Encounter Set Review: Conflict at the Carrock

If in Hunt for Gollum, Players rested from fighting, in Conflict at the Carrock, We are going to throw them in the turmoil of fierce battle. From The Carrock are coming down hungry and enraged Troll brothers. They won’t definitely shake hands with the newcomers – rather, they will tear the hands away. The Players have not yet known such a surge of raging force.

Summary review

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries

Objectives


Enemies

Louis

Enough of weaklings and cowards! It is time to send on to the Players some heavyweight enemies, able to destroy characters by single smash! Sauron calls to his service the furious, mighty Trolls. And Louis is the first one We are going to introduce. Run you fools!

Each Troll shares exactly the same stats: 34 Engagement cost, 2 Threat Strength, 4 Attack, 2 Defense, and 10 Hit Points. From it follows several facts. For such a powerful enemy, the Engagement cost is not too high, so Players with high starting threat risk engagement quite early. 2 Threat Strength doesn’t look dangerous. 4 Attack is surely above-average value, though not the highest (even the non-unique Hill Troll has higher Attack, 6). 2 Defense and 10 Hit Points assure excellent survivability, so Players will have hard times while fighting this enemy. However, the final stats will look differently, thanks to the mutual synergy among Trolls and other encounter cards, which boost the stats. With Morris and Stuart engaged and The Carrock active, the stats of each Troll will immediately jump to hardly believable 2-6-4-10, so every character, including heroes, will fall like flies.

Of all four Trolls, Louis is the most dangerous one. When engaged, each Troll will gain this Forced effect: “After this enemy attacks, the defending Player must raise his threat by 3.” With each Attack of Trolls, Players are getting closer to 50 threat much faster each round. If multiple Troll enemies attack one Player, then We would say the game is over for that Player. The effect of Louis proportionally decreases with the number of Players or with the ability of Player(s) to eliminate Louis as fast as possible. Also, if Players will be encountering Trolls one by one and let Louis encounter them as the last one, Louis will lose much of his menace, unfortunately.

Like any other unique Troll of this pack, if Players defeat this enemy, they are allowed to discard 1 Sacked! card from play. That’s not good for us because we lose control over the attached hero. And that sucks, honestly.

Conflict at the Carrock

No other Troll is more dangerous with boosted stats than Louis. At least at the moment, when he is engaged with the Player. With engaged Stuart and active The Carrock, he reaches 4 Defense and 10 Hit Points, which makes him sufficiently resistant against attacks of Player’s characters. And long-term engaged Louis means generating lots of threats. Forest Snare attached to Louis won’t help if he is not the only attacking Troll. Except for the unique Trolls, the encounter deck also hides Hill Trolls, who can increase threat as well. The combination of Louis’s ability with Hill Troll’s ability does a short process with defending Player. Other encounter cards which make a perfect “threat-generating” combo with Louis are Gladden Fields and Marsh Adder.

Like other Trolls, he boosts the location River Langflood (+1 Threat Strength for each Troll enemy in play). He can be healed by the shadow effect of Roasted Slowly and can attach Sacked! to a hero if this card is revealed as the shadow effect as well. The only character Louis has respect from is Grimbeorn the Old.

Danger level

Morris

While Louis could be considered Trolls’ leader, Morris can be viewed as his main general. Not so terrifying as his brother, but still very furious. Like any other unique Troll of Conflict at the Carrock, he shares with others exactly the same stats: 34 Engagement cost, 2 Threat Strength, 4 Attack, 2 Defense, and 10 Hit Points. While he is engaged with any Player, all Troll enemies gain +1 Attack. All unique Trolls have 4 Attack, which is enough to kill allies, but it won’t probably kill any hero by one shot. Morris’s main task is to arouse his brothers to damage characters even more efficiently and with greater fury. 5 Attack should kill the majority of allies (excluding ones such as Beorn) and seriously wound any hero. The Carrock is the location that greatly supports Morris’s ability and adds 1 additional Attack to all TrollsHill Troll will also benefit from engaged Morris: he will have 7 Attack, respectively 8 Attack with active The Carrock.

The more Trolls engaged with one Player, the more devastation that Player can expect. With all engaged Trolls, he won’t probably survive even 2 rounds (now meant just from the view of Morris’s ability). On the other hand, spread Trolls among Players means less danger and less burden on their defensive capability. For example, if there is only one attacking Troll per Player, that Player can cowardly call upon a chump blocker for defense and sacrifice them to protect the others. Thus the strong Attack of that Troll will be wasted. Morris really doesn’t like multiplayer games.

Like any other unique Troll of this pack, if Players defeat this enemy, they are allowed to discard 1 Sacked! card from play. That’s not good for us, because We lose control over the attached hero. Curse the Players if they dare to defeat Morris!

