The Old Forest: 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.

Encounter Deck Set-up:
Remove Old Man Willow and Withywildle from the encounter deck
Add Gandalf’s Delay to the staging area
Shuffle Gildor Inglorion into the encounter deck

So here we go. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this quest so I’m looking forward to giving it a go. Woodland Couriers should help me out with the locations here, at least Northern Tracker would be good but two would be ideal so help clear them before treacheries wipe their progress. Evening Star is expected to do some work too. Combat shouldn’t be a major concern until I hit the last stage of the quest, the problem with be my rising threat levels. I’m hoping that Elevenses and Smoke Rings may be enough to get me by, otherwise I may have to try this again with the pricier Galadhrim’s Greeting.

Player Deck Set-up:
Attach The One Ring and Old Bogey-stories 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:
Burning Brand
Evening Star
Daughter of the Nimrodel
Rivendell Minstrel
None Return

While Burning Brand is nice, as is Evening Star, None Return is not as helpful when I can’t reliably kill enemies just yet and Daughter of the Nimrodel is a bit expensive to play from the get-go.

Mulligan:
Frodo’s Intuition
Ranger Provisions
Evening Star
Song of Wisdom
None Return

Now this is much better. I’ve already said how much I love, love, Frodo’s Intuition and if I can get a location with two progress needed to clear it then I see a possible combo with Evening Star/ Ranger Provisions. Song of Wisdom is always welcome in this deck. Would have liked to see Rosie Cotton or Bill the Pony, but there we go. None Return is not bad, but we’ll have to save it for nastier enemies to stop them getting shuffled in when Tom Bombadil reshuffles the encounter deck.

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

Starting Hand:
Elevenses
Hobbit Pipe
Song of Travel
A Test of Will
Bofur

I think I would keep this hand for Song of Travel and A Test of Will alone, but Bofur is a solid ally that can hopefully help find a Dagger and a Hobbit Pipe is a nice addition to my card draw engine.

Quest Set-Up:
Misleading Path and Wall of Trees are found in the encounter deck and added to the staging area.
Resolve Stage 1B:
Deck One: Burning Brand
Deck Two: Feint
Advance to random Stage 2A, resolve quest stage, no effect.
Advance to Stage 2B: Closing In Around Them

So there’s my two progress location, and both Burning Brand and Feint will help when I come into the combat stage.

Turn No.1
Stage: 2B (Closing In Around Them) (0/10 victory points)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Misleading Path (0/2, 1 threat)
Wall of Trees (0/4, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo’s Intuition, Ranger Provisions, Evening Star, Song of Wisdom, None Return, Burning Brand, Rosie Cotton, Leave No Trace
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (1)

There’s Rosie! Now let’s get this show on the road.

Deck Two Hand:
Elevenses, Hobbit Pipe, Song of Travel, A Test of Will, Bofur, Feint, Dagger of the Westernesse
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (1)

Found a Dagger, which Merry always loves. This will help a lot when I have to take on Old Man Willow as his engagement cost of 50 means the Dagger’s bonus will always apply against him.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Ranger Provisions-Misleading Path (0/2)
Evening Star: Misleading Path (explored), trigger Ranger Provisions
Leave No Trace: Misleading Path added to Victory Display
Frodo’s Intuition: Dunedain Warning, Friend of Friends, Fast Hitch, Bill the Pony
Dunedain Warning-Tom Cotton
Fast Hitch-Sam Gamgee
Bill the Pony

And we have our first location in the Victory Display! Note that because both Ranger Provisions and Leave No Trace use the phrase ‘After this/a location is explored’, I can decide in what order they trigger, hence how I can pay for the event. While Misleading Path doesn’t have any Victory Points, and so doesn’t count towards progress, it should help dilute Old Man Willow’s nasty combat response. Eru bless Frodo’s Intuition, finding me Bill the Pony and a Fast Hitch! The ball is beginning to roll.

Deck Two:
Hobbit Pipe-Frodo Baggins
Song of Travel-Merry
Dagger of the Westernesse-Merry

A bit less explosive a planning phase, it sets the stage for things to come, hopefully. Spirit cards will be easier to pay for, Frodo can help draw cards and Merry can better stab trees!

