A Shadow Of The Past: Playthrough

The Decks I have used for the quest, and the notes for them, can be found here and here. The narrative for the quest can be found here.

Player Deck Set-up:
Attached The One Ring and Mr. Underhill to Frodo Baggins.
Deck One draws opening hand
Deck Two draws opening hand

Deck One
Threat: 23
Bilbo Baggins
Pippin (Lore)
Sam Gamgee

Starting Hand:
Song of Kings
Song of Wisdom
Dúnedain Warning
Elf-stone
Bill the Pony

I’m pretty happy with this opening hand, I would have liked to see Rosie Cotton, or Naith Guide, but Bill the Pony is a brilliant opening card as to makes killing my squishy Hobbits a bit more difficult. The Songs are likewise a nice addition as resource smoothing will really help get this deck going.

Deck Two
Threat: 21
Merry (Tactics)
Tom Cotton
Fatty Bolger

Starting Hand:
Ancient Mathom
Elevenses
Bofur
Longbeard Sentry
Smoke Rings

Not too keen on this hand as I really wanted a copy of A Test of Will early on to help out with those treacheries that could potentially crush my game if they come out early (looking at you, Piercing Cry and Hunting for the Ring.) Bofur would be nice to help find my Daggers, as is Ancient Mathom, but everything else isn’t helpful at the early stage of the quest.

Mulligan:
Curious Brandybuck
A Test of Will
Dagger of Westernesse
Dagger of Westernesse
Ancient Mathom

Now this is more like it! This is pretty much the perfect opening hand I could have asked for. I’ve got the aforementioned A Test of Will, not one but two Daggers of  Westernesse (I know the correct phrase would be ‘Dagger of Westernesse’s, but that’s just too awkward), and even an Ancient Mathom for seasoning. The Curious Brandybuck will help with any Black Riders I may be engaged with, especially with Tom Cotton’s boost, and 2 free willpower is always nice.

Player Deck Set-up:
Attached Mr. Underhill to Frodo Baggins.
Deck One draws opening hand
Deck Two draws opening hand

Quest Set-Up
Added Gandalf’s Delay to the staging area.
Bucklebury Ferry is set aside, out of play.
A Black Rider is added to the staging area.
Bag End is the active location.
Gildor Inglorien and The Ring Draws Them is shuffled into the Encounter Deck.

Turn No.1                                                  Saga-1B    Stage: 1B (0/1)
Active Location: Bag End (0/3)
Staging Area:
Black Rider (4 Threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card In Bold):
Song of Kings, Song of Wisdom, Dúnedain Warning, Elf-stone, Bill the Pony, None Return, Ranger Provisions
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (1) 

Deck Two Hand:
Curious Brandybuck, A Test of Will, Dagger of Westernesse, Dagger of Westernesse, Ancient Mathom, Longbeard Sentry
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty Bolger (1)

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Bill the Pony
Song of Kings-Bilbo
Song of Wisdom-Sam
Dúnedain Warning-Tom Cotton
Ranger Provisions-Bag End

Let’s get this show on The Road then. Playing Bill the Pony is a no-brainer, extra health is vial in a hobbit deck and he’s even free. The Songs are needed for smoothing out the deck’s resources, which should be sped up by Ranger Provisions on Bag End. None Return is nice, but we’re not at a stage where we can kill the Black Rider yet. Dúnedain Warning will, however, make it more likely that we get there by taking Tom Cotton to a hefty 4 defense.

Deck Two:
Dagger of Westernesse-Sam
Dagger of Westernesse-Merry

Deck Two’s planning won’t be quite so prolific, we need to save a Spirit resource for A Test of Will, a Piercing Cry would just wreck us this early on. That just leaves us two Tactics resources to play with, with is perfect for our two Daggers. One will go on Merry as the primary attacker, and another on Sam just in case Deck One has to weigh in or is ambushed.

Quest Phase
Bill the Pony-1
Sam-3
Frodo-2
Fatty-1

Total willpower: 7

I know 7 willpower is less than ideal, but hopefully we’ll get some low-threat locations or maybe a Black Steed. The engagement reduction wouldn’t hurt us too much yet, so it would essentially be a free card. I haven’t committed more because we need willpower kept back for any early Hide tests. At this stage a failed one could be disastrous.

