Every once in a while, a unique card turns up in the game which isn’t part of any pre-existing trait. In the early days of the game, this was quite common as new synergies were getting developed. But the Wose trait wasn’t introduced to the player card pool until the second to last Saga expansion. We have gotten to battle against this trait during the Druadan Forest Adventure Pack, but this was the first time we have gotten a character to join us. With the recent spoiler for The Hidden Way, my interest in the Wose trait has been re-awoken. I will recommend players to read the chapter concerning the Drúedan in Unfinished Tales, as that is a great read.
Who are the Woses?
The Drúedan are descendants of the Third House of Men who came over the mountains during the First Age. They are less in stature but make up for their looks in stealth and craftsmanship. The Woses are masters of forest combat and are rumoured to have some sort of magical abilities to make the statues they make come alive in the protection of their homes. During the time of the War of the Ring, few Woses remained in Middle Earth, with the only known colonies in the Drúedan Forest in Anorien, and in the Drúewaith Iaur to the west of Gondor. They are mostly kept to themselves and are therefore mostly neutral in the battles of the Free Peoples.
For a good look at the Woses, I will recommend players to play the Dúedan Forest Adventure Pack. This gives an accurate depiction of the Woses being mostly neutral in the wars. You have to battle them during the first part of the quest and negotiate a peace treaty during the final stage once you convinced the Chief that you are no threat to them. For player cards, check out these packs:
- Flame of the West
- The Withered Heath (The Hidden Way has Wose art, but nothing to do with the Wose trait)
The Wose cards we have seen so far all belong to the Lore sphere. And I find that perfectly reasonable. Not only does the green Lore sphere fit well with the Forest dwelling Woses, but they are also very crafty, much like Lore players in the game. Lore allows the players to use these cards to their utmost advantage in manipulating the encounter deck. Lore has also proven to have Poison in the sphere, allowing some sort of trickery with that for the Woses as well.
With not many cards having the Wose trait at this moment, I took the liberty to design a couple of my own cards with some effects that I would like to see on Wose cards. Some of these might be a bit unbalanced, but it is the flavour and synergy that I was going for, not balance.
The cards that we do have up to this point all share a common theme of location control. Since this is one of the chokepoints in a multiplayer game, I wanted an ally that could be used to get more locations out of the staging area without having to put progress on them. I feel like the placing-progress part is more fit to be in the Scout/Ranger/Woodmen traits than the Wose. As I was analysing the Assault on Osgiliath adventure pack, I found a couple of nice effects that could be translated to player cards to make locations less of a problem. The Drúadan Scout is such an example. It allows players to have 2 active locations, meaning that they can clear more locations next turn, and remove some threat out of the staging area. Explorer’s Almanac tends to do sort of the same thing, but it keeps the location in the staging area, making it more difficult for players to place progress there during certain quests. It also still adds the threat of the location to the total threat, so location lock is still a problem.
The combat side of the Woses is also something I wanted to explore. Not only do these people fend off invaders with fearsome statues, but also with poisoned arrows. We haven’t seen much poison in the game from the players, besides the Trap, so I wanted an ally that will do damage over time to enemies. This is great to defeat some high defence enemies as you will only have to hurt them once and wait until they die. The statues were interesting to design, as enemies will tend to get used to them once they have seen them a couple of times. That is why the attachment will be discarded after it has scared off a number of enemies. This will thin the staging area of enemies, allowing players to explore the locations without the interference of the enemies.
With many more synergies to consider, I will just leave you with those two. It can be a lot of fun thinking about what might become a strong synergy as the card pool expands. Feel free to leave your own ideas below.
The one card with the Wose trait that we have is Ghan-buri-Ghan. He got introduced to us in the Saga expansions and was a nice nod to the lore. He is an incredibly useful quester with a variable willpower stat. His willpower is the same as the threat of the active location. This can make him a stellar quester against locations like Gladden Marshland or Forest Battleground. These locations can get out of hand fast, but Ghan allows players to counter it with a good chunk of willpower. If there is no active location, players can keep him back, as his willpower will be 0. Players can also combine Ghan with effects like The Hidden Way or Strider’s Path to get an active location in play and allow Ghan to quest again. Ghan-buri-Ghan also has a second ability where you can discard him to travel to a location without paying its Travel cost. This can be beneficial since most Travel costs tend to hurt players or add an additional encounter card to the staging area. Ghan can also help if players are unable to pay for the Travel cost in terms of exhausting characters or spending resources. This makes Ghan a great toolbox ally to have in place for locations.
There aren’t really any good or bad cards since we have only got the 1 card with the Wose trait. Because of this, I will also not be including any decks for this trait yet. I hope to bring this to you in the future if (when) the Wose trait gets developed further.