South Rhun as a City
This is a fairly well known house rule that changes South Rhun from a Settlement into a City. It really only provides the FP with an opportunity to capture two SP cities for Military Victory (Angmar and South Rhun) since the other SP city is almost impossible to conquer (Far Harad).
Smeagol Tiles are treated like (0+reveal) tiles instead of (0) tiles. The second Smeagol Tile eliminates Smeagol but doesn’t trigger We Shall Get It!
These changes make Smeagol Tiles weaker and give the SP more opportunities to reveal the Fellowship.
When the Ent faction is mustered place 1+h Ents in Fangorn where h is the number of Hobbits in Fangorn. If after an Ent attack, the defending Shadow army is completely eliminated, place the attacking Ent in the now-vacated region.
The first rule allows multiple Ents to be placed in Fangorn (as opposed to 1) and makes the Ents much more powerful. I really haven't playtested the first rule yet but it is a work in progress. The second rule prevents single regular units from stalling the Ents and allows the Ents the opportunity to have a real impact in the expansion.
These units are Elites that can only be mustered in North Rhun or South Rhun. In addition, Elephants can only be mustered in Umbar, Near Harad, and Far Harad. If using the Cavalry then replace the S&E Elite Elephant in South Rhun with an Easterling Cavalry unit.Easterling Cavalry are Elite units that have a Leadership of 1. However, they may not be reduced in order to continue a siege.
Use a Muster Die to bring in the Black Uruk Faction
- When the Black Uruk Faction is mustered, replace up to 10 Sauron Orcs in the supply with Black Uruks on a 1 for 1 basis (these Sauron Orcs are removed form the game) and place 1 Black Uruk from the supply in any Sauron Stronghold.
- Black Uruks function like Sauron Regulars except that Event Cards cannot muster them.
- Black Uruks act like Elites for the combat card We Come to Kill
- Each Black Uruk sacrificed for Onslaught or Relentless Assault counts as two units.
- If a siege involves equal siege engines on both sides and Black Uruks are in the attacking army, then the FP rolls a die. If the result is equal to or less than the number of Black Uruks in the Shadow Army then the FP may not sacrifice a trebuchet this round in order to gain siege superiority.
The Cavalry and Uruk rules allow players to use the other new pieces from the expansion and provide more variety in combat and strategies.
Grima, the Wormtongue
(use a Marker in Edoras to represent Grima)
- Movement 0, Leadership 0
- Add 1 Die to the Shadow Action Pool.
- If Isengard is not at War, SP may use a Muster die to place Grima in Edoras.
- Theoden's Counselor - It costs the FP 1 Army/Muster die to advance Rohan on the political track (instead of just a Muster die).
- Black Whispers - Rohan is only activated by companions or removing Grima. If the Grima Event card is in play then you may draw an event card whenever any Character dice are used to play an event.
- If Helm's Deep or Edoras is attacked, Rohan goes to War, OR Gandalf the White moves to Edoras then Eliminate Grima from the game.
- When Grima leaves the game, move Rohan to War, Muster a Rohan unit (Regular or Elite) in any Free Rohan settlement.
Grima is not considered a Minion for the purpose of playing Gandalf the White. While Saruman is in play, Grima does not add 1 die to the Shadow Action Pool.
Grima provides a consistent method for the Shadow to halt Rohan’s development. He also gives the SP an opportunity to get two action dice with the first two Musters (Balrog and Grima). He can only be mustered pre-Saruman so he cannot replace a lost Saruman Action die. He also slows down the Rohan politics and combines well with his card (if drawn). The primary drawback of Grima is that Gandalf the White can move to Edoras and get Rohan to War quickly along with a free unit.
Elrond, Lord of Rivendell
(Use a figure to represent Elrond in Rivendell)
- Movement 0, Leadership 2
- If Saruman is in play and neither Gandalf the White nor Galadriel are in play, use a Muster die to play Elrond in Rivendell.
- Council of Elrond – Use an Elven Ring to change any action die into a Will of the West
- Healing Guidance – Remove 1 Corruption by using a Will of the West AND 1 Elven Ring.
- Elladan and Elrohir – Use a Will of the West to move an Elven unit (Regular or Elite) and an Elven Leader from Rivendell to the region with Strider/Aragorn. This unit can move into a stronghold under siege.
- Wisdom of Elrond - Use a Will of the West to activate any Free People’s nation and advance it one step on the political track OR to advance two active nations, one step each, on the political track.
If Elrond AND Galadriel are in play, or have been in play, then the SP may muster the Mouth of Sauron with a Muster die.
Elrond is designed primarily as an alternative to Galadriel. One problem with the expansion is the focus on Lorien. Elrond allows Rivendell to draw some attention and also provides some interesting assistance to the Free Peoples player. He can help the Ringbearers with Healing Guidance, assist Strider/Aragorn by sending aid, activate and energize the FP nations with Wisdom of Elrond, and his Council ability allows the FP to get Will of the West when needed. He doesn’t add a FP action die though and if he and Galadriel are mustered then the SP gets to bring in the Mouth of Sauron early. Otherwise, Elrond is not a huge drawback, but many of his abilities require Elven Rings, which can be dangerous with the new and improved Witch King (see below).
Witch King (Chief of Ringwraiths)
- Movement (Inf.), Leadership 2
- Add 1 die to the Shadow Action Pool.
