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A sideboard card is a card that you include in your deck only part of the time, depending on the details of the quest.  For example, Power of Orthanc is a card that is useful against quests with nasty Conditions coming out of the encounter deck, but is a dead card in quests without them.

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9 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

A sideboard card is a card that you include in your deck only part of the time, depending on the details of the quest.  For example, Power of Orthanc is a card that is useful against quests with nasty Conditions coming out of the encounter deck, but is a dead card in quests without them.

Aaah so you have different cards in a sideboard you can add to the minimum of the standard 50 cards decks when needed.

(one little problem I see is that I only have 50 sleeves with art 😞🙂 )

Sorry if I asked this question in the thread...

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45 minutes ago, wernerkellens said:

Aaah so you have different cards in a sideboard you can add to the minimum of the standard 50 cards decks when needed.

(one little problem I see is that I only have 50 sleeves with art 😞🙂 )

Sorry if I asked this question in the thread...

You may also swap some of the 50 cards to make room for the sideboard cards you need and stay at 50.

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There is not much I have to say about the changes.

The first one would be Keen-eyed Took. Given that Hobbits are really good a throwing stones, he should be a ranged ally, preferably with an attack bonus against enemies with a higher engagement cost. I really do not see any connection between throwing stones and looking at the top card of a player deck.

Dawn Take You All has its uses against Smaug and Wargs, but otherwise is more a multiplayer card, which I am fine with. Not every card needs to be useful in solo games (like Brand Son of Bain) or multiplayer games (like Grima). That being said, I like the idea of dropping the requirement of engaging.

The last thing I want to address is Dain. I am not a fan of global buffs like him, Boromir, Faramir, Sword that is broken, Visionary Leadership, (purple) Brand Son of Bain etc. Celeborn is the only exception, as his buff is limited for a single round. I would rather have the dwarven allies pull their own weight and give Dain something that is useful in a dwarf deck without making the other cards redundant, like cost reduction for dwarves,  as they tend to be too expensive without Dain's buff around.

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The problem with most Dwarf allies is that without Dain’s buff they are overpriced and bad. They have too little from what matters (willpower, attack, and defence), and too much from what it typically does not matter, hit points.

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On 8/19/2019 at 8:50 AM, Amicus Draconis said:

The last thing I want to address is Dain. I am not a fan of global buffs like him, Boromir, Faramir, Sword that is broken, Visionary Leadership, (purple) Brand Son of Bain etc. Celeborn is the only exception, as his buff is limited for a single round. I would rather have the dwarven allies pull their own weight and give Dain something that is useful in a dwarf deck without making the other cards redundant, like cost reduction for dwarves,  as they tend to be too expensive without Dain's buff around.

While we certainly aren't going to get rid of global buffs (and changing Dain away from a global Dwarf buff would run up against our stated principles of trying to remain as close to the original card as we can), I can definitely understand where you're coming from here. One of our goals is to make a Dwarf deck without LdDain viable. To do that, we've got to boost the usefulness of at least some of the Dwarf allies (especially in the willpower department).

On 8/19/2019 at 10:42 AM, Yepesnopes said:

The problem with most Dwarf allies is that without Dain’s buff they are overpriced and bad. They have too little from what matters (willpower, attack, and defence), and too much from what it typically does not matter, hit points.

That certainly is the common perception, although I'm not 100% sure that this is true. I've been going over Dwarf allies recently, and with the exception of a few stinkers, they really are decent. They just don't have a lot of willpower to offer.

Here's the list of Dwarf allies:

Erebor Hammersmith - really good value-for-cost. 2 cost only gets you 1 in each of the stats, but the recursion + the 3 hit points makes him really good. He can defend against an attack of 3 and survive; not bad.

Miner of the Iron Hills - not a good ally on its own. However, Condition removal is gold in some quests, so I give him a bit of a pass. You're not including him in a deck for his stats.

Veteran Axehand - 2-cost, 2-attack on a Tactics ally. This is excellent value, the gold standard of allies. It should be noted, however, that you only expect 2-cost for 2-stats in the sphere that specializes in it. 2-cost for 2 attack is standard in Tactics and found only rarely in other spheres. 2-cost for 2-willpower is standard in Spirit, and again is a rare commodity in the other 3 spheres.

Zigil Miner - his stat-to-cost is actually about right, but it's spread out in an annoying way. But lets be honest, you include him for his ability to get you resources, and you'd use him even if he had no stats at all.

Erebor Record Keeper - 1 cost for 1 stat + a useful ability? He's good

Spirit Bofur - 3 cost for 2 willpower is a bit overcosted for spirit, but his ability to get him in for 1 cost is excellent. That's more 2 willpower for 1-cost, really, and that's value that's only matched by the Silvan Refugee, and she comes with a huge drawback.

Tactics Bofur - In contrast to his spirit version, 3 cost for 2 willpower is exactly on-point for the Tactics sphere. Only one Tactics ally in the whole game gets a better deal there, and ally Pippin is incredibly valuable.

Longbeard Orc-slayer - this is just an overpriced ally. On the other hand, the Ancient Mathoms project touched him up, and he's now effectively 2 cost for 2 attack, plus damaging Orcs when he enters play. That's what you expect.

Fili and Kili - Individually, each of these allies are horrendously overpriced. But because playing one of them gets you the other, you end up with a discount for the stats. Effectively, it's 3 cost for 2 willpower or 2 attack, but you can split it up any way you need to. And global buffs multiply that value incredibly - even without Dain, just having the Arkenstone in play makes these 2 incredibly useful.

