To master War of the Ring you must know the Event Cards available to you as well as to your opponent. Using the right Event at the right time can make a real difference in the game. Many of the Events are very useful at the right moment but all can be put to good use since they not only function as Events but also as Combat effects. In this final article of our War of the Ring Strategy 101 series we will take a look at the Free Peoples’ Event Cards.

The Character Event Cards

The cards in the Character deck can be divided into seven categories; let us take a closer look at each category.

The Hunt Tile Cards

"Phial of Galadriel", "Sméagol Helps Nice Master", "Elven Cloaks", and "Elven Rope" are all, in descending order, your best defense against the dangers of Mordor. Once Frodo and his Companions enter Mordor they will need all the help they can get in order to reach Mount Doom unscathed. If Frodo already is in Mordor, and you hold any of these cards in your hand, remember to put these tiles into the Hunt Pool before you move.

The Corruption Reducers

This category contains all the cards that can reduce the Corruption suffered by the Ring-bearers. "Bilbo’s Song" and "There is Another Way" should be kept for play late in the game since they are especially good if Gollum is guiding the Fellowship. The first will grant additional healing while the latter will give you a move/hide action in addition to the Corruption point healed.

"Athelas" is also better with a particular guide in charge of the Fellowship’s well being. If played with Strider at the helm you should stand a good chance of healing three Corruption points. This makes the card more useful to heal any early Corruption damage since Strider probably has left for Gondor in the later half of the game. If you get this card early don’t be afraid to assign Corruption damage to Frodo since this card combined with Strider's Guide ability should make up for it.

"I Will Go Alone" is a card that lets you heal one Corruption point, but for a price. You have to separate at least one Companion. If you hold this card early in the game that should be no problem since you will undoubtedly separate someone from the Fellowship at least once.

Finally we have "Mirror of Galadriel", which will allow you to heal a Corruption point if the Fellowship is in Lorien. Not a card that very often is played to its fullest potential. Luckily the card has another use: it can turn a Character Action Die result into a Will of the West Action Die result. This use is often the one to go for no matter where the Fellowship is. The healing in Lorien is just a bonus.

The Corruption Protectors

In this category we find "Axe and Bow" and "Horn of Gondor", which both allows you to reduce the Corruption of a drawn Hunt tile with one. Just make sure to use them before the Companions they are tied to are separated or eliminated.

We also find "Wizard’s Staff", which is a bit more powerful than the two card mentioned above since it will prevent the Shadow player from drawing a Hunt tile when he should be able to. As with the two earlier cards remember to use it before the guy carrying the staff is separated or eliminated (something that is highly probable).

Finally we have the famous "Mithril Coat and Sting". This card can, in the best of circumstances, win you the game - and in the worst case, place you in a much worse situation than you were in before using it! Fortunately, it tends to help a lot more than it hurts. Giving you the chance to replace a drawn Hunt tile with a new one is a possibility that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if faced with many Eye tiles in the Hunt Pool, when the Ring-bearers are in Mordor.

The Movement Enhancers

"Gwahir the Windlord", "We Prove the Swifter" and "There and Back Again" all allow you to move your Companions a bit faster than they tend to move. This can often prove extremely powerful since your Companions can be very helpful in the right places and having them show up where the Shadow doesn’t expect them is always nice. "There and Back Again" can also give the Elves, the North and the Dwarves a boost down the political track. Often a wise move if the Shadow is heading for the DEW-line.

The Muster Cards

In the Character deck there are two cards that allows you to muster units: "House of the Stewards" and "The Grey Company".

"House of the Stewards" is associated with Boromir and if you can get him to Gondor before the Shadow strikes it will help immensely since you get both Boromir’s Leadership and Captain of the West ability as well as one Gondor unit (preferably an Elite) and two Strategy cards.

"The Grey Company" allows you to replace a Regular unit with an Elite unit in an Arfmy containing Strider/Aragorn. This can be more powerful than you first think since it can be used to reinforce a siege or reinforce in a Region that doesn’t contain a Settlement, and it also give you two Strategy Cards.

The Attack Cards

This category is made up of "The Eagles are Coming", "Dead Men of Dunharrow" and the three "Ents Awake" cards. The first card is extremely useful if played just before the Shadow launches an attack on one of your besieged Strongholds. Robbing the Shadow Army of its Nazgûl Leadership can save time (if not the Stronghold) - as it adds to the time it will take for the Shadow to regroup his Ringwraiths and capture the Stronghold.

