Between the big battles with Dragon enemies in this cycle, there is a slightly easier scenario early in the cycle. During Roam Across Rhovanion, you are enlisted by the Goblin Urdug to retrieve some of his stuff. In return, he will reveal a secret entrance into Mount Gundabad that you can use to sneak into Dagnir’s lair. This scenario is not the most difficult one, but has a couple of mechanics that can be deadly if underestimated. It is also not a short quest, making the chances of threating out really high. However, this quest does allow you to control a Troll objective ally, which is a first. So there are plenty of reasons to give this quest a try. Just keep in mind that there is a misprint on the quest cards where the wrong encounter set is included.
Roam Across Rhovanion
- Found in: Roam Across Rhovanion Adventure Pack, Ered Mithrin cycle #2
- Official Difficulty: 5
- Community Difficulty: 6
- Encounter sets: Roam Across Rhovanion, Fell Beasts, Hills of Wilderland, Lost in Wilderland
[NOTE THAT THE QUEST CARD ICONS ARE WRONG, YOU DO NOT NEED GATHERING GLOOM, BUT INSTEAD LOST IN WILDERLAND. THE RULES INSERT IS RIGHT ]
- Quest cards: 5, with 3 different stage 2s that all have to be cleared
- Play if: you haven’t played this quest in a while (it is quite forgetable), you want a quest with random stages that force you to do different tasks, you enjoy taking control of a Troll objective ally for a little while who is actually pretty useful.
- What is different about this quest?: 4 objectives, 2 of which turn into enemies during the final stage, 3 different middle stages that are shuffled at random so that there is a total of 6 different paths through this scenario.
- Solo or Multiplayer?: Some of the enemies in this encounter deck will take some dedicated combat decks to take down. But the locations aren’t light either, so I will suggest running this scenario with more than one player. This allows you to divide the rolls a little better and prevents one person being swarmed at the final stage. Just be sure that every player is bringing threat reduction.
- Can I run side-quests in this scenario?: Yes, though it isn’t as easy as against other quests in this cycle. The second quest stages require that you make 5 progress on each and own the objective card at that stage, and Urdug. If you don’t have this, then you can go to a side-quest to pass the time. Double Back comes highly recommended, as well as Scout Ahead to get rid of some nasty encounter cards like the Grey Mountain Giant and Sneaking Off. Do prioritize the main quest though, as otherwise, you might end up stuck at that stage for a while. Each stage does allow you to go to a side-quest for at least 1 round, so if you have plenty of willpower, you can end up exploring many side-quests during this scenario.
- What to look out for: 2 extra enemies engage you at the final stage, there are a couple of big enemies in this quest that can suddenly be engaged with you, encounter deck really tries to threat you out, location lock is a pretty big threat, sudden barriers that prevent you from progressing the stage, extra loss conditions.
Before you start the quest, double check that you have included the Lost in Wilderland encounter set instead of the Gathering Gloom encounter set. This is a misprint on the quest cards, the rulesheet is correct. Many players have reported this as a problem, as otherwise the quest plays very differently and players will threat out a lot faster.
After you have made sure that you have the right encounter deck, search that encounter deck for all objectives and objective allies. Note that Urdug and Tiny are double-sided, so you might miss them if their enemy side is face-up in the encounter deck. Set all of these objective cards out of play, but give Urdug to the first player, who will take control of him as an objective ally. The other objectives are earned by completing the various quest stages. With the objectives out of the encounter deck, the players shuffle the deck and discard cards until they have discarded X locations, where X is the number of players in the game. These locations can really start to add some threat to the staging area in 4p games, so be sure to come prepared if you are attempting this quest with more people. Hills of Wilderland is actually good to get out at this time, as it won’t be that big yet.
Quest card 1: The Goblin’s Task
Flipping over to quest card 1B, the quest card has no progress tokens, but is instead explored as soon as the first active location is explored and the first player controls Urdug. In order to prevent the players from advancing to the next stage with a relatively clean staging area, during this stage, no progress can be placed on locations in the staging area. This means that location control decks will have to use other tactics to lower the threat of locations in the staging area, such as playing Guarded Ceaselessly and Familiar Lands.
The quest stage shouldn’t take too long, and can be advanced in a single turn if the players play The Hidden Way to get an active location right away. Otherwise, they will have to stall for one turn, travelling to a location during the Travel phase and hopefully exploring it during the next turn. This is a good point to clear out a big side-quest early, making Thurindir a good hero to bring for this early stage. No progress in needed on the main quest, so side-quests are the way to go.
Note that the players may only advance from this stage if they control Urdug at the moment they explore the active location. If Urdug is lost thanks to Sneaking Off, then the players will have to stall at this stage a little longer. This time can be used to explore a few more locations until travelling to the one that Urdug is hiding at. This stalling tactic can pay off if the players manage to get their boardstate up quickly and perhaps explore some more side-quests at this stage. Once they control Urdug again, they advance to a random stage 2.
