Off the Beaten Path
A Preview of The Mûmakil Adventure Pack for The Lord of the Rings
"To his astonishment and terror, and lasting delight, Sam saw a vast shape crash out of the trees and come careering down the slope. Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to him, a grey-clad moving hill. Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit's eyes, but the Mûmak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and the like of him does not walk now in Middle-earth."
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
In The Lord of the Rings, Mûmakil are beasts of wonder and awe. In The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Mûmakil Adventure Pack is your entry to a strange and foreign land—one full of mysteries and wonder.
Due to arrive at retailers later next week, The Mûmakil begins the Haradrim cycle, which challenges you to help several of Middle-earth's heroes survive their perilous journey from the southern reaches of Harad back to the safety of Gondor. You'll need to cross desert wastes, weave through rocky hills, navigate cavernous tunnels, and raid the Dark Lord's prisons. But before all of that, you'll need to enter the jungle and tame some of Harad's mighty Mûmakil.
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has led its heroes many times into the woods. We've been to Mirkwood and to the Drúadan Forest. The Dream-chaser cycle and Temple of the Deceived even took us deep into the jungle of a remote island in the western seas, but The Mûmakil marks the first time our heroes will explore the jungles of Middle-earth. And this means the introduction of new types of encounters, as well as plenty of other wonders that might distract our heroes as they trudge through the foliage…
Welcome to the Jungle
Throughout The Mûmakil, your heroes and their Haradrim allies are working together to capture and tame Mûmakil to ride north across Harad. To do so, you'll make use of the scenario's four different Capture objectives. Like the Pit Trap (The Mûmakil, 13), these objectives allow you to remove the otherwise Indestructible Wild Mûmak (The Mûmakil, 15) from your engagement and staging areas.
But while snaring a Mûmak may sound daunting enough on its own, there are plenty of other dangers for you to encounter in The Savage South (The Mûmakil, 22). You have disease, Biting Insects (The Mûmakil, 24), and ferocious new enemies like the Territorial Ape (The Mûmakil, 17) and Giant Centipede (The Mûmakil, 19).
All these things give you plenty of cause to be on your guard and to focus on getting into and out of the jungle as swiftly as possible. Yet there are wonders and distractions in this strange, new land that may be just as worthy of your time as the Mûmakil. After all, it was knowledge of the Enemy that allowed Saruman and the White Council to cast him out of Dol Guldur. And it was knowledge of the One Ring that Gandalf used to help shape the end of the Third Age. Knowledge is powerful, possibly even more powerful in The Lord of the Rings than it is in our world.
Prepare for War
There are times in The Lord of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game that knowledge isn't just powerful; it's absolutely vital. And it can be used in many ways. Even after the rest of the Fellowship lost track of Sam and Frodo, they were able to lure the Dark Lord's attention away from the Ring by giving him a glimpse of the King of Gondor, who revealed himself by the palantir of Orthanc. They held his attention even unto the Black Gate, and by that time, it was too late for the Dark Lord to return his gaze to the soft, padded feet of the two Hobbits who were marching through his dark lands.
What, then, is knowledge in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game? It may take different form in various scenarios, but it may also appear in your deck in the form of card draw. The more cards you hold in your hand, the better prepared you are to find "answers" to any of the challenges the encounter deck throws at you. Knowledge is preparation, and even though it may take you away from your goal of taming some Mûmakil, there may be benefit in completing the side quest, Prepare for Battle (The Mûmakil, 3).
The first of the player side quests from the Haradrim cycle, Prepare for Battle offers a permanent benefit once you manage to quest through it and get it into your victory display. In a solo game, you'll earn yourself an extra card draw each round, doubling your base card draw. That's twice as many cards each round and two times the chances of pulling together the different elements of any card combos you hope to run, such as pulling an enemy into play with Wait No Longer (The Mûmakil, 5) and then using Coney in a Trap (The Mûmakil, 9) to prevent it from attacking you on the same turn.
Of course, you'll need to draw Prepare for Battle and quest through it before you gain its benefit, but you can search for it with Dúnedain Message (Across the Ettenmoors, 56) or simply pluck it out of your deck with Thurindir (Race Across Harad, 28) after the second Adventure Pack in the Haradrim cycle is released.
With a side quest like Prepare for Battle to snare your attention, it wouldn't be much of a surprise if you wander away from the Mûmak Trail (The Mûmakil, 20) for a brief spell. The lure of such a side quest is a powerful thing, and it's only bound to become stronger as the cycle introduces more side quests like Explore Secret Ways (Race Across Harad, 36) and support like the Legacy Blade (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat, 117).
Wonders All Around
Whether you stay to the main trail or chase through the jungle on side quest after side quest, you can bet that your journey through the Haradrim cycle will be one of wonders all around. And it starts with The Mûmakil when the Adventure Pack arrives at retailers later next week!