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Subject: DEW North, Collected Evil rss

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This is a compiled and updated Shadow Players Guide to DEW North.
Shadow wins every game, if you are good enough.devil

Place Zero eyes in the hunt pool. devil
On turn 2+, if Gandalf and Aragorn are not in the Fellowship, and Saruman and the Witch King is in play, place one Eye in the Hunt. Zero is still an option, since you will roll an additional 1-2 eyes.

Using Character Dice
Character dice are very hard to use at the start. There are no full armies, 1 character card, no immediate threats, and the Nazgul don't need to reorganise.
Moving the biggest army toward the most Victory Points is the best option. That means Barad Dur collects Morannon on the way to Dale.

Using Army Dice
Army dice are just like character dice on the first 2 turns, except you move a second army. The second army should be Dol Guldur north, or the Easterlings (if they are going to War). Far Harad to Near Harad is good. Nurn to Gorgorgoth is embarrassing.

Using Muster Dice
The first 4 Muster dice are Isenguard then Saruman, then Sauron, then the Witch King. The only time a Minion is not worth getting is if it allows Gandalf this turn.

The next Muster dice are more flexible. One Muster for 2 Nazgul is a good buy.
2 Muster on 6 Saruman regulars, and 2 Muster to upgrade at Orthanc is good.
All other mustering should be determined by cards.
2 Muster on Easterlings & Southrons to war is often good.
Some OK events need all three shadow nations at war.

Using Army/Muster dice
Early Combo Dice should be used as muster dice to summon the WK and Saruman.
Then on mustering Saruman troops, or on conquest.
When you have a choice, always spend army or muster dice before you spend a combo. This is obvious, it still should be said.

Using Event Dice
Event Dice are the most difficult to prerecord, you simply cant stack the deck and predict which cards you will be able to play, and when.
First turn event dice are used to draw strategy cards, or play one of your 2 opening cards.
Having cards in hand is good, especially for the Witch King to upgrade.
Remember that soon you will draw 2 discard down to 6.

DEW North Victorydevil
Victory is about taking Dale, Erebor and Woodland Realm, and then grabbing the win.
DEW, then Lorien plus Rohan is the easiest way to win.
DEW, then Grey Havens and Shire plus Rivendell is good too.
DEW, then the easy points is they best way to think about it.
Minas T is never easy.

The Route is Wrong! devil
DEW North = A Full Army from Mordor attacks DEW.
The original route for Dew North is pretty simple. Barad-Dur marches through Gorgoroth into Morannon and then heads Dew North. I think there are some significant improvements that can be made. The specifics are very much about what cards you have drawn, and what the Free are doing.
When you finish taking the 10 points is critical, when you start is irrelevant. If you have overwhelming numbers outside Woodland Realm, do not actually conquer until everywhere else is ready.

If you can push Erebor and WR inside before you attack Dale, Dale cannot scouts anywhere worth noting. Dale is the easiest victory point on the board. You do not have to actually take it until the last turn.

Targettingdevil
Orthanc will probably attack Rohan.
Moria or Dol Guldur will attack Lorien.
Dunland can attack Rivendell, Grey Havens + shire, or Lorien with Moria.
Umbar should Corsair into Dol Amroth, or be happy with Pelagir.
Mt Gundabad/Angmar/Mt Gram/Monsters Roused can be an army.

The Witch Kingdevil
The Witch King is out to be the star of the show. If it goes perfectly he can take out the entire DEW line, but most likely he will need a little help though.
The Witch King starts with the troll from Barad Dur, as they pillage DEW.
If the North go to war early, the Witch King appears with Dol Guldur army and takes out Dale and Carrock.
The Witch King always plays cards in battle, drawing from the strategy deck.

The Witch King is good, but losing him is not that bad. I lost him 5 games in a row, and still won those games. The Witch King is far more important if you are trying for a traditional long game, with corruption being a realistic way of winning.

Losing the WK on turn 6 is far more important if the game has 6 more turns. In Dew North losing the WK on turn 6 means that on turn 7 and 8 you get 16 dice instead of 18. Killing the WK will likely involve a risky Free attack that costs troops, dice and cards. In a traditional, slow game the Free has more troops, dice and cards. Maybe you can see where this leads.

The Mouthdevil
The Mouth converts two musters into the game winning attack.
He has 2 safe leadership and a dice, so get him the moment you can.
Taking DEW helps get everyone to war, his second entry condition.
He can also appear when they get to Mordor.

The Mouth can be far more useful in DEW North because he can be active for 5+ turns. This is not likely, but it can happen if the free have abandoned the ring and puffed up to fight. His extra dice is used more, and his leadership is used more since it has time to turn up and travel. In the slow game he only appears after the walkers hit Mordor, meaning 2 turns tops.

If the WK gets nailed, the Mouth can be quite a consolation.
The Mouth's leadership works against Gandalf.
He often appears in Dol Guldur / Moria to conquer Lorien, or Mt Gundabad / Moria to conquer Rivendell or Shire. He can appear in Minas Morgul as a safety too.

Attacking Pelagir just to poke Gondor, is valid if it makes the Mouth arrive. And then he breaks the rules, or makes you look for them.
Like do eagles scare the mouth?
Does he cast dreadful spells?
If the fellowship is revealed on Minas Morgul, can I get the Mouth because they are in Mordor?
Does he count as a Nazgul for playing battle cards?
Does he give a re-roll when searching for the Fellowship?
My favourite on this type of completely obvious answer is 'Does an Elven Elite count as one figure or two for 'Return to Valinor'? How about for Great Host?
(But then again Deadly Strife is the battle card for Valinor, so who really cares?)
Of course everyone is completely aware of the supplementary rules in the FAQ?