1: Pathless Country (2 threat) (Ok, not bad.)
2: Pathless Country (2 threat) (I’ll take it. Something far worse could come out from a Ring cancellation.)

Total threat: 8

Failed Questing by 1
Raise threat by 1

Not ideal, but it could have been a lot, lot worse.

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase

Well we need to get threat out of the staging area, so I suppose there’s only one thing for it.

Deck Two engages Black Rider

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (4)
The Ring Draws Them revealed as Shadow
Black Rider attacks (5), deals 1 damage to Tom Cotton
Merry attacks (5), deals 1 damage

Well that wasn’t too bad at all. Having The Ring Draws Them dealt as a Shadow card is a massive weight off my mind. At the wrong moment, that card could have been crippling. As it is, we got off relatively unscathed.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 25
Deck Two: 23

Turn No.2
Stage: 1B (0/1)
Active Location: Bag End (0/3)
Staging Area:
Pathless Country (0/7, 2 Threat)
Pathless Country (0/7, 2 Threat)

Resource Phase

Deck Two Hand (New Card In Bold):
Curious Brandybuck, A Test of Will, Ancient Mathom, Longbeard Sentry, Secret Vigil, Marksman of Lorien
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty Bolger (2), Frodo (1)

Deck One Hand:
Elf-stone, None Return, Friend of Friends
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1)

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Secret Vigil-Black Rider
Ancient Mathom-Bag End

Well threat reduction is always helpful, especially as on the Black Rider it will be a massive 4 for every player. If we can kill the Nazgul it will be as through we played two copies of The Galadhrim’s Greeting for one resource! [Edit: I have just spotted that the Black Rider cannot have Secret Vigil attached to him. While this play was illegal, it does not alter the play from this point onwards as even at the end the maximum threat of my decks is still below the Black Rider’s engagement level of 38 (35 native + 3 for Pippin) so I won’t change the report at this point but will watch out that I don’t repeat this mistake in the future. Sorry about this.] Ancient Mathom on Bag End will just increase the card draw bonanza upon exploring it. Still keeping a resource for that all-important Test of Will.

Deck One:
Elf-stone-Bag End (0/4)

Not a lot we can do just yet as we need a second Friend of Friends to really make it worth playing, and I’d prefer to hold off on putting down a copy until we know who needs them.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Pippin-2
Sam-3
Frodo-2

Total willpower: 8

Right, Deck Two is pinning the Black Rider so Deck One can go all out in questing. We’ll keep back Bill as a chump-blocker for any surprise Nazgul. Deck Two needs to focus on killing that sucker.

1: Piercing Cry – A Test of Will.  (Nope, nope, nope. Kill it with fire.)
2: Lure of the Ring – Exhausted Ring, trigger surge. (While I could take the threat bump, it would push Deck One into engagement territory if a Black Rider got a Black Steed, negating Pippin and Sam’s bonuses. Exhaust The Ring it is.)
2:1 Black Rider – Trigger Fatty, exhaust him, raise Deck Two’s threat by 4 to reduce the threat of [staging area] Black Rider by 4. (Right, we need to make progress, otherwise we’re approaching the danger zone of being threat locked and we cannot afford to engage this guy. So we’ll use Fatty’s ability to ignore this new threat in the staging area. Wait, remind me what the Black Rider’s text box says.) Hide (2) Test. (Ah. With Fatty exhausted, we’ve no characters left to commit other than Merry. If I fail the test, the Nazgul will make an extra attack and Tom Cotton can only defend one of them. That would mean losing a hero, Merry doesn’t have a strong enough defense and an undefended attack would cut down any of the heroes. But we need to be able to kill this Black Rider this turn or threat will keep building in the staging area and things will become untenable. We cannot have a second one engaged, and we cannot keep relying on Fatty’s unsustainable to cancel threat in the staging area. That way leads only to threat-lock. If the Nazgul kill a hero in Deck Two it will probably sink it. If the staging area is threat-locked, both decks will go down. Stuff it, here we go.)
Trigger Hide (2) Test.
Commit no-one (0), reveal Crawling Towards Him (0), Black Steed (0), test passed. (Thank Eru, we did it! We got away with it! Now I’m really emotionally invested, let’s do this!)

