Encounter Set Review: A Journey to Rhosgobel

After the fierce battle with the Troll brothers, Players enter the nearby forest Carrock. There they find wounded Wilyador. To save him, they must ask for advice from Radagast the Brown. He told them they must find Athelas, the healing herb which can fully restore the wounded Eagle. But do you believe, Players, that We will allow that? Nope. The dark forces are in the movement already. Each character, including Wilyador, will vastly suffer from its wounds. The passage through the forest, many of them won’t survive.

Summary review

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries

Objectives


Enemies

Mirkwood Flock

Players won’t remember A Journey to Rhosgobel because of the strength of the enemies. For example, Mirkwood Flock – doesn’t look like an enemy We should be proud of. 32 Engagement cost, 1 Threat Strength, 2 Attack, 1 Defense, and 3 Hit Points of this Creature won’t break the Player’s defenses. At least, if that Player has Eagle or Ranged character… Yeah, We can read a great surprise from your faces, Players. How does it feel when your champions like Aragorn, Gimli, Prince Imrahiland others can stand against mighty Trolls, but they are absolutely defenseless against… crows? And bats (hello, Black Forest Bats)? That’s embarrassing, really.

In short, Mirkwood Flock can’t be attacked or defended by any character unless it has the Eagle trait or Ranged keyword. The choice is not wide (in progression style of playing). Players can only pull out 2 Eagles and 4 Ranged characters. And because We can foresee the Player’s strategy, the choice is even smaller. Landroval is too expensive and unique. The same thing is valid for Haldir of LórienSilverlode Archer and Horseback Archer are ridiculous and poor allies. Only damned Legolas poses a true challenge for Us. Finally, Winged Guardian belongs among cheap allies with good Defense but is unable to attack in practice.

As We count, Mirkwood Flock doesn’t have many opponents who could endanger him. So, most of the time, their Attack will be undefended and will hit one of the heroes. At the same time, Players won’t be able to strike back. So the flock of Mirkwood Flock and Black Forest Bats can easily send heroes to the grave without adequate response. Well, Wilyador as an Eagle might defend and attack Mirkwood Flock. However, since he owns only 1 Attack and 1 Defense and Players shouldn’t risk his life, Wilyador as defender/attacker doesn’t seem a convenient option.

Shadow effect

Mirkwood Flock’s shadow effect stands out when revealed on another Mirkwood Flock, alternatively Black Forest Bats. If the attack of the enemy is undefended, all damage is assigned right to the Wilyador. That’s the last thing Players should wish for because, with more damage on Wilyador, the chance for fully healing him is decreasing. And the fully restored Wilyador is the main goal of this scenario.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

You should be trembling if Mirkwood Flock obtains a shadow effect. Dol Guldur Orcs and Spiders of Mirkwood encounter sets contain many powerful shadow effects, which are more effective if the attacking enemy is undefended. And believe Us, the effects of undefended attacks will fall on you mercilessly. From boosting Attack (Dol Guldur Orcs) and discarding attachments (Driven by Shadow) to massive increasing threat (Ungoliant’s Spawn), dealing global damage (Hummerhorns), and exhausting characters (King Spider). Players without Ranged and Eagle characters are left to stat-weak, but unreachable Mirkwood Flock, which can destroy you by taking undefended attacks.

Danger level

Shadow level


Black Forest Bats

One level weaker Black Forest Bats works exactly on the same principle as Mirkwood Flock. In other words, it cannot be defended unless the Player controls Eagle and/or Ranged character. This means that if Players play the game in progression style, they have a minimal choice of how to defend Black Forest Bats. As for stats, these Creatures own even lesser stats than Mirkwood Flock: 1 Threat Strength, 1 Attack, no Defense, and just 2 Hit Points. Mirkwood Flock has a quite decent base for undefended attacks and holds some damage. Black Forest Bats are weaker in terms of Attack and endurance since any character with 2 Attack will kill these bats with one shot. But at least, A Journey of Rhosgobel contains more copies of Black Forest Bats (5) than Mirkwood Flock (4). And with 26 Engagement cost, it is more probable it engages the Player rather sooner than later. If the enemy can’t rely on its quality, then it should rely on its quantity. Black Forest Bats fulfills that assumption on 100%.