Sarumandevil
Sarumans massive army needs release, so Saruman will just die some games.
All Saruman cards are real power, mustering early orcs helps him.
Dunland has the most mobile army in the game.
Making Saruman's second army, and maybe third army is possible. The hard bit is keeping him alive once the Orthanc army is on the move.
Saruman is a muster bin. Making 3 troops in the middle of the board is the best use of unloved muster dice. Upgrading 2 orcs into wolf riders is also a good use of a muster dice, allowing 3 orcs to be mustered again. Making individual trolls in various armies is rarely worth it.

Read and remember A New Power Is Rising and Rage of the Dunlendings. Both are very strong and require preparation. A New Power Is Rising is just ridiculous. Rage to the Gap Of Rohan is an excellent way of keeping Saruman alive while conquering Rohan. The 6 troops can move into the 4 wolfriders at the Fords of Isen, and then charge.

Rage into Hollin (Taking 4 orc from the South Dunland), then move 4 orc from North Dunland into Hollin and crush The Shire / Grey Havens. Same thing works for Rivendell. Raging into Moria can be a great way to get extra troops to attack Lorien.

If Rohan is being seriously defended, conquering it with just the Orthanc army can be quite difficult. If you take too many casualties in the initial assault of the Fords of Isen, the invading army can be too small to fully conquer Rohan. Rohan can and does liberates itself if able. The King is happy to liberate Rohan, as is the Elves. All of these bad outcomes force a strong army to set off into the Ford. When 3 or more casualties are taken, downgrade 3 riders and do not move into the Fords. On the next 2 muster dice, upgrade the survivors to wolf riders, and then set off. This can require timing, and a good look at the action dice of the Free.

The Nazguldevil
The Nazgul are air mobile assault troops, and they work on all troops.
You should have max, or near max leadership at all times. One or two dice should be used to move them per game, use character cards to move them if you can.

East and Southdevil
The East and South are so weak. No leaders, No minion, just some guys, Many Kings, Horde From the East, Corsairs, A Long Planned War, Day Without Dawn .
Mumakil is ordinary, especially since they are on Movement cards.
And Corsairs and Horde have Strife!

If the fellowship is obviously going the full on sprint, the Easterlings are often spare, and Southrons are easy in the late game when Musters are cheap.
Isn’t it odd that Many Kings turn up even before they are at War?

The all Nations at War cards are frustrating without the E&S. Stopping the King / Gandalf by popping the Will of the West using the Day without Dawn is a highly effective play.

If Characters go to DEW, get the Easterlings. If the Dwarves are at war early, the Easterlings can form up and march into the Iron Hills. Easterlings then attack Erebor to make them run inside. Crushing Erebor may need reinforcements, and Nazgul.

If the Corsairs turn up, get the Southrons. If Gondor charges into Mordor, retake Minas Morgul with the Southrons. Southrons often take Pelagir as the last dice of the game.

The Elvesyuk
Try to attack 3 elven strongholds in successive moves. Grey Havens is often just too far away, and the Dwarves have very little else to do with their muster pool, if the Erebor has been taken.

Attacking the Dwarves is the safest place to start. They don't fight back, but the Elven muster pool does not have to cover Grey Havens any more because Erid Luin can pump dwarves in.

Ereboryuk
If the Free player has been 'Cunning' and retreated the Iron Hills regular. The Dwarves are now one step away from war when you lock up Erebor. If you are planning to take Grey Havens, do it before you conquer Erebor. Mustering the Dwarves that last step is harder than it sounds for the free.

Maximum Dwarves is when the Iron Hills regular has retreated, and the leader and elite have reinforced. Dwarves do not naturally get bigger than this. The only time they will get bigger is when Gimli and maybe a friend arrive, or when Dale retreats.

The Northyuk
Conquering Dale first just seems a bad idea.
Suddenly Bree can get notions.
Or Elites appear in the Shire.
Or Carrock becomes a problem.
If you conquer Dale and/or The Shire last you never need to worry about these things.
But if they are really running, kill Dale first.

Rohanyuk
Conquering Rohan first is an extremely Bad Idea. The middle of the board becomes a place to liberate, not conquer. Losing Saruman at the start of the game is a real downer. Saruman has such a massive amount of troops to quickly summon, wait just a moment and he is so much better.

Gondorgulp
Conquering Gondor first is just plain stupid. You can get slaughtered. I mean, have you read the books or seen the movie?
Gondor is huge, and all in one place. The King can only start in Gondor, and the King is powerful.With his retinue, Minas Tirith gets HARD.

Any weakness can be counter attacked by newly arrived troops.
Gondor has more troops, forts, leadership, and friends. And Rohan is so close.

Gondor is the last place that companions can leave the fellowship. Splitting off Gandalf, then the King, then maybe someone else, and getting to Mordor means the vast majority of companions are always gravitating toward Gondor.

Lots of companions means lots of flashy card play and maybe some very bad results for the Red Man. If the Free Player never rolls more than three dice, the shadow has won. Minas Tirith starts with four. Losing the Witch King down the back of the couch can be embarrassing.

Borromir, Faramir, the King, Cirdans Ships, and Path of Woeses can all make troops appear. Dead Men is the only forced retreat in the game, and then it starts the seed of an army in a conquered area.

Gaurds of the Citadel and Dol Amroth's are full strength reinforcements. Free Military Victories come from Osgiliath, the only neutral fort. Dagorlad, North Ith and South Ith are the only named neutral areas in the Free cards. They are between Mordor and Gondor.

Everywhere else has less nearby troops, fewer nearby muster pointers, and far fewer cards. Lose badly in Gondor and the game is gone.

If You Fight You Losedevil
Do not attack strong FP strongholds, build another army and go somewhere else. Attacking into strength is the easiest way to lose as the shadow player. Any battle that has the potential for an outright loss should not be fought until there is no better choice.

