I've read in a couple of places that when the creators decide on the cards for the cycle, they playtest the scenarios with all of the cards and then arbitrarily split them into different APs.yes, it's true, though i don't know of a link to verify it specifically. i know they do this for all of their LCGs
1) Is this true? If so, a verified reference for this?
2) Does it include the big box expansion?
I'm wondering because I've been playing progression style and am wondering if I can maybe extend to the whole cycle to have better deck building abilities for Heirs of Numenor.
i would imagine it includes the Big Box expansions since many of those encounter sets are carried over, but it doesn't necessarily mean that.
i think there's room for both (progression style with the cards as they come out and then replay the cycle with all of the cards available). gives you more reason to replay things.