Quest card 2: Rescue Tiny – 5 quest points
While the players will advance to a random stage 2, I will cover the stages in numerical order of their serial number, which makes Rescue Tiny the first quest stage 2. When this quest card is revealed, the first player searches the encounter deck, discard pile, and victory display for a copy of Grey Moorland and add it to the staging area. They then attach the set aside Tiny objective-ally to the location. If there are more players in the game, they each reveal an encounter card after they have shuffled the encounter deck. Note that solo players don’t have to add an additional encounter card here, as the first player only adds the Grey Moorland. Note that if both Grey Moorland locations are already in play, Tiny will have to get attached to one of them in the staging area.
Flipping over to side B, the quest card will prevent players from cancelling the ‘when revealed’ section of treachery cards. This is mainly to stop players from cancelling cards with Eleanor or Test of Will, as The Door is Closed is still allowed at this stage. This is meant to prevent players from cancelling the treachery that Grey Moorland will bring out. However, this will also prevent the players from cancelling the effects of any treachery cards that are revealed during the quest phase, meaning that the players must be ready to survive the treacheries.
In order to beat the stage, the players will have to rescue Tiny. This means exploring the Grey Moorland that he is trapped in. This can be done in the staging area, as the attached location does not become immune to player card effects while it is in the staging area. The only restriction to the location is that the players cannot travel to the Grey Moorland that Tiny is under while there is less than 5 progress on the main quest. So it is important to first make the 5 progress on the main quest, thén travel to the Grey Moorland with Tiny, and clear it during the next turn. During this second turn at the stage, the players are again free to quest against side-quests, as the 5 progress on the main quest is pretty safe from encounter card effects, and all you have to do is clear the location. Players don’t necessarily have to spend just 2 turns at this stage, you can take longer if you want. But the quest is long and will try to threat you out is you stall for too long.
Once the players clear the location that Tiny is under, the first player gets control of Tiny. If the players also control Urdug at this point, and all 5 progress is on the main quest, the players may advance to a random stage 2 if they can. If this was the final stage 2 that the players had to clear, then they can advance to stage 3.
Quest card 2: Retrieve Urdug’s Horn – 5 quest points
This is the only one of the three stages 2 that will require combat, making the game a little harder (and longer) for players if they get this quest as their first one. When this stage is revealed, the first player searches the encounter deck, discard pile and victory display for a Grey Mountain Giant and adds it to the staging area. They then attach Urdug’s Horn to that enemy as a guarded objective. If there are more than 1 players in the game, the others each reveal an encounter card. Should both Grey Mountain Giants already be in play, then one of them gets the Horn.
Flipping over to side B, this stage instructs players that the enemies at this stage that are guarding cards will have +2 threat and +2 defence. This obviously buffs the Grey Mountain Giant, but will also buff the Hobgoblin if it enters play. Should the players play any Guarded (X) player cards at this stage, any enemies attached to those cards will also get the buffs, so maybe wait until you are at a different quest stage before playing those cards, or make sure you get a location instead.
The players at this stage will have to defeat the Grey Mountain Giant in order to claim Urdug’s Horn. In order to even be able to damage that enemy though, the players will first need 5 progress on the main quest. This means that the players don’t even have to bother engaging the Grey Mountain Giant before they have the progress on the quest, unless they want to get rid of the extra threat in the staging area. Once the players have 5 progress on the quest, it is advised to engage the enemy, and try to kill it as fast as possible. This will require a lot of effort though, as the Giant will have +2 defence and 11 hitpoints. This might require one-time effects like Black Arrow or Tactics Eowyn in order to kill him quickly. In reality, it will likely take a few turns to kill the enemy, so you can take the time to clear up the boardstate while you bring the hitpoints of this Giant down to 0.
Since the Giant isn’t immune to player card effects, the players can cheat the system and play The Great Hunt to get rid of the Grey Mountain Giant while it is in the staging area. This is a costly strategy that requires some luck with drawing the event and having the resources, but can allow the players to get through this stage quickly. Other tricks that players can use are to cancel the attacks of the Grey Mountain Giant and to deal damage through card effects once the main quest has 5 progress on it. Once the Grey Mountain Giant is dead, the first player places Urdug’s Horn on Urdug. This allows him to be more useful during combat, while also serving as a discard option for the top card of the encounter deck. Once the players control Urdug and his horn, and have 5 progress on the main quest, they can advance to a random stage 2 that they haven’t been to yet. If this was the final stage 2, then the players advance to stage 3.
