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Vince79

Hobbit On The Doorstep

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I've been playing The Hobbit:  On the Doorstep Saga Expansion recently, as part of my efforts to play through all the quests one handed solo, progression style.  I got through Flies and Spiders okay, using the same deck I used in the first Hobbit Saga Expansion (Over Hill and Under Hill).  I thought that was a hard scenario, but not all that bad.  I didn't dominate it, but it's not that difficult to get some wins.  A little fiddly for my taste, but whatever.

I've played through The Lonely Mountain now a few times (without a win yet) and wanted to comment on it.  This quest seems like there is a lot of luck involved, more so than most scenarios.  The big luck factor to me is Smaug the Magnificent, and how many times he attacks you.  You're pretty much at the mercy of luck here, on whether or not a shadow cards has a burgle section or not.   

One thing that annoys me is the treasure, specifically Thror's Hunting Bow.  If you're playing solo, this card almost does nothing for you at all, unless you just want the "ranged" keyword for some reason.  Anyway, there's only one more Hobbit quest after this, so I'm not sure just how useful the treasure cards will be.  They don't carry over into Black Riders, do they?

One more thing, I was watching this video, and the guy played Gandalf and placed 4 damage on Smaug the Magnificent.  That's not allowed, is it?  Since Smaug is immune to card effects?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq81aEK7UyI&t=195s

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No, treasures don't carry over. That there is just one quest afterwards isn't FFGs fault. It's the lore. :)

When a card is immune to player card effects, dealing damage with Gandalf isn't allowed.

 

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You are not alone in your criticism. Common causes of grievances with the Hobbit saga scenarios are the riddle mechanic and the Smaug induced nothing-you-can-do-about-it board wipes. 

The good news is that things improve in the saga campaign spanning the three LotR books. Enjoy (even without the fancy lonely mountain treasures).

 

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What you can do with the treasures (totally against the normal rules of the game but so much more thematic) is just throw them in the Burgler's Turn deck, they are free anyways and super thematic to be able to summon the treasures they were trying to burgle.

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While most of the community thinks they have flaws but are ok, i for one find Hobbit boxes to be the only bad expansions to the game. They're terrible, (even when it comes to player card design, mostly) and while the rest of the saga boxes and deluxes are great, Hobbit hits the all time low and should get a remake one day.

The quests are so specifically fiddly and require not simple teching or building a deck having something in mind - there are two quests which require certain costs and card types in mind. 

Other quests operate on extremely swingy spectrum of luck, moreso than any others of the game. I think battle of five armies was the only good one and flies and spiders was almost salvagable. But the quests feel gimmicky, cards swingy, have weird relation to the theme (lotr saga keeps it thematic and mechanics are organic, hobbit sagas theme and mechanics don't feel so close). The campaign in hobbit is awkward, feels like beta testing for lotr. 

The trolls, smaug and riddles are not quests i ever want to play again. Just get easy mode, beat them once, forget them and move on to anything else. Everything you noticed about the quests with the treasures and smaug wipe is valid.

 

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There actually is something that can be done about the Smaug/burglar shadows -- discard them.  At the time of release only Dawn Takes You All would do that, but now Staff of Lebethren, Gandalf's Staff, and Armored Destrier (with a non-Smaug enemy around to defend against first) can provide consistent protection against re-attacks. 

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Hmm, looks like most people agree with what I was saying.  Wasn't expecting that lol.  Maybe it shows I'm finally "getting" the game.  I've been playing about a year and a half, but I still feel pretty green.  Probably comes from playing solo.

I'm not fond of these "fiddly" scenarios.  I look forward to playing a new one and seeing what challenges it presents, and then bam there's some completely new mechanic I have to learn.  A little irritating.  Okay, yes, I'm lazy.

 

5 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

There actually is something that can be done about the Smaug/burglar shadows -- discard them.  At the time of release only Dawn Takes You All would do that

That's interesting, I hadn't considered that.  Only works a maximum of three times, but that could make all the difference.

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21 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

There actually is something that can be done about the Smaug/burglar shadows -- discard them.  At the time of release only Dawn Takes You All would do that, but now Staff of Lebethren, Gandalf's Staff, and Armored Destrier (with a non-Smaug enemy around to defend against first) can provide consistent protection against re-attacks. 

Rider of the Mark was also around at the time of release, but that only works in multiplayer. And Gandalf's Staff wouldn't work as Smaug is unique.

Personally I actually like Lonely Mountain the most out of the three quests in On The Doorstep, but it's a quest where you really have to choose your deck carefully, or custom build for it.

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6 hours ago, PocketWraith said:

Personally I actually like Lonely Mountain the most out of the three quests in On The Doorstep, but it's a quest where you really have to choose your deck carefully, or custom build for it.

Got any tips about what kind of deck to construct?  Any cards that are indisposable?  