Conflict at the Carrock

Morris is the key to defeating Grimbeorn the Old and his silly friends. It’s hard to overcome his 3 Defense and lower his 10 Hit Points to zero, but Morris can accelerate his fall. However, the joined forces of more attacking Trolls are needed.

Despair’s shadow effect is very strong if revealed on any Troll, while Morris is engaged. It assures the death of almost any hero.

Like other Trolls, he boosts the location River Langflood (+1 Threat Strength for each Troll enemy in play). He can be healed by the shadow effect of Roasted Slowly and can attach Sacked! to a hero if this card is revealed as the shadow effect as well.

Danger level

Stuart

The third unique Troll doesn’t lag behind his brothers, at least in terms of stats: 34 Engagement cost, 2 Threat Strength, 4 Attack, 2 Defense, and 10 Hit Points. As the previous unique Trolls, he owns a passive ability affecting the other Trolls. While he is engaged with the Player, all Troll enemies gain +1 Defense.

Stuart is the reason why Trolls are so resistant. Engaged Louis leads to “threat death,” while Morris improves the attacking skills of his brothers. Stuart makes his brothers almost invulnerable against common attacks. Players have to generate 4 Attack (5 Attack with The Carrock active) at a minimum even to scratch any single unique Troll. In the case of Hill Troll, the amount of Attack must be even higher (5, respectively 6 Attack). Such “iron skin” forces Players to generate a high amount of Attack each round, which means playing a lot of allies, attachments, and boosting events… and that means a lot of resources. Because of that, the best moment for attacking Players is in the early game, before they can prepare. Unready Players won’t be able to respond to engaged Trolls because they won’t be able to kill them quickly. Stuart is not so sensitive to multiplayer games because even if Trolls are spread among Players, +1 Defense won’t be wasted – it will still be a thing, no matter if one Player faces all Trolls or if each of 4 Players is engaging one Troll. The overcoming of 3-4 Defense and lowering 10 Hit Points to 0 will create enormous pressure on any player’s attacking effort (thus on resources).

And so, Stuart becomes the second most unpopular unique Troll for Players. For Us, he is the second most useful.

Like any other unique Troll of this pack, if Players defeat this enemy, they are allowed to discard 1 Sacked! card from play. That’s not good for Us, because We lose control over the attached hero.  Curse the Players, if they dare to defeat Stuart!

Conflict at the Carrock

Again, Grimbeorn the Old is Our only serious problem – he himself can erase the Defense of (almost) any Troll, so Players then can focus on the cutting of Hit Points.

As mentioned, The Carrock is a significant boost for Stuart’s ability. Hill Troll is a very welcomed companion, who can strongly support the attack, but at the same time, Players will have a big problem with eliminating him.

Like other Trolls, he boosts the location River Langflood (+1 Threat Strength for each Troll enemy in play). He can be healed by the shadow effect of Roasted Slowly and can attach Sacked! to a hero if this card is revealed as the shadow effect as well.

Danger level

Rupert

The last Troll, named Rupert, shares, unsurprisingly, the same stats with his brothers: 34 Engagement cost, 2 Threat Strength, 4 Attack, 2 Defense, and 10 Hit Points. His task is very specific. He quite differs from Morris and Stuart because he doesn’t boost the stats of others (boosting Hit Points would surely be very useful). The threat generation is already the responsibility of his third brother, Louis. Rupert stands in the back and takes care of the… sacks. What does that mean? When Rupert attacks a Player, he shuffles all discarded copies of Sacked! back to the encounter deck.

It’s true that Sacked! belongs among cards, which influence the Player’s decision about the deck composition. Without Miner of the Iron Hills, they risk that a hero with attached Sacked! will be destroyed as soon as Roasted Slowly appears. The filthy A Test of Will won’t help Players because Sacked! cannot be canceled. So Sacked! is a big thing in Conflict at the Carrock; it can decide about Our victory if Roasted Slowly is close by. Of course, the more Players in the game, the more Sacked! Rupert will return to the encounter deck.

However, Rupert looks like the weakest sibling, who had to satisfy with a quite inferior task, which is gathering the damaged sacks. His benefit to Our purpose is the least. For Players, it’s enough to throw on Rupert Forest Snare, and he is totally neutralized, completely useless. Disarmed Rupert won’t return any Sacked! to the encounter deck, and so Players cań totally ignore him until they deal with his far more dangerous brothers. And if Rupert is dead, then, as it happens to any other unique killed Troll, Players can discard 1 Sacked! from play.

Conflict at the Carrock

Rupert actively works only with Sacked!, which won’t allow the attached hero to do anything. The crippled hero is eaten by Trolls if Roasted Slowly is revealed. So the main task of Rupert is to increase the chance of catching heroes into sacks and roast them over the fire.

