To Mordor We Will Take You
The Black Riders Nightmare Decks Are Now Available
The Riders halted, but Frodo had not the power of Bombadil. His enemies laughed at him with a harsh and chilling laughter. "Come back! Come back!" they called. "To Mordor we will take you!"
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Collected within a single, sixty-card set, The Black Riders Nightmare Decks introduce new setup and encounter cards to modify each of the three different scenarios from The Black Riders Saga Expansion, allowing you to revisit them within the darker and deadlier trappings of the game's Nightmare Mode. More than ever, in Nightmare Mode, you'll feel the weight of Middle-earth upon your back as you desperately seek some means of helping Frodo Baggins avoid the Nazgûl that hunt him, escape the Shire, and carry the One Ring to Rivendell.
Naturally, the Nazgûl feature prominently in The Black Riders Nightmare Decks, just as they do in each of the three scenarios they modify. At times, you'll need to hide from them; at other times, you'll need to fight them. In both circumstances, though, The Black Riders Nightmare Decks add to your game's tension and excitement. You'll find more Nazgûl enemies, along with other cards that force you into difficult decisions as they close in upon you. Then, if you're playing through the scenarios in Campaign Mode, these decisions can haunt you throughout the whole duration of your journey to Mount Doom, as The Black Riders Nightmare Decks also kicks off your Nightmare Mode The Lord of the Rings campaign, and the chances are greater than ever that your Ring-bearer will truly feel the weight and burden of the One Ring!
Developer Caleb Grace on The Black Riders Nightmare Decks
Developing the Nightmare Decks for The Black Riders was a fun opportunity for the design team to revisit the scenarios from the first of our The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions. It was also a great opportunity to ratchet up each scenario's tension a little bit, adding both more difficulty and new themes.
A Shadow of the Past
When we originally developed The Black Riders, we had to make some tough choices about what we would include in our scenarios and what we had to cut in order to fit half of The Fellowship of the Ring into one deluxe box. One of the characters we would have loved to include was Khamûl the Easterling. Die-hard Tolkien fans will know that Khamûl is the only Nazgûl, other than The Witch-king, that we know by name. Previously the lieutenant of Dol Guldur, Khamûl was the one who rode right up to Frodo’s door at Bag End and questioned Gaffer Gamgee as to his whereabouts. The decision to cut such an iconic villain out of The Black Riders was a hard one to make, so we are pleased to say you now have the chance to confront him when you play A Shadow of the Past in Nightmare Mode!
The scenario's Nightmare setup card (A Shadow of the Past Nightmare Deck, 1) has a Forced effect that ensures you will face Khamûl at least once before you can escape from the Nazgûl scouring the Shire. Additionally, the Easterling himself has a Forced effect that causes the engaged player to make a Hide 2 test at the beginning of each refresh phase. This strengthens the scenario's core identity, reinforcing your need for urgency and stealth, even as it ties into the rest of Nightmare cards for this set, most of which make Hide tests more difficult and more perilous. Cards like Followed by Shadows (A Shadow of the Past Nightmare Deck, 8) make it more important than ever to succeed at your Hide tests, even if there are no enemies in play at that moment. In Nightmare Mode, your Hide tests and the tension they create will remain a strong motivating factor from beginning to end.
A Knife in the Dark
The second scenario, A Knife in the Dark, challenges you to escort Frodo safely past the Nazgûl and their spies from Bree to Weathertop. Then, once you arrive at Weathertop, you must survive an epic confrontation with all of the encounter deck's Nazgûl. Accordingly, most players quickly decided that if an encounter card gave them a choice between shuffling an out of play Ringwraith into the encounter deck or resolving a different effect, they always wanted to resolve the other effect. Otherwise, the final confrontation at Weathertop could be overwhelming with too many Nazgûl in play.
Our desire to ensure that your confrontation at Weathertop is truly challenging drove another change to the scenario, as well. In Standard Mode, there are only two non-unique Nazgûl enemies in the encounter deck. That means if you avoid adding any Ringwraiths to the deck from out of play, you only have to face The Witch-king (The Black Riders, 68) and two other Nazgûl at the last stage. However, the Nightmare Deck adds two copies of another Nazgûl enemy to the encounter deck, Menacing Wraith (A Knife in the Dark Nightmare Deck, 2). That means you will face a minimum of five Nazgûl at the last stage.
But it’s not just the Nazgûl that should concern you; their Spy allies are also on the lookout for you, and they can help call the Ringwraiths to your trail. For example, when you reveal a Southern Spy (A Knife in the Dark Nightmare Deck, 3), you must either defend yourself against the attack he immediately makes against you, or you must shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck. Of course, you'll want to avoid shuffling the out of play Ringwraith into the deck, but when an extra attack could kill one of your heroes, you might not be able to afford the choice.
Flight to the Ford
The third scenario in the box, Flight to the Ford, is a tense race against time to get the Ring-bearer to Rivendell before he succumbs to the deadly wound inflicted upon him by The Witch-king. While the players make a mad dash for the safety of the Last Homely House, the encounter deck works to slow them down. All the while, Frodo's life is slipping away. Your time is quickly running out…
The Nightmare Deck takes that tension to the next level by attacking the players from both sides: while new locations like Pathless Wilderness (Flight to the Ford Nightmare Deck, 6) demand your precious time and attention, treachery cards like Come Back! (Flight to the Ford Nightmare Deck, 8) sap the Ring-bearer’s life, limiting the number of turns you have to complete your flight.
Not only does the Flight to the Ford Nightmare Deck make your trip to Rivendell harder, it can increase the difficulty of your entire journey to Mount Doom. For those players who look forward to the ultimate challenge of playing the entire The Lord of the Rings saga campaign in Nightmare Mode, the Forced effect on Ettendales (Flight to the Ford Nightmare Deck, 7) will make it harder than ever to avoid carrying extra burdens with you along your path. If you play your The Lord of the Rings campaign in Nightmare Mode, you can be sure that your journey to Mordor will give you a renewed appreciation of Frodo's fortitude. Good luck!
The Long Road to Mordor
Take your first steps along the long, nightmarish road to Mordor and the fires of Mount Doom. Pick up The Black Riders Nightmare Decks today!