This page is only intended to be used when playing a game involving ALeP cards in some manner. This could mean playing an older, official quest using a deck that contains ALeP player cards or playing any of the ALeP quests. It is not intended to be used when playing strictly within the official card pool (Though it should work just fine, and we won’t stop you!)
This FAQ contains three parts: the ALeP Errata, the ALeP FAQ, and the Free To Choose List.
1) The ALeP Errata section contains a series of small changes and fixes to the ALeP cards, meant to fix a few mistakes and rule ambiguities discovered in the last years.
2) The ALeP FAQ contains a few in-depth explanations about how certain ALeP cards work and interact with each other or with some official FFG cards.
3) The Free To Choose List (FTCL) is a set of optional balance tweaks that players may use, in whole or in part, if they want suggestions to rein in some powerful combos. The ALeP team uses the FTCL during playtesting, and we have come to enjoy finding new ways to employ powerful cards without stretching the game too much. But we recognize that these tweaks aren’t going to be for everyone! Your ALeP games are 100% legitimate whether you decide to use the FTCL or not.
We hope you find these documents helpful, and as always, thank you for playing!
Children of Eorl Expansion [CoE]
Children of Eorl Rules Sheet
In Ambush at Erelas, the explanation of the Looter X keyword should also include this part: “.., cards in a loot pile are not in play and are under no player’s control.”
The rules for the Devoted keyword should read: “While each non-[fellowship], non-[baggins] hero you control shares at least one trait with
an ally a card with the Devoted keyword, that ally card does not require a resource match.”
ALeP’s note: The presence of Fellowship or Baggins heroes was not meant to impact the functionality of the Devoted keyword. Furthermore, non-ally cards with the Devoted keyword were introduced only along the Oaths of the Rohirrim expansion.
Oaths of the Rohirrim Expansion [OotR]
Lily Cotton [OotR 3]
Should read: “Action: Exhaust Lily Cotton to ready a different Hobbit ally and add Lily Cotton’s [willpower], [attack], and [defense] to that ally’s [willpower], [attack], and [defense] respectively until the end of the phase. At the end of the phase, if that ally is still in play, return it to
your its owner’s hand. (Limit once per phase.)”
Gavin [OotR 11]
Should read: “Response:
After resolving the staging of an encounter card without surge, After an encounter card without surge is revealed, exhaust Gavin to give that card surge and add 1 resource to the pool of a Scout hero you control. If the next encounter card revealed is not a location, discard it without resolving its effects.”
ALeP’s note: This does not change the way most people have been using Gavin. The slight rewording is just to bring it more in line with how ALeP understands the mechanics of revealing encounter cards. It was always intended for Lanwyn [DC 30/DCHE 06] to be able to trigger off of Gavin’s surge, and this rewording now makes that interaction more clear.
Gálmód’s Escort [OotR 85]
Should read: “Immune to player card effects.
Gálmód’s Escort cannot leave the staging area while it has hit points remaining. Cannot leave the staging area (except by being destroyed), but is considered to be engaged with each player.”
Recapture the Traitor – Side B [OotR 100]
Should read: “The players cannot defeat this stage while Gálmód is guarded by an enemy. When Gálmód is free of encounters, he is captured and the players win the game.”
Wonders of Aglarond [OotR 115]
Should read: “Forced: After Wonders of Aglarond leaves play, place 4 progress on any 1 cave without a player token and reveal an encounter card.”
ALeP’s note: Due to the plural ambiguity of “any” in this sentence we decided to add “1” too, to better clarify our intent on how this location works and to avoid any possible confusion about it.
The Scouring of the Shire Standalone Scenario [TSotS]
Raise the Shire – Side B [TSotS 3]
Should read: “Forced: After a side quest is defeated, search the encounter deck and discard pile for a Shirriff enemy and add it to the staging area. Shuffle the encounter deck.”
The Last Alliance [CoE 85] [added 2023-04-14]
Q: The whole A/B formatting is a bit hard to understand, could you clarify what it’s meant to express?