Erebor Battle-master - Even after the second nerf, he's still really good. 3 cost for 5 attack is unparalleled except by Booming Ents.

Ally Gimli is a standard 4-cost 2/2/2/3 ally, but his readying ability makes him really good. He's straight up value - quest for 2 and then defend with 2/3 + Sentinel, plus access to all the Dwarf or Warrior defensive options. I can't complain about him.

Longbeard Elder is 3-cost for 2 willpower, which is better than all but a few leadership allies in general, unique or no. (Rosie Cotton, ally Merry, and then Halfast Gamgee and Gloin, who are still 3 cost but get you money back, plus maybe Ingold under optimal circumstances). As a 2-willpower quester in Leadership, he's good. His ability is a little tricky, and I think it's fun but not powerful. But even if you never trigger the ability, he's 2 willpower with some hit points to back it up, and outside of Spirit I think that that's worth 3 cost.

Longbeard Map-Maker has been discussed in this thread before. Our change makes him 2-willpower. I think he's much more playable now.

The Ered Luin Miner is just bad value, but you aren't intending to actually play him. (I don't know if he needs a buff or if mining in general needs something - but even as a free ally he's hard to get excited about unless global buffs are online).

Dori is 3 cost for 2 attack in Lore, but also has a unique and useful ability. Decent attacker (probably unnecessary if you're running Tactics, but otherwise he's good).

Bifur is much like Dori, but even better. 2-cost for 2-attack plus a 1-cost event that draws you 2 cards, all rolled into a single ally? Pretty good, even if I often do end up questing with him.

Dwarven Sellsword is incredible value up front from which you get increasingly diminished returns.

Azain - 3 cost, 3 attack. Good value.

Erebor Guard (and let's throw ally Dwalin in here at the same time, because he has effectively the same stat line) - a cheap ally who defends for 2 with 3 hit points, and access to Ring Mail etc. 2 cost (for the Guard, plus some mining support), or 1 cost (for Dwalin, which is insane value). Not a problem here.

Gloin is effectively 1 cost for 2 willpower (if you have 3 resources to pay for him upfront), which is incredible.

The Veteran of Nanduhirion is 4 cost for 3 attack, which is a little bit weak, but he has decent stats for a 4-cost ally, he's just overshadowed by Azain, the Battle Master, and the Veteran Axehand. (We'll be helping him out a bit).

Ered Nimrais Prospector - 2 cost for not a lot of stat value, but that recursion...  This ally probably belongs on the list of "not worth the cost for the stats, but if you are going to use the ability, he's phenomenal."

Longbeard Sentry - another phenomenal defender. This time 3 cost, but effectively 3 defense and Sentinel?

Blue Mountain Trader - this is another utility ally who happens to have a point of willpower too. His ability is fine.

Brok Ironfist - ridiculously overcosted, and never worth playing. Of course, he got some help from this project, and now might actually be worth it? Haven't tested him yet, so I'm not 100% sure, but he now brings in a free Dwarf ally when he is played from your hand (discard from the top of your deck until you find one), so you could easily be only paying net 2 or 3 for him, which is worth it.

Ally Bombur is awful, no two ways about it (unless you are playing a quest with Underground or Mountain locations, in which case he's phenomenal)

Soldier of Erebor is 5-cost, but totally worth it if you can manage to get the resources together (which our updated We Are Not Idle should help with)

And the Erebor Toymaker is effectively 1 cost for 2 willpower. (Not really, for the same reason Gloin isn't, but 3 cost for 2 willpower and a 2-cost attachment you were going to play anyways is really good).

So, from my perspective, the problem isn't that the Dwarf allies aren't worth it individually. Nor is it that their cost is sunk into stats like Hit Points that just aren't useful. The trait is a *little* biased towards defenders, but the big problem is that it's hard to ramp willpower. (Not that difficult for attack, unless you deliberately skip the Tactics sphere - Veteran Axehand, Erebor Battle-master, and Azain Silverbeard are all cost-effective attackers). The vast majority of the allies come in at the 3-cost mark. For almost all of them, each ally is worth the investment, but you can't build a deck with all 3-cost allies. You need some cheaper allies to work your board state up to the 3-cost ones. But for Dwarves, those 2-cost and 1-cost allies are mostly utility allies who aren't particularly stat-efficient. Zigil Miner and Blue Mountain Trader and Ered Nimrais Prospector...just don't cut it. (The Hammersmith does, but he is also the stereotypical focus-on-hit-points-too-much ally, and may actually be the source of the perception that the Dwarf allies have).

And you can't cover that lack of willpower ramping with heroes, because the heroes don't have that much willpower either (except Thorin). The best you're going to get is 5 or 6 willpower on turn 1, and it's hard to find good 2-drops to boost that up. Once you can afford 3-drops, you are in business, but it's getting there that is the big problem. It's the same problem that Gondor has. Global boosts like Dain help fill in those gaps, but that makes you reliant on the global boost.

Even with our tweaks, I don't know if this is enough to make Dwarf decks without Dain playable - we may need to alter some dwarf heroes to get extra willpower. (Oin maybe gaining +1 willpower and +1 attack when you control 5 dwarves?) On the other hand, resource engines like hero Gloin, Thorin, and our to-be-fixed We Are Not Idle might be enough to make those 3-drops easy enough to handle.

