This poll took quite a lot of setup, as in previous 9 polls, I asked you all what your favourite scenarios were in each cycle. The nine winners of those polls then advanced to the poll I put up for this month, to see how those scenarios stack up against one another. While I have done scenario based polls in the past, including a tournament style poll, those polls were dilluted with results from the Saga and POD scenarios, which are usually preferred over the cycle scenarios. The Saga quests also hold sentimental value for people who like the parts of the books that they adopt, and the POD quests have different mechanics that might make them stand out more than others. Not to mention that the old tournament didn’t even include the Vengeance of Mordor quests. I might have to redo such a poll in the future, but for now, we have the cycles to compare!
In total, the poll received a total of 166 votes, which is nice to get for months that are a bit shorter than others. Since I gave everyone 2 votes, people could also vote for their second favourite quest, which led to all quests receiving at least 4 votes each. The votes were distributed as such:
Turns out that the old quests seem to be the favourites of the community. These quests might hold nostagic value to players, but are also most likely played by the most people. All community members own a Core Set (I assume) so it makes sense that Journey Along the Anduin scores this high. Not all visitors of this site have played some of the later ones, and even then they might not be the favourites. The 4 votes for Wainriders will probably come from veteran players who appreciate the new mechanics of the quest.
But let’s focus on the winner of this poll first. Foundations of Stone takes the top spot, which does not really come as a surprise. This quest has always been a fan-favourite and is great to play with both new players, and veteran players who can still get overwhelmed by that third quest stage. The enemies are quite unique, and the different quest stages give you plenty of replayability. Replayability has been a defining factor for this list, as many of the quest feature random elements that put the quests up here. Three Trials has the random enemy/key/barrow/quest setup, Temple of the Deceived has the map mechanic, Fire in the Night has a random side-quest deck, and Steward’s Fear has a random selection of villains and plots.
One of the quests that breaks this mold is Journey Along the Anduin, which slides into second place. This quest is of course this high on the list thanks to everyone’s first experience with the Hill Troll when they thought this game was easy. Even after all these years, the quest is a great one to come back to, and can still crush new decks if you aren’t careful. This quest was so good, that the developers decided to make it twice, as it returns as Journey Up the Anduin in the Wilds of Rhovanion Deluxe box. This quest is iconic, and deserves a high rank on this list.
The third place goes to the quest from the third cycle: The Steward’s Fear. This expansion not only has fantastic player cards, but the quest is quite unique as well (until Danger in Dorwinion copied it). The combination of different plots and final bosses can lead up to 9 different quests, and even before you hit the later stages of the quest, the Underworld deck is quite interesting. The quest can also be quite difficult, with location lock being one of the most common ways to die in this quest. Try this with a few friends and you’ll soon learn why this quest is ranked so high.
From the top 3 to the next quests is quite a jump in votes, as these quests are a lot newer and not many people have gotten to play them yet. I was amazed that Fire in the Night scores so high on the list, but considering what other quests are in the cycle, this is indeed one of the better ones. Fire in the Night is quite tough though, and the randomness of the side-quests can shift your focus between questing hard, or trying to stay alive and fight off Dagnir. The timer of the town burning down is also very cool, and I can see how this quest can rank high for people who appreciate a new story.
I was a bit surprised to see that Escape from Umbar ended up so low on the list. The quest is a great introduction to the Haradrim cycle and the scenario is often used as a testing quest, which is one of the things that also boosted Journey Along the Anduin on this list. But since the Harad-heavy encounter deck is repeated in the Black Serpent and with some annoying encounter cards like Southron Champion being in the encounter deck, I do feel that people would prefer to rank other quests over this one. Still, it is good to see that 8 people like this quest for its tempo and difficult decisions between removing progress or resolving effects.
For March, I will step away from the scenarios again, though I can definitely do a “worst scenario of each cycle” comparison in the future. Might do that sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we will now look towards some more opinions on the playmats that have been released for the game in the past. I will restrict myself to only playmats that were released as a part of a Game-Night event or Fellowship event in the past 8-9 years. This means that any playmats available for general purchase, such as the Hobbit Saga cover art mats are excluded (for now). I will try and link some pictures to each mat, so you can see what the more rare mats are looking like. I thought this would be a nice time to compare the mats now that more and more Fellowship 2020 kits are made available to the general public. Please vote for your favourite 2 mats, and I will share the results of the poll with you all this time next month.