Encounter Set Review: Wilderlands

Not only Orcs and Spiders are on Our side. If needed, We call to the battle even beasts and trolls in order to stop and destroy all Players. Instead of malevolent treacheries and exhausting locations, We send on Players the power in the form of teeth, claws and clubs. Try to stop Us, Players!

Summary review

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries


Enemies

Wolf Rider

Eastern Crows have already proved that strength doesn’t have to mean everything. This is also confirmed by the first enemy of Wilderlands, Wolf Rider. With 1 Threat Strength, 2 Attack, 0 Defense and 2 Hit Points, Players won’t have many problems to kill Our pet. At least, 10 Engagement cost means that any Player will certainly encounter this enemy if he doesn’t run a deck with a single hero.

The main purpose of Wolf Rider lies in that he never comes alone, thanks to the keyword Surge. So he is a very nice surprise for Players because he can arrive with another enemy, treachery or location. The sad thing is Wolf Rider doesn’t have an ability, which could disadvantage Players. Wolf Rider is something like “chump attacker”: he just keeps busy one of Player’s character for the one round and then he most likely dies, because only 2 damage is enough to kill him.

Shadow effect

Wolf Rider is one of the encounter cards, which has better shadow effect than if it is revealed from encounter deck in the normal way. Actually, his task is to suddenly ambush unready Players. As a shadow card, it doesn’t boost enemy in any way, but it becomes the standalone enemy, which attacks a Player. A Player is allowed to declare 1 defender, if able. Moreover, Wolf Rider gets his own shadow card. In other words, from shadow card becomes enemy with own shadow card. The Player has to declare one character as a defender, which may ruin his plan during his attacking effort. In practice, Wolf Rider may provoke to defending a character, who might be good attacker, but bad defender (Silverlode Archer, Son of Arnor). Such allies are vulnerable even against 2 Attack. In the perfect world, Players might not control any ally, thus damage of Wolf Rider can hit directly some hero. If moreover boosted by a proper shadow effect, the work of destruction can be accomplished. However, that’s not all – Wolf Rider will return to the top of the encounter deck after the combat. So in the next round, Players can be sure they will reveal Wolf Rider and its surge keyword. It’s also good to know that with Wolf Rider are associated few specific rulings: 1) When Wolf Rider is revealed as the shadow card, the Player must resolve his attack at first, then he may continue in resolving attack of the original enemy. 2) Wolf Rider is not engaged with Player, thus he is actually “immune to counterattack”. 3) Still, Wolf Rider, as the card in play, can be targeted by some cards (Sneak Attack + Gandalf). 4) Wolf Rider’s shadow effect can be cancelled by Hasty Stroke, thus he won’t attack Player. 4) Wolf Rider will return to the top of the encounter deck in any case, unless Player deals him direct damage, which would kill him (Gondorian Spearman + another card with dealing-damage effect).   

In different scenarios

Wolf Rider doesn’t work specifically. He may bring to the game (due to the Surge keyword) any interesting enemy/treachery/location, no matter what scenario is played. His shadow effect works all by itself, without the possibility of creating any combo, thus We won’t introduce Wolf Rider more in-depth in relation to different scenarios.

Danger level

Shadow level


Hill Troll

The main doom and terror of the whole Core set, Hill Troll, is one of Our strongest minions. Other Core set enemies compared to him look like harmless extra. When the battleground is shaking under the feet of this Troll, it is reasonable to leave the play in panic.

30 Engagement cost determines the reliable threshold, which no Player wants to cross unlike he is perfectly prepared to face Hill Troll. Players commonly try to gain some time to the preparation, and so they begin with as lowest overall starting threat as possible / decrease their threat / prevent Hill Troll to attack, etc. The main reason, why are Players so afraid, lies in his spectacular combat stats: 1 Threat Strength, 6 Attack, 3 Defense and 9 Hit Points. He won’t hurt Players while staying in the staging area, but after he encounters Player, the ruthless bloodshed begins. Under the single hit of his mighty axe will fall almost any character, including heroes. Non-boosted Hill Troll’s attack can survive only Aragorn or Gimli, with 1 Hit Point left! If Wargs boosts Hill Troll’s attack as the shadow effect, then even these heroes will be eliminated. And so, the only two ways, how to fight with Our minion, are 1) to attach some hero Citadel Plate, or 2) to defend him with chump blocker. Excluding unfair ways how to deal with Hill Troll (like Feint or Sneak Attack + Gandalf), the Player has not another option than to armour some hero or sacrifice his ally.

