3 September 2015 | The Lord of the Rings LCG

A Desperate Journey

Across the Ettenmoors Is Now Available for The Lord of the Rings

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"By nightfall they were all soaked, and their camp was cheerless, for they could not get any fire to burn. The next day the hills rose still higher and steeper before them, and they were forced to turn away northwards out of their course. Strider seemed to be getting anxious: they were nearly ten days out from Weathertop, and their stock of provisions was beginning to run low."
     –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Rains lash the barren and rocky ground before you. A low rumbling sounds behind you. Is it the rumbling of a distant thunder? Or does it herald the approach of one or more massive trolls? Either way, you must find food, and you must find shelter. Your legs are weary, your provisions are low, and yours is a desperate journey across a cursed and troll-infested stretch of scraggy hills, and there's no time to wait… Your delay is your doom. You must move swiftly if you are to survive your travels Across the Ettenmoors!

Now available at retailers throughout the United States and online through our webstore, Across the Ettenmoors is the third Adventure Pack in the Angmar Awakened cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, introducing a challenging new scenario, a new Dwarf hero, and three copies each of nine different player cards. Availability in regions outside the United States may vary.

Finding Your Way

In The Lost Realm deluxe expansion, the developers introduced a new type of card, the side quest. These cards appear as both encounter cards that shuffle into the encounter deck and player cards that shuffle into players' decks. Then, when they're played, they enter the staging area and offer you a choice; at the beginning of your quest phase, if there's a side quest in play, you can choose to commit your character to the scenario's main quest or to any side quest in the staging area.

All your characters need to commit to the same quest stage, but as developer Caleb Grace explained, side quests allow you more freedom to find your own path through a scenario:

"As we started looking at The Lost Realm, the design team felt that we could add another choice that would give the game more of a 'choose your own adventure' feel and strengthen the overall storytelling experience—the choice of where to quest."

It may seem, at first, as though there would be very little reason not to apply your characters' Willpower toward the main quest stage and your progression through the scenarios main path; however, most side quests create powerful detrimental effects while they're in the staging area, or offer tremendous rewards upon their completion. Some, in fact, penalize you until they're completed, at which point they offer a reward. Accordingly, choosing the quest stage to which you want their characters to apply their Willpower isn't always an easy decision, especially when you find more than one side quest in the staging area.

Now, in Across the Ettenmoors, these side quests and the decisions they force you to make are brought more clearly into focus. For starters, you're guaranteed to see at least three of these side quests enter play, as each of the three scenario's three main quest stages forces you to add a side quest to the staging area, and these side quests all significantly reshape the way you can play the game. One increases the cost of each player card by one resource, one damages your heroes each time they spend their resources, and one decreases the engagement costs of all the scenario's massive Giant and Troll enemies by twenty unless you place progress upon it.

Accordingly, Across the Ettenmoors challenges you to make some difficult decisions as you seek to outpace powerful Trolls and hastily find your way through an uncharted wilderness. At the same time, you'll need to weigh your efforts to make progress on the main quest and your side quests against your need to find shelter at the Safe locations that developer Matthew Newman described in his preview, "Second Breakfast in the Ettenmoors." Altogether, these challenges make Across the Ettenmoors a liberating, free-form tale of exploration and survival.

New Provisions

Even as the new scenario from Across the Ettenmoors challenges you to find your way across a vast and untamed stretch of rock and hills, the Adventure Pack's new hero and player cards lend you strength for your journey. And just as with the scenario, these player cards encourage exploration, freeing you up to find your own way through any number of new themes and mechanics.

Rather than focus on a single theme, the new hero and player cards from Across the Ettenmoors touch upon a wide range of traits, themes, and mechanics, from the cycle's new focus on victory display manipulation and the Valour trigger to new cards for the Ent and Dwarf traits. In fact, the Adventure Pack introduces the first new Dwarf hero since Balin, Bombur, and Óin were released in The Hobbit: On the Doorstep Saga Expansion.

Fans of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game have long enjoyed the power and synergy that Dwarf decks can provide. With Dáin Ironfoot (Return to Mirkwood, 116) lending his guidance to your army of Dwarf heroes and allies, you can march forward on your quests with massive Willpower and Attack Strength. In fact, once they get rolling, such Dwarf decks have few weaknesses, especially in multiplayer, where Dáin's unique ability can impact everyone. If they have any weaknesses, however, it's likely in their defensive capabilities.

This is a small weakness that Dori (Across the Ettenmoors, 54) might now mitigate. With his two Defense Strength and five Hit Points, Dori is a solid defender and can even stand up to most Trolls for a round or two. By offering you a defender that can survive these enemies, Dori can help you build up your Dwarf army, instead of sacrificing your allies as defenders. This can be important as you look to hit the "If you control at least 5 Dwarf characters" trigger that appears on Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill, 2) and a number of other Dwarf cards.

Meanwhile, as good as Dori is on his own, it's in multiplayer that he truly shines. Then, he can make use of his Sentinel keyword, and it's easier to make use of his unique ability:

"Response: After another hero is declared as a defender, exhaust Dori to add his [Defense Strength] to the defending hero’s [Defense Strength] for this attack."

There are many scenarios in which enemies and shadow effects punish you for allowing your characters to fall, meaning that it's not always wise to send a sacrificial ally to stand between your heroes and the powerful enemies that seek to destroy them. Still, many enemies, like the Cruel Mountain-troll (Across the Ettenmoors, 74), can easily slay most heroes with a single blow and can even slay powerful defenders such as Dori when they're dealt untimely shadow effects. With his Response ability, then, Dori offers you the chance to stand against such enemies without suffering the penalties associated with a character's demise.

Still, Dori isn't the only new Dwarf in Across the Ettenmoors. There's also the Longbeard Sentry (Across the Ettenmoors, 57), who offers you yet another solid defender. And if you're not looking to play with a Dwarf deck, you'll find a slew of other deck options spurred forward by cards such as Fair and Perilous (Across the Ettenmoors, 60), Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors, 61), None Return (Across the Ettenmoors, 62), and Hope Rekindled (Across the Ettenmoors, 63).

In the end, it's not just the Adventure Pack's scenario that encourages you to find your own way through the wilderness; its player cards reward your exploration at every new turn.

Begin Your Journey Today

The storm clouds have gathered. Dark shapes rise atop the hills that surround you. Are they barren trees, or are they trolls? Yours is a desperate journey, and it begins today. Across the Ettenmoors is now available at retailers throughout the United States and online through our webstore. Pick up your copy today!

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