Having a permanent siege is fine. All of the troops inside are motionless, all of the companions are committed. They are very unlikely to ever sortie, unless the attack goes badly of course or they reinforce. Very few cards reinforce enough for this to happen though. Cirdans Ships into Dol Amroth and ridiculous Minas Tirith cards are the only real exceptions. A couple of companions using an eagle can happen, as can Gandalf into an elf stronghold.

Gandalf can be just too hard. Accepting that Gandalf has blocked conquest is irritating, but must be accepted sometimes. Often his arrival will protect Lorien, sometimes he can protect Woodland Realm, and very rarely he can save Erebor. But the place he should be mostly is protecting Rohan.

Do not attack Gandalf, unless it is in DEW. Killing Gandalf is possible, there are some very specific tricks. Gandalf travels with a small army, so killing everyone is the plan. This should be done with the belief that massive casualties will be sustained. Get lots of extra troops nearby before the battle goes wrong. Onslaught, Deadly Strife, Dreadful spells, Mumakil, Grond and Frighting Uruk Hai, Great Host are all especially good against Gandalf. Only Grond and Dreadful spells come from the Character cards. Gandalf canceling Nazgul at least means he doesn't get to use his leadership, and the WK still draws a card.

The Ring Sprint is too slow.
The simplest sprint is four characters for 3 turns to Mordor, and 2 turns in Mordor, but this literally doesn’t happen. I have seen one turn 6 Ring Victory. I have seen MANY turn 6 DEW North Victories

Only half the dice are Characters or Wills, so double the pre Mordor phase. Three turns easily should really be six (well, five), and add a turn stall (maybe), and an incidental successful hunt (maybe), and now the ring is going down on turn 10 (maybe 7 with elven rings).
The use of Elvish Rings as FSP movement is a brave call. Yes, they can knock a turn or two off the time it takes to dunk the ring, but the rings are strong.

Strider and Aragornyuk
Strider is a pain, but Aragorn is worse. Strider sucks resources from the board and spits them into the fellowship when it is hounded. But no-one is watching so he really just doesn’t matter. Strider's ability can have no effect for an entire game of Dew North. If Strider is in the fellowship, place no eyes and crush the board.

Aragorn makes resources. Aragorn Fights. Aragorn has lots of cards with his name on them, all of them strong, except ‘the Challenge of the King’ of course. His extra die is huge, and military strikes become real threats.

Turn Stallingdevil
Turn stalling is when Frodo and Sam want to get into Mordor, but can't because they can only reveal in Mordor if they are hidden at the start of the turn. To stop this, reveal them with the last shadow action of the turn, or move them out of Mordor.

Many cards can do this, but two of them are just better than the rest, Nazgul Search and Cruel Weather. They do not require a tile draw, it just happens.

If the Fellowship is sprinting across the board, turn stalling can be brutal. Instead of a 2-3 turn time line to win, suddenly it is a 3-4 turn time line. Two successful turn stalls is game against a sprint.

On the turn you are intending to turn stall, place ZERO eyes. You must have more dice than them, or it wont work, because you must play it on the LAST action.

Rolling lots of eyes can stop the turn stall because you can find and reveal them as they move to Minas Morgul, then they hide and Cruel Weather and Search don't work because the fellowship must be at least one space on the track.

Turn stalling has many minor problems, apart from the fact it is quite difficult to do. Not rolling a Palantir or Character die is unusual, but does happen, and if they move 1 space extra then cruel weather will not work.

If the Fellowship is in a Free stronghold Cruel Weather and Nazgul Search will not work either. The map is designed so that moving the Fellowship one away from Minas T, Lorien or Rivendell does not actually move them further away. Nazgul Search wont work because you cannot place the Nazgul.

Cruel Weather can be quite useful in moving the FSP onto Moria after they declare in Dimrill Dale. 3 rerolls means 6 dice at 6.

All of the other Fellowship harassment cards can be used as turn stalls, but only if you get lucky and reveal them. All turn stall cards are from the Character Cards. Keep at least one of them for this moment.

Shadow Strategy Cardsdevil
Most of the power is in the event. This is the way it should be since an event also costs a dice. The battle cards are not that important, except if you cant get rid of the card, or if they are a Deadly Strife.
The strongest cards are the shadow strategy. The strongest of these is :-

A New Power Is Rising / Great Host
Shadows on the misty mountains / Onslaught
Horde from the East / Deadly Strife
Corsairs of Umbar / Deadly Strife
Pits of Mordor / Desperate Battle
Orcs Are multiplying again / Onslaught
The Fighting Uruk Hai / Onslaught
Rage of the Dunlendings / Relentless assault
Return of the Witch King / Swarm of Bats
Return to Valinor / Deadly strife
Mustering A Of Long Planned War / Desperate Battle {look at name on card}
Many Kings to the Service of Mordor / Great Host
Monsters Roused / Desperate Battle
The Day Without Dawn / Relentless Assault
The Shadow is Moving / Swarm of Bats
The Shadow Lengthens / Mumakil
Shadows Gather / Mumakil
Half Orcs and Goblin men / We Come to Kill
Hill Trolls/ We Come to Kill
Olog-Hai/ We Come to Kill
The King is revealed / Relentless Assault
Stormcrow / Great Host
Denethors Folly / Devilry of Orthanc
Threats and Promises / Devilry of Orthanc

The first 7 are harsh.
At 15 they are strong.
At 21 ‘The King is Revealed’ is OK
The last 3 suck, But at least Stormcrow can be junked for a real card.
Devilry is weak and hard to use, but still can be used sometimes.

