Part 9: The Road to Isengard

Saruman’s army has been defeated at Helm’s Deep, but the Wizard’s fortress is beyond Rohan’s power to capture. However, the Ents of Fangorn have also suffered great injury because of Saruman and his Orcs. They have the strength to break Isengard, but have to be roused to attack.

The 3rd stage of The Road to Isengard

This quest is another one I like most. The game mechanics with its locations and their behavior in the staging area, also the bouncing from Orthanc, is nicely implemented. It reflects the struggle being at war with Saruman, but having time to argue with him — like in the movies. Or in other words, during this fight you have to retreat every now and then to fulfill your different goals and keep the situation under control. Sadly, this is another quest which struggles with multiplayer scaling. All the downsides from locations in the staging area do hurt a lot. Also, very effective location control (e.g. Northern Trackers) triggers all the Wizardry effects, which leads to an early loss.

The Game

Power house: an Ent

With Bond of Friendship and Aragorn the game starts with 5 heroes. This means, within two rounds you can exhaust 10 characters to convince the Ents to follow you. With a bit of luck this results in 3 Ents of Fangorn at your side, which is bonkers good. I had that luck and therefore a headstart at this quest.

A Hobbit deck usually suffers from having a low health pool (for archery damage in this mission). Mine also especially from low willpower in the beginning (compared to other up-to-date archetypes) and from absolutely no attack power at the beginning. All three downsides are bypassed with such good companions.

With just one player, there are not many locations (which would force progress on stage 2b) in play and the additional reveal from Orthanc is quite controllable — I did not reveal any major burdens during the whole quest. I could take my time to prepare my defender well (Staff of Lebethron reduces the two shadow cards from Saruman down to one, Hobbit Cloak and Ring Mail boost the defense up to six and some Fast Hitch or Unexpected Courage prepares for multiple attacks). The regular upcoming enemies were no problem at all, thanks to Gaffer Gamgee. As I was already equipped completely as I reached stage 3a, I could keep my 6 cards and discard them to the missions treacheries.

This quest was nice and easy after all. Though, it took me 13 rounds to win on the first try. Duration of play was a whopping 50 minutes. I had 4 cards left, so no new burden card for me. Instead I got the Palantir of Orthanc.

Sam Gamgee, Pippin, Tom Cotton, Merry (Valiant Warrior)
Threat 28
Fallen HeroesThreat Penality
Valiant Warrior (Merry)The Ring Draws Them
Sting, Mithril Shirt, Glamdring, AndúrilEaten Alive!
Palantir of OrthancOvercome by Grief
Ill Fate
games played:10 (1 lost).
win ratio:90.0%
time spent (actual playing):4 hours, 58 minutes

The Lord of the Rings card game is a living card game by Fantasy Flight Games. The head line picture is the art from the 3rd stage of this quest and is made by Tiziano Baracchi. The quest card and the Ent of is a card from the game itself, taken from Hall of Beorn.

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