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Friday, December 19, 2014

LotR LCG: Celebrimbor's Secret Review - Part 2

In Part 1 of our review of the new AP Celebrimbor's Secret we looked at the player cards. We got a great hero as well as several cool allies, events, and attachments. In fact, Charge of the Rohirrim has breathed new life into my Rohan obsession, and inspired a new deck that I've been enjoying. With the player cards out of the way it's time to dive into the other facet of every AP: the quest.

Art by, completely unrelated to the quest, I've just been using Boromir a lot lately

My reviews of each quest tend to be as spoiler-free as possible, but for this particular AP I can't really delve into the quest without revealing significant portions of the mechanics and background. So if you're looking for a spoiler-free review then you should stop reading now, and revisit this page after you've played through the quest a couple times.

At this stage in the Ring-Maker Cycle our heroes have made it to the ancient and abandoned city of Ost-in-Edhil. This city was once home to a thriving Elven community, but has since fallen into ruin. Our heroes are searching for artifacts that Celebrimbor used to forge the rings of power. More information about Celebrimbor can be found here, or you can play Shadow of Mordor and fill in the blanks yourself!

Celebrimbor and Narvi, who teamed-up to construct the gate of Moria

So the goal of this quest is to recover Celebrimbor's Mould. Simple, right? Should be a breeze...

One thing that sets this quest apart from others in this cycle are the locations. First, there seems to be a greater proportion of locations in the encounter deck than in previous quests for this cycle, with the possible exception of the Nin-in-Eilph. Second, the locations are actively hostile toward the players, thanks in large part to the new special rule, Scour (more on that later). Third, I have found the locations in this quest to be fairly Asfaloth-proof. Many of the locations are immune to player card effects, and one location will shut down any attempt to place progress on locations in the staging area.

Much like The Siege of Cair Andros, the locations accrue damage through various card effects. If the amount of damage equals the location's travel points, then the location goes face-down underneath The Orcs' Search.

Pro-tip: don't let cards pile up underneath the Orcs' Search. Without giving too much away I'll simply tell you that bad, awful things will happen.

Aside from the locations there are some pretty tough enemies that have to be dealt with. There are ten enemy cards that have four or more wounds. We also see the return of the nightclub wolf! (nod to Brandon at CotR)

Finally, there is a special rule for this quest called Scour that triggers when time counters are removed or through encounter card effects. Many cards have Scour-effects that will damage locations, add cards to the staging area, or force enemies to attack.

I've mostly played this quest solo, but have done a couple of multiplayer games as well. My assessment seems to correlate with the general feeling of other players toward this quest: perfectly manageable solo, difficult with two or three players, crazy with four players.

Overall I've enjoyed this quest, but once again I have to stress that there is a lot to keep track of during the game, and that makes this quest particularly ill-suited to newer players. That's been a constant trait of the quests in this cycle, and while I don't mind the added complexity, I do think that it'll deter newer players from trying these quests for a while.

As always, thanks to the Hall of Beorn Card Search for the images. Give me a shout-out on Twitter @piflamesofwar, or the give the team a shout-out @WWPDFellowship

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