Guarding the Shire.

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Beezertheturnip
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Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:51 am

Guarding the Shire.

Post by Beezertheturnip » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:24 pm

This first post is going to be a preliminary set of rules. I came up with this idea on a whim, and spent a bit of the afternoon looking around at other solitaire scenarios and stuff to try to at least get a first draft going. Note that this is a first draft. I have done absolutely zero playtesting of the concept and plan to do so in the next few days. Mostly I'm trying to get the idea down and make sure that there are no holes in the rules that are obvious to spot.

METW solitaire scenario idea:

Play a Ranger leading the secret guard of the shire. Creatures appear in certain areas, and “migrate” towards The Shire, moving one region at a time. Party must intercept and encounter these enemies, treating them as if they were movement related hazards, and deal with them. The creatures do not need to be defeated, just encountered and survived. You will need some method of keeping track of the turn, since this is in a sense a timed defense sort of mission, guarding the Shire until the final turn.

The starting party consists of Beretar, Anborn, Damrod, and Mablung. The following three are supposed to represent other Rangers of the North, not the three specific rangers of Ithilien. Treat them as printed except their home site is at Bree, not what is written on the card. Feel free to call them by other names as well. You start with a Noble Steed ally, and the party possesses 3 legal non-hoard minor items. You possess 15 general influence, and may bring in characters that are not restricted below at their home site or a haven.

“The Lieutenancy”.
Your mission comes straight from Aragorn, but the Rangers of the North are often out of touch with each other for long periods of time, and changes in command must be done on site. At the start of the game, Beretar is the Lieutenant, a rough equivalent of the Wizard in standard play. If Beretar is eliminated or discarded, a new Lieutenant must be chosen among one of your Dunedain characters, who then is the Lieutenant until he or she is in turn eliminated or discarded. (So if you somehow get Beretar back, he doesn't automatically resume his old post). The lieutenancy may not be voluntarily abdicated, it only ends with the removal of the old lieutenant from play.

The Lieutenant requires no general influence to control. He or she may never be a follower. New characters may only be brought into play at the same site the Lieutenant is at. The Lieutenant may tap to affect the Sideboard in much the same way a Wizard does in the normal game.


Resource Deck.
Resource Deck is at least 30 resource cards, as well as up to 10 characters. No Wizards are permitted. Your resource hand size is five cards. You may have up to a 15 card sideboard deck.

Hazard Decks.
You have two Hazard Decks, a “regular” Hazard Deck, and a “Migration” hazard deck.

The Regular Hazard deck should be 30 cards and operate under the drawing and playing rules of Darkyeoman's excellent site here https://meccg.wordpress.com/my-solo-rules/ They represent day to day hazards of moving around and questing in Eriador, and should consist primarily of monsters and maybe a few events that are easily playable in the sorts of environs that you will find there. Since this scenario does not have any need for factions and relatively little for items, I would suggest not including too many things like agents, corruption, or things like Muster Disperses. Focus on creatures and things to make them stronger.

The Migration hazard deck, on the other hand, represents monsters that are a possible threat to the Shire, and it is your duty as Rangers to protect these simple halflings. The migration deck is split up into six “waves”, representing groups of creaturesheading towards the Shire. Each wave appears on the map in a specific region as part of a special “Migration” phase immediately following the End of Turn Phase. On subsequent Migration Phases they will move as indicated in the scenario notes, but the idea is that they go one region closer to the Shire each turn. If any wave reaches the Shire, you will lose points based on how many broke through; since you are not permitted to enter the Shire itself, you may not fight them there, but have to intercept these hostiles before they reach it. If, at the Migration Phase, you possess a party in the same region as a monster migration, you may initiate a combat. Ignoring the hazard limit of the party, take as many of the cards in a particular wave and have them attack the party. You may select which creatures attack your party and in what order they do so. You do not need to face an entire wave all at once, and instead may spread out your resistance across multiple regions. All migrations are considered to be keyed to the region type of whatever region the party is fighting them in at the moment. This might indeed change when dealing with migrations coming out of Angmar.

First Wave: 1x Wolves, 1x Wargs, 1x Dire Wolves. They appear on the 3rd turn. They take the route Forochel, Arthedain, The Shire.

Second Wave: 1x Brigands, 1x Dunlending raiders, 1x Ambushers, 1x Corsairs of Umbar. They appear on the 6th turn. They take the route Enedwiath, Cardolan, The Shire.

Third Wave: 2x Orc raiders, 2x Orc Warriors, 1x Orc patrol. They appear on the 9th turn. They take the route Angmar, Arthedain, The Shire.

Fourth Wave: 2x Wolves, 2x Wargs, 2x Dire Wolves. They appear on the 12th turn. They take the route Numeriador, Arthedain, The Shire.

Fifth wave: 2x Hobgoblins, 1x Wolf Riders (as a creature, not a short event), 1x Orc Patrol, 2x Orc Warriors, 1x Orc Lieutenant* They will appear on the 15th turn. Unlike most creature migrations, you do NOT have unlimited ability to pick the attack order with this one. The Orc Lieutenant may only be selected for the next attack if it is either
A) after a previous attack and thus attacking at strength 11
B) At the start of the end of turn phase, it is the only creature remaining in this wave.
They take the route Angmar, Arthedain, The Shire.


Sixth and final wave: All 9 Nazgul. They will appear on the 18th turn. They take the following path: Enedwiath, Cardolan, The Shire. This wave has a few differences from previous waves.

