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Subject: Passage Through Mirkwood – First Ever Solo Game rss

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Damien
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Flies and Spiders

Aragorn and his two companions Theodred and Gloin were travelling through Mirkwood Forest carrying an urgent message from King Thranduil to the Lady Galadriel of Lorien. As they moved along the dark trail, the spiders gathered around them.

The nastiest things they saw were the cobwebs: dark dense cobwebs with threads extraordinarily thick, often stretched from tree to tree, or tangled in the lower branches on either side of them. There were none stretched across the path, but wether because some magic kept it clear, or for what other reason, they could not guess.

Old Forest Road

So it was as Beorn had warned them that that way was now often used by goblins, while the forest road itself, he had heard, was over grown and disused at the eastern end and led to impassable marshes where the paths had been long lost.

But the party’s will power was strong and they managed to make great progress leaving the Old Forest Road behind them and proceeding somewhat in the Flies and Spiders Quest at hand. During their travels however, two Forest Spiders had managed to tail them and it was now they had decided to engage the party. Theodred boldly defended against one spider while Gloin took one for the team gaining them valuable time (3 resources).

Using his resource boosted will, Aragorn despite being tired from his effort in their quest readied himself and returned the attack. Together with Gloin they managed to defeat one of the two spiders.

The companions feeling somewhat resourceful called on lady luck who promptly provided them with unexpected allies. For arriving in their time of need a Silverlode Archer and a Guard of the Citadel, themselves odd companions, joined Aragorn in his quest. But lady luck fickle as ever also sent the spiders master at them, a Dul Guldir Beastmaster stood "staged" further down the track and chomping at the bit to join the fray. Fortunately the team’s threat level held him in his staged position.

So it was that the companions threw everything at their quest. Too much as it turns out. Yet another unexpected ally had arrived, Faramir whose sneak attack rallied the now sizable team of Heroes and Allies who used their combined will power to leave all traces of Flies and Spiders behind them as they moved up to a Fork in the Road. (Had will power of 12 but only needed 7 - should have read the rules better). But they still had enough to fight off the last of the Forest Spiders.

A Fork in the Road

As they move through Mirkwood hounded by spiders, the forest path forked before them. Unsure of what lies ahead but spurred by the urgency of their message, they choose the left path and proceeded.

Staged ahead awaiting them was the Mountains of Mirkwood and the Necromancers Path. But they forgot these as now the Beastmaster had joined the fray. The Guard of the Citadel sacrificed himself leaving the party with the opening they needed to deal the Beastmaster sufficient blows to defeat him.

A Chosen Path - "Don't Leave the Path!"

The trail winds into one of the darkest most tangled parts of the forest ...

As they say, Death comes from the left, and it seemed true as the left fork led them straight into Ungolith’s Spawn, one with extra bite (Shadow power +1 Standard Attack). The mere sight of aberration made them abandon all thoughts of the quest at hand - their only thought to defeat this fiend. They also almost failed to spot the King Spider who also engaged the party from behind at this most perilous time.

Where did Framir Run too in our time of need? Whilst they may not have enough luck (resource) to summon him again, some additional sacrifices allies did arrive, a Son of Arnor and a Snowbourn Scout. Not much good in such a fight other than spider bait but what great spider bait they made. So for three rounds Aragorn defended against the King Spider, while the Ungoliant’s Spawn first ate the Silverlode Archer, followed by the Son of Arnor, and then the Snowbourn Scout for dessert.

The party was making little impression on the fiend and when they ran out of bait and Gloin was taken, it was then that Theodred’s curse lifted and he realised he was indeed the Steward of Gondor. With renowned vigour they pooled their resources and mad one last powerful wish to lady luck. Fire and Brimstone! Gandalf had arrived in the nick of time with a bang and a cloud of smoke he smote the fiend. Victory was at hand just as Theodred was caught in a web and things were about to look really grim.

As the Gloin’s feet disappeared past the mandibles and down the fiends gullet, Gandalf suddenly realised he was in the wrong scene and left as quickly as he had arrived, but not before dealing the Ungolant’s Spawn one last blow that put an end to the beast.

The quest was over - they had won! It was a close call but they made it, and Lady Galadriel of Lorien was especially grateful for the burdens they bore to deliver her invitation to tea and biscuits in King Thranduil’s hall next Thewsday ...

It really was close and great fun - even solo.

