Month in Review: August 2019

With summer already passing, it seems that we are going back to the darker and colder days here in the Northern Hemisphere. But that’s fine by me, because bad weather is a perfect excuse to skip going outside and play some more games! Also for working on the blog, which has seen some good development over the past month. With GenCon being a bit of a let-down, we did receive a new Deluxe box with a lot of great content this month. A lot has happened, so let’s dive right into the developments from this past month.

August

August saw the majority of the community getting their hands on the brand new Deluxe box, which contained some great new archetypes to explore. The contracts and the One Ring really change up your decks, allowing for more creative gameplay. I am very much looking forward to any new contracts and Master cards, as well as the other new player cards that will be in the cycle. Other than the Deluxe getting a foothold, there hasn’t been much other news on the horizon for the game so far. We have gotten some teasers here and there, but FFG is very slow with the articles on our beloved game. Keeping to the roughly 2-month period between releases, I do not expect Wrath and Ruin to be out until the later half of September, perhaps early October. Regardless, the blog has been steadily moving forward with catching up on recent content, so it is time to discuss the development of each section of the blog.

There has been some development about this game in an AMA near the end of the month. I will discuss this and its effects on the blog in another article scheduled for this week. I have plans that can be set in motion to make sure the community is fed content to bridge the gap until after the hiatus.

Scenario Analyses

We have nearly concluded the Dream-chaser cycle, with only the Raid on the Grey Havens left to be done. This article has been claimed by Onidsen, who will make this his first article for this blog. In the meantime, I and the rest of the team have moved on to the Haradrim cycle. The majority of the Sands of Harad box scenarios have already been covered, with the conclusion of the Deluxe coming soon. After that, the blog will continue with the different scenarios from the cycle, which should be finished before the end of the year. After that, I will be starting the Ered Mithrin cycle, but will wait with the Vengance of Mordor cycle until after its conclusion. Going too fast with these articles won’t do them any good, and I want to at least have them relevant enough to include all player cards from their respective cycle.

Saga/Nightmare Analyses

No new analyses in this segment this month, but there has been an interest shown by some folks in the Nightmare scenario articles. Nothing new has been claimed so far, so if you would like to write some articles on the Nightmare versions of quests that have already been covered (we’re nearly caught up to the NM content, so most quests are available except for some Hobbit saga stuff), feel free to let me know.

Traits and Staples

I’m not sure if I will keep including this segment in the month reviews, as it has been an empty segment for a couple of months now. I will likely continue this series later this year, when more archetypes have been fleshed out. I will also be welcome to anyone who wants to write such articles for the blog, but I don’t have time for them I’m afraid.

Storage Hub

This was the first month where no new storage articles were received. This is a bit of a shame, but with 10 articles on the hub already, I feel that people will have enough variation to work with for a while. Nemesis has been working on a new storage solution for his cards, so maybe we will see a new version of his article in the future.

Player card reviews

The first cycle of player cards has now been reviewed by Silbalde. He will first make a quick recap article on the past cycle before moving on to the Khazad-Dum box and the Dwarrowdelf cycle. The pace will remain the same, so you can expect a new article from him every month.

There and Back Again

The There and Back Again series has entered the Dwarrowdelf cycle and has been working on completing the Khazad-Dum Deluxe box. The author is taking a well-deserved break right now, but he will be back at some point with the continuation of the series. This will start with the Redhorn Gate scenario, and move on with the Dwarrowdelf cycle from there.

Deckbuilding

Roka has returned from his summer break and gave us a 2 player or 2 handed fellowship that can reliably beat The Three Trials. This had to be done since the quest is very tough in true solo. He will continue his work on the Ringmaker cycle next month, with hopefully new articles for you all to enjoy.

Additional articles

I bit the bullet and went on with the First Impressions article on the Shadow in the East Deluxe. It has been well received by the community and has given me the motivation to keep these articles going for a while longer. It’s also nice to have a place to share my thoughts on the new cycle and to make some predictions for cards and scenarios. I am looking forward to seeign where this cycle will take us in the future.

Besides that First Impressions article, no other additional articles were published this month. I had no time and inspiration for another big article about the community, as I feel like I have covered a lot already. I do have plans on making a list of terrible encounter cards from each cycle, which hopefully will be published somewhere in September. I will also have a news article coming out soon detailing the plan going forward for the blog thanks to the announced hiatus by FFG. But if you ever have a suggestion on any other topic that you’d like to read about, feel free to let me know.

The Future

Looking ahead to September tells me it will be a busy month for me, as will October and November. I am now in the final stages of writing my thesis, and will have to do a lot on defending that thesis somewhere in early November. After that, I have (hopefully) graduated, and can have a few months of rest and relaxation with no studies and no work. I am planning for this hiatus from life until January, but I’ll have to see if that is a possibility with any future employer.

For the blog, it means that until I graduate, the articles will become fewer with more time in between. I have somewhat prepared for this by writing some future articles in advance, but will need to take some time to work on my thesis rather than articles. During the hiatus, I will have all the time in the world to continue the blog, and hopefully already start to write on some of the Ered Mithrin scenarios.

I have also started thinking about some more long-term projects for the blog, seeing how we are nearly caught up to recent content. With this past month, we’ve gained 3 scenarios on the new cycle, and next month will see at least another 2 quests of progress towards the goal of reaching the start of the Vengeance of Mordor cycle. Once I have caught up, the Nightmare quests will see more development on my end, and I will also look to redo the Shadows of Mirkwood articles, as they are not as in-depth as the articles I am cranking out today. Other series can also see more updates at that point, and articles may appear with more time between them. But rest asured, the blog isn’t going anywhere while there are quests to analyze and people reading the articles. There is still a lot to do in this game, enough to last us to the end of the current cycle, after whihc those quests will be eligible for analysis.

Loot

By the time you are reading this article, it is likely already too late to join in on the loot train for this year. I have spent the rest of this month designing and ordering the final pieces of this year’s loot, and received the first set as well. The rest should arrive in time for Con of the Rings, where I will be handing out some of it to attendees. To those not attending but still having deserved swag because of their patronage or being an author (or getting me free playmats, honestly: THANK YOU), a survey will be (has been) sent out to you for you to fill in your details. Please fill in that form within a few weeks time so that I can start setting aside some pieces of loot for you befóre I leave to the US. This will save me some shipping, and will get you your loot faster. Note that if you do not fill in the survey and you are not attending Con of the Rings, I have no way of sending the loot to you. In this case, please contact me asap with your details so I know where to send it to.

To all of you that have missed out on this year’s loot: I may have some extra pieces to give away during other conventions in the future, or as payment for getting me more free stuff. The rest of the pieces will be saved by me but will not be sold, because that would violate some rules as set by Patreon. You can also start to look forward to the swag article which will be published next month, with all the design details and high resolution images. You can also start to look forward to next year’s loot, which will hopefully be bigger and better than this year’s. Thanks to an ever-increasing budget, I can scale up the loot from tokens to this year’s loot, to next year’s even bigger loot, and beyond.

~Aa’menealla nauva calen ar-malta~

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