News for May 2012
Stars, Clarity, and Foundations of Stone
A Spotlight on The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 21 May 2012

They spoke no more of the small news of the Shire far away, nor of the dark shadows and perils that encompassed them, but of the fair things they had seen in the world together, of the Elves, of the stars, of trees, and the gentle fall of the bright year in the woods.
   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Having worked their way through The Long Dark, Middle-earth’s heroes travel deeper into Moria’s mines. Their increasingly frequent encounters with roving Orc patrols give them greater reason to suspect that the source of the increased Orcish activity within the Misty Mountains does, indeed, lie within the abandoned Dwarven mines. Still, the heroes need more information about the growing threat. Their pursuit takes them deeper and deeper into the mines, toward Moria’s Foundations of Stone

The penultimate Adventure Pack in the Dwarrowdelf cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Foundations of Stone traces your heroes’ movement to the brink of the cycle’s climax and the heroes’ fateful discovery. But before they can determine what has gathered the Orcs together, Middle-earth’s heroes must first survive the lethal challenges presented by the treacherous nature of Moria’s subterranean passageways, and they must survive a deadly encounter with things older and fouler than Orcs.

Fortunately for them, your heroes can rely upon the aid of some powerful allies.

Imladris Stargazer

Foundations of Stone introduces three new allies, one each for the Leadership, Tactics, and Spirit spheres (the Lore sphere instead gains the services of the game’s first Mount). While each of these allies is likely to find its way into numerous decks, the Spirit ally, the Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone, 106), is the one that’s most likely to spur the development of a wealth of new strategies. After all, her ability to manipulate the top five cards of your deck makes her a tremendous boon to any deck dependent upon card combinations.

Of course, the Imladris Stargazer is a natural companion to another Spirit ally, the Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm, 9), but she’s potentially more interesting in combination with a number of Secrecy-focused cards. The Imladris Stargazer offers Secrecy decks a means of draw manipulation that rivals that of Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 79), but one that plays for a mere fraction of Gildor's cost. Thus, the Stargazer is far more likely to aid a Secrecy strategy during its vital early turns.

How can she help Secrecy players sneak through the mines of Moria? She can help ensure that you gain maximum value from an ally’s Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate, 3). She also adds tremendous value to less commonly used cards, like Taking Initiative (The Redhorn Gate, 2), which has great potential in a deck that plays more attachments and events and fewer characters. Two draw and two damage for zero cost is a tremendous bargain, but the risk that you might discard a valuable card, and for no effect, has steered players away from it. With the foresight granted by the Stargazer, we may very well see more fellowships Taking Initiative.

Furthermore, Secrecy decks generally feature a good number of attachments. They’re necessary in order to accelerate your resources, gain the benefits of additional spheres, increase your characters’ Willpower, and gain extra actions. The Stargazer’s deck manipulation increases the chances of drawing your attachments in the most beneficial order, resources first, then card draw, then actions.

Though the mines of Moria are long and dark, deep beneath mountains of rock, the Imladris Stargazer can offer your fellowship valuable insights. Even deep in the dark Foundations of Stone, she keeps her mind upon the fairer things she has seen, the Elves, the stars, the trees, and your future success.

A Note on the Encounter Sets for The Long Dark and Foundations of Stone

The mines of Moria are filled with many twists, turns, treacherous stairwells, and crumbling walls. Indeed, it seems that Fantasy Flight Games has stumbled during our journey through the mines!

Some players may have noticed that The Long Dark scenario features the Deeps of Moria encounter set icon but incorrectly lists the Hazards of the Pit encounter set in the rules insert. The icon is featured correctly, and players should in fact use the encounter sets The Long Dark, Twists and Turns, and Deeps of Moria with The Long Dark scenario. Most players refer to the encounter set icons as they build the encounter deck, and we suspect most have likely played the scenario as it was intended.


Encounter set icons: Deeps of Moria (left) and Hazards of the Pit (right)

Likewise, there was a misprint with the Foundations of Stone rules insert. Again, the quest cards and rulesheet feature the correct encounter set icon, but the rules text inaccurately lists the Deeps of Moria encounter set in place of the Hazards of the Pit encounter set. We wanted to act quickly to curtail any outstanding confusion, and we plan to include this clarification in our next The Lord of the Rings FAQ.

Now we pick ourselves out of the rubble, sorer for the accident, but wiser. The Orcs and Trolls of Moria are headed our way, so there’s no time to waste. Once again, we’re lighting our torch, peering down the hallways, and leading the way. We thank you for your continued support on this exciting journey!

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

    
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