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A unique combination of unusual occurences in this game, after hundreds of plays: the ring went south - a long way south, ie, via Rohan; the fellowship was revealed in Fangorn; Merry led a Northern force to bolster the defence of Dol Amroth, capturing the Dunlands on the way; The Mouth of Saron appeared with the fellowship nowhere near Mordor; all the Free Peoples' troops were mustered; and the cards ran out - both decks, both sides.

It was a good start for the Free Peoples: two dice in the hunt pool and the crowning of Aragorn, after dropping off Pippin in Fangorn, at the cost of a ring.

But the Shadow hunted the fellowship remorselessly. Frodo and friends were found one step from Moria so when they were found on their next move also they faced a tough choice: The Balrog was already at large in Moria, The Gates Were Closed - so which way to go? Being revealed in Moria would mean three additional tiles; the High Pass and thence to Dale would mean moving back one step, so...

...it was off to the Gap of Rohan. It might not have been the very first time that this had happened - but it is rare.

With the ring taking such a long route one might have thought that the Shaodw would have ample time to prosecute a military victory - but it was not to be. Galadriel soon appeared and perhaps the dice and cards were not kind to Sauron and his allies - at least, not militarily.

But the Fellowship just couldn't stay hidden and stumbled across the Fords of Isen with six corruption and the careful attention of Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli. The Fellowship was then again found and had to reveal itself in Fangorn - thus wasting more time.

Gandalf the Grey then bade the fellowship farewell and headed to Edoras to boost the growing Rohan army. Meanwhile, to the south, Grond Hammer of the Underworld again proved to be a 'witch-king killer': Boromir and friends in Minas Tirith put up such a stalwart defence over the three rounds that they killed the whole opposing army. Aragorn watched approvingly from Lossarnach.

At last the fellowship reached Edoras and could start to heal from its seven corruption. But what to do with character dice during the healing rounds? Merry had been forced to separate from the fellowship just outside Moria (I forget the name of the card) and so summoned a small army from Bree to join him on a feint attack on Moria. Shadows soon appeared on the Misty Mountains so Merry decided to head south. At this point the Free People's military ambitions were simply to hold up the Shadow long enough for Frodo to heal and make it into Mordor.

And the turns went on. A Shadow attack on DEW captured Edoras - but only at such a cost that it was soon recaptured by a joint force of Elves and Men. But the result was that all the Free Peoples were at war, so the Mouth of Sauron appeared - while the fellowship was still only at Edoras.

Lorien proved too tough a nut to crack so the Dol Goldur and Moria Orcs headed south to face Gandalf the White and the now impressively large Rohan army in Edoras. To use more character dice the Ents were awoken - but failed to damage Saruman's Orcs significantly at the fords.

And finally Sam and Frodo set off alone from Edoras. Pippin meanwhile had led a single Northern elite and leader down through empty Dunland and reached Dol Amroth.

The ring bearer entered Mordor on four corruption with Mithril Coat and Sting and all eight special hunt tiles in the pool. Experience said that the odds were about 50:50. Both decks of cards had been finished so Event action dice were literally worthless.

And so it boiled down to drawing tiles. Luck was with the Shadow and the ring bearer was corrupted with two steps still to go. Middle Earth was also about to fall militarily: there were no more troops to call on and Gandalf the White had perished in Edoras; Merry's long journey south would have ended in death at Dol Amroth the next turn. The only survivor would have been Pippin in Fangorn, there since the very first turn and now accompanied by a single Ent.

==========================

There are always new twists to this game. Sending the ring via the Gap of Rohan is rarely correct - but when only one step from Moria and found one move from last position, with the Balrog and Closed Gates... well, if not then, when?

The hobbit's foray down south was fun - if ultimately pointless - but it did give the Shadow something to think about during the long time of healing.
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Chris Crowder
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Re: [STR]
The Fellowship can heal at Edoras? I thought it had to be a stronghold.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Re: [STR]
Cecrow wrote:
The Fellowship can heal at Edoras? I thought it had to be a stronghold.


"The Free Peoples player may now declare the position of the Fellowship.
If the Fellowship is in a City or Stronghold of a Free Peoples Nation, that
Nation is activated (if the Nation is showing “Passive” on the Political
Track, flip the Nation to “Active”) and the Ring-bearers may be healed." (p. 9)

I've never been forced to take the Gap path, if revealed on the 2nd move, I just forget about Moria and go High Passing. Also, never really spend multiple turns healing corruption either. Of course, last time out I declared in Mordor on turn 6 with 0 Corruption, so wasn't really any need.
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Dan Fielding
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Re: [STR]
I tried going via the Gap last game. Got hit with a card forcing me separate, so I sent Gimli & a Hobbit towards the northwest. Took too many dice to get them there.

I don't understand how stopping to Heal is a viable strategy; each point gives the SP 9 action dice to use.
 
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Re: [STR]
Dam the Man wrote:
I've never been forced to take the Gap path, if revealed on the 2nd move, I just forget about Moria and go High Passing.
Hello, Rauli. Perhaps I was unclear in my session report. The FSP had been found two away from Rivendell so I revealed them in the area before Moria. The FSP was then successfully hunted on its next move, so going the High Pass route would have taken one more than usual.
 
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Re: [STR]
Gronak wrote:
I don't understand how stopping to Heal is a viable strategy; each point gives the SP 9 action dice to use.
Hello, Gronak

I agree that stopping to heal loads is usually a prelude to a Shadow victory...

...but if the cards and dice fall nicely (eg, Shadow rolling Eyes) then the Free People can spend time building up a sizeable defence and even start threatening Shadow strongholds - thus forcing the Shadow onto the defensive, at least for a little while.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Re: [STR]
Arneson Stidgeley wrote:
Dam the Man wrote:
I've never been forced to take the Gap path, if revealed on the 2nd move, I just forget about Moria and go High Passing.
Hello, Rauli. Perhaps I was unclear in my session report. The FSP had been found two away from Rivendell so I revealed them in the area before Moria. The FSP was then successfully hunted on its next move, so going the High Pass route would have taken one more than usual.


So, wait. 2 away from Rivendell, Fords of Bruinen + Hollin? Why not declare at High Pass (Fords of Bruinen + High Pass)?
 
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Dam the Man wrote:

So, wait. 2 away from Rivendell, Fords of Bruinen + Hollin? Why not declare at High Pass (Fords of Bruinen + High Pass)?
Because there was still a reasonable chance of being able to get through Moria unscathed - I hadn't counted on being revealed the very next move.

I take the High Pass to avoid serious Moria damage, but taking it having got to Hollin would have added an extra step to the journey - and, anyway, it had been a long time since the Fellowship had gone through Roham. I thought I'd try it for a change.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Arneson Stidgeley wrote:
Because there was still a reasonable chance of being able to get through Moria unscathed - I hadn't counted on being revealed the very next move.

I take the High Pass to avoid serious Moria damage, but taking it having got to Hollin would have added an extra step to the journey - and, anyway, it had been a long time since the Fellowship had gone through Roham. I thought I'd try it for a change.


Ah, I'm way more conservative (or cowardly) with my FSP. High Pass at the first sign of trouble (revealed on moves 2-4).
 
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David Engle
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Gronak wrote:

I don't understand how stopping to Heal is a viable strategy; each point gives the SP 9 action dice to use.


With 7 points of corruption and just Frodo and Sam left, and the Fellowship still in Edoras?

Stopping may be bad because it gives more time to the SP, but trying to go on towords Mordor without healing first in this situation would be suicidal.

In the session report, the OP healed and still lost to corruption.
 
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