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Subject: How to Win, DEW North Advanced rss

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Go here for the finished article, Collected Evil http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/865384#865384


If You Fight You Lose
Attacking into strength is the easiest way to lose as the shadow player. Any battle that has the potential for an outright loss should not be fought until there is no better choice.

Having a permanent siege is fine. All of the troops inside are motionless, all of the companions are committed. They are very unlikely to ever sortie, unless the attack goes badly of course or they reinforce. Very few cards reinforce enough for this to happen though. Cirdans Ships into Dol Amroth and ridiculous Minas Tirith cards are the only real exceptions. A couple of companions using an eagle can happen, as can Gandalf into an elf stronghold.

Gandalf can be just too hard. Accepting that Gandalf has blocked conquest is irritating, but must be accepted sometimes. Often his arrival will protect Lorien, sometimes he can protect Woodland Realm, and very rarely he can save Erebor. But the place he should be mostly is protecting Rohan.

Killing Gandalf is possible, there are some very specific tricks. Gandalf travels with a small army, so killing everyone is the plan. This should be done with the belief that massive casualties will be sustained. Get lots of extra troops nearby before the battle goes wrong. Onslaught, Deadly Strife, Dreadful spells, Mumakil, Grond and Frighting Uruk Hai, Great Host are all especially good against Gandalf. Only Grond and Dreadful spells come from the Character cards. Gandalf canceling Nazgul at least means he doesn't get to use his, and the WK still draws a card.

The Ring Sprint is too slow.
The simplest sprint is four characters for 3 turns to Mordor, and 2 turns in Mordor, but this literally doesn’t happen.

Only half the dice are Characters or Wills, so double the pre Mordor phase. Three turns easily should really be six (well, five), and add a turn stall (maybe), and an incidental successful hunt (maybe more), and now the ring is going down on turn 10 (maybe 8 with a ring or two).
The use of Elvish Rings as FSP movement is a brave call. Yes, they can knock a turn or two off the time it takes to dunk the ring, but the rings are strong.

Strider and Aragorn
Strider is a pain, but Aragorn is worse. Strider sucks resources from the board and spits them into the fellowship when it is hounded. But no-one is watching so he really just doesn’t matter. Strider's ability can have no effect for an entire game of Dew North. If Strider is in the fellowship, place no eyes and crush the board.

Aragorn makes resources. Aragorn Fights. Aragorn has lots of cards with his name on them, all of them strong, except ‘the Challenge of the King’ of course. His extra die is huge, and military strikes become real threats.

Turn Stalling
Turn stalling is when Frodo and Sam want to get into Mordor, but can't because they can only reveal in Mordor if they are hidden at the start of the turn. To stop this, reveal them with the last shadow action of the turn, or move them out of Mordor.

Many cards can do this, but two of them are just better than the rest, Nazgul Search and Cruel Weather. They do not require a tile draw, it just happens.

If the Fellowship is sprinting across the board, turn stalling can be brutal. Instead of a 2-3 turn time line to win, suddenly it is a 3-4 turn time line. Two successful turn stalls is game against a sprint.

On the turn you are intending to turn stall, place ZERO eyes. You must have more dice than them, or it wont work, because you must play it on the LAST action.

Rolling lots of eyes can stop the turn stall because you can find and reveal them as they move to Minas Morgul, then they hide and Cruel Weather and Search don't work because the fellowship must be at least one space on the track.

Turn stalling has many minor problems, apart from the fact it is quite difficult to do. Not rolling a Palantir or Character die is unusual, but does happen, and if they move 1 space extra then cruel weather will not work.

If the Fellowship is in a Free stronghold Cruel Weather and Nazgul Search will not work either. The map is designed so that moving the Fellowship one away from Minas T, Lorien or Rivendell does not actually move them further away. Nazgul Search wont work because you cannot place the Nazgul.

Cruel Weather can be quite useful in moving the FSP onto Moria after they declare in Dimrill Dale. 3 rerolls means 6 dice at 6.

All of the other Fellowship harassment cards can be used as turn stalls, but only if you get lucky and reveal them. All turn stall cards are from the Character Cards. Keep at least one of them for this moment.