A: Let’s make some examples, speaking about a Gondor (A) and Ranger (B) deck I might want to build.
1) Each of my starting heroes must have either the Gondor or the Ranger trait, but not both. So I can include any (non-Fellowship) version of hero Aragorn and either version of hero Denethor, but I can’t include either version of hero Faramir, since he always has both the Gondor and the Ranger traits. The same restrictions apply to my allies, so I also can’t include either version of ally Faramir since he once again always has both the Gondor and Ranger traits.
2) I have to choose as starting heroes at least 1 Gondor hero and at least 1 Ranger hero, so I can’t go for an all-Gondor hero lineup without any Ranger heroes.
3) I have to include in my deck at least 10 Gondor allies as well as at least 10 Ranger allies.
4) After flipping the contract during Setup, I will have access for the rest of the game to a passive cost reduction for my Gondor or Ranger allies. While I control more Gondor characters than Ranger characters, the first Ranger character I play each round has its cost reduced by 1. While I control more Ranger characters than Gondor characters, the first Gondor character I play each round has its cost reduced by 1. If I play around with this carefully I could even end up benefiting from both cost reductions in the same round!
5) The cost reduction of the contract can reduce the cost of my characters down to 0 (but not to a negative number) since there is no cost limit mentioned. When combined with other cost-reduction abilities, the order in which they are applied is up to the player.
6) During the game I can exhaust the contract to activate its Action and change the printed ability text of a card in my hand or in play under my control so that, instead of mentioning only Gondor or Ranger, that card ability text now mentions “Gondor or Ranger”. So for example, if I play an Envoy of Pelargir [HoN 18/DoG 13] it can give 1 resource to either a Gondor or a Ranger hero, or I can play a Ranger Bow [AtS 88] on either a Gondor or a Ranger, or I can use For Gondor! [CORE 22] to grant all Gondor or Ranger characters +1 [defense] until the end of the phase.
Q: What exactly does “ability text” cover? What gets changed when using the contract’s Action?
A: Let’s review all aspects of a card’s text box:
Printed Traits: The printed traits of a card are not affected by the contract’s Action. So for example in a Gondor/Ranger The Last Alliance (TLA) deck, you can’t use the contract’s Action to give Lothíriel [VoM 27/RoR 3] the printed Ranger trait in order to use her Response to put a Ranger ally into play.
Play Restrictions and Cost Modifiers: These are passive abilities that affect when or how you can play a card or change a card’s cost, thus they are affected by TLA’s action. So in a Noldor/Dúnedain TLA deck, you can play Light of Valinor [D 107] on a Dúnedain hero by using the contract’s Action. Furthermore, in a Gondor/Rohan TLA deck you can have a Citadel Custodian [HoN 4] discounted by both Gondor and Rohan characters in play by using the contract’s Action.
Passive Abilities and Triggered Abilities: All of these are affected by TLA’s action. So in a Dwarf/Silvan TLA deck, you can use the contract’s Action to have the boosts from Celeborn or Dáin Ironfoot affect both Dwarf and Silvan characters, or to have Brok Ironfist’s Response trigger based off on both a Dwarf or Silvan hero leaving play, or to use Thranduil’s Combat Action to play either a Dwarf or a Silvan ally.
Shadow Effect or Flavour Text: Just to cover every possible part of a card, Shadow Effects (in those few rare cases where it would matter) and Flavour Text are not affected by TLA’s Action.
Q: How does the [with “A or B”] bit work exactly? Is it meant to be inclusive?
A: The “or” in that part of the text is indeed meant to be inclusive “or”, that is to say for game purposes to grant both traits to the card’s ability text. Here are some examples:
1) If I am playing a Dwarf/Noldor TLA deck, and I target Lure of Moria [D 30/DoD 22] with the contract’s Action, it would now read “Ready all Dwarf or Noldor characters” so all characters with the Dwarf, as well as all character with the Noldor trait (or with both, if I happened to play a card like Elf-friend [AA 93/AAHE 70]), are readied by Lure of Moria.
