Congratulations to Apu on winning the game with smart play at a fast pace. The game ended with FP surrender on Turn 16. I had an army of hc st/st and some infantry totaling 1000 troops at 3119 with Glorfindel and Aragorn and 18 war machines. They had just defeated Gothmog and the Great Goblin the previous turn. Then Glorfindel failed to move his army evasively to Morannon. Despite a +120 command rank, he didn’t succeed at much this game. Since another DS commander leading 500 troops came out to 3119, Glorfindel’s army was stuck there another turn. And the same would probably happen the next turn and the next because Glorfindel’s “battle-crazed” army never once succeeded in capturing or killing a defeated enemy army commander.
Two FP characters had “persistant aid” encounters on the turn when I decided to quit. Frodo was offered to have the troops of the highest FP rank army commander raised to 100 training. Gwaihir had a higher base command rank at 76, but Glorfindel had the Ring of Barahir, etc. So who knows what “highest rank” means. The other persistent aid was for Galadriel at Morannon: say “Yes” to receive 10 war machines in an army. I said no.
I don’t think taking Morannon would have won me the game. Sometimes you have to realize that Lady Luck is not only not on your side, she’s spitting in your face. So here’s me fondling my sour grapes:
- Turn 5: "Arwen was located in the Hills & Rough at 2209.
She was ordered to guard a character. Frodo was guarded.
She was ordered to cast a lore spell. Research Artifact - Air Cleaver #2 is a Bola - allegiance: None -
increases combat damage by 750 pts. Possession of the artifact can allow casting of the spell Reveal
Character. Research Artifact - Maranya #3 is a Ring - allegiance: None - increases Mage Rank by 30.
This artifact will aid in the research of spells 502, 504, 506. Research Artifact - Tinculin #4 is a Harp -
allegiance: None - increases Mage Rank by 40. This artifact will aid in the research of spells 502, 504,
- Research Artifact - Listening Helm #5 is a Helm - allegiance: None - increases Agent Rank by 10.
She is currently in the Hills & Rough at 2209. The Major Town / Tower of Imladris flying the
flag of the Free People is here."
Yea, with hindsight, I should have issued Research Artifact on turn 1 or 2 at the latest. Artifacts #1-4. Two of the three spirit mastery artifacts in the game were pinpointed and retrieved before turn 5. At this point, Apu still had to make smart choices to capitalize on his luck, and to his credit, he did. I tried to see if fortune could be reversed by recruiting the best agent in the game, Legolas. His mission: steal Tinculin from Sauron. Frodo gave the already stealthy Legolas the One Ring, boosting him to 50 stealth. He was in the same hex (Isengard) with Sauron on turn 7 I think. No dice–“too well guarded.” I contemplated quitting at this point since I knew what was coming. Camp at my capital to prevent me from doing Nation Sells and Naming Characters.
I picked up “Conjure Mounts” via Radagast and “Conjure Food” from Treebeard. But the prospect of playing a game where Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Arwen play “chef on the run” didn’t seem all that fun.
Turn 14 I found out that the 3rd SM artifact (#67 I believe) was located in the swamps just east of the Misty Mountains. I sent a character to retrieve it but got no encounter message. So it looks like the DS had that one too.
Other gripes: Glorfindel failed to threaten Dol Guldur, an NPC Dark Servants town/fort two times. Here are the specs: 68 (118) command rank, 1000 troops. Failed. Next turn I came back with 18 war machines in that army. Failed again. Now, I’ll never see the 498 order as anything but a coin flip at best. Never mind what people tell you, there is ALWAYS real risk of failure in issuing this order.
I’m going to end these end-game comments with a prediction. Consider it a bit of prophecy regarding CME. One day soon there will be a CME Variant where both players insist that the three spirit mastery artifacts are removed from play. Powerful mages will have to aid their side by using combat spells, retrieving other artifacts, issuing personal challenges, and forgoing the one dimension of the game that carries no risk, once you have it: 215, 330 506, 500 agent.