The Route is Wrong!
The original route for Dew North is pretty simple. Barad-Dur marches through Gorgoroth into Morannon and then heads Dew North. I think there are some significant improvements that can be made. The specifics are very much about what cards you have drawn, and what the Free are doing.
When you finish taking the 10 points is critical, when you start is irrelevant. If you have overwhelming numbers outside Woodland Realm, do not actually conquer until everywhere else is ready.

If you can push Erebor and WR inside before you attack Dale, Dale cannot scouts anywhere worth noting. Dale is the easiest victory point on the board. You do not have to actually take it until the last turn.


The Elves
Try to attack 3 elven strongholds in successive moves. Grey Havens is often just too far away, and the Dwarves have very little else to do with their muster pool, if the Erebor has been taken.

Attacking the Dwarves is the safest place to start. They don't fight back, but the Elven muster pool does not have to cover Grey Havens any more because Erid Luin can pump dwarves in.


Erebor
If the Free player has been 'Cunning' and retreated the Iron Hills regular. The Dwarves are now one step away from war when you lock up Erebor. If you are planning to take Grey Havens, do it before you conquer Erebor. Mustering the Dwarves that last step is harder than it sounds for the free.

Maximum Dwarves is when the Iron Hills regular has retreated, and the leader and elite have reinforced. Dwarves do not naturally get bigger than this. The only time they will get bigger is when Gimli and maybe a friend arrive, or when Dale retreats.


The North
Conquering Dale first just seems a bad idea.
Suddenly Bree can get notions.
Or Elites appear in the Shire.
Or Carrock becomes a problem.
If you conquer Dale and/or The Shire last you never need to worry about these things.

Rohan
Conquering Rohan first is an extremely Bad Idea. The middle of the board becomes a place to liberate, not conquer. Losing Saruman at the start of the game is a real downer. Saruman has such a massive amount of troops to quickly summon, wait just a moment and he is so much better.

Gondor
Conquering Gondor first is just plain stupid. You can get slaughtered.
I mean, have you read the books or seen the movie?
Read 'Gondor Sucks' for a much more detailed set of reasons.

Cards
Go read the first post of a The Witch Kings Guide to Cards.
Why Strategy cards are better to take than character cards is one that is not immediately obvious, especially if you normally play the slow game.

For example, Shelobs Lair is fantastic if half the Hunt pool has been drawn and the fellowship is on high corruption. They are likely to draw Shelob, and they are likely to take savage corruption and you might even win by corruption, the fellowship will certainly slow down.

Now imagine the same scenario, except the fellowship has low corruption and has lots of tiles in the hunt. If you get lucky and they actually draw Shelobs Lair, and she rolls 6 corruption, the fellowship will most likely just ignore it.

Dew North is very generous to the fellowship, the second scenario happens way more than the first. Besides, in most Dew North games the fellowship does not get to Mordor. But, if they ever do, it is going to be easy.

The Mordor tiles are the obvious extreme of why character cards are the wrong call. All 4 of them have the combat helping attack the ring. I am yet to see this battle effect used, so every one of them sticks in your hand once drawn. The only way to use them is as payment for Elf Power and Mr Tom. Pretending they aren’t in your hand is keen, and very hard to do. If you are on 5 cards and staring at a palantir as your last dice, playing the Mordor Tile is an attractive option. Drawing an extra Strategy card and discarding the Mordor Tile and your worst is the hardcore option B.

If you have an Angry Witch King and four Mordor Tile cards in hand, you is funny.

The WK loves most of the combat effects on the cards that say '. . . take one corruption.' Corruption is unlikely, slow, and so much better with the full on hunt. Using most of them in combat and drawing strategy cards is the go.

Most of the rest of the Character cards have battle effects that have the word 'Nazgul' somewhere on them. Rarely will any of them have a strong effect, but nearly all of them do a little, mostly an extra hit, maybe two. Nothing to compare with 'Deadly Strife' though, which is on the Strategy cards. Or any of the reinforcement cards, which supply far more than any single combat effect will.

The Devilry of Orthanc is really hard to use. The wolf-rider reinforcement to the WK is a good way to use it. And a Dunland Orc can use them against Grey Havens, Rivendell, Lorien or (yawn) Helms Deep. (I mean really aren’t you bored of Orthanc attacking Helms Deep? Have you ever tried something different like charging straight at Grey Havens for the win, not caring about Saruman and Orthanc?)