2) If I am playing a Gondor/Rohan TLA deck and I target a Steward of Gondor [CORE 26] I control, Steward of Gondor would effectively grant the attached hero both the Gondor and Rohan traits for all game purposes until the end of the round.
Q: Can I choose Lothíriel [VoM 27/RoR 3] as one of the starting heroes in a Gondor/Rohan TLA deck if one of the other starting heroes in the game is Éomer [VoI 1/RoR 1]?
A: When choosing starting heroes based on deckbuilding restrictions, their game text is not yet active. Since Lothíriel’s passive ability is not yet active she doesn’t have the Rohan trait, making her a viable choice.
Q: I am running a Dwarf/Noldor TLA with Spirit Dáin Ironfoot [EM 84] as one of my heroes. I use Thorongil [VoM 146] to bring Leadership Dáin Ironfoot [SoM 116/DoD 1] onto the table, attached to Thorongil. Can I target Leadership Dáin Ironfoot (or Spirit Dáin Ironfoot) with the contract’s Action in order to give all of my Noldor +1 WP/Attack?
A: In that situation, Leadership Dáin Ironfoot is not really in play so you can’t target him with the contract’s Action, and while Spirit Dáin Ironfoot has indeed gained Leadership Dáin Ironfoot’s text it hasn’t gained it as printed text so you can’t target Spirit Dáin Ironfoot with the contract’s Action either.
Into the West [TSotS 42] [added 2023-04-14]
Q: How does the second Forced effect of the contract Into the West work in regard to an ally “leaving play”? Can it be “rescued” by Eagles of the Misty Mountains [SoM 119]?
A: An ally that is removed from the game by the second Forced effect of Into the West has indeed left play, so it will trigger the Response of a Horn of the Mark [VoM 35/RoR 17] (if the ally who left play shares a trait with the attached hero) or the Forced effect of a Silvan Refugee [AtS 37/EoL 13]. Note though that since that ally has been removed from the game it will have “no further interaction with the game in any manner for the duration of its removal” (according to the Rules Reference), so if the ally that was removed from the game by the contract was an Eagle ally, a player cannot trigger the Response of an Eagles of the Misty Mountain to attach that Eagle facedown to the Eagles of the Misty Mountains.
Seasoned Forager [OotR 77] [added 2023-04-14]
Q: How does Seasoned Foraged and its “Limit 1 per player” work when a hero changes the controller and is passed to a player that already controls a Seasoned Forager?
A: Let’s say Player A has Seasoned Forager attached to their Glorfindel [CORE 12] and Player B plays Desperate Alliance [OtD 10], passing them Beravor [CORE 11], also with a copy of Seasoned Forager attached. When Player A takes control of Beravor, they end up controlling two attachments with the same title and “Limit 1 per player”. The second copy of Seasoned Forager that Player A has just taken control of is discarded from play (going back to Player B’s discard pile). For reference, this is similar to how side quests with “Limit 1 copy of [this side quest] in the victory display” work, as explained in The Sands of Harad rules booklet.
Osbera [OotR 145] [added 2023-04-14]
Q: How does Osbera flipping work? Is she readied by flipping if exhausted? Does she keep her resource tokens, damage tokens, and attachments? Is she considered to be leaving play?
A: Only the text of the side currently face-up is active. When Osbera flips, she is simply changing to another aspect of herself, she is no more bear than she is human. Many things remain unchanged:
- She keeps her ready or exhausted status.
- She keeps all tokens and all attachments (note though that since her Tactics side has the “Cannot have restricted attachments” text, any such cards will be discarded when she flips to that side).
- She is not considered to have left play when she flips from one side to the other.
- If any lasting effects created by card effects are affecting her (for example, if a treachery card has given her -2 willpower until the end of the round, or if you chose her as the target for The Last Alliance [CoE 85]’s Action) those effects will continue to affect her even after she flips.