Like other Trolls, he boosts the location River Langflood (+1 Threat Strength for each Troll enemy in play). He can be healed by the shadow effect of Roasted Slowly and can attach Sacked! to a hero if this card is revealed as the shadow effect as well.

Danger level

Muck Adder

While Players are busy with fighting the giant Trolls, under their feet is slithering the little, however very dangerous reptile. One bite, one little dose of poison of Muck Adder is enough to kill any character.

His stats look unobtrusive as Muck Adder itself. Only 1 Threat Strength, 2 Attack, no Defense, and 4 Hit Points indicates this reptile has no ambition to compare with heroes and encounter them in a straight fight. 20 Engagement cost assures Muck Adder will encounter Players really soon, but why they shouldn’t underestimate it? Because this Sauron’s servant will kill any character if it deals damage. You heard well, poor Players – if Muck Adder overcomes the Defense of your pitiful character and reduces his Hit Point(s), your character is dead and discarded. So it makes Muck Adder a very welcomed companion. It seems that even Frodo Baggins can’t survive the bite of Muck Adder because the Forced effect will happen earlier than the Response of the hero. So defending Muck Adder by a hero can be the last thing the hero will do if Muck Adder gains the right shadow effect. And the decision not to defend this attack will immediately send one hero to the grave.

Shadow effect

By revealing the Muck Adder’s shadow card, it reduces the Defense of the defending character by 1 for the duration of the attack. It’s not the same as if some effect lasts until the end of the phase – this effect is valid only for a single attack. If the character has survived the attack and can be ready and defend again (like by triggering Unexpected Courage), -1 Defense effect has already expired. That’s a little issue with this shadow effect; however, it can be pretty dangerous for characters in a wider context.

Conflict at the Carrock

As the common enemy without any boosts, Muck Adder will endanger Players neither in the staging area nor while encountered with Players. Non-existing Defense and 4 Hit Points won’t stop Players from killing it in one or two rounds. The real danger comes from the possible shadow-effect combos, boosting Muck Adder. Despair‘s shadow effect is the biggest threat – not counting Defense equals instant death, no matter who the defender is. The shadow effect from Wargs endangers any defending effort, where a Player foolishly relies upon that 2 Attack of Muck Adder is the final value. Massing at Night‘s shadow effect increases the chance of dealing one of the above-mentioned shadow cards.

And Muck Adder as a revealed shadow card comes in handy for any attacking Troll. Even Grimbeorn the Old can be nicely weakened, which means a higher chance of eliminating him.

Danger level

Shadow level


Locations

The Carrock

Climbing to the top of The Carrock is not easy, especially when Players have Troll brothers on their back. Actually, The Carrock is home to these giants. And anybody who dares to visit Trolls in their lair can expect tearing to bloody pieces.

This location with 2 Threat Strength is the first one, which owns the immunity against the Player cards and effects. That means, no matter what Players try to achieve with this location, it won’t have any effect UNLESS this card says otherwise. Players can travel and explore this location only on the basis of quest card effects, which is 1B – Grimbeorn’s Quest. It says: “After placing the 7th progress token on Grimbeorn’s Quest, The Carrock becomes the active location. Discard the previous active location from play.” No more, no less. Players are unable to add progress tokens by any player card effects (Northern Tracker, Lórien Guide), cannot switch The Carrock with another location as the active location, they can’t even temporarily reduce its Threat Strength (Secret Paths). Players just have to overcome the overall Threat Strength in the staging area (which is hardly reachable if all Trolls occupy the staging area) and try to fully explore it (that means putting all 6 progress tokens onto it).

But the main purpose of The Carrock doesn’t lie in its immunity to Player cards and effects. As the home of Trolls, it adds +1 Attack and +1 Defense to each Troll in the game. Actually, this location is one of the main reasons why Trolls are so dangerous and have such boosted stats. The fight with Trolls is keeping Players busy, so they have only a small room to focus on questing properly. Thus Players can expect that The Carrock will remain as the active location for some time and that Trolls will attack with at least 5 Attack and defend with at least 3 Defense. Exploring The Carrock is a race against time – the longer time it will last to explore it fully, the bigger loss among characters ranks Players can expect. Finally, the loss due to location lock can also be a very real scenario.

Conflict at the Carrock

The bigger issue is the overall Threat Strength in the staging area; the more difficult way through is to explore The Carrock fully. From that point of view, River Langflood is a very good ally of The Carrock. Its Threat Strength is boosted by the number of Trolls within the staging area, so Players then can solve the dilemma if it is worse for them to let Trolls occupy the staging area and risk the location lock or face them in battle. The Carrock as the active location and River Langflood in the staging area will put good pressure on Players.

