I got my copy of SaF today, and after playing some games I can say it's a fitting end to the Dwarrowdelf. For those of you who are still waiting for SaF but want to know how the scenario works, here is a little summary of the quest cards:
Durin's Bane is put into the staging area plus X cards (X is the number of players minus 1). For solo players like me that means no additional card. The really cool thing is that all players start with a threat of 0 (!!!), so it is possible (and neccessary) to avoid an attack by Durin's Bane in turn 1. This means of course that you don't have to worry about your starting threat, but you can take all these expensive heroes - you'll need them! It's certainly a new gaming experience, as it allows you to loose some quest stages without loosing control of your threat level.
Here the players have to make 16 progress. This is not as hard as it sounds, as the players together can place 4 progress on the quest card (bypassing all locations) if at least one hero was committed to the quest. This stage also ends when Durin's Bane has 0 HP left.
Only 1 progress token has to be placed on the quest card, but the players also have to pass The Dark Pit (11 progress). You have to be careful that you defeat the Balrog before you explore the pit! Durin's Bane attackes immediatly when the quest card is revealed, which means it attacks twice in tat round.
Players will spent most of their time in stage 1, as it is very hard to make progress at all, if you don't run a Rohan deck. It doesn't helpt to hurry to stage 3 though if you're not able to defat the Balrog. In my two wins it took me 13 and 18 turns to complete the scenario.
What's inside the encounter deck?
A lot of mean stuff, of course:
- weapons for the Balrog that increase its ATT to 9 points and force you to discard a card each time it attacks you
- nasty shadow effects that again increase the ATT value of Duri's Bane or dicard a character
- an attachment for Durin's Bane that makes it very dangerous to play event cards (which is why Hama sucks in this scenario); the attachment nullifies the event and forces a player to discard his whole hand if a treachery card is revealed as a response
- plus all the nasty cards from the KD expansion
Locations and other enemies aren't too hard. The whole scenario is centred around Durin's Bane, and once you're able to deal with his attacks you're close to winning the scenario. Secrecy cards are obviously helpful, as is every card that can heal your heroes or boost their defense. Quite funny that I recently started a thread about Gimli + Ctadel Plate being obsolete or some other players who thought that Daughter of the Nimrodel would go to retirement with all the new healing cards. I haven't playeed with Gimli yet, but he is certainly an option. DotN absolutely rocks this scenario, together with Elrond's ability she can heal 3 damage each round.
All in all the difficulty rating of 8 is justified. I got some hard beatings in my first games, but I'm getting better (hint: use the new cards!) with my recent deck. Like I said, it feels like a proper end to the second cycle. The hardest solo adventure so far (besides Dol Guldur, that is).