Recommend
48 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Piece-by-piece strategy: Dark rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Rob Herman
United States
Cleveland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Overview + Executive Summary: None of your pieces is as important to you as Gandalf is to Light. You need to figure out how you will control Gandalf and trap Frodo. When you fight, try to always gain an advantage, either killing the Light piece or forcing him to use a much better card than you. Trading on even terms is bad.

Balrog
His ability to guard Moria is not as important as it looks. As long as you have a piece in either Fangorn or Eregion (the regions on either side of the tunnel) Frodo can't sneak through; furthermore, as long as the Balrog might be in Caradhras, Light probably won't risk going through no matter what piece is actually there. He is one of three 5-strength heavy hitters you should be trying to crush the Light forces with; kill whoever you can. For all three of these characters, the Eye of Sauron can be a dangerous card; losing to Noble Sacrifice is not so bad, but losing the piece while Light plays a 3 can be embarrassing. On the other hand, eliminating the Light piece as well as a Magic, Retreat, or Noble Sac can be a decent advantage; you might want to try it to keep your opponent on his toes or if you're behind anyway and need to take chances to catch up.

Against: Obviously, don't charge through Moria if it's occupied. You probably shouldn't be in that much of a hurry to take the offensive anyway. Otherwise, this is one of three 5-strength bruisers you'll have to kill off or dodge, either with a Noble Sac, using a high enough Strength card, or with 5 strength of your own and Elven Cloak. Each way has its downsides: the Eye of Sauron kills Noble Sac, high Strength cards are more valuable to Light than they are to Dark, so it's painful if you tie and horrifying if you lose anyway; and it usually isn't worth trading Gandalf. The Balrog is a perfectly good target for Boromir.

Black Rider
This is your least important piece; your equivalent of Pippin. He's not very strong and the charge-forward ability is not that useful. Use him for a scout or skirmisher. If you can get lucky and detonate Boromir, that's great; otherwise, just try not to hit Gandalf or Aragorn. In a fight, feel free to use middle or low Strength cards; these are less important to you than they are to Light, so even if Light blows a good card to win, you haven't lost much and deprived Light of an important card for later.

Against: Try to kill him with Aragorn or Gandalf when it's convenient. Don't waste good Strength cards against him.

Cave Troll
His cards don't count? Who cares? The only Light character that can beat him is Gandalf blowing Light's biggest attack card; Aragorn trades using the same card, and no other Light character (besides Sam+Frodo) has a chance at all. And while this happens, you're relieving yourself of a liability: your worst Strength card. Sweet! (Alternatively, it's a chance to safely play the Eye of Sauron so you can Magic for it later.) Sure, he's a target for Noble Sacrifice. You can either just accept this and live the rest of the game without fear of Noble Sac, or you can hold him back until Noble Sac comes out and then go on a rampage. What, is Light going to burn Magic on another Noble Sac? He'll pay for that later when Gandalf gets eaten. And all the while you're just throwing away your worst cards.

Against: Assuming you're not going to be able to avoid him, Noble Sac. Pippin is ideal for this, or another expendable character. It's probably not worth blowing Gandalf + Strength 5 unless he sneaks up on you. If your Noble Sac is already gone, you'll have to decide whether to use Magic to finish him off or just try to not get stepped on.

Flying Nazgul
The Flying Nazgul is an important late-game character; his job is to pick off undefended hobbits as they make their way through the mountains or while they are surrounded by your other forces. Keep him safely in Mordor until needed; Light will happily trade for him otherwise and then a slippery Frodo might well make his way through your superior forces. Try not to end up in a position where Frodo can beat your highest Strength card--this is embarrassing!

Against: The presence of the Flying Nazgul is something you just have to live with. You'll either need to kill it or get Frodo through Moria. It's not a bad idea to keep Legolas or Aragorn nearby so that if the Nazgul swoops in, it can be killed after Frodo sidesteps.

Orcs
The Orcs are for controlling Gandalf. Unless Gandalf is otherwise neutralized or dead, it's not worth revealing them for anything else. As long as the Orcs might be ready to jump out and hack him to bits, Gandalf has to be cautious about cutting a swath through your forces. (If he charges in, takes out one of your characters, and then dies to the Orcs, even better!) You can also bluff Light. Walk up a Dark piece to Gandalf's face. Is it the Orcs, ready to attack? Is it bait for the Orcs who are sitting right behind? Or are the Orcs elsewhere entirely? Only you know, and if you mix it up from game to game, you can make Light sweat and make mistakes. The vulnerability to Gimli is not a big deal. The Orcs are probably going to lose on defense anyway, and if Gandalf is already dead, their instant-win offense is useful but not critical; you have no shortage of offense.