I made a few mistakes - would have made many more if it weren’t for Kirk Bauer’s "Lord of the Rings LCG Comprehensive Card Reference & Unofficial FAQ (version 5.1)" - Thanks Heaps Kirk. This did slow the game down a lot as I read and re-read cards and rules but despite the constant need to reference something it was tense from turn one to the last.

I did forget in the last rounds to add the threat level to my counter for the locations I was ignoring in the staging area so while I think I scored 35, it was probably closer to 50 and maybe I actually lost ... Man, if this is the easy quest what are the others going to be like? I might try this one again with a different standard deck.

P.S. The session report was written from rough notes. I noted correctly all locations, enemies, and allies but towards the end who died and when may be a little off. But with an attack of six, the Ungoliant’s Spawn did chow down on at least two allies and Gloin. I was also lucky as I drew no shadow effects for any enemy, even the beast master, other than the shadow effect for the Ungoliant’s Spawn.
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Alex Wilson
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Generally speaking, things have gone about as far as they can possibly go, when things have gotten about as bad as they can reasonably get.
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Great report!

otaku wrote:
Man, if this is the easy quest what are the others going to be like? I might try this one again with a different standard deck.


It took me a few tries to get the rules down and get a solo win with the Leadership deck. I gave the Tactics deck a good 10+ goes before giving up. I then tried playing 2-handed with Tactics and Spirit, and ended up with a cake-walk (victory in 6 rounds, not a single scratch on any heroes).

The quests certainly do not seem as well balanced for solo play with the starter decks as they are for 2-players -- which is unfortunate since that's how I'd expect most people start playing trying to get a feel for the game.

I'm curious to see how accurate the difficulty ratings are for solo play with custom decks, or if playing 2-handed is really the way to go.
 
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Guy Riessen
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It seems like a strange design decision to make the solo, single deck, aspect so crippled. I'm sure almost every single purchaser tried the game first solo, and in that light the game is not just difficult, but utterly random--to the point where it seems like your decisions are truly meaningless. Do the cards in the expansions make help the solo experience, and if they do, do they make the 2-player game too easy.

Ideally in a solo game, while the engine is necessarily random, you want the player to look back on their play if they lose, and see choices they could have made differently which would have changed the outcome. So far I have not seen this--but I've admittedly only played 3 solo games. Perhaps I might feel differently as I learn the decks and cards better so I can estimate risk better.

angramainyu wrote:
Great report!

otaku wrote:
Man, if this is the easy quest what are the others going to be like? I might try this one again with a different standard deck.


It took me a few tries to get the rules down and get a solo win with the Leadership deck. I gave the Tactics deck a good 10+ goes before giving up. I then tried playing 2-handed with Tactics and Spirit, and ended up with a cake-walk (victory in 6 rounds, not a single scratch on any heroes).

The quests certainly do not seem as well balanced for solo play with the starter decks as they are for 2-players -- which is unfortunate since that's how I'd expect most people start playing trying to get a feel for the game.

I'm curious to see how accurate the difficulty ratings are for solo play with custom decks, or if playing 2-handed is really the way to go.
 
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Damien
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angramainyu wrote:
Great report!

It took me a few tries to get the rules down and get a solo win with the Leadership deck. I gave the Tactics deck a good 10+ goes before giving up. I then tried playing 2-handed with Tactics and Spirit, and ended up with a go.


Thanks. I have a funny fealing the fact that I left locations unattended in the staging area whilst I fought the Spawn may have tipped my threat level past 50. I also didn't re-deal shadow cards each round when it was appropriate to do so. Still I'm willing to give it another go with Leadership. I'm pretty sure deck construction is encouraged here - especially when playing solo.
 
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Damien
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Just defeated Mirkwood again with the Leadership Deck - I was lucky as I only drew 2 forest spiders and 1 King spider in the 2nd to last round - everything else was a location card. Gandalf was a no show this time however. I also drew Beorn's Path in the end so it took ages in the end - I was also writing accurate notes which may or may not end up in a report ...
In the last round I had Mountains of Madness, Necromancer's Path, Forest Gate, and Great Forest Walk in the staging area - 9 Threat but I drummed up 20 Will Power with 3 Heros and 5 Allies committed to the Quest and Faramir exhausted - I only needed 2 as I almost got there the round before ... Final Score 43 in Round 8 Threat 36 + 7 Wounds on 3 Heroes.
I did forget in round 2 to draw a shadow effect for the Forest Spider so not sure the exact effect that might have had - otherwise had it down pat rules-wise (I think) - Next game I won't take notes though ... really bogs the action down ... snore
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