Total threat: 4

Win by 4, explore Bag End
Trigger Bag End:
Deck Two: Northern Tracker, Hobbit Pipe, Ring Mail, Northern Tracker
Deck One: Gather Information, None Return, Ranger Provisions
Trigger Ancient Mathom: Ancient Mathom, Woodland Courier, Woodland Courier
Trigger Ranger Provisions
Trigger Elf-stone: Northern Tracker

Well after that jackpot of a Hide Test, this is all icing on that cake. 10 cards drawn between the two decks, extra resources and a ‘free’ Northern Tracker.

Travel Phase
Travel to Pathless Country: trigger Curious Brandybuck

…and a Brandybuck for seasoning!

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (4)
Black Rider revealed as Shadow
Black Rider attacks, deals 1 damage to Tom Cotton
Merry attacks (6), Curious Brandybuck attacks (2), Northern Tracker attacks (2), deals 6 damage, destroys Black Rider

Trigger Secret Vigil, lower threat by 4
Deck One plays None Return, add Black Rider to victory display

Right, with one Black Rider that will never come back to haunt us, and another discarded as a Shadow Card, this quest just got that bit more manageable. There should only be two left in the encounter deck. The threat reduction is really nice as it is now resets Fatty’s threat bump. We also have a decent attacking engine going forward as just now I’m more interested in the Northern Tracker’s two attack than him location clearing.

Refresh Phase
Increase threat by 1
Deck Two: 24
Deck One: 26

Turn No.3
Stage: 1B (0/1)
Active Location: Pathless Country (0/4)
Staging Area:
Black Rider (4 threat)
Pathless Country (0/7, 2 Threat)

Resource Phase

Deck One Hand (New Card In Bold):
Friend of Friends, Ranger Provisions, None Return, Gather Information, Fast Hitch, Frodo’s Intuition
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (2), Frodo (3)

Deck Two Hand
Longbeard Sentry, Marksman of Lorien, Ring Mail, Hobbit Pipe, Northern Tracker, Woodland Courier, Woodland Courier, Ancient Mathom, Dagger of the Westernesse
Merry (2), Tom Cotton (3), Fatty Bolger (2)

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Frodo’s Intuition: Evening Star, Fast Hitch, Hobbit Cloak, Bill the Pony
Fast Hitch-Sam
Hobbit Cloak-Sam
Ranger Provisions-Pathless Country
Gather Information
Evening Star-Pathless Country (2/3)

Have I mentioned how much I love Frodo’s Intuition? Because I will, a lot probably. Adding on 4 willpower for 2 resources is decent, but keeping it until the end of the round is amazing, especially in this quest. Practically every other willpower boosting event in the game limits the boost for the phase only, with the only exceptions I can think of being Durin’s Song and Lords of the Eldar. But that’s not all, this card also lets you draw up to 4 cards. It really doesn’t get any better than this. In other news, Hobbit Cloak should have a synergism with Sam’s ability, boosting his defense to 4 on a turn where he engages a Black Rider. Now that it’s been drawn, Gather Information would be good to find Friend of Friends and should only delay things by a turn.

Deck Two:
Ancient Mathom-Pathless Country
Hobbit Pipe-Frodo
Ring Mail-Tom Cotton
Dagger of the Westernesse-Merry

We’ll put Hobbit Pipe on Frodo because he can bounce from one deck to the other, spreading the love. The Ring-Mail takes Tom Cotton beyond Beregond levels, lacking only sentinel but now sporting a hefty 5 defense. The third and final Dagger goes onto Merry, completing his build-up into a combat monster.

Quest Phase
Gather Information is the active quest

Bilbo-2
Pippin-3
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Wandering Took-2

Total willpower: 14

1: Woody End (1 threat) (This really is an ideal draw, low threat and quest points, with a friendly effect to boot.)
2: Green Hill Country (2 threat) (Again, a really gentle draw. Makes me wonder what the encounter deck has planned.)

