Encounter Set Review: Journey Along the Anduin

The journey along the river Anduin might some Players understand as a peaceful walk. On the banks of the Anduin, it doesn’t seem that anything should go wrong. But as time is going on, Players are gradually realizing that their progress through the game is somehow slowed. Enemies, locations and treacheries – everything cooperates in order to disgust Player’s trip as much as possible.

Summary review

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries


Enemies

Misty Mountain Goblins

Along with the Anduin, Misty Mountain Goblins patrol and search for any sign of unasked entry. They are quite effective because with 15 Engagement cost they will almost certainly engage any Player. Their fighting skills We would consider for average at best – 2 Attack, 1 Defense and 3 Hit Points make from them mere common Orc guard than elite soldiers. Players won’t have many reasons to keep them in the staging area for a long time. 2 Threat Strength combined with other stats makes from Misty Mountain Goblins their favourite target.

However, seemingly vulnerable Orcs have for Players a little present – they remove 1 progress token from the current quest after they attack. The attack is just the cover manoeuvre. The real aim of this enemy lies in making the Player’s progress more difficult. If Players will ignore Misty Mountain Goblins, this enemy is able to erase completely the entire progress the Players have reached. One by one, Players will be brought before the very start of a quest. It will please Us namely in the situations, where Players fight with time (like in 2B – Anduin Passage). The best tactic is to keep Players busy by fighting with some more dangerous enemies to let Misty Mountain Goblins do their job.

It’s just good to know that Misty Mountain Goblins remove the progress token really from the current quest and never from the active location if present. This is a difference between this enemy and for example Legolas, who puts progress tokens firstly on active location, if present, then on the current quest. The magic words for putting progress tokens right on the current quest is “bypassing the active location”. Actually, the ability of Misty Mountain Goblins “bypass” the active location, but from the first view, the difference between the wording “current quest” on a Player card and Encounter card is not absolutely clear.

Shadow effect

Shadow effect of Misty Mountain goblins is identical with their ability: they remove 1 progress token from the current quest. When undefended, this enemy removes up to 3 progress tokens and that We consider for decent sabotage of Player’s effort.

Journey Along the Anduin

Hill Troll can hold Players in such combat tension that Misty Mountain Goblins can sneak past Players and work on removing of progress tokens. They will be also very useful during stage 2B – Anduin Passage in this scenario. Each Quest phase 1 additional card is revealed, thus the staging area is more and more filled. The pressure on successfully questing is constantly increasing and Players are forced to generate as many progress tokens as possible. Misty Mountain Goblins can gorgeously sabotage their effort and gradually make the staging area locked by locations and enemies.

The Hunt for Gollum

While Players are sniffing for Signs of Gollum, Misty Mountain Goblins may create a very useful combo with the location River Ninglor. Attacking Misty Mountain Goblins with active River Ninglor will cause the removing up to 2 progress tokens from the current quest each round. It may fairly slow down the Player’s progress and make the whole scenario more hostile and unattainable. 

Conflict at the Carrock

Here we are a bit unsatisfied that Misty Mountain Goblins can’t touch also active location. Removing progress tokens from The Carrock would be a great help for Louis, Morris, Stuart and Rupert, who are boosted from this location when active. Players would have had harder conditions to fully explore The Carrock (and thus to face mentioned Trolls) if Misty Mountain Goblins had removed the progress tokens from it by ability or by shadow effect.

Journey Up the Anduin

No new combo awaits Misty Mountain Goblins here. They will do their job, but no other Encounter card will support them.

Danger level


Locations

Banks of the Anduin

To Banks of the Anduin, We bear distrust. It’s a weak location with just 1 Threat Strength and 3 Quest Points. It doesn’t pose an issue for Players to face it in the staging area, or fully explore it. The ability may confuse both Players, who will rack their brains if the effect is actually good or bad for them, and Us, who will be ruminating about the usefulness of this location. When Players explore it, instead of discarding they return it on the top of the Encounter deck. From one side, it might annoy Players that they won’t be able to get rid of this location after exploring. We would have considered it for a good ability if the location had higher Threat Strength. But 1 Threat Strength won’t terrify anyone.

From another side, because Players will know what will come, they can abuse it – returning Banks of the Anduin will block another and better Encounter card to reveal. For Us, it is a disadvantage, for Players advantage. In the single game, one Player may in this manner completely block the Encounter deck, if he is able to explore Banks of the Anduin each round. In multiplayer games, however, this method won’t reach too many good results, because the second and other Players will draw subsequent Encounter cards. Some Players have resolved it by playing Denethor or Henamarth Riversong, who are able to scry the top Encounter card. After scrying the top Encounter card and then exploring Bank of the Anduin, Players exactly know, which top 2 cards wait for them. Such strategy deprives Us of a moment of surprise.