Movement cards require thought and timing.
eg Mordor Strike Team Alpha moves 3 north to Neutral Easterlings!
Or Mordor Strike Team Alpha moves 3 north to Dul Guldur!

Often the Easterlings can be double moved to the WK. The other move is often Dunland doing something. Skipping across Moria, Giggling across to Trollshaws, or marching into the Fords.

The move 4 different armies card is often extraordinarily difficult to do pull off to a maximum effect. How often do you move 40 guys with that cards?

The Strategy Deck is your Friend
Eighteen of the Twenty Four cards in the strategy deck are directly strong in the taking of DEW. The others are Hideously Overpowered, like New Power or Rage, and Devilry of Orthanc up the rear.

Reinforcements
15 of the 24 cards in the strategy deck get troops, and 10 of them in the North. They are listed below in order of strength.

A New Power Is Rising/ Great Host
Pits of Mordor / desperate battle
Shadows on the misty mountains / Onslaught
Horde from the East / Deadly Strife
Orcs Are multiplying again / Onslaught
Rage of the Dunlendings / Relentless Assault
Return of the Witch King / Swarm of Bats
Mustering A Of Long Planned War / Desperate Battle {look at name on card}
Many Kings to the service of Mordor / Great Host
Monsters Roused / Desperate battle
Half Orcs and goblin men / We Come to Kill
Hill Trolls/ We Come to Kill
Olog-Hai/ We Come to Kill
The King is revealed / Relentless Assault


Monsters Roused Locks Rivendell, stops North Downs to Ettenmoors & Rivendell to Trollshadows.
Pits of Mordor Voted Worst Named Card! Pits Of Mordor makes 2 guys at Moria, Mt Gundabad and Dol Guldur. Them be deep pits.
Return of the Witch King also gets a door label ‘Stage Left’.


Movement & Combat cards
Nine are movement and strong combat effects, and some weak Devilry.

Corsairs of Umbar / Deadly Strife
Return to Valinor / Deadly strife
The Fighting Uruk Hai / Onslaught
The shadow is moving / Swarm of bats
The Shadow lengthens / Mumakil
Shadows Gather / Mumakil
Stormcrow / Great Host
Denethors Folly / Devilry of Orthanc
Threats and Promises / Devilry of Orthanc

And the other one
The Day Without Dawn / Relentless assault
Sapping the will of Gandalf or the King is good play.

And the Character deck has:-
Witch King Takes Command to get 2 Nazgul, provided he sits still.


Free Military Victory
Free Military Victory is the most effective way of beating DEW North that I have seen. Most people on these forums believe that FMV is largely impossible. DEW North will still win the vast majority of the time but FMV is very real. If Gandalf ever links up with the King, the Free People are trying a military Victory.

The double move FP card is the real kicker. FMV is much easier if the Free people is cautious, and does not use rings. FMV often happen when the Shadow rolls appalling action dice and the Free is a predator. Having an elven ring is often enough to save the shadow.

FMV, The King
The King launches into Mordor from Os-Giliath breaking up like a meteor into atmosphere annihilating everything before it, and leaving a wake.

Attack North Ithilian form Os-Giliath
Attack Minas Morgul
Conquer Minas Morgul
Attack Gorgoroth
Attack Barad Dur
Conquer Barad Dur

Requires 6 dice, all able to move an army. This really shouldn’t happen in one turn.

Attack North Ithilian form Os-Giliath
Double move to Morannon
Attack Gorgoroth
Attack Barad Dur
Conquer Barad Dur

Requires 4 Dice able to Move an Army, and a Palantir. These dice are easy.

The easiest way to stop the charge into Mordor is to Muster up a Long Planned War, and just sit them there. The only real problem to this is that you may not have the Sauron force pool.

FMV, The Elves
The Elves are by far the next biggest threat.
Lorien has a strong army that can easily take Moria or Dol Guldur.
Often Lorien will emerge from their hole into Dimrill Dale. If you can spare the move, the 2 starting orcs in Moria very much enjoy being in Dimrill Dale. Mustering a Nazgul with them before they go is an excellent idea too. Suddenly the Elves cannot leave Lorien, there is a seed army to be moved onto, and you have troops to move onto the fellowship as they go past.

