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Subject: Eleanor gets caught between the Ringwraiths and the Black Serpent rss

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Norbert Chan
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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In a winter blizzard in Calgary, reminiscent of the winter storm in Caradhras in the Fellowship of the Ring, Don, Gary, Greg and I sat down to play our inaugural game of Middle Earth Quest.

Don was Sauron,


Greg was Beravor, (Photo courtesy of Tarmo Siirak (Tarmoz))


I was Eleanor (Photo courtesy of Tarmo Siirak (Tarmoz))

and Gary was Thalin (Photo courtesy of Tarmo Siirak (Tarmoz))

Our secret mission card was "Noble Blood" which meant we had to end the game with one or less corruption card.

Greg, who started out in Fornost, had to explore Redhorn Gate for his quest, which amazingly, he was able to do on the first turn. I started out in Minas Tirith, and my card draw was not so fortunate. I had to get to Anfalas to fulfill my quest, and Don had moved the Black Serpent to block my path south. So I moved one space north of Minas Tirith, which in retrospect, I probably should have stayed in since it was a haven and there would be more favorable draws. Gary, who started in Erebor, was making his way to the Northern Waste to complete his quest.


On the second turn, Greg ran into the Mouth of Sauron.
(Photo courtesy of Zanis Bledis (viesits))
His ability is to give you a corruption card before combat. This was not good from our mission perspective. In fact, before Greg knew it, he had to fight the Mouth of Sauron twice (first fight, both combatants were exhausted), got another corruption card, and got defeated for his effort, sending Beranor to restart at the nearest haven.

On my second turn, with my 11 card hand, I was able to trace a path to Anfalas, completed that quest and got my advanced quest, which was to go to Baradur and get two favours. There also happend to be two plot cards in Baradur, which I would have gone to in my first turn, but I had no favors then. On my way back from Anfalas, I got another quest card which gave 2 favors in Baradur and removed a corruption card, so it was imperative I get to Baradur. Don saw these quests and loaded some monsters in the Sea of Udon and Mount Doom to make it harder to get to Baradur.

Gary was training, and getting his wisdom up to three, since Don had spread three evil influence tokens over his strongholds. That way, Gary would not have to encounter a 'perilous' location each time.

Now, I had a chance to get to Baradur one turn earlier, but I decided to stop in Minas Tirith since my card count was low; previously I had gotten training, and I kept a card called "execute": if the printed defence on your opponent is '0', then that character is instantly defeated. This was my ace in the hole so to speak.

I was hoping the one turn delay that wouldn't cost our team, since that let Don reinforce with a couple of monsters. So I went my way into Baradur...first monster in Sea of Udon was a blank! So I continued on, and in Mount Doom....the second monster was a blank! Counting my lucky stars, I was into Baradur, got 4 favors for my quests and able to discard a corruption card, which I had gotten earlier. I was able to discard one of Sauron's plots. (Earlier Sauron had voluntarily discarded a plot in Baradur to place another one).

Now in stage II, the ringwraiths were on the board as well. Don placed them south in the Plains of Gorgorth and he put the Black Serpent north in Sea of Udun. So leaving Baradur to Mount Doom, I had to face one of these minions to escape. I decided to go north to face the Black Serpent.
(Photo courtesy of Zanis Bledis (viesits))
Watching Greg fight the Mouth of Sauron, I didn't think my chances were that good. So the first card I put face down was the "execute" card. This is sort of like Darth Vader's "All to easy" card in Star Wars: Epic Duels. Maybe I'll get lucky. Don put down his card, and flipped it over. It was a 0 defence card, getting +2 attack/defence for next turn. I read out my execute card, and there was loud cheering on the heroes side. I would have done a "Tiger pump", the right clenching of one's fist in a jubilant manner when one sinks a 30 foot putt, but given the popularity of Tiger Woods, Eleanor would not have approved. After all, she is of noble heritage. I escaped to Minas Tirith to heal.

Now in phase II, Don had a strategy to run the red story marker as quickly as possible. There was a plot moving the red marker 3 spaces a turn, a plot moving it two spaces a turn, and a quest that also advanced it one space. I was able to take care of the 3 space a turn plot a couple turns later since I had gotten all the favor in Bardur. Gary was able to take care of the 2 space a turn red plot and eventually the quest that moved the red marker got replaced by another one.

