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Subject: Winning on expert difficulty! rss

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Nicholas
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Well, I finally beat the game with Sauron on 10, but it took me 3 more tries. Each time I took only 2 hobbits.

1) Well, Frodo and Sam marched out of Bag End, rolling a 3 corruption for preparations. (This happens every other time I take preparations... What's up with this?!?) Grumbling slightly, our hobbits took some lovely rivendell cards, and marched into Moria.

This time around, Moria was fairly kind, for after speaking and entering, and hiding from the watcher in the water, our Hobbits enjoyed a leisurely stroll through Moria, only taking some corruption from the ringbearer corruption tiles, and putting on the ring.

Lothlorien was a welcome sight, as our hobbits got plenty of Elven presents... stocking up on cards while recovering (we played 2 cards every turn while in Moria), we went to Helm's deep.

That scenario hates us. (There's a good reason the hobbits never went there in the books!) After barely managing to unmask wormtongue, the riders of rohan passed us by and orcs attacked the gate. Stumbling on through the main track, it wasn't long before the fire of orthanc came into play, and when Orcs stormed forward, it was all over. Final score? A downright awful 33.

2) Well, considering it hadn't taken long for Helm's deep to mop the floor with our hobbits, I decided to try again. Rolling three corruption for preparations (again?!?), our hobbits marched forward.

Moria was far less kind this time, as although we didn't get corrupted by (most) events, they made us discard cards left and right. Getting the pipe from stone in the well, it wasn't long before we were Trapped! (I really hate that event...) Stumbling along, our hobbits wearily fled out of the scenario.

Restocking at Lothlorien, our refreshed hobbits walked into Helm's deep.

That scenario dislikes hates downright loathes us. Despite only drawing two events, the hobbits had to play mirurivor to unmask wormtongue, and the riders of rohan passed us by. Also, we drew plenty of other bad tiles, with the ringbearer corruption appearing twice, and Eye/2 corruption also coming up. Using the ring to get out of the scenario, we wearily stumbled forward into Shelob's lair.

Shelob's lair was actually a bit of a break. After acquiring both Gollum and Faramir, we alternately played cards and drew them, and put on the ring to pass over both black squares... rolled 2 corruption. Well, then Sam played some more fighting, and we went to Mordor.

Well, at this point, we were pretty desperate, for although we had plenty of double traveling, we didn't have much corruption to spare. First we stumbled along the main line over the first of the die rolls... and it came up blank. Phew! However, having called Gandalf for healing back in Shelob's lair, we had no shields for when Sam saved frodo. However, we soon drew a conditional event tile... discard a life token... the Lord of the Nazgul struck. Thankfully, Frodo rolled a blank, and Sam managed not to die. (After the turn, I realized I had the staff the whole time. blush ) A discard 3 cards event came up... we discarded, and then yet ANOTHER event tile came up. Thankfully, Frodo rolled ANOTHER blank! (He rolled quite a few of these in Mordor, maybe the die doesn't hate us that much after all.) After that, Sam played Elven Rope and Faramir to get us to space 56. However, Sam was nose to nose with Sauron, so he couldn't take any rolls. Putting on the ring, Frodo rolled... 2 corruption. It was all over. Still though, I nearly made it that time, and I had some new strategies I wanted to try... So I set up for one more game.

3) Well, Frodo and Sam decided to try one last time... Frodo rolled 1 corruption for Preparations. (Yay!) Well, hiding from the nazgul, we walked off to rivendell. After receiving gifts and council from Elrond, we formed the fellowship. (7 walkers to counter the 9 riders... that doesn't seem right...) At any rate, we walked off into Moria.

Well, it was pretty standard this time through. We drew 4 events the whole trip, which meant no corruption, plenty of discards, sauron advanced twice, and we received the pipe. However, the main track still hates Frodo, as he rolled 2 corruption when putting on the ring. Sam then played the fighting necessary to get us out of the scenario.

