Middle Earth Tour: Shadows of Mirkwood

Welcome to the second article detailing the new location cards we have created for the LCG. Locations created for The Middle Earth Tour represent the nicer places in Middle Earth and always have a beneficial effect for the player. This time we’re on the very first cycle for the game released way back in 2011. The quests are listed below, together with the region they use. Players may only add Tour Locations with a region that matches the quest region.

The Shadows of Mirkwood Cycle

Quests: The Hunt for Gollum (Anduin Vales); Conflict at the Carrock (Anduin Vales); Journey to Rhosgobel (Mirkwood); Hills of Emyn Muil (Emyn Muil); The Dead Marshes (Dagorlad); Return to Mirkwood (Mirkwood).

Eagle Eyrie: Since the Mirkwood cycle had so many Eagle cards and the Eagle theme was threaded and developed through it, this Location was a simple design choice to include here. The actual scene where Bilbo is taken to the Eyrie was never filmed for ‘The Hobbit’ movies, and the Eyrie wasn’t included in the LCG as a Location either, so we have used some artwork from the closest available card. It’s a long trek up the mountain to meet those Eagles, though, represented by a high questing value, but if you already have some Eagle allies in play, they can fly you up there. And whilst there, you get a good chance of getting more Eagle cards for your hand (and not just allies either).

Beorn’s Halls: This is another Location that sits in the Anduin Vales so that it can be featured in a few quests. It naturally has the Haven keyword, too, as players are safe when there and protected by Beorn. Whilst at the Hall, players can benefit from Beorn’s hospitality (and this reference to a card is purely intentional as we wanted to replicate existing Event cards in a thematic way), or Beorn can provide some extra resources as he did in the novel/movie with ponies and supplies. In addition, Beorn might just be able to contact his people and persuade them to join the Quest. It felt natural that if Beorn was also in play, either as a Hero or an Ally, players gained more benefits too.

Rhosgobel: This is very much a companion to Beorn’s Hall – another Haven located in a popular region in the cycle, namely Mirkwood. It also gives an added bonus if the proprietor Radagast is in play and reduces the cost of playing an ally type – this time, Creature allies. Although Rhosgobel as a Location already appears in both ‘Journey to Rhosgobel’ and ‘The Wizard’s Quest’, in both of those quests, it starts off the quest and is very much tailored to it. If you want to add Rhosgobel to other Quests in Mirkwood, or are playing Radagast as a Hero, then you can use this version. Rhosgobel offers the players a chance to heal or spy out the land by gaining information from Radagast’s forest chums.

The Argonath: The Quest where you can play this Tour Location, ‘The Hills of Emyn Muil’, really doesn’t need yet another Location as it is already stuffed full with them. But this Location illustrates how we can use the Tour to add in different versions of the occasional Saga Location (this is from ‘The Road Darkens’ set) and visit them in traditional, rather than Saga, Quests. After all, since we’re touring Middle Earth, we do want to see some sights – and this is an absolutely fabulous scene from the movies too! The effects of this Tour Location are very similar to its Saga counterpart, but the particular Saga Quest rules are replaced by a great effect for Gondor heroes gazing upon their ancestors and ‘The Pillars of the Kings’!

Dry Ridge: It was very difficult to design a Location ‘inspired’ by ‘The Dead Marshes’ Quest as there really isn’t a lot in Dagorlad to write home about. In the end, we went for a simple Location that gives the players a bit of respite from trudging through the marshes, and if they have some Scouts or Rangers, it allows them to take a look about the area and see what might be coming in their direction. It does have the standard Opportunity window of 3 turns, so players have a limited time to take advantage of the ridge. And just in case you are playing ‘The Dead Marshes’, we’ve added an Escape number too.

Woodmen Village: This is another more generic version of an existing Location, not from the Saga sets, but from the start of the later ‘Ered Mithrin’ cycle and The Wilds of Rhovanion deluxe set. This version of the village strips away the specific conditions of the ‘Journey Up the Anduin’ Quest and allows players to visit the village in any Mirkwood Quest. The players may barter some information about the surrounding area from the Woodmen, which could be free if they control any Woodmen characters, and the Location plays with the typical Woodmen ability to place progress tokens on Locations in the staging area. The Woodmen may also provide some supplies in the shape of resources. Finally, if a player is on the ‘Return to Mirkwood’ quest and guarding a nasty Gollum, the Woodmen take over for a bit and give Gollum a place to stay for the night…

We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring some new Locations in this cycle that might help any unexpected journeys in Middle Earth be a bit more pleasurable.

Join us next time as The Tour heads underground to feature Locations from the Khazad-dum Deluxe set…

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