Part 8: Helm’s Deep

The pursuit of the Uruk-hai has brought the Heir of Elendil to Rohan just as Saruman declares war on that land. Aragorn and his companions travel to Edoras to aid King Théoden and the Rohan army to defend at Helm’s Deep. Hopefully they will be able to counter-attack the orcs to finally defeat the attacking army.

The 8th part is all about the defending battle. It has an unique game mechanic. This time the progress to the quest stages does not come from the willpower of the players. Progress is placed by the encounter deck onto stages one to four. If the game finishes the 4th quest card, the players have lost the game. The players have to survive — or in better words: withstand — 8 rounds to reach stage 5.

Initially, I wanted to see how far in the saga campaign I would get with a Hobbit deck. But I doubt that this deck can master this quest. Also, from the narrative point of view, here is a break and the player(s) are are allowed to switch their heroes without a threat increasing penalty.

A thematic approach to this quest would be a Three Hunters and/or a Rohan deck. As Aragorn is already a (forced) hero for this quest, the hunters would be either a four hunters deck or it would contain only two regular spheres. I imagine the latter as not easy to play – classical colours are Leadership (for resource boost and smoothing), Tactics (for enough attachments to fulfill the contract) and Spirit (for gadgets and additional card draw). Which one to spare? I don’t know. Anyhow, an up to date Rohan deck would be a possibility. As I currently do not have assembled a suiting deck, I would need some extra time to prepare for playing this quest. Time, which I do not have at the moment — at least in one piece.

I took this as an excuse to see my Hobbit deck get crushed by the quest and started playing.

The Game

An ally right from the start would be a nice boost, although a single hobbit ally usually does cost just as much as 2 resources and therefore that ally is quite fast on the table anyway (and I wanted to see my deck get wrecked!), so I decided against this option and skipped stage 1b. In the first three rounds I got enough willpower to „be ok“ and I guess, I had a bit luck with the encounter deck; I just saw one location the other cards I saw were all treacheries, which do not add permanent threat to the staging area. I kept the single starting enemy in the staging area, as that prevents more encounter cards to reveal. After the 3rd round I hit another enemy, advanced to stage 3 and were well prepared to engage both enemies, defend both and kill one of them.

Helm’s Deep quest stage 2b: keep an enemy in the staging area to prevent additional encounter cards.

I realized, my Hobbit deck is doing fine, so I continued the game with a slight smile on my face and decided to continue the saga campaign this way round. To get through the 3rd stage with as less trouble as possible, you have to put at least one progress onto the quest card each round. Getting to much progress on the quest would get you nearer to stage 4, which we do not want. So it is a bit tricky to navigate through this. Something wich is quite easily be doable, when having to reveal just one card — the spread of the revealed threat is narrow — and gets even better manageable, when having a Rosie Cotton around, who can modify your willpower afterwards. Defending Helm’s Deep for 8 rounds and defeating the enemies in stage 5 was successful.

It took me 8 nice and easy rounds to win this game within 30 minutes of play. As I skipped stage 1b, I did not earn the burden Poisoned Counsels.

Sam Gamgee, Pippin, Tom Cotton, Merry (Valiant Warrior)
Threat 28
Fallen HeroesThreat Penality
Valiant WarriorThe Ring Draws Them
Sting, Mithril Shirt, Glamdring, AndúrilEaten Alive!
Overcome by Grief
Ill Fate
games played:9 (1 lost).
win ratio:88.9%
time spent (actual playing):248 minutes

The Lord of the Rings card game is a living card game by Fantasy Flight Games. The head line picture is taken from Artstation and made by Artur Teodorczyk. The quest card is a card from the game itself, taken from Hall of Beorn.

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