DrhSFgy.jpg

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I seem to have messed up my spoiler tags, and the edit function isn't getting them right.

Here's the commentary that was supposed to be outside of the spoiler tag (for people who don't want to read through me analyzing every Dwarf ally in the game).

So, from my perspective, the problem isn't that the Dwarf allies aren't worth it individually. Nor is it that their cost is sunk into stats like Hit Points that just aren't useful. The trait is a *little* biased towards defenders, but the big problem is that it's hard to ramp willpower. (Not that difficult for attack, unless you deliberately skip the Tactics sphere - Veteran Axehand, Erebor Battle-master, and Azain Silverbeard are all cost-effective attackers). The vast majority of the allies come in at the 3-cost mark. For almost all of them, each ally is worth the investment, but you can't build a deck with all 3-cost allies. You need some cheaper allies to work your board state up to the 3-cost ones. But for Dwarves, those 2-cost and 1-cost allies are mostly utility allies who aren't particularly stat-efficient. Zigil Miner and Blue Mountain Trader and Ered Nimrais Prospector...just don't cut it. (The Hammersmith does, but he is also the stereotypical focus-on-hit-points-too-much ally, and may actually be the source of the perception that the Dwarf allies have).

And you can't cover that lack of willpower ramping with heroes, because the heroes don't have that much willpower either (except Thorin). The best you're going to get is 5 or 6 willpower on turn 1, and it's hard to find good 2-drops to boost that up. Once you can afford 3-drops, you are in business, but it's getting there that is the big problem. It's the same problem that Gondor has. Global boosts like Dain help fill in those gaps, but that makes you reliant on the global boost.

Even with our tweaks, I don't know if this is enough to make Dwarf decks without Dain playable - we may need to alter some dwarf heroes to get extra willpower. (Oin maybe gaining +1 willpower and +1 attack when you control 5 dwarves?) On the other hand, resource engines like hero Gloin, Thorin, and our to-be-fixed We Are Not Idle might be enough to make those 3-drops easy enough to handle.

DrhSFgy.jpg

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I just got some feedback re: Rumor from the Earth - while the version in my previous post is a fine card as written, it competes with Interrogation, Risk Some Light, and Scout Ahead, not to mention repeatable scrying like Henamarth. In order to give it a different niche, I've mocked up a version that goes in another direction (and maybe shores up a little bit of a traditional weakness of Lore):

Eeej2b1.jpg

What do you think?

In addition, The past week has been crazy - my newborn daughter decided to grace us with her presence - so I'm a little bit behind on uploading the videos we've recorded. But today we'll play some catch up. The Ancient Mathoms Progression series starts the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle!

 

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Ranged and a point of attack on the KET is very thematic and some encounter control in leadership is welcome, as the Longbeard Elder is somewhat unreliable.

Dawn take you all also sounds good, especially with turning the shadowcards face up. I would have been fine without that detail as a multiplayer card, but the more cases a card is useful in the better.

The card draw on Song of Mocking is helpful in any case and changing the action into a response helps with the usefulness of the card. In addition it also allows to protect Beorn now. Maybe the cost should be increased to 2 because of the card draw, the bigger impact than Vigilant Guard and the missing 2 hitpoints which are worth 1 resource. I would also change the text to "When a hero would take any amount of damage...". And you forgot the period after Song.

I prefer the second version of Rumour from the Earth as the only resource acceleration card in Lore so far is Love of Tales. Additional toys for rangers or scouts are also welcome and exhausting one of them for such an effect sounds appropriate.

Is there a reason the attack boost on We do not sleep is restricted to unique characters? Now the card has two effects, one for unique and one for all Rohan characters. And if the event would be too cheap now with an attack boost for all Rohan characters, the cost reduction could be slightly decreased. Otherwise you would have a lot of Rohan characters with 0 attack for the combat phase. What I am supposed to do with a ready Westroad Traveller, an Escort of Edoras or a Westfold Horse-breaker/breeder? Only the breeder would pass as a chump blocker, the others are too valuable to throw them under a troll.

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2 hours ago, Amicus Draconis said:

The card draw on Song of Mocking is helpful in any case and changing the action into a response helps with the usefulness of the card. In addition it also allows to protect Beorn now. Maybe the cost should be increased to 2 because of the card draw, the bigger impact than Vigilant Guard and the missing 2 hitpoints which are worth 1 resource. I would also change the text to "When a hero would take any amount of damage...". And you forgot the period after Song.

I prefer the second version of Rumour from the Earth as the only resource acceleration card in Lore so far is Love of Tales. Additional toys for rangers or scouts are also welcome and exhausting one of them for such an effect sounds appropriate.

Is there a reason the attack boost on We do not sleep is restricted to unique characters? Now the card has two effects, one for unique and one for all Rohan characters. And if the event would be too cheap now with an attack boost for all Rohan characters, the cost reduction could be slightly decreased. Otherwise you would have a lot of Rohan characters with 0 attack for the combat phase. What I am supposed to do with a ready Westroad Traveller, an Escort of Edoras or a Westfold Horse-breaker/breeder? Only the breeder would pass as a chump blocker, the others are too valuable to throw them under a troll.

Honestly, with the change to Song of Mocking as recommended by Dale, I don't know that it needs the extra card draw. Stepping into Vigilant Guard's space was one of the biggest things I was worried about. But I think that there's still niches for each. Valiant Warrior has the hit point boost, as you noted, and can also save any character (it's particularly valuable for saving 1-hit point questing allies, or preventing "deal 1 damage to the defending character" from murdering your chump blockers/Defenders of Rammas). Song of Mocking takes all the damage but only works on heroes, and only once per round.