Danger level

River Langflood

While Players are used to being happy when encountering Bee Pastures (summons Grimbeorn the Old) or Oak-wood Groove (enables bribing Grimbeorn the Old in exchange for the cooperation), River Langflood is their nightmare. While the stats are not good (2 Threat Strength and 3 Quest Points), by sitting in the staging area, Players will become very nervous. While present there, it gains +1 Threat Strength for each Troll in the game. Thus, within quest 2 – Against the Trolls River Langflood is most powerful because Trolls visit the staging area, and The Carrock becomes the active location. This mix causes the increasing River Langflood’s Threat Strength by 4, so the staging area, occupied with Troll brothers, will immediately reach 14 overall Threat Strength (without considering other encounter cards in the staging area). Players should overcome this value to put some progress tokens onto The Carrock because 1) they risk very brief location lock, and 2) The Carrock boosts the stats of Trolls, so Players will hesitate if they should face empowered Trolls or rather make a great effort in questing and cut The Carrock down.

River Langflood distracts Players and makes them internally divided. If they cannot get rid of it by Northern Tracker or cards with similar effects, they have to focus on questing instead of combat. That, on the other, increases the menace of Troll brothers if they engage Players.

By the way, did we mention that We own 4 copies of River Langflood in this scenario?

Conflict at the Carrock

River Langflood is mainly about unique Trolls who boost their Threat Strength. But Troll brothers are not the only ones who can boost River Langflood. Hill Trolls can also be revealed from the encounter deck, Our main heroes from Journey Along the Anduin. With them, each River Langflood can reach up to 8 Threat Strength – that’s unbelievable value for a single location, don’t you think, Our dear Players? Are you already frightened? You should give up your efforts because if you want to resist, We can also send into the staging area Gladden Fields (3 Threat Strength) or even Brown Lands (5 Threat Strength), which increase the overall Threat Strength in the staging area enormously. Exploring The Carrock and setting River Langflood as an active location looks like a poor utopia; players are sentenced to die due to merciless, unavoidable location lock. Unless Players decide to deal with Trolls, kill them and thus reduce River Langflood’s Threat Strength as much as possible. But… who dares to stand against Our mighty champions?!

Danger level

Bee Pastures

Bee Pastures is not Our favorite location. It’s that kind of location that gives Players an advantage rather than a disadvantage. It can be seen both on the stats of the location and the main effect. It has only 1 Threat Strength and 2 Quest Points, so Players could ignore it if they wanted to. It doesn’t even worth targeting Bee Pastures by Snowbourn Scout or cards with similar effects because 1 Threat Strength doesn’t endanger Players in any respect.

If Players travel to Bee Pastures, they may search in the encounter deck and encounter discard pile for the arch-enemy of Troll brothers, Grimbeorn the Old. Actually, he is the only one who stands between Our Trolls and ridiculous Players. Trolls would crush the Players anytime. However, if Players find Grimbeorn the Old and spend 8 resources on him, he becomes their ally… and endanger Our final victory.

Thus, it is Our task to baffle the plans of Players to gain Grimbeorn the Old on their side. How to do that? To not let Bee Pastures become the active location. We can reach that aim in several ways. Actually, anytime The Carrock becomes the active location, it is almost impossible to place Bee Pastures as the active location. Exploring The Carrock is often connected with high Threat Strength caused by present unique Trolls and other locations (River Langflood). The difficulty of exploring The Carrock prevents Bee Pastures from becoming the active location; thus, if Grimbeorn the Old is not already in the game, Players can give up the possibility of searching for him via Bee Pastures outright. Also, if The Carrock is in the game, that means Trolls already occupy the staging area. It would be already too late for searching the Grimbeorn the Old.

Conflict at the Carrock

There is almost no encounter card that would interact with Bee Pastures to any degree. It is mainly caused by the fact that Bee Pastures is a “Player-friendly” card, so it doesn’t hurt Players in any way. On the contrary, it helps to find Grimbeorn the Old, who is the biggest threat for Us. However, one card exists that can actively prevent Bee Pastures from becoming the active location. The East Bight forces Players to choose it for the active location if no other active location is present. That’s a good strategy in the sense that Players will be delayed for searching of Grimbeorn the Old.

Danger level

Oak-wood Grove

As if that sabotage wouldn’t be enough, We breed another traitor within the encounter deck. The location Oak-wood Grove doesn’t work primarily for Us, but for Players. Yes, it’s true that, unlike Bee Pastures, it has at least 2 Threat Strength, which could lead to the location lock under perfect circumstances. In a long-term view, cumulating many encounter cards with 2 Threat Strength might be dangerous for Players. However, with 1 Quest Point, they could get rid of it by a single Snowbourn Scout, which is far from perfection.

