Timothy Goddard
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I picked up Khazad-Dum last night and immediately tackled Into the Pit. This is hard stuff! Or at least different enough from Mirkwood that my deck is not as optimized for it. I played three games. I lost the first one quickly, the second one very quickly, and the third one I pulled out a victory by the narrowest of margins, with a truly epic ending, though in retrospect I did a couple things that muddied the waters.

I used my Lore/Leadership deck that emphasizes card draw with Beravor & Bilbo, and resources with Theodred and Steward of Gondor. It has gotten a bit unwieldy and needs some solid pruning to make it more effective, but I think it may always have trouble in Moria because of the way that it takes some time to ramp up. None of the heroes have any powers that let them directly deal with enemies, which means it's all up to old fashioned attack & defense, primarily by allies. When everything is working, it's got unparalleled ability to bring those allies out, but that takes time. Time that you don't have when Goblin Swordsmen are swarming--and leaving one of their attacks undefended means you lose a hero.

A bunch of these Goblin Swordsmen did me in in the first game--trapping me on the Bridge of Khazad-dum which meant I couldn't play cards. The second game, I lost Bilbo early to a Sudden Pitfall, then Dreadful Gap forced East Gate, with its 7 threat, into the staging area--with no allies, only two heroes and something like a dozen threat in the staging area, I conceded that one early.

The third game, I finally got over that early hump and got things going pretty well--a huge army of allies, but pretty significant threat. By the time I had finished the second stage, I was at 49 threat--Henamarth Riversong let me know that I needed to quest for 29 in order to overcome the staging area threat, the active location, and the final quest card. If I quested all my allies, discarded all my cards for Protector of Lorien, and spent all my resources with Longbeard Mapmaker, I would have... 28.

But wait! Theodred got a resource for questing! Since he had Song of Wisdom, I was at 29, hoor--wait, no, you don't collect resources during the resource phase during this phase of the quest--back down to 26. I used Beravor to draw cards instead of questing, in hopes of finding a Gandalf to extend the game (I had two sneak attacks just waiting). No avail. At least I could still discard those cards to match her willpower, not that it--

But wait! I had a cave torch! I used that to put three progress on the active location, which would mean I only needed 26 to win... as long as I didn't draw an enemy that was put into the staging area... One card flip to decide the game--and it was a location! Victory!

That was pretty sweet. I realized later that I did a couple things wrong that could have changed the outcome of the game--one in my favor, but one against me, so I'm calling it even, if muddy. I got past stage 2 by having no enemies in play--but I had two goblins in forest snares (particularly dumb because I specifically snared and killed the Patrol Leader to get past it, though that was all in the same turn). Oops. BUT, for some reason I had been counting the 'Signs of Conflict' shadow card on those same snared Goblins against me, which raised my threat by 2 or 4 (I can't remember which). Either way, it would probably have given me time to deal with the snared Goblins. So I'm calling my epic last minute victory still a victory.

It was certainly fun, but I'm eager to see what Boromir can do. The ability to drop multiple Goblin Swordsmen in a single turn will be a godsend, so I'm looking forward to rolling out Tactics against it.

Regarding player cards--Boots from Erebor is very, very nice to have on Bilbo. Zero cost to remove some of the fear of losing him to a treachery or shadow? Yes, please. The only other player card I put in my deck was Ever Onward, though I never used it. The problem is that it costs so much that, if you're in a situation where your threat is going to increase so much because of unsuccessful questing, you probably have better things to spend it on (and/or, you're already toast). I may remove that from the deck when I do the pruning.
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Stan Hilinski
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Laurel
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I don't believe anything can force East Gate back into the staging area, including Dreadful Gap.
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Christian Müller
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Great session! Like it...
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Timothy Goddard
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shilinski wrote:
I don't believe anything can force East Gate back into the staging area, including Dreadful Gap.

Dang, you're right. I had read 'card effects' as 'player card effects'. Thematically, though, it makes quite a bit of sense. You have to get through the stupid gate before you can start falling through gaps, dreadful or otherwise.

Still, I was pretty much toast in that session anyway, so I don't really regret the quick fold.

Thanks for the pointer, though, because I'm very sure it will come up again!
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