I'm going back and forth on We Do Not Sleep. You are absolutely right about there not being many Rohan allies that are good at both questing and combat (and the ones that are tend to already have readying effects built in. On the one hand, 2 cost for global action advantage plus an attack boost is insanely good. At least on paper, when compared to, say, Grim Resolve or Strength of Arms (or For Gondor, for that matter). But when you look at the Rohan allies that are getting the action advantage, it looks a lot less attractive.

I think I'm going to put it in as +1 attack for each Rohan character (Doesn't help the Tactics allies who can't quest, but it does boost battle questing, which could be a fun niche case), and then see how it feels in playtesting.

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The second version of Rumour from the Earth addresses a weak spot in Lore and in that respect has some use.  But I don't like it -- thematically I want this card to be a scrying card, and just looking at the top card doesn't scratch that itch for me.

But what about the first version?  I don't think it's usable.  It's true that as a deep scryer Rumour from the Earth competes with Double Back, Risk Some Light, and Interrogation, all Lore cards -- but having different ways to scry in Lore doesn't bother me, and the other scryers have different effects and different qualifications:

Double Back is limit 1 per deck, requires side-quest complete, looks at 5-8 cards (4+# players), puts one in victory display and reorders the other four.  It's most commonly used in Victory Display decks, the deep view and reordering is just a bonus -- and since side-quest completion is during the quest phase, the view is prior to combat.

Risk Some Light looks at a fixed 3 cards, but at 3 cost with a Secrecy 3 discount, is not used at all outside secrecy decks.  It can put one to bottom and reorder the other two.  That's the effect I borrowed for my suggested version, only with a different card count.  It can be played in any phase.

Interrogation looks at X cards (trapped enemy's threat), but costs 1.  It may discard one but doesn't alter order.  As an action it can be done anytime, except that you need a trapped enemy; I don't think it's popular in trap decks but that's clearly the niche it fits best.

First version of Rumour from the Earth borrows Interrogation's effect and cost, but instead of using the active location's threat (my suggestion), it expands the exhaustion to rangers and scouts (reasonable) but only gives a view of *willpower* -- and instead of an action, it's a response to travel.  So while Interrogation will let you look at 2-3 cards from an ordinary trapped enemy, a 3-cost scout or ranger has to be exhausted (and pay one cost) to look at *one* card from the deck, and you have to do it immediately before the combat!  While it might not be completely useless in the first cycle (suppose you didn't need Faramir or LeAragorn for combat and they happened to be ready), it looks at a *maximum* of two cards.  This isn't going to compete with the other three -- the other three are clearly better.  I'd rather have the original in my deck, at least it's free.

But what if you used active location threat, as I suggested, and kept it an action?  Would it freeze out the other three?  Some of it depends on the effect.  If you give it Interrogation's effect and cost, it has two advantages over Interrogation -- location threat trends a little higher than enemy threat, IMO, and the active location/scout-or-ranger combination is going to be more common than trap use.  OTOH, trap decks with rangers with an interest in deck manipulation would want both cards -- Lore *is* the scrying sphere and having two usable scryers with somewhat parallel effects is a *good* thing IMO and not a bad thing.  There's also a practical issue in that Interrogation doesn't show up until Dreamchaser cycle, having a usable scry event in the first cycle is a good thing, I think.

Alternately you could weaken the effect to bottom-deck instead of discard, making it a slightly weaker Interrogation.  Still worth 1 perhaps, but not quite as good as Interrogation.  Nor would it be as good as Risk Some Light, which can re-order and is free (in secrecy deck -- it's unplayable outside).  What if it copied the Risk Some Light effect as I suggested?  It's not clear how the utility compares to Interrogation -- the reordering is better, but the bottom-decking is typically worse than discarding.  But for 3+ threat locations its effect is as good or better than Risk Some Light, other than the exhaustion requirement and the resource requirement.  (Again, a secrecy deck trying to manipulate could well want both.)

Another option is to make the effect different than the alternatives -- look at X cards and freely reorder, but no discard or bottom-deck.  I'd probably drop the cost to zero in that case.  Another is to not mess with order but make it a deeper dive: look at 2x threat cards or threat + number of player cards, giving a deep view beyond Hennamarth but only of informational value.  I'd probably keep that at zero cost as well.

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On 8/26/2019 at 4:51 PM, dalestephenson said:

The second version of Rumour from the Earth addresses a weak spot in Lore and in that respect has some use.  But I don't like it -- thematically I want this card to be a scrying card, and just looking at the top card doesn't scratch that itch for me.

But what about the first version?  I don't think it's usable.  It's true that as a deep scryer Rumour from the Earth competes with Double Back, Risk Some Light, and Interrogation, all Lore cards -- but having different ways to scry in Lore doesn't bother me, and the other scryers have different effects and different qualifications:

Double Back is limit 1 per deck, requires side-quest complete, looks at 5-8 cards (4+# players), puts one in victory display and reorders the other four.  It's most commonly used in Victory Display decks, the deep view and reordering is just a bonus -- and since side-quest completion is during the quest phase, the view is prior to combat.

Risk Some Light looks at a fixed 3 cards, but at 3 cost with a Secrecy 3 discount, is not used at all outside secrecy decks.  It can put one to bottom and reorder the other two.  That's the effect I borrowed for my suggested version, only with a different card count.  It can be played in any phase.