Quest Phase
Bilbo-2
Pippin-3
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Bill-1

Total willpower: 13

Our threats are low enough that we can avoid combat with the tree enemies for now, as we aren’t set up to take them on just yet. Therefore, we need to be able to quest past them if they appear, and we need to do so by at least 5 if we want to clear Wall of Trees this turn, which I’d be quite keen to do.

1: Strange Woods (3 threat)
1.1: Lost and Witless
1.2: Deep Gulley (2 threat)
2: Song of Sleep

Total threat: 7

Successfully quest by 6, explore Wall of Trees, add it to the Victory Display (2/10 points).
Complete Stage 2B, reveal and resolve new Stage 2A (no effect), reveal new Stage 2B: Dark Bad Place

Ok, that was not bad at all. The two locations aren’t the worst at this time, as there are no enemies (yet), and those treacheries both managed to whiff! We had no progress on any location in play with no active location, and because the second deck kept back its heroes from questing (Merry/ Tom for combat, Fatty for his threat cancellation), the Song of Sleep had no eligible targets!

Travel Phase

Strange Woods has a higher threat, but Deep Gulley has more quest points. We don’t mind this quest stage as with two decks exhausting one hero each (Pippin/Fatty) each turn is probably the least offensive of the quest card effects, so we’ll go with Deep Gulley.

Travel to Deep Gulley (0/4)

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 24
Deck Two: 22

Well as a first turn, I don’t suppose I could really have asked for anything better. We’ve got a fifth of the victory points we need, no enemies yet and our board state is beginning to shape up. What could possibly go wrong?

Turn No.2
Stage 2B (Dark Bad Place) (2/10 victory points)
Active Location: Deep Gulley (0/4)
Staging Area:
Strange Woods (0/3, 3 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Feint, Elevenses, Bofur, A Test of Will, Woodland Courier, Hobbit Pipe
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (2), Frodo (1)

Deck One Hand:
None Return, Rosie Cotton, Song of Wisdom, Burning Brand, Elf-stone
Bilbo (2), Pippin (1), Sam (1)

Planning Phase
Resolve Quest Stage 2B effect, exhaust Pippin and Fatty.

Deck Two:
Hobbit Pipe-Fatty
Woodland Courier: Strange Woods (2/3)

Another Pipe for free, why not? We may try an Elevenses move here, we’ll have to see. And the Woodland Couriers did some real work for me in the last quest, these forest locations really help make the most out of them.

Deck One:
Song of Wisdom-Sam
Burning Brand-Sam
Elf-stone-Deep Gulley

I didn’t get burning Brand out until the very last turn in A Shadow of the Past, so it’s nice to see it out so early. If we can trigger Elf-stone this turn then Bofur will be making an entrance.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Sam-3
Bill-1
Frodo-2
Merry-2
Tom Cotton-1
Woodland Courier-1

Total willpower: 11

The plan is to use Elevenses this round, hence why I can send in all the hobbits of Deck Two without worrying about combat.

1: Army of Flies (1 threat) (Annoying, but not life-threatening. Themurdered!)
1.2: Ending and Failing
Doomed 2, raise each players’ threat by 1. (Not ideal, but survivable I suppose.)
2: Ending and Failing (…like my game it seems. Two? Back to back? Ok, I’m going to have to keep my Test of Will in reserve, because I forgot that Song of Sleep exists before I started this quest and didn’t pack any condition management. Yay! Still, at least they’re both done with now.)
Doomed 2, raise each players’ threat by 1.

Total threat: 4

Ouch, 6 extra threat! While not quite game-ending, this will make it harder to stay hidden from the beefier enemies, and that bit closer to threating out from Old Man Willow. Time for some food, but not too much. We’ll clear the location to trigger Elf-stone and get Bofur into play, so we can then travel to Strange Woods to get rid of staging area threat.

Play Elevenses, remove Tom Cotton and Merry from the quest to reduce Deck Two’s threat by 2. Exhaust Hobbit Pipe (Frodo) and Hobbit Pipe (Fatty): Northern Tracker, Smoke Rings

Well hello Mr Tracker, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes! Sorry Bofur.

