After a long hiatus, we have found some of the drafts to continue this series, thanks to popular demand. This article will feature the Redhorn Gate, but we also already have the article for Road to Rivendell in the pipeline to release within a few weeks. If you need a refresher course on the rules for this series, check this article first.
“A cold wind flowed behind as they turned their backs on the Redhorn Gate. Caradhras had defeated them.”
Welcome to the latest There & Back Again article as I leave the ‘Khazad-dum’ Deluxe set and start on the Adventure Packs of the Dwarrowdelf Cycle. For some strange reason, the first Quest bounces us out of Moria and back to Lorien. This is a very odd decision on behalf of the game designers, but it does at least give players a chance to use the last encounter set in the Deluxe set and, this time, cross the Misty Mountains from the chilly outside…
Although the new Encounter deck cards are very tough, there are none that really beat up the solo player or are ‘bullet’ cards that kill players, so I don’t think I need to change any for Story Mode.
Favourite player card: Although there are some useful cards in this AP, unfortunately, none really stand out for me. If I had to pick one, it would be Unseen Strike as it’s often the case a player optionally engages an Enemy with a higher engagement cost than his current Threat, and this +3 ATK for no Cost is not a bad thing.
For this quest, I decided to try a real family theme with Elrohir, Elladan, and Elrond (conceptually at Rivendell so I can test my Lord mechanic for Story Mode) escorting Arwen home. This completely new deck was a fusion of all the Spheres but concentrated on Noldor cards to represent Rivendell. My respective starting attachments were Song of Wisdom, Rivendell Blade, and Song of Travel. I couldn’t put Vilya on Elrond as it is unique, but it certainly went into my deck along with Imladris Stargazer to utilise it fully. I also put Gandalf back in. My Steward of Gondor re-theme for this deck is Agent of Rivendell and attaches to any (Leadership or Noble) Noldor Hero. My starting threat was 23 with the Rivendell Haven (as I need not add Threat from Elrond as he is a Lord there).
Decklist link (Will follow soon)
My first and second attempts both didn’t get very far before lots of enemies with high Defence swarmed over me, and the amount of questing needed with Caradhras in the staging area is so high each round, even with Arwen to help you out. Third time out, and what an epic game! The first encounter card was Bitter Wind which got rid of all my resources in one stroke. I thought I was doomed from the start. Still, I struggled on and made some headway, getting onto the second quest card where Freezing Cold got attached to Elrohir and where I wanted to save my Hero tokens for the last quest card. I thought I was doomed (especially when a close escape from Fallen Stones almost killed Elladan), but a quick appearance by Gandalf managed to save my skin, and just in time, with 3 damage on him, Elladan got Arwen over the mountains!
My next attempt at the quest did really well, and I got nearly all the way through, reached the third quest card, cleared out Caradhras, and got 7 progress tokens on the quest before a nasty Mountain Warg got lucky and killed Elladan. Too many locations in the staging area just made it impossible to go further…
Determined to beat the quest, I tried again and beat the quest with a hugely entertaining game that lasted over an hour. I managed to get a real Rivendell Haven engine going with lots of allies that could help Elladan and Elrohir with their quest – most notably Gildor Inglorion, who I got into play on the second turn and essentially became the third Hero on the quest. It was really great to get Vilya into play after hunting for it with Master of the Forge. The encounter deck was kind, however, with not a Snowstorm or Mountain Troll in sight.
Favourite card combo: It has to be the Noldor twins Elladan and Elrohir. Previously, I have always played strict Progression style so have never played this quest with Elladan as he wasn’t available until the next AP. Using him with his brother in this quest is just terrific and opens them up to more versatility.
A Hero’s Story
Elrohir: A minor character often cut from adaptations, Elrohir is, of course, the son of Elrond. He gets a nice Defence bonus when with Elladan, and his ability to be used again after being declared a defender means his use in combat befits his birth-right as part of the Grey Company that aided the Rangers of the North.
I thought this was a very enjoyable and thematic quest that starved you of resources (which I likened to warmth or provisions) and which really played up the treacherous weather and freezing cold in a dangerous trek across the mountains. The enemies and locations helped the theme too.
My Lord mechanic seemed to work really well and is hugely thematic. I could really imagine cut-scenes of Elrond and the various Elves back at Rivendell discussing the quest and providing aid and advice from afar.
But talking about Rivendell, I’ve crossed the Misty Mountains, and my road there is in sight…
“The Road Goes Ever On…”