With Theoden heading back to Rohan, a surprising ally joins up in Dain Ironfoot. We have Gollum firmly clasped and are making our way back to Thranduil’s court in Mirkwood.
The Leadership-Spirit side opens up with UnExpected Courage, A Test of Will, Strength of Will, West Road Traveller, Campfire Tales, and Dunedain Mark. With Courage and the Traveller, this will be a good start. Our opening threat is 27.
The Tactics-Lore side opens up with Longbeard Map-Maker, Horseback Archer, Strider’s Path, Daughter of the Nimrodel, Forest Snare, Protector of Lorien. Not perfect, but Forest Snare should come in handy. Our opening threat is 29.
TL takes control of Gandalf and Hammerhorns (Th:1) and Mountains of Mirkwood (Th:2) are revealed.
LS draws Northern Tracker while TL draws Quick Strike. LS plays Campfire Tales and draws Celebrian’s Stone while TL draws Vassal of the Windlord. Unexpected Courage is played on Dain while TL plays Protector of Lorien on Eowyn.
Eowyn (W:4), Dain (W:2) with UCourage played, Berevor (W:2) quest for a total of 8. East Bight (Th:1) and Hill Troll (Th:1) are revealed for a total threat of 5, so 3 progress is made on the quest. We travel to East Bight and Strength of Will is played with Eleanor exhausting to put 2 progress on it.
No enemies are engaged, so we have a peaceful trip. LS threat becomes 28, TL becomes 30 and then 33 due to Gollum.
TL draws Mirkwood Runner while LS draws Sneak Attack. West Road Traveller is played and East Bight and Mountains of Mirkwood are swapped. Dunedain Mark is played on Gimli.
Eowyn (W:4), Dain with UnCourage (W:2), West Road Traveller (W:2), and Berevor (W:2) quest for 10. Woodman’s Glade (Th:2) and Spider’s Ring (Th:3) are revealed for a total threat of 8. Horseback Archer is discarded giving us 3 progress on the Mountains, exploring them. Favour of the Lady and Gondorian Spearman are chosen from the cards for exploring the Mountains. We again travel to East Bight.
The Hill Troll engages TL. Gimli defends against the Troll and the Shadow card is Mirkwood Bats which does nothing, so he takes 4 damage. LS threat becomes 29, TL becomes 34 and then 37 due to Gollum.
Another Favour of the Lady is drawn by LS while TL draws Secret Paths. Northern Tracker is played by LS while LS plays the Forest Snare on the Hill Troll (locking him up for awhile!), Vassal of the Windlord and the Gondorian Spearman.
Eowyn (W:4), Dain with UnCourage (W:2), West Road Traveller (W:2), Northern Tracker (W:1 and 1 progress on Woodman’s Glade and the Spider’s Ring), and Beravor (W:2) quest for a total of 11. Caught in a Web is revealed and Eleanor exhausts to discard that. Wood Elf Path (Th:1) is revealed and Attercop, Attercop (Th:2) is also revealed! (Doh! The Snare would look better on Attercop then the Troll at this point!). We have 9 threat in the staging area, so Secret Paths is played on the Spider’s Ring, giving us 5 progress. East Bight is explored and we get 1 progress on the Quest (for a total of 4). I don’t travel as the locations are going to be explored by the Northern Tracker next round.
Attercop, Attercop engages TL since Gollum is there. This puts a wrinkle in my plans but I should be able to get through it. The Hill Troll gets a Shadow card but does not attack due to the Snare. Gollum’s Bite was the shadow card so that is nice to see go away. Attercop’s attack is defended by the Spearman (doing 1 damage to it) and the shadow card is Woodman’s Glade so the Spearman is killed without much fuss. Gimli attacks (for 8 due to 4 damage, the Mark, and Dain) along with Denethor for 9 total which does 5 damage and kills Attercop! I’ve had Attercop arrive too early in other plays with my son and totally ruin the quest, so the fact that I had both it and the Hill Troll and are still moving forward is great!
LS threat becomes 30, while TL becomes 41 due to Gollum. Oh oh! Hammerhorns are coming and my heroes can’t handle the Forced 5 damage. I need a Gandalf (and perhaps a Sneak Attack!)
LS draws another Northern Tracker while LS draws another Mirkwood Runner. Dang, no Gandalf! Celebrian’s Stone is played on Eowyn while the Longbeard Map-Maker is played.
Dain with UnCourage (W:2), Eowyn (W:6), West Road Traveller (W:2), Northern Tracker (W:1 clearing the Woodman’s Glade and Spider’s Ring), Longbeard Map-Maker (W:2) and Beravor (W:2) quest for 15! Mountains of Mirkwood (Th:2) and another Attercop (Th:2) is revealed. Oh boy! Strider’s Path is played on Mountains of Mirkwood making them the active location and we get 11 progress. That clears the Mountains (again!) and also clears the quest stage. With the card draw from the Mountains, we get Infighting for TL and Gandalf for TL. There is the Gandalf that we need, but I don’t have the resources for the Sneak Attack! ARGGH!!! Again, I don’t travel to any location.
Attercop again engagles TL due to Gollum being there. The Hammerhorns also engage TL due to the high threat and Beravor takes the 5 damage and dies. (NOTE: I thought about moving Gollum over to the LS player earlier to save threat, but I’m not sure that would have helped much, i.e. I’d have to pass him back and forth and the two Attercop’s would probably have ended up on the wrong side of the board.)
