They walked as it were in a black vapour wrought of veritable darkness itself that, as it was breathed, brought blindness not only to the eyes but to the mind, so that even the memory of colours and of forms and of any light faded out of thought. Night always had been, and always would be, and night was all.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
You’ve already travelled through the ill-omened forest of Mirkwood, but if you dare to return, you may find new shadows falling from the trees and welling up from the ground. Three new Nightmare Decks are now available via In-House Manufacturing for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game .
Now, you can test your mettle against the monsters and creatures of Middle-Earth with Nightmare Decks for three scenarios from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle: The Hunt for Gollum , Conflict at the Carrock , and A Journey to Rhosgobel . To give you a taste of what horrifying peril awaits you, developer Matt Newman previews these three Nightmare Decks below.
A Word from the Developer
In June, I wrote a Second Breakfast article discussing why Nightmare Mode is such an important addition to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game , and outlining some of my design philosophies for these new Nightmare Decks. With the first three Nightmare Decks from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle about to hit shelves everywhere, I’d like to take some time to describe the new challenges you can expect in each of these Nightmare scenarios.
Nightmare Mode, like Easy Mode, gives the players greater control over their experience by allowing them to adjust the scenario’s difficulty. Nightmare Mode does more than just add difficult cards to the encounter deck, however. With each Nightmare Deck, we’ve done our best to not just make a scenario harder, but introduce new elements that build upon a scenario’s theme or turn it on its heels.
The Hunt for Gollum
As I mentioned in my June preview article, the Nightmare version of The Hunt for Gollum adds tension by giving the encounter deck an alternate victory condition: “ If at any point there are four or more Clue cards attached to Mordor enemies, the players lose the game. ” The deck also includes several ways for Mordor enemies to gather Clue objectives. These cards are important to realizing the quest’s theme of racing against the Hunters from Mordor to track Gollum. The cards also combat some of the popular strategies for defeating the original scenario. In The Hunt For Gollum , players must find and claim one Clue in order to succeed. As more Clues enter play, however, the scenario’s most dangerous foe – the Hunters from Mordor ( The Hunt for Gollum , 21) – becomes more powerful. As a result, the scenario became a race not to find clues, but to discard them.
In Nightmare Mode, players will find this strategy quickly thwarted by the encounter deck, which uses The Enemy’s Trail to recover Clues in the discard pile and punish players who deliberately avoid taking Clues with locations such as Watched Path . Overall, players should find this version of The Hunt for Gollum to be a much more tense experience, where victory can turn into stunning defeat in the blink of an eye, and enemies like the Ravenous Hawk can enter play simply by being looked at.
Conflict at the Carrock
This beloved scenario can be very tough at first, forcing you to adjust typical strategies to take down four very tough trolls, all of whom have abilities that affect each Troll enemy in play. The Nightmare version of Conflict at the Carrock turns the entire foundation of the scenario on its head by giving each of the Trolls an ability that makes each other Troll stronger… once they are defeated! Combined with effects that raise threat and prevent players from stalling at the scenario’s first stage, this Nightmare Deck pushes you into a pitched fight with all four Trolls as soon as possible, forcing you to decide which Troll to defeat first, granting its ability to each other Troll in play.
To make matters worse, the Nightmare Deck also includes a few Savage Hill-trolls that benefit from the abilities of other Trolls in the victory display and improve the hit points of other Trolls when defeated. This version of Conflict at the Carrock should force veterans of the original scenario to re-think their play style and make some hard decisions about the order to defeat your enemies before moving on to the quest’s brand new third stage!
A Journey to Rhosgobel
For this scenario, my goal was to focus your attention on Wilyador as possible. Instead of simply adding more direct damage to the encounter deck, I strove to combat some of the encounter deck’s most apparent weaknesses, adding cards that countered ranged characters, eagles, and powerful healing cards. In the Nightmare version of A Journey to Rhosgobel , the scenario starts with players encountering a Goblin Eagle-hunter . It may even be the goblin who caused Wilyador’s injury, and it is certainly a threat to the eagle’s livelihood. If that wasn’t bad enough, a nightmare-inducing Treetop Bird-eater has come to feast on its favorite prey, and the first Creature enemy revealed during each quest phase in this Nightmare Deck gains surge.
I hope players find each of these Nightmare Decks as fun to play as they were to make. Designing new versions of these beloved scenarios was an interesting and rewarding challenge. I hope players are excited to revisit these scenarios with our new Nightmare Mode, and I can’t wait for them to see what surprises are in store for them with Nightmare versions of The Hills of Emyn Muil , The Dead Marshes , and Return to Mirkwood !
New Dangers Await
Three new Nightmare Decks are now available via In-House Manufacturing, starting you on a darker journey than ever beneath the shadowy eaves of Mirkwood and the surrounding lands. Whether you race against the hunters of Mordor in The Hunt for Gollum , battle fearsome hill-trolls in Conflict at the Carrock , or seek the aid of Radagast the Brown in A Journey to Rhosgobel , you will face more evil challenges with every step. Order your Nightmare Decks today!
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.