Quest card 2: Find Durin’s Key – 5 quest points
When the players reveal this quest stage, the first player must search the encounter deck, discard pile, and victory display for a copy of Deep Ravine and add it to the staging area. Durin’s Key gets attached to that location. Should both copies already be in play, then the Key goes to one of the locations in the staging area. Any other players besides the first player will have to reveal an encounter card before the players can flip the quest card to side B.
During this quest stage, all encounter cards that are guarding other cards are immune to player card effects. This is mostly meant for the Deep Ravine that guards the key, but also applies to the Hobgoblin, and to any encounter cards that are guarding player cards thanks to the Guarded (X) keyword that the players might have played during the scenario. Also note that this can apply to the location that Urdug is hiding at if the players hit a Sneaking Off treachery during this stage. On top of this rule, the newly added Deep Ravine now limits the progress that can be placed on locations in the staging area to 1, with the exception of locations guarding cards, who cannot receive progress as they are immune to player card effects right now.
The players won’t be able to travel to the location guarding Durin’s Key until they have 5 progress on the main quest. This means that players will have to wait a little while before they can travel to the Deep Ravine. This time can be spent to clear the other extra encounter cards that just got added. Once 5 progress is placed on the main quest, players can travel to the Deep Ravine by exhausting Urdug or raising each player’s threat by 2. Note that there is no way around this effect, as the location is immune to player card effects. I will recommend using Urdug for this, as you will need to keep a low threat for the rest of this scenario. However, if Urdug has snuck off during this time, you might need to choose to raise your threat, or prioritize getting Urdug back before travelling to the Deep Ravine.
Once the players clear the Deep Ravine, the first player gets to take control of Durin’s Key. This is a useful tool to counter a location lock, but will cause more encounter cards to be revealed each round. Once the players have 5 progress on the main quest, control Durin’s Key and Urdug, they can advance to a random stage 2 that they haven’t been to yet. If this was the final stage 2, then the players advance to stage 3 with all the objective cards.
Quest card 3: Urdug’s Gambit – 5 quest points
What kind of world are we living in if we can’t even trust a Goblin on his word. Real shame, but at least you can pay back Urdug in kind by killing Tiny and capturing him properly this time. This stage is the point where the first player loses control of Urdug and Tiny, and have to flip them to their enemy side. All damage that was placed on them before is now removed, but Urdug keeps his horn. If there is more than one player in the game, the other players must reveal an encounter card. If more enemies are revealed through this effect, the final stage can become quite difficult as players can get swarmed by big enemies at this point.
Flipping over to side 3B, the quest is structured a little different, as the players are no longer making progress on the quest card, but instead the 5 quest points represent Urdug trying to escape. The players cannot make progress on the main quest by questing successfully. Instead, the players will have to continue to quest successfully since if they don’t, the quest card will get progress equal to how much the players would have lost the quest by. This is usually represented by an increase in threat, but not for this stage. If the players manage to fail the quest by 5, they automatically lose the game as Urdug has escaped.
A few tricks are important to know for this effect, which we will cover before we continue with the enemies at this stage. The first is that the players should still try to quest successfully and can still clear locations. If the players clear the active location, they can still travel and remove threat from the staging area that way. The second trick that players can use is to use the Spirit event Backtrack, which can remove progress from the quest card and put it on a location instead. This allows you to remove progress from the quest that you got from questing unsuccessfully, and will instead help you to clear some locations in the staging area. As long as you don’t fail the quest by 5 or more points, this strategy can work.
The two added enemies at this stage are Urdug and Tiny. Note that Urdug will have his horn attached during this phase, potentially increasing his attack by a lot. Both enemies are immune to player card effects, and when Urdug engages a player, Tiny also engages that player. This means that there is no way to split the two enemies up, unless you manage to kill Tiny. You will have to take care of Tiny first, as he prevents Urdug from taking damage while Tiny is in play. Only after Tiny is dead, can you focus your attention on Urdug. The goal is to bring Urdug down to 0 hitpoints, while preventing the duo to escape through placing progress on the quest.
This is not an easy task though, since Urdug’s variable attack strength is hard to read. Urdug will also make an additional attack against the player he is engaged with (if any) at the beginning of the quest phase. If this attack deals any amount of damage, the duo is returned to the staging area, adding their threat to the total. Note that if Tiny is defeated, he is not returned to the staging area by this effect. You also have to trigger Durin’s Key at this point in the round, making for a very tough couple of rounds of staging, as a lot of threat can be added to the staging area on top of the staging step that resolves as normal. It is slightly easier in higher player counts though, as the extra threat isn’t that significant when spread among 4 players instead of 1.