The Elves have by far the best armies for Companions to fight with. The elites give extra defensive hit points but they need leadership and extra punch. This is why any Elven Stronghold becomes much harder with a companion.

FMV, Scouts BEWARE!
Scouts is the easiest way for anything to go horribly wrong.
Attacking Os-giliath suddenly means you lose Minas Morgul.
Attacking Dale means Erebor gets reinforced.
Losing Dol Guldur, Moria, Orthanc or Umbar is incredibly easy after a Scouts, then their first move.
Treat the Dale Reinforcement with a little respect. Dale scouting or moving to Erebor or Woodland realm is BAD. Swarm of Bats is excellent at attacking Dale. Scouts is such a nuisance that attacking Dale on turn 2 is good, purely because they are unlikely to have the scouts card.

Weird things happen at the edge of the rules in this game. This particular example is critical to some DEW North games. The Shadow attacks North units in the Old Forest Road. Somehow they survive, or they Scouts away, but where to? Carrock or Dale would seem the obvious and correct choice, instead they will always go to the Woodland Realm. This seems quite strange to me since they cannot move there and cannot return if they leave.
If the elves are at peace, why would they let stinky humans in?

The Witch King
The Witch King is good, but losing him is not that bad. I lost him 5 games in a row, and still won those games. The Witch King is far more important if you are trying for a traditional long game, with corruption being a realistic way of winning.

Losing the WK on turn 6 is far more important if the game has 6 more turns. In Dew North losing the WK on turn 6 means that on turn 7 and 8 you get 16 dice instead of 18 (admittedly ONE placed eye is likely, but it depends). Killing the WK will likely involve a risky Free attack that costs troops, dice and cards. In a traditional, slow game the Free has more troops, dice and cards. Maybe you can see where this leads.


The Mouth
The Mouth can be far more useful in DEW North because he can be active for 5+ turns. This is not likely, but it can happen if the free have abandoned the ring and puffed up to fight. His extra dice is used more, and his leadership is used more since it has time to turn up and travel. In the slow game he only appears after the walkers hit Mordor, meaning 2 turns tops.

If the WK gets nailed, the Mouth can be quite a consolation.
The Mouth's leadership works against Gandalf.
He often appears in Dol Guldur / Moria to conquer Lorien, or Mt Gundabad / Moria to conquer Rivendell or Shire. He can appear in Minas Morgul as a safety too.

Attacking Pelagir just to poke Gondor, is valid if it makes the Mouth arrive.
And then he breaks the rules, or makes you look for them.
Like do eagles scare the mouth?
Does he cast dreadful spells?
If the fellowship is revealed on Minas Morgul, can I get the Mouth because they are in Mordor?
Does he count as a Nazgul for playing battle cards?
Does he give a re-roll when searching for the Fellowship?
My favourite on this type of completely obvious answer is 'Does an Elven Elite count as one figure or two for 'Return to Valinor'? How about for Great Host?
(But then again Deadly Strife is the battle card for Valinor, so who really cares?)
Of course everyone is completely aware of the supplementary rules in the FAQ?

Saruman
Making Saruman's second army, and maybe third army is possible. The hard bit is keeping him alive once the Orthanc army is on the move.
Saruman is a muster bin. Making 3 troops in the middle of the board is the best use of unloved muster dice. Upgrading 2 orcs into wolf riders is also a good use of a muster dice, allowing 3 orcs to be mustered again. Making individual trolls in various armies is rarely worth it.

Read and remember A New Power Is Rising and Rage of the Dunlendings. Both are very strong and require preparation. A New Power Is Rising is just ridiculous. Rage to the Gap Of Rohan is an excellent way of keeping Saruman alive while conquering Rohan. The 6 troops can move into the 4 wolfriders at the Fords of Isen, and then charge.

Rage into Hollin (Taking 4 orc from the South Dunland), then move 4 orc from North Dunland into Hollin and crush The Shire / Grey Havens. Same thing works for Rivendell. Raging into Moria can be a great way to get extra troops to attack Lorien.