Restocking at Lothlorien, we made the crucial decision. Rather than play for the feature cards and get slammed by every event the board had to offer, the hobbits decided to just win the battle, and get out of there ASAP.

The plan ended up working rather well. We didn't bother to unmask wormtongue, (although ironically enough, we drew several friendship tiles through the scenario), and just worked on the fighting line. However, despite drawing no more events, we still got several of the corruption tiles, and when drawing the first friendship tile, Frodo had to roll and got corrupted even more! Being nose to nose with Sauron, and with a lack of life tokens, he had to get life tokens before moving onwards, but events would likely come up soon! Thankfully, Sam had some fighting and was ringbearer, so when his turn came up, he put on the ring... 3 corruption. (That die DOES hate us.) Thankfully, due to his special ability, he only took one corruption, and additionally, he was within 2 spaces of the end of the track and had 5 shields... However, he paused as Frodo's turn came up, and since the tile was non-damaging, Frodo took the turn to heal. Pausing to see what his own tile would be, Sam saw Ringbearer corruption... and so called on Gandalf's guidance to finish the scenario.

However, even though our planned worked beautifully, (Sam played athelas to keep frodo from dying at this point), Frodo was still 2 spaces away from Sauron (who was at 8), and Sam was only two spaces behind. In addition, all that rushing main lines, meant that we had 0 fighting left!

However, unlike Helm's deep, Shelob's lair didn't have nearly as bad of an event track. So, first we played hiding to pick up faramir and some life tokens, then we had to pass gollum by, as although we had the shields, that would make us quite vulnerable to the faces of the dead. As we played more hiding and travelling to pick up life tokens, that event did indeed come by, which we managed to do, but the Forbidden pool saw Sauron advancing twice. However, as we had picked up the necessary cards and life tokens we needed, Frodo and Sam then spent most of the rest of their turns healing on the corruption line. When the lord of the nazgul searched for the ring, Frodo Miruvored Sam Galadrial, allowing Sam to satisfy the event cost, and heal once more. Sam then took 2 rolls when Shelob appeared, corrupting once and then rolling a blank, but when Shelob attacked, we still had no fighting, so Gandalf used his magic to take care of Shelob. When the scenario ended, we were actually in much better shape then when it began. Sauron had moved down to 5, but Frodo and Sam were still roughly the same distance away, and we had gained enough cards to climb mount doom! laugh

Mordor was quite kind, for although we got a ringbearer corruption tile, we didn't get one single event the whole trip. (And we were there for 7 turns... we got quite lucky laugh ) So, calling on Gandalf for healing, we set out, playing Faramir, Elven rope, and quite some travelling. Due to random tile draws (and the fact that Frodo had run out of gray travels, but had plenty of other grays), Frodo picked up both a heart and a sun token, and Sam somehow picked up both Armies of the Dead, and Ghan. Making it to space 56, Frodo put on the ring, rolled discard 2 cards, Sam then played Ghan, finishing the scenario, and putting the ring on mount Doom. However, since Sam had enough cards left, and was more than a space away from Sauron, the final roll was a piece of cake, as Sam casually dropped in the ring. Final Score: 72

Well, I finally beat the base game on expert difficulty, and the key was rushing through Helm's deep, and resting through Shelob's lair. Helms deep's feature cards, while feasible when Sauron starts on 12 or 15, can be a deadly trap when Sauron starts on 10. Rush the main line within 2 spaces of the end, ensure you can call Gandalf for Guidance, and then maybe get the feature cards... but not before. Also, Shelob's lair seems to be an excellent place to rest and heal up. By then you should be able to call Gandalf for magic to avoid event 6, and if you can manage to get Sam to take the blow for event 5, then you could very well end the scenario without taking damage. (In our case, the last two tiles in the stack were both event tiles.) However, we did get quite lucky in mordor, by drawing 7 activity tiles before a single event. laugh This was the first game where I got armies of the dead, let alone Ghan. Still, the base game has been beaten, now it's expansion time. sauron
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David Witzany
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Nicholas1024 wrote:
However, unlike Helm's deep, Shelob's lair didn't have nearly as bad of an event track. So, first we played hiding to pick up faramir and some life tokens, then we had to pass gollum by, as although we had the shields, that would make us quite vulnerable to the faces of the dead.

