“Bilbo made no mistake in choosing his heir, though he little thought how important it would prove. I am afraid you are right. The Ring will not be able to stay hidden in the Shire much longer; and for your own sake, as well as for others, you will have to go, and leave the name of Baggins behind you.”
–Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Black Riders Saga Expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!
A fantastic adventure awaits you! With The Black Riders, you and your friends will accompany Frodo Baggins as he begins his epic journey to Mount Doom, to destroy the One Ring. Three new scenarios carry you out of the Shire and along the road to Rivendell, but you must be wary. The Nine are abroad, the lure of the Ring is difficult to resist, and your every action has a meaningful consequence…
The Nine Are Abroad
“I warn you that peril is now both before you and behind you, and upon either side.”
–Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring
As in the game’s other Saga Expansions, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill and The Hobbit: On the Doorstep, each scenario in The Black Riders follows the events of the classic story by J.R.R. Tolkien as faithfully as possible. You’ll have the chance to travel through the Shire, meet Elves, find allies in The Prancing Pony, and enjoy a good puff of pipeweed after second breakfast. Of course, your path will also hold its share of perils, including the threat posed by the Nine Riders and their hunt for the Ring.
In each of the expansion’s three scenarios, Frodo and his companions must elude or confront the fearsome Nazgûl. Few can ride openly against the Nine, and your best option may be to hide from them. Still, that may prove to be a difficult task. From Bag End, your heroes must help Frodo reach Buckland and cross at the ferry. Then, when spies cause trouble in Bree, your flight through the wilderness leads to a desperate confrontation at Weathertop. Should your heroes survive, they’ll have to race for the Ford of Bruinen and the safety of Rivendell.
The Lure of the Ring
“A sudden unreasoning fear of discovery laid hold of Frodo, and he thought of his Ring. He hardly dared to breathe, and yet the desire to get it out of his pocket became so strong that he began slowly to move his hand.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
The thematic weight of The Black Riders and its scenarios carries far beyond the degree to which it follows the events of The Fellowship of the Ring. It brings you face to face with some of the difficult decisions Frodo was forced to make; the new Ring-bearer version of Frodo Baggins (The Black Riders, 1) comes with the powerful ability to trigger the redraw of an encounter card. Frodo’s ability allows you to ignore any “When Revealed” text as well as all keywords such as Surge and Doomed. You simply shuffle the card back into the deck and draw again.
But, of course, this ability comes with a catch: to use it, you must exhaust the One Ring. Just as in the novels, you’ll be tempted to use the Ring to avoid danger, and just as in the novels, there is danger in using the Ring. If you cancel a harmful treachery, will you find your way to a relatively low-threat location? Or will you find yourself suddenly face to face with one of the Nazgûl?
“I have sometimes thought of going away, but I imagined that as a kind of holiday, a series of adventures like Bilbo’s or better, ending in peace. But this would mean exile, a flight from danger into danger, drawing it after me.”
–Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring
Each of the three scenarios in The Black Riders can play independently, but you can also link them together as the first three chapters of a greater, ongoing narrative. New to The Black Riders, Campaign Mode introduces unique rules and special Boons and Burdens that weave independent scenarios into a cohesive narrative. Much like the treasures from the two Hobbit Saga Expansions, these cards serve as physical reminders of all you accomplished, but they allow for deeper storytelling than treasure cards do. By rewarding both positive and negative actions, these new card types ensure that the decisions you make in any given scenario will have consequences in your later adventures.
Boons all lend strength or support to your cause, but Burdens hold you back. They represent the consequences of faltering steps and bad decisions, and unlike most encounter cards that created obstacles, demanding focus and action only in the moment, Burdens carry from scenario to scenario and can weigh down upon your soul. Both of these new types of cards are exclusive to Campaign Mode and do not count against the standard limits for your play deck or a scenario’s encounter deck.
“I don’t think you need go alone. Not if you know of anyone you can trust, and who would be willing to go by your side.”
–Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
In addition to its new quests and encounter cards, The Black Riders offers players the opportunity to explore life as a Hobbit!
In addition to the new Frodo Baggins, The Black Riders delivers four other Hobbit heroes and thirty-three new player cards (three copies each of eleven different cards), all of which are drawn from the early chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. These cards lend fantastic new support to Hobbit-focused decks. The iconic race comes to life with its own set of themes built around controlling multiple Hobbit heroes and confronting enemies with engagement costs higher than your threat. Altogether, the new player cards in The Black Riders bring Frodo, his friends, and his relatives to a new position of prominence and playability.
In his prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien wrote that Hobbits “possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently,” and several of the player cards from The Black Riders allow Hobbit characters to duck beneath the notice of the enemies that would hunt them. The event, Take No Notice (The Black Riders, 11), can give you a free pass during the engagement phase, allowing you to slip beneath the notice of each enemy lurking there. Alternatively, it can play into the strengths of other cards, like Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders, 13), that grant bonuses to your Hobbits when they choose to engage enemies they could otherwise avoid.
Combined, such cards from The Black Riders allow you to avoid enemies or summon the courage to face them head on, and this turns your Hobbits into cunning and resilient heroes who have perfected the art of disappearing swiftly and silently.
Play at Your Own Level
“I do not think the Road will prove too hard for your courage.”
–Gildor, The Fellowship of the Ring
Whether you want to confront your foes or avoid them, The Black Riders presents you a quick and convenient way to ease into the perils of its new scenarios. The recent introduction of Easy Mode allows you to decrease a scenario’s level of difficulty by targeting a number of encounter cards to remove from the encounter deck. Removing these encounter cards won’t change the basic nature or mechanics of a scenario, but they will make it easier. Taken together with Standard Mode and Nightmare Mode (which was first introduced in 2013 Season One Game Night Kits), Easy Mode offers a level of difficulty that’s perfect for casual players, newcomers, or players running thematic decks that are not efficient enough for higher difficulty levels.
- Our Game Night Kits recently introduced players to the increased difficulty of Nightmare Mode. The three twenty-two card Nightmare Decks in the Season One The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Game Night Kits allowed players to return to the Core Set scenarios in Nightmare Mode, where they felt the sting of deadly new enemies, stumbled through harsh new locations, and suffered the blows of punishing new treachery cards.
- Standard Mode is the default difficulty for a given scenario. Players who wish can continue to play their games in Standard Mode, following all of a scenario’s normal setup instructions.
- Easy Mode reduces each scenario’s difficulty level. Ideal for new players and those who prefer the narrative and cooperative aspects of the game with less challenge, Easy Mode starts each hero with an additional resource and removes a number of encounter cards from a scenario’s encounter deck. You can read more about the game’s new Easy Mode by reading the article Play at Your Own Level.
Choose your mode of play, and design the ideal experience for your group of adventurers!
The Epic Saga Begins
“The riding figure sat quite still with its head bowed, as if listening. From inside the hood came a noise as of someone sniffing to catch an elusive scent; the head turned from side to side of the road.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Your quests in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game have never mattered so much. Accompany Frodo Baggins and his companions along their first steps toward Mount Doom. The fate of all Middle-earth hangs in the balance!
Play through all-new scenarios, face deadly Nazgûl, and add the Shire’s greatest heroes to your company. Your epic campaign begins soon…The Black Riders is scheduled to arrive in the third quarter of 2013!