|Ambushed on the Road to Rivendell
A spotlight on The Lord of The Rings: The Card Game
|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 12 March 2012||Rating||15 votes|
Suddenly Aragorn leapt to his feet. “How the wind howls!” he cried. “It is howling with wolf-voices. The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!”
–The Fellowship of the Ring
Having barely pushed their way through the raging snowstorms along The Redhorn Gate, the heroes of Middle-earth continue their journey to Rivendell, heading down the westward slopes of the Misty Mountains. Though they leave the drifting snow and wintry weather behind them, the Road to Rivendell is not yet clear. Wargs, goblins, and other ferocious enemies lie in waiting to spring their ambushes upon the weary fellowship!
Ambushed on the Road to Rivendell
When we first announced the upcoming release of Road to Rivendell, we mentioned the Adventure Pack would be the first to introduce the new Ambush mechanic. This deadly new mechanic changes the way you encounter enemies, especially in multiplayer games. It forces the first player to tread lightly as your heroes journey westward and northward through the hills west of the Misty Mountains.
Each time an enemy with the Ambush keyword is revealed from the encounter deck, each player makes an immediate engagement check with it, starting with the first player, and players who fail to keep their threat low can quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. In a four-player game, it’s possible to reveal four enemies and watch with terror as your heroes stumble into the middle of their ambush.
Of course, if an enemy leaps out of the staging area to engage you during the quest phase, it doesn’t oppose your progress with its threat. But before you start thinking that Ambush is a blessing in disguise, consider the true threat posed by an enemy like the Wild Bear (Road to Rivendell, 52). This ferocious predator bears your heroes no malice. The Dark Lord of Mordor does not guide its attacks. Instead, it’s driven by hunger alone, and it adds zero threat while in the staging area. However, if a player gets up to 34 threat, its Ambush keyword means this ravenous beast immediately engages a player, and its Forced response means that it attacks immediately. If a Wild Bear attacks due to Ambush, you cannot fool it with a Feint (Core Set, 34). You cannot remove the threat with a Quick Strike (Core Set, 35). You must simply defend against it or face the consequences.
Wicked tricks and snares
There are plenty of wicked little tricks and snares waiting for your heroes in Road to Rivendell. A Wild Bear attack during the quest phase may lead into the shadow effect of a Sleeping Sentry (Road to Rivendell, 46), triggering the discard of all exhausted characters, including the one who just exhausted to defend the Wild Bear. Or in a multiplayer game, one player may draw the Wild Bear right before the Sleeping Sentry wounds each exhausted character and exhausts each readied character.
Additionally, the first player to draw an Ambush may struggle to defeat multiple foes, and with multiple combatants pressing their attacks each round, the likelihood becomes greater and greater that you may face one of the scenario’s devastating shadow effects. Without a lot of Ranged and Sentinel characters, a multiplayer table will quickly learn that the threat of Ambush quickly outweighs the benefits you gain by drawing enemies out of the staging area during the quest phase.
The best way to avoid an ambush may be to send scouts ahead of the main party, and Road to Rivendell introduces an exciting Lore card that can help you navigate around some of the encounter deck’s nastiest surprises. Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell, 36) can remove some of the encounter deck’s worst threats before you ever face them. At three cost, it’s a little expensive, but nothing unreasonable for a deck that runs a good measure of resource acceleration. Moreover, Out of the Wild features Secrecy 2, meaning if you can keep your threat at or below twenty, you can pick apart the encounter deck for a mere one resource.
Obviously, if you aren’t running A Test of Will (Core Set, 50) or Hasty Stroke (Core Set, 48), the Sleeping Sentry is a good candidate to remove from the deck, but Out of the Wild can do more than help you avoid the most troublesome encounter effects. In scenarios like The Hills of Emyn Muil or The Redhorn Gate, where you need to draw into the encounter deck’s victory points, Out of the Wild can filter out the cards that will just cost you extra turns. Remove encounter cards without victory points, and the chances increase that you’ll draw into cards that have victory points.
The Road to Rivendell is long and full of peril. You’ll need to remain wary to avoid Ambush, but there’s little time left for you to delay. The time is coming to resume your escort mission as you seek to bring Arwen safely home to Rivendell.
Road to Rivendell hits retailers everywhere next week, so keep your eyes peeled for the announcement, as well as a sneak peek at the next hero for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.