I've been using a dwarf deck, but haven't gotten a win yet.  I'm still working on strategy.  I got dinged by the "Pretending to Sleep" treachery card a few games in a row that sent me to quest card 4A, so I realized I have to keep a few Baggins resources back in case it pops up.  Before that, I was using them to dig all my treasure out of the deck before doing anything else.

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19 hours ago, Vince79 said:

Got any tips about what kind of deck to construct?  Any cards that are indisposable?

As already noted, some means of discarding Smaug's shadow cards so he can't chain attack is very important (failing that, a long line of chumps).

For Burgle tests, obviously it may help to make your deck more consistent with regard to sphere/cost, but more significant is having card draw so you have a lot of options for things to discard to pass the Burgle tests. One significant note here: it's only the Baggins resource effect on The Lonely Mountain which changes the card you have to match - if you use any other card draw effect it doesn't, so you can look at the card, then trigger e.g. Gleowine to draw that card into your hand, and then discard it to the Burgle test as a perfect match for itself.

Beyond that, there's not much demand for combat, so you mostly just need willpower - in particular willpower boosts can be more helpful than just spamming lots of allies, since Smaug the Golden's threat increases as you quest with more characters.

I suppose it's also worth noting that you don't *have* to take all the treasures if you don't want to, so if you'd prefer you can push through more quickly, in which case you don't need to be as built for the Burgle tests.

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20 hours ago, Vince79 said:

Before that, I was using them to dig all my treasure out of the deck before doing anything else.

Well you should certainly search up the magic ring to get the Baggins resources flowing, but the others aren't as useful in this quest so you don't really need to.

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3 hours ago, PocketWraith said:

you can look at the card, then trigger e.g. Gleowine to draw that card into your hand, and then discard it to the Burgle test as a perfect match for itself.

I wouldn't have thought of that, is that legal?

I usually play these scenarios "blind" the first time, and this is a case where it definitely cost me.  If I would have studied the encounter cards before playing, I would have realized there aren't really any bad enemies in this quest, aside from Smaug of course.  You're right, willpower is huge in this one.  But I like starting out blind, without knowing what's coming.  Makes it seem more like an adventure, even if it costs me wins. 

2 hours ago, rees263 said:

Well you should certainly search up the magic ring to get the Baggins resources flowing, but the others aren't as useful in this quest so you don't really need to.

I usually get Sting out first thing to buff Bilbo's stats (a little).  The Magic Ring I usually use to absorb one of Smaug the Magnificent's attacks.  Maybe I need to collect some resources though, there have been a few cases where I've needed them and didn't have them.  Aside from willpower, threat reduction comes in handy for this quest.  

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Was able to get a win against The Lonely Mountain at last, after several retweaks of the deck.  The key for me was to intentionally not burgle successfully too quickly, while working on a massive buildup.  The Dawn Takes You All card was a big help since I had a couple of them in my hand, and that kept Smaug at bay long enough to quest out the final card.  Then put some damage on Smaug and it was over.

These difficult quests annoy me, but it is satisfying to defeat them.  Usually it just takes finding the right key, the right combination of deck and strategy.

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Got another win against The Lonely Mountain, so I'll be moving on to Battle of Five Armies.  Henamarth Riversong can be a real key to winning against this quest, so you can mulligan for him if you need to.  If you know exactly what the threat in the staging area is going to be, you can match it exactly.  That will prevent you from having to make burgle attempts when you don't want to, which also prevents attacks from Smaug the Golden.  

This last game was a very long slog (got rerouted through 4A), but I again had a massive buildup so was able to get a win fairly easily at the end.

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I've never even tried to win the Lonely Mountain by killing Smaug (saved that for The Battle of Laketown). All my victories in the Lonely Mountain came from questing like mad at the end to escape him (I remember Escort from Edoras and Dawn Take You All being essential to my victories... 'twas many years ago). I like the quest and think it's definitely the best in the Hobbit saga. 

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14 hours ago, TwiceBorn said:

I've never even tried to win the Lonely Mountain by killing Smaug

Well, you can't kill Smaug, he's indestructible.  To "remove him from play" you have to have more progress tokens on 3B than hit points remaining on Smaug.  Thematically I imagine that represents him flying off to destroy Laketown.  I maxed out the progress tokens on 3B then all you need to do is put one damage on Smaug.  I had Glamdring and Orcirst on Dwalin to give him 6 ATK.

To protect myself from Smaug the Magificent's repeated attacks, I kept plenty of cheap chump blockers like Snowbourn Scout and Errand-Rider.  Even have three copies of Henamarth Riversong to use the extras as chump blockers if needed.  And Dawn Takes You All, as you said (kudos to dalestephenson for suggesting it).  

I look more kindly on the quest since defeating it lol.