Interrogation looks at X cards (trapped enemy's threat), but costs 1.  It may discard one but doesn't alter order.  As an action it can be done anytime, except that you need a trapped enemy; I don't think it's popular in trap decks but that's clearly the niche it fits best.

First version of Rumour from the Earth borrows Interrogation's effect and cost, but instead of using the active location's threat (my suggestion), it expands the exhaustion to rangers and scouts (reasonable) but only gives a view of *willpower* -- and instead of an action, it's a response to travel.  So while Interrogation will let you look at 2-3 cards from an ordinary trapped enemy, a 3-cost scout or ranger has to be exhausted (and pay one cost) to look at *one* card from the deck, and you have to do it immediately before the combat!  While it might not be completely useless in the first cycle (suppose you didn't need Faramir or LeAragorn for combat and they happened to be ready), it looks at a *maximum* of two cards.  This isn't going to compete with the other three -- the other three are clearly better.  I'd rather have the original in my deck, at least it's free.

But what if you used active location threat, as I suggested, and kept it an action?  Would it freeze out the other three?  Some of it depends on the effect.  If you give it Interrogation's effect and cost, it has two advantages over Interrogation -- location threat trends a little higher than enemy threat, IMO, and the active location/scout-or-ranger combination is going to be more common than trap use.  OTOH, trap decks with rangers with an interest in deck manipulation would want both cards -- Lore *is* the scrying sphere and having two usable scryers with somewhat parallel effects is a *good* thing IMO and not a bad thing.  There's also a practical issue in that Interrogation doesn't show up until Dreamchaser cycle, having a usable scry event in the first cycle is a good thing, I think.

Alternately you could weaken the effect to bottom-deck instead of discard, making it a slightly weaker Interrogation.  Still worth 1 perhaps, but not quite as good as Interrogation.  Nor would it be as good as Risk Some Light, which can re-order and is free (in secrecy deck -- it's unplayable outside).  What if it copied the Risk Some Light effect as I suggested?  It's not clear how the utility compares to Interrogation -- the reordering is better, but the bottom-decking is typically worse than discarding.  But for 3+ threat locations its effect is as good or better than Risk Some Light, other than the exhaustion requirement and the resource requirement.  (Again, a secrecy deck trying to manipulate could well want both.)

Another option is to make the effect different than the alternatives -- look at X cards and freely reorder, but no discard or bottom-deck.  I'd probably drop the cost to zero in that case.  Another is to not mess with order but make it a deeper dive: look at 2x threat cards or threat + number of player cards, giving a deep view beyond Hennamarth but only of informational value.  I'd probably keep that at zero cost as well.

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you - having a newborn around the house has made things a little crazier than they were 2 weeks ago :D

Anyways, I've come to the conclusion to remove the draw from Song of Mocking, now that it is a response.

GzkQnjI.png

Also, after considering the matter for a while, I've added Shadow of the Past to the change list:

C0GQ6vw.png

That opens up the standard use case quite a bit, as you can find the softball anywhere in the encounter deck, but most importantly, it offers a soft fix for quests like the Ghost of Framsburg - I'm more than willing to take factors like that into consideration. I still maintain that the card is perfectly fine as it is, but the opportunity to fix a number of quests with objectives that are annoyingly easy to lose is enough to make the change worthwhile.

And now, to the big topic.

Rumor from the Earth. First off - you are absolutely right, the first version is completely unplayable, and it's something I should have noticed before I even posted the card for feedback.

It might help to illustrate the process by which I got there, though. I started with the card exactly as you suggested, scrying based on the threat of the active location. The existence of 6-to-10 threat locations gave me pause, however. 0 cost to search *and reorder* 10 cards is incredible value - probably way too much. A single play of the card as envisioned can let you choose what the encounter deck flips for the rest of the game in solo. And the effect can be repeated with multiple copies of the event + Scroll of Isildur

I then discarded the threat-of-the-active-location idea, but I wanted to keep the thematic association with locations that you had identified. So I settled on having it as a response to travelling to a location. But how deep should it scry? The willpower of the exhausted character was the obvious solution, but it should have been obvious that that required expensive and high-wp allies, which makes it a poor use of actions.

So, back to the drawing board, I suppose (although the resource acceleration angle isn't a bad one, and Lore could use it. That said, there are plenty of other lore cards that will likely be getting touched up in the future, and one or more of them may well end up generating resources).

But your point about not having a generalized deep-scrying card isn't a bad one either. Going back to the original idea of threat on the active location, something like this might be restricted enough to not be overpowered.

AhfH6Rf.png

I still worry about cards like these, though:

Gladden-Marshlands.jpg

Palace-Ruins.jpg

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Looks like those nightmare cards would also work well with Ghan-Buri-Ghan, Raven of the Mountains, and Needful To Know.  I figure if the designers are mean enough to produce cards with obscene threat, we deserve any exploitation of that we can get!  In all seriousness, even without nightmare there's still high threat locations that will be seen.  But I don't see a particularly deep scry as broken in a way that an ally's willpower is not, at least when re-ordering is not permitted.  I can't remember a solo quest where 10 cards was sufficient to cover both reveals and shadows for the entire game, though I prefer turtle to aggro.

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And the blog post and video are up for the final 3 packs of the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle! This is the end of Season One of this project. We'll be taking a short break to work on other projects at the White Tower blog, but we'll be back later in the fall with cards from the Dwarrowdelf cycle and the Hobbit Saga boxes!