While Oak-wood Grove is active, Players may spend any resource token as if it would be a Leadership resource token. Any Player using a dual- or trisphere deck with a Leadership hero can exult that they can pay their Leadership cards from a hero of any sphere of influence. That might hurt Us. But most important, it allows Players to get Grimbeorn the Old under their control faster. Our enemy can listen only to true leaders; nobody from Tactics, Spirit, or Lore sphere can’t ever reasonably talk to Grimbeorn the Old. Unless Oak-wood Grove is active, and that’s the main purpose of this location – to help Player spend 8 Leadership resources for Grimbeorn the Old as fast as possible.

However, holding Oak-wood Grove as the active location belongs among hard disciplines. It can happen very easily that Players can generate too much Willpower (so they accidentally fully explore Oak-wood Grove), or they cause location lock in their effort to keep this location active as long as possible. Both situations result from bad calculations of Willpower generation. This is the only thing that calms Us a bit – relying on Oak-wood Grove’s effect might be a certain risk for Players, or at least it can come to nothing.

Conflict at the Carrock

If Players want to keep Oak-wood Grove as the active location, it’s the right time to use the situation and strike the Players when they are busy. Our tactic is to reveal cards with really great Threat Strength, so Oak-wood Grove begins to fulfill the role of “plug.” The Brown LandsGladden Fields, and River Langflood might be very helpful to Our devil’s plans. However, some Players can spoil Our joy if they summon Snowbourn Scout, which could serve as Players’ backup plan.

Danger level


Treacheries

A Frightened Beast

Sacked! and Roasted Slowly are well-known, and in this scenario, able to destroy heroes in the blink of an eye. However, they are not the only treacheries of this scenario. Behind them hides a very harmful card, which can increase Players’ threat in the blink of an eye – A Frightened Beast.

This treachery benefits from lots of Threat Strength in the staging area. When revealed, each Player must increase his threat by the total Threat Strength in the staging area. More total Threat Strength in the staging area means the closer step to lose. If Players are dealing with a couple of locations and enemies in the staging area, A Frightened Beast hits them like a bolt from the blue. Certainly, it thwarts any plan of Players. If they try to control their threat to not encounter all unique Trolls like in the single round, then A Frightened Beast won’t allow such a plan. There is a big chance that some Players hit 34 threat (which is the Engagement cost of all unique Trolls), which causes the mass “Troll-engagement.” And dealing with all 4 unique Trolls at once equals quick death. That’s the main purpose of this card: to let Trolls engage the Players before they can prepare to fight. The secondary purpose could be, of course, to approach 50 threat. It is definitely possible with cards like River Langflood in the staging area.

There is just one “but” – Players can cancel the effect of A Frightened Beast if they discard from play 1 Creature. The Player’s cardpool up to Conflict of the Carrock offers only a single Creature – Winged Guardian. If Players play in the progressive style, then We have a great advantage over the Players because they are relying only on 3 copies of Winged Guardian at maximum. If it is not the case – well, Players can choose from more Creature allies to discard because the Shadow of Mirkwood cycle is mainly about Eagle-Creatures. However, if Players don’t play with Tactic (or Spirit) cards, or they just didn’t manage to summon any Creature ally, then A Frightened Beast will crush their threats.

Conflict at the Carrock

A Frightened Beast loves cards with a high Threat Strength, that’s for sure. The Brown Lands, Gladden Fields, and River Langflood boost the staging area to a great amount. If Players are found within 2-Against the Trolls and Trolls are still in the staging area, then A Frightened Beast raises the threat of Players by 8 at a minimum! That’s a huge portion of threat, certainly leading to engaging all Trolls right in the next phase.

Danger level

Sacked!

It wouldn’t be so difficult for Players to fight Troll brothers per se if Trolls wouldn’t have some aces in their sleeves. Or, more precisely, some sacks behind their belts. Heroes view themselves as warriors on the light side, the “torches of hope.” Some of them are quite strong and plunge themselves into the turmoil of battle with far bigger creatures. And unfortunately, there is little chance that heroes could succeed, especially if Grimbeorn the Old is on their side. Well, dear heroes: if you are so brave and tough, what will you do if We throw Sacked! on you? You are going to find out that Trolls and The Carrock are not the only danger. And that even not-so-clever Trolls might have a backup plan if the fight doesn’t look well.

The Sacked! treachery attaches one hero (with no other Sacked! attached) of the First Player as the Condition. That hero is caught, paralyzed, and crippled – he can’t attack, be committed to a quest, use abilities and collect resources. He is “sacked,” unable to do anything. The Player loses one hero practically. Trolls thus won’t have too many problems with eliminating the rest of the Player’s characters. No Player is safe because the token of the first Player constantly circulates between Players. And as if it wouldn’t be enough, Players can’t cancel this treachery. Hide your A Test of Will, fools; it won’t help you at all. Oh, but still, Miner of the Iron Hills can discard it, damn it.