BUT dealing with Hill Troll is not that simple, how it may look. All excess damage dealt by this enemy must be transformed into the threat of the defending Player. So in practice, Hill Troll, defended by Veteran Axehand, will deal 3 damage to Veteran Axehand (1 Defense + 2 Hit Points) and the rest of excess damage (3) will be transformed into 3 threat by which defending Player must increase his own threat. This solution of Hill Troll’s attack may save the life of the hero, but it will cause the rapid increasing of Player’s threat. And with increasing threat are joined only “nice things”, like encountering more enemies with higher Engagement cost (Marsh Adder).

Players will experience tough moments even during attacking this monstrosity due to very high Defense and lots of Hit Points. Only the army of characters or heavy-injured Gimli can knock off Hill Troll. Moreover, the Player has to act quickly, because with each round Hill Troll will kill one character and probably increase the Player’s threat. He is just a perfect killing machine.

Journey Along the Anduin:

Ungoliant’s Spawn and Chieftan Ufthak may be the first hard enemies Players will encounter, but Hill Troll is the first real threat. Unprepared Players will cry over many dead characters, including heroes. In this scenario, the facing Hill Troll is a certain thing: 1 – To the River forces Players to search for 1 Hill Troll and put him into the staging area. Players cannot progress to the next stage until Hill Troll is in play. So in practice, Players must defeat this Troll. The inevitability of combat with Hill Troll does solid pressure on Player’s preparation. Players have to build a good army in a relatively short time. As if that wasn’t enough, We can send to the game the second Hill Troll – and facing two Hill Trolls at once most likely means game over. Nevertheless, Hill Troll can be supported by very effective shadow effects (Wargs or Eastern Crows), which can send to the grave even the sturdiest characters.

Conflict at the Carrock:

Because the main show awaits on unique Trolls Louis, Morris, Stuart and Rupert, Hill Troll plays the second fiddle here. Despite that, Players must be aware of Hill Troll because he 1) may increase threat, which would send his big brothers on Players, and 2) may be boosted by synergy cards, like The Carrock, Sacked! or Roasted Slowly. As a Troll, he can also boost the location River Langflood, which may cause the location lock.

The Dead Marshes:

The sovereignty of Hill Troll returns in The Dead Marshes, because no enemy reaches his quality here. Players have to make a maximum effort to beat this monster again.

Return to Mirkwood:

In the big final, Hill Troll will invite his dangerous friends Ungoliant’s Spawn and Attercop, Attercop. With Gollum’s treacheries, it makes the deadly cocktail, from which Players may never recover.

Journey Up the Anduin:

Hill Troll can be boosted by many great shadow effects, like Pack of Wargs, Goblin Troop or Dangerous Crossing. Mainly, Hill Troll as the part of Evil Creature deck can be a permanent danger for Players due to the possibility of the repetitive revealing. It’s also the last scenario, where We can rejoice from Hill Troll’s glory.

Danger level


Goblin Sniper

Being invisible and ambush Players without the possibility of retaliation is the main task of Goblin Sniper. He isn’t endowed by breathtaking stats. 2 Threat Strength can annoy Players at most, but 2 Attack, 0 Defense and 2 Hit Points won’t scare off.

Goblin Sniper engages Players with 48 and more threat. Seemingly easy target for Players will become bitter when considering his nice ability (more precisely, one passive effect and one Forced effect). Players must do without optionally engaging Goblin Sniper, if in the staging area is another enemy. He just likes the company of his other friends. Thus, Goblin Sniper becomes totally elusive, if Players don’t use some cowardly manoeuvre, like Son of Arnor or Dúnhere. If Goblin Sniper is staying in the staging area at the end of the combat phase, he deals 1 damage to 1 character of each Player in the game. Though it might seem 1 damage is not the serious hurt, in the later phase of the game, when more characters are bleeding, it can be the last shot for the concerned character. We count with that Player will deal damage firstly to expendable allies or sturdy heroes. However, with 1 damage by 1, each round will mean constantly increasing danger, if Players won’t take care of Goblin Sniper. And so, sooner or later even the key characters will get the damage, endangering their lives. What a cunning servant of Sauron!