So in short, engage both unique enemies, kill Tiny as soon as possible, try to keep the two of them engaged with a player, and then take out Urdug. Large one-time attacks will be useful to bring down Tiny, though some might have already been used against the Giants in this quest. However, you have had plenty of time to build up your boardstate, and should be prepared for the Goblin’s treachery. Once you manage to defeat Urdug, you win the game. You have now recaptured Urdug and can escort him to the Woodmen settlement of Hrothgar’s Hill to make plans for your trip to Gundabad.
The Encounter deck
- The normal encounter deck is made up out of 40 encounter cards, this is reduced to 26 in Easy mode
- The chances of getting a shadow effect are relatively low, with 43% in Normal mode, and 46% in Easy mode. This is important to consider when Pack of Wargs makes an attack, as it has a decent chance of making another one.
- Average threat per cards revealed is 1.4 threat per card, but this takes into consideration that the Hills of Wilderland are a 1 threat location (the minimum). It will almost always be a lot higher than 1 threat, raising the average threat that you can reveal pretty far up. Otherwise, the highest threat you’ll get is a 4 threat enemy or a 5 threat treachery if players cannot put Urdug under a location.
- 3 cards in the encounter deck have the surge keyword. Do note that transitioning the quests will reveal extra encounter cards, so you may end up revealing a bunch more cards than just the 1 per round.
- Doomed 1 is the highest value of this keyword, and can be found on 5 encounter cards. Note that the quest can take a while, and that there are different treacheries that can manage to raise your threat even further.
- Hunting Eagle cannot be optionally engaged
- Urdug and Tiny are immune to player card effects while in their objective form and in their enemy form
- Urdug is Indestructable as an enemy, and cannot take damage while Tiny is in play
- Grey Mountain Giant cannot have non-objective attachments
- While Deep Ravine is in the staging area, no more than 1 progress can be placed on locations in the staging area each round.
- Stone-Troll cannot have player card attachments
- During stage 1, no progress can be placed on locations in the staging area
- During “Rescue Tiny” When Revealed effects on treachery cards cannot be cancelled
- During “Find Durin’s Key” all encounter cards guarding cards are immune to player card effects
- Each stage has a rule where 5 progress has to be placed on the quest before players can travel to a specific location or damage a specific enemy
The encounter deck is pretty well-balanced, but do note that there are a lot of extra rules on encounter cards and quest stages that you have to keep in mind. These stats do not count any of the objective cards, as they are not a part of the encounter deck. The nice balance of location/treachery/enemy means that in lower player counts, you can have a nice distribution of the three if you are lucky, and also means that multiplayer games will likely reveal one of each card during the staging step.
There are quite a few objectives in this scenario, three of which you need to collect to advance to the final stage. These objectives will help out during the various stages, but you will lose control of some during the final stage.
- Urdug: This Orc objective ally is actually quite useful, as he has the stats of Aragorn, making him pretty solid in any situation. Urdug can quest pretty well, has 3 attack, but can also defend quite nicely for 2 with 5 hitpoints. This makes him quite flexible in any deck, though he is mainly used to quest or attack in my experience. Defending is not a smart move, as Urdug is immune to player card effects, meaning you can’t heal him. And if Urdug is ever destroyed, the players lose the game. Urdug also has some other uses, such as exhausting him to travel to the Deep Ravine. Once you get Urdug’s Horn on him, you will also be able to mill the encounter deck a little, giving him additional attack strength, which can be useful for decks that don’t have a lot of combat potential. The different quest stages also demand that the first player has control over Urdug in order to advance. If the players ever lose Urdug to Sneaking Off, then they must first get him back before advancing the stage.
- Tiny: Tiny is a friend of Urdug, and follows him around. This makes it ideal for Fellowship players, who can easily get 2 extra allies for their contract this way. Tiny joins the players after he has been rescued from the Grey Moorland he was under, and will give the players a very solid attacker. With 6 attack, Tiny can cut through most of the enemies in this encounter deck by himself, but he is also quite powerful on the defence front. With 3 defence and 9 hitpoints, he can be an emergency defender for the first player if they are engaged with too many enemies at once. Like Urdug, Tiny is immune to player card effects, meaning that it is impossible to ready him or to heal him. Once Tiny is destroyed while on his objective side, the players lose the game. The biggest thing to keep in mind with Tiny is that using him comes at a cost. Whenever the first player exhausts Tiny to do anything (attack, defend, quest, or exhaust for quest effects like Harsh Weather), the controlling player must raise their threat by 2. It isn’t easy keeping quiet while you have a Troll in your company, so Tiny should only be used in dire situations where you really need his attack or defence. Don’t use him too much, unless you have a reliable way to lower your threat.