Shadow effect

Not even here, any change happens from Mirkwood Flock – if the attack is undefended, the damage from this Attack will be assigned to Wilyador to a full extent. More damage to Wilyador means bigger complications for successful scenario completion.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Since Black Forest Bats are as unreachable as Mirkwood Flock, the likelihood of undefended attacks is pretty high. Non-boosted Black Forest Bats deal just 1 damage, but with an appropriate shadow effect, it can hurt heroes very significantly, like with shadow effects of Dol Guldur Orcs, Driven by Shadow, and Hummerhorns. On the contrary, Black Forest Bats as shadow effects may boost some powerful enemies like Chieftan Ufthak or Ungoliant’s Spawn.

Danger level

Shadow level


Locations


Rhosgobel

To be even able to heal Wilyador from his wounds, Players first must travel to Rhosgobel, where they believe they will find Radagast. This unique location has X Threat Strength, where X is the number of Players, and only 4 Quest Points are enough for fully exploring Rhosgobel, so neither Threat Strength nor Quest Points mean a serious threat to Players. The bad news for Players is that they can’t heal Wilyador as long as Rhosgobel sits in the staging area. We are very efficient with regard to damaging Wilyador – almost every drawing of the encounter card causes damage to this Eagle. It’s because Our encounter deck is overflown with very sophisticated treacheries, which mostly target not only Wilyador but also other characters. In this situation, Players have to speed up the healing of Wilyador (who additionally can be healed for only 5 damage at a maximum per one spell or ability). But Rhosgobel in the staging area prevents that. And to make things worse, the Travel effect says that Players can travel to Rhosgobel after they complete the first stage, 1 – The Wounded Eagle. For the whole first stage, Players are unable to heal even single damage from Wilyador, which creates uncomfortable pressure on questing.

However, when (or if) Players achieve the next stage called 2 – Radagast’s Request, a big shock awaits them. The Forced effect of this stage orders to remove any card from the game if it heals Wilyador for any amount of damage. No matter if Players use Lore of Imladris, Glorfindel, Radagast, or any other card on Wilyador, they must say goodbye to their precious healing cards.

So getting to the second stage (because of traveling to Rhosgobel) as fast as possible doesn’t mean significant relief for Players. Yes, Wilyador can be healed, but all healing cards used on him must be removed. There is, however, one nasty trick that allows Players to avoid this situation. Because Rhosgobel lacks any immunity against Player cards or effects, it is possible to place progress tokens on it without the necessity of traveling there. Such as Northern Tracker or Snowbourn Scout, who can place the quest tokens on cards in the staging area, might get rid of Rhosgobel earlier than Players can legally travel there. Therefore, it creates the situation where Wilyador can be healed, but the cards which healed him are not removed from the game. They are discarded, but Players can still acquire them from the discard pile if they have viable cards (like Will of the West).

We really don’t like to see that happen. It’s Our sovereign duty to deal damage to Wilyador as much as possible, so even full exploration of Rhosgobel shouldn’t help Players.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Rhosgobel works as an individual element and does not cooperate with other encounter cards too much. There is no card that would remove the progress tokens from locations or card which would cooperate with locations in general.

Danger level


Forest Grove

Not even the second location of A Journey to Rhosgobel shows any threat. It is caused that the scenario is happening on “neutral ground,” where the environment isn’t so hostile to Players. At least from the view of locations…

Anyway, Forest Grove has 2 Threat Strength and 3 Quest Points. The stats of it are worse than the stats of Rhosgobel, which is the key location for the Wilyador rescue. Forest Grove has only little potential to cause location lock in the staging area, and mostly it doesn’t hold as an active location for a longer time.

