Updated: Sep 16, 2019
So this week, as a festive treat to myself, I took part in my first ever Organised Play event (At the North West Games Center in Stockport). Lord of the Rings The Card Game is one of my most played and reviewed games with in excess of 300 plays and probably 200 losses under my belt.
The Organised Play events are notoriously hard and this one was no exception. We played the game in Epic Multiplayer mode. This basically meant that we each took on a stage of the quest and our failures hurt the other players.
I was in a team of three, which consisted of a pure Dwarf Deck running Thorin, Nori and Dori. A pure Tactics deck running Legolas, Gimli and Thalin and my own Leadership deck running Eomer, Denethor and Dain.
Dain was there as a boost to all the other dwarves and as a stalwart defender. Eomer’s task was to ride into the staging area with the questers and cut down enemies before they contributed their threat. And Denethor was there for resource production and epic defence.
Eomer was probably my first mistake. From turn 2 onwards we had dealt with most of the enemies and were instead being swamped by locations we couldn’t clear because the quest won't let you. This meant that the horselord was simply sitting idle, while a cheaper Dwarf hero such as Gloin might have at least been questing.
However, I shouldn’t be too hard on us. This quest was insanely hard. After we cleared stage 1 with 17 excess progress we arrived at stage 3 (stage 2 was basically setup). This is the meat of the epic multiplayer sandwich. Each of the players takes on one stage and one lieutenant of Mordor. Ours was a troll which attacked immediately, killing a simple spearman. We quested hard but we didn’t even dent our location.
This set us back, raising the strength of the fortifications. Worse still, all the other teams failed too which stripped us of all but 1 card, caused an enemy to engage each player from the deck and killed an ally. Then, if that were not bad enough, we had to do-si-do, moving to a new location, with a different and fully healed lieutenant. This time we were in trouble. We threw down a mighty 32 quest, 6 of which made it through, 3 of which made it to the quest, we needed to make a minimum of 5 to avoid bad stuff.
Then we were attacked, Denethor put up a good fight, as did Dain but when the troll attacked me and drew a shadow card allowing it to attack again Eomer was for the chopping block. But it didn’t matter, although we still had 8 heroes standing our fellow teammates had fallen and the quest was done. Even if they hadn’t I’m not sure we would have survived much longer.
It was an interesting event, although as I’ve said before, I think when the quests are too hard the game just feels punishing, like you’re punching a wall and waiting for the pain to turn to pleasure. But the company was good and our decks might have worked given an easier quest so all in all it was a positive experience and with a little more tweaking who knows, we might even beat this quest… I know, I know… we wont!