Shadow Character Cardsdevil
Nazgul Search / Foul Stench
Cruel Weather / Cruel as Death
The Black Captain Commands / Foul Stench
Grond / Dread And Despair
The Palantir Of Orthanc / Cruel As Death
The Ringwraiths are abroad / Words of power
Dreadful Spells / Devilry of Orthanc
The Nazgul Strike / Black Breath
The Breaking of the Fellowship/ Dread And Despair
Balrog / Durins Bane
Candle of Corpses / Dread And Despair
Flocks Of Crebain / They are Terrible
Worn with sorrow and Toil / Words of Power
The Lidless Eye / Words of Power
Isildur’s Bane / Cruel As Death
Orc Patrol / Cruel As Death
Foul Thing from the Deep / They are Terrible
Wormtongue / Foul Stench
Lure of the ring / They are Terrible
Morgul Wound / Black Breath
The Ring Is Mine / One for the Dark Lord
Shelobs Lair / One for the Dark Lord
On, On They Went / One for the Dark Lord
Give It To Uss! / One for the Dark Lord

The first 2 are reliable turn stalls. When they work they are the strongest cards in the character deck. Unfortunately the fellowship can dodge them, and they can just go wrong. Still, getting an extra turn can be game winning, especially in a race. Originally I listed them at 5&6, I only draw them after the FSP is in Mordor and dont work.

The next 4 are very strong. Dreadful Spells & Nazgul Strike are good. The Breaking of the Fellowship, Balrog and Candle of Corpses are narrow.
And the last 13 suck.

The 4 Mordor Tiles are awful. Their only use is to suck up palantirs that could be spent casting Grond. The only way you can hit your opponents army with Shelob is to roll it up and throw it at them.

Most of the character battle effects are small. The easiest way to demonstrate is work out the largest effect. I don’t mean 5 hits instead of 0, I mean the effect on what you need to roll. For instance, Cruel as Death adds at most 5 ‘pips’ regardless of the downside that is likely to remove a die or two.

Deadly strife can add 10 ‘Pips’ in the first 5 dice rolled.
Then, if that didn’t work it can add another 10.
Sure, lots of your guys will die too.

And then there is Devilry of Orthanc again, making the 2 from the Strategy deck warm. Odd that the worst combat effect in the strategy deck is the third worst in the charcter deck.

Shadow Cards - Battle Frenzy devil
A very real difference between the two decks is how many cards stick in your hand if you draw character cards. All of the Mordor tiles are obvious globs. 3 Words of Power can be gelatinous as well. Sometimes there are no characters. Sometimes it still isn’t smart to poke Gandalf or the King.

The Mordor tiles are the obvious extreme of why character cards are the wrong call. All 4 of them have the combat helping attack the ring. Every one of them sticks in your hand once drawn. The only way to use them is as payment for Elf Power and Mr Tom. Pretending they aren’t in your hand is keen, and very hard to do. If you are on 5 cards and staring at a palantir as your last dice, playing the Mordor Tile is an attractive option. Drawing an extra Strategy card and discarding the Mordor Tile and your worst is the hardcore option B.
There are 9 cards that don’t help the Witch King crush anybody in the charcter deck, compared with 2 in the strategy deck.

The 'Witch King Attacks!' is an appallingly named strategy. Drawing character cards means he stops attacking and does something else.
If you have an Angry Witch King and four Mordor Tile cards in hand, you are stuffed.

The Devilry of Orthanc is really hard to use. The wolf-rider reinforcement to the WK is a good way to use it. And a Dunland Orc can use them against Grey Havens, Rivendell, Lorien or (yawn) Helms Deep. (I mean really aren’t you bored of Orthanc attacking Helms Deep? Have you ever tried something different like charging straight at Grey Havens for the win, not caring about Saruman and Orthanc?)

Shadow Cards - Choose Strategydevil
The WK likes most of the combat effects on the weak corruption character cards. Corruption is unlikely, slow, and so much better with the full on hunt. Rarely will any of them have a strong effect, but nearly all of them do a little, mostly an extra hit, maybe two. Nothing to compare with 'Deadly Strife' though, which is on the Strategy cards. Or any of the reinforcement cards, which supply far more than any single combat effect will. Using most of them in combat and drawing strategy cards is the go.

Why Strategy cards are better to take than character cards is one that is not immediately obvious, especially if you normally play the slow game.

Dew North is very generous to the fellowship, actually finding Shelob, and then rolling 6 corruption will not even slow the FSP down. Besides, in most Dew North games the fellowship does not get to Mordor. But, if they ever do, it is going to be easy.


The Strategy Deck is your Frienddevil
Eighteen of the Twenty Four cards in the strategy deck are directly strong in the taking of DEW. The others are Hideously Overpowered, like New Power or Rage, and Devilry of Orthanc up the rear.

Shadow Movement Cardsdevil
The Shadow is Moving / Swarm of bats
The Shadow Lengthens / Mumakil
Shadows Gather / Mumakil

Movement cards require thought and timing. eg Mordor Strike Team Alpha moves 3 north to Neutral Easterlings! Or Mordor Strike Team Alpha moves 3 north to Dul Guldur!

Often the Easterlings can be double moved to the WK. The other move is often Dunland doing something. Skipping across Moria, Giggling across to Trollshaws, or marching into the Fords.

The move 4 different armies card is often extraordinarily difficult to do pull off to a maximum effect. How often do you move 40 guys with that cards?

Shadow Reinforcement Cardsdevil
15 of the 24 cards in the strategy deck get troops, and 10 of them in the North. They are listed below in order of strength.

A New Power Is Rising/ Great Host
Pits of Mordor / desperate battle
Shadows on the misty mountains / Onslaught
Horde from the East / Deadly Strife
Orcs Are multiplying again / Onslaught
Rage of the Dunlendings / Relentless Assault
Return of the Witch King / Swarm of Bats
Mustering A Of Long Planned War / Desperate Battle {look at name on card}
Many Kings to the service of Mordor / Great Host
Monsters Roused / Desperate battle
Half Orcs and goblin men / We Come to Kill
Hill Trolls/ We Come to Kill
Olog-Hai/ We Come to Kill
The King is revealed / Relentless Assault
Character deck:-[/size] Witch King Takes Command to get 2 Nazgul, provided he sits still.