That's the conclusion I've reached, too--you can't afford Gollum unless you're flush with shields. Seriously, I'd want to make sure that even after paying the seven for him, at least three hobbits have five shields apiece--you'll need them to get the inevitable Gandalf cards as well as to pay for The Forbidden Pool.

Nicholas1024 wrote:
Well, I finally beat the base game on expert difficulty, and the key was rushing through Helm's deep, and resting through Shelob's lair. This was the first game where I got armies of the dead, let alone Ghan. Still, the base game has been beaten, now it's expansion time. sauron

The only time I made it to Mordor (out of four games, now), we picked up all three cards from the Friendship track, which helped make the Ring dunk almost a piece of cake. (I lost Frodo getting to the last space, though. )My strategies at this point are: 1) rest early and often, even if it seems dangerous to take the time (what good is finishing a scenario early when you leave the Ringbearer adjacent to Sauron?); 2) if you can only play one card on your turn, consider drawing more (or healing) instead; 3) don't delay just so your hobbits can get their third life token (you're going to heal next scenario, right?); and, as you've noted, think twice about trying to pick up all the cards from each board, it's often not worth the repercussions--that goes for the Ent and Ent Draught cards, too.

Speaking of which--I know that you'll enjoy adding Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes to this game. The mechanic for defeating the foes really doesn't slow the game down much, you'll really like the new Gandalf cards and once-per-game hobbit powers, and you'll wonder how you ever got by without Bree and Isengard. laughsauron
 
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Stephen Sanders
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You picked the right two hobbits. The only way that I have found to make it with two is with Frodo and Sam.

Now try to complete the quest against both Sauron and the Friends and Foes expansion. Its right near impossible, though I have heard some claim they have done it. I have not come close, myself.
 
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All 3 expansions have been ordered, but only the Sauron one has come in so far. Battlefields should come in next week, but F&F won't come in until August... (Amazon and its Super saver super slow shipping...)
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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fuldhim wrote:
Nicholas1024 wrote:
However, unlike Helm's deep, Shelob's lair didn't have nearly as bad of an event track. So, first we played hiding to pick up faramir and some life tokens, then we had to pass gollum by, as although we had the shields, that would make us quite vulnerable to the faces of the dead.

That's the conclusion I've reached, too--you can't afford Gollum unless you're flush with shields. Seriously, I'd want to make sure that even after paying the seven for him, at least three hobbits have five shields apiece--you'll need them to get the inevitable Gandalf cards as well as to pay for The Forbidden Pool.


I am often tempted to use Foresight at this point. Main line can give you back those Shields if you can plan ahead with certainty (of course, if you drew 3 Event tiles gulp ...).

Quote:
2) if you can only play one card on your turn, consider drawing more (or healing) instead;


Solid rule of thumb, situation dependant of course. Sometimes you'll just play that 1 card to finish the main line.

Quote:
as you've noted, think twice about trying to pick up all the cards from each board, it's often not worth the repercussions--that goes for the Ent and Ent Draught cards, too.


If possible, I prefer to finish Moria before the Pipe event even comes up, maybe get Shadowfax from HD, both from SL and hopefully finish Moria without any Feature cards. Army of the Dead can come in handy with the Battlefields expansion and Ghan is a double-Travel IIRC, but I would prefer to be out before I hit 4 "moves" on the Friendship track. As for Friends & Foes, Bree and Fire Brand is where it's at. If I manage to complete the Friendship, so be it. From the Event list, out before Bill the Pony would be ideal. Isengard I've sometimes straight rushed without getting the Gandalf Event even. Ent cards aren't that useful, though Pipeweed (that's the heal 3, right?) is appreciated, though things are probably bad if Events have gone that far.
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Agreed. If I can only play one card, then I will nearly-certainly draw cards.


