News for July 2014
Darkness Over the Hill, Nightmares Under the Hill
Three New Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for The Lord of the Rings

“Now certainly Bilbo was in what is called a tight place.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Three new Nightmare Decks for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game are now available via FFG’s in-house manufacturing.

While the core game and its standard expansions imagine new and untold stories in Middle-earth, Saga Expansions allow players to participate directly in the events from the beloved fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien. With the game’s first Saga Expansion, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill you gain the opportunity to steer the fates of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, and the wizard Gandalf as they begin their famous and fateful journey out of the Shire.

With its three scenarios, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill brings you as close as you can get to reliving the dramatic events of The Hobbit without finding your name in its pages. Trolls want to eat you. Mountain passes are made more perilous by raging storms. Rampaging giants hurl boulders in your vicinity. Hordes of Goblins swarm around you. And the strange creature known as Gollum lurks deep within a dark and lonely cavern… 

The scenarios of The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill introduce more than enough challenge and peril to renew your appreciation of the intrepid Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, but now with The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill Nightmare Decks, Bilbo’s situation – and yours – becomes darker and more desperate than ever. Can you help Middle-earth’s unlikeliest hero survive his early travels, even as the shadow of evil looms darker and closer than ever before?

Developer Matt Newman on The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill Nightmare Decks

Now that the Nightmare Decks for The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill are on sale, I thought I would take some time to share the design philosophy behind some of the new challenges and experiences they offer you. As always, each Nightmare Deck is designed to expand on its scenario’s theme as well as increase its difficulty, making for an experience that is fresh, fun, and challenging enough to test even the most veteran players.

We Must Away, Ere Break of Day

The Nightmare version of the opening to The Hobbit cuts out many of the scenario’s easier cards in favor of a more consistently difficult encounter deck. Like Conflict at the Carrock, this scenario presents players with a set of challenging enemies that can be extremely punishing if encountered too early or too late. As many players discovered, the easiest way to defeat this scenario is to encounter its enemies at just the right time. And like the Nightmare version for Conflict at the Carrock, this Nightmare Deck attempts to surprise players with cards that make it very difficult for them to remain at Stage 1B for too long, like Comfortable Light (We Must Away, Ere Break of Day Nightmare Deck, 5) and Mince Them Fine (We Must Away, Ere Break of Day Nightmare Deck, 6).

As a Saga Expansion, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill focuses on relating events directly from The Hobbit, and that meant, among other things, that we did not want to create new Trolls for this scenario like we did with Conflict at the Carrock. Instead, I opted to change the experience around these Trolls, not only making them more ferocious, but ensuring that you would have no choice but to fight them tooth and nail to survive. In Nightmare mode, you will find your threat rising higher and higher, forcing you to engage all three Trolls before you have the chance to get away. Additionally, a new treachery card, Night Wanes Slow (We Must Away, Ere Break of Day Nightmare Deck, 7), can even trigger when it is discarded from the top of the encounter deck, guaranteeing that you can’t quest through the entire encounter deck in one big push. Together, these new cards truly make this a more consistent and aggressive scenario.

Over the Misty Mountains Grim

In Over the Misty Mountains Grim, players must progress through two separate encounter decks, each of which features its own encounter set and unique challenges. The scenario’s Nightmare Deck contains new cards for both encounter decks – some of which you’ll face in the heights of the Misty Mountains, and others which add new perils to the depths of Goblin-town!

The first half of this scenario is meant to burden your heroes, slowing their progress and raising their threat, so that the enemies in the scenario’s second half can wipe them out in one fell swoop. To that end, new cards like Dim Valley (Over the Misty Mountains Grim, 3) work to drain your resources – especially your precious Baggins resources – and that makes the second half of the scenario all that much harder.

Once they’ve stumbled into Goblin-town, your heroes will encounter a much more imposing version of The Great Goblin (Over the Misty Mountains Grim, 5), and a horde of Goblins that get stronger once he is defeated. The original scenario’s Goblins also get stronger after The Great Goblin is defeated, but unlike in the original scenario, you must now defeat The Great Goblin before you can place any progress on the quest. This means you’re more likely to see many of the scenario’s Goblins enraged and at maximum strength, and you can no longer opt to keep The Great Goblin alive for as long as possible in order to make the scenario easier.

Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim

I am very excited for players to get their hands on this new Nightmare version of one of my favorite chapters from The Hobbit! My primary goal for the Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim Nightmare Deck was to make the final battle against the Goblins and Wargs tougher, and to make Gollum more important. One of the ways we did this was to introduce The Lower Gate (Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim, 2), a new location we get to explore in this Nightmare version. This location slows your progress, holding you in the final battle a little longer, and also symbolizes the strange alliance between the Goblins and Wargs of the Misty Mountains.

Additionally, the Nightmare Deck provides Gollum with new strength with which to chase and harass Bilbo and the rest of our heroes, even long after they’ve escaped. In Nightmare Mode, Gollum cannot take damage from any source, meaning he will continue to fight for Bilbo’s Magic Ring throughout the scenario… and at any cost. Cards like We Hates It! (Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim, 7) and Where Isss It? (Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim, 7) also increase the role that Gollum plays in the scenario, and they ensure a difficult and memorable encounter.

I had a lot of fun designing these Nightmare Decks and getting to revisit my favorite chapters from The Hobbit, and I hope that you are just as excited to fight against their hungry Trolls, defeat The Great Goblin, and outwit Gollum once again. Keep those Baggins resources handy – you’re going to need them!

Deeper, Dimmer, and Deadlier Than Ever!

“The hiss was close behind him. He turned now and saw Gollum’s eyes like small green lamps coming up the slope. Terrified, he tried to run faster, but suddenly he struck his toes on a snag in the floor, and fell flat with his little sword under him.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Since its release, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill has entertained players around the world, even as it has challenged them to accompany Bilbo Baggins for the first half of his journeys and through some of the most dramatic events found within first half of The Hobbit. Now, The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill Nightmare Decks will renew your appreciation of the formidable Hobbit’s resolve as they recast your struggles within the deeper shadows of Nightmare Mode.

Can you help Bilbo Baggins survive the heightened challenges of Nightmare Mode? Pick up your copy of The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill Nightmare Decks today!

The Lord of the Rings – Print on Demand scenarios are challenging standalone scenarios for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game that originally ran as special events at Gen Con Indy. They immerse 1-4 players in the thrills and perils of Middle-earth as their heroes undertake daring quests that pit them against some of the deadliest villains in Middle-earth.

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