Edited by Vince79

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8 minutes ago, Vince79 said:

Well, you can't kill Smaug, he's indestructible.  To "remove him from play" you have to have more progress tokens on 3B than hit points remaining on Smaug.  Thematically I imagine that represents him flying off to destroy Laketown.  I maxed out the progress tokens on 3B then all you need to do is put one damage on Smaug.  I had Glamdring and Orcirst on Dwalin to give him 6 ATK.

Yeah, it's been so long that I've forgotten the exact wording and victory conditions. Thanks for the reminder.

Glad you've come to appreciate it a little more. I always found the ending to be a real nail biter, especially when my greed had me linger longer than absolutely necessary. 🙂

 

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1 hour ago, TwiceBorn said:

Glad you've come to appreciate it a little more. I always found the ending to be a real nail biter, especially when my greed had me linger longer than absolutely necessary. 🙂

I don't care about collecting the treasure, if that's what you mean by greed.  They only carry over into Battle of Five Armies anyway.  Although a few of the treasures are pretty useful.  I like having the treasures from Over Hill and Under Hill though, they come in very handy.

I tend to linger a good while too, I've gone through the entire encounter deck in both my wins.  I linger mainly to build up my allies.  By the time I get to the end I feel pretty confident of victory if I can arrive there reasonably intact, don't have location lock, and have a number of buffers against Smaug the Magnificent's attacks.

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I've played the Battle of Five Armies three times now, won the last two.  I actually thought my one loss was something of a fluke, I got blindsided with some bad shadow cards at just the wrong time.  It's pretty easy to knock off the three stages that are all in play at once IMO.  But the transition into the last quest card is the dangerous part.  If you can get through that, killing Bolg shouldn't be that bad.  I absorbed his attacks with Bilbo's Magic Ring.  Threat wasn't really a big issue in this scenario.  I thought it was the easiest of the three.  I used the same deck I had used pretty much throughout The Hobbit, what I call my dwarf "horde" deck lol.  

Overall, I thought On The Doorstep was a pretty good experience.  Next up on my list is the Black Riders saga expansion.  The Fellowship is my favorite part of the books, so should be fun.

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7 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

For me, the hardest part of Bo5A was surviving the earliest rounds. Extra goblins, fewer cards, and less resource don’t make what’s already the hardest part of the game any easier!

Really?  Hmm, I didn't think the start was that bad.  I always starting out putting a progress on the quest that penalizes you your resources, because I want those.  Then the one that forces you to discard, unless there's been an enemy discarded - in that case I'd take out that one.  Then in the third round do the other one.  I tried to mulligan for Henamarth Riversong because that lets you plan your round out before it happens.

Really, I don't think it's that hard of a scenario.  I probably wouldn't have lost if it weren't for my habit of playing the first game blind.

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On 2/1/2020 at 12:02 AM, Vince79 said:

Well, you can't kill Smaug, he's indestructible.  To "remove him from play" you have to have more progress tokens on 3B than hit points remaining on Smaug.  Thematically I imagine that represents him flying off to destroy Laketown.  I maxed out the progress tokens on 3B then all you need to do is put one damage on Smaug.

It's actually easier than that - there's nothing to stop you putting more progress on the quest card than it has quest points, so you never need to attack Smaug at all. An oversight in the design, perhaps, but that's how the rules are.

Re: Bo5A, it gets noticeably worse in multiplayer, because Bolg's Surge on the first Goblin triggers pretty much every round and you can get punished more by some of the other ridiculous cards in the encounter deck.
In solo the main difficulty is just being able to handle all three varieties of questing.

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4 hours ago, PocketWraith said:

It's actually easier than that - there's nothing to stop you putting more progress on the quest card than it has quest points, so you never need to attack Smaug at all. An oversight in the design, perhaps, but that's how the rules are.

Omigosh, you're right, I hadn't even considered that.  Flew right over my head.  I always put the extra progress tokens on the quest cards too, so I'm surprised I didn't catch that. 

Yeah, I don't think BoFA is that bad.  We solo players get punished in other quests though, so I suppose it all evens out.  Although usually you hear that it gets worse with more players, so maybe not.

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Battle of Five Armies is quite manageable if you can place progress on all three quests in the first three turns.  Depending on the deck this can be very difficult, especially if you happen to reveal enemies and trigger Bolg's surge in each of those turns.  The user ratings at the quest companion have BoFA as a respectable 7.1, second toughest in Hobbit behind Lonely Mountain (7.3).  While it's sandwiched between two quests I think are much tougher for one-deck play (Three Trials and Nin-in-Eleph) at a minimum it means some players are having trouble.  In our solo leagues most quests are defeated by all players with zero token, but BoFA caused 2 of 4 players to take a token.

I think a lot of the early quests have inconsistent difficulty, depending on what comes out early it can be easy or nigh-impossible.  Later cycles are better in making it so you don't want to see anything that comes out of the encounter deck.

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