Shadow effect

It’s funny when Players reveal Sacked! as the shadow card because… they won’t get rid of the main effect of Sacked! at all. At least, if revealed on Troll. They have to resolve the When revealed effect of Sacked!, so any defending Player, who would get Sacked! in this way, won’t be able to defend the enemy at all from that moment. The attack would then be considered undefended.

Conflict at the Carrock

Making from fearless and powerful hero just harmless sack of s**t hurts Players a lot. But the real danger stems from one of the deadliest combos in the whole cycle, Sacked! and Roasted Slowly. It is revealed that the true purpose of Sacked! is not in catching heroes but in their eliminating. In being roasted alive. That’s how Trolls likes their meat. Sloooowly Roasted. Sacked heroes will be devoured, and Players will lose.

However, We are fully aware that there exists one way to get out of Sacked!. The weakness of Sacked! is revealed at the moment when any unique Troll dies – one Sacked! from hero is then discarded. It’s actually a fight with time – either Players will defeat Trolls to free each caught hero, or they will just helplessly look at how their heroes are grilled in their own juice.

Danger level

Shadow level

Roasted Slowly

It’s not enough to catch heroes into the sack and immobilize them. Trolls are still hungry. They have a taste for fresh meat. With Roasted Slowly, they will eat to fullness.

This treachery destroys all heroes with attached Sacked! and will be shuffled back into the encounter deck after that. It’s actually Our first treachery, which destroys heroes directly, without further ado. But firstly, we must throw on any Player treachery Sacked!, or revealed Roasted Slowly would be wasted. We want to avoid such misery. Therefore, more Players in the games increase the number of Sacked! in the game, and it increases the chance of being Roasted Slowly. The main allure of this treachery lies in its indiscrimination and intransigence – no matter how powerful and useful the heroes are if Sacked! even mighty Aragorn, strong Gimli, or Legolas. Any hero can be destroyed by Roasted Slowly very easily. In addition, Roasted Slowly won’t vanish, but it will return to the encounter deck, so it will wait for another opportunity to kill more heroes.

Shadow effect

Unless Sacked!, the shadow effect of Roasted Slowly is completely different from its main effect. The threat of this Roasted Slowly is much decreased than if revealed as a proper encounter card, but if it is revealed on any Troll, Players won’t be glad. It heals 2 damage from the attacking Troll. In case Trolls have full Defense (in other words, Stuart is engaged and The Carrock is the active location), Trolls’ healed damage will complicate the players’ situation and delay their efforts to kill them. Unfortunately, from the total 19 enemies, only 6 are Trolls, so there exists a real chance that Roasted Slowly as shadow effect will be revealed on an unsuitable enemy.

Conflict at the Carrock

The main weakness of Roasted Slowly lies in its strong dependency on Sacked!. Without this treachery on the board, Roasted Slowly loses its power – it will be discarded to no purpose. Though Sacked! cannot be canceled, Roasted Slowly can. So Roasted Slowly even depends on the presence of cards like A Test of Will or Miner of the Iron Hills because both Player cards can radically influence its effectiveness. Massing at Night is the only card that can help to get Roasted Slowly into the game and increase the chance of destroying any Sacked! hero, or at least the chance of healing Troll.

Danger level

Shadow level


Objectives

Grimbeorn The Old

Not all the cards in the encounter deck work for Us. Some of them help Players passively – they have positive effects for Players who can use it for their good (Bee Pastures, Oak-wood Grove), but still, they count among Our cards. Bee Pastures and Oak-wood Grove have Threat Strength and Quest Point, so in a certain sense, Players must somehow deal with them, because after all, they are boosting the overall Threat Strength. But then, in the encounter deck can hide cards, which actively fight against Us. They are saboteurs. During cycles, it happens very rarely. However, Grimbeorn the Old is the perfect (and first) example of a really annoying card that tries to stop Us. How daring!

If uncontrolled, this card is considered for objective with actually “neutral affinity;” it does not help or harm. However, when Players get him under their control, it becomes the ally. And We must admit very strong ally, even more, powerful than Beorn. His stats are unpleasant for Us: 2 Willpower, 4 Attack, 3 Defense, and 10 Hit Points. These are very similar to the stats of Trolls, so the Grimbeorn the Old’s power is fully comparable to non-boosted Troll. Although his Attack will cause only 2 damage, We must count on the attacks of other Players’ characters who are helping in dealing damage. 10 Hit Points of this Ally is covered by 3 Defense, resulting in a strenuous and exhausting battle against him. Non-boosted Trolls can only give him a scratch. Hill Troll alone, however, can deal Grimbeorn the Old more than just a scratch – 3 damage looks like a nice punch to the face.