Journey Along the Anduin:

Goblin Sniper’s ability is perfectly supported by other direct-damage cards like The Necromancer’s Reach or Evil Storm. In Anduin Passage, he has a main free scope of activity, because Players don’t make the engagement checks, so enemies commonly tend to gather here. That’s the perfect environment for elusive Goblin Sniper.

Conflict at the Carrock:

Goblin Sniper can attack from behind unique Trolls. Though he hasn’t a special task or perfect environment here, every damage to a character counts. It weakens Player’s characters before or during fight with Trolls.

The Dead Marshes:

Though marshes would seem like a great environment for a sniper, not many enemies will protect Goblin Sniper. Except for Eastern Crows and enemies from Wilderlands, only Giant Marsh Worm will fulfil Our ranks. It follows that Players will have a higher chance to catch Goblin Archer alone in the staging area.

Return to Mirkwood:

Goblin Sniper is in his element again, thanks to the supporting cards Mirkwood Bats (who deals 1 damage to each character of Player guarding Gollum) and Gollum’s Bite.

Journey Up the Anduin:

Stray Goblin looks like the cousin of Goblin Archer. However, despite Players can’t optionally engage him, he doesn’t stay in the staging area for a very long time: he engages the Players after another enemy engages that Player. Except for this blood-related kinship, Goblin Sniper might be overlooked here (if he doesn’t get a boost by Frenzied Creature).

Danger level


Marsh Adder

On the banks of river Anduin, not only Orcs and Trolls may surprise Players. Too bold adventurers who stray too deeply into marshes can encounter the rare, but very dangerous and aggresive CreatureMarsh Adder.

This wild enemy is disturbed only by Players with 40 and more threat, but when Marsh Adder wakes up, it can be as dangerous as Hill Troll himself. With 3 threat, it solidly raises the overall threat in the staging area. 4 Attack will break most defenses of characters. 1 Defense makes Marsh Adder quite vulnerable to attacks, but 7 Hit Points isn’t peace of cake. All in all, stats of Marsh Adder are high enough to Players should get nervous. 

Marsh Adder is a really big Creature, able to shatter soft bodies and loudly destroy everything around it during the fight. Such a havoc can attract other enemies, which is illustrated by Marsh Adder’s Forced effect. Each time this Creature attacks, the Player must raise his threat by 1. In practice, with accelerated threat generation, the Player will encounter enemies with higher Engagement cost faster. During the single round and with furious attacking Marsh Adder, Players will raise their threat by 2 at least (counting the raising threat in Refresh phase). So it’s in Player’s interest to kill Marsh Adder as soon as possible. 

We are sad that Marsh Adder belongs to rare creatures. Only 1 copy of it lurks in the encounter deck and so Players will have not the honor to meet Marsh Adder frequently.

Journey Along the Anduin:

The concetration on battle with Hill Troll might be a great opportunity to send Marsh Adder to the game. Under pressure of two strong enemies, every defense will face the hard test. The threat may be rapidly increasing if Marsh Adder keeps attacking and simultaneously Hill Troll is breaking the defense of a character. Another combo arises with Gladden Fields, if it is active location. Each round the Player would raise his threat by 3 (counting regular +1 threat from Refresh phase), so the very fast acceleration of threat can cause uncontrolled enemies engagement (and of course, the higher probability of hitting 50 threat).

Conflict at the Carrock: 

Players will probably let Marsh Adder in the staging area as long as possible, because they will want to prepare for arrival of unique Trolls. They don’t want to risk to face Marsh Adder and Louis simultaneously – with both encountered enemies, the threat would raise very quickly. 

The Dead Marshes:

The Dead Marshes is homeland of big and dangerous marsh creatures, like Giant Marsh Worm or… Marsh Adder! The long roaming in marshes (caused by exhausting hunt for Gollum) increase the probability of encountering the single copy of Marsh Adder.

