Thumb up
2 Posts

Lord of the Rings» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Three little habits and the Dark Lord Saffron rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
John Farrell
New South Wales
flag msg tools
Averagely Inadequate
Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
My son (9 years old) and I played our first game of this earlier in the week, and it was miserable. The event cards hammered us, the orcs overran Helm's Deep, and we died in Shelob's Lair. So it was with not much optimism that we invited my niece (9.75 years old) to join us for our second game. This niece is a particularly emotional type, whose mother wisely chose to not let her see the Lord of the Rings movie, so we had to explain the plot to her. She quickly understood. "So Freddo has to take the ring to Saffron?". No. "We have to get past Saffron?" No. "Why don't we just stay at Bag End where it's safest?" Because he's searching for us. Here's a Nazgul, let's hide. "Why are we called habits?" shake With these inspiring thoughts, we commenced our journey towards the Dark Lord Saffron.

Players:: niece (Frodo), Friendless (Pippin), Harley (Sam).
Sauron: 15

Luckily, Pippin and Sam were wise, having played before and had many regrets. Pippin planned ahead, making sure the fellowship had the faciities to meet any challenge. In contrast to the previous sorry tale (a book which Bilbo called "Not All the Way There and Not Even a Bit Back Again"), the preparedness caused some events to work in favour of the hobbits, which was encouraging. And in Moria, the event cards did not hammer the hobbits. They weren't particularly friendly, but we escaped only suffering the first two events and avoiding the third with Gandalf's help. Frodo and Sam had moved one space, and Pippin three.

BTW, Lothlorien and Rivendell were much more helpful in a 3 player game, as we were able to take all of the helpful cards. In 2 players, you only get 8 of them, and you can miss some of the butt-rescuing yellow cards.

Helm's Deep was a particular disaster last game. We unmasked Wormtongue, but the Riders of Rohan event came out straight away and Sauron advanced and the ring-bearer rolled the die. Luckily the ring-bearer was Sam, so he only advanced one square. With some exertion, we managed to complete the first part of travelling and prevent the Orcs Attack the Gate event. We then used the ring to complete the scenario. Pippin, way out in front on the corruption track, became the ring-bearer.

Frodo, the sensitive one, didn't much like the look of Shelob's Lair. However about this time my niece started to get worried about Pippin's corruption and started trying to play to protect him. Pippin wasn't very worried, being fatalistic anyway, but it's nice to see she was getting emotionally involved. Sam looked at the two die rolls on the fighting track and started making plans to get himself into a position to take them. We procured the services of Gollum, and Faramir, and everyone except Sam was able to resist the Faces of the Dead. (BTW, what happens if you can't do either branch of the event? You die?) We successfully dealt with the Forbidden Pool, and Sam took the die rolls to get us close to the end of the main track. (BTW, it makes me very proud as a dad to see my kid planning to bring harm upon himself for the good of the fellowship. Between that and my niece's concern for Pippin, I was very impressed with the kids' approach to the cooperative game.) We again used the ring to complete the scenario, putting Pippin perilously close to Saffron.

I was amazed by how gentle the event tiles had been on us. In the previous game, it seemed as Saruman had been choosing them for us, but this time it was Arwen. I actually checked out the remainder pile once, and it wasn't very scary either. I think we had a really bad run last time - at least twice we had 3 events in a row. So we were pleased to arrive in Mordor, and even more pleased that all of us were alive. Again, the event tiles held off. We mostly benefitted from the "Sam Saves Frodo" event. We failed to find Eowyn before the Lord of the Nazgul attacked, but two of the die rolls were "lose two cards". Frodo and Sam rested to regain some cards. At the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Sam rolled the die and had to discard 4 cards, which was all he had. Clutching to life, he struggled on. At the Mouth of Sauron, Sam was again required to discard cards, and died bravely. Pippin and Frodo struggled up the mountain. Pippin took the last die roll, and became further corrupted, succumbing to Saffron's alluring orange strands. Frodo was left by herself.

What happened next was something of an anti-climax. Frodo, at the top of Mount Doom, had to roll the die to win the game. She was five spaces from Saffron (on about 5 and 10 respectively), with at least two cards in her hand, so she couldn't fail. The ring was tossed into Mount Doom, and the fellowship had succeeded! I checked the rule book several times for any mistakes, but indeed, we had succeeded. We then had to think pretty hard to remember how many shields Sam and Pippin had had, because we hadn't expected to win, and hadn't even remembered the rules for the final scoring. Eventually we decided that our score was 65.

That was certainly an encouraging game, because I think these two little hobbits would lost interest quickly if they were never able to win. However now that we have had some success, we need to practice until we can succeed with Sauron starting on 12. I have the Friends and Foes expansion, so the challenges are mostly still ahead of us!

 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Albanito
United States
flag msg tools
Excellent report. And quite a fun read. My kids also get excited when we have played this one. We haven't in quite a while, choosing "The Confrontation" instead of this. But I think we are going to be breaking it out soon, due to your reminder of how wonderful and suspenseful this game can be.

 Thumb up
  • [+] 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.