Thursday, 5 April 2018

Lord of the Rings the card game Khazad-Dum expansion

As long term readers will know, im rather a fan of the Lord of the Rings lcg from Fantasy Flight games, and a huge fan of the world of middle earth, so I was really looking forward to getting deeper into the game, and then I saw this expansion.... Khazad Dum, a place I loved in the books, so full of history and sadness, a place i wanted to spend much more time exploring, and Gimlis song of Durin said it best.....

The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away:
The world was fair in Durin's Day.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone for ever fair and bright.

There hammer on the anvil smote,
There chisel clove, and graver wrote;
There forged was blade, and bound was hilt;
The delver mined, the mason built.
There beryl, pearl, and opal pale,
And metal wrought like fishes' mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.

Unwearied then were Durin's folk;
Beneath the mountains music woke:
The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,
And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The forge's fire is ashen-cold;
No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:
The darkness dwells in Durin's halls;
The shadow lies upon his tomb
In Moria, in Khazad-dûm.
But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep,
Till Durin wakes again from sleep.

It has always stuck with me, certainly the last verse, it really shows the sadness that has settled on the place, it was not just a "mine" but a true glorious full of light splendor of the world.

"For a while we had news and it seemed good: messages reported that Moria had been entered and a great work begun there. Then there was silence, and no word has ever come from Moria since."   –Glóin, The Fellowship of the Ring

It has been many years since the Dwarves last heard from Balin. Now the heroes of Middle-earth must search for signs of him and his fledgling Dwarven colony. Khazad-dûm is the first deluxe expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, expanding your game with 165 new cards. Two Dwarf heroes offer their services, and players gain the benefit of new player cards (three copies of each) while facing new scenarios filled with perilous locations and a menacing host of enemies.
Time to pop this open and take a look, do not worry though we will only be looking at player cards, so no spoilers of the quest and their results, or the kind of horrors you may face deep in the dark beneath the world.

 In the box are all the new cards, and a little rulesheet that introduces some new keywords, and tells you the break down to build the encounter decks for the missions you will come up against.  without spoilers, it looks great! tough as always, but great, and dripping in theme and immersion, which is what I want from this game.

 Lets take a look at our two new heroes.....

We get for the lore sphere Bifur.... he is a 7 threat cost, 2 willpower, 1 attack, 2 defence with 3 hitpoints dwarf.  So nothing really spectacular, except hes cheap, but.... he does have an action that allows you to pay 1 resource from another heroes pool to add it to Bifurs pool, which in a multi sphere deck can be very useful to move the resources to the sphere that may need them at the time, presuming of course that's Lore.....

Dwalin is a spirit sphere Dwarf hero, that costs 9, has 1 willpower, so rather low for spirit, has 2 attack and defence, and 4 hitpoints, so he can fight at least....  He also has a handy response, that when he attacks and destroys an Orc enemy you can reduce your threat by 2, so put him in with other attackers, and he can really control the threat game, helping you to avoid those big scary beasts until you are ready, and potentially bringing you down into secrecy, which is being of 20 threat of lower, where cards marked secrecy become cheaper.
 Starting with the new cards that Lore get......

Erebor record keeper, hes an Ally that costs 1, has 1 willpower, 0 defence and attack, and 1 hitpoint, in fact he can not actually attack or defend, but he does have an action that lets you exhaust him and pay a resource to ready a dwarf character, handy if you have committed a big hitter to the quest, and want them ready for defence or attack usage too.

Ancestral Knowledge is a 1 cost event that as an action lets you exhaust a dwarf character to place 2 progress tokens on the active location, 4 if its underground or mountain traited!  a great way to power through the quests, and ties in nicely with the record keeper as he can then ready the character again.
 Tactics get 3 new cards, they firstly get the Veteran of  Nanduhirion who is cost 4, 0 willpower so he wont be questing, but 3 attack and 2 defence!! this guy is born to fight, and he gets 3 hitpoints... but then... well he doesn't ya see... he enters play with one damage on him. not sure why they just didn't lower his actual hit points, but I guess with healing it can go back up.

The Dwarrowdelf Axe is a 1 cost weapon restricted, and available to Dwarf characters only, it gives them +1 fight, and has the reaction that after the attached character attacks, it deals one damage to the deender, so you can hit them with one wound straight away, then perphaps more depending on your result.

Khazad Khazad is a 0 cost event that when played gives a dwarf character +3 fight, with its no cost, its great to drop as a surprise to push you up to take down that enemy you need to.

Leadership gets he 2 cost attachment Narvi`s Belt, which can only go on a Dwarf hero, and youc an exhaust it to give the hero any of the sphere icons you want until the end of the phase, handy if you want to equip certain sphere only items to them.

Durins Song (yes i expect you to recite the whole song if you play it) its 1 cost event that as an action gives a Dwarf +2 for willpower, attack and defense, so its perfect for when you need, or for getting double usage with a certain hero who can un exhaust you....

Ever Onward is a 3 cost event, so its not the cheapest, but can be played as a response to an unsuccessful questing phase, and if you do, you do not raise your threat.  This can be so useful instead of taking a big hit that will finish the game, it gives you some breathing space, lets you attack and take things out instead of worrying about questing.  Its a great way to buy yourself some time.
Spirit get the Zigil Miner.. a 2 cost, 1 will, attack, defence and  HP ally.  His action thoguh is what sets him apart...... You can exhaust him to name  a number, then you discard the top 2 cards of your deck, and if at least one of the cards has a cost equal tot he named number choose a hero and for each card that matches his sphere add a resource.  This is handy for getting a ton of resources out.

Untroubled by Darkness is a 2 cost event, that as a n action gives all Dwarf characters +1 willpower, +2 if its underground or a dark location.  Again really handy to use in combination to smash some quests.

Lastly Boots from Erebor is a 0 cost neutral attachment, that can only go onto a Dwarf or Hobbit character, and it gives them +1 hit point, nice and useful to get a bit more life back in a character.

All in all a pretty excellent pack! With a ton of monsters and locations to fight through in the encounter deck, and some great scenarios. well worth picking up!