Return to Mirkwood:

As for any possible combo with Marsh Adder, only Gollum’s Anguish may significantly accelerate the Player’s threat, altogether with this enemy. Because too fast raising threat belongs here to the main issue of this scenario, Marsh Adder worths for attention.

Journey Up the Anduin:

This is the only scenario, where Players can encounter Marsh Adder more than once when part of Evil Creature deck. Because this enemy doesn’t go to the Victory display if destroyed, Marsh Adder poses the incessant danger.

Danger level


Wargs

Wargs are the true loyal servants of Sauron and one of the most feared and furious Creatures of the whole Core set. Nobody can match their tenacity and We will tell you why.

Wargs will encounter almost any Player without doubts – they have just 20 Engagement cost. Their stats are slightly above average: 2 Threat, 3 Attack and 1 Defense with 3 Hit Points. The Attack arouses the greatest respect for sure, for common enemy it’s a decent value. But when Wargs attack, it’s always devastating and mainly frustrating for Players. Everytime Wargs do not get the shadow card with shadow effect, they return after their attack to the staging area immediately. We would describe their attack as “bite and run.” The main advantage in such manoeuvre lies in that they are elusive and they can successfully avoid any intended counterattack. For Players, it generates much frustration – though they could kill Wargs during one attempt, they actually can’t. Wargs will disappear right in front of them. It often looks like that Wargs are staying in the staging area (thus increasing the overall threat), encounter the Player, attack for 3 (which destroys many allies and hurts many heroes) and jump away from Player, if dealt shadow card to them hadn’t any shadow effect. In this way Wargs may decimate the ranks of characters effectively.

Unfortunately, Wargs are not immune against some dirty tricks of Players. The biggest threat for Wargs is nobody else than Gandalf. Players use his “4-damage ability” against them very frequently. The most drastic solution is followed by other malicious tricks, like using Feint or A Burning Brand (these cards prevent Wargs to attack, thus the ability won’t trigger and Wargs stay in engage with the Player). Hasty Stroke doesn’t change anything… it cancels shadow effects, so using it on Wargs with shadow effect won’t cause returning Wargs back to the staging area – they will stay in engagement with Player anyway. Wargs can also be one of the important impulse to force certain Player add Dúnhere to the deck. He may kill Wargs in the staging area all by himself during 2 rounds. It is clear that Wargs can decimate the army of Players, but they are vulnerable to many Player cards able to stop them from their job. 

Shadow effect

We have expected that the ability of Wargs will be reflected in their shadow effect, however no returning to the staging area occurs. Instead of it, Wargs own far simpler and more straightforward shadow effect, which adds +1 Attack to an attacking enemy, +2 if undefended. If the boosted enemy is Hill Troll… well, Gandalf protects Player.

Journey Along the Anduin:

Players will struggle with Wargs very strenuously, because they must deal with them and often with Hill Troll at the same time. Too evasive Wargs can kill many allies and hit many heroes, which would be used in the combat with Hill Troll, and that generates much frustration. Sometimes Players are so exhausted by incessant battle with Wargs that they succumb to other enemies and so Players lose the game.

Conflict at the Carrock: 

For Players it must be the top frustration to face unique Trolls, while Wargs don’t stop attacking and jumping back to the staging area. That’s how We love it.

The Dead Marshes:

The attack of Wargs is pleasant diversification during the long, sometimes tedious roaming of Players in marshes.

Return to Mirkwood:

Wargs may play a key role during delaying the last stage of this scenario, 4 – Ambush, where Players can’t success if there are any enemies in play. The massive raising threat by 3 (4 with threat raised from Refresh phase), caused by Gollum, will finish the rest.

Journey Up the Anduin:

Wargs get the new companion: Pack of Wargs. They support each other, which makes them stronger and fiercer. Pack of Wargs can attack repeatedly, while Wargs can avoid the counterattack of Players. Even shadow effects of both enemies perfectly complement each other. Wargs can boost already high Attack of Pack of Wargs, while Pack of Wargs returns Wargs back to the staging area. Thus, there is even higher chance that Wargs remain untouched. 