Total willpower: 8
Win by 4, explore Deep Gulley, add it to the victory display (4/10 points).
Trigger Elf-stone: Northern Tracker.

Complete Stage 2B, reveal and resolve new Stage 2A, Misleading Path (1 threat) found in encounter deck and added to the staging area, reveal new Stage 2B: Shifting Trees

Well I’m not overjoyed to see this quest card, at least it’s not Choked with Brambles, which would spell disaster for my Northern Tracker.

Travel Phase
Travel to Misleading Path (0/2)

Encounter Phase
It’s going to be engaging one of the decks, and I’d prefer not to lose anything from Deck Two. Deck One could lose the Song of Wisdom if it must, Sam already has the Burning Brand so can defend this turn for someone to finish it next turn.

Deck One optionally engages Army of Flies.
Trigger Army of Flies: Discard Song of Wisdom from Sam
Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam.

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Army of Flies.
Sam defends (1)
Grasping Root revealed as Shadow, cancelled by Burning Brand
Army of Flies attacks (1), deals no damage.

Burning Brand really is fantastic! It completely removes chance from the combat phase, meaning my defenders know exactly what they are getting themselves into.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 27
Deck One: 31

So now Deck One is dangerously close to the engagement level of Grasping Root, only saved by Pippin’s ability boosting them to 33. Now for that discarded location.

Resolve Stage 2B, randomly discard Wall of Trees from the victory display.

Not the worst, but not Misleading Path either. This will probably set me back a turn, but what can you do?

Turn No.3
Stage: 2B (Dark Bad Place) (2/10 victory points)
Active Location: Misleading Path (0/2)
Staging Area:
Strange Woods (2/3, 3 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One (New Cards in Bold):
None Return, Rosie Cotton, Friend of Friends, Quickbeam
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (2)

I know everyone is down on Bilbo, but I am really loving this extra card draw. The way I see it, I’ve cut my deck sizes down by a quarter each, or if he’s used in solo he essentially halves your deck. I mean, drawing Friend of Friends won’t be useful until I can get the other one, but Quickbeam is brilliant. Now I have a friendly tree in this nasty forest.

Deck Two:
Feint, Bofur, A Test of Will, Smoke Rings, Ancient Mathom
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (1)

More card draw is always appreciated. I think I’ll let Deck One take it as their pool is getting a bit thin.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Quickbeam, deal 1 damage to Quickbeam to ready him
Friend of Friends-Frodo

Deck Two:
Ancient Mathom-Strange Woods

We may as well as well begin to set up Friend of Friends, if nothing else it’ll act as fodder should another Army of Flies engage. Quickbeam is always a welcome addition and extra card draw is never bad (except for the Ring-maker cycle).

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Sam-3
Frodo-2
Quickbeam-2
Bill-1
Woodland Courier-1
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker: Strange Woods (3/3), add it to the victory display (3/10 points)
Trigger Ancient Mathom: Wellinghall Preserver, Hobbit-cloak, Elf-stone

Total willpower: 10

More friendly trees! Hobbit-cloak will mean that Sam will usually be defending for 3 now, and an Elf-stone will aid our resource acceleration.

1: Long Trailer (2 threat)
2: Wall of Trees (2 threat)

Total threat: 4

Win by 6, explore Misleading Path, explore Wall of Trees and add it to the victory display (5/10 points)
Complete Stage 2B, reveal and resolve new Stage 2A, Wall of Trees (2 threat) and Wall of Trees (2 threat) found in encounter deck and added to the staging area, reveal new Stage 2B: Dark Bad Place

So while we got really, really luck with that draw, I think I was still in the mind-set of ‘maximum questing’, which I didn’t really want at this point because I had to fetch an extra new location as opposed to keeping the old Wall of Trees in the staging area. I can’t really afford to get to Stage 3 until I have another ally or two on the board to help shore up my heroes. However, I’m going to engage the Long Trailer as the extra 2 threat up there will not help as we reveal more locations, and while we don’t have to worry about any more cursed Ending and Failing the forced effect on the Long Trailer will make exploring locations a bit more delicate. I decided to fetch to the two other Wall of Trees because their abilities seem to be the tamest, combined with their relatively low threat of 2.