In addition, the Progression series is up to the Hills of Emyn Muil! The last 2 videos for the cycle will be coming out at the end of this week.

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Well howdy, everyone! Been a little while, hasn't it?

The project is back from hiatus for the new year! There are two orders of business for the near future - the first is to work through Khazad-dum, the Dwarrowdelf cycle, and the Hobbit boxes. And there are some cards that really need some help in these packs, so I'm excited to get to them.

On that note, we have the cards we want to touch from the Khazad-dum deluxe box ready for presentation:

First up is Dwalin:

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We expanded his ability to work against all enemies; but kept an added boost against Orcs, just as a nod to the origins. I have no problem with cards that have expanded use cases against certain traits, I just don't like cards that *only* work against certain traits.

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Ever onward is a tricky card to make into a worthwhile choice. We attempted to make it better by reducing the cost and applying the benefit to every player; however, this may create some problems with Doom Hangs Still and might be a little too powerful. Any suggestions for a different way we could take this would be appreciated. At the very least, we want to take this card out of the realm of "maybe useful in a solo deck, but next to useless in multiplayer."

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The Veteran of Nanduhirion is just a little bit overcosted, but incredibly overshadowed by the Erebor Battle-master. We wanted to give this guy an identity of his own. We kept the stats, and the thematic enters-play-with-a-damage text, but we gave him a readying ability, which will hopefully make him an attractive choice for a high-cost, high-impact ally.
 
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Ancestral Knowledge was limited to the active location, which made it tricky to use well. By letting you clear a location in the staging area with it, it becomes more general use.
 
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Finally, boots from erebor. They just don't do enough for the cost of a card drawn from your deck. The discard-to-ready mechanic is an interesting ability, although it overlaps a little bit with Cram. The thinking right now that the restriction to Dwarves and Hobbits makes it alright, but I'm not 100% convinced. Our standard approach to 0-cost cards was to add card draw, but I don't see that one working well here. I'm also potentially considering "discard to add a resource to attached hero's resource pool," but that limits it to heroes. Any thoughts on this one would be particularly appreciated as well.
 
The second phase of our project in the new year is to do a review with some experience of previous cards and update any that need it based on our playtesting experience. We have a few cards here that need an extra touch - either we didn't do enough the first time, or we left a card alone that really should have been helped.
 
The first 2 cards are obvious:
 
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Horn of Gondor is a card that has gotten a lot of flack since its errata. There has been a great deal of debate in the community about whether or not it is still worth playing - and honestly, in a full modern card pool, I think it is if you're committing to a chump blocking strategy. The meta has moved away from that, but it's still a viable way to play the game. However, what clinched the decision for us was that - as we played through the early quests with the Ancient Mathoms cards, we just almost never got a lot of use out of it. It never seemed to give the impact we wanted from it, and especially from a powerful artifact like the Horn, that felt wrong.
 
We are not going to reverse the errata - its original form in a modern Silvan deck would just be too much. However, losing that resource acceleration significantly hurt Rohan discard and Eagles, archetypes which have either never recovered or only recovered in the last cycle (thanks to a hero Radagast). We added language that would permit discarded allies to trigger the resource generation as well, hoping to help out those archetypes as well as synergize with a few Gondor cards that get discarded from play.
 
In addition, we added an ability to reduce an enemy's attack and defense by 1. It feels more thematic that way, and that's enough justification for me.
 
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The Blade of Gondolin is another card that is probably just about fine the way it was. The progress on the quest was really pretty valuable. The problem was that it gets outshined by any card that actually adds attack power. Again, we originally left it alone, thinking that it could pull its own weight. But then we almost never included it. We didn't want extra progress during the combat phase, we wanted help clearing out enemies. So we just removed the restriction about Orc enemies, and now it gives +1 attack all the time. This should probably put it into competition with most generic weapons - they most often *can* give +2 attack, but only under optimal circumstances. The guaranteed progress weighed against the potential of more attack is an interesting decision point, I think.
 
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Brok Ironfist got a small quality-of-life fix. We changed his enter's play ability to discard the top 5 cards and then put a dwarf ally into play from the discard, instead of discarding until you found a Dwarf ally. The original ability could potentially discard your whole deck in one go, and that was an unintended consequence.
 
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Guard of the Citadel was just not getting used, even with his new ability. Well, we were including him in decks, but almost never because of his ability. And we were just waiting for better allies to replace him. So we added another small boost - making it so that he doesn't exhaust to quest. Now he is one of the best allies to include in a Leadership Boromir deck, and even in a Gondor Swarm without Boromir, his action advantage is useful. He doesn't work well with Leadership Faramir, but that's a small price to pay.
 
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The last card was Wandering Took. Again, we were only including him until we had better Spirit allies, and his ability is marginal at best. We had originally left him alone because his cost to stat ratio, plus ability seemed to be fine. But he quickly gets outshined by dedicated allies who do what they do better. We toyed with a number of different ideas, many aimed at helping out the Spirit hobbits, who needed threat reduction to use their abilities effectively. We landed on a simple enters-play response, reducing threat by 2. Better reduction than Galadriel's Handmaiden, but her 2 willpower makes her a better ally for most decks, I think. The enters play ability synergizes some with Tom Cotton, and even more with Raise the Shire.
 
As always, we'd love to hear any feedback you have to offer! And happy New Year to everyone!