As if it wouldn’t be enough, Grimbeorn the Old won’t exhaust while he defends Troll enemies. During one attacking session, Grimbeorn the Old is able to cover every Attack of Our Trolls, engaged with the First Player. That, of course, provides the defending Player a big advantage because he can save his other defenders, and therefore he can focus more on the counter-attack.

Nevertheless, We do not find Ourselves in such a difficult situation as it might have looked. A couple of things work against Grimbeorn the Old and his friends:

1) Grimbeorn the Old doesn’t occur in the game from the start. Firstly Players must find him. Either they must draw him from the encounter deck or find and travel into Bee Pastures. Ideally, this needn’t ever happen if circumstances play in Our favour. Or if Players find Grimbeorn the Old too late.

2) Grimbeorn the Old joins Players only if they spend for him 8 Leadership resources. As his Action says, 1 Leadership resource can be spent to place that resource on him. Because the Action is not limited anyhow, Players may use this Action repeatedly during the single turn or phase. But placing 8 Leadership resources onto him is not an easy task, especially if Players need to spend their Leadership resources elsewhere. Steward of Gondor or even well-used Oak-wood Grove can accelerate the transition to the Players’ side.

3) While Grimbeorn the Old’s stats are comparable to that of Trolls, he is just one. Troll brothers are 4 plus 2 of their cousins, Hill Trolls. If Grimbeorn the Old will defend all the attacks of Trolls, he is inevitably leading to destruction. He has no chance against joined forces of more Trolls.

4) Trolls can boost one each other. Together (and with the active The Carrock), they change into terrifying and frenzy creatures, able to stamp Grimbeorn the Old to the ground.

Conflict at the Carrock

Except for the Trolls, few shadow cards can harm Grimbeorn the Old considerably. While Despair gets rid of his Defense so that enemies can hit him directly, Muck Adder removes from him at least 1 Defense. Wargs can boost Trolls and help to overcome Defense easier. Thus, We have some aces up Our sleeves, how to reduce the danger of Grimbeorn the Old. Shame that We cannot Sacked! him and Roasted Slowly him.:)

Danger level

(Because this objective works more like the Player card than the encounter card and because it lacks any negative effect on Players, the Danger level won’t be evaluated).


Summary review

Enemies

The theme of Trolls is strong in Conflict at the Carrock. Players will be focusing primarily on combat preparation with 4 Troll brothers. Despite the fact that each Troll differs in its usefulness, all of them share the same stats, and all of them can be improved in the same way. To hell with that, Rupert has the weaker ability, and Louis has a very powerful one – both (+ Morris and Stuart) are very strong when engaging Player together because each supports the other one. Against such a force, Players must come to terms with a cruel defeat.

Underfoot the Players can also slither much weaker Muck Adder. Although it cannot be measured with the power of Trolls, any character who defends Muck Adder carelessly can die due to its deadly poison from the bite, which overcomes the character’s Defense. 

Danger level

Locations

It’s 2v2 – 2 locations with a very nice, devastating effect vs. 2 locations that help Players. Such things occasionally happen, but We don’t have to be worried too much. The Carrock cooperates with Trolls completely because it’s their territory. If Players dare to enter their home, they will face their wild anger. Boosting Attack, Defense, and immunity to Player cards make from The Carrock hardly reachable and explorable location, which additionally supports all Trolls. From that implies Players won’t know if they should prioritize the exploring of The Carrock or fighting the boosted Trolls. We don’t envy the poor Players.

The staging area can produce very high overall Threat Strength if River Langflood is boosted by present Trolls. So Players are facing not only the problem with The Carrock being active, which boosts their foes, but also the issue of how to reach The Carrock if the Threat Strength in the staging area is extremely high due to boosted River Langflood. This location can cause location lock very easily.

On the contrary, Bee Pastures and Oak-wood Grove belong among locations, which Players search for actively. They can help Players to speed up entering and controlling the mighty Grimbeorn the Old, the only true fear of Trolls. It’s bad when some encounter cards work against Our purposes. We shouldn’t allow such treacherous tendencies.

Danger level

Treacheries

Catch and roast – this is how it could be the combo Sacked! and Roasted Slowly expressed. While Sacked! totally immobilizes and cripples heroes; Roasted Slowly destroys them directly. This combo strongly depends on revealing both cards almost at the same time – Roasted Slowly must come when Sacked! is already attached to hero(es). The effectiveness of this combo raises with more Players in the game, how often Rupert attacks, and if Players killed some Troll already (with killed Troll, one Sacked! is discarded). It implies that this powerful combo also has its own weaknesses. Sometimes it won’t happen at all.

