Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lord of the Rings - F&F expansion Session

I recently saw a post on BoardGameGeek detailing about how an easy win was made when using the Friends and Foes expansion for Lord of the Rings. I was plainly staggered.

I've played a number of games with the just base set and have never found the game easy to win, in fact I have only ever won once. Yet I read session report after session report about how other people are having to set Sauron's starting place nearer the hobbits just to make it a challenge.

Frankly I don't get it. I don't know if they are lying or I and the people I've played with are missing something obvious.

Anyway, the article inspired me to solo a game of Lord of the Rings with the Friends and Foes expansion. I've only played with Friends and Foes once before, a good few months ago so I had to spend some time rereading the rules.

So off I set on my way to Mt. Doom just me Frodo and Sam. Frodo gets a nice ability in this expansion that allows him to move one of the activity counters during other players turns which sounds really useful although it proved not to be too useful, or at least not useful enough.

On the way through Bree I kept finding Foe after Fox appearing and every other one required something I didn't have. For instance one required that I give up three tokens, so that one had to be put off until I got them, but while collecting tokens another two foes appeared. Things were not looking good by the end of Bree.

And so it went on until Moria. Foes were running at around 5 on the table, Sauron had made a bit of a leap towards the hobbits, the little guys themselves were well forward. The next foes out required that Sauron be moved forwards, the foes after than required a hobbit to move forward toward Sauron. Things were going badly. Sam's hand of cards was depleted AND he was closest to the big bad. So Sam had no choice but to try and collect cards while backing away. This in turn meant that only Frodo could try and duff-up the foes and advance the story, so this ended up depleting his hand rapidly.

I managed to get Gandalf to burn up a couple of foes in the next board when the Foe count reached 7 but once again the next Foe moved the hobbits into trouble, the next made it all worse and then a bad die roll moved Sauron to take the ring bearer.

6 Foes on the board, Sam only a space away from Sauron, Sam and Frodo very low on cards.

I ask you, how can this game ever be described as easy!

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