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I like the changes to Dwalin, Veteran of Nanduhirion, Ancestral Knowledge, Blade of Gondolin, Guard of the Citadel and Wandering Took.

Dwalin was just too specialized against Orcs and now he is actually useful against almost every quest. I cannot say, whether he really needs a limit, given that he has none so far and I find other dwarves to be more worthy of readying like Gimli, both Thorins or Dain.

The Veteran of Nanduhirion would be a fine card, if it was not for Dain's buff, but giving him some readying is a good idea in order to use his attack more. And the Boots of Erebor help him to attack more often. He probably should have a limit to his action, as unlimited attacks per round with enough healing can get out of hand fast. Similar allies like the Knight of Dale already have a limit.

Opening up Ancestral Knowledge for any location is a good move to counter location lock. Maybe the four progress should be also restricted to dwarves for thematic reasons, but that is not super important for me.

Given that Boots are used for travelling, the Boots of Erebor could help with this aspect of the game. I would also like something similar to Arod or Warden of Arnor, but the boots are not unique and less restrictive then the title.

While I love the new combat action on Horn of Gondor (so thematic), I am not yet sure, whether I like it triggering of discarding allies. Eagles or fine in my opinion and Rohan has Théoden, Gúthwinë and Gamling to make allies cheaper and even recur them. Imagine the combination of Théoden, Grimbold and Gamling: 2 Willpower and a Feint every round for only 1 tactics ressource, that is insane. At least the horn must be exhausted to do so, thus it will not be overpowered.

Dropping the Orc requirement on Blade of Gondolin is a good idea, as it will widen its usability for many quests.

Brok Ironfist, sigh. Even with a second dwarf from the discard pile he is really expensive. Kili and Fili together have about the same stats as Brok for half the cost with more flexibility and buff potential from Dain. His ability does not synergize with many other dwarves like Erebor Toymaker, Dwalin, Bifur, Glóin, Fili, Kili, Bofur and Erebor Hammersmith. A readying similar to a Knight of Dale without the need for valour would make his stats more useable and be more worth his cost in addition to the dwarf fetching mechanism.

The Guard of the Citadel can now guard a hero and use his spread out stats, I like the idea. The same goes for the Wandering Took: more support for a Hobbit swarm deck.

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On 8/19/2019 at 12:42 PM, Yepesnopes said:

The problem with most Dwarf allies is that without Dain’s buff they are overpriced and bad. They have too little from what matters (willpower, attack, and defence), and too much from what it typically does not matter, hit points.

I agree to some degree, but that was accounted for, the same allies would be too strong with Dain.

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6 hours ago, Amicus Draconis said:

Given that Boots are used for travelling, the Boots of Erebor could help with this aspect of the game. I would also like something similar to Arod or Warden of Arnor, but the boots are not unique and less restrictive then the title.

While I love the new combat action on Horn of Gondor (so thematic), I am not yet sure, whether I like it triggering of discarding allies. Eagles or fine in my opinion and Rohan has Théoden, Gúthwinë and Gamling to make allies cheaper and even recur them. Imagine the combination of Théoden, Grimbold and Gamling: 2 Willpower and a Feint every round for only 1 tactics ressource, that is insane. At least the horn must be exhausted to do so, thus it will not be overpowered.

Brok Ironfist, sigh. Even with a second dwarf from the discard pile he is really expensive. Kili and Fili together have about the same stats as Brok for half the cost with more flexibility and buff potential from Dain. His ability does not synergize with many other dwarves like Erebor Toymaker, Dwalin, Bifur, Glóin, Fili, Kili, Bofur and Erebor Hammersmith. A readying similar to a Knight of Dale without the need for valour would make his stats more useable and be more worth his cost in addition to the dwarf fetching mechanism.

Thanks for the comments! (I love the way you break up the commentary with the bolded names, btw, it's an excellent means to keep track of where your focus is in a long response.)

The Boots of Erebor certainly could help with travel - I'm a little concerned about encroaching on Thror's Map territory in terms of ignoring travel effects. On the other hand, how would something like this feel:

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That is more restrictive, but might be worth it in combination with the HP boost.

For the Horn of Gondor, that's a valid point - I still think that the Rohan discard is not where it needs to be, personally, but the Horn of Gondor change was even more about giving it back some of the utility it had lost without breaking the game again. In some sense, just making it work again in some of the old decks that got invalidated by the errata. If it turns out to be too powerful, I wouldn't have a problem dropping the discard text again.

Brok Ironfist - the hope is that Dwarves will have enough resource generating ability to be able to afford him; he explicitly slots in a mining deck right now, and those can really generate resources. 6 leadership to get Brok alone isn't worth it, but Brok + Gimli? That's 2 resources for Brok's stats, plus pulling an ally that you mined away back onto the table. Or perhaps the best-case scenario: Brok + Soldier of Erebor.

My thought is that Brok is probably worth playing just for his stats at about 4 cost. Maybe still a tad overcosted there, but probably worth 4 with Dain's buff for sure, and maybe even without it. Which means that pulling an ally of 3 cost or more is a good trade (not to mention that you're getting an ally from the discard pile that you might not otherwise get), if you can handle 6 resources up front. Which I'll admit is the core issue. But I think a dwarf mining deck can handle it.

But I guess that's something that playtesting will figure out.

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19 hours ago, Onidsen said:

Thanks for the comments! (I love the way you break up the commentary with the bolded names, btw, it's an excellent means to keep track of where your focus is in a long response.)