Q: Does Osbera enter play on a specific side? Or is it by the player’s choice?
A: Whenever Osbera enters play, be it during Setup or later on during the game (through card effects like Fortune or Fate [CORE 54] or Helm of Secrecy [VoM 90/DoG 33], for example) she starts on the side chosen by the player who controls her. Note that if you don’t have an enemy engaged with you and you put her in play on her Tactics side, she will immediately flip over to her Lore side through her passive effect.
Q: If a quest Setup puts an enemy in play engaged with me, can I put Osbera in play on her Tactics side and keep her on that side?
A: Since the Setup effects of quest and encounter cards trigger after placing heroes on the table, Osbera will have already flipped to her Lore side by then. Note that if she has a resource to spend (maybe since you are playing Easy Mode) when an enemy is put in play engaged with you during Setup, you can spend that resource to flip her from her Lore to Tactics side as usual.
Q: Which printed sphere does Osbera have?
A: Osbera has the printed sphere of the side she is currently on. So if she is on her Lore side she will be counted for the discount on Scroll of Isildur [AtS 142], but if she is on her Tactics side she will not.
Q: How does Osbera interact with cards like The Last Alliance [CoE 85]?
A: For deck-building restrictions, you have to consider the side you will choose for her to be put in play as. So you can include her in a Creature/XXX The Last Alliance deck if you choose for her to be put in play on her Tactics side during Setup. Note that, as explained above, she will then immediately flip to her Lore side after being put into play and she will then usually start the first round as a simple Beorning.
Q: How does Osbera interact with Mirlonde [AtS 32] if we put her in play on her Tactics side during Setup?
A: Since her flipping from Tactics to Lore side is a passive effect always active (even in Setup, similar to how hero Gandalf [RD 2/FotR 7] allows you to peek at the top card of your deck even then), the same type of effect as Mirlonde’s threat cost reduction, you can choose the order in which they apply. So if you put her in play on her Tactics side during Setup (maybe due to some deck-building restrictions), you can still benefit from Mirlonde’s threat cost reduction if you decide to let Osbera’s passive effect that flips her back to her Lore side resolve first. This is also due to the fact that in Setup you first put heroes in play and only afterward you determine your starting threat.
Q: If I have a second Osbera in my collection can I use Thorongil [VoM 146] to put her other side in play through that card’s effect?
A: Thorongil asks for a “different version” of the hero, while both sides of Osbera are simply two aspects of the same hero. So you can’t use Thorongil to bring your second copy of Osbera into play on the other side.
Q: How does Tactics Osbera’s Response work? Can I use it to cancel 1 damage that would be dealt to one of my characters or must it be 2?
A: Tactics Osbera’s Response is meant to be used only when one of your characters is dealt 2 (or more) damage, it cannot be triggered when one of your characters is dealt only 1 damage.
Gilraen [OotR 182] [added 2023-05-25]
Q: How does Star Brooch (TLR 13/AAHE 47) interact with Gilraen’s self-reduction of [willpower]? And if the Brooch counteracts it, do the other Dúnedain heroes lose their [willpower] bonus?
A: Star Brooch uses the wording “cannot have its [willpower] reduced” and as defined by the FFG FAQ 1.14 “cannot” is an “absolute [that] cannot be overridden by other effects”. So yes, Star Brooch can counteract Gilraen’s [willpower] reduction, in the same way that it counteracts cards like Dark Knowledge (CORE 72) or A Fell Dread (AA 163/AACE 154). The [willpower] boost Gilraen provides to the other Dúnedain heroes is not affected by this
Aragorn [OotR 183] [added 2023-04-14]
Q: Can I use the Setup ability of Neutral Aragorn to attach a Title attachment to him that he is not eligible for, like Captain of Gondor [RM 140/DoG 15] or The Elvenking [EM 57]?
