“But in the meantime what course am I to take?” said Frodo. “Towards danger; but not too rashly, nor too straight,” answered the wizard [Gandalf]. “If you want my advice, make for Rivendell. That journey should not prove too perilous, though the Road is less easy than it was, and it will grow worse as the year fails.”
Okay, quick disclaimer, this has nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. And, in a sense, it has little to do with LoTR. But I’m making it work, for a variety of reasons. In short, I have decided to get back to running. For several years, my spinning-too-many-plates issue has caused a few things to fall to the backburner (or worse). Running, and exercising in general, is one of them. If hearing about any of this is of no interest to you, then I would suggest you stop reading and wait until another article comes out. Otherwise, read on to find out how in the heck this relates to LoTR.
When I first joined wordpress, years before this blog even, I recall finding a blog that documented the author’s walking and where he was in relation to Frodo’s journey. It was an interesting notion to say the least, and while there is a fair amount of imagination required to say “I’ve made it through Moria” it struck me as a simple motivator for someone like me who fell off the exercise wagon years ago. So here I am, with 11.48 miles under my belt and a whopping 1767.5 miles to go (for those who are like me and suck at math, that’s a total of 1779 miles to get to Mordor, or rather Mt. Doom, from the Shire).
A quick google search did not, unfortunately, reunite me with the blog I found years ago. But it did lead me to a nerd-fitness blog that cited a website called EowynChallenge.net. While it seems mostly outdated (at times referring to having a large group finish their walk before ROTK’s release) it seems to have received some updates here and there, at least up to 2005. Either way, it’s no matter. The site provides a breakdown of Frodo’s journey. So where do I stand?
Well, not too far as it turns out! Frodo and his entourage are quite the walkers, which is of course no surprise given the nature of Hobbits and their love of the outdoors and walking songs. At the end of their first day, Frodo and his companions, walked 18 miles, leaving Hobbiton and entering the Green Hill Country, eventually finding a campsite near a Fir where a peculiar fox watches them while they sleep.
As for me, my 11.48 miles puts me a few miles into Green Hill Country. The Hobbits have already left Hobbiton behind, giving it one last glance as the evening lamps glow in the evening light. They have just entered a birch-grove and had, as Tolkien describes, a “frugal” supper. Nothing to be ashamed of, I’d say, but still plenty of work to be made! The site gives some pretty big mileage indicators, just a measly 446 miles to go until Rivendell! While I will be more than thrilled to reach that milestone, I’m happy to break them down into smaller intervals, if only to talk about those moments in the book. What’s my nearest checkpoint? Why it’s at mile 73, when the company finally makes it to Crickhollow.
So far as the game is concerned, I haven’t “encountered” many player/encounter cards yet. Sure, there are some general hobbit-esque cards I could throw in for kicks (see Hobbit Pipes) but for the most part it’s a little scarce (after all – I only just left Hobbiton!)
But let’s see what I can find:
Bag End is one of my favorite locations in the game. I can’t deny that part of me relishes in the fact that it’s one of the “friendlist” locations. It contributes no threat, and, when explored provides a relatively decent card-draw effect, assuming your Hero lineup is built accordingly. It’s a remarkably light-hearted yet powerful card that does an amazing job representing the Hero’s departure from their home into perilous lands (and as far as the quest in which Bag End appears is concerned, things can get perilous quickly indeed!)
Next up is one of the best Boons in campaign mode, or at least it is in the beginning. It’s a great “get out of jail free” card that the players have right from the get-go. Bill-Fernies and strange Black Horsemen don’t stand a chance against Frodo and his assumed identity. Eventually, however, players will lose the ability to use Mr. Underhill, much like in the story when the “jig is (ultimately) up” and The Black Riders are fully aware that this wandering band of Hobbits contain that infamous Baggins character. Thankfully, my journey has not brought me to that perilous moment. Not yet.
Green Hill Country
Last up for today is Green Hill Country. First of all, I want everyone to take a moment and appreciate the artwork portrayed on this card. Definitely true to the card’s name! Like the previous two cards, Green Hill Country represents the hobbits leaving their home behind. You see in the foreground a Hobbit-Hole. Not even fully viewable, the dwelling is quickly swallowed up by a vast green countryside. The road twists and turns and it looks as if there may even be some dark clouds about to roll over. The Hobbits have a long journey ahead. Mechanically, it represents the “home-field advantage” the Hobbits have while still being close to home. They have spent their whole lives here, they know where the nooks and crannies are, and have an easier time hiding from unwanted eyes.
So that’s about it! Sure, I could have included a Black-Rider or two but they will have plenty of time to shine in future posts. Until then, I’m happy to keep things light and positive, much in tune with where I am “physically” in the story. See you in a couple weeks where I will have (hopefully) ran past a rather interesting fox, sang a few songs, and maybe encountered some unlikely allies!
As always, thanks for reading!
-The Secondhand Took