For Players, however, Forest Grove means a big help in their progress. What do We mean? After Players explore this location, they can search the encounter deck and discard pile for 1 Athelas and add it to the staging area; then, they shuffle the encounter deck. Athelas is objective, which heals 5 wounds from Wilyador at the end of the game. The more copies of Athelas Players can find, the more damage from Wilyador is healed, so obtaining as many Athelas as possible is the key quest for Players in this scenario. Exploring Forest Grove ensures that at least 1 Athelas will be available (but firstly, Players must deal with its “guard”). 4 copies of Forest Grove ensure that Players can theoretically get all of 4 copies of Athelas through the effect of Forest Grove. The encounter deck is not thin, though, so drawing all 4 copies of Forest Grove is rather a utopia than a real, serious threat.

It is a cruel irony that exploring Forest Grove and thus revealing Athelas can bring far more dangerous cards into the game. The “guard” of Athelas can be anything – enemy, location, or treachery. Because A Journey to Rhosgobel contains a really high number of damage-dealing treacheries, it is highly probable Players will draw something like Exhaustion, Swarming Insects, or Festering Wounds – treacheries, which often hit weakened Wilyador. Paradoxically, exploring Forest Grove and drawing Athelas Players can cause additional damage to Wilyador by revealing some of the mentioned treacheries. So not every Forest can be kind to its visitors.

UPDATE: This is not truth since FAQ 1.8, page 14, which says:

Q: Does the Guarded keyword trigger when the encounter card it’s on is “added” to the staging area (and not “revealed”)?

A: No. In order for the Guarded keyword to trigger, the encounter card it appears on must be “revealed” from the encounter deck.

Because of that, Forest Grove refused to play the role of mediator to any other encounter card. It bypasses Guarded keyword, the only danger connected with Athelas revelation, so We curse this damned Forest.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Forest Grove is directly referring to only one card, Athelas. Players will try to travel there and explore it to obtain some Athelas, which heals Wilyador at the end of the game. If Players don’t want to obtain Athelas for any reason (for example, they think they have enough healing cards themselves), there is no real reason why to travel there. With 2 Threat Strength and no negative effects, Players can ignore this location and focus elsewhere. That’s why We don’t consider Forest Grove for a card on Our side.

Danger level


Treacheries


Exhaustion

Okay, let’s stop to play with Players, it is time for true devastation. A Journey to Rhosgobel is not a cakewalk thanks to Our treacheries and Exhaustion is the most effective of them. This treachery (which appears in Our deck in 4 copies) deals 2 damage to every exhausted character, in a word: groovy. In other words: each exhausted character is caught in a very unenviable situation, where it loses 2 Hit Points. That’s a serious wound for any character, especially in an environment where We can launch other damage-dealing treacheries (Swarming Insects, Festering Wounds). 2 damage will reliably eliminate most of the quester-allies like Escort from Edoras because they often lack enough Hit Points, they used to be quite fragile. But even these allies and heroes who survive the revelation of one Exhaustion are extremely vulnerable to the next treacheries. Namely, Festering Wounds with Exhaustion creates the perfect combo, able to kill even heroes – for example, Éowyn won’t hold this pressure. But it is clear, that from the mentioned “trio” of dealing-damage treacheries, Exhaustion is the only one, which doesn’t focus primarily on Wilyador (because Wilyador is not often used as quester).

Exhaustion evidently focuses on questing characters, for which committing to the quest is becoming a true nightmare. How could they quest effectively when the revelation of Exhaustion is a serious threat, able to send them into the grave? Well, Players have some dirty tricks against Exhaustion. Except for the nasty old event, A Test of Will, the Players use Eleanor, who is able to cancel When revealed effects on treachery cards. Healing cards are another trick to mitigate the impact of Exhaustion, though most Players will use them on Wilyador. Self Preservation cannot be attached to Wilyador, but any other character can use it.

However, readying an already exhausted character is the ugliest trick. Exhaustion needs exhausted characters to work properly, but how it could hit them if characters committed to the quest are prepared again by using Unexpected Courage, Ever Vigilant, or Sauron protect Us, Grim Resolve? Fortunately, Grim Resolve is used to be more theoretical than a practical threat. All in all, Players are more likely to protect only some key characters (for example, Unexpected Courage) rather than all of the characters. So Exhaustion will almost always find its victims.

