim and Fornost, at which point the main body of horsemen which had come around the hills of Evendim from the North came upon them. Unless the horsemen just took the long way around for terrain considerations and the foot was too impatient to wait for them, that implies a planned flank attack and the advance force attacking from the west, which makes more sense to me if they passed Lake Evendim on the South, crossing the Brandywine to get to the plain and fixing Angmar's host in the wrong direction. If they passed north of the lake they would be descending from the hills in the same general direction as the body of horse.

Quote:
also not having seen the quest, i predict that many of the locations will reference ruins of Annuminas and give us a timeline, nearer to the novels


Certainly a strong possibility, since Angmar enemies were featured in the "Angmar Awakened" cycle. Which is too bad, because a quest set in 1974 would be infinitely cooler.

The Hall of Beorn has the cards. Don't look if you want to be surprised!
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Daniel Wilmer
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Really enjoying this thread. Can't add to any lore/cannon as not well read enough. Will be playing next month so not looking at the cards.

Thanks again!
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