Last week I posted up my thoughts on how to play a linked campaign using the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle of adventure packs. You ca read about that here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/740919/shadows-of-mirkwo...
My wife and I sat down today to give it a try. I used a Spirit/Leadership Rohan deck and she used a Lore/Tactics deck that featured Eagles and Elves.
Rather than get into too much specific about the individual games, I will focus on how they fit together and the effect of the campaign system on the outcome.
The Hunt for Gollum
I really enjoyed this quest when it first came out as I liked some of the new mechanics that it used compared to the original 3 quests, but now, it is just a slog. This was easily the longest game of any of the 6 we played. I got out an early Steward of Gondor and my wife a Radagast, and between those two we had enough resources to overwhelm the quest. Once I eventually got 2 Northern Trackers into play, the game was quickly over.
We ended the game with a clue each. We both opted to grab a Dunedain Warning, mine on Elanor and hers on Denethor, figuring the extra defense could be handy at the Carrock.
Conflict at the Carrock
My wife got out a Horn of Gondor early, which gave her ample resources with me sacrificing Rohan characters left and right. She used that to get a significant fleet of wales out. We were able to get Grimbeorn out and recruited right as we beat the first stage, but due to a misjudgment, my wife also had 34 threat! Still, with Grimbeorn able to block 3 Trolls the first turn, we were able to kill off the trolls one at a time while also exploring the Carrock. Another victory and we both now had some Beekeepers in our party.
A Journey to Rhosgobel
Here we had some insanely good draws. My wife started with 2 Lore of Imladris and I had more questing right off the bat. The encounter deck draws were simple enough and I was able to use a Snowbourn Scout and Ride to Ruin to explore Rhosgobel on the first turn. We beat the second stage on the second turn apwith a fully healed Wilyador. This quest is all about the luck of the draw and luck was on our side. We added some Eagles of the Misty Mountains to our party.
The Hills of Eymn Muil
This scenario was made a little too easy by the additional allies we had. We started with too much additional questing power and blew through Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw quickly and just had to keep going until we found enough location VPs. A couple of the Riddermarks Finest helped us explore Rauros Falls without traveling there as well. I grabbed a Dunedain Quest for Heodred and my wife a Dunedain Mark for Legolas.
The Dead Marshes
This turned into quite a race, as we had some bad luck with early escape tests and the location that adds markers and Gollum quickly had 7 resource markers on him. We didn't see much combat, but we're able to quest through easily enough and eventually win it. Another set of cards for us, a Dunedain quest on Glorfindel for my wife and a Dunedain Signal for me.
Return to Mirkwood
This got really ugly, really fast. Thatnks to a surge from some Wolf Riders, we had them, a King Spider, and an Attercop out at the start of the game. The extra allies saved us here as we didn't have to exhaust a hero from he King Spider. The initial encounter draw saw another Attercop come out to cause us issues. Fortunately I had some Snowbourn Scout speedbu,ps I could play and 2 Sneak Attacks to play with my Gandalf, which let us deal with the early onslaught of spiders. After that we were able to make our way through the other stages, but by the time we hit the last stage, we only drew locations and there were no monsters for the final Ambush, just Elven Paths. So, a victory for the good guys.
So, playing the cycle as a whole was a lot of fun. Each of the quests plays differently enough to be its own thing, which is nice. The Dunedain attachments make a nice upgrade, and almost feel like your heroes are leveling up between quests. I feel like the allies given as a reward from the Carrock and Rhosgobel are very flavorful, but havin each player get one is probably too strong. I will probably change it to one ally for the whole party. I liked having the quests link to gather and feel like doing well in one helped you out in the future. I will look forward to trying it again.
I recently did all 6 adventures as well here
It is tempting to try again using your variant. Thanks!