Now Don was moving the rignwraiths to the Shire, and from Baradur, he had put six influence tokens on the Shire. So that meant we knew what his secret mission card was: have the ringwraiths in the Shire with six influence. So we tried to break the chain of influence as well.

So we were in great shape now with no corruption cards almost before the finale. But wait, Don played a shadow card on me. He switched a corruption card frm Greg to me, and later gave me another corruption card. So I had to rest, and luckily in a haven area got to discard my last corruption card by paying favor. On the last turn of the game, we had to make sure we got no corruption cards. We all retreated to havens. But while moving, Gary got tagged with a corruption card! But then in the haven, the encounter allowed him to remove it! I would have been disappointed to see the game swing on a lucky card, but it turns out our secret mission does allow us to have one or less corruption cards.

So the heroes were victorious!!

Don said that next time he would get a minion to guard Baradur, instead of the unreliable monster chits.

I enjoyed the game and look forward to more plays. Even though it clocked in around three hours, plus an hour or so of rules readings, I was fully engaged the whole time.
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Great session report. I like how you included pictures with the report, and detailed the major sections of the play. It is a very good game: strategic, flavorful, and the ending is almost always close.
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Jeff Coon
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Great read! Thanks for the session report. Looking forward to playing again.
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Rauli Kettunen
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Norbert Chan wrote:
I had to get to Anfalas to fulfill my quest, and Don had moved the Black Serpent to block my path south.


I love that move by the Serpent, no freebies on short, easy paths devil .

Quote:
On my second turn, with my 11 card hand, I was able to trace a path to Anfalas, completed that quest and got my advanced quest, which was to go to Baradur and get two favours. There also happend to be two plot cards in Baradur, which I would have gone to in my first turn, but I had no favors then.


2 Plots in Barad-Dur on turn 2? No Sauron Starting Plot can go there and Sauron gets no Plot Step on turn 1, so can't see that happening. Unless you're talking about Mordor, one of his Starting Plots his Sea of Udun and he could get another there during his first Plot available Plot step.

Quote:
Counting my lucky stars, I was into Baradur, got 4 favors for my quests and able to discard a corruption card, which I had gotten earlier. I was able to discard one of Sauron's plots.


Curious, where did you remove the corruption card? Heroes can't Rest in a Shadow Stronghold (BD) and resting is pretty much the way to remove them (might get lucky with encounters, but none of those in Perilous locations).

Quote:
So that meant we knew what his secret mission card was: have the ringwraiths in the Shire with six influence. So we tried to break the chain of influence as well.


It's actually either or Mission, 6 Inf in Shire or the Ringwraiths there, don't have to do both (as summarised at the back of the rulebook). And of course, if Heroes were, as seems very much the case here, assured of dominance on the Story Track, you can just ignore Sauron's Mission.
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Drake Coker
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Quote:
might get lucky with encounters, but none of those in Perilous locations


Doh! I think I forgot that rule the last couple of games. blush
 
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Norbert Chan
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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Quote:

2 Plots in Barad-Dur on turn 2? No Sauron Starting Plot can go there and Sauron gets no Plot Step on turn 1, so can't see that happening. Unless you're talking about Mordor, one of his Starting Plots his Sea of Udun and he could get another there during his first Plot available Plot step.


Thanks for your comments, Rauli. Yes you are correct, there was a starting plot in Mordor (I couldn't remember where) that was really close to Minas Tirith, but since I had no favors, I couldn't go there to get rid of the plot.

Quote:
Curious, where did you remove the corruption card? Heroes can't Rest in a Shadow Stronghold (BD) and resting is pretty much the way to remove them (might get lucky with encounters, but none of those in Perilous locations).


I believe one of the quest cards had a "gain 2 favors and discard a corruption card". I may be wrong on that, it may also have been discard an influence token in the shadow pool, so I might have mixed that up.

Quote:
It's actually either or Mission, 6 Inf in Shire or the Ringwraiths there, don't have to do both (as summarised at the back of the rulebook). And of course, if Heroes were, as seems very much the case here, assured of dominance on the Story Track, you can just ignore Sauron's Mission.


Yes, good point, the Sauron mission is an "either or". I thought it was both conditions had to be satisfied. But we did try to discard Sauron's chain of influence to prevent the 6 influence just in case.

Thanks for taking the time to go through the session report!
 
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