Shadow effect

The shadow effect of Exhaustion is a “light version” of its main effect. It deals 1 damage to each exhausted character. What seems as the weaker effect can have a great impact on the game. While the main effect is commonly revealed during staging (=, so characters are exhausted mostly because of questing), shadow effects are revealed during combat, when characters are exhausted because of defending. So to be more precise – more characters can be exhausted at the moment of revealing Exhaustion’s shadow effect. The ranks of potential victims are expanded with Players’ defenders, like Gondorian Spearman or Snowbourn Scout. Also, removing defenders may cause the enemy’s attack to be considered undefended.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Exhaustion makes a perfect combo with other damage-dealing treacheries (Swarming Insects, Festering Wounds, The Necromancer’s Reach) or even some other shadow effects (Hummerhorns, King Spider) and locations (Great Forest Web). It can devastate some hero with attached Caught in a Web, who can’t afford to pay 2 resources for readying. However, this treachery works perfectly even without the support of other cards – the effect itself can cause true chaos among the ranks of Players’ characters.

Danger level

Shadow level


Swarming Insects

The second damage-dealing treachery from A Journey to Rhosgobel, called Swarming Insects, aims for characters without attachments – it deals 1 damage to each character without attachments. It doesn’t look as devastating as Exhaustion, but it has the potential to deal damage to more characters. We can reliably claim that the majority of characters don’t hold any attachment; in other words, most of the allies and some heroes. Only the most precious and strong heroes have attached something, but the rest of the crew is totally vulnerable to pestering Swarming Insects. It certainly sends a lot of characters to the grave, mostly 1-Hit-Point questers like Escort from Edoras.

Unlike Exhaustion, Swarming Insects targets the main character of this scenario – Wilyador. Since this Eagle cannot hold any attachment, Swarming Insects will hurt him in any case. For Players, this is bad news because it puts significant pressure on the healing of Wilyador.

Shadow effect

We consider the shadow effect of Swarming Insects more interesting than the main effect. It’s because it has the potential to deal big damage to Wilyador. The shadow effect says: “If a character (including Wilyador) has more damage than each other character, deal 3 additional damage to that character.” The most injured character of this scenario used to be Wilyador, of course. He has 20 Hit Points, and Players have very limited options on how to heal effectively heal him. Each healing spell can only heal Wilyador 5 damage at maximum, then the card heads to the discard pile. Athelas heals 5 damage from Wilyador, but 1) Athelas is rare, and 2) it can be guarded by Our cards. So, targeting Wilyador, 3 additional damage caused by this shadow effect (plus 2 damage dealt at the end of turn) will consume 1 piece of Athelas.

In very rare cases, where this shadow effect targets another character, 3 damage can send most of the heroes to the discard pile (which are most likely damaged already). There is only a negligible risk that Swarming Insects will target some insignificant and indispensable ally.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

We don’t need to remind you that Swarming Insects can greatly enhance the rest of the damage-dealing treacheries like Exhaustion, Festering Wounds, and The Necromancer’s ReachDriven by Shadow‘s shadow effect can get rid of one (or all, in the best case) attachment, causing more characters to be vulnerable to the main effect of Swarming Insects.

Danger level

Shadow level


Festering Wounds

At last, the final damage-dealing treachery of A Journey to Rhosgobel called Festering Wounds comes to the scene. In the middle of battle, there is almost no space for healing the bloody wounds caused by Our servants. Any wound, even the little ones, has the potential to inflame and endanger the lives of injured characters massively. That’s the purpose of Festering Wounds – to finish the injured characters and send them to the grave.

When this treachery is revealed, Players must deal 2 damage to each already wounded character. Similarly to Exhaustion, 2 damage itself is a good bit of damage. However, when this damage is dealt globally to many characters across the board, the effect is even more devastating. Festering Wounds demands at least 1 damage to trigger its effect. Therefore, when We reveal this treachery, characters will have at the end of revelation at least 3 damage on them. We know that no ally can survive that – most allies have 3 Hit Points or fewer. Only a few strong allies like Beorn or Landroval can survive it. And heroes? Éowyn, Eleanor, Bilbo Baggins… any 3-Hit-Point hero will fall promptly. The rest of the heroes come out of it considerably weakened, with the gloomy prospect that the next revealed Festering Wounds or Exhaustion will kill even them unless they hold Citadel Plate or another Hit-Point-boosting attachment.