Travel Phase
Travel to Wall of Trees (0/4)

Encounter Phase
As we’ve travelled to Wall of Trees, we need to get rid of this Long Trailer from the staging area or we’ll come under extra attacks. We got away with it this turn as we had no active location and the previous Wall of Trees was explored from the staging area.

Deck Two optionally engages Long Trailer

Combat Phase
I know all enemies resolve attacks before I attack back, as they did as I played the game, but for the ease of writing this out in a clear manner, I will deal with each enemy separately.
Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam
Shadow Card dealt to Army of Flies
Sam defends (1) against Army of Flies
Deep Gulley revealed as Shadow, cancelled by Burning Brand
Army of Flies attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Long Trailer
Tom Cotton defends (4) against Long Trailer
Deep Gulley revealed as Shadow Card
Long Trailer attacks (4), deals no damage
Merry attacks (5), deals 3 damage

Well I’m glad we didn’t take any damage, I am a bit disappointed we weren’t able to kill either off but I suppose it can’t be helped.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 32
Deck Two: 27

This was a pretty light turn but I don’t this the encounter deck will let me off so easily again.

Turn No.4
Stage: 2B (Dark Bad Place) (5/10 victory points)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Wall of Trees (0/4, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Cards in Bold):
Feint, Bofur, A Test of Will, Smoke Rings, Elevenses, Ring Mail
Merry (2), Tom Cotton (2), Fatty (1), Frodo (2)

What about second Elevenses? And Ring Mail will go very nicely on a certain Mr Cotton.

Deck One Hand:
None Return, Rosie Cotton, Wellinghall Preserver, Hobbit-cloak, Elf-stone, Henamarth Riversong
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (2)

To be honest I had completely forgotten that she was in my deck, so this is a nice surprise. Hopefully this should help with my questing as I gain foresight of encounter deck.

Planning Phase
Resolve Quest Stage 2B effect, exhaust Pippin and Fatty

Deck Two:
Ring Mail-Tom Cotton

Deck One:
Henamarth Riversong
Exhaust Henamarth Riversong, Oppressive Forest on top of encounter deck.
Rosie Cotton

Well this means we’ll need to travel there as soon as we can. We can’t keep Oppressive Forest in the staging area or we’ll be choked out of the game.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Sam-3
Bill-1
Frodo-2
Merry-2
Tom-1
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker: Wall of Trees (1/4)
Woodland Courier-1

Total willpower: 12

Don’t be alarmed, I haven’t forgotten last turn’s lesson. I plan to have some Elevenses to slow me down.

1: Oppressive Forest (2 threat) (Already knew this was coming, but still glad to see it.)
2: Strange Woods (3 threat) (Well this will put a dampener on my Preserver, which I was hoping to play next turn.)

Total threat: 7

And here we go!

Play Elevenses, remove Frodo, Merry and Tom Cotton from the quest to reduce Deck Two’s threat by 3.
Exhaust Hobbit Pipe (Frodo) and Hobbit Pipe (Fatty): Marksman of Lorien, Secret Vigil

Always nice to see a Marksman, their ability to knock down defence is outstanding! And more threat reduction is great, especially as this one is across the table.

Total Willpower: 7

Questing drawn, no progress placed.

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase
Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam
Shadow Card dealt to Army of Flies
Sam defends (1) against Army of Flies
Army of Flies revealed as Shadow, cancelled by Burning Brand
Army of Flies attacks (1), deals no damage
Quickbeam attacks (3), deals 2 damage, destroys Army of Flies

So I suppose the theme is Sam used his Burning Brand to burn half the flies, and an Ent ate the other half?

Shadow Card dealt to Long Trailer
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Falling Branches revealed as Shadow
Long Trailer attacks (5), deals no damage
Merry attacks (6), deals 4 damage, destroys Long Trailer

Falling Branches was by no means the worst shadow we could have gotten, but as with the last quest I am really loving Tom Cotton with his Ring Mail. I could use None Return, but I’d prefer to save resources for my Wellinghall Preserver next turn.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 27
Deck One: 33

So we’re not doing too badly just now, if we can keep on top of our locations and don’t let enemies stick around then we should be progressing to Stage 3 in about two or three turns, but we’ll have to see.