Danger level

Shadow level


Locations

The Brown Lands

Players want to enter The Brown Lands, but they are terrified, when it arrives into the staging area. This desolate, dismal, no-man’s land has 5 Threat Strength, which is the highest value from all locations of the Core set. The best moment for The Brown Lands occurs, when there is already active location and staging area is filled with locations (and enemies). The probability of location lock occurrence with The Brown Lands in the staging area is sharply increased. If Players can’t generate enough Willpower to clear the active location, their fate is sealed and Our Lord Sauron is pleased.

We, however, have some objections as for Quest Points and Forced effect. The Brown Lands is very easy location to explore because it has only 1 Quest Point. Moreover, its Forced effect says that after Players travel to this location, they put 1 progress token on it. In other words, they automatically explore The Brown Lands in the moment of travelling. That’s not good news for Us. It significantly incites Players to travel to this location as fast as possible, because they will get rid of 5 Threat Strength. Fortunately, The East Bight belongs to the next locations of Wilderlands. If present in the staging area, Players are not allowed to choose The Brown Lands for the active location, because The East Bight forces them to travel there, no matter what. It insidiously prevents to deal with The Brown Lands as soon as possible, thus the location lock is even closer.

Because The Brown Lands lacks “immune to player card effects” wording, it is very vulnerable to some “cleaner cards”. Namely Snowbourn Scout, who can place 1 progress token to any location. Another nasty, mass cleaner of locations is, of course, Northern Tracker. They are the arch-enemies number 1.

Journey Along the Anduin:

In 2 – Anduin Passage, revealing The Brown Lands can be brutal if active location is already there. Players are revealing 1 additional card during staging, thus the location lock can occur with high probability.

Conflict at the Carrock:

The Brown Lands fits in 2 – Against Trolls, because Players must prepare for the fight with unique Trolls, they must overcome their Threat Strength (8 altogether) to quest successfully and at the same time, they must explore The Carrock as fast possible due to a significant boost for all Trolls. The sudden revelation of The Brown Lands can seriously break the plans of Players.

The Dead Marshes:

We can imagine that revealing The Brown Lands might be very tricky if Players have decided to travel into Impassable Bog before. Exploration of this location is very exhausting and lengthy, thus The Brown Lands can cleverly block the staging area and prevent the smooth questing.

Return to Mirkwood:

One stage of Return to Mirkwood welcomes The Brown Lands open-armed: 2 – Escape Attempt. The revelation of The Brown Lands will suddenly raise the overall Threat Strength in the staging area, thus if Players will not be successful in questing, Gollum escapes and Players will lose the game.

Journey Up the Anduin:

The old good The Brown Lands will remind Players that questing can be really tricky part of the game. Especially, if they already face locations with potentially high Threat Strength, like Hills of Wilderland and Lonely Lands. The Brown Lands won’t get lost among them.

Danger level


The East Bight

The East Bight shares with The Brown Lands the same trait, Wasteland. However, it’s the only thing they have both in common. The East Bight looks like the complete opposite of The Brown Lands: it is harmless in the staging area, while it punishes the Players a lot if it is active location… or if the spot for active location is empty.

1 Threat Strength is too few to Players should worry about. However, 6 Quest Points implies that exploring this location won’t be fast or easy. If Players don’t get together the big amount of Willpower, they may struggle with exploring, if some encounter cards in the staging area are present (of course, almost empty staging area won’t prevent Players to fully explore The East Bight quickly). 

The triumph of The East Bight, however, lies in its ability: “When faced with the option to travel, the players must travel to The East Bight if there is no active location.” If there are more locations occupying the staging area, Players are allowed to choose only The East Bight as the active location. The staging area will lose the location with the lowest Threat Strength to keep the locations with higher Threat Strength there. The East Bight can directly cause the location lock by the impossibility to choose the more crucial locations for travelling. This location creates a perfect and natural combo with The Brown Lands, which owns very high Threat Strength. We see the bonus in that using Snowbourn Scout or Northern Tracker on The East Bight is quite ineffective. However, We pay attention to Lórien Guide, who may speed up its exploration.