A: No, when you try to attach to Neutral Aragorn the Title attachment he fetched with his own Setup ability, he needs to be eligible for it at that moment. But if you are running him with The Grey Wanderer [VoM 24] contract, you could use the contract Setup effect to put Mighty Warrior [H 31] or Elf-friend [AA 93/AAHE 70] in play attached to Aragorn before attempting to attach Captain of Gondor or The Elvenking, for which Aragorn will then be eligible.
The Nine are Abroad [added 2023-04-14]
Shadows of Terror [TNaA 14]
The Shadows of Terror objective is meant to grant Nazgûl enemies immunity from player card effects even when those enemies are in out of play areas, such as in the encounter deck or in the encounter discard pile.
Q: Where do we put the current region token in Stage 1A Setup of The Nine are Abroad when there are multiple regions that are tied for the greatest number of traits shared with heroes in play?
A: When there is a tie between more than one region card sharing a trait with the highest number of heroes in your group, the first player will choose where to place the progress token among those region cards. Such a tie can also occur when all heroes in the group share zero traits with all the region cards (for example, when playing solo with a Gandalf The Grey Wanderer deck). In such a case the first player will choose where to place the progress token among all the region cards.
Q: Is “investigate rumors” a mandatory process, if the players control at least 1 ready character? Or can the group completely skip it? Why does only The Anduin River [TNaA 40] say “must investigate rumors”?
A: If the players control at least 1 ready character among themselves when they trigger an “investigate rumors” effect, they must indeed do so. As always, though, they can end the process after having exhausted only 1 character and without having found or chosen a Rumor effect. To make this more clear we have slightly updated the wording in the rules cards and brought the wording of The Anduin River in line with the other “investigate rumors” effects, to avoid doubts arising from the use of “must” only in that location.
Q: How do staging area Traps or Guarded (X) player cards interact with the peculiar staging area of The Nine Are Abroad?
A: Traps played in the staging area are attached to the first eligible enemy through a passive effect. All non-Nazgûl enemies in this quest also have a passive effect that will move them to a specific region as soon as that encounter card starts being revealed. That passive effect on enemies will take priority over the Trap attaching, in the same way as it takes precedence over something like Thalin [CORE 6]’s ability (as pointed out by the first FAQ included in the Nine are Abroad pack). So basically, staging area Traps will attach only to an enemy that is placed on the group’s current region when it’s revealed.
Guarded (X) cards will behave in a similar way for enemies, that is to say the enemy’s passive effect that places it onto its corresponding region will take effect as soon as it’s added to the staging area, before the Guarded (X) card can be attached to it, unless of course the enemy ends up in the group’s current region. So when determining if an enemy is an eligible target for the Guarded (X) keyword you need to keep discarding cards until you find an enemy that will be placed on the group’s current region.
Guarded (X) cards will work relatively normally on locations, since locations are placed on regions through a “Forced: After [this location] enters play” effect, so the Guarded (X) card has time to attach itself to a location before it’s placed on its corresponding region. This is similar to how enemies with “immune to player cards effects” or “cannot have attachments” are not eligible for the Guarded (X) keyword (see Ruling A below).
So to sum up, when resolving a Guarded (enemy or location) keyword in The Nine Are Abroad the eligible targets for it are all locations, or all enemies that will end up being placed in your region (keep in mind that Nazgûl enemies are immune to player card effects in all areas of the game due to the effect on Shadows of Terror [TNaA 14]).
In the rare event where you will go through the entire encounter deck without finding any viable target in the deck at all, you will get the Guarded (X) card for free (see Ruling B below).
Q: What happens if I play Necklace of Girion and it finds a Goblin Troop for its guarded effect? Is there a distinction between a card being an attachment vs being attached? Granted Necklace of Girion is also an “attachment” card, but it is not being attached in a conventional way. I feel like the intent is that the necklace attaches to the goblins, but I am not sure. The word “Cannot” is always supposed to be absolute. Have I missed a clarification in the Guarded keyword player card rules?
A: Since the Goblin Troop cannot have player card attachments, you would need to continue discarding from the encounter deck until you discard an eligible enemy or location.