- Urdug’s Horn: After the players have defeated the Grey Mountain Giant that was guarding Urdug’s Horn, the players can attach the horn to Urdug. The Item attachment doesn’t do much, unless Urdug himself is attacking. This won’t be the case every round, as you can lose Urdug, or use him to quest or travel to the Deep Ravine. However, should you choose to attack an enemy with Urdug, you must discard the top card of the encounter deck and add the threat of that card to Urdug’s attack strength. This is a fantastic way to get more attack strength for Urdug, with which he can easily get 2 or 3 extra points to his attack value. The maximum attack buff you can get is with the Hills of Wilderland, who will have a threat equal to the number of characters controlled by the player with the most characters. Since the objective doesn’t specify printed threat, I assume this is true. This is great now, but will be a real pain during the final stage. Urdug will keep his horn even if he is placed under a location in the staging area and when he is flipped to his enemy side. This means that Urdug now has a variable attack strength, which is difficult to predict when defending against him. Chumping is the safest, but careful scrying with Henamarth Riversong of Far-sighted can give you a glimpse into how high Urdug’s attack will actually be. The Horn can never leave play, and will remain with Urdug until he has no more hitpoints remaining, at which point the players win the game.
- Durin’s Key: This is probably the nastiest objective you’ll get, as it has a Forced effect that is really tough for solo players. After the Key is recovered from the Deep Ravine, the players may attach it to a hero they control. The Key will now during the beginning of each quest phase force the players to look at the top 3 cards of the encounter deck, reveal one of those cards, and discard the rest. This serves as a filter to get the encounter cards you want, and to get rid of some more difficult cards. However, it also adds another encounter card to the staging area, which is really tough to keep up with for true solo players. Fortunately, the Key also provides the players with a means to counter the location lock that this might cause. The Key can be exhausted by the players to give each location in the staging area and in the active location slot -1 threat until the end of the phase. This is pretty significant during the mid and late game, when locations can really start to pile up. This can remove 3 or more threat from the staging area, which is quite nice. However, you will still have an easier time if you get the Key last, as you will have fewer encounter cards to worry about. Another important thing is that the Key’s Forced ability is really easy to forget about. Have some sort of a reminder set at the start of each quest phase that you look at the top 3 cards of the encounter deck and reveal one of them. This will have a serious impact on your games. Should the hero that has the Key attached die, then the Key is pushed to the staging area for a hot second, before the first player attaches the key to another hero. There is no way to get around this Forced ability.
The lands between the Grey Mountains and Mirkwood are inhabited by many different creatures, some of which you have encountered before. You also get the backstabing duo to deal with in the endgame. These enemies are unique to the scenario:
- Urdug: Oh no, the Goblin betrayed you, what a shock!… ok, not really, but now you have to deal with Urdug as an enemy instead of an ally. This brings back some memories from Sahir during Drowned Ruins, but Urdug doesn’t go away after his first attack (I mean, he tries to, but still). So now Urdug is an enemy in the staging area with just 15 engagement cost, meaning that he will engage players relatively soon. Urdug is also Indestructible and immune to player card effects, making him quite tough to deal with. However, with just 2 defence and 5 hitpoints, you can bring him down to 0 hitpoints relatively quickly, at which point you win the game. But it isn’t all that easy. While Tiny is in play, he will also engage the player that engaged Urdug, and will prevent Urdug from taking damage while Tiny is in play. To make matters worse, Urdug makes 2 attacks per round. One during the combat phase, and one at the beginning of the quest phase. Should this last attack do any damage, then Urdug and Tiny are returned to the staging area, adding their threat to the total. Urdug’s other weapon, besides Tiny, is his Horn. This horn will buff Urdug’s attack stat each time he makes an attack. You discard the top card of the encounter deck, and will get +X attack, where X is the threat of the discarded encounter card. This can be 0 if you discard a treachery, but it can also be 4+ attack if you are unlucky. Chumping is the safest bet, though this will often return Urdug to the staging area at the start of each quest phase. Once the players manage to kill Tiny and damage Urdug to the point where he has no hitpoints remaining, the players win the game.
- Tiny: I have already covered Tiny throughout this article, but let me just summarize here. Tiny as an enemy will hit hard, and will be tough to kill. He is immune to player card effects, which shuts down a lot of combo’s. The 6 attack is also quite nasty, but the players should have had enough time to build up a defender by now. There are other 5 and 6 attack enemies in the scenario, so there is no reason to not have a big defender capable of defending Tiny. While Tiny is in play, the players cannot damage Urdug, meaning that they should instead focus their efforts on Tiny. Killing him will take a lot of attack power, but again, the players have had plenty of time to get their boardstate set up so that they can deal with Tiny. There is no way to isolate Tiny from Urdug, so the player engaging Urdug must also engage Tiny, having to take attacks from both of them. The Ranged and Sentinel keywords are important here, as one player on his own will have a very hard time to take down Tiny and Urdug without help. Using big effects like Black Arrow and Tactics Eowyn will allow you to bring down Tiny a little easier, after which Urdug loses his damage restriction, and can be damaged in order to win the game.
