Ok, so I’m two weeks late but I’m here now so lets get down to business. Conflict at the Carrock picks up where The Hunt for Gollum left off. But before we get to the adventure lets take a look at the player cards that come in this set.
Frodo Baggins, an unusual choice of hero to come so soon into the game. Frodo was largely inactive during the period in which Lotr LCG is set so making him a player character was an odd decision. Of course with the addition of Frodo it brings us one step closer to being able to create scenarios from the original trilogy.
Frodo’s low threat value is representative of his rather meagre statline, however his ability, which makes him nigh on impervious to damage coupled with his 2 will power and 2 defence makes him a good choice for quester/defender.
His ability reads: After Frodo Baggins is damaged, cancel the damage and instead raise your threat by the amount of damage he would have been dealt. (Limit once per phase) This is particularly useful against the Muck Adder that also appears in this expansions as Frodo never takes damage and so is immune to the Adder’s ability.
Longbeard Map-Maker – This 3 cost ally has a reasonably respectable 3 health and is can give a 1 point boost in willpower, fight or defence. His ability also allows players to spend Lore resources to boost his will power. Using the Song of Wisdom, also found in this set, generating Lore Resources shouldn’t be a problem.
Burning Brand – For 2 resources this attachment card allows the attached Lore Hero to ignore the shadow effects of enemies attacking him. This is ideal for attaching to Denethor and can work well in concert with Dark Knowledge.
Nor am I a Stranger – For 1 resource this card simply bestows the Rohan trait onto the attached character. A card that will doubtlessly become more useful in later expansions.
Eomund – One obvious use for it is Eomund’s ability which Readies all Rohan Characters when Eomund leaves play. In addition Eomund sports a handy 2 willpower.
Born Aloft (Borne Aloft) – This attachment allows you to return the attached character to your hand. Obviously this can be a good way of healing damaged characters, activating event cards such as Valiant Sacrifice or simply saving characters from the discard pile that would normally be lost such as Beorn and Gandalf.
Beorning Beekeepers – This four cost ally is quite expensive. It has 2 fight and 1 will and defence, with 3 wounds. It’s most useful ability though is that it can be discarded to inflict 1 damage on each enemy in the staging area. However that’s a lot to pay and it only really seems to help if you can also count on being able to attack into the staging area, with the help of Dunhere.
Second Breakfast – This event card is very useful for pulling attachments, like Forest Snare, for example, back out of your discard pile.
Conflict at the Carrock
Conflict at the Carrock is my favourite Lord of the Rings scenario to date, although it provides a difficult quest, rated 7, it has proved to be a good solo scenario. The scenario requires you to tread a fine line between questing too much too soon or possibly dawdling too long and letting too many locations stack up in the staging area.
The Story So Far…
While searching for Gollum in the Anduin Valley, you receive word that a group of Trolls have come to the Carrock.
As this area is under the watch of the Beornings, you seek out their leader, Grimbeorn the Old, and discover he has already set out in a rage. You follow, hoping to find him before he confronts the Trolls.
Stage 1 – Grimbeorn’s Quest
To set up this scenario put the four unique trolls to one side, try not to be too scared by them, they are very very scary. Then remove all five Sacked cards and 1 +the number of players back into the deck. Finally add the Carrock location to the staging area.
The Carrock cannot be optionally travelled to and is completely immune to player card effects. For all intents and purposes this means you’ll always have 2 Threat in the staging area during stage one. You will not be able to quickly reduce the amount of questing needed using Lorien Guides or Northern Trackers, or swap out the location using Strider’s Path.
However, Grimbeorn’s quest simply requires 7 progress to pass, even with 2 threat in the staging area on turn one, with the right selection of Heroes this can be easily achieved on turn 1. However doing so would be foolish as this would place the Trolls into play.
This means you have to carefully try and work out what to quest in order to make enough progress not to take threat damage but also not make too much progress as to complete the quest.
There are some cards that can help with this, for example The Misty Mountains Goblins which remove progress tokens when they attack or when they are dealt as Shadow Cards. Also Despair which removes 4 progress.
However there are also some really nasty cards in the set. A Frightened Beast for example forces everyone's threat up by the amount of threat in the staging area unless a creature is discarded. With only the eagles in the tactics deck having the keyword creature this card is very nasty indeed, especially in the late game.
The Two Hill Trolls that appeared in the Journey Down the Anduin scenario make a reappearance here too, although with the new cards players are better equipped to deal with them. Finally, the Muck Adder, this blighter is seriously bad news, if it inflicts damage it kills the character it hits.
Certainly 2 damage doesn’t look much but with at least 2 shadow cards that lower defence or remove it entirely this is one nasty little creature and should be dealt with with extreme prejudice.
Stage 2 – Against the Trolls
When you reach stage 2 you will move the Carrock to the active location and add all the Trolls to the staging area. It is imperative that you are below 34 threat when this happens or you will be facing 4 attacks of 6 each of which raises your threat by 3!
Each Troll powers up the others as long as he is engaged, keeping them in staging area and dealing with them one at a time is extremely important. In addition being able to quest enough o make progress and remove the Carrock (which is also giving all trolls +1 Fight and +1 Defence) is extremely important.
Getting Grimbeorn into play can be a huge advantage in this scenario.
Grimbeorn the Old does not have to exhaust to defend against a troll attack. Combine this with healing magic from the Lore deck and self preservation and Grimbeorn is a troll killing powerhouse. However, even Grimbeorn wont last long if you let all the Trolls attack at once.
Getting Grimbeorn into play is easy in theory, using the Bee Pastures location to reveal him and the Oak-Wood Grove location to help pay his 8 resource cost. However, this becomes really difficult once the Carrock is active.
Even if you can keep your threat low enough to deal with the Trolls one at a time there is still the problem of the high threat in the staging area. Each troll is providing 2 threat and if you’re unlucky enough to get the River Langford location then it adds +1 Threat for each troll plus 2 for itself.
Worse still there are two copies of the Brown Lands which add 5 threat each!
The players complete the quest if they defeat all troll enemies in play and place at least 1 progress token on the quest.
Sacked and Roasted
A real danger in this scenario are the sacked cards. Similar to the Caught in the Web cards from A Passage Through Mirkwood, they basically nullify a hero. A sacked hero has no abilities, cannot exhaust in any phase and generates no resources. So far, only the Miner of the Iron Hills can remove this card and it cannot be cancelled in any other way.
Worst still is the Roasted Slowly card which instantly kills any sacked Heroes.
Luckily Roasted Slowly can be cancelled by player cards, but it’s still a pretty hideous combination!!!
I like it. I like Frodo, he works well in this scenario, plus if you beef him up with Dunedain Warnings and Protector of Lorien he becomes an excellent defender who is nigh on impossible to kill.
The Trolls, while difficult are not impossible to deal with and more often than not I’ve been killed by excess threat, either through River Langford or a Frightened Beast, rather than by Troll attacks. I’ve yet to complete this scenario successfully, I did finish it but my Threat Dial was on 51. With more players the scenario becomes harder as it’s difficult to start with a low enough threat and the threat reduction cards are being split multiple ways.
Still it’s a fun but exceptionally challenging scenario, however, the fact that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel keeps me wanting to come back at it and try to beat it, again and again and again.
Lord of the Rings scenario reviews are made possibly by our friends over at Board Game Guru, check ‘em out.
Until next time, have fun gaming.