I hope you’re enjoying The Wilds of Rhovanion!
Q: Bring Sting to a quest with no enemies in the deck (Battle of Lake-Town), or few enemies but get them all in play (Lonely Mountain, We Must Away Ere Break of Day). Then what? Sting needs an enemy.
A: In most cases, when you are instructed to discard cards from the encounter deck until you discard the appropriate card, you will reshuffle and continue discarding until you find that card. If you go through the entire deck, and there is no viable target in the deck at all, then you resolve the card to the best of your ability. In the case of Sting, you would immediately take control of it.
Free to Choose List (FTCL)
We know that game text not written on the cards adds mental overhead to playing the game. For that reason, our philosophy is to be as sparing as possible and try to preserve a card’s common use case, even with the optional FTCL. As was the case with FFG’s errata, the FTCL is not about balancing overpowered cards. We only focus on cards that, when combined with certain other cards, create novel and “game-breaking” effects beyond what the original designers likely intended. Cards that lead to infinite combos or trivialize a whole aspect of the game for multiple players are examples of effects that might qualify for the FTCL. A card like Steward of Gondor [CORE 26], while very powerful, would not qualify for the FTCL, as it seems to be used as intended, and any modification is likely to impact its regular use case.
In addition to some card changes, the FTCL contains a few minor rule changes, not all of which are related to powerful combos, but in some cases just to help simplify areas of the official rules that we have found particularly confusing for players. Since these changes directly contradict printed cards or official rulings, we have placed them in the FTCL rather than on the “FFG Semi-official FAQ” page.
Core Set [CORE]
Glóin [CORE 3]
Could read: “Response: After Glóin suffers damage, add 1 resource to his resource pool for each point of damage he just suffered (to a maximum of 3 resources per round).”
ALeP’s note: There is an infinite combo involving Glóin, Elrond [D 128/EoL 31], and Warden of Healing [D 83], which can allow one player to absorb an unlimited amount of damage every round. It depends on all the cards in this combo not having a limit on their ability. So we present a limitation to Glóin, as we believe that his unlimited resource generation was not intended. We feel that a limit of 3 resources per round preserves his use case in most decks, and might even encourage players to return to a hero that they may have previously considered “broken”.
Faramir [CORE 14]
Could read: “Action: Exhaust Faramir to choose a player. Each character controlled by that player gets +1 [willpower] until the end of the phase. (Limit twice per phase.)“
ALeP’s note: When the Core Set was released, a repeatable way to ready allies did not exist, so Faramir was trickier to abuse. However, the lack of a limit has had an oversized impact on the design space for repeatable ally readying, due to the disparity in Faramir’s exhaust ability compared to other allies. By limiting his ability to twice per phase, we preserve existing decks that might be using Messenger of the King [VoM 134] or Narya [GH 15] to get a single extra use out of Faramir, while opening up the design space for ally readying effects that would otherwise result in Faramir exhausting 3 or more times and trivializing the quest phase.
Shadows of Mirkwood Expansion [SoM]
Elfhelm [SoM 100]
Could read: “Response: After your threat is raised as the result of questing unsuccessfully, or by an encounter or quest card effect, reduce your threat by 1. (Limit once per round.)“
ALeP’s note: In most cases, Elfhelm offers a good counter to quests that use a threat mechanic as a primary obstacle to overcome. We want to preserve that use case while limiting his ability to completely trivialize such quests.
Dwarrowdelf Expansion [D]
Path of Need [D 103/DoG 34]
Could also contain the text: “Remove Path of Need from the game at the end of the round or after it leaves play.“
ALeP’s note: This card can be used in conjunction with Reforged [EM 153] and Strider’s Path [SoM 9] to be kept on the active location indefinitely, trivializing questing and combat for all players. This change preserves what we feel is its intended use: an emergency card to get out of a temporary bad spot.