Monsters Roused Locks Rivendell, stops North Downs to Ettenmoors & Rivendell to Trollshadows.
Pits of Mordor Voted Worst Named Card! Pits Of Mordor makes 2 guys at Moria, Mt Gundabad and Dol Guldur. Them be deep pits.
Return of the Witch King also gets a door label ‘Stage Left’.
Often battle cards get used for no effect. Relentless Assault, onslaught and Words of power get flushed for no effect. Personally I think W.O.P. should require a companion, but it doesn't.

Specialty Cardsdevil
Corsairs of Umbar / Deadly Strife
Return to Valinor / Deadly strife
The Fighting Uruk Hai / Onslaught
The Day Without Dawn / Relentless Assault (Taking Gandalf's Will is good)
Stormcrow / Great Host
Denethors Folly / Devilry of Orthanc
Threats and Promises / Devilry of Orthanc

Free Military Victoryyuk
Since the ring is too slow, free military victories are very real.
Free Military Victory is the most effective way of beating DEW North that I have seen. Most people on these forums believe that FMV is largely impossible. DEW North will still win the vast majority of the time but FMV is very real. If Gandalf ever links up with the King, the Free People are trying a military Victory.

The double move FP card is the real kicker. FMV is much easier if the Free people is cautious, and does not use rings. FMV often happen when the Shadow rolls appalling action dice and the Free is a predator. Having an elven ring is often enough to save the shadow.

FMV, The Kingyuk
The King launches into Mordor from Os-Giliath breaking up like a meteor into atmosphere annihilating everything before it, and leaving a wake.

Attack North Ithilian form Os-Giliath
Attack Minas Morgul
Conquer Minas Morgul
Attack Gorgoroth
Attack Barad Dur
Conquer Barad Dur

Requires 6 dice, all able to move an army. This really shouldn’t happen in one turn.

Attack North Ithilian form Os-Giliath
Double move to Morannon
Attack Gorgoroth
Attack Barad Dur
Conquer Barad Dur

Requires 4 Dice able to Move an Army, and a Palantir.
These dice are easy.

The easiest way to stop the charge into Mordor is to Muster up a Long Planned War, and just sit them there. The only real problem to this is that you may not have the Sauron force pool.

FMV, The Elvesyuk
The Elves are by far the next biggest threat.
Lorien has a strong army that can easily take Moria or Dol Guldur.
Often Lorien will emerge from their hole into Dimrill Dale. If you can spare the move, the 2 starting orcs in Moria very much enjoy being in Dimrill Dale. Mustering a Nazgul with them before they go is an excellent idea too. Suddenly the Elves cannot leave Lorien, there is a seed army to be moved onto, and you have troops to move onto the fellowship as they go past.

The Elves have by far the best armies for Companions to fight with. The elites give extra defensive hit points but they need leadership and extra punch. This is why any Elven Stronghold becomes much harder with a companion.

FMV, Scouts BEWARE!yuk
Scouts is the easiest way for anything to go horribly wrong.
Attacking Os-giliath suddenly means you lose Minas Morgul.
Attacking Dale means Erebor gets reinforced.
Losing Dol Guldur, Moria, Orthanc or Umbar is incredibly easy after a Scouts, then their first move.
Treat the Dale Reinforcement with a little respect. Dale scouting or moving to Erebor or Woodland realm is BAD. Swarm of Bats is excellent at attacking Dale. Scouts is such a nuisance that attacking Dale on turn 2 is good, purely because they are unlikely to have the scouts card.

Weird things happen at the edge of the rules in this game. This particular example is critical to some DEW North games. The Shadow attacks North units in the Old Forest Road. Somehow they survive, or they Scouts away, but where to? Carrock or Dale would seem the obvious and correct choice, instead they will always go to the Woodland Realm. This seems quite strange to me since they cannot move there and cannot return if they leave.
If the elves are at peace, why would they let stinky humans in?

Tr i cks
If I roll three Muster Dice on the first turn I make Isengaurd go to war and then Sauron go to war on the first two dice. The WK or Saruman is summoned with the second last dice. The actual last dice should be a palantir or character, just in case the Free is stupid enough to use an Elven ring on the first turn. If they do, get the Witch King.

Nazgul Strike has lots of words. Unusually some of them say move all nazgul and pick up a Free card you don’t like and make it go away. You do not have to hunt the fellowship, you can just destroy Mithril Coat instead.

Erebor can be attacked via Woodland Realm. This is cool because you leave 1 orc behind and they cant attack coz they aint angry. Then card move Dol Guldur or Easterlings to them.

The hunt pool does seem worth a die once Gandalf does his laundry and Elvis has left the building, especially if you get rerolls.

We come from Orthanc! All 3 x We Come to Kill deal 10 pips when used from Orthanc into the fords of isen.
Those three cards are the strongest defensive cards the shadow has in that they reinforce anywhere, almost.

Try playing Deadly Strife on the second round, after the Daylight.

1) Gandalf goes to the Fords of Isen.
2) Riders of Theoden creates an army at the fords.
3) Gandalf conquers or liberates out of nowhere.

devil

I won the first Intercontinental Championship March 06 using DEW North.
I won 11/11 DEW North.
Lost twice using shadow.
And won 3/5 using free.

The game referred to below was the first of the eighteen.
Some of the house rules were 'a little keen'.
devil
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devil Shadow wins every game, if you are good enough.devil


An utter fallacy, as shown by your recent game recounted here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/103498 devil
 
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Not at all - he just isn't "good enough". To win every game, that is.

