I suppose another update is in order. I skipped the September one because I was in no condition to write, and not much happened that month anyway. October has been a bit more interesting as a player of this game. The blog also started to show signs of life again, with some articles by me in between treatments and by some co-authors looking to get their articles out to the public as well. This has allowed me to take it a little easier, which I explain later in this article. For now, let’s see the major updates and releases for this month.
The first of the repackaged Saga boxes were released, allowing more new players to play through the familiar stories of the books. Since the contents are identical to The Black Riders and The Road Darkens, I didn’t get the expansion. It’s a great one to pick up as a new player, though, with a bunch of useful cards if you want to start building a Hobbit deck. Since my last update, it was also posted by an employee of FFG that there will be no further reprints of the old format (Deluxe+AP) expansions. This means it is uncertain what will happen with the cycles that are not likely to get the revised treatment. It is very likely that they will go the way of the POD and NM expansions, with their prices skyrocketing on the secondary market before disappearing forever. And while the POD and NM packs are being reprinted by GameZenter occasionally, it is not likely to happen with these products since they weren’t using that printer in the first place. I’m not a fan of this approach by Asmodee, though it will eventually remove some confusion on what packs to buy. It also trims the collection down a lot, but I hope that they’ll at least revise all cycles eventually.
We are one step closer to Mount Doom now that the Saga series has released its article for Journey to the Cross-roads. It feels good to see this series moving again, and I hope we will one day make it all the way to the end of the campaign. Please be patient with this series, as it takes a lot of time to research these quests, especially when we get to the more complex and lengthy ones in Flame of the West. But we’ll get there eventually! As for new articles in the pipeline, I have been starting my revisit to Journey to Rhosgobel, but since that quest is quite annoying to review, I have been taking my time with it. I hope to finish it in November, leaving some time to write on the rest of the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle before the end of the year. If I’m feeling good, then it shouldn’t take long to review everything. Otherwise, I won’t live up to the New Year’s Resolution I made at the beginning of this year, but under the circumstances, that can be forgiven.
We are also a bit closer on the Nightmare front of this game. The release of NM Assault on Osgiliath has seen the series move into the second half of the Against the Shadow cycle. However, with 2 very tough quests ahead, I am not looking forward to completing the cycle any time soon. NM Blood of Gondor is notorious for just having the entire encounter deck empty all the time, and Morgul Vale is even more difficult in Nightmare mode than usual! So I will put my focus when it comes to articles on completing the revisit to the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle and then see if I have time this year to work on some Nightmare stuff. In the meantime, various other articles will also be written by other authors on Nightmare quests, so you’ll have enough content.
It wasn’t a regular article, but a good one for me to try writing stuff again. The only real article I released this month was on the artwork for the loot this year. I managed to complete the article in one sitting (like this one), so it is good training for me and my fingers to start writing longer pieces on quests again soon. The artwork article was a bit different but was received really well. The reason why I released it sooner than the regular article on the entire loot is that some people will have already received the artwork on playmats and sleeves by now. I will still do a separate article on the loot itself once we finish distribution. But the artwork and the process behind it felt like it was worth writing on. Aside from the loot article, I do not expect any additional articles this month, but if I’m inspired, I can always find some space in my empty schedule!
Time for a more personal update concerning my health, as some people have been asking for it. I have recently posted a pretty similar update on Patreon (which is a public post so that anyone can read about it). I won’t repeat myself too much here, but I will give a condensed version of events from the past two months and share the road ahead. For those not interested, no worries, I’m doing fine, and I hope to be more active in the community going forward.
So when last I wrote to you all, I had undergone my first session of chemotherapy. This went well, and while everything was still new to me, I got out of it with minimal side effects, aside from not eating that much. In the weeks that followed, I went back to the hospital several times for a booster shot of chemo and for the second and third sessions. That third session of five days was the one that nearly broke me, as it certainly gets harder over time. I knew what to expect and how to prepare, but I hadn’t recovered completely from the second session yet. So the third session saw me eating next to nothing and having to throw up twice per day. Add to it the low-energy feeling and stress about being in a hospital environment (smells, sounds, etc.), and you can understand that I was glad to be out of there halfway through this month. Thankfully, I have been recovering pretty well since then (though I’m pushing my body harder than I should). I have now been without chemo injection for 2 weeks, so another week and everything should be out of my body. That will give my cells a chance to start replicating as normal, allowing wounds to heal faster and my hair to grow back at a slow rate.
Looking ahead, I will have all of November at the very least to recover from this all and work on rebuilding my stamina levels. Muscles have taken quite a hit, and laying in bed for 5 days in the hospital on three separate occasions also doesn’t help. So that will be the priority right now. Just to walk and cycle a little bit each day. I’m fortunate to live in quite a nice area where it’s easy to go to some forests, so at least I’ll have nice surroundings while I recover physically. Once that month is up, I will have my second scan to see if the tumor(s) are gone or if additional medication is required. I will have the results of that on December 1st, so not in time for the next monthly review article. But I’ll share the results in the community afterwards.
From December onward, it will mostly be me reintegrating with work and social life to do the things I usually would have done. It’ll be hard to find a new normal, but I’m sure I can find something resembling that. I might start to travel again in the new year and hope to be able to attend Lure of Middle-Earth in February. It’s at least a lot closer than Con of the Rings from where I live.
The blog will likely see an increase in content because my mind is no longer under the influence of medication, and I will have plenty of time to spend each day on the blog. However, while the loot is still not distributed, I will be spending some of that blog time on the loot instead. Once everything has been sent out, I can go back to writing articles for the rest of the month. It’ll help me to stay occupied with something and feel productive while I’m still off from work. Hopefully, it will help me to get back into the game some more and offer helpful articles to the newer players out there that have been missing out in the past 3 months.
This has been my focus for the past month, more so than writing articles. I have been working on making sure that all the envelopes and letters are ready to go while the design for the books is being worked on. While I haven’t gotten as far as I had hoped, I am nearly finished with most of the administrative stuff so that everything can be sent out as soon as the books arrive. I have also done a prototype of the book already and have been ordering additional packaging material for everyone’s parcel. It’s a lot of stuff to send out this year, so I hope you can all be patient for a little while longer while I get the final bits in place and await the order of books. Once everything is shipped out, I will be in touch about shipping times and prices for those of you kind enough to offer to cover your shipping. That helps me to put extra funds into the loot each year!
~Aa’menealla nauva calen ar-malta~
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