- Hunting Eagle: While the Eagle trait did get expanded in this cycle, not all Eagles of Wilderland are friendly. This Hunting Eagle is a nasty enemy that will always engage the first player at the start of the encounter phase. On top of that, revealing the Eagle will trigger its surge keyword, which can mean that you will be revealing more Eagles in a row. If the first player isn’t equipped for combat that round, then they’ll have a bad time if so many Eagles engage the player, regardless of their threat. The enemy can also not be engaged optionally by other players. The 50 engagement cost does come in handy for strategies against this enemy though. With the enemy always having a higher engagement cost than your threat, the Hobbit and Ranger synergies will have an advantages with their events (Taste it Again, In the Shadows) and attachments (Dagger of Westernesse, Hobbit Cloak). This makes it easy to defend against the 3 attack Eagle. Requiring just 4 attack to kill, the Eagle shouldn’t survive for very long while engaged with players. Do note that if the engaged player fails to kill the Eagle this round (not enough damage dealt or just other priorities), then the Eagle will engage the new first player at the start of the next encounter phase, even when it is engaged with the previous first player. Perhaps the most dangerous part of this enemy, besides its surge keyword, is the shadow attack that can boost Creature enemies by +2 attack. This is problematic for Creatures like the Wilderland Bear and the Pack of Wargs. Cancelling this shadow effect can often be worth it.
- Grey Mountain Giant: This enemy is the focus of the stage where you try to retrieve Urdug’s Horn, which this giant has been using as a toothpick. However, this enemy will also be in the encounter deck to be revealed during staging if the players are unlucky. But with an engagement cost of 44, it can be a while before players actually have to engage this enemy. A good thing too, as the giant hits pretty hard for 5, and will take quite some damage in order to kill. The 11 hitpoints also protect it against direct damage, but it isn’t immune to card effects, so you can try and deal damage to it while it is in the staging area. The Giant does have immunity to non-objective attachments though, so Poisoned Stakes is out of the question for this enemy. Should the players choose to engage the enemy instead of attempting to kill it in the staging area, then the player that engages the Giant must discard the top 5 cards of their deck. Damage must be assigned to your characters equal to the number of allies discarded through this effect. The results of this can vary wildly, as a deck that runs the Forth! The Three Hunters contract won’t have any allies in the deck, while some swarm decks might be less lucky. Once engaged, the players should try and kill the Giant as quickly as possible, as the 5 attack from this enemy can be quite deadly. Note that cancelling the attacks will also be worth it, as that prevents a shadow card from returning the Giant to the staging area. This would mean that the effect on the Giant will trigger again during the next time you have to engage this enemy. With it having such a high engagement cost, the Staff of Lebethron will be worth including to cancel these shadow cards. killing the Giant will take a lot of effort, but if you save up some attackers for this enemy, you will be able to kill the Giant within a turn or 2.
- Wilderland Bear: Once you see this enemy as an oversized rat, there is no unseeing it. But even if this is a giant rat, the enemy shouldn’t be underestimated. When the Wilderland Bear is revealed the first player must decide to either have each player discard a random card from their hand, or to have the bear make an immediate attack against them. If the first player isn’t well suited to take 4 attack enemy’s attack right then and there, players can use Sentinel characters to defend this attack. Cancelling the attack is also a possibility, as the Dunedain Lookout can cancel the attack by discarding himself. Note that Feint is not allowed during this attack, as it is a Combat Action. After this initial attack when it gets revealed, the Bear will contribute 3 threat to the staging area, but will engage players relatively soon. The engagement cost of 30 is easily met by many decks, so you have to be ready to deal with this enemy in the early game. The 4 attack is the most dangerous part of this enemy, with shadow cards potentially raising that attack by 2 since the Bear has the Creature trait. Killing the bear is a lot easier though, as it only has 1 defence. This means that if the bear is engaged with Tactics Aragorn, a Straight Shot can easily discard it. But it also means that it is easy to deal damage to the bear by even a small group of weaker allies. The 5 hitpoints are a little annoying, but since you can do damage so easily to the enemy, it shouldn’t be hard to bring it down with a little effort.
The foothills of the Ered Mithrin are a dangerous place to travel to, as there is little cover and many dangerous places. Besides the locations unique to this scenario, you also get the locations from the Hills of Wilderland encounter set, which can be more of a threat than the scenario specific ones.