How likely is it that the Festering Wounds won’t find its prey? Almost negligible. Festering Wounds will almost certainly deal damage to Wilyador because he is bleeding almost constantly. Players actually don’t have any chance to keep Wilyador fully healed during the whole course of the scenario. This is practically ruled out. As for other characters, most of them will have dealt damage as well, so Festering Wounds will speak to the course of the game significantly and uncompromisingly.

Shadow effect

Festering Wounds won’t lose any strength or menace if revealed as the shadow effect. Commonly, it will deal 1 damage to each wounded character, but if the attack is undefended, it will deal 2 damage instead.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Festering Wounds comes as a finishing blow when Exhaustion, Swarming Insects, The Necromancer’s Reach, Dol Guldur Orcs, Hummerhorns or other sources of damage will do their work. The chance of dealing 2 damage through the shadow effect is strongly increased if revealed on hard-to-hit Creatures, such as Mirkwood Flock and Black Forest Bats. Without healing, A Test of WillEagles, and Ranged characters, the forces of Players will thin each turn radically, because if not Exhaustion or Swarming Insects, Festering Wounds will always find Players’ characters and eliminate them.

Danger level

Shadow level


Objectives


Athelas

The main objective for the Players is to heal Wilyador fully. To do that, they can use their weak healing cards like Lore of Imladris or Radagast. However, any healing effect can only heal Wilyador 5 damage at once. Furthermore, in most cases, the used cards will go right into the discard pile thanks to 2 – Radagast’s Request. For that reason, Players are looking for another healing card hidden in the forests nearby Rhosgobel – the rare herb Athelas.

Why should this Item matter for Players (and for Us) doesn’t follow directly from the text on the card – on the very first journey, Players don’t even have a clue about what gathering of Athelas is good. The last stage of A Journey to Rhosgobel3 – Return to Rhosgobel, will reveal the truth. Each copy of Athelas under the Player’s control heals 5 damage from Wilyador. The fully healed Wilyador is the key condition for successfully completing the scenario. We have a definitely different mission – to damage Wilyador to such an extent that will exceed the amount of healed damage. Wounded Wilyador means the loss of Players. And that’s exactly what We are striving for.

Athelas can be taken only 1) if a hero exhausts for it and 2) if Athelas has no encounter card attached to it. The encounter card (enemy and location) attaches Athelas thanks to the Guarded keyword. If the guardian is treachery, it immediately triggers, and Athelas remains without any guardian. Commonly, Players wish to reveal treachery on Guarded card, but not in this scenario, where We control such mighty dealing-damage treacheries like Exhaustion, Swarming Insects, and Festering Wounds. The best case for Players (and saddest for Us) is to reveal a “location-guardian” because locations in this scenario pose the least threat, while enemies used to be the reliable guardians.

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Athelas exist in 4 copies. That’s a total of 20 healed damage on Wilyador. We must avert Players will find the most of Athelas. The prevention lies in revealing strong enemy guardians (like Chieftan Ufthak, Ungoliant’s Spawn) and using Our destructive treacheries (Exhaustion, Swarming Insects, Festering Wounds, The Necromancer’s Reach) to kill heroes before they could take Athelas into the stage 3 – Return to Rhosgobel. It doesn’t make it easier for Us that the reward for exploring Forest Grove is searching for one copy of Athelas and putting it into the staging area.

Danger level


Wilyador

Players know well that We primarily focus on eliminating their so-called heroes. They are strong, but not as strong as the dark forces of Our great Lord, Sauron. But in A Journey to Rhosgobel, heroes are pushed to the sideline. We are closely watching the Eagle who is trying to escape from Our reach. We hunger for Wilyador.

Wilyador counts as an ally with these stats: 1-1-1-20. The encounter with Grimbeorn the Old from the previous scenario hurt Us a lot, but Wilyador is another tale. His stats are so ridiculous that only a madman would send him to quest or defense (which threatens him directly on his life). Attacking with him is the safest action, but still 1 Attack can’t do any miracles. Merely the amount of Hit Points deserves the attention – it’s not easy to kill him, that’s for sure.