If Rohan is being seriously defended, conquering it with just the Orthanc army can be quite difficult. If you take too many casualties in the initial assault of the Fords of Isen, the invading army can be too small to fully conquer Rohan. Rohan can and does liberates itself if able. The King is happy to liberate Rohan, as is the Elves. All of these bad outcomes force a strong army to set off into the Ford. When 3 or more casualties are taken, downgrade 3 riders and do not move into the Fords. On the next 2 muster dice, upgrade the survivors to wolf riders, and then set off. This can require timing, and a good look at the action dice of the Free.

East and South
The East and South are so weak. No leaders, No minion, just some guys, Many Kings, Horde From the East, Corsairs, A Long Planned War, Day Without Dawn .
Mumakil is ordinary, especially since they are on Movement cards.
And Corsairs and Horde have Strife!

If the fellowship is obviously going the full on sprint, the Easterlings are often spare, and the South are easy in the late game when Musters are cheap.
Isn’t it odd that Many Kings turn up even before they are at War?

The all Nations at War cards are frustrating without the E&S. Stopping the King / Gandalf by popping the Will of the West using the Day without Dawn is a highly effective play.

Tr i cks
If I roll three Muster Dice on the first turn I make Isengaurd go to war and then Sauron go to war on the first two dice. The WK or Saruman is summoned with the second last dice. The actual last dice should be a palantir or character, just in case the Free is stupid enough to use an Elven ring on the first turn. If they do, get the Witch King.

Nazgul Strike has lots of words. Unusually some of them say move all nazgul and pick up a Free card you don’t like and make it go away. You do not have to hunt the fellowship, you can just destroy Mithril Coat instead.

Erebor can be attacked via Woodland Realm. This is cool because you leave 1 orc behind and they cant attack coz they aint angry. Then card move Dol Guldur or Easterlings to them.

The hunt pool does seem worth a die once Gandalf does his laundry and Elvis has left the building, especially if you get rerolls.

Since the ring is too slow, free militaries are very real.
And rolling 4 eyes, 5 palantirs and a muster can make life tricky.


devil

It is currently 40 degrees C here.
I am going to be in western Germany (Mainz) from 3rd to 25th of march.
Wow, Snow!

I am thinking about traveling a bit, I really just need a destination.
Anybody want a game?
I am looking for a cumfy couch to sleep on, and a friendly smile.
Geek mail me if interested.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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This is actually a remarkably good strategy post. Good job!

I do, however, totally disagree with your extimate of FSP ring sprint time. I can do it MUCH faster than that pretty consistently. I think turn 6-7 is a more accurate estimate.

There are a couple fallacies I noticed. You suggest that some random bouts of hunting will slow down the fellowship. They won't if Strider is guiding. That's kind of the point, isn't it?

You didn't add the turn numbers correctly. 5 turns pre-mordor + .5 turn (turn-stall) + 2.5 turns (mordor) - 1.5 turns (elven rings) = 6.5. Six and a half is not the same as "8-10", even if you add .5 turns for hunting (which you shouldn't).
Also, you forgot to take into account that Gandalf the White exists. Turn two GtW in a six-turn game gives a net +1 move dice, or -.5 turn.

The military analysis is very good and thorough, but you should really take a look at Fellowship strategy.*

Also, I'll point out that Nazgul Strike can only hit character cards, not A Power Too Great.


*Perhaps you are using the mythical FP dice with only one character symbol and an army symbol, which all the newbies wonder about?
 
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SevenSpirits wrote:
This is actually a remarkably good strategy post. Good job!

..............


The military analysis is very good and thorough, but you should really take a look at Fellowship strategy.*
I agree - vg article.

Do you think playing the FP more often would give you more insight?
 
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Andy Daglish
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Arneson Stidgeley wrote:
Do you think playing the FP more often would give you more insight?


hoping for a big fat NO to this one!
 
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Glenn Russell
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This is an amazing analysis. I would love to see you put this kind of effort into writing up articles about how to counter DEW north (after all it is not unstoppable with the right cards and strategies)
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Time for fellowship rush:

Turns 1-2: 2 character dice average. One will used on GtW, 2 rings used = 5 moves.
Turns 3+: 2.5 character dice average.

There will probably be about 1 reveal that costs a character, before you get strider. You can get to mordor by turn 5 in most cases with the shadow not trying to stop you. Occasioanlly turn 4.