Heirs of Númenor Expansion [HoN]
Blood of Númenor [HoN 13]
Could read: “Attach to a Gondor or Dúnedain hero. Limit 1 per hero.
Action: Exhaust Blood of Númenor and spend 1 resource from attached hero’s resource pool to give attached hero +1 [defense] for each resource in its resource pool until the end of the phase.
(Limit once per phase.) (Limit +3 [defense].)“
ALeP’s note: As with Gondorian Fire below, we feel that the ability to stack multiple of these on a single hero and achieve +20 [attack] or [defense] for a couple of resources can trivialize quests with big enemies and is an unintended use case. The change would still provide what we see as its intended use case: a repeatable way to get a modest attack boost for the cost of a resource.
Against the Shadow Expansion [AtS]
Gondorian Fire [AtS 85]
Could read: “Attach to a Gondor or Dúnedain hero. Limit 1 per hero.
Action: Exhaust Gondorian Fire and spend 1 resource from attached hero’s resource pool to give attached hero +1 [attack] for each resource in its resource pool until the end of the phase.
(Limit once per phase.) (Limit +3 [attack].)“
ALeP’s note: See Blood of Númenor above.
Angmar Awakened Expansion [AA]
Rallying Cry [AA 3/AAHE 20]
Could read: “Valour Action: Until the end of the phase,
add each ally that leaves play to its owner’s hand instead of placing it in the discard pile. add the next 3 allies that leave play to their owner’s hand instead of placing them in the discard pile.“
ALeP’s note: This original version of this card can be used in infinite combos using free allies that leave play immediately after being played (for example, an ally like Ioreth [DC 117/DCHE 56] in a quest that damages allies upon entering play, which in conjunction with Horn of Gondor [CORE 42] can create unlimited resources). We feel that this change would limit this combo while having the least significant effect on the regular use cases of the cards involved.
Doom Hangs Still [AA 117/AAHE 18]
Could read: “Planning Action: Until the end of the round, players do not raise their threat from questing unsuccessfully. (Limit once per game for the group.)
Valour Planning Action: Raise each player’s threat by 2 to skip the quest phase this round. (Limit once per game for the group.)“
ALeP’s note: Without the limit, this card can be used in conjunction with threat reduction and recursion to allow players an effectively unlimited number of rounds to get set up. With this change, we seek to limit this exploit while preserving what we believe is its intended use case.
Ered Mithrin Expansion [EM]
Radagast [EM 145]
Could read: “
You may use resources from Radagast’s pool to pay for Creature allies of any sphere. While playing a Creature ally, Radagast gains the printed [leadership], [spirit], and [tactics] icons.“
ALeP’s note: Strictly speaking, with the previous version of the text, using Radagast to play an off-sphere ally whose cost had been reduced to 0 with his staff was not possible. FFG has since privately clarified that Radagast was intended to work in that case, but in the absence of any official statement or errata, we are keeping this in the Free to Choose List for now, waiting to see if The Wilds of Rhovanion reprint will bring about any changes.
Mithril Shirt [EM 152]
Could read: “Response: When attached hero is dealt any amount of damage, reduce that damage by 1. (Limit 3 times per phase.)“
ALeP’s note: In conjunction with Vigilant Guard [DC 113/DCHE 33], this card can absorb an incredible amount of damage each round, including all archery damage. Between the two abilities, we see the absorption of damage as more problematic than the movement of damage, so we suggest a limit on Mithril Shirt that should preserve the ordinary use of both cards.
The Vengeance of Mordor Expansion [VoM]
Host of Galadhrim [VoM 36/EoL 23]
Could read: “Planning Action: Return each Silvan ally you control to your hand. Then, play each of those allies from your hand one at a time at no cost. Remove Host of Galadhrim from the game.“
ALeP’s note: This card can be used in an infinite combo to generate unlimited resources and card draw for all players on the table, using the Galadhrim Weaver [AA 89]’s ability to recur itself. Removing it from the game after use should preserve its ordinary use while preventing this combo.