FP also wins every game if they are good enough, but in my experience they aren't.

 
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Whether anyone likes it or not, and despite wails of disagreement, this is required reading for anyone who takes this game seriously. Thanks Magic!
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Thats a good summary of all the posts youve made so far.


My current opinions:

This is the best shadow strategy for the base game (Sigh). It wins most of the time. (But not all of the time). Because the FP ring race is usually a bit too slow. The WK corruption strategy also smashes the FP, just not quite as much.

The expansion should fix it by making the FP ring race no longer a bit too slow. You should be forced to at least attempt to slow the fellowship. Lorien will be tougher, which makes 'Dew + Elves' worse.

We'll soon see how it goes...




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Juha Meriläinen
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I'm not questioning Magic Geek's brilliant DEW North tactic. Instead, I was wondering if he has thought what would be the best way to balance the game. To make the DEW North good, but not overwhelming tactic.

Probably the guy, who has invented the tactic, has the clearest idea what could "ruin it". So, I'm asking Magic Geek, what would be your House Rule to cut the sharpest edge of DEW North, but not totally destroy it? I have some ideas, but I would like to hear yours. (Or maybe you just want to torment the other players instead of spreading the "almost-official-how-to-spoil-Magic Geek's-fun-of-beating-us-
house-rule"! )

After all, it is good to develop new and winning tactics, but it is not too much fun if there is a one single tactic that is much better than the others.
 
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Shakaali wrote:
After all, it is good to develop new and winning tactics, but it is not too much fun if there is a one single tactic that is much better than the others.


It was a lot of fun when the corruption tactic was better than the others, because it utilized every aspect of the game.

But yeah, DEW is boring.

For balance, buy expansion.
 
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Octavian has deleted and changed my posts in the past, but well, this thread is 'required reading', and should be in general.

After Octavian moved this thread from General to Strategy, I thought, 'Thats it', finish it and move
on to some other game. I decided to stop urinating in the water supply. So I started writing up the variant rules that make a lovely game called Queens Gambit into a much better game.

Exactly like Shakaali asks for DEW North solutions.

I stuck
'work in progress
Please dont post here'
on the end

I got Octavian writing 3 times longer on why I was wrong.
He quoted everything I had written, meaning that the changes I made wont be in his post.

Even 'Please dont post here' got quoted and insulted.
One other person left a nondescript short reply as well.

So I copied it, deleted the thread and continued with a new 'Please dont post here'
If a Vandal scrawls all over my half finished artwork, I am OK with removing the graffiti.

Octavian has now scrawled over my half finished artwork once again, and locked the thread.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/105898

I can not write under this oppression, sorry Shakaali.

Magic Geek
 
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If you feel you need write-once-read-only web space, I'm sure the internet is good for that. If you geek-mail me something, I'll post it at one of the 10-gazillion sites I have access to, and send you the link.
 
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MrWeasely wrote:
If you feel you need write-once-read-only web space, I'm sure the internet is good for that.


Agreed. The Geek is not for that. It's just plain rude to delete a thread because some other users responded to it - particularly if they spent some time to craft those responses, only to have them irrevocably wiped away. These are public forums - not his.

As I told Magic Geek in private message, I'm happy to unlock the thread he linked to if he's willing to follow common forum etiquette. Quite frankly, as much as I appreciate his strategy discussions they aren't worth dealing with this disrespectful attitude.

This is now well off-topic, but as Magic Geek brought it into the public forum I felt it warrented a response. Any further discussion on this matter should be taken either to private messages or to the BGG General forums.

Back to our regularly scheduled discussion of DEW North...

-MMM

 
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Wait a minute...you can delete posts on threads you started on the forums???

I can understand geeklists, but forum threads!

As for DEW North, it looks interesting, I will try it out next chance I get.
 
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Wait a minute...you can delete posts on threads you started on the forums???

I can understand geeklists, but forum threads!

....


No, but I believe you can delete the entire thread, irrespective of whether others have posted in it or not. If that's not considered 'proper etiquette', then I'm not sure why people have the authority to delete threads they start. Ideally perhaps, you would be able to delete a thread you start, until someone else posts in it, at which point you would no longer be able to delete it. My comments are just based on aligning the users' authority with what's considered 'proper etiquette', not commenting on what's 'right' or 'wrong'.
 
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I feel that my fundamental human rights have been oppressed by the sheer number of DEW north threads. Whats the opposite of censorship?

Maybe if we all just adored magic geek rather than continuing with all these nasty discussions we might all get along better.

I think everyone feels the discussion about how to nerf dew north is a bit redundant given that we don't know how much the expansion will change the overall balance issues.

That aside, fundamentally, DEW north strengths are:
- the concentration of 5 vp in a very small area which can be taken by one army group (by that I mean one 10 pt stack plus reinforcements where required) where anywhere else you cant really get more than 3 - gondor also has 5vp but is much much harder to take;
- the DEW area begins sparsely defended;
- the DEW area is really difficult to defend due to the difficulty in getting all three nations there to war - the shadow can generally attack any one of the three without sending any other to war thus allowing the shadow to pick of the areas one at a time - consequentially the shadow can easily put strongolds under siege when they have less than a full compliment of guys (and sieges are very easy if the fp is only rolling two or three dice);
- the witch king is really really good at attacking stuff and can cycle through for good combat cards (note this isnt a problem only in respect of dew north).