Wilyador cannot hold attachment. Therefore, Players can’t rely on healing attachments (Self Preservation) or Born Aloft, which could hypothetically get rid of all damage from him. Wilyador also changes his owner frequently – only the First Player can control him.

Until now, the abilities of Wilyador were secondary. The nature and spirit of this scenario are determined by three effects on this Eagle: 1) at the end of each round, Wilyador loses 2 Hit Points, 2) no spell or ability can heal him more than 5 damage, and finally, 3) if Wilyador dies, Players lose. Yeah, the main battle happens around Wilyador: Players try to keep him alive as much as possible while We deal damage to him as much as possible. We are at a good advantage. Not only do We control lots of dealing-damage treacheries and cunning enemies, but also Wilyador is wounded each round. The time is Our friend here. Each round, the pressure on Players to find enough Athelas and other healing cards is constantly growing. Furthermore, the limit of healing 5 damage per used effect causes Players to forget about the potentially powerful effect of Lore of Imladris, which otherwise could fully heal Wilyador. To prevent easy defeat, Players mostly save Wilyador and keep him from questing and fighting as much as possible (some minor attacking could be plausible from him). They try to dig through their decks for healing cards and the encounter deck for Athelas. And finally, Players are in a constant hurry to finish this scenario.

As We look at Players… they have no chance to beat Us here.;-)

A Journey to Rhosgobel

Many threats and dangers await poor Wilyador in A Journey to Rhosgobel. The scary dealing-damage treacheries trio (Exhaustion, Swarming Insectsand Festering Wounds) specializes in hurting Wilyador. The order of most dangerous treacheries for Wilyador We see like this: Festering Wounds > Swarming Insects > Exhaustion. Because the Dol Guldur Orcs encounter set is present here, some other encounter cards hunger for Wilyador’s blood as well: Dol Guldur Orcs and The Necromancer’s Reach. Wilyador is also very reachable for many shadow effects, which are in search of him: namely Black Forest Bats, Mirkwood Flock, Swarming Insects, and Festering Wounds. Because the mentioned enemies are difficult to defend, it increases the chance that the attack of some enemies will remain undefended. And the combination of undefended attack and revealed mentioned shadow effects means for Wilyador far more suffering.

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

With quite weak stats, Black Forest Bats and Mirkwood Flock can’t challenge the Players’ characters. They would be easy targets. However, the situation turns in their favor because they own perfect ability. They will overcome any defense and will avoid any attack because characters can’t reach them unless they have the Eagle trait or Ranged keyword. There is a small number of opponents with such traits/keywords, so Our servants will frequently hit the heroes. Alternatively, Players can call Wilyador to fight for them, but that wouldn’t be too wise because Wilyador‘s life determines the victory or defeat.

Danger level


Locations

The local Forests don’t pose much threat to Players. Forest Grove is not designed for threatening Players; it rather helps them in the form of searching for Athelas, the objective able to heal Wilyador at the end of the game. Players will visit this Forest very willingly, so We think that Forest Grove isn’t playing on Our side in fact.

Rhosgobel doesn’t harm Players in the first instance – it is a place which Players try to achieve and where they want to search for any advice or help, after all. Its stats are average at best. However, the fitness and life of Wilyador depend on the effort of the Players to get there. It’s because they are not able to heal him until the Rhosgobel sits in the staging area. Furthermore, Players get permission to enter Rhosgobel by completing the first stage, 1 – The Wounded Eagle. It’s not easy to even start with healing the Wilyador. Thus, despite that, Rhosgobel lacks any sign of darkness and shadow, which creates significant pressure on Players’ strategy within the few first game rounds.

