As it has been a while since the last Q&A (last March) and as a lot of things have happened in the meantime, I thought it was time for another Q&A article, where I take questions from the community and try to answer them as best as I can. We have a bunch of questions to go through, so let’s dive straight in.
Q: On what card have you changed your mind since last year?
A: I think a lot of cards can fit this category, as last year there was no such thing as a Dale synergy yet, so all Dale cards and attachments for allies have gotten a boost in recent times. However, if I am to pick one card, I will go for Guarded Ceaselessly. I have panned this card a lot until recently, but when Roam across Rhovanion came out, it suddenly found its way into my location control deck. Not only does the attachment boost Woodmen, but it also allows Scout or Ranger characters to exhaust to lower the threat of the location by 2 UNLIMITED. This means that you can potentially drop the threat of any non-immune location to 0. It also allows you to hold characters back from the quest, and use them to pseudo quest later on for 2 willpower. Excellent card.
Q: What is the biggest difference to the blog since the last Q&A?
A: A lot of things have happened since March, from the blog catching up on recent content, as well as branching off into other articles like Nightmare, Saga, Polls, and Staples. Changes have been made based on your opinions of the blog, and by interests of my own. But I think that the biggest change has been the introduction of fellow authors. This has made it possible for me to churn out more content and give you as the reader a bit more variety in articles. With Brinx tackling the Saga expansions, and Matt and Morten helping out with scenario articles, I have been catching up way faster to recent content than I would have on my own. And of course, there are authors that appear less often on the blog, but also give you something to read about. I couldn’t have done this at this rate without them, so I thank them a lot.
Q: Can you show us your setup?
A: I imagine this is about my computer setup, and not my game setup, so here is a picture. It may seem weird having my mouse lower than my keyboard, but I like it this way better. It saves some space for my larger keyboard. If this question was aimed at my gaming setup, there are a bunch of pictures of that on my Twitter page, so see for yourself.
Q: How is your collection looking?
For more information on my storage solutions (if that is what you meant) you can check out this article here. In terms of what I currently own, I have made significant progress since the last Q&A. I currently own all of the Saga and normal expansions that have been released, and have been putting money into completing the POD scenarios. Unfortunately, these are hard to find in Europe (at decent prices) so I am still looking for Old Forest and Massing at Osgiliath. I have also begun collecting Nightmare packs, so that I can cover them on the blog and have an even more complete game while we wait for the latest APs. You can find another chart of what I own at the moment below.
Q: What archetype do you like most?
A: Like I mentioned last time, I like Silvan synergy decks, though I have grown as a player and started to explore other archetypes too. I am growing very fond of the Woodmen archetype, and can’t wait to see it being a stand-alone deck at the end of the cycle ( hopefully). Besides that, you can also expect me to run weird cards that are by no means power cards. I like giving cards like Children of the Sea a chance in a deck built around the card.
Q: How many people have visited the blog?
A: WordPress allows me to track the traffic that this site gets, and it is a lot of fun to keep track off. By the time you are reading this, the blog has had just shy of 10 thousand visitors, with a combined view rate of over 37 thousand articles. I get around 100-150 views per day, ranging from various countries. You can also see the monthly views and visitors at the bottom of each Month in Review article. It is crazy how many people have been using this blog, and have hopefully found it useful.
Q: I am Dutch, have you thought about writing the blog (or an article) in Dutch as well?
A: Always nice to have people from your home country reading your articles. But as the player base is so small, I think that it would be a waste of time writing an article in a language that only a handful of people know in the community. On top of this, it is hard to translate the game into Dutch, since we don’t get an official translation (unlike German, Polish, French, Spanish….). And come on, the translations suck anyway. Maar bedankt voor je vraag, en veel plezier met het spel 😉
Q: Why don’t you add decklists to scenario articles that are known to have beaten the scenario before?
A: I actually get this question a lot, so I will address it here: The reason why I don’t do this is because of multiple reasons. The first is that with a given deck list, you may still find yourself losing a number of times due to randomness. Both the pieces in the encounter deck and your player deck must allign to secure your victory. If I start posting decks, people might become frustrated that this deck does not beat a certain scenario.
