if theres one cycle i am looking forward to its the shire. its my favourite area of middle earth and i cannot wait to see the artwork.
however i have been thinking how the designers would takle such a task- the shire is a protected area with very little danger in 3rd age middle earth.
then i thought well how is the shire so protected in the first place?…….the rangers…..so how about not just having our hobbits as focus in the cycle, but also the dunedain?
the climax of the cycle for instance could be around holding back enemies at Sarn Ford, that way it gives some real danger to the situation in line with the end packs of the other cycle (though how you top a balrog i dont know)
the other packs could of course take us through some of our favourite areas- woody end, maggots farm, the old forest and the barrow downs (not technically the shire i know but it doesnt really make a difference) fighting off old man willow (after getting lost in the old forest…cue long dark type pack) and the wights, and perhaps fleeing some nazgul (who could be scouting for a potential invasion) in the the earlier packs to give the 'first book' feel. we could then team up with some rangers who have gotten wind of an approaching army of goblins and wolves and try and hold them back- the fate of the shire lies in our hands……
all this stays in line with the lore and doesnt break any major rules that havnt already been crossed in previous cycles, whilst giving the shire a real sense of danger and peril………..the only major lore breaker is that the nazgul enter the shire earlier which crosses the fact they will search for it later…..but seeing as we have had all sorts of lore breakers that are worse i dont see it as too bad
EDIT- scratch that last point - i think the nazgul is too much lore breaking ….perhaps fleeing from spies?