Total threat: 9

Win by 5, explore Pathless Country, complete Gather Information.
Trigger Curious Brandybuck
Trigger Ancient Mathom: Daughter of the Nimrodel, Elf-stone, Rosie Cotton
Trigger Ranger Provisions
Trigger Gather Information:
-Deck One: Friend of Friends
-Deck Two: West Road Traveller

Friend of Friends was an easy choice for Deck One, but for Deck Two I felt like we needed cheap willpower more urgently than anything else. If we can’t start making real progress, the negative ability in Quest Stage 2B is going to be impacting us much longer.

Travel Phase
Travel to Green Hill Country

Encounter Phase
Deck Two optionally engages Black Rider

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Stock Road revealed as Shadow Card
Black Rider attacks, deals no damage
Merry attacks (7), Fatty attacks (1), Northern Tracker attacks (2), deals 6 damage, destroys Black Rider.

And another Black Rider is down. I honestly didn’t expect Merry could get so powered up so quickly, but here we are. Of course I can’t afford to get cocky, one sour Shadow Card could still cause havoc (see Pathless Country or Piercing Cry for the worst ones).

Refresh Phase

Raise threat by 1
Deck One: 27
Deck Two: 25

Turn No.4
Stage: 1B (0/1)
Active Location: Green Hill Country (0/3)
Staging Area:
Pathless Country (0/7, 2 threat)
Woody End (0/1, 1 threat)

Resource Phase

Deck Two Hand (New Card In Bold):
Longbeard Sentry, Marksman of Lorien, Northern Tracker, Woodland Courier, Woodland Courier, West Road Traveller, Elevenses, Hobbit Pipe
Merry (2), Tom Cotton (2), Fatty (2), Frodo (3)

Deck One Hand:
Fast Hitch, None Return, Bill the Pony, Friend of Friends, Daughter of Nimrodel, Elf-stone, Rosie Cotton, Friend of Friends, Naith Guide
Bilbo (2), Pippin (2), Sam (3)

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Hobbit Pipe-Bilbo
Woodland Courier: Green Hill Country (2/3)

To me, the Woodland Courier is essentially a retooled Snowburn Scout. The extra cost is justified by the willpower the Courier brings that the Scout leaves behind. The bonus for Forest locations is really good for this quest, so there is that too.

Deck One:
Friend of Friends-Sam
Friend of Friends-Frodo
Rosie Cotton
Fast Hitch-Rosie Cotton
Elf-stone- Green Hill Country (2/4)

I love Friend of Friends. I think it so thematic, with the right balance of power, cost and utility. One just has to go on Frodo, because he’ll be moving about the most and may need to work harder as a result, and so the other must go on Sam. Rosie Cotton is a brilliant addition, as others far more experienced than me have already pointed out so I won’t get into that again.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Sam-4
Bill the Pony-1
Woodland Courier-1
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker:
Pathless Country (1/7)
Woody End (1/1)-explored

Total willpower: 8

Right, I need to be careful here. We need to progress, but once we hit Stage 2B every ally will hurt our Hide Tests. We’ll keep back Frodo to handle the initial Hide Test of the Stage, with Rosie as back-up.

1: Gildor Inglorion: Deck Two takes control (Yes! This is a fantastic draw, he’ll help massively with questing/hiding as he sports a generous 3 willpower.)
2: The Mairsh (3 threat) (Not a terrible threat, but its forced effect will hurt in the long run if it goes off)

Total threat: 5

Win by 3
Explore Green Hill Country
Trigger Elf-stone: Longbeard Sentry
Complete quest stage 1B
Reveal quest stage 2A/B
Reveals Black Rider from encounter deck
Triggers Hide (2) test
Commits Frodo (3), Gildor (3)
Reveal Green Hill Country (2), Crawling Towards Him (0), Allies (4),
Test Passed

We’re going at a decent pace, but is still a Black Rider in the encounter deck somewhere, and the ones in the discard pile aren’t out of the game yet. Hence I went for more defense with the Elf-stone bringing in the Longbeard Sentry over another Northern Tracker. The sentinel keyword could mean the difference between a dead hero or ally. I know which I’d prefer.