Turn No.5
Stage: 2B (Dark Bad Place) (5/10 victory points)
Active Location: Wall of Trees (0/5)
Staging Area:
Wall of Trees (1/5, 2 threat)
Strange Woods (0/3, 3 threat)
Oppressive Forest (0/5, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Cards in Bold):
None Return, Wellinghall Preserver, Hobbit-cloak, Elf-stone, Out of the Wild, Friend of Friends
Bilbo (2), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (3)

There’s the other Friend of Friends! Except now we have a dilemma, do I use Out of the Wild and potentially get rid of a horrible treachery (there would be plenty to choose from) or play the Wellinghall Preserver with the hopes of clearing Oppressive Forest and travelling to Strange Woods, allowing the Preserver to heal Quickbeam. Or do I play Elf-stone and save the other resources for later?

Deck Two Hand:
Feint, Bofur, A Test of Will, Smoke Rings, Marksman of Lorien, Secret Vigil, Hobbit Pipe
Merry (3), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (2)

So while I am loving the fact my pipes are getting to see use, and I suppose more card draw is never a bad thing, I was actually wanting something more combat orientated, like another Dagger of the Westernesse or even a Halfling Determination would be good. I think a Bofur may be in order.

Planning Phase
Resolve Quest Stage 2B effect, exhaust Pippin and Fatty

Deck One:
Out of the Wild: Army of Flies, Song of Sleep, Misleading Path, Falling Branches, Swaying without Wind.

I decided that the Preserver can wait, but that a Song of Sleep or a Swaying without Wind could potentially ruin the game, or at least slow it down for an extra turn or three of being under fire from the encounter deck and now I have to choose between them both. Falling Branches would be nasty, but not ruinous, as would be an Army of Flies. Another Misleading Path in the victory display would be nice to help dilute it for Old Man Willow’s forced effect, but I’m not sure if that would be the best use for Out of the Wild. On balance, I’ve already come across a Song of Sleep, so the odds of seeing this one after a deck shuffle will be slim, but I haven’t come across any Swaying without Wind yet so both are still in there. With that in mind, we’ll go for the latter.

Add Out of the Wild and Swaying without Wind to the victory display, shuffle the encounter deck.
Exhaust Henamarth Riversong, Song of Sleep on top of encounter deck.

Oh come on! Really? Is my shuffling that bad? Ok, fine. I see how it is.

Deck Two:
Bofur
Trigger Bofur’s ability: Dagger of the Westernesse, Strength of Will, Halfling Determination, Dagger of the Westernesse, A Test of Will

Well now this game is just mocking me. I can get a Dagger, yes, but if I had waited an extra turn and played Smoke Rings, I’d be looking at all 5 of these amazing cards in my hand! Just one turn! But no, I had to be impatient and thoroughly hasty trying to find a Dagger, and look where I am. Oh yes precious, very nice.

Draw Dagger of Westernesse, shuffle Deck Two.

Well after that delight of a planning phase, I wonder what the encounter deck has lined up for me now.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Sam-3
Frodo-2
Bill-1
Rosie-2
Bofur-2
Woodland Courier-1
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker: Wall of Trees (2/4), Strange Woods (1/3), Oppressive Forest (1/5)

Total willpower: 13

I want to be able to clear out Wall of Trees this turn if at all possible so I can travel to that cursed Oppressive Forest, we’re going pretty much all in. I’ll keep back Quickbeam, Merry and Tom Cotton in case of enemies.

1: Song of Sleep (Nope, not happening!) Pay one Fellowship resource and exhaust The One Ring to cancel this card, shuffle it back into the encounter deck.
1.1: Gildor Inglorion (Well you took your time. Still, it’s very good to see you again!)
2: Swaying without Wind (…I don’t really know what to say. So for the sake of civility, I won’t type it. Now I can’t use my Test of Will as I’ve already played my allotted card for the turn. I don’t really want to have to deduct yet more victory points, and I need to clear this Wall of Trees to let me travel to Oppressive Forest. But the only location I can take down to allow me to down that forces me to travel there instead of the Oppressive Forest. Either way, Oppressive Forest is staying in the staging area so it would be better to have less threat there as well. In which case…)
Return to Misleading Path (1 threat) to the Staging area from the victory display.

