Month in review: September 2019

While we have all been recovering somewhat from the shock that the game will take a break next year, the community has been as busy as ever. A lot of content was created by many people and hype has been building for Con of the Rings 2019. In this article, I will go over some of the updates that the blog has received, as well as some of the things that will come in the (near) future.

September

With the announcement of the game taking a break coming at the very end of August, the community didn’t have enough time to properly respond last month. That’s why the first half of this month saw a lot of initiatives to continue this great community. CardTalk has confirmed to continue their podcast as there are still plenty of cards to cover. I explained my strategy in a dedicated article which sounds a bit doom and gloom, but should be seen as a project I did not consider to have to put into action this soon. Seastan started an initiative to start a team of community members to work on a fan-made cycle as soon as possible so that the cycle can be released as soon as the official content ends in about a year time. Beorn also made an initiative for reprinting some of the errata’ed cards. All of this is meant to continue the game for a long time after official content has started its break.

As for the blog, it saw some big changes behind the scenes while I was trying to get everyone’s loot in the mail at the same time. I have been updating the About page as well as creating an extra page on how to classify the regular scenarios in terms of player counts. This was a request made by the community, and was easily done. I also created a Discord server for those that would benefit most from it. This one is reserved for the higher tier Patreon supporters and my co-authors, and has become a place to share scenario tips and a generally nice place to talk about the game and the blog. But a lot of articles were put out as well, so let’s dive into those!

Scenario analyses

September saw the conclusion of the Dream-chaser cycle, which was about time since I started it back in January. This is mostly caused by me not being willing to cover quests I don’t like, of which there are several in this cycle (yes, even this cycle has some duds in my eyes). However, the cycle has now been concluded which is just in time for the Con of the Rings 2019 event, as the Dream-chaser cycle will be a part of the quests that have to beaten there. The Sands of Harad Deluxe box was also concluded, as I finished the Escape from Umbar analysis in the first week. This now pushes us into the Haradrim cycle, of which only 2 quests remain unclaimed. I will be focusing a little more on other projects for the time being, but the Haradrim cycle will carry on throughout the rest of the fall.

Saga Analyses

The first Hobbit Saga box was completed this month with the analysis of the Riddle quest: Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim. Dave Walsh will now continue with the quests from On the Doorstep, with all three quests coming out in order. Brinx will also try to complete the Treason of Saruman Saga box in the near future, so be on the lookout for Road to Isengard! The Nightmare scenarios may also see some love in the future, as I will try and cover some of those scenarios in the near future. My aim will be to complete the first cycle of Nightmare packs before the end of the year. I just hope to find all the packs I need for that at Con of the Rings.

Traits and Staples

Yes, I know I said last month that I wouldn’t cover this segment in these recap articles unless there was something to mention about them, but guess what: I got my ass into gear! I put out both a Staple article and two Traits (more like mechanics, but still) articles this month to revitalise the series. I understand that both series will require an update in the future, but I keep that for after we have the full official cardpool. As for the Archetype series, I hope to add some mono-sphere deck archetype articles next month, where I cover how to best build around a mono-sphere deck for each sphere.

Deckbuilding

This series has been plowing on consistently throughout the Ringmaker cycle and is now approaching the end of that cycle. I am looking forward to the final decklists for beating each scenario consistently, and we will look into what cycle will be done next. We might continue on with Angmar Awakened, but can also jump forward or go back to previous cycles if that is more appealing. I might also make a Deckbuilding article on how to best deckbuild for different player counts. This got recommended to me through my Patrons, and while listening to the Three is Company podcast covering this topic, I got a few points that might translate well to article format.

Player card reviews

While not an actual review of the individual cards, this series will put out an article this month covering the first cycle as a whole. There are a lot of cards to cover here, but with this cycle now concluded, the series will move on to the Khazad-Dum Deluxe box in October. A lot of dwarven beards heading our way!

Additional articles

As an additional article this month, I had to start with explaining my plans for the next few years. After the announcement I had to settle down a little and clear my head a little. This made me realize that the game is not dead (at least not yet) and that the next year will still see content being released. I detailed my plans for the future in the Project Heat Death article, which was my version of doomsday prepping. The community has taken this announcement very well, and despite some people abandoning ship, I think that as a group, we will survive the break, especially with new fan-made content being released.

For October, I expect a couple of additional articles to be released. I will be posting a full in-depth guide to the creation of this year’s loot. I will also share my experiences on Con of the Rings once I get back from that. I am also expecting the first AP of the Vengeance of Mordor cycle to drop in October, which means another First Impressions article will be due as well.

The Future

October will be a busy month, but fun-busy. The first half of the month will be a sort of break for me from my graduation track as the report is pending for review. Instead, I will be busy at Con of the Rings! I will be there a few days early (arriving on Tuesday 1st) and am looking forward to meeting you all. I have some articles in the making that will be released during my stay, including another design article on this year’s loot. I will also be bringing my laptop to Minneapolis, so I can write some stuff on the way there and while I’m up in the middle of the night thanks to jetlag.

The second half of October will be me focusing on the defence of my thesis. After 6 months of working on it, I should have no problem defending it, but you never know. I hope to have my final presentation at the end of October or the start of November, but that period will be pretty stressful for me. Once I graduate though, I plan on having the entire months of November and December off to relax and work on the blog.

Besides that, I am also working on ways to improve communication with team of authors and my Patrons. I have been working on creating a separate Discord server for these groups in order to not have to send messages across 4 different platforms once there are changes happening. An update to the About page will also be done in order to reflect the changes that have happened in the past 1.5 years. This will include a list of information on my co-authors who have written for the game.

~Aa’menealla nauva calen ar-malta~

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