- Grey Moorland: This location will have to be found in the encounter deck, discard pile, or victory display when the players reveal the Rescue Tiny stage. But the Grey Moorland can also be revealed during the staging step, as both copies will be in the encounter deck from the start of the game. At 3 threat and 4 quest points, this is a medium sized location that can be worth travelling to if the players want to remove threat from the staging area. However, the Grey Moorland has a Forced effect that triggers when it becomes the active location. It will shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and then discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until a treachery is discarded. The ‘when revealed’ effect on that treachery has to be resolved. I do not think this effect can be cancelled, so you are at the mercy of whatever treachery you reveal. There aren’t really any good treacheries to be revealed for this effect, but hopefully you are able to discard some nasty cards through the effect before you hit a treachery. A better way to avoid this effect is to explore the location in the staging area. Explorer’s Almanac can be a nice solution to this, as the location won’t be active at all. Do keep in mind that the Deep Ravine can limit the amount of progress you place per round to 1. You can also use Thror’s Key to blank to the location before you travel to the location. The shadow effect on the Grey Moorland is probably also worth cancelling, as it will return the attacking enemy to the staging area. If you do not have a way to kill enemies in the staging area, then they might start to pile up, preventing you from making progress. Cancelling the shadow is in that case perhaps worth the Hasty Stroke.
- Slopes of Ered Mithrin: While the slopes do have Doomed 1 on them, which doesn’t help your threat situation, the location actually has a beneficial effect. When the players travel to the Slopes or Ered Mithrin, the first player may ready a character they control. This is especially useful if a Hunting Eagle got revealed this round, as the first player might need the extra action advantage for that. However, just using the Slopes of Ered Mithrin once seems like a bit of a loss to me, as the location will ready characters when the players travel to it, not when it is explored. This means that if you are able to return it to the staging area after you’ve travelled to it, then you are able to ready characters each round. Cards that can be used to this effect are the West Road Traveller, Strider’s Path, or Thror’s Map. Players can even use Distant Stars to discard a different active location to search the deck for Slopes of Ered Mithrin in order to ready a character for the first player. The location is even beneficial during shadow cards, as the only thing that it does, is exhaust Urdug. I tend to have Urdug exhausted already by the time combat rolls around, so the shadow effect doesn’t do anything.
- Deep Ravine: This is probably my least favourite new location, but is still not the worst in the scenario, that title goes to Hills of Wilderland. The Deep Ravine counters location control pretty hard in this scenario, as having one copy of this location in the staging area will limit the amount of progress that can be placed on locations in the staging area to 1. There are 3 copies of this location, so there is a serious chance of encountering this Ravine soon. It is also required to get a Ravine in play during the stage where you find Durin’s Key. The 1 point of progress rule limits you to one Northern Tracker per round that is effective, so if you have multiple in play, it makes sense to only use one for the quest. Note that this rule only applies when the Deep Ravine is in the staging area though, not while it is the active location. To make it the active location, players have to either raise their threat by 2, or exhaust Urdug. Players can also use Thror’s Map or South Away to travel to the location without paying the travel cost. Clearing the Deep Ravine doesn’t take long, but should be a priority if you are bringing a location control deck. If nobody is bringing such a deck, then there is very little reason to go here, unless you have no other options to travel to and can exhaust Urdug to travel.
Being in the service of a Goblin is not a position in which you can relax. You have to keep a careful eye on Urdug, but also on the weather in region.
- Sneaking Off: “Urdug, what are you doing there?” “Sneaking” This treachery is meant to slow the players down as they cannot advance the quest without control of Urdug. When the treachery is revealed, the first player loses control of Urdug and attaches him to a location in the staging area as a guarded objective. Note that this can cause the attached location to become immune to player card effects during Find Durin’s Key. While attached to the location, Urdug prevents the players from advancing the stage until they have travelled to the location and explore it, or clear it in the staging area. After that, the first player regains control over Urdug. If the treachery is revealed while Urdug is already attached to a location, or if there is no location to put Urdug under in the staging area, or if Urdug is no longer an objective ally, then the treachery will instead add 5 threat to the staging area. In any case, the treachery is removed from the game as otherwise it can cause the players to get stuck at one stage for the rest of the game, constantly losing Urdug. There are 3 copies of this treachery, so there is likely going to be time where you lose Urdug. If you do, try to place him on the location you intend to travel to next, so that you can resume control over him as quickly as possible. This can even be a location with a different objective already underneath it, allowing the players to get both objectives by clearing that location. Cancelling this treachery can be very important if you were counting on advancing the stage this round and don’t want to be stuck at the current quest for much longer.