And sometimes, Players just ignore this location and let it be in the staging area, where it can’t hurt anyone. Unfortunately.

Journey Along the Anduin

The cycling of Banks of the Anduin may delay Hill Troll entrance, or mitigate the impact of the effect of 2B – Anduin Passage. Here Players find out that Banks of the Anduin doesn’t belong among dangerous location.

The Hunt for Gollum

During quests 1B – The Hunt Begins and 2B – A New Terror Abroad, Players are choosing among Encounter cards, which they will reveal and add to the staging area. Well, Banks of the Anduin would be a clear choice for them, because it won’t harm them at all.

Conflict at the Carrock

Here Players are concentrating on locations like Gladden Fields, The Brown Lands or River Langflood rather than Banks of the Anduin. This location even doesn’t worth for their attention.

Journey Up the Anduin

Next to locations like Hills of Wilderland, The Old Ford or Wooded Riverbank, Banks of the Anduin looks like a joke. Or welcome change depends on who judges this location.

Danger level


Gladden Fields

After relaxing journey alongside Banks of the Anduin, Players encounter Gladden Fields. This location takes their attention because it boasts of 3 Threat Strength (and even 3 Victory points). That makes the staging area a more dangerous place because with more copies of Gladden Fields there is a good chance for a location lock. On the other hand, 3 Quest Points won’t hold Players for too long. 

Gladden Fields owns very nice Forced effect, which will keep Players in tension if they are not able to explore this location quickly. If Gladden Fields is the active location, Players must additionally raise their threat by 1 during the Refresh phase. So generally, at the end of the turn Players will increase their threat by 2; 1 threat, which is “generated” during each Refresh phase, and 1 threat from Gladden Fields. The threat acceleration is Our favourite way how to punish Players. Some cards can do it more effectively, but Gladden Fields is the first pioneer with regular threat increase. Increased threat means encountering enemies with higher Engagement cost and getting closer to the magic threshold 50 threat = game over.

When Players choose Gladden Fields as the active location, raising threat by 2 at the end of the round is a certainty, UNLESS one of the Player doesn’t attack one of Our servants by Legolas with Blade of Gondolin during the Combat phase. This nasty trick can get rid of Gladden Fields during the same round it was chosen for the active location. Also, Players can bring other confederates, who may endanger Gladden Fields, like Snowbourn Scout or Northern Tracker. Our weapon is to force Player to choose Gladden Fields for active location and then “lock” the staging area by revealing many Encounter cards with high Threat Strength. 

Journey Along the Anduin

Gladden Fields nicely endangers Players, no matter in which stage they occur. In 1B – To the River, active Gladden Fields draw Players closer to encountering Hill Troll. In 2B – Anduin Passage, Gladden Fields in the staging area makes the questing for Players more difficult and if it is the active location, it accelerates the threat of Players, so in 3B – Ambush on the Shore, more enemies may engage Players and ambush them all at once. Also, Marsh Adder perfectly works with Gladden Fields and may participate in Player’s threat acceleration.

The Hunt for Gollum

We send on Players so many troublesome locations, that they won’t know, which one they should explore first to prevent location lock; Gladden Fields, The East Bank, The West Bank or The Old Ford, all of them share quite a high Threat Strength. 

Conflict at the Carrock

Raising threat by Gladden Fields will come in handy for Our Trolls, who due to 34 Engagement cost will have a higher chance to ambush Players at once.

Journey Up the Anduin

If Players decide to travel to Gladden Fields, We always wish they will reveal in the next Quest phase Ruined Supplies. Not only Gladden Fields adds at the end of each round 1 threat, but the threat may massively accelerate if Players have many allies OR if they face many enemies (shadow effect of Ruined Supplies).

Danger level


Treacheries

Massing at Night

Darkness is Our mighty ally. It sows fear in mortal hearts and raises their worst nightmares. Mortals are looking into the darkness, frightened to death of what horror will show up. In this manner works insidious treachery Massing at Night.

When revealed, Players must reveal additional X cards from the Encounter deck, where X is the number of Players. This effect is killer of any plans, which Players made. No wonder Massing at Night has a premiere in Journey Along the Anduin, where revealing additional Encounter cards poses the great problem for Players, especially during 2B – Anduin Passage. But Massing at Night can get Players into trouble virtually in any scenario. Firstly, revealing additional Encounter cards increases the overall Threat Strength – that is always positive news for Us, negative for Players because simultaneously the chance of failed questing is increased. Only if another treachery is revealed, the overall Threat Strength remains the same. Otherwise, new revealed enemy or location can bother Players pretty much.

