Fun how this card depicting one of Gandalf's most iconic moments is better used by Saruman (even though using it for a double Istari ready can be greatly satisfying). Of course it really shines in multiplayer.

While this may be named "Bilbo's Plan", truly, it is Aragorn's Plan. Since both Aragorn and this card have the same trigger, you may sort the order any way you would like. Thus, you can take an enemy, kill with Aragorn, use bilbo's plan to toss a location, the trigger aragorn's ability to pull said enemy out of staging. You could also smoke the enemy again if you have man power, or keep it if you are running a dedicated Dunedain deck.

Tactics Bilbo does like this card in solo play, if you are starving for enemies to trigger his response.

Perhaps a little on the niche side, but definitely a card I'd like someone to bring in higher number player games to try and smooth the locations.

341

While the rules allows you to play with less than 3 heroes, there is almost no deck with one (before The Grey Wanderer) or two heroes. Why ? Because getting more ressources, more stats and more action advantage between your starting characters is more valuable than a lower threat. This contract does the opposite (trading threat for a 4th hero), and that's in my opinion what makes it so powerful : you start with 33% more stats/ressources than the average deck. What downsides will you have in exchange ?

Threat management

With 4 heroes, keep in mind that your starting threat will likely be high. You will probably be forced to face ennemies like the well-know Anduin Troll on the first round, and every scenario focusing your threat level becomes riskier. You could already face this problem when building strong 3-hero lineup (like Gandalf/Elrond/Treebeard), but it becomes commun with Bond of Frienship.

Solutions :

  • Use low-threat heroes (Hobbits, Splorfindel, TÉowyn, even Sméagol)
  • Have built-in threat reduction on heroes (Nori, Galadriel, Beregond, Frodo Baggins)
  • Include threat-reducting cards. Because you have to include cards that don't belong to any sphere, Favor of the Valar is a must-have. Good old core set Gandalf too (note that you can't play hero Gandalf with this contract), especially because your increased ressource generation will make him easier to play.
  • Embrace the Valor cards. Angbor the Fearless is a monster when your starting threat is already 40.
Resource & card management

You are forced to play a 4-sphere deck, with exactly 10 cards from each sphere. Having a solution to transfer resources between your heroes may be something you want. Denethor is your man in a gondor line-up. Errand-rider, A Good Harvest are probably some good cards too. And you can always rely on your 10 neutral cards to dump the leftover resources (sometimes even transfering them with a Envoy of Pelargir).

Keep in mind that with two copies of your more valuable cards instead of three, you will not always find them in your starting hand. So either don't play decks that rely to much on many-card combo, or increase the number of fetching cards.

You will probably have to make choices (i always end up with a sphere where trimming down to 10 cards is a pain^^), so you may want to look for alternatives in other spheres. No more place in for threat reduction or discard recursion ? You can give a try to (Nori, Secret Vigil).

Lastly, note that every card that gives an advantage to each hero gets better with this Contract (ex : Tighten Our Belts can net you 4 resources).

Playing thematic

Playing with 4 heroes is really strong, so you could pick the best cards of each sphere and end up with some kind of Avengers team (i'm sure someone will build a One Deck with this contract someday).

But in my opinion Bond of Friendship will give you more fun when trying to build a thematic deck : Gondor or Hobbit are probably the most tailored for, but you can make a Bond of Friendship with almost every archetype of the game. The limitation in the number of copies will give you more variety by forcing you to include more differents cards, and you can end up picking some cards that where in your binders for a very long time :)

115

A lower-mid threat cost, nice attack, with ranged to boot (only Lanwyn and Legolas have those), and good questing power would be a cool addition, but nothing to write home about. Having the Dale keyword is a nice plus, as is Scout; Brand son of Bain is a specially interesting pair. Her ability is conditional on the quest having surge, as she can't do anything if none of the cards in the encounter deck has that pesky trait... right?

Well, actually you can. With a Tactics companion you can call on the [Flight of the Eagles]Eagles(/card/19032) to either increase the scout's Willpower or giving one extra action; a Leadership pair would help the same, with [Ranger Summons]Rangers(/card/09007) instead of the Great Messengers of Manwe.

If you were to try a tri-sphere deck abusing those cards, maybe Thurindir for Scout Ahead would be interesting to get those Surge when you actually need, with other in-sphere cards like Far-sighted or even Risk Some Light. Otherwise, a nice pairing with Aragorn would allow you to keep two spheres while giving you access to Ranger Summons.

I believe she should be used in a Fellowship together with a good defending deck as to abuse her Ranged when possible.

Anyway, I still don't have this card, it'll take a bit until I do, but I'm already interested to see how I can abuse such a fun Hero.

7

Super interesting hero. I wonder at which point in the story-line this is supposed to depict him: before he was halfway on the path to corruption is my guess, because why would he be a hero otherwise? Rereading the Lord of the Rings, my attention was drawn to the passage where Gandalf describes being captured by Saruman, and the latter is quoted as calling himself "Ring-maker" (where the eponymous cycle derives its name from) and as wearing a ring. It kinda makes me wish there would be a ring attachment specifically for Saruman's ring, kind of like this card in an earlier incarnation of the Lord of the Rings card game: www.categoryonegames.com. Perhaps Magic Ring could serve that function, though it seems a bit of a poor substitute.

27