Travel Phase
Travel to The Mairsh

Encounter Phase
Deck Two optionally engages Black Rider

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Evil Crow revealed as Shadow Card
Black Rider attacks (5), deals no damage
Exhaust Rosie Cotton to add (2) to Merry’s attack
Merry attacks (10), deals 6 damage, destroys Black Rider
Bilbo plays None Return, adds Black Rider to the victory display.

And with a second Black Rider in the victory display, I can breath a lot easier now. Even if all 3 of the remaining Black Riders engaged at once, between Sam, Tom Cotton and the Sentry I should have enough defenders to not only survive a turn or two, but rally a counter attack. We’re not in the clear just yet however, see the nasty Shadows mentioned above.

Refresh Phase
Raise threat by one
Deck Two: 26
Deck One: 28
Pay one Fellowship resource to keep Gildor Inglorien, Deck One takes control.

I’m going to keep Gildor around for a bit I think. His willpower would be very helpful in questing/ hiding, and his other stats aren’t too shabby either.

Turn No.5
Stage: 2B (0/14)
Active Location: The Mairsh (0/4)
Staging Area: Pathless Country (1/7, 2 threat)

Resource Phase

Deck One Hand (New Card In Bold):
Bill the Pony, Naith Guide, Daughter of the Nimrodel, Frodo’s Intuition, Quickbeam
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (3)
Deck Two Hand:
Marksman of Lorien, Northern Tracker, Woodland Courier, West Road Traveller, Elevenses, Feint
Merry (3), Tom Cotton (3), Fatty (2)

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Frodo’s Intuition: A Burning Brand, Lindon Navigator, Robin Smallburrow, Barliman Butterbur
Lindon Navigator

Frodo’s Intuition, just saying. The Lindon Navigator will be able to pull double-duty and be around for both questing and Hide Tests. The card discard may sting a bit, but we can handle that.

Deck Two:
Woodland Courier: Pathless Country (3/7)

Just chipping away at Pathless Country. Now we’re at the stage where if we traveled there it would instantly be explored so that’s nice to have in the bank.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-2
Pippin-3
Sam-5
Frodo-4
Lindon Navigator-2
Gildor Inglorien-3
Bill the Pony-1
Northern Tracker-1
Pathless Country (4/7)
Woodland Courier-1
Woodland Courier-1

Total willpower: 23

Here we go, we need to get out of this stage as soon as possible or it will start to hurt. 

1: The Mairsh (3 Threat)
2: Rode Like A Gale (no effect, trigger Surge)
2.1: Pathless Country (2 Threat)

Total threat: 7

It’s not enough, we need to make 18 progress to get past The Mairsh and Stage 2B all in one shot. There’s only one thing for it.

Exhaust Rosie Cotton to add (2) willpower to Sam. Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam. Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Rosie Cotton

Total willpower: 25

Win by 18, explore The Mairsh, complete quest stage 2B. Resolve quest stage 3A, add Bucklebury Ferry to the staging area. Resolve quest stage 3B, add Black Rider to staging area from the encounter deck.
Trigger Hide (2) Test.
Exhaust Sam (7), reveal Evil Crow (2), Have You Seen Baggins (0), test passed.

Trigger stage 3B effect, put 4 progress on The Mairsh, exploring it.
Trigger Lindon Navigator, discard Bill the Pony from hand

Right, we’re getting there. We just need to clear out the locations in the staging area to travel to the Ferry and win the quest. The last Black Rider has been revealed, so as soon as we can kill it I’ll be a lot happier. I’m really happy that Have You Seen Baggins? hasn’t come up as a treachery, the added mental pressure for each Hide Test would have been the death of me.

Travel Phase
Travel to Pathless Country (0/3)

Encounter Phase
Deck Two optionally engages Black Rider

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Pathless Country revealed as Shadow Card
Black Rider attacks (5), deals 1 damage to Tom Cotton
Exhaust Rosie Cotton to add (2) to Merry’s attack
Merry attacks (9), Longbeard Sentry attacks (1), deals 6 damage, destroys Black Rider

With Rosie boosting Merry’s attack, there really isn’t a lot that he can’t handle. Getting an attack boost as a Shadow definitely hurt, but it could have been much worse. With the last Rider slain, we can now focus on escaping to Bucklebury Ferry.