Against: The presence of the Orcs turns the positioning of Gandalf into a bluffing game. You want to use him to kill as many Dark pieces as possible, but you don't want him dead! Once the position of the Orcs has been revealed they are much less of a threat since they can't advance into an attacking position without making themselves vulnerable.

Saruman
Saruman is Dark's equivalent of Gandalf. Not as powerful (or as critical), his job is still to go charging through enemy lines making trouble. Gandalf, is of course, his deadly nemesis; keep him away from Boromir too if you can. Against Aragorn, either side can probably force a trade; whether you play cards will depend on what the board situation is and what cards are remaining. Otherwise, laugh with glee as Saruman slices through the Light pieces, unafraid of Light's foolish heroic sacrifices.

Against: Kill him with Gandalf or Boromir if you can! If not, trade off Aragorn, or get out of the way as best as you can.

Shelob
Probably the best of Dark's 5-strength heavies; after chewing up her victim, she goes back to Gondor to defend. Take advantage of this by moving pieces the other way so both flanks will be defended and don't embarrass yourself by leaving two pieces in Gondor!

Against: See the notes for the Balrog. Keep in mind that if Shelob is alive reinforcements could suddenly appear in Gondor, so be ready for that if you're trying to have Frodo make a run for it. Shelob is arguably Dark's most important piece, so she's a great target for Boromir if Pippin happens to find her or if her would-be victim Retreats.

Warg
The Warg has two entirely different roles you will need to choose between. First is Boromir-hunting. If you guess lucky and find and kill Boromir you save a valuable unit; then the Warg is a disposable scout/skirmisher. In this strategy If Light attacks the Warg with Gandalf, Aragorn, or Gimli it might be worth Retreating; Retreat is not as valuable a card for you as it is for Light. The Warg's other potential job is to stay in Mordor and defend it from Frodo. Ideally either Retreat will be gone or you can use Magic to choose between the Eye of Sauron and decisive Strength. The Warg's text-busting ability is less interesting against Pippin (not worth it, Pippin will die anyway), Gandalf (Gandalf is just too strong, even playing cards blind) and Sam (you probably won't catch the hobbits together with the Warg).

Against: Ideally you would scout a unit before hitting it with Boromir to verify that it's not the Warg. If the Warg is in the back lines you will probably need to kill it before sending Frodo into Mordor. Luckily it's not very strong so any of the Light pieces can probably do the job.

Witch King
The Witch King has an ability that can be great against the slippery Frodo, but he also has a troublesome vulnerability to Merry. If you can, keep him back until Merry is killed; if you reveal him before that and a Light character comes charging up, get ready to evade. Merry is not otherwise difficult to kill! Late in the game, the sideways-attacking ability can be useful not only to kill more Light characters, but to position yourself appropriately and even to stall and force Light to expose himself.

Against: If you manage to find and kill the Witch King with Merry, you have a leg up. It's worth trying but not the end of the game if it doesn't work out. Otherwise, just treat him like Shelob and the Balrog and beware his ability to attack Frodo sideways multiple times.
29 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
jack raten
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great great, article with many interesting thoughts.

I've come up with most of the same conclusions about this game as you. You'd be a great opponent.

I didn't ever think of the Warg as a Boromir hunter before. I think he's too valuable to guard Mordor from Frodo though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Goodier
United States
North Smithfield
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great write-up!!

Quote:
Shelob
Probably the best of Dark's 5-strength heavies; after chewing up her victim, she goes back to Gondor to defend. Take advantage of this by moving pieces the other way so both flanks will be defended and don't embarrass yourself by leaving two pieces in Gondor!


Myself and a friend of mine used to play this game regularly. he made this blunder not once, but twice!! The funny part about the first time he did it, he attacked me (can't remember which Light piece) but i knew that if he won the battle he'd be transported back to Gondor and ultimately lose Shelob. Not sure if my friend didn't realize this or just wasn't paying attention, regardless he attacked and used his Magic Card or his Ignore Text card. I used my Strength 1 knowing what would happen after he beat me. devil

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Hebert
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great article from a player well versed with the game, no doubt after many playings. I cannot take issue with a single strategy or observation you make. The game is amongst my very favorite and for under one hour play, none best it for me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.