- Wild Creatures: With shadow cards pushing a lot of enemies back into the staging area, this treachery helps to send the enemies back engaged with you. When Wild Creatures is revealed, each player must choose an enemy in the staging area and engage that enemy. Note that if that enemy is Urdug, Tiny will engage the same player automatically. Grey Mountain Giant will also trigger its forced effect when engaging a player this way. The Hunting Eagle is an easy choice for this effect, as it will still engage the first player at the beginning of the next encounter phase. Should this treachery cause one player to not engage an enemy (as there are less enemies in the staging area than players in the game) then the treachery forces the players to discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until a Creature enemy is discarded, and add it to the staging area. This effect won’t trigger the Wilderland Bear, as it is added, not revealed, and it will also discard non-Creature enemies this way. All in all, this treachery isn’t that bad, as you can clear out a lot of threat out of the staging area, and get an enemy engaged that you were planning on engaging later that round as well. Have the less combat-capable players engage the Hunting Eagles, as those will move during the encounter phase anyways. This is probably not the worst treachery to hit, so save cancellation for other treacheries instead.
- Harsh Weather: This final treachery is a tricky one, as it either takes away a lot of action advantage from the players, or raises their threat by a lot. When this treachery is revealed, each player must decide for each ready character that they control to either exhaust that character, or to raise their threat by 1. For swarm style decks during the late game, this can threat you out or cause you to have no characters ready to take on some big enemies this round. Some decks are better suited for this treachery such as those that run the Grey Wanderer or Forth, the Three Hunters contracts. For all other cases, you should think long and hard about whether you will need certain characters ready for combat, or if you would rather raise your threat. Since this is done one character at a time, I believe that ally Elfhelm completely negates the threat increase, so he is a very strong counter to this treachery. On the other hand, cards like Free to Choose won’t do you much good, since the threat only ticks up by 1. In the late game, this treachery is worth cancelling, so that you have enough characters ready for combat, plus your threat will be getting high already. Because of this effect, it is advised that players should use their readying effects after staging. There are no punishments for having exhausted characters, so use that Free Peoples/Grim Resolve/Need Drives Them after all encounter cards have been revealed! Also note that the first player has control of Urdug and Tiny, and must decide to either exhaust them or raise your threat by 1 for each of them. Always choose the threat option for Tiny, as exhausting him costs 2 threat, while keeping him up only costs 1.
Tips and Tricks
- Threat reduction will be critical to your succes in this quest. While the quest isn’t as long as others in this cycle, there are more effects that slowly raise your threat. Having a constant way to lower your threat will allow you to use Tiny and to keep in the game for longer. Ally Elfhelm is a great tool for this as you can ignore all the Doomed keywords on the encounter cards, and have a good counter to Harsh Weather.
- Stage 1 is perfect to play some side-quests, giving you an early lead on the encounter deck. During the different stages 2, you will have to prioritize the main quest, but once those are completed, you might be stuck their for a little while, so side-quests are again the way to go!
- Try to always travel to a location if you have the chance, and to clear the active location in one turn. This is easier said than done, especially for lower player counts, but it is vital to avoid location lock in this quest.
- Since many shadow cards return enemies to the staging area, it is a good idea to have a way to attack enemies in the staging area. Dunhere, Hands Upon the Bow, Great Yew Bow, or Leadership Eomer are all valid options here to make combat less frustrating.
- During the retrieval of Urdug’s Horn, you can simply discard the Grey Mountain Giant with effects like The Great Hunt to get the horn quickly. At that point you only need the 5 progress on the quest to advance.
- Don’t forget that the Forced effect of Durin’s Key has to be triggered at the start of each quest phase. This is not an optional effect like the action on the card. This will impact your game a lot, especially in lower player counts and if you get the key as the first objective.
- You can do a lot of shenanigans with Slopes of Ered Mithrin, recycling the location over and over again to ready characters for the first player. The location is pretty easy compared to the rest of the encounter deck.
- Keep in mind that playing events during the quest phase will put those cards under Lonely Lands if it is in the staging area. While the location won’t guard the cards, it can grow in threat quite fast.
- During the final stage, the Ranged and especially Sentinel keywords are very important. The player taking on Urdug also has to take on Tiny, at which point they will be overwhelmed by tough enemies. Defending the attacks for that player or helping out with the counter-attacks will make the final stage a lot easier.
- Note that the encounter deck will get reshuffled if it is empty during the window that Durin’s Key and Urdug’s additional attack happen. This means that there will always be cards in the encounter deck to discard for their effects.
Here is a list of playthroughs from the community, taking down this quest.
- 2 player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX6JPk86W0M
- 2 player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez1MNojN9DE
- 4 player: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we2cJ9Emlw8
- True solo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOCFSJTZVi0
With Roam Across Rhovanion now finished, the narrative of the cycle is building towards its peak. The next few articles will feature some high octane action, with Fire in the Night, Mount Gundabad, and Fate of Wilderland all being tough quests when it comes to combat. We currently have 3 writers working on the conclusion of the cycle, so we will be able to push out the articles quickly in the following months.
What’s that? Ghost of Framsburg has to be done as well? Well crap, there goes the schedule. I’ll start playtesting now, so hopefully we will be finished by the end of the year.