Refresh Phase
Raise threat by one
Deck One: 29
Deck Two: 27
Pay one Fellowship resource to keep Gildor Inglorien, Deck Two takes control.

Turn No.6
Stage: 3B (-/-)
Active Location: Pathless Country (0/3)
Staging Area:
Pathless Country (4/7, 2 threat)
Bucklebury Ferry (0/9, 3 threat)

Resource Phase

Deck Two Hand (New Card In Bold): Marksman of Lorien, Northern Tracker, West Road Traveller, Elevenses, Feint, Bofur, Farmer Maggot
Merry (4), Tom Cotton (4), Fatty (1), Frodo (1)

Deck One Hand:
Naith Guide, Daughter of the Nimrodel, Quickbeam, Barliman Butterbur, Robin Smallburrow, Burning Brand, Robin Smallburrow
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (2)

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Bofur
Farmer Maggot

Of the cards I can afford, Bofur and Farmer Maggot are the only two with any willpower, so we’ll go for those. I’ve already got all three Daggers so there would be no point in triggering Bofur’s ability.

Deck One:
Robin Smallburrow
Naith Guide: Frodo Baggins

Again, more willpower is always appreciated, and another hobbit card in this quest is always thematic gravy. I could have gone with Quickbeam, but I’d prefer the 2 willpower fro Robin now as opposed to waiting for a turn for Quickbeam to get up and running. Naith Guide chose Frodo because he’s the hero in Deck Two with the most willpower so its nice to have him ready for any Hide Tests there may be.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Pippin-2
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Lindon Navigator-2
Naith Guide-1
Bill the Pony-1
Northern Tracker-1
Pathless Country (5/7)
Woodland Courier-1
Woodland Courier-1
Bofur-2

Total willpower: 19

And we’ll quest big again, if we hit a Stock-Brook we need to be able to clear it at once to keep on top of our locations.

Reveal Encounter Cards

1: Lure of the Ring-exhaust The One Ring, trigger surge (Not ideal, but I think we’re in a sturdy enough place that we can deal with whatever else the encounter deck has to throw at us)
1.1: Piercing Cry-Find Black Rider from encounter discard, engaged with Deck Two. Added, not revealed so no Hide Test. (I suppose it had to come up sooner or later, I’m just glad it has come up now my decks are better prepared to handle it.
2: Hunting For the Ring
Doomed 2. Opt for Hide (2) Tests. (While we should be able to survive the extra 4 threat in the staging area, the bonus progress we’d get to make from passing Hide Tests would really bail us out with our locations. Our decks have been built up enough that we should be able to handle these hide tests, and with no Black Riders left in the encounter deck there shouldn’t be any truly devastating draws.)
Deck Two: Exhaust Farmer Maggot (1) and Frodo (3). Reveal Have You Seen Baggins (0) and Stock Road (3). Test passed. Trigger stage 3B effect, put progress on Pathless Country (7/7), exploring it.
Deck One: Exhaust Robin Smallburrow (2), exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam, exhaust Sam (4). Reveal Stock-Brook (1), Rode Like A Gale (0), test passed. Trigger stage 3B effect, put progress on Pathless Country (3/3), exploring it.
Win by 16

In the end, all the extra questing power was for naught and it resulted in not a single progress being placed, but better safe than sorry. The Hide Tests went down smoothly enough and now we’re in the clear to travel to Bucklebury Ferry.

Trigger Lindon Navigator: Robin Smallburrow

Travel Phase
Travel to Bucklebury Ferry
Trigger Bucklebury Ferry
Hide (3) test. Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Rosie Cotton, exhaust Rosie Cotton to add (2) to Fatty’s willpower, Fatty (3), Gildor (3)
Reveal Hunting For the Ring (0), Evil Crow (2), Stock Road (3), test passed, successfully travelled.

Here we are, the last leg of our journey to Buckland. After a Hide (3) test, we are gearing up to cross the Brandywine River. We just need to dispatch this Black Rider and make 9 progress and we’re away.

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Black Rider
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Green Hill Country revealed as Shadow Card
Black Rider attacks (5), deals 1 damage to Tom Cotton
Merry attacks (8), Longbeard Sentry (1), deals 5 damage, Black Rider last hit point left.