You're welcome and thanks!

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The Boots of Erebor certainly could help with travel - I'm a little concerned about encroaching on Thror's Map territory in terms of ignoring travel effects. On the other hand, how would something like this feel:

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That is more restrictive, but might be worth it in combination with the HP boost.

 

Thr´or's Map came to my mind as well and Map of Rhovanion, but your idea sounds good: It will effectively be +1 Willpower, when you have travelled in the previous round. A cost of 0 might be a bit on the cheap side for a hitpoint and one point of willpower, but on the other hand there probably will not be a location to travel to each round.

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For the Horn of Gondor, that's a valid point - I still think that the Rohan discard is not where it needs to be, personally, but the Horn of Gondor change was even more about giving it back some of the utility it had lost without breaking the game again. In some sense, just making it work again in some of the old decks that got invalidated by the errata. If it turns out to be too powerful, I wouldn't have a problem dropping the discard text again.

 

Playtesting will help here for sure. And do not forget, this version of HoG could also make Sneak Attack for free, as if this event was not powerful enough already.

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Brok Ironfist - the hope is that Dwarves will have enough resource generating ability to be able to afford him; he explicitly slots in a mining deck right now, and those can really generate resources. 6 leadership to get Brok alone isn't worth it, but Brok + Gimli? That's 2 resources for Brok's stats, plus pulling an ally that you mined away back onto the table. Or perhaps the best-case scenario: Brok + Soldier of Erebor.

My thought is that Brok is probably worth playing just for his stats at about 4 cost. Maybe still a tad overcosted there, but probably worth 4 with Dain's buff for sure, and maybe even without it. Which means that pulling an ally of 3 cost or more is a good trade (not to mention that you're getting an ally from the discard pile that you might not otherwise get), if you can handle 6 resources up front. Which I'll admit is the core issue. But I think a dwarf mining deck can handle it.

But I guess that's something that playtesting will figure out.

 

You have a point here, the only problem I see, is that dwarf mining is found mostly in tactics and spirit, with the exception of Soldier of Erebor and Ered Nimrais Prospector, so Leadership might not be the best choice for a sphere.

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Posted (edited)

My take:

I like the change to Dwalin.  Making him useful in non-Orc scenarios goes a long way is all he needs to be a useful hero.  Between his two attack, no ranged, and the limited supply of enemies to kill, I don't think a limit needs to be placed on his ability.

Ever Onward seems well balanced for a card you play when you unexpectedly quest unsuccessfully -- but why would you play it that way?  If it covers all players, the way to use it would be to send no one questing (OK, maybe Spirit Bofur for one resource) and devote everybody to combat.  It's true that Ever Onward in its current form is only useful for solo decks, but it's actually quite a powerful card in that format if you essentially skip questing.  I see two options to change how it works to be applicable to multiplayer:

1) If you're going to let every deck ignore questing, you need to pay for it.  Increase the cost with the number of players.

2) If you want to turn this card into a cover-for-unsuccessful questing, akin to Free to Choose, don't grant a blanket threat increase exemption, make it a cheap response conditional on actually questing -- e.g. reduce the threat taken according to the number of questing characters, so that the no-quester option is foreclosed.

Ancestral Knowledge is vastly more useful when it can be used on staging -- I would restrict the 4-point underground/mountain effect to dwarves, though, for thematic reasons.

Boots from Erebor with readying does crimp on Cram, both from having a second beneficial effect and from being useful on characters.  Since it's restricted to dwarves/hobbits that's OK mechanically, but thematically Cram itself is strongly associated with dwarves (including the card artwork), so making Cram obselete for dwarves is a thematic miss.  Placing progress on the active location is a nice bonus and ties into "boots", but placing on the active location is also the least useful to place.  Discarding for travel effect makes it Thror's Map after the stealth errata.  (Though if you used the word "travel" like Strider's Path does, it at least would synergize with the Burglar contract, which would be thematically appropriate....)

The thing about the boots is that aside from Gimli/Gloin (and your reworked Veteran of Nand) there's not a particularly good reason to put it on dwarves.  Hobbits are more fragile, but there it's the heroes that are buffed, and Bill is a more efficient way to boost everybody.  For any "character" attachment I want to see a reason I'd want to put it on an ally, but dwarves and hobbits have so little in common it's tough to think of a thematic or mechanical boost that would be attractive to both groups.  Maybe a mining hook?

For Horn of Gondor, I love the exhaust to scare an enemy -- much more thematic than resource generation.  For resource generation I absolutely think adding discard is justified, and since it exhausts it wouldn't be overpowered even if it were still just "leaves play".  Making you choose betwen generation and enemy-scaring makes the card more interesting and flexible.

Brok Ironfist's enter play makes him effectively cheaper in a dwarf deck and works with mining (although too few cards actually like to be mined).  Neither of those are viable in the core, so poor Brok really needs something that would make him generically useful.  4 cost might do that, though his ability is still pretty useless.  Six is a lot of resources to collect, so how about this:

Response: When Brok Ironfist is played from your hand, you play may another ally from your hand at no cost.

Now saving up for Brok is worth it, and you're not gambling that something good is in the next five cards.  Since it's played from your hand it can't be abused by Sneak Attack, and it gives you two free allies instead of one if you lose a dwarf hero.

I like the changes to Guard of the Citadel and Wandering Took.

 

Edited by dalestephenson
typo

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