Mordor is 2 turns without the shadow trying to stop you and with no shadow hunt tiles. If strider is lost as random casualty it could take longer, more like 3 turns.

I estimate 6-8 turns for Fellowship rush with no or almost no defense, with about a 7.5 average.

A shadow military win on turn 7 will probably yield around a 50-60% win rate, with no effort on stopping of the fellowship at all. A shadow military win on turn 6 will probably be close to 90%. Turn 8 will be below 50%, with no effrot to stop the fellowship.


So then, what turn is the average military win, when going all out?

Magic Geek, what do you find? I expect turn 7. Do you find that it is faster?



I agree that FP military win is reasonable. I have done it a few times.




 
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Alex Rockwell
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I really cant wait until the expansion comes out. I want to see what Magic Geek thinks of it.

MG, I hope youll give as much effort to stoppingthe Dew north military rush in the expansion as you do to playing it.

 
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Sean McCarthy
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Alex, we are talking about a ludicrously fast rush here, if the SA is completely ignoring corruption. The old rules of sometimes keeping GtG on a one, and taking random casualties, are gone. (I think I mentioned this earlier: I completed two such games in a total of one hour. surprise )

Alexfrog wrote:

There will probably be about 1 reveal that costs a character, before you get strider.


This can only happen if your first tile draw ever is a 0r, otherwise Gandalf bites it and Strider becomes guide.

Quote:
Mordor is 2 turns without the shadow trying to stop you and with no shadow hunt tiles. If strider is lost as random casualty it could take longer, more like 3 turns.


Agree, but losing Strider doesn't happen a much at all when the SA is putting in zero dice. You can afford to take a much higher % of damage as corruption.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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SevenSpirits wrote:

This can only happen if your first tile draw ever is a 0r, otherwise Gandalf bites it and Strider becomes guide.
Hm...what about declaring strider the guide from the get-go? That way even the 0rs don't slow you down. Only make G. guide if you've got playable character cards in hand. Okay, nevermind, that seems too wacky, you've got to play for the extra die...
 
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Magic. Geek
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I just played two games as Shadow.

Game 1 : Dew North turn six beat a turn seven Strider Sprint.

Game 2 : Dew North turn six beat a turn seven Strider Sprint.

The third was me losing as free.



The Strider Sprint can be done in 6 turns.
Dew North takes 6 turns, consistantly.
But I reckon I might be able to pull 5.

devil

DEW North beats Strider Sprint.
Not a lot.
But.
Just.
Enough.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Any ideas on what the FP can do to push the shadow military more reliably out to turn 7?

 
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Andrew Palmer
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Quote:
Any ideas on what the FP can do to push the shadow military more reliably out to turn 7?


Muster GtW in WR instead of Fangorn (if timing works out).

Split off Companions to help defend DEW (Legolas and Gimli especially). You can usually do this before the SP gets there. One thing with the DEW attack is that it is far easier than GRL to use standard FSP movement to move companions closer to the action, and you can do it sooner. Against an all out DEW, Strider+Ringbearers may be the only FSP that you need. The rest can help slow the SP advance. It may even be best to split off GtG and use him as a fighting companion; if he dies you can always bring him back anyway.

Use GtG card draw to draw Strategy Cards.

 
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Jeff Long
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It seems to me like the best bet to push back the Shadow win is to muster the Elves.

I would suspect a key to Magic Geek's strategy is to besiege two Elven strongholds simultaneously, before sending them to war, so that neither can muster. This cannot be allowed to occur - one extra elite makes the already elite-heavy Elven strongholds much tougher.

Also, making the standard early Edoras move towards Helm's deep is probably a good idea, but that gets done almost every game anyway.

I should point out that I personally like playing with a Witch-King fix, in which bringing him both activates all FP nations AND moves them down one on the political track. I certainly do find it makes the Elves a lot more defensible, which is key to preventing an early Shadow win.

 
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Ben Ibach
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Quick Q: I don't see any mention of someone putting a North unit in the Old Forest Road. That would allow the unit to retreat into the Woodland Realm if it survives an attack.

Couple that with the Carrock card, the Dale card, or a Scout card, and you'll have an interesting problem with activation and the North getting to war.

Anyone try this?
 
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