Well we couldn’t quite finish it off, and Tom is down to his last hitpoint (thank goodness for Bill the Pony and Ring Mail). But hopefully this shouldn’t matter if we can muster enough willpower to escape next turn.

Refresh Phase
Raise threat by one
Deck Two: 28
Deck One: 30
Pay one Fellowship resource to keep Gildor Inglorien, Deck One takes control.

Turn No.7
Stage: 3B (-/-)
Active Location: Bucklebury Ferry (0/9)
Staging Area: –

Resource Phase

Deck One Hand (New Card In Bold):
Daughter of the Nimrodel, Quickbeam, Barliman Butterbur, Burning Brand, Hobbit Cloak, Rosie Cotton
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (1)

Deck Two Hand
Marksman of Lorien, Northern Tracker, West Road Traveller, Elevenses, Feint, Elevenses
Merry (2), Tom Cotton (2), Fatty (2)

Planning Phase
Deck One
Burning Brand-Sam

I very much doubt Sam will be called on to do any defending at this point, but it’s better on him than not.

Deck Two
Marksman of Lorien: Black Rider (-2 Defence)
West Road Traveller

Again, just in case we fail to get enough progress, the Marksman of Lorien will help make sure the Black Rider is seen off. The West Road Traveller will chip in with her willpower at a very respectable 2 for 2 resources.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Pippin-2
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Gildor-3
Lindon Navigator-2
Bill the Pony-1
Naith Guide-1
Woodland Courier-1
Woodland Courier-1
Northern Tracker-1
West Road Traveller-2

Total willpower: 22

Here goes nothing.

1: Bamfurlong (2 threat) (A soft draw, and thematically appropriate that this should appear just as we get to the ferry.)
2: Piercing Cry. Find Black Rider (4 threat) in encounter discard pile, add to staging area. Added, not revealed so no Hide Test. (And there we have it. One last defiant effort by the encounter deck to hinder us, but it is too little at this point. We’ll leave the Black Rider in the staging area.)

Total threat: 6

Win by 16

Explore Bucklebury Ferry.

Victory

Victory Display:
Bag End (1), Black Rider (0), None Return (0), Gather Information (1), Woody End (1), Black Rider (0), None Return (0)

Score: 30 threat+28 threat, 70 for turns taken, 4 for damage on Tom Cotton, -3 for victory points=129

So concludes the first report for this Saga Campaign. It was a bit hairy in the opening turns, but once we got our board state under control, things began to progress a bit smoother. We were close to losing Tom Cotton towards the end, but he clung to life, defending us until the last. Everyone performed as well as I could have asked of them, but the MVP will have to be Merry. He stripped health off of Black Riders like it was going out of fashion and never failed to put a dent in them. An honourable mention has to go to Fatty Bolger for that crucial threat raise to enable us to make 4 progress and clear out Bag End, which really served in kick-starting our engines.

With regards to the Boons and Burdens involved, I am going to choose Gandalf’s Delay to be added to our Campaign Pool. Bilbo’s native ability granting card draw effectively negated this Burden, so I have no great anguish over keeping this around. With regard to Boons, I shall choose Gildor Inglorion. Part of this stems from the fact I wish that he had shown up a little bit more in the books, and this is a way to compensate for that. As for a gameplay perspective, his extra stats were incredibly helpful in accounting for Hide Tests and really allowed me to adopt a more aggressive stance towards the quest in its latter stages. I never had the need to use Mr Underhill, as I still had a Feint left in my hand at the end of the game I was saving for an emergency. (I realise now that if I had played Feint, Tom Cotton would have been ready and we could have killed that engaged Black Rider, but that’s hindsight I suppose.) Gildor, on the other hand, had much more utility and was far more helpful.

Add Gandalf’s Delay to Campaign Pool
Add Gildor Inglorion to Campaign Pool

Escape to Buckland by DiegoGisbertLlorens

3 thoughts on “A Shadow Of The Past: Playthrough

  1. Dren608

    Um when you cleared Bag end it is 3 quest points so the fourth should have gone on the 1B card taking you to Quest 2A at that point shouldn’t it? That would change your replay significantly I think. OR did I miss something?

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  2. Pingback: A Journey in the Dark – The Road Goes Ever On

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