Flight from the Dark

BifurBifur puts down the book, being careful not to damage the crumbling pages any further.

“It is a sad tale,” he says.

His fingers trace the runes carved into the dusty tomb. “Balin, son of Fundin. Lord of Moria,” he reads.

Gimli is by the door to the chamber.

“The orc patrols were below us but I can no longer hear them,” he says, “It does not seem likely that we have lost them.”

Dain joins him at the doorway. A flicker of fire gleams far down in the atrium. It grows brighter as they watch.

“There is nothing more for us here,” says Dain. He turns to Bifur who still stands by Balin’s tomb.

“Come, Bifur,” Dain says gently, “We must leave this place.”

Bifur sighs.

“We had many adventures together over the years, Balin and I,” he says.

Dain puts his hand on Bifur’s shoulder.

“Indeed. He fought valiantly alongside me at the Battle of the Five Armies,” he says, “but I sense a great peril approaches and we must away.”


Theme, Flavour and Mechanics

In boardgames, there are (for me) three main aspects that determine how much I like a game. These are Theme, Flavour and Mechanics.

The Theme is the overall story or setting of the game. It could be a Star Wars game or a Cthulhu game, a Sci-Fi space exploration game or a Sword and Sorcery D&D game. I am less likely to play a game if I am not fond of the theme. I don’t want to run a farm, for example, or sell textiles in medieval Florence. I want to shoot stormtroopers, or fight dragons, or try and stop the world being eaten by oceanic elder gods. You get the idea.

Let us suppose (correctly) that I am interested in any game that has anything to do with Cthulhu. What makes a good Cthulhu game?


The Steward’s Fear Adventure Pack

I got the ‘The Steward’s Fear’, the first adventure pack in the ‘Against the Shadow’ cycle. This concentrates more on the city of Minas Tirith and the armies of Gondor.

The reviews say this pack has a very good scenario, all about conspiracies and mysteries to be solved. It also has some nice new cards for my decks.

A standout card for me is the Gondorian Shield, which would be great to give to Elrohir in my Elf deck.


Drums, drums in the deep

“Gimli!” shouts Dain, “Gimli!”

“This axe is ruined,” says Gimli, “That last goblin was wearing a helmet tougher than the others.” He picks at a notch in the blade.

“Gimli, we must use stealth,” says Dain, “You cannot attack every enemy you see.”

Bifur is by the inner door of the chamber. “They will have been alerted to our presence,” he says, pushing the door closed.

“Quite,” says Dain, “We must regroup. Let us return to the East-Gate and begin our journey again.”


Small people are not a race. This isn’t Game of Thrones!

An interesting fact is that Tolkein took the names of the thirteen dwarves in The Hobbit (and most of the other dwarves in The Lord of the Rings) from the Old Norse Eddaic poem Völuspá, which has a section called the Dvergatal, which means ‘Catalogue of Dwarves’.

This list of names contains Thorin, Dwalin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. The only two of the thirteen not directly from the poem are Balin and Oin.

Gandalf is also in this list, so he was originally a Norse dwarf!


Take me to the river

The Elf-Lord Glorfindel stands gazing south along the river. His golden hair blows slightly in the breeze and his eyes are bright and distant.

The Anduin weaves, broad and slow, between the banks that separate the borders of Mirkwood from the foothills of the Misty Mountains. The Company has escaped from Mirkwood, but the journey to Lorien will take them along its borders and within the territory of the goblins that lurk in the hills.

Glorfindel turns his head and watches the twin Elf-princes Elladan and Elrohir stride up the bank to where he awaits at the forest edge. Their ranger cloaks are damp and weariness shows on their faces.

“We have been several leagues up and down the river,” says Elladan.

“There are Orc tracks and trails of Wargs,” says Elrohir.

“Also one large footprint, and a set of smaller prints, ones we did not recognise,” adds Elladan.

“We saw no marks of spiders,” finishes Elrohir.


Flies and Spiders

My new Lord of the Rings Card Game deck with the three Elves smashed some serious spider face.


The little Fellowship has been tasked with couriering a message from the King of the Wood Elves to Lady Galadriel far south in Lorien. (Lady Galadriel was Cate Blanchett in the movies). The first stage of the journey is through the gloomy forest of Mirkwood.

A previous group of messengers had left some days earlier and had never been heard from again.

Old Forest RoadAs the three Elf Lords, Elrohir, Elladan and Glorfindel, lead the band down the Old Forest Road and the gnarled trees begin to loom over their heads, they can hear rustling among the foliage.

One of the spearmen curses as his pike becomes entangled in a web spread high above the path.

The rustling stops.

Elladan glances at his twin brother Elrohir and silently draws his sword. Glorfindel signals to the rest of the company and they fall into a defensive formation.

There is silence. Water drips onto moss. Metal scrapes on metal as someone shifts their stance. The eerie silence continues.

Glorfindel, listening, raises his hand to give the sign to continue.

Then the spiders attack.



Filling out my Fellowship

I am looking for good filler cards to make up the rest of my new Lord of the Rings Card Game deck.

I now have a fighty Tactics hero to help take out the Mirkwood spiders, but this means I am without a Lore hero, and so I am missing healing and card drawing.

What I need to do is go through all the sets and see what is available to do this sort of thing from the three spheres I do have.

While I am at it I will list all the abilities, not just healing and drawing. This should come in handy in the future as a reference.