The Storm Rises

Three New The Lord of the Rings Nightmare Decks Are Now Available


"In the days of the Kings most of the High Elves that still lingered in Middle-earth dwelt with Círdan or in the seawards lands of Lindon. If any now remain they are few."
     –J.R.R. Tolkien, Appendix A

One of the greatest things about The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is the way it reinvents itself with each new cycle and each new scenario. The structural flexibility of the game's quest and encounter decks permit a seemingly endless array of heroic quests, perilous dungeon crawls, epic battles, and sinister mysteries. From the shadows of Mirkwood, the game has delved into the heart of Khazad-dûm, traveled through the forests of Ithilien, and ventured into the tainted realms of Angmar.

Each new adventure has heralded new challenges and afforded new experiences. And each new Nightmare Deck has taken one of those experiences and rarified it into something just a little darker, a little deadlier, and a little bit more focused—filled with terrifying surprises certain to trip the unwary travelers who fall back to their tried-and-true strategies.

Now three more of these Nightmare Decks are available via FFG's in-house factory. Combined in a single package of 62 cards, The Grey Havens Nightmare Decks hit like a sudden squall, dramatically changing the course of the nautical adventures The Grey Havens expansion first allowed you to enjoy aboard the Dream-chaser and west of the shores of Middle-earth.

For a more detailed look at how these Nightmare Decks modify the expansion's three scenarios, we turn to developer Matt Newman.

Voyage Across Belegaer

The first scenario in The Grey Havens, Voyage Across Belegaer was originally designed as a tutorial to introduce the new rules for sailing, ships, and boarding that the expansion introduced. These new mechanics changed up the ways that players quest and the ways they perceive enemies in the staging area, so it seemed natural to offer players a chance to experience these new mechanics for the first time in a scenario that was basically "what you see is what you get."

That said, the scenario had one more aspect of interest in its quest deck, which contained many different Stage 2 quests, and players needed to sail through them one by one, although they could skip one each time they completed a stage while staying on-course.

For the Voyage Across Belegaer Nightmare Deck, I had two primary goals, and they ensured the scenario would no longer—by any means—be considered an introductory tutorial.

  • My first goal was to ensure confrontation between the players and the Corsairs, since the original version made it possible—desirable, even—to try to stay under the radar and avoid enemies.
  • The second was to make Sailing tests more difficult. The gloves are off in Nightmare Mode, after all!

To that end, two new Stage 2 quests are included in this version of the scenario, Corsair Confrontation (Voyage Across Belegaer Nightmare Deck, 2) and Lost at Sea (Voyage Across Belegaer Nightmare Deck, 3), and each requires the players to deal with Corsairs or Sailing tests.

There are also new enemies, new ship enemies, and new locations that replace some of the easier cards from the original version. These cards test the players’ ability to manage their ships, their heading, their progress, and their threat simultaneously. Finally, there is a new treachery with a deadly effect that triggers not when it is revealed from the encounter deck, but when it is discarded during a Sailing test, dealing damage to every character committed to the test.

In the end, this scenario has been transformed from an introductory tutorial into a grueling and deadly voyage across the ocean that you will be hard-pressed to survive!

The Fate of Númenor

When we designed the Nightmare version of The Fate of Númenor, we knew we wanted to work with its double-sided locations, and we ultimately decided the best way was to create a whole new set of them, creating some new ones and reprinting some of the originals. The result is that you'll recognize some familiar locations, but you'll also stumble into such terrifying new locations as Desecrated Grounds (The Fate of Númenor, 7).

Another change in this scenario comes from the Nightmare Setup card (The Fate of Númenor, 1), which guarantees that players at Stage 2 cannot stumble into the Shrine to Morgoth too early. In Nightmare Mode, you must explore more of the uncharted locations in the staging area before you can find the Shrine.

Finally, many of the new enemy and treachery cards in the Nightmare version of this quest enhance its manipulation of the bottom of your deck, and these cards tend to become more powerful the lower the cost of the cards in your deck.

While this theme was explored in the original scenario, it really reaches critical mass in Nightmare mode, with cards like Corrupted Flora (The Fate of Númenor, 11), which removes characters from the quest and deals damage. My personal favorite is Guardian of the Golden King (The Fate of Númenor, 9), a powerful opponent who can remove attacking characters from combat.

When you play this deadly new version of The Fate of Númenor, you’ll definitely want to stick close to Calphon’s (The Grey Havens, 28) side.

Raid on the Grey Havens

The climactic scenario from The Grey Havens, Raid on the Grey Havens had players on the defensive, protecting the ships in the Grey Havens from attack by deadly Corsairs.

One of the things I loved about this quest was the Aflame version of the Dream-chaser that felt really tragic and personal to me. I wanted each of the players to feel this personal connection to the quest, so the first thing I did in the Nightmare version of this quest was add a new Aflame version of the rest of the Dream-chaser’s fleet—the Nárelenya (Raid on the Grey Havens, 6), the Dawn Star (Raid on the Grey Havens, 7), and the Silver Wing (Raid on the Grey Havens, 8).

Each of these has a Forced effect that mirrors the ship’s original ability, dealing damage to the ship if triggered. These new locations also advance one of this Nightmare Deck's greatest goals—to burn more ships to the ground! The more Ship locations you have in play—and the more you have damage dealt to them—the more likely you are to lose from The Havens Burn (The Grey Havens, 38), which amplifies the quest's tension and excitement.

The other major goal we pursued with this version of the quest is to make the battle with Captain Sahír (The Grey Havens, 76) and Na’asiyah (The Grey Havens, 78) deadlier and more thrilling. The new version of Stage 2, Sahír’s Advance (Raid on the Grey Havens, 2), works toward this goal.

First, it does away with the ability to remove damage from locations by questing successfully, which means Aflame locations and The Havens Burn remain a huge threat during Stage 2. Second, Na’asiyah actually supports her captain during this stage, adding her resources to his throughout the battle. Finally, both Na’asiyah and Sahír must be defeated in order for the players to win. No longer can players effectively ignore Na’asiyah and go straight for Sahír; they must contend with both of them fighting in unison!

These new threats, along with those posed by its new Raider enemies, Aflame locations, and treachery cards, should make the scenario a harrowing experience even for experienced The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game players!

Face the Raging Seas

Continuing in the greatest traditions of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Grey Havens Nightmare Decks build upon the game's versatile framework—and the thrilling adventures from The Grey Havens expansion—to offer you bold, colorful, and thematic new experiences in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.

Are you ready to face these deadly new challenges? Pick up your copy of The Grey Havens Nightmare Decks today!

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