Danger level


Treacheries

Treacheries of this scenario embody Our endless power. Players haven’t faced such a crisis connected with treacheries yet. Exhaustion, Swarming Insects, and Festering Wounds – the “Evil Trio,” which kill characters to a degree never before seen. No matter which treachery is revealed – each revelation takes the lives of characters, allies, and heroes. Players will fear exhausting characters due to questing or using abilities (Exhaustion). Players will be afraid of lacking enough attachments (Swarming Insects). And they will be terrified if the characters will have even scratched (Festering Wounds). Every of such conditions will punish the Players. And you know what? Even with A Test of WillEleanoror other filthy tricks, Players have no chance to cancel them all because there are so many copies of these treacheries… Quantity beats the quality here. No doubt.

Danger level


Objectives

It is no secret that the objectives of this scenario are… not evil. Never mind. Wilyador fights on the Players’ side, but he experiences more pain and suffering than the Players would wish. They have to protect him and take care of his health, which is decreased each round. Each healing effect can heal Wilyador for 5 damage at most, and the initiator of that healing effect must be discarded (according to 2 – Radagast’s Request). If Players don’t fully restore the Wilyador’s health, they will terribly lose.

For easier healing, Players have to look around for Athelas, which heals 5 damage from Wilyador at the end of the game (3 – Return to Rhosgobel). Athelas is growing commonly in Forest Grove but is always “guarded” – it’s the perfect opportunity to reveal another scary dealing damage treachery.

Danger level


Shadow effects

It seems that the shadow effects of A Journey to Rhosgobel specialize in boosting the undefended attacks and causing damage to Wilyador. As We have already stated, the undefended attacks are real in this scenario, thanks to enemies Black Forest Bats and Mirkwood Flock. Two shadow effects will redirect damage from the attack to Wilyador; if an enemy is undefended (Mirkwood Flock, Black Forest Bats), one tries to wound Wilyador directly (Swarming Insects). The last two shadow effects (Exhaustion, Festering Wounds) work globally. All these shadow effects are powerful in thwarting of healing of characters, namely Wilyador.

Danger level


Overall evaluation

Treacheries really shine in this scenario. They show the real potential of killing the characters. Nobody is safe. Players are constantly shaking when they are revealing new encounter cards. And their fears often come true because the total number of treacheries here is pretty high. It’s rather a miracle if they won’t reveal at least one dealing-damage treachery per round. Shadow effects can also considerably influence the Players’ plans, same as enemies, which have low stats but are quite elusive. This mixture creates a big pressure on Players to use as many healing cards as possible and also creates time pressure. Within the longer games, Wilyador is becoming more vulnerable and wounded. Gathering Athelas is a necessity, but each Athelas is Guarded at the same time. About locations We rather won’t speak – only locations from other encounter sets can hurt.

Danger level


YOUR NIGHTMARE

The whole scenario is a nightmare for Players, no doubt. Treacheries take a leadership role and determine the course of the game. We consider Exhaustion as the biggest threat for questers, who tend to be more fragile. But mostly, it will skip Wilyador, who is not often sent to the quest (just because of Exhaustion ;-)).

On the other hand, Festering Wounds tend to hit everyone on the board, including Wilyador. It is represented in just two copies, but these copies Players won’t forget, and they will count how many copies of Festering Wounds remain in the encounter deck. Most of the characters will have at least one damage because of enemies, treacheries, and shadow effects. Festering Wounds serves as the hammer, which makes the finishing blow for most of them. Really scary card, We must admit. Therefore, Festering Wounds is YOUR NIGHTMARE.


GOBLIN CARD

While treacheries play a key role in this scenario, locations are found on the opposite of usefulness. No location harms Players here at all, and so We must rely on the locations from other encounter sets (though they are not too dangerous in general). Forest Grove works against Us – it enables Players to find Athelas (which heals Wilyador) in Our deck after they explore it. Its stats are horrible.

We really hate such cards, which help Players, but We must stand it in the encounter deck.


SHADOW HORROR

Festering Wounds can boast of not only terrifying main “When revealed” effect, but it doesn’t lose any of its threat if revealed as the shadow card. The “light” version deals 1 damage to each wounded character. The “full” version (if the attack is undefended) deals 2 damage to each wounded character. That means Players are threatened by the global dealing-damage effects not only through revealing treacheries but also through revealing shadow effects. All in all, Festering Wounds will cause removing many characters from the board right into the discard pile.

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