A new year for the blog and a new beginning for the game! This month saw the worldwide release of the renewed Core Set, attracting many new players to the game. Even veteran players seem to be getting excited now that the hiatus seems to be nearly over. Announcements of the Dark of Mirkwood pack as well as 4 pre-made starter decks will hopefully fill the first quarter of the year with enough content to breathe new life into the game.
January has also been quite a weird month for me personally, which I will detail further along in the article. Let’s say for now that the new year will hopefully bring new opportunities for me, as well as for the blog! Let’s take a look at the past month and review what work we have done on the blog and what we have in the pipeline for you in February.
As I mentioned, the Revised Core Set was released halfway through the month, with plenty of new people finding their way to the groups and communities of the veteran players. I will not be picking up the revised Core Set, as it will be pretty expensive for just the new Boons and Burdens that hopefully will release as Print&Play in the near future. I hope that FFG will continue to release some new expansions whilst continuing to re-release older expansions, as the market for the game might get pretty crowded soon. We have already seen with the Nightmare expansions and now with the POD stuff to what that can lead to… FFG also released the Dark of Mirkwood expansion here in Europe and had an article on custom desktop backgrounds that will be released along with the revised content. This makes me think that at least all the covers of the boxes will be new, as this art would certainly be suitable for that.
AleP has also been busy this month, releasing their Bree archetype to the community and letting us play the Gap of Rohan scenario. I’ve also seen some artwork for the Blue Wizards, so I am really excited to see some more Istari entering the card pool. It should be a good time for people looking for new content. This blog has also been busy in January, during which time we celebrated the blog’s fourth birthday! Let’s review the articles released this month and what we have in store for you in the coming months.
This month saw me releasing my longest article to date (probably, I haven’t checked the stats). The Hunt for the Dreadnaught article was a monster to complete, but luckily I divided it into several smaller chunks and took care of the quest in about 2 weeks. Still, 17k words is a lot to write and it is the reason why the first half of the month was a bit lacking in content. It does fill out one more slot on the POD page, which is nearly complete! Just 2 more Epic Multiplayer quests and the two custom-designed quests to cover, and we are done! We are also starting work on the Fortress of Nurn quest, which should release relatively soon, though, understand that this quest also requires a lot of attention. Once that is complete, all cycles will have been covered.
The plans for 2022 with the scenario analyses are to finish the PODs and the Vengeance of Mordor cycle. At the same time, I will rework some of the older Shadows of Mirkwood articles and update them to include any campaign stuff that the revised releases come with.
Saga and Nightmare analyses
The Saga has been on hold for this month, as work is being prioritized to the Fortress of Nurn quest for now. It will resume afterward, though I cannot promise we will complete the LOTR Saga this year. It would be fantastic, but understand that these quests take a lot of time, thanks to their unique mechanics and campaign interactions.
The Nightmare quests, on the other hand, did receive an update. The final scenario of the Nightmare Dwarrowdelf cycle was released! This completes the second cycle of Nightmare reviews and opens up the option for me to start and cover the Against the Shadow Nightmare quests. I mentioned that I’d like to complete that cycle for this year, though I realize that it will be quite a task for me to complete. Hopefully, some people will step up to help as we inch ever closer to completing Nightmare reviews on the blog.
Traits and Staples
There are no updates on this in January, but February is traditionally the month where I take some time to write on the various traits and unique cards in the game. For February 2022, I have my eyes set on the contracts! These unique cards each bring a different style to a deck, with varying challenges of deckbuilding for you to experience. The blog has covered two of these contracts so far, but I would like to focus on the others in the coming months. Work has already begun on the Council of the Wise contract, and there are plans for Perilous Voyage as well. The rest will follow soon. Hopefully, we can finish all of the contracts in February and complete another section of the blog that way. The rest of the Traits and Staples will be reviewed as well, and I might decide to either update articles or write some new ones if the contracts are finished sooner.
Player card reviews / Encounter set reviews
At the end of the month, we managed to squeeze in the encounter set review of Conflict at the Carrock. Silblade will continue with this series into Journey to Rhosgobel next, as the series is falling behind a little compared to the player card reviews. Both series are still continuing in this new year though, and hopefully, we can complete some cycles with both of them!
I happened to receive the Dark of Mirkwood pack earlier this month, which allowed me to revive the First Impressions articles after more than a year. I enjoyed writing it, even though most of the content in the pack was already known to us ahead of time. Still, I am doing my part to inform the community and hopefully make the decision to buy the pack easier for newer players.
I will likely be doing this series again for the four pre-made decks, whenever those are available. I am not yet sold on the fact that I’d have to buy duplicates of cards I already own, but I think that it would be nice to at least cover the decks in an article and point to the strengths and weaknesses of each deck.
Anniversary playthrough books
Because the blog’s fourth birthday should be celebrated, I have worked together with Thaurdir to redesign the notebooks that I released last year as part of the 2021 VotP swag. These notebooks allow players to record their playthroughs, track what cards they use most, and even hold an extra LOTR campaign guide. These books were made to acquire some more funds for this year’s swag, which will be better than ever! For now, if you want to support the blog and get your hands on these second version notebooks, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/8wNy5xVT9xs6zyT36. The swag for 2022 will not go for sale, so if you are interested in getting that as well, consider supporting the blog through Patreon, or reach out to me and see how you can help us improve the blog with your skills.
I released the 4th-anniversary article this month and the results of the poll from December. The poll, in particular, requires some attention, as I mentioned that I would no longer be doing (bi-)monthly polls for this year. I hope you understand that it was a lot to do for me alone and that the time could be better spent on other aspects of the blog. It is also really hard to come up with a topic every month after 4 years of topics have been used already.
Perhaps the biggest hit of this month was my guide for new players to the game. It helped to beat the daily views record 2 days in a row! I hope that this article will help many of the newer players who joined the game to find their way through the maze of different expansions and all the content that is available. It’s certainly not an easy game to pick up, but is very rewarding to beat once you get the hang of it.
I do not really have any additional articles in mind for next month, though a review of the starter decks would be interesting to do. I am sure many other content creators will be doing things with these decks, though, so maybe I will avoid them for a time. Let me know if there is any interest in me covering them!
Time for a bit less positive news, I lost my job last month. I’m sure many of you have already heard about it, but the company I worked for filed for bankruptcy. It has been a difficult and uncertain time for me, so I tried to distract myself with the blog and re-releasing the notebooks. It has helped me a lot with keeping positive. The games I have played with people these past few weeks have also helped because we are still in lockdown here, and it is starting to get to me after all this time. Still, I am now past the worst of it and am looking towards the opportunities presented to me by new job offers and the option just to take a few months to calm down and get my act together. I am sure I will be updating you all on that progress in the monthly reviews to come.
None of this should take away things from the blog, I think. In fact, I think I will have a bit more time to spend on the blog and its articles, bringing me back to that ridiculous pace of 10+ articles per month if I don’t find other things to do. Time will tell how many articles I will be releasing. Luckily I get my unemployment benefits for a few months, so I don’t have to worry too much about finding a new job asap. It takes a bit of pressure off my mind.
I am also really happy for the game that new players seem to be joining now that the revised Core Set is being released. Let’s all hope for some more content by FFG so that I have things to review and we all have something to play together at the conventions this year. I know that the blog isn’t specifically aimed at new players, but I think there are important lessons in here that are worth learning if you intend to learn the game!
~Aa’menealla nauva calen ar-malta~
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