Total threat: 8

Win by 5, explore Wall of Trees, add it to the victory display (7/10 points), place one progress on Wall of Trees (3/4)
Complete Stage 2B, reveal and resolve new Stage 2A, (no effect), reveal new Stage 2B: Closing in Around Them

As nasty as an extra encounter card is, at least it is not Choked with Brambles, which I am dreading. That would really sink us at this point.

Travel Phase
Travel to Misleading Path (0/2)

Didn’t have a choice with this one, so barring a miracle we’ll have another turn of drought.

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 34
Deck Two: 28
Pay one Fellowship resource to keep Gildor Inglorien, Deck Two takes control.

It feels good to have this elf back on the table. He really did some work for me in the last quest, so I’m hoping that he can pull his weight this time round too!

Turn No.6
Stage: 2B (Closing in Around Them) (7/10 points)
Active Location: Misleading Path (0/2)
Staging Area:
Wall of Trees (3/4, 2 threat)
Strange Woods (1/3, 3 threat)
Oppressive Forest (1/5, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Cards in Bold):
Feint, A Test of Will, Smoke Rings, Marksman of Lorien, Secret Vigil, Hobbit Pipe, Dagger of the Westernesse, West Road Traveller, Dunedain Hunter
Merry (2), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (3), Frodo (2)

And there is that miracle! Eru bless us, everyone. We can use the West Road Traveller to swap out Misleading Path for Oppressive Forest and get this show back on the road.

Deck One Hand:
None Return, Wellinghall Preserver, Hobbit-cloak, Elf-stone, Friend of Friends, Evening Star
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (2)

I think things are coming together. This Evening Star may just be our ticket out of this forest.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
West Road Traveller: Put Misleading Path (0/2, 1 threat) into the staging area and make Oppressive Forest (1/5, 2 threat) the active location. (And we’re back in business!)
Dunedain Hunter: Falling Branches, Long Trailer, Deep Gulley, Tom Bombadil, Grasping Root.
Deck Two engages Long Trailer, shuffles the encounter deck. (A decent ally for very little cost, we should be able to handle this one)
Dagger of the Westernesse-Merry
Hobbit Pipe-Merry

Exhaust Henamarth Riversong, Deep Gulley on top of encounter deck.

Deck One:
Hobbit-cloak-Sam
Friend of Friends-Sam
Evening Star: Strange Woods (explored), Misleading Path (explored). Add Strange Woods to the victory display (8/10 points)

Right then, once Northern Tracker quests we should (should!) explore Wall of Trees and progress to Stage 3. Wish me luck.

Quest Phase
Bilbo-1
Pippin-2
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Bill-1
West Road Traveller-2
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker: Wall of Trees explored, add to victory display (10/10 points)

Total willpower: 14

Here goes nothing. Hopefully I have enough of an established board-state that I can survive the onslaught of Old Man Willow long enough to win through.

1: Deep Gulley (2 threat) (Not to bad, I don’t plan on optionally engaging anyone any time soon.)
1.1: Long Trailer (2 threat) (While I’ll have to take an extra attack if I explore Oppressive Forest, I think I can handle it at this point)
2: Falling Branches (We need to save our characters for questing next turn if at all possible) Play A Test of Will to cancel the when revealed effect.

Total threat: 4

Win by 10, explore Oppressive Forest, add it to the victory display (12/10 points).
Complete Stage 2B, advance to Stage 3A.
Add Old Man Willow (3 threat) and Withywindle (1 threat) to the staging area.
Reveal Army of Flies (1 threat)
Advance to Stage 3B
Trigger Long Trailer:
Shadow Card dealt to Long Trailer
Woodland Courier defends (0)
Grasping Roots revealed as Shadow
Long Trailer attacks (4), destroys Woodland Courier

Goodbye, Woodland Courier! You shall be missed. Right now that’s that over with, we’re on the home straight. If we can quest hard enough as fast as possible, we can blast through the rest of the quest before Old Man Willow decimates us.