So the basic answer if your after one is a combination of the following:
- reduce the vp's available for DEW - maybe erebor and the woodland realm are only worth 1 (they were sideshows in the trilogy after all) - this has a fairly fundamental effect as its probably no longer viable to attack DEW early and you would want to do it with the easterlings (which is how we all played it at the start);
- increase the starting defenders for DEW - obviously the easiest thing to implement but hard to judge - if you make it too tough the shadow won't go there at all - id start with an elite in erebor (the dwarves are supposed to be tough) and go from there - mucking around with the elven muster bag maybe counterproductive;
- make it easier for nations to go to war - maybe if one nation is attacked the political ramifications are the same for each nation - this is the biggest change and definately encourages the shadow to attack later) - variants that make it easier for the fp to go to war also help here (ie the whenever you muster via a card you push that nation down the track variant);
- change the witch king (and theres been plenty of discussion on that elsewhere).

Other options are to strengthen the main opposing strategies for DEW north but that may produce unintended consequenced elsewhere.

Frankly, if I were to keep playing the basic game without the expansion I would be playing these rules:
- When the witchking comes into play activate each nation and push them one step toward war.
- Start with an extra elite in erebor.
- Elven rings can convert into wills (note this isn't specific to dew north nerfing).

I think thats a fairly minor nerf with a fairly minor change to gameplay. If dew north still proved dominant you might have to get a bit more substantial.
 
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Nice points, myopia.

I just had another fun idea for a way to help the FP out, which is to kind of steal an idea from the operational games:

Give the FP two action tokens, which are basically one-shot wild action dice. You may only use one on a given turn.

This would help the FP in several ways. 1) You could save them for character actions in Mordor, and probably save yourself a turn. This would boost your chances a lot vs DEW north. 2) They could be used to counter a turn-stall! 3) They make your FPMV noticably scarier, by allowing two consecutive actions (last of turn + first of next turn). 4) Depending on if you decided to allow it, they could be used as Wills to promote Gandalf/Aragorn.

I think this would be a pretty cool variant in that it clearly gives the FP a boost, and it reduces the sense of being completely overwhelmed by Shadow action dice. It gives the FP a limited number of outs. In my experience (Knizia's LotR), having overwhelmed FP with 'outs' is fun.
 
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Maybe the elven rings should add an extra action rather than just convert a dice...
 
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I thought of that, but the elven rings are pretty important for the FP, in mitigating really random stuff. I think they should stay.
 
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Quote:
I feel that my fundamental human rights have been oppressed by the sheer number of DEW north threads. Whats the opposite of censorship?

Har har har!

It seems we can only have meaningful discussions in threads started by MG. This annoys him. I understand why. I got a bit annoyed at all the clutter in the WoW thread and offloaded it to its own website. (Magic, if you want dew.osaurus.us, or really anything.osaurus.us, you got it. Free. As long as you want. Accessed remotely by OpenSSH.)

In the meantime, lets discuss some of the good variant ideas thrown out.

I, for one, view 3rd Age as "the super deluxe rebalancing", but I don't think it is healthy for the base game to be hanging around the geek with the "balance issues" bad word-of-mouth going out. If people sense they need $110 to play a balanced version, they're not going to spend any.

The "emergency action tokens" idea seems intruiging. They'd cause a general retrenchment: If DEW allocates zero eyes on turn 1, then the FP could quite concievably declare in Mordor at the start of turn 3 and win on turn 4. Thus SP will always allocate at least one eye.

Mustering when the WK comes out is not as fun as the WoW concept of free political musters triggered basically at random. Why? Because in the former approach the WK can fine-tune his appearance to do minimal actual damage, while the latter one causes him to worry "How will the Free People react to my appearance?". Its the middle ages. CNN.com is not their default browser location. They get word by rumor and foot messenger. But heros do rise. I like the randomness better. And it makes activation matter.
 
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Having tried a WK who pushes nations on the track, I think it's quite uninteresting. In fact, I've tried several things with the WK, and now think he's best left as-is, even though it makes passiveness seem pretty silly.

Having muster cards push active nations is something I'll have to try, though. It sounds very interesting, at least. I really want to try out the action tokens, though, and I think I will try them alone, without other variants. When I get a chance.
 
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Action Tokens
Here's a nutty idea: Instead of just giving out a fixed number of action tokens at the start of the game, perhaps they could be "earned" when certain conditions occurr. And these preconditions could be tied to styles of play that are fun and that we want to encourage, but that just aren't viable right now.

Some ideas for earning tokens:
For having all 5 Free nations activated: 1 token.
For each new uncontested Free stronghold the FSP declares in (besides Rivendell): 1 token.
For playing Mirror of Galadriel: 1 token.
For declaring in Mordor with Gandalf the Grey guiding the fellowship: 1 token.
 
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Perhaps putting a limit on the movement of Nazgul would help. This could be either an individual or collective (X movement points per Character die) limit. Perhaps the Witch-king would be excluded from this limit, perhaps not. A collective limit would allow the SP to move a few Nazgul a long distance or all the Nazgul a shorter distance per die. This might force the SP to keep at least some Nazgul near Rohan and Gondor in case of emergency and thereby cut down on Leadership available in the north. This would be a subtle adjustment, but it might be enough. Just a thought.
 
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SevenSpirits wrote:
Having tried a WK who pushes nations on the track, I think it's quite uninteresting. In fact, I've tried several things with the WK, and now think he's best left as-is, even though it makes passiveness seem pretty silly.


I'm quite intrigued by this opinion, Mr. McCarthy. A Witch-King who pushes the track is currently the way I play, and I like it far better than the original. I can't see how it could possibly be *bad* for the game. It is clearly evident that:

a) The Witch King is the most obviously broken atomic element of the game;
b) The Shadow has the advantage.

I'm also a big fan of minimalist change - if it was written into the rules, I'm in favor of the change that would add the least amount of text. This change seems to fit all those criteria.

Do you simply feel that it's "not enough"? That bring him out Turn 1 is still a no-brainer? That was my only concern with this change, and I haven't yet decided for sure whether that is the case...but I definitely find it DOES make a difference in the defensibility of the Free Nations.
 