- Play the Witch-king, Chief of the Ringwraiths in a Free Region with the Fellowship or in a region occupied by a Shadow Army, using a Muster die.
- When the Witch-king, Chief of the Ringwraiths enters play, Muster 2 Nazgûl in any 2 Sauron Strongholds (1 in each).
- Shadow of Despair - if the Witch-king is in play, each Nazgûl in the Region (including the Witch-king) grants one Hunt re-roll.
- He Sees, He Knows - if the Fellowship is declared in a Region, which is not a Free Peoples Stronghold, you may immediately move the Witch King to the Region with the Fellowship.
- Hound for the Dark Lord - When Witch-king, Chief of the Ringwraiths enters play, draw 3 Hunt tiles and choose 1 to be removed from the Game. This ability can be used again by discarding an Elven Ring and an Action die. Any Smeagol tiles drawn do not bring Smeagol into play AND they may be chosen as the tile removed.
- The Ring draws them – If the Fellowship is revealed AND you play a character card with a Palantir action die result, then immediately draw a new Character card.
This version of the Witch King makes him more tempting and useful in the Hunt than the published expansion WK. For starters, he can be mustered into a Shadow Army, which allows the SP to get the WK at any time (instead of only when the FSP is not in a FP Stronghold/City). He comes out with two Nazgul, which allows his hunting to be more effective without Sauron being at War (and is also like a free Muster). His card cycling ability is only useful when the FSP is revealed but this can be very useful in cycling Character cards and improving the Corruption strategy. Finally, his ability to use Elven Rings (and one time use when he enters play) allows the SP to remove some Hunt Tiles (including removing Smeagol!) but only out of a limited random pool. Overall, these improvements make the Chief a much more viable option for the SP and since he doesn’t automatically activate nations he offers a different feel to the game.
Event / Combat Card Modifications
These changes to cards are to improve event/combat card effects. The changes are underlined for each card.
Shadow Events Changes in BLUE
Flocks of Crebain
Play Table. SP gets one re-roll on all Hunt rolls. Discard "Flocks of Crebain" to add 1 to the Hunt Roll. Discard if FSP Declares in a FP City or Stronghold.
Return to Valinor
SP Control Elven Stronghold. For each Elven Stronghold not under siege: Roll 1 die for each Elven Unit hitting on 5+.
Minas Tirith under Siege. Play Table. Eliminate 1 FP Leader in MT. FP player can't use Combat Cards for MT battles or sacrifice Trebuchets. FP can discard using Will or any action die if Gandalf or Aragorn in MT.
FSP or FP Companion inside a Nation's Borders that is not "At War". Move Nation 1 step back on Political Track and the shadow player eliminates one Leader from that Nation.
Corsairs are upon us!
Move all ships. Move an Army from a Region with a Ship to a Region with a Ship. Move/Attack with that Army. FP cannot play a Card during 1st round of any ensuing battle. If FP withdraws into Stronghold, then SP gets 1 Free Siege Tower against that Stronghold.
Flocks of Crebain becomes much more powerful than it was previously. Return to Valinor is actually playable. Denethor's Folly impacts siege engines. Stormcrow allows SP to choose the casualty. Corsairs is useful again.
Gwaihir, the Windlord
Move or Separate one or more Companions from the FSP as if they were level 4. They can move into or out of a Stronghold under siege.
The Last Battle
Aragorn or Gandalf the White with FP Army in S or N Ithilien, Dagorlad, or Mordor. Play Table. Action dice used to move the FSP are not placed in the Hunt Box. Elven Rings used by the FP are removed from the game. Discard this card as soon as a FP Army is not in one of the Regions above.
Threat to the Fiefs of the South
Southrons and Easterlings at War. Recruit 1 Gondor Regular in Pelagir, Lossarnach, and Lamedon. Roll a die for every Ship in a Gondor Region and remove it on 4+.
Wisdom of Elrond
Activate a Free Peoples nation and advance it on the political track OR advance two active Free Peoples nations on the political track.
The Eagles are Coming!
Companion in FP Army in or adjacent to Region with both an SP Army and Nazgul. Roll 1 die per Nazgul present (max 5) and eliminate one for every 5+. All other Nazgul in that Region move to Barad Dur. Witch King is unaffected by this card.
Mirror of Galadriel
Add a Will of the West action die to your available action dice. Also, if the Fellowship is in Lorien you may immediately heal one Corruption.
There is Another Way
Immediately heal on corruption. Then if Gollum, or Smeagol, is the guide, you may move or hide the Fellowship.
Big changes are in Wisdom of Elrond and re-design of Mirror or Galadriel. Mirror allows avoidance of turn stalls in some situations (greatly helping FP player).
FP Combat Effects
Companion in the Battle. Shadow player's combat card effect is cancelled. One Companion’s Leadership is forfeit for this battle round.
Among the Siege Engines
For each hit you score during your leader re-roll, you may eliminate one enemy siege engine (if one is present) in addition to your hit.
FP Siege Engine in Battle. Treat Trebuchets as Regulars for this combat round.
It is a Gift
The defending or attacking Army is in the FSP Region. Add 1 to all dice on your Combat roll and Leader re-roll.
These changes allow the FP many more combat options and improve many combat effects that were never very helpful.
These changes really provide a lot of interesting openings and help to make event/combat cards more interesting and decisions more meaningful. Hopefully, they add more variety and options to both sides while maintaining most of the game balance.