It is not often that this game gets much news from FFG, so I was surprised to wake up this morning and see some actual announcements during the In-Flight report that was held while I was sleeping. For those of you who want to see the event for yourselves, see this video or check out this written summary of the event. In this article, I will go over the impact this has on me and for the blog, as it might start to change some things.
The event starts off with the announcement that the game has been out for 10 years (remember that lovely 11-minute Livestream celebration?), and has thus gotten quite a large fanbase (that’s us). In order to make Asmodee even more money, they are now trying to focus on releasing new content that will allow new players an easier time into the game. The first part of this is the revised Core Set. This one changes things up with a new cover, different box dimensions from the looks of it, and a few new components. This box will become available for general purchase in Q1 2022. So it won’t be a suitable Christmas present, but maybe buy this for Valentine’s Day!
What is the same?
From what we’ve heard, the cards included in the box will be the same as in the original version. You can expect these cards to be compatible with the regular game, only having the most recent errata on them. For players who only have one of the original Core Sets, this might be the perfect product to get as a second Core Set! The threat trackers included in this box will also be of the newer, smaller variety, which is nice for people who didn’t get to buy the updated Core Set where all they changed were a few cards and the size of the trackers and tokens.
What is different?
You can expect a few changes in this box, most notably, the cover is different, and I’m sure the artwork on the back of the box will also have changed. There is also a good chance that the rulebook has been rewritten to introduce certain keywords to players early or have an updated list of terms or FAQs. Note that this is not a second edition of the game, so the rulebook will be similar to the original aside from some small rephrasing.
Another thing that will be different is that the new Core Set will be able to support a 4 player game right out of the box! This will mean it comes with updated tokens and 4 threat trackers in the box. The tokens now display values of 3 and 5 (maybe on flipped sides). This will be great for people who have put Steward of Gondor on the wrong hero or whenever someone’s Gimli is buried in damage tokens. The update to the components is great for new players who no longer have to get 2 Core Sets to start the game with. Just get the new one and invite 3 friends. I am not certain if the number of cards in the game will be the same, or if we will get 3 copies of each player card (4 for Gandalf). That would help to eliminate the need for a second Core altogether, except for those of us who want 2 sets of encounter cards for the scenarios from Ered Mithrin that reuse some of the cards.
The biggest thing that is different is the new emphasis on a campaign mode. The three quests in the box (which remain unchanged themselves) will be able to be played back-to-back in a campaign, much like with the Saga boxes or other games like Arkham Horror. Extra campaign cards can be added to the quest to make them more thematic, link into one another better, and maybe even add more difficulty to the quest (though I doubt that Dol Guldur needs it). During these campaign playthroughs, the game will award you with Boons and Burdens, much like during the regular LOTR Saga. These cards have new artwork (for those that are unfamiliar with Journeys in Middle Earth) and are unique to this new expansion. The people who already own the Core Set and would like only to get their hands on these unique cards will have a Print and Play option available via FFG. The details on this are not clear yet.
Beyond the Core Set, the announcement mentioned that some parts of the game will get repackaged, much like Arkham Horror got with the Dunwich Legacy. This will mean that each cycle contains two expansions. The first box will be a Player Box, containing all the heroes and player cards in one easy-to-purchase upgrade to your cardpool. The second expansion is the Campaign Box, which holds all the scenarios of that cycle, including the campaign cards that tie the whole thing together. The contents of these boxes will be the same in terms of player and encounter cards, with again, only the campaign cards added. It is yet unknown which cycles will be receiving this treatment, but I am certain we can at least count on Shadows of Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf. Nothing has been released on Dwarrowdelf yet, but I think that with reusing artwork from the big Journeys box, it will be very cheap for FFG to produce.
One important note that was made is that there is no completely new content in the works. That means that there are no new quests or brand new player cards that can interact with the game as it is right now. This is fine by me, as it otherwise screws with my storage, but I can imagine that people would want some new stuff to play that isn’t a part of any fan-made project.
Making up for lost quests
Remember the Collector’s Edition? The box with brand new content that was only accessible through purchasing this bundle with the digital edition? Well, the two quests that were contained in the box (The Oath and The Caves of Nibin-Dum) will now be released as their own stand-alone product called the Dark of Mirkwood. This was spoiled about a week in advance thanks to some Asmodee purchasing lists, but the contents were unknown until now. I am very happy to finally get my hands on these quests without having to write brand new articles on them. Both quests have already been analyzed for your convenience by Vision of the Palantir, which is something I’m not used to, being ahead of FFG.
The quests will be released in one box, which doesn’t change much from the original quests. The only thing that will be added is that the campaign mode will be introduced in this pack as well! That means the pack contains some boons and burdens that you can use yourself to get through these scenarios. For people who have never gotten the chance to play these quests, this is a wonderful Stand-alone Scenario pack to pick up at the beginning of next year. There is also some new art on the cover, which could mean that something has changed in the quests, or it could just be artwork from one of the Burdens (since the two quests already reused a ton of artwork).
This quest will also be compatible in some way with the campaign in the revised Core Set. That means that once you get your hands on both new packs (or print the campaign cards for both), you have a 5-quest narrative that will be linked together with boons and burdens.
What does this mean for the blog?
Well, this means a few things. First of all, that collection tracker that I made for the 2021 swag is no longer up to date. You can try and pencil in these expansions into the tracker yourself; I’m sure there is enough space. Beyond the loot, this will have a few consequences for the blog. First of all, I will have to find a way to get my hands on those campaign cards from the revised Core Set. I already own 2 Core Sets with some extra staples, so I don’t need another one. I will get the Dark of Mirkwood scenario pack, as that allows me to no longer really need the Collector’s Edition for anything. The artwork in that box is different, yes, but that does not justify buying a $100+ expansion that is difficult to find. The quests were the only thing that could convince me.
Second, some new articles will have to come up that detail the strategy for each of the old scenarios but with the new campaign mode. I am sure that there will be some minor changes to each quest that will make them more difficult, with different rewards to be earned along the way. I did just revise the Core Set articles to bring them up to date with the complete cardpool, so those don’t need to be touched. I will make a Nightmare-style article for each of the quests as soon as I know the impact that the Campaign mode will have on the scenarios. This will also include the Oath and Caves of Nibin-Dum scenario strategy guides.
Beyond that, I don’t think a lot will change. We will continue to chip away at the official content that has been released for the game, and I might do some campaign articles whenever a new box has been released. Since most of the content is old, you will find plenty of card reviews already, so I doubt that a First Impressions article is needed. I am very excited to see if this reignites the player base for the game and what FFG has in store for us in 2022. This might even herald the end of the hiatus, which is great news for us content creators!
What are your thoughts on the in-flight report? Are you sad that there is no brand-new content, or are you happy that the game did get some solid expansions announced, even if it is for next year? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, be sure to reach out to me if you still want to purchase a notebook, including the out-of-date collection tracker. I still have some left in stock that I would like to sell at cost+shipping. Comment below or reach out to me via any of the community outlets.