Journey Along the Anduin:

The long journey in The East Bight can break a neck to Players while being in stage 2 – Anduin Passage. In this stage, the staging area tends to cumulate more encounter cards due to revealing 1 additional encounter card during staging. The high amount of the overall Threat Strength Players can’t reduce by travelling into a location with high Threat Strength if The East Bight is in the staging area. Players then have to generate much Willpower to overcome the Threat Strength of the staging area + be able to put some progress tokens on The East Bight, if they want to get rid of this location. In this situation, the location lock may occur with a high probability.

Conflict at the Carrock:

Travelling into The Carrock takes precedence over The East Bight because Players travels there on the basis of 1 – Grimbeorn’s Quest. Otherwise, it could be interesting to see, how The East Bight blocks the possibility of travelling into The Carrock. However, The East Bight can still delay the travelling into River Langflood, another very strong location.

The Dead Marshes:

Except for The Brown Lands, no location from this scenario represents the serious threat, if The East Bight is active.

Return to Mirkwood:

In 2 – Escape Attempt, The East Bight can effectively block the progression into the next stage, which would mean Players must permanently face the feared effect that may end the game instantly if Players fail in questing.

Journey Up the Anduin:

Here, The East Bight can delay the travel into Lonely Lands or Hills of Wilderland, so again the location lock can occur.

Danger level


Treacheries

Despair

The single treachery of Wilderlands doesn’t aim at characters, attachments or cards in Player’s hand as most of the “Core treacheries”. The target of Despair is progression. Sometimes Players are hardly going through the Quest phase, their progression through the game is exhausting and lengthy. The reason can lie in the location lock or in lack of enough Willpower. In these moments, revealed Despair can cause the peak of Player’s frustration. It removes up to 4 progress tokens from the current quest (never from the active location, if present) and removes all progress tokens if on the current quest are fewer than 4 progress tokens.

Though removing progress tokens might slow down Players in making progression, it works only in specific situations described above (location lock, struggling with Willpower generation). Otherwise, 4 or less removed progress tokens won’t hurt Players too much – they can generate other progress tokens in the next round. Because Despair can’t target active locations, Players won’t experience the situation, in which Despair would remove progress tokens from The East Bight, very exhausting location. Removing progress tokens from there would highly increase the chance for location lock occurrence. Unfortunately, Despair doesn’t allow that.

Shadow effect

We are far more satisfied when Despair is revealed as the shadow card. Because defending character won’t count its Defense, it bares his Hit Points. It may simply cause the hero’s death, especially when Player doesn’t expect it and defend with fragile / already hurt hero. The attack from some enemies might not some heroes survive even with full Hit Points at all if Despair is revealed. Such Hill Troll will reliably kill any hero, who doesn’t have attached Citadel Plate. But boosting Marsh Adder or Wargs by Despair’s shadow effect can be devastating as well. It depends on who is defending character.

Journey Along the Anduin:

The main effect of Despair can hurt during 2 – Anduin Passage, when Players need to generate as much progress tokens as possible if they don’t want to be overcome by enemies and locations. Despair as shadow effect will bring the chaos and death if revealed on Hill Troll, Marsh Adder and Chieftan Ufthak.

Conflict at the Carrock:

Louis, Stuart, Rupert and Morris. Despair’s shadow effect revealed on these Trolls will almost with certainty kill any character. Also, when revealed on Muck Adder, it means instant death, no matter who is defender and what attachments he holds. 

The Dead Marshes:

Despair doesn’t pose an issue here, because Players are not in rush. They try to catch Gollum as fast as possible, but removing progress tokens from the current quest doesn’t influence their effort anyhow, unfortunately.

Return to Mirkwood:

The different situation occurs in Return to Mirkwood, because here Players fight with time. Any delaying can mean the rapid jump in threat because guarding Gollum generates much of it. Which means Despair will hurt Player’s progression. Attercop, Attercop is the enemy, who starves for shadow effect of Despair.

Journey Up the Anduin:

Despair fits in the stage 1B – Traveling North, where at the beginning of each encounter phase, 1 progress token is removed from the quest, making it difficult for Players to do any progression at all. 