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A couple more wacky ideas for balancing the basic game:

1. Limited Force Pool for the Southrons & Easterlings. Evil men can't be generated in sorcerous ways, so once an S&E unit is destroyed it is out of the game.

2. Minas Tirith and Helm's Deep are Important Shadow Objectives. Both Sauron and Saruman are bent on destroying Men. The Elves are diminishing and leaving Middle Earth, so they are not deemed a great threat by Sauron, and Saruman's hatred of Rohan is immeasurable. Since capturing the greatest fortresses of Men would be great symbolic victories and greatly demoralize the Free Peoples, Minas Tirith and Helm's Deep are worth 3 Victory Points each. However the Shadow now needs 12 Victory Points to win the game.

This would allow a "traditional" Gondor/Rohan game to proceed as normal, but a Shadow strategy that ignored these areas completely would need to capture an additonal Stronghold to succeed.


I haven't tested either of these ideas, but it seems to me they may shift the balance without radically changing game play. Thoughts, anyone?
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Krieghund,
2 sounds interesting. They're still eminently take-able, even late in the game, as the basic set's not-at-war nations have an infuriating reluctance to muster to war even as the tides of darkness wash away all their allies! So in effect this zaps DEW-North, while leaving WK Card Cycler intact. Hm...

1 sounds fiddly to me, considering that most players round my parts never muster S&E manually, and only by cards. I agree, they're men, and the rule would make sense thematically.
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The_Immortal wrote:
SevenSpirits wrote:
Having tried a WK who pushes nations on the track, I think it's quite uninteresting. In fact, I've tried several things with the WK, and now think he's best left as-is, even though it makes passiveness seem pretty silly.


I'm quite intrigued by this opinion, Mr. McCarthy. A Witch-King who pushes the track is currently the way I play, and I like it far better than the original. I can't see how it could possibly be *bad* for the game. It is clearly evident that:

a) The Witch King is the most obviously broken atomic element of the game;
b) The Shadow has the advantage.

I'm also a big fan of minimalist change - if it was written into the rules, I'm in favor of the change that would add the least amount of text. This change seems to fit all those criteria.

Do you simply feel that it's "not enough"? That bring him out Turn 1 is still a no-brainer? That was my only concern with this change, and I haven't yet decided for sure whether that is the case...but I definitely find it DOES make a difference in the defensibility of the Free Nations.


The main reason I think changing his is a bad idea is because I have tried many things, and I didn't like the effects they had on gameplay. I think I understand why it worsened the game, and will try to explain:

The WK is very strong for the Shadow, but he provides a couple valuable services which improve game play.

1. He activates nations. As much as all of us would love to see companions activating nations instead, it's not going to happen. For the FP, bringing a nation to war manually is one of the most wasteful use of action dice available. If they have to activate their nations in addition to moving them down the track, it definitely won't be worth the effort.
Any change that causes the WK to be more balanced risks causing the SA to not bring him in, which in turn makes the game a lot less interesting because the FP nations aren't activated.

2. His combat ability is very powerful. How is this beneficial to the game? Well, it causes the SA to only really want to attack one place at once, before moving on to the next one. Having tried playing without him, I find it a lot less interesting when he is not there, because the SA can attack wherever they want without loss of efficiency. This makes is a lot harder for the FP to react well.

The WK is actually pretty cool from a design perspective. Yes, he has a strong influence on Shadow strategy... as well he should. He's the freaking Witch King! When I first realized how strong and essential he was, I thought it was a failure of his drawback. I thought: to fix him, he needs a stronger drawback.

I now think that I was wrong. He should not have a significant drawback, becuase he is very interesting. You want him to be in the game, because he is cool. Just like you want the Harbor to be a good building in Puerto Rico, because it has a nice effect on strategy.

Quote:
a) The Witch King is the most obviously broken atomic element of the game;


He is indeed powerful, but as I state above, I no longer consider him "broken", because I think he makes the game better.

Quote:
b) The Shadow has the advantage.


This is also true. However, if you are going for minimalism, there are many simpler things you could so before weakening the Witch King. For example: (These are not necessarily recommended and definitely not tested. They are just examples.)

1. Make cities not be worth VPs.
2. Make the Shadow need 12 VPs or 13 corruption to win.
3. Remove a Shadow action die.
4. Start all FP nations one step closer to war.
5. Make it so Gandalf the White does not need to be in play for the FP to get AD #5.
6. Put 2 extra men in Dale and an elite dwarf in Erebor.
7. Allow a FP muster die to advance 2 active FP nations.

A more complex change that I personally liked trying out was having Aragorn advance each active nation when crowned.

There is nothing inherently special about the Witch King, except that he has a drawback which isn't much of a drawback, and that paints a big "change me" sign on his back.

Of course if you like him that way, go ahead.
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What a great post!
Quote:
1. [Witch King] activates nations. As much as all of us would love to see companions activating nations instead, it's not going to happen. For the FP, bringing a nation to war manually is one of the most wasteful use of action dice available. If they have to activate their nations in addition to moving them down the track, it definitely won't be worth the effort.
Any change that causes the WK to be more balanced risks causing the SA to not bring him in, which in turn makes the game a lot less interesting because the FP nations aren't activated.
In will of the West it is common to see Companions activating nations, especially Wormtoungeed Rohan! Mustering towards war isn't terrible if you get an Leader+Elite along the way for one of the musters.

Well, in some games the WK comes out early just like the old times. After ~10 games it is still not clear if that's better or worse than the "Sneaky Sauron Strategy". When I play Shadow it usually comes down to tactical considerations, like how badly do I need to cycle cards, how many unknown strategy cards is the FP holding, whether the FP's got lots of muster dice coming, and, above all, how many free nations are already active.

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