A Frightened Beast aims at another goal – it tries to raise the Players’ threat to death. Raising threat by the total Threat Strength in the staging area belongs to the fastest way how to hit 50 threat. A very straightforward and powerful effect can be canceled by sacrificing one Creature. Unless Players don’t play in a progressive way, this “emergency brake” will be hardly available for them.

Yes, treacheries of Conflict at the Carrock bring a lot of joy to Us, definitely.

Danger level

Objectives

What to add that hasn’t been told already? Grimbeorn the Old is Our foe, moreover within Our encounter deck. Strong and sturdy, it can block many attacks of Trolls, and simultaneously, he can hit out with his giant double-hand axe. Trolls have true respect from him. However, there are some important circumstances that play against him and thus against Players. Firstly, taking Grimbeorn the Old under Players’ control is not a certainty. Secondly, boosted Trolls will overcome him sooner or later if they can work together and support each other. And thirdly, Grimbeorn the Old plays actively only on the First Player’s side. Other Players remain uncovered, vulnerable to attacks of Trolls. Grimbeorn the Old will pay for poking his nose into other people’s business.

Danger level

(Because this objective works more like the Player card than the encounter card and because it lacks any negative effect on Players, the Danger level won’t be evaluated).

Shadow effects

Only 3 shadow effects don’t offer too much variability. Only Sacked! belongs among shadow effects, which Players should register, because it triggers its main effect. That means crippling one hero. Muck Adder owns the average effect, decreasing 1 Defense from a defender. However, if revealed on any Troll or even on another Muck Adder, this might hurt a lot or even lead to the defender’s death. Roasted Slowly needs to be revealed on Troll to trigger the shadow effect, which heals from its target 2 damage. And because there are only 2 copies of Roasted Slowly and 6 Trolls from 19 enemies, it doesn’t look like this combo will happen frequently.

Danger level

Overall evaluation

Conflict at the Carrock promises epic battles with unique Troll brothers, but Players may expect the intense battle with Threat Strength in the staging area as well. Trolls are very solid foes, and if Players don’t fight them one by one, they virtually have no chance to survive their anger. To avoid engaging Trolls at once, Players are fighting with threat, which should remain under 34 (which is the Engagement cost of unique Trolls). However, with cards like A Frightened Beast or River Langflood, that’s no simple task. Moreover, Trolls can support each other with significant boosts. They can also rely on “immune-to-player-effect” The Carrock, which boosts Trolls as well. To maximize the probability of our victory, any hero can be Sacked! and destroyed by Roasted Slowly afterward.

In spite of Our plots, Grimbeorn the Old may come to the Players’ aid. The strong ally, who can defend Trolls repeatedly during a single turn, may baffle Our flawless victory. We don’t like to see Our big foe in the encounter deck, but it at least promises the clash of epic proportions. The feeling from Our victory will be then even more triumphant.

Overall Danger level of the set

YOUR NIGHTMARE

Louis, The Carrock, and Sacked! – three enormously dangerous representatives of each card type. Any of these cards can decide about defeat or victory; therefore, it’s complicated to choose the winner of this prestigious category. But We announce Louis as the true terror of Players. We see his great devastating potential, not only as of the attacker or defender but also as the true support of his brothers. Louis is definitely their leader. With him in the engagement area, increasing 3 threat with each Attack of each Troll catapults the threat to dizzying heights with extraordinary speed. Even attached Forest Snare to him or defending Grimbeorn the Old won’t stop him from boosting his brothers. This Troll just doesn’t know what fear is.

GOBLIN CARD

Despite that Grimbeorn the Old actively works against Us, he can’t be considered for a GOBLIN CARD. Nah, he doesn’t look like a goblin.:) In fact, Grimbeorn the Old stays outside of any category because of his quite exceptional status. But Bee Pastures? That’s an absolutely different case. It belongs among locations, the type of Our encounter cards, but similarly to Old Forest Road or Forest Gate (which have even better stats!), it doesn’t bring any positive effect to Us, rather it helps to Players to find Our archenemy, Grimbeorn the Old. If possible, We would like to defile Bee Pastures and change it into the wasteland without life.

SHADOW HORROR

We should point out the shadow effect of Sacked! only triggers if revealed on any Troll. We have already criticized this condition at Roasted Slowly because the chance of triggering the shadow effect is not great. However, compare the shadow effects of both cards: crippling hero vs. healing Troll for 2 damage? We think that the difference in power is very clear. Then We have Muck Adder‘s shadow effect, which triggers on any revealed enemy. While decreasing Defense by one is surely useful, it cannot be compared to fully disabling the hero. Moreover, this treachery is completely immune to A Test of Will, which We consider as a significant advantage.

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