The Hill Troll can’t attack but has a Wood Elf Path as the shadow card. Hammerhorns is defended by Denethor and Spiders’ Ring is revealed and has no effect. No damage is taken by Denethor. The Vassal of the Windlords defends against Attercop and a Caught in a Web is the shadow card for no effect. The Vassal is killed and then Gimli attacks for 8 doing 4 damage.
LS threat becomes 31, TL becomes 45 due to Gollum. We need to move Gollum over pretty soon!
LS draws Hasty Stroke while TL draws a Horseback Archer. Gandalf is now sneak attacked in, doing damage on the Attercop, killing it. (Too late for Beravor!) Favour of the Lady is played on Eowyn.
Eowyn (W:7), West Road Traveller (W:2), Northern Tracker (W:1), and Gandalf (W:4) quest for 14. Gollum’s Anguish is revealed and Eleanor exhausts to discard that, revealing another Mountains of Mirkwood (Th: 2) in its stead. Despair is also revealed but we have no progress on the quest, so it does nothing. We have more than enough to complete the Escape Attempt stage. We travel to the Wood Elf’s Path, allowing Gollum to now be guarded by the LS side.
Quick Strike is played and Gimli attacks the Hill Troll for 5 damage. Infighting is then played and 3 of that damage goes to the Hammerhorns killing them. The Hill Troll can’t attack, but the Brown Lands shadow card is discarded.
TL threat goes to 46, LS threat becomes 35 due to Gollum.
Astonishing Speed is drawn by LS while Henamarth Riversong is drawn by TL. LS can’t play cards due to the stage, but Henamarth Riversong is played. He is exhausted to see a Wasted Provisions.
Eowyn (W:7), Dain with UnCourage (W:2), West Road Traveller (W:2), Northern Tracker (W:1), and Longbeard Map-Maker (W:2) quest for a total of 14. The Wasted Provisions is revealed, Eleanor exhausts to discard it, and another Hill Troll (Th:1) is revealed. Mirkwood Bats (Th:1) is revealed and surges in a Goblin Sniper (Th:2). Oops! This many enemies wasn’t supposed to show up now! We do 8 progress, exploring the Wood Elf’s Path and the Elvin King’s Halls stage. Hmm, no way to take away willpower? That would have been nice to allow the TL side to engage one or two of these enemies!
We are on the last stage which means that all of the enemies in play engage the LS side. Oops! Two Hill Trolls (luckily one of them is snared), a Goblin Sniper and Mirkwood Bats head over to the LS side.
The snared Hill Troll does no attack and Despair is revealed as its shadow card. I take the Goblin Sniper undefended and the Woodman’s Glade is the do-nothing shadow card. Gollum gets 2 damage. Mirkwood Bats is also undefended and the Dry Watercourse is the do-nothing shadow card, so Gollum gets 1 more damage. Dain defends the Hill Troll and a Wolf Rider is revealed. Hasty Stroke is played removing that and Dain takes 3 damage.
TL threat goes to 47, LS threat goes to 39 due to Gollum.
Galadhrim’s Greeting is drawn by LS while Haldir of Lorien is drawn by TL. LS plays Gandalf doing 4 damage to the Hill Troll, while TL plays Horseback Archer.
I can’t quest too many characters as I need to defend. Eowyn (W:7), Henamarth Riversong (W:1) and Longbeard Map-Maker (W:2) quest for 10. I exhaust Denethor to see Mirkwood Bats and move that to the bottom. Great Forest Web (Th:2) and Spiders’ Ring (Th:3) are revealed and we do 3 progress on the quest.
The snared Hill Troll has no attack. The Goblin Sniper is defended by Eleanor and Gollum’s Anguish is revealed, so no damage is taken. Kirkwood Bats is again undefended and Dry Watercourse is revealed so Gollum takes one more damage. The 2nd Hill Troll is defended by Northern Tracker and another Dry Watercourse is revealed. The Tracker dies an LS adds one to its threat due to the extra damage, taking them to 40.
Dain, Gandalf, and the Horseback Archer attack the Hill Troll for 5 killing it. Dain readies with Unexpected Courage and attacks the Goblin Sniper killing it.
TL threat goes to 48, LS threat goes to 44 due to Gollum.
Hasty Stroke is drawn and Vassal of the Windlords. Vassal of the Windlords is played and the Daughter of the Nimrodel is played. She immediately exhausts healing Dain, just in case. Another Northern Tracker is also played. Denethor exhausts to see a Brown Lands and its 6 threat is immediately moved to the back.
Eowyn (W:7), Longbeard Map-Maker (W:2) and Henamarth Riversong (W:1) quest for 10. Eyes of the Forest is revealed and it forces all events to be discarded. That seems tame enough at this point, so it takes effect. Great Forest Web (Th:2) is then revealed and we do one more progress on the quest.
We have the snared Hill Troll and the Mirkwood Bats left to defeat. The Hill Troll can’t attack, but Eleanor will defend the Mirkwood Bats. Wood Elf’s Path is the shadow card so the attack does no damage. Dain attacks the Mirkwood Bats, killing them. He then readies with Unexpected Courage and Dain, the Northern Tracker, the Horseback Archer, and the Vassal of the Windlord all pile on the Hill Troll, killing it. The quest stage is explored and all the enemies are gone, so we are successful!
This was a tense ride. When the 2nd Attercop, Attercop showed up, I was sure that I was going to lose. And then when I defeated the 3rd stage just as all of those enemies showed up, I thought I was done for again. Had I known that I’d get three enemies, I’d have quested a little slower. But it worked out in the end and I have completed the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle!! On to Khazad-Dum and a lot of Dwarves!