Second is that this is a Living Card Game, meaning that the card pool is still growing, with new cards released every few months or so. I could make a progression style deck, but that would be repeating what others have done as well, see Darkling Door’s Paths Less Travelled series for example. If new cards come out, I may as well change 4 decks and have to relink them to the articles since this new deck can beat a scenario better/faster. I simply don’t have the time for that.
Third, I am not a great deckbuilder for teching against certain scenarios. Yes, I know what cards are good to bring, but in terms of a complete deck with a hero lineup and enough draw/resource generation to beat a scenario, I am nowhere near the skill of others. The decks I do post on RingsDB weren’t designed against one scenario, but are fun (thematic) decks that I tried to make work.
So there are some of the reasons why I don’t do this. However, I have made sure that scenario analyses are supplied with links to playthrough videos. You can look at the decks that the players are using and can most of the time find a link to their decklist. This not only saves me time, but can also give you some audio input to the mechanics of the quest, if you are tired of reading all the time.
Q: Your current articles are way longer and more in depth than those on the first 2 cycles, will you go back and redo those some day?
A: There was a time where articles were 3000 words long, but those days are well behind us. I might go back to the Shadows of Mirkwood ones, as those are the most lacking in my eyes. However, I will postpone this until I have caught up to the current cycle. I still have a lot of scenarios to cover, and would rather spend my time writing new articles, than updating old ones. But rest assured, there will be an update to at least the first cycle eventually. Be on the lookout for small updates in all articles though, as new cards may inspire me to add bits of text here and there.
Q: What is the difference between Denmark and the Netherlands?
A: Heh, for those that didn’t know, me and Mortendall got confused by a number of people during Con of the Rings (despite us not looking similar at all). To break it down, my country of ocean-concurring, tulip-growing, hagelslag-eating people is far better than the land of LEGO. For those that get it confused, look at a map, and you’ll see that the two countries are close, but not the same. Need an easy guide? If the person is taller than you, and smells like weed, he’s probably Dutch. If they are shorter, and smell of fish, then they are like Danish. If you can’t understand what they are saying, it is either one.
Q: What is your favourite hero in the game?
A: Tough one, there are a lot of heroes in the game, and they all appeal to me. I like to think that I have played every one at least once, so I feel like I should be able to answer this one properly. I am a supportive type of player, so I am naturally drawn to the Lore and Spirit spheres, and to the quirky heroes specifically. This is why I tend to like Rossiel-decks, not because they are powerful, but because they can help the (4p) team and are fun to play. Though in the end, I guess that my all-time favourite would be Idraen. She is notably the only Spirit Dunedain hero and I like abusing her effect by exploring a lot of locations with her. The new Haldan hero is also great, as he makes locations a lot of fun to play.
Q: If you could live anywhere in Middle Earth, where would you live?
A: Another tough question. I think it would depend on the race that I would be, but let’s go with plain old human for a change. I think that Dale would be my place of residence, far away from Orc infested lands. As an introvert, I like to keep my fighting fictional, and Dale would allow me to keep a normal job without being drafted in the military at every attack. Plain? maybe, but realistic as well. I would like to hear where you guys would like to live to, good question!
Q: Are there any plans for audio or video realated content in the future?
A: Not at the moment. You will be seeing some of me on various podcasts and videos, especially at Con of the Rings. But as I’m very camera shy on my own, and since I cannot be bothered to edit all the content, I think I will stick to written content for now.
Q: With you eventually catching up on scenarios that are being released now, what are your plans for the blog in the future?
A: Yes, the blog will catch up to recent content at this rate somewhere in the Spring of 2019, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing else to cover. To start off, there are Nightmare packs for all scenarios, doubling the amount of articles I get to write. While these aren’t the focus of the blog at the moment, I will do these more frequently once I catch up to the current cycle. I won’t start a cycle of Normal scenarios while the rest of the cycle is still in production, as that would make the articles age poorly with new cards being released all the time.