Danger level

Shadow level


Summary review

Enemies

Wilderlands can be proud of a great number of enemies, mostly with a high level of danger. It also gathers very variable enemies – Wargs and Marsh Adders as Creatures, then Trolls, and of course some Orcs and Goblins. The biggest high-tonnage enemy, Hill Troll, will Players notice immediately due to his impressive stats and dreaded ability. Marsh Adder also doesn’t belong among fragile enemies, Players must make an effort to beat this Creature, especially when it raises threat during each attack. For Players, the most annoying and tameless enemy are undoubtedly Wargs, who are jumping in and out, biting and tear to pieces characters, which cannot protect themselves anyhow. Players have to rely on their player cards (Gandalf, Feint) or pray for the presence of shadow effect on the shadow card, dealt to Wargs.

Other enemies don’t pose an immediate threat, but they can appear, when Players expect it the least (Wolf Rider), or they can ambush Players from back lines without possibility of retaliation (Goblin Sniper). Nevertheless, in a direct confrontation they will fall quickly.

Danger level


Locations

One location is the opposite of the another, each of them excels in something different. While The Brown Lands means a huge raise of Threat Strength in the staging area, The East Bight means a solid barrier blocking the effective quest progression. Dealing with The Brown Lands isn’t any challenge, because in the moment of traveling, it is “auto-explored”. Exploring The East Bight isn’t so easy, because it forces Players to travel there, no matter what locations sit in the staging area + it has 6 Quest Points. These are perfect parameters of the location, which may cause the lock of the staging area.

Danger level


Treacheries

Of all the types of encounter cards, Players will remind treacheries, represented by the single card Despair, the least. Removing up to 4 progress tokens won’t punish Players too much (however, its shadow effect is one of the best shadow effects in the Core set).

Danger level


Shadow effects

Wilderlands introduces shadow effects with quite certain task: to seriously injure or even kill a character (not necessarily defender). The best champion in this discipline is Despair, which tears off the Defense of defending character and uncovers his Hit Points. Wargs simply boosts the Attack of an enemy. If boosted enemy is Hill Troll, the Player will lose defender almost on 100%. Wolf Rider works in a different way – it will attack the Player as if Wolf Rider was a regular (but inevitable) enemy. Then it depends, if Player has some character in backup for defending duty, or if none character remains for defending, thus if the damage will be dealt directly to a hero. 

Danger level


Overall evaluation

Wilderlands is Our most favourite encounter set from the several reasons:

1) It contains 8 different encounter cards – the great variability is assured.

2) It contains 5 types of enemies. From this follows that Wilderlands is not afraid of combat, on the contrary – it is seeking combat. Hill Troll is alleged leader, who heads the army.

3) It contains 2 locations, which make the progression through the quest much harder than any other location from previous encounter sets.

And because Wilderlands belongs among non-exclusive encounter sets, Players will face Hill Troll and others more than once.  

Overall Danger level of the set


YOUR NIGHTMARE

This noble title belongs undoubtedly to Hill Troll, who can kill even heroes by the single smash with his giant axe. We don’t regret that Hill Troll lacks intelligence or that he lacks the cunning style of fight. Everything he compensates by the brutal force combined with quite low engagement cost and the ability to accelerate Player’s threat to an abnormal level. If Players search for the cause of disproportionate fear from having 30 starting threat, it’s because of Hill Troll. This threat level Players subconsciously consider for “critical threshold”, which shouldn’t be exceeded in the early phase of game, even though Wilderlands (thus Hill Troll) is not the part of the encounter deck. 

 

GOBLIN CARD

Revealing Despair means the big relief for Players and deep wrinkles on Our foreheads. Though removing 4 progress tokens from the current quest might complicate the progression in some cases, mostly Players gratefully accept such effect, if it means to avoid revealing other, far worse encounter cards (like Hill Troll). However, Despair has hidden another, darker side.





SHADOW HORROR

Yes, Despair is mostly dangerous if revealed as the shadow effect. While sometimes its main effect Players barely notice, the shadow effect may cause almost heart attack. Not counting Defense of the character uncovers his Hit Points, thus endangers directly his life. In most cases, allies go right into the discard pile, while heroes may follow them, if strong enemy attacks / they are already seriously injured.  

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