Don’t tell the Elf! Starting a new campaign in Journeys in Middle Earth

Warning: This blog post contains mild spoilers for the first two scenarios in the ‘Bones of Arnor’ campaign for Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth

After a few weeks off, Josh and I returned to playing Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth. However, we decided to start a new campaign – the third time playing the Bones or Arnor. Josh chose to play Aragorn again, but this time chose the Pathfinder role rather than Captain as the Captain role only seems to come into its own if playing with three or more players. Meanwhile I finally got to play Gimli, choosing the default Guardian role.

We named the party “Don’t tell the Elf”, in honour of the conversation that Gimli and Aragorn had during the battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers (film, rather than the book)

We chose to play at ‘Normal’ difficulty – worth a note, as this was the first time we had played the game since the app was updated to add the ‘Adventure ‘ level of play.

It quickly became apparent as we started the game that there were many more search tokens on the board than we had previously seen, with several being described as ‘clues to the history of the land’. These have been added as part of the new setting – the issue it generates with the standard game is that, if you are not careful, vital time can be wasted interacting with these new locations, rather than pursuing the scenario.

The major problem we encountered in this scenario was that early on, Aragorn picked up the ‘Entangled’ wound card. This reduced his movement to a single space, and could not be removed as Aragorn did not have a card with the rest keyword in his deck. Thus slowed, Josh was forced time and again to use sprint actions just to get a regular move. In addition, Gimli was constantly forced to move back and help Aragorn before he was overwhelmed by enemies. In games with 3 or more heroes in the party, this wound would be inconvenient. In a two player game it pretty much crippled us.

The ultimate result was that the heroes ran out of time before they could find the thieves hideout.

Scenario 2 was the now-familiar assault on the thieves camp.

The heroes charged into the camp, with the plan that Gimli would deal with the Orcs whilst Aragorn would lower the portcullis in the corner of the compound.

Everything went to plan, until Aragorn failed his stealth check to sneak up on the Orc Chieftain’s tent. At this point, Gulgator appeared. But this wasn’t just a named Orc Marauder figure, but rather the specific painted character model – the first time we had used it in the game.

The scenario works in such a way that you have to defeat Gulgator twice. However, it quickly became apparent that Gimli with his Battle Axe is pretty awesome in combat – second only to Legolas it would seem. The sunder ability to destroy opponents armour is vital against heavily armoured enemies. Gulgator was swiftly knocked down for the first time.

However, as he regained his feet, the heroes started to find themselves surrounded by Orcs and Goblins who were coming to their leaders aid. Aragorn and Gimli retreated to the hideout entrance, with the aim of using the rocks in the entrance as cover – which would have been fine if either player had remembered to use it!

Aragorn hatched a cunning plan, and set a snare for Gulgator. During the next turn he killed a couple of groups, giving the generated inspiration to Gimli, before he was finally cut down by the swarming Goblins

Gulgator attempted to seize his chance and cut down Gimli, but triggered Aragorn’s snare. With Aragorn out of the game, Gimli had a single opportunity to defeat the huge Orc and win the scenario. His attack landed with maximum effect, causing a massive 10 hits and apparently killing Gulgator, though it would subsequently appear that he was merely badly wounded and has evaded us.

Scenario two ended in a last-gasp win – the first time in three attempts that we had defeated this scenario, which means that we can enter scenario 3 with a ‘7’ cost card in our decks.

First impressions are that Gimli and Aragorn make a good team, though Josh is going to switch roles to ‘Hunter’ for the next games. I was also really pleased to use the new miniature – I am sure that his recent painting contributed to his downfall.

More adventures in Middle Earth coming soon.

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