Cards or abilities which cancel their attacks or strikes may not be played. Cards or abilities which affect the number of strikes, or cancel strikes on the Nazgul have no effect. Unlike other enemies, the player may not choose the order or how many Nazgul attack an intercepting party. Every Nazgul attacks if possible, and they do so in reverse precedential order, from 9th to 1st. (That is to say Uvatha the Horseman, Ren the Unclean, Adunaphel, Hoarmurath of Dir, Akhorahil, Indur Dawndeath, Dwar of Waw, Khamul the Easterling, and finally the Witch King.) Nazgul MUST attack an unwounded character or ally with the lowest prowess in the hero party facing them. Once there are zero unwounded characters and allies left in their location, the ringwraiths cease their assault.


Special rules concerning movement: All of your parties must stay in the following regions: Lindon, Numeriador, Forochel, Arthedain, Cardolan, Angmar, Rhuduar, Hollin, Dunland, and Enedhwiath. Under-Deeps Sites may not be entered. You have a mission, and are not at liberty to go haring around Middle Earth. A site is not returned to the discard pile if it is tapped and then left. However, make a note of which sites are tapped; if you wish to return there, the site will remain tapped and cannot be entered. This might be necessary in order to block incoming creature migrations.

Restrictions on cards played: You are a lieutenant of the Rangers of the North, and do not have the same sorts of resources available to you that a Wizard or a great lord has. As such, the following cards may not be included at start or in the resource deck or sideboard Any minion card. Any character with a mind of 6 or greater. Any Hobbit character or ally. Any unique ally. (Although remember that Bill the Pony is not considered unique for this scenario). Any Dwarven Rings, Glamdring, Great-Shield of Rohan, The Iron Crown, The Mithril Coat, Narsil, The One Ring, Orcrist, Palantir of Orthanc, Palantir of Minas Tirith, Red Arrow, Sting, Emerald of the Mariner, Aiglos, Dragon-Helm, Necklace of Girion, Phial of Galadriel, and The Ithil-Stone.


Scoring: At the end of the 20th turn, the game is over and a score is tallied. Score is only based on interactions with the migrating creatures. It is entirely possible (and even somewhat expected) to get wiped out in the final attack, but you don't need any survivors to win this game.

Score 1 point for each creature from the first 5 waves that is diverted from reaching the Shire.
Score 2 points for each Nazgul that is diverted from reaching the Shire.
Score an additional (That is, additional to the 2 points for merely engaging a Nazgul) 3 points for each Nazgul whose strike was defeated, including the successful body check after his strike fails.

Lower than 25 points: Creatures of shadow have all but destroyed the lands of the Halflings, and The Shire will likely join the gardens of the Entwives, and fair Beleriand in the list of fair things ruined forever.
25-30 points The Shire is badly battered by the encroaching darkness, but a small core of hope remains. Frodo and his friends leave the Shire as much to escape the destruction as for anything else.
30-34 points. The Shire's peaceful ignoring of the outside world is rudely shattered, but with the resilience that few but Gandalf would guess at, they react by strengthening their watches and starting to learn to defend themselves. While strength is gained, joy is lost.
35 Points: You have done all that duty and Aragorn can reasonably expect. (This is the “Historical” outcome where all of the first five waves are diverted, 4 Nazgul “break through” to the Shire, and none are killed.)
36+ points. You have exceeded the expectations of all and the Valar look upon your efforts with amazement.

Do note that some of these, the items especially are not generally playable except at sites that you shouldn't be able to get to. But I am not great at this game and I don't want to leave out the notion that some clever player has thought of something I haven't. As another author's note, Halbarad is a legal person to play. I am deeply divided about banning him. On one hand, he is supposed to be Aragorn's second in command, and thus a “natural” person to take up charge of an important mission: I can find nothing in the legendarium that contradicts the notion that he was involved in the defense of the Shire. He could thus be a natural lieutenant, especially over Beretar, who was generated in MERP, not the books. However, Halbarad is kind of puny, with a 0 prowess and a mere 5 toughness. He also has a tiny 1 mind, and is thus a terrible lieutenant. If there was a fantasy replacement of Halbarad such that he's stronger, I might consider re-doing some things in the scenario, but as it is, he's probably best to just treat as an ordinary character, and not a particularly good one.

Kjeld
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by Kjeld » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:49 pm

Cool idea!

Two possible extensions for the scenario:

One, it might be interesting to allow the defenders to "earn" a reward (e.g. a minor, major, greater) item for defeating a wave. The items could get better as the waves get more challenging, too.

Second, if you want another or an alternate wave, you could make a wave of undead with Barrow-wights, Ghosts, Chill Dousers, etc.

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CDavis7M
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by CDavis7M » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:46 am

I believe that there is an ICE co-op scenario with waves of enemies attacking the players. I'll see if I can figure out which one it is.

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Yegor
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by Yegor » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:53 pm

CDavis7M wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:46 am
I believe that there is an ICE co-op scenario with waves of enemies attacking the players. I'll see if I can figure out which one it is.
Wards of the Rangers from Long-expected Party. The only cooperative MECCG scenario known to me.

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Yegor
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by Yegor » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:21 pm

Beezertheturnip wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:24 pm
However, Halbarad is kind of puny, with a 0 prowess and a mere 5 toughness. He also has a tiny 1 mind, and is thus a terrible lieutenant. If there was a fantasy replacement of Halbarad such that he's stronger, I might consider re-doing some things in the scenario, but as it is, he's probably best to just treat as an ordinary character, and not a particularly good one.
The so-called MECCG second edition made him quite strong.

And I would also suggest using Elladan and Elrohir instead of the two Ithilien rangers, as it will be more thematic.

Vastor Peredhil
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by Vastor Peredhil » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:28 pm

I suggestion
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Vastor Peredhil
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Re: Guarding the Shire.

Post by Vastor Peredhil » Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:30 pm

to give you some options ;)
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