Well Preserved [VoM 85]
Could read: “Response: At the beginning of the round, exhaust The One Ring and raise your threat by 1 to heal
all 3 damage from attached hero.”
ALeP’s note: With just a couple hit point attachments, this card can be used to absorb all combat damage every round without defending for the cost of 1 threat. We have found this to heavily restrict the scope for future healing effects. We are not entirely sure what the amount of healing the designers had in mind for this card’s “regular use”, but we have settled on 3 as a reasonable amount, given the cost.
Song of Healing [VoM 112]
Could read: “Action: Discard 1 card from your hand to heal 1 damage from attached hero. Any player may trigger this effect. (Limit twice per round.)“
ALeP’s note: In conjunction with Elven-light [AA 145/AAHE 49], this card presents unlimited healing and card draw opportunities given a continued supply of resources. We settled on this limit due to the similarity of the effect with Imladris Caregiver [DC 8/DCHE 55].
On the Doorstep Saga Expansion [OtD]
Thrór’s Key [OtD 16] [added 2023-04-14]
Could read: “Response: After a location is added to the staging area, if Thrór’s Key is attached to a hero, attach Thrór’s Key to that location. While attached to a location, Thrór’s Key gains: “Treat attached location’s printed text box as blank, except for traits.”
ALeP’s Note: As written, Thrór’s Key keeps its Response even when it’s attached to a location. That means that if locations keep getting revealed, it can keep “jumping” from one location to another for the whole game, providing consistent and repeatable location blanking. This can also effectively eliminate all Travel costs at higher player counts. We believe that was not the use case intended for it (especially looking at the two errata received by a similar card, Thrór’s Map [OHUH 13/DoD 19]) so we propose this alternate wording to limit Thrór’s Key’s Response to only one use.
General Rule Changes
These rule changes are also part of the Free to Choose List.
(FTCL 1.01) Setup Abilities
A card with Setup text will trigger the moment the card is introduced during the game setup. If a contract, hero, or other player card has a Setup ability, it triggers immediately after that card is placed on the table (that is during Setup Step 2 for heroes and contracts).
ALeP’s note: The rules regarding when to trigger various setup effects caused many players confusion. While this rule is contrary to FFG’s setup timing, we believe it offers a consistency that greatly simplifies a number of rule questions. One consequence of this change is that the Setup ability on Messenger of the King [VoM 134] is resolved before the starting hand is drawn, so situations where you draw the desired ally into your starting hand and are then unable to search your deck for it, thus possibly leaving you down a hero for the game, are avoided.
(FTCL 1.02) Doomed X on Player Cards
Every player card effect for which all or part of its cost involves the printed doomed keyword is considered to have the additional text: “(Limit once per round for the group)”.
ALeP’s note: It is possible to play many of the free doomed events on your opening turn and quickly build an unassailable board state before the encounter deck can respond. The threat cost of doing so can be easily mitigated later, once the game has been effectively won. This change is meant to preserve the ordinary use case of these doomed events while limiting their ability to overwhelm the encounter deck early on.
ALeP’s note 2: “Once per round” limits on event cards are tied to that card’s title, so multiple events with the printed doomed keyword can still be played in the same round as long as they have different titles.
ALeP’s note 3: Card effects that “give” the doomed keyword (like Gríma [VoI 2] or Herald of Anórien [RM 57]) are not affected by this change, as those are not considered to be “printed” instances of the doomed keyword. Soldier of Isengard [VoM 57], who does have the printed doomed keyword, is also not affected, as that doomed keyword is not part of the cost for a player card effect. Currently, the only cards affected by this change are events.
(FTCL 1.03) Rule of 3
A single player cannot play or put into play a card with the same title more than 3 times in the same phase.
ALeP’s note: In regular play, it is rare for a player to ever play the same card more than 3 times in one phase, so this rule should not affect most players. However, it does serve as a simple way to shut down infinite recursion decks, without needing to add every card with a recursive ability to the FTCL.