As far as the Mordor feature cards, I see how Armies of the dead could be useful for battlefields, and Ghan could be useful on the main line, but unless you are out of travel cards, you'd be better off just using single travels. As for Eowyn... she's Red Arrow bait.

As far as the scenarios, I like to finish each one before the fourth event comes up as a general rule of thumb. Of course, this changes with each scenario...

Moria:
You can get the pipe from Event 3, and the feature cards from rivendell make it likely you can do so, but that event is likely to be a wash... I usually end up discarding a double (insert card type here) so I can avoid Trapped. Its not a disaster if Event 3 comes up, but you want to leave before Event 4.

Helm's Deep:
Unless you get quite lucky, Events 2 and Events 3 are quite damaging. Aside from Mordor, this is one place where a life-token lack is likely less damaging than delaying long enough to get them. I say get to 2 spaces within the end, ensure Guidance is available, and then start going after feature cards.

Shelob's lair:
Finishing this one through events worked quite well. However, magic is a good idea for the final event, and its 50-50 on how damaging event 5 is. (If you can get Sam to take it, then its not too bad. This is where I might be tempted to use Foresight.)

Mordor:
Unless you're playing battlefields, you really should rush the mainline AQAP (As quickly as possible.)


If I happen to get the pipe in Moria, then I am likely to use it to get at least Theoden and maybe shadowfax.

I looked at the boards in F&F, and I have to say...

Event 3 in Bree is quite nasty! Isn't that supposed to be an introductory board?
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Nicholas1024 wrote:
Moria:
You can get the pipe from Event 3, and the feature cards from rivendell make it likely you can do so, but that event is likely to be a wash... I usually end up discarding a double (insert card type here) so I can avoid Trapped. Its not a disaster if Event 3 comes up, but you want to leave before Event 4.


My view is that Friendships are the most worthless card type. There are no scenarios where FS is the main line. Only HD has a really worthwhile FS side line, because of Theoden and Shadowfax.

Quote:
Mordor:
Unless you're playing battlefields, you really should rush the mainline AQAP (As quickly as possible.)


That's doubly true with Battlefields, less trigger tiles, less Enemy activity. That big Red Eye is waiting. Ideally you'll have saved the "discard 2 face down trigger tiles" Feature card, it's very nice to toss the first two triggers. Actually, you'll probably hope to have all 3 BF Rivendell Feature cards still left (if you got them). There are 2 "2 back on the main line" spaces, one of them a Vanish, best case is to have the speedy Black Enemy move there early and negate the damage. Shields are less of an issue, as long as you have 5, if/when the Red Enemy is on the board, you can Gandy-zap him and recoup the 5 Shields.

Quote:
I looked at the boards in F&F, and I have to say...

Event 3 in Bree is quite nasty! Isn't that supposed to be an introductory board?


That's where Sam's F&F one-time ability comes in hand.
 
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Actually, as far as sidelines go, I think that hiding is also pretty useless. At least with the two friendship lines, you can grab theoden, shadowfax, Eomer, possibly Riders of Rohan, and Armies of the Dead (when playing battlefields). However, all hiding grabs you are lifetokens (and Faramir in SL, but since its the first spot on the line, he's practically a give-away.) Also, since one of the lifetokens on the line is the ring token (which is on the main track anyway), it essentially grabs you just the set of heart tokens.
 
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Nicholas1024 wrote:
Actually, as far as sidelines go, I think that hiding is also pretty useless. At least with the two friendship lines, you can grab theoden, shadowfax, Eomer, possibly Riders of Rohan, and Armies of the Dead (when playing battlefields). However, all hiding grabs you are lifetokens (and Faramir in SL, but since its the first spot on the line, he's practically a give-away.) Also, since one of the lifetokens on the line is the ring token (which is on the main track anyway), it essentially grabs you just the set of heart tokens.


But Hiding is boosted by the fact that Isengard main line is Hiding AND you can't skip it.
 
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Ahh... well, base game anyway.
 
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