Other than Nightmare scenarios, there are also still the Saga’s to cover (with their own respective line of Nightmare versions). We also have the Print on Demand scenarios and the two scenarios from the Collectors Edition. Those will take some time to make, as especially POD scenarios are tricky and will require a lot of explanation with new rules and keywords.
Besides making new articles, I will also continuously update existing articles with new information concerning rule changes and new cards. This will probably last me a good while, but the quality of the articles will become even better than it already is. In the end, when I have the time and if the game is dead (IF, not when, IF!) I might do a total rehaul of all articles in my spare time, having completed everything and taking all cards into consideration in this vast card pool. I hope it never comes to that, but just because the game could die (could, not would), the blog will outlast it.
Q: What is the most annoying part of writing articles?
A: That is an easy one: linking all the cards to their entries in the Hall of Beorn. Don’t get me wrong, I love the resource, but a standard article can have more than 50 different cards mentioned all throughout the article. So it takes some time linking them, which gets annoying. I also save this for last so that once I am finished with it, I can immediately throw the article into the wide world. But I will admit that sometimes I skip the linking out of frustration.
Q: Can we see where your readers are from?
A: Sure, I don’t think anyone would mind, here is the map:
As you can see, the blog is well received all over the world, with only blank spaces in Africa and the Arab world. The USA is the country with the most visitors, which makes sense, as that is probably where the majority of players live.
Q: How can I help you to make these articles? I really like them and want to see more!
A: Glad you like them, more are coming, so don’t you worry. You can apply to become an author on the blog yourself, and start writing articles as well. This is a great way to put your thoughts of the game on paper and show them to the world. You can check out this article on how to apply.
For those who are unable to write articles due to lack of time or inspiration, you can support me via Patreon to help me keep the site going. I have met my first goal, which means that the hosting costs are covered. More contributions will lead to more exclusive swag and to more improvements to the blog and the community. Check out the different tiers as well, at which you get to choose articles for me to prioritize, or you get more Palantir goodies. If you only want to make a one-time contribution to the blog, you can either message me or contribute for only 1 month to the Patreon page. After that month, you can unsubscribe, making you only have spent your money once.
For those unwilling to invest money or much time in the blog, but still willing to support, I’d say: leave constructive criticism on the articles and participate in polls and surveys. If you are a community member and are making content of your own: don’t stop. This blog relies on the community and it’s positive vibes a lot, so keep them going!
Q: Am I first?
A: No, you were tenth.
Q: Will you be doing more Q&As in the future?
A: Maybe, I don’t plan on making this a very frequent thing, as I am sure I will burn through questions rapidly, making the articles short. I have now done it after half a year, and might wait a full year for the next one. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask me questions in between that period, but it does mean that my blogging time will be more devoted to the other articles on the list.
Q: Why aren’t you writing these articles in progression style, with only the cards available at the time in mind?
A: I know that many people have asked for this, but I think that the blog would do better if it keeps the entire card pool in mind. While new players may find this hindering, it gives them the foresight that there are cards out there that can solve their problems in the future. Writing it with the entire card pool in mind does provide me with the task of updating the articles if new cards are very useful against certain scenarios (for example: Bow of Yew vs the Nazgul in The Morgul Vale). This updating takes some time, but I feel like the article will be better received by the entire community than if I would write the articles with only a restricted card pool in mind. If you need help with your progression series, there are plenty of other blogs and playlists for that.
Q: How many people are on the team right now?
A: I am blessed with 6 other people who have written for the blog in the past. Not everyone has the same number of articles chosen, but I do like that people spend their free time to work on the blog. You can check out their names and their articles on the bottom of every page. I hope to increase the size of the team some more, maybe bringing somebody on board to focus on the Nightmare scenarios. Feel free to contact me if you are interested.
And those were all the questions that got asked to me. Thanks again to everyone who submitted a question, it was a lot of fun seeing these come by and having to answer them. I hope you are satisfied with the answers. Like I said earlier, it will probably be a while before I do another one of these, but feel free to save your questions until then.