20 May 2009

By Strength Of Will

The first preview of the forthcoming Middle-earth Quest!

It is a time of growing darkness and despair. In the ashen land of Mordor, the Dark Lord Sauron has become mighty indeed. His power grows daily, a rising shadow that soon threatens to overwhelm all. There is little to stand against him. The fleeting glory and strength that sprang from the Last Alliance of Elves and Men have now withered into a distant past.

Yet, there is still hope.

In the days ahead, heroes will arise. Heroes, who at Gandalf’s request will guard the Shire from evil and inquiring eyes. Heroes, who will brave the dangers of the Misty Mountains to search for news of Balin and his dwarven colonists. Heroes, who will fight alongside the men of Gondor against the incursions from Mordor. Perhaps even heroes daring enough to venture into the forests of Ithilien, or even into the Land of Shadow itself, to there disrupt Sauron’s plans.

Middle-earth now needs these heroes to help it stand against Sauron until the Final Days arrive. To hold the shadow at bay, until the time when a fellowship of men, elves, dwarves, and hobbits shall set into motion the events leading to the War of the Ring and end of the Third Age.

Over the coming weeks we will be diving into the world of Middle-earth Quest. Each preview will feature a new facet of this fantastic game. Starting us off, we focus on the attributes of the heroes facing down the schemes of Sauron. Each hero has much to prove, and will be forced to use every trick they can think of to overcome the evil machinations of Sauron.

Ready For Anything

The first measure of a hero is their Fortitude. This attribute determines how many hero cards (these will be the topic of a later preview, for now know that they provide you options during both movement and combat) they draw during Sauron’s turn. The bigger the number, the more options a player has. In Middle-earth Quest, Beravor, a Human ranger, has a Fortitude of 6. This will give her a small, but significant, advantage. She can go after Sauron’s minions a bit more reliably, as she will have an easier time responding to the actions of the Shadow.

Strength of Body

The second attribute a hero must have is Strength. This determines the strength cost of hero cards a player may use during a battle. The higher the number, the more hero cards you may play. Though short in stature, the mighty Dwarven warrior, Thálin, boasts a stunning Strength of 7! A definitive notch above his fellow adventurers, Thálin can deal with the stronger leaders fighting for the Shadow, such as The Witch King or The Black Serpent (both of which will be the subject of later previews). Alternatively, Thálin can defend a location, preventing Sauron from moving his troops as effectively.

Quick to Respond

Next up is the attribute, Agility. At the start of combat, a hero draws cards up to his Agility number. The faster the hero, the more options they have during combat. Lithe and nimble, Argalad the Elven archer, has an Agility score of 3. While only one higher than the dwarf, a being steeped in the heat of combat, Argalad is two higher than a pair of his human compatriots. Alternatively, if you have enough hero cards in hand, unspent Agility can be translated into Strength, allowing you to play additional hero cards.

Strength of Mind

The final ability determines how dangerous the lands of Middle-earth are to you. The higher the score, the larger the amount of influence Sauron must have in order to turn it against you. The attribute is your Wisdom.Your strength of purpose and experience has prepared you to avoid the foul influence of Sauron. Eleanor, a noble of Gondor, has the highest Wisdom of the heroes. A will of iron and relentless determination grants her the ability to resist the influence of the encroaching Shadow, much more than most.

Above and beyond their impressive attributes, each hero has an innate ability. Eometh, one of the highly skilled riders of Rohan, is an expert horseman, and as such, he begins the game mounted on a mighty steed. This will allow him to travel about the board much faster than his fellows. Stay tuned to learn more about Eometh and the other heroes.

Gather your resolve, next we reveal the first of the minions of the Shadow.

Middle-earth Quest is a game of adventure and conflict set in the time leading up to the creation of the Fellowship. One player will adopt to mantle of Sauron and do his best to spread his evil influence across the lands. Up to three players become heroes and will do their best to foil Sauron's foul plots, and rally the peoples of Middle-earth to their side.

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