Travel Phase
Travel to Withywindle (0/5)

Encounter Phase
Army of Flies engages Deck Two
Trigger Army of Flies: Discard Old Bogey-stories from Frodo

To be honest, I’m not too sure about this boon anyway. I can see cases where it would be valuable, if you are sitting on a pile of expensive or unique cards, but otherwise I don’t foresee many situations where the hand swap might be needed so I’m not devastated to see it go.

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Army of Flies
No defender declared
Lost and Witless revealed as Shadow
Army of Flies attacks (2), deals 2 damage to Tom Cotton
Gildor Inglorion attacks (2), deals 2 damage, destroys Army of Flies

Shadow Card dealt to Long Trailer
Fatty defends (2)
Long Trailer revealed as Shadow
Long Trailer attacks (4), deals 2 damage to Fatty

Shadow Card dealt to Old Man Willow
Tom Cotton defends (5)
Grasping Root revealed as Shadow
Old Man Willow attacks (5), deals no damage
Wall of Trees discarded from the victory display, raise Deck Two’s threat by 2
Merry attacks (8), Frodo attacks (2), Dunedain Hunter attacks (3), deals 9 damage

Deck Two plays Feint on Old Man Willow, preventing him from attacking Deck One
Exhuast Fast Hitch to ready Sam
Rosie Cotton exhausts to boost Sam’s attack by 2
Sam attacks (4), Quickbeam attacks (3), deals 3 damage

That’s it, we have 12 damage on Old Man Willow. Let’s finish this as quickly as possible now!

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 31
Deck One: 35

Pay one Fellowship resource to keep Gildor Inglorion, Deck One takes control.

So our threat isn’t in the danger zone just yet, but all it will take is an ill-timed Wall of Trees or something similar to really stall us.

Turn No.7
Stage: 3B (0/18)
Active Location: Withywindle (0/5)
Staging Area:
Deep Gulley (0/4, 2 threat)
Long Trailer (2 threat)
Old Man Willow (3 threat)

Well we need to make 23 progress this turn to one shot this quest, something that I doubt very much we shall be able to achieve. But we’ve going to give it as good a shot as we can nonetheless.

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Cards in Bold):
None Return, Wellinghall Preserver, Elf-stone, Frodo’s Intuition, Ranger Provisions, 
Bilbo (1), Pippin (1), Sam (1), Frodo (2)

Deck Two Hand:
Smoke Rings, Marksman of Lorien, Secret Vigil, Halfling Determination
Merry (1), Tom Cotton (1), Fatty (2)

Better late than never Halfling Determination, I suppose. 

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Frodo’s Intuition: Lindon Navigator, Fast Hitch, None Return, Leave No Trace,  (Another Fast Hitch is very welcome, but it’s a little late for the other three to be much use at all. Still, beggars and choosers and all that.)
Ranger Provisions-Withywindal (This is more of an insurance policy, in the likelihood that we aren’t able to pass muster and finish the quest this phase.)
Elf-stone-Withywindal (See Ranger Provisions above.)
Fast Hitch-Rosie Cotton (I won’t make a pun about Rosie getting ‘Hitched’, but more readying out of her is always a good idea.)

Deck Two:
Secret Vigil-Long Trailer (I know we’re almost definitely not going to engage this enemy at this point, but staging area threat reduction is helpful, as is the insurance policy that we can grab it if needed.)

Quest Phase
We aren’t going to use Henamarth’s ability this turn as I’d prefer to throw in her willpower to the quest. We’re flying blind!