"Dead Men of Dunharrow" is very powerful since it allows you to attack a Shadow Army as well as recruiting three new units in the attacked Region. Just make sure that the Shadow Army isn’t strong enough to wipe out your three freshly recruited units in a counter attack since if they do they will also eliminate Strider/Aragorn.

"The Ents Awake" cards ("Huorns", "Entmoot", and "Treebeard") can be extremely useful if they, when played, manage to wipe out the Shadow units in Orthanc and - with them - Saruman. This is most often not the result since the Shadow can protect himself against it and therefore I suggest that you make sure the odds are in your favor before playing them... and don’t forget the combat effects of the cards, they are also immensely powerful.

Challenge of the King

The final category I have named after the sole card it incorporates. This card should be played if possible since the chance to remove Eye tiles permanently from the game is too great to pass upon. Once in while you will draw three Eyes and lose Strider/Aragorn but it shouldn’t happen that often. Naturally the prudent player keeps track of how many Eye tiles have been drawn and when only two remains in the Pool plays the card, but that removes some of the fun doesn’t it?

The Strategy Event Cards

The strategy deck contains six categories.

The Muster Cards

The majority of the cards in this deck ("Celeborn’s Galadhrim", "Cirdan’s Ships", "Dain Ironfoot’s Guard", "Éomer, son of Éomund", "Grimbeorn the Old, son of Beorn", "Guards of the Citadel", "Imrahil of Dol Amroth", "Kindred of Glorfindel", "King Brand’s Men", "Riders of Théoden", "Swords in Eriador", and "Thranduil’s Archers") belong to this category and they all will allow you to muster units. Some will also give you new Strategy Cards, and remember that they can be used to reinforce a Stronghold under siege.

The Protection Cards

"The Power of Tom Bombadil" and "A Power Too Great" will protect either the Shire or the High Elven Strongholds (not the Woodland Realm) from the Shadow and used at the right moment (usually just before the Shadow launches his attack) they can halt the Shadow’s plans. The important part here is that the Shadow needs one Army Card (of which there are only eleven in the game) and one Character Card to discard your protection card. Something not always so easy to come up with and certainly not so easy to depart with.

The Attack Cards

With "Help Unlooked For" you can recreate the Rohirrim’s arrival at Pelennor Fields or try to save any other of your besieged Strongholds. Very useful if you score enough hits in the first round of combat since the Shadow normally retreats as soon as possible when faced with this card.

"The Spirit of Mordor" allows you to pit Shadow unit against Shadow unit and hope that the outcome justified the Action Die you spent on playing it. The card is most often used in the south, where the armies of the Haradrim and those of Mordor sometimes unite to assault the White City of Minas Tirith, or in the north, where Mordor units and Easterlings combine their forces in an attack on the DEW-line.

If Osgiliath is about to be attacked, "Faramir’s Rangers" is a very good card to have handy. It gives you a free shot at the enemy Army as well as some well-needed reinforcements in Osgiliath. The card can also be used simply to reinforce Osgiliath if no Shadow Army is within reach.

The Political Cards

If the Shadow attacks Gondor early, "The Red Arrow" can aid your allies in Rohan. This can both be used to reinforce Rohan, and if Rohan advances to "at War" help defend the regions of Gondor.

With "Wisdom of Elrond" you can send a Nation you think is soon to become a target of the Shadow one step closer to war.

"Fear! Fire! Foes!" and "Book of Mazarbul" can get the either the Dwarves or the North to war immediately; it does however force you to send a Companion to the appropriate location. If either or both cards are used (in time) the defenses of the DEW-line quite often benefits greatly from it.

The Movement Cards

"Through a Day and a Night" can be used either to quickly defend somewhere the Shadow thought you unable to reach in time or to launch a surprise attack on that Stronghold the Shadow left with too few defenders.

"Path of the Woses" will send the Rohan relief force to Minas Tirith in one move, especially fun to play right after "The Red Arrow" moved Rohan to War.

The Last Battle

Again, the last category gets named after the lone card comprising it. "The Last Battle" is a card that very seldom is used but placing Aragorn with a sizeable Free Poeples Army in the Fortification of Osgiliath could help you win the game. If you manage to pull it of when the Fellowship is in Mordor the Shadow will throw everything he has against you to remove the card. Because if he doesn’t, Frodo will probably destroy the Ring faster than you can move the figure on the board.

Written by Kristofer Bengtsson

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