Secondly, with more Players in the game Massing at Night causes bigger harm. The impact for single Player is minimal, 4 Players will be totally blown away. However, Massing at Night does well even in 2-3 Players environment. All depends on timing – in early game or in the situation, where Players are struggling with Threat Strength in the staging area, or with the superiority of enemies, or with location lock, Massing at Night excels. Only A Test of Will may ruin Our perfect plan.

Shadow effect

Shadow effect of Massing at Night works on the same basis as When revealed effect. Instead of revealing a card from the Encounter deck, it adds X shadow cards to the given enemy, where again X is the number of Players. Revealing this on Dol Guldur Beastmaster can make Players decent headache, but other enemies may also profit from this shadow effect. Again, with more Players in the game, the shadow effect may be stronger, depends if revealed shadow cards own some shadow effect or not.

Journey Along the Anduin

Players hate revealing Massing at Night in this scenario. Firstly it may bring another Hill Troll to the game, secondly it may cause location/enemy lock during 2B – Anduin Passage. As for shadow effect, the best target are Hill Troll and Dol Guldur Beastmaster.

The Hunt for Gollum

Because collecting of Clue cards is the main task for Players, Hunters from Mordor belong to the best Encounter cards We can send against them. Some of 5 copies of Hunters from Mordor can be brought by Massing at Night to the game. They gain +2 Threat Strength and +2 Attack IF any Clue is in play. As the shadow effect, this enemy deals 1 damage (3 damage if undefended) to each hero with attached Clue. The chance of occurring of all these dangers will dramatically increase if Massing at Night is revealed.

Conflict at the Carrock

Revealing Massing at Night means the bigger chance to appear for Sacked!, eventually Roasted Slowly. These treacheries are simple recipe, how to destroy heroes without issues.

Journey Up the Anduin

In contrast with other Encounter cards of Journey Along the Anduin, Massing at Night doesn’t lose anything on strength and usefulness. For example, more Packs of Wargs or Frenzied Creature may come to the game. 

Danger level


Summary review

Enemies

The only enemy of this Encounter set, Misty Mountain Goblins, won’t arouse respect. Players are easily overlooking his under-average stats and his ability belongs to the little inconvenience. This enemy could hurt only as the undefended shadow effect. OR if some Player will ignore him for some time.

Danger level


Locations

While Banks of the Anduin rather works against Us than against Players, Gladden Fields fully supports Our intentions. On one side, 3 Threat Strength in the staging area would Players gladly eliminate, but on the other side, as active location, it accelerates the threat generation. From this dilemma only We profit. The only weakness of this location lies in its 3 Quest Points: Northern Tracker or Snowbourn Scout may shorten its life, or even fully explore it while staying in the staging area.

Danger level


Treacheries

Massing at Night is Our resolute answer to these who think that more Players will defeat us far easily. The more Players are against Us, the more cards We reveal… and the louder they will cry. Dealt to the enemy as the shadow card, it adds more shadow cards and simultaneously increases the chance that the enemy gains some nice boost.

Danger level


Overall evaluation

Journey Along to Anduin tries to hinder the progress of Players. Although Massing at Night is doing quite well, it occurs just in the single copy. Other cards from this Encounter set don’t come up with Our expectations, although We understand their intentions. In the context of whole Encounter deck or scenario, apart from Massing at Night, the other cards don’t create any strong combo – they work only as loners with bland effects, which Players will learn to ignore soon.

Danger level


YOUR NIGHTMARE

“Nightmare” could sound exaggeratedly, but Massing at Night is closest to this term from all other cards of this Encounter set. This treachery is the only card, which may turn the game significantly in Our favour, depends on the number of Players. It adds to the staging are other cards, with which Players don’t count. Locations increase the overall Threat Strength and the probability of location lock, enemies the predominance in Combat phase and treacheries add the element of unpredictability.


GOBLIN CARD

We hate renegades or even traitors in Our ranks. Old Forest Road and Forest Gate belong among such traitors, which help Players and not Us. Banks of the Anduin doesn’t explicitly own positive effect… but Players may utilize it in their favour. Its “circling potential” may prevent other Encounter cards to hit the table and that’s not definitely anything We would wish.



SHADOW HORROR

There isn’t a big choice of shadow effects – just 2 Encounter cards have them. Shadow effect of Massing at Night may greatly boost the affected enemy and make from him the real and ruthless monster. That’s the best thing that could happen. However, in solo games Massing at Night might fall flat. But We don’t have any other better candidate for SHADOW HORROR – shadow effect of Misty Mountain Goblins will harm Players barely.

One thought on “Encounter Set Review: Journey Along the Anduin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s