Deck Two plays Smoke Rings, boosts Merry and Fatty’s willpower by 1.
Exhaust Hobbit Pipe (Merry) and Hobbit Pipe (Fatty): Strength of Will, Northern Tracker (This would have been an amazing draw earlier in the game, though now it feels a bit redundant. Strength of Will would have been fantastic in combo with a Woodland Courier or two, and apparently my Northern Trackers are drawn only to the smell of pipe smoke!)
Deck Two plays Halfling determination on Fatty
Exhaust Rosie Cotton to add 2 to Sam’s willpower
Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Rosie Cotton (Mad boosting here)

Bilbo-2
Pippin-3
Sam-7
Frodo-4
Quickbeam-2
Bill the Pony-1
Rosie Cotton-2
Henamarth Ringsong-1
Gildor Inglorion-3
Merry-3
Tom Cotton-1
Fatty-4
Dunedain Hunter-1
Bofur-2
West Road Traveller-2
Northern Tracker-1
Trigger Northern Tracker: Deep Gulley (1/4)

Total willpower: 39

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting there to be this much willpower in the board but I’m not complaining. It’s all or nothing at this point! We have no Test of Will and no resources for Frodo to use The One Ring! Now there are only four cards left in the encounter deck, so we really should see a Tom Bombadil here!

1: Grasping Root (3 threat) (If we fail to finish the quest, this enemy will engage Deck One which we can’t stop, and he will wreck us with that ability)
1.1: Strange Woods (3 threat) (I haven’t been keeping a track of the staging area threat, so I don’t know where we’re at, but I know an extra 3 threat is not helpful. Here’s hoping the next card is a certain Mr Bombadil)
2: Song of Sleep (That’s not Tom Bombadil! That is the exact opposite of Bombadil! Right, well Deck Two drew it so I suppose it’ll have to go on poor Tom Cotton as he’s contributing the least willpower)
Remove Tom Cotton from the quest and attach Song of Sleep to him

Total threat: 12

Total willpower: 38

Win by 26 (!), explore Withywindle, add it to the victory display, complete Stage 3B.

There we are, across the finish line!

Victory

Victory Display: Leave No Trace (0), Misleading Path (0), Deep Gulley (2), Strange Woods (1), Wall of Trees (2), Out of the Wild (0), Swaying without Wind (0), Wall of Trees (2), Strange Woods (1), Oppressive Forest (2), Withywindle (3)

Score: 35 threat + 31 threat, 70 for turns taken, 2 for damage on Fatty, 2 for damage on Tom Cotton, -13 for victory points=127

And we’re through The Old Forest, part two of the Saga. Things got off to a decent enough start, but the constantly changing quest cards made it feel as though I was never really in control. I really liked the requirement of having to get 10 victory points, and then face a boss at the end. It meant I had to lean towards location control in my decks by could not afford to forsake combat either. I didn’t really have much dead weight this quest, other than that None Return that hung about from the beginning, but that wasn’t its fault, the opportune moment never arose to play it. The MVP this game will probably have to be The Evening Star for getting my board state going and for the second use clearing two locations at once and allowing me to move onto the final stage. Honourable mention goes to the Northern Tracker I was able to get out on Turn 2. Over the course of the game, he must have put in half a dozen progress across different locations all by himself.

So despite not seeing Tom Bombadil at all, not even as a Shadow Card to say ‘Hello’, I was able to put 12 damage on Old Man Willow before I finished the quest. This means I get the dubious honour of gaining Old Bogey-stories in my Campaign Pool. I’m really curious, other than as an extra mulligan, is there any consistent use I might be able to get out of this card? If you can think of any, please comment and let me know.

Add Old Bogey-stories to the Campaign Pool

FFG- The Old Forest

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5 thoughts on “The Old Forest: Playthrough

  1. solarjetman

    Enjoyed the playthrough.

    Old Bogey is a bit restrictive in needing 6 cards in hand but it can be great for digging for cards mid game. And it’s a free extra attachment to soak up attachment hate.

    Like

  2. Kevin C

    Am I mistaken or do Pippin and Sam not trigger with Old Man Willow because he never actually engages you? He’s considered engaged, which has been ruled to not include a timing point to trigger engagement effects/responses.

    Like

    1. You are very much not mistaken, I’ve just checked this on the FAQ (Question 1.50) and found you are correct. Thanks very much for the heads-up, I’ve corrected the playthrough report now. Thanks for keeping me honest, hope that otherwise you are enjoying the blog!

      Like

  3. Pingback: The Old Forest – Vision Of The Palantir

  4. Pingback: The Old Forest – LotR.Cards

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