A while ago, Fantasy Flight had a Design Journal on their website, describing the two main kinds of cards they designed; the hit and the haymaker. The haymaker is an explosive, incredibly powerful but expensive effect, like Hour of Wrath or the Boromir bomb. The hit, on the other hand, is a more miniscule effect that is cheaper but needs time and most likely additional assistance to really help the players. Argalad definitely falls into this latter category.

First off, his stats: Argalad has a threat cost slightly lower than the average for heroes (9 vs. 9.26), while his is around the average (2 vs. 1.91) and his is slightly above average (2 vs. 1.91). His 1 clearly leaves him unsuited for defensive work, except in great need, though his 4 makes him able to eat some weak undefended attacks or direct damage from the quest.

So, Argalad should work best either for attacking or questing: the fact that he has Ranged pushes one more towards combat, but his ability makes him more useful for questing.

What of his ability, by the way? While lowering the of an enemy by 2, or more if you can pump up Argalad's , doesn't sound too impressive, and 1 point of damage sounds even less so, Argalad is a clear case of the power of 'hit' cards. Argalad's semi-low threat makes it easier to avoid enemies, and 's engagement trickery (Ranger Spikes, Take No Notice, Noiseless Movement, etc.) makes it even easier to trap enemies in the staging area, leaving you free to whittle them down with Argalad, who, conveniently, helps solve the main problem of leaving enemies in the staging area; having to deal with their .

Now, I am not saying that Argalad is a magic bullet; it takes time to destroy an enemy this way, point by point, and, more often than not, I merely use Argalad's ability to deal 1 damage to an enemy who then proceeds to engage my other deck, whose threat I am not so paranoid about keeping below engagement costs. But even then, Argalad is still handy, helping at least somewhat ease combat for the other deck.

Overall, Argalad does not provide the 'in-your-face' power of Éowyn or Boromir, but that is not to call him weak; he is definitely a 'hit' card, but a very good one, one who, like the Hobbits in Tolkien's work, is not impressive to look at but, in time of great doom, may deliver a stroke of great power, awesome even to the Wise, or may simply do what he can to till and clean the earth for those who come after him.

completely agree. not a BOOM kind of hero, but extremely solid in a trap deck with Haldir, or even in concert with Thalin. throw some attachments on Argalad and you're cancelling some serious threat. I love this hero. great review! —

This card is mental in a Dale deck. My first game playing a Dale deck I played two of these (number three was lost somewhere in the bottom of the deck) and gained 11 resources. Less the cost of the card, that’s a gain of 9 resources for two cards. (!)

Long story short, in the right deck this card is an awesome resource accelerator.

Bilbo is, without a doubt, a terrible hero.

I know, I know, build him up with half a dozen attachments and he's good- but any hero is good if you do that. He literally has no good stats, which means all of his usefulness comes from the attachments. That means if you attached those cards to a hero that is already good at that thing, they're going to be better than Bilbo every time.

The usual advice is to build him up as a defender with cards like Protector of Lórien and A Burning Brand - but in the same sphere and for less threat (yep, actually less threat) I could have Denethor as a defender, who has +1 and . Bilbo will have to ditch a card to Protector every turn just to have the same defence as Denethor starts with, and he's more likely to die if you mess up. Suddenly the extra draw for Bilbo doesn't look so great.

If you want card draw and a hobbit, the obvious choice is Pippin at just 2/3 the threat cost. He'll most likely draw you more cards over the game anyway and you don't need to build him up so much, as the obvious place for him is questing.

The big issue with Bilbo though is opportunity cost. The time you really need your heroes to step up is early, before your board state is very advanced. Bilbo is hopeless then; he's not built up yet (it will probably take several turns to get him to "ok") so you are basically down one hero. He works against the hobbit theme of low-threat turtling to get set up, because his threat is so high. The passive +1 card is a trap - he'll use early card draw and resources just to get him to the level of other starting heroes, meaning that he is a net negative in both cards and resources.

I think Bilbo suffered from coming out so early in the game's development, and was just a complete miscalculation by the game's designers. If he came out now, I think he'd be only 6 threat at most (I personally think he should be 5). That may seem extreme, but his one stat higher than 1 is , and that is the one stat where it isn't very helpful to have a value of 2- the mechanics of defence basically mean that <3 often might as well be 0. His passive draw is not helpful when you need several cards to get to "break even" point, and you don't even get the draw yourself every turn.

Really, the only reason to use Bilbo is if you want to handicap yourself. I rate him as the worst hero in the game, and by some margin. The only question to me is, are you better off having only two heroes rather than taking Bilbo? And that is a pretty sad indictment.

I don't think it's fair to judge the first hero we got in an AP against today's standards and pool. Bilbo is certainly overpriced as a result of a miscalculation by the developers (and yes, I think they should errata him to 6 threat). Back in his days, there were just 2 hobbits available (him and then Frodo), and he was the one with the amazing Fast Hitch on sphere. Likewise, back in the days there was Beravor for reliable card draw and little more, there was no Heed the dream, no Daeron's runes, etc., so Bilbo was a very nice addition to Mithrandir's advice and the terrible Wealth of Lorien in order to draw cards. Lore Pippin came along with a bunch of hobbit cards and it's hard to make a case for Bilbo when competing against him, but even nowadays I don't think he's strictly worse than Spirit Pippin or Fatty Bolger. Some heroes were revitalized afterwards, like Dunhere, but Bilbo was better than him back then. I don't think he's strictly worse than other heroes like Lore Glorfindel, Dori, Idraen or Halbarad, because he's ability is more interesting and his main virtue. My two cents! —
Well, if I was going to review a card “as it was when released” that would be a different review entirely. This is a review of a card as of the moment when I wrote it. As far as the other heroes you’ve mentioned, I would (and have) use all of them well before Bilbo. Interestingly though, I think a newly announced card (The Shirefolk) may rehabilitate Bilbo somewhat- I may be feeling differently about him in 6 months :) —

Error in description.

Admins can delete this 'review' :)

200 characters is a lot! A lot, a lot!

Way more than I thought that it would be. Don't make me bust out the lorem ipsum!

Ok, you asked for it....

Let's try to ignore the fact, that Frodo's ability is awesome, simply because it set us free from fear in questing, and let's take look on his other qualities. For very nice 7 threat, you get very good stats, which makes him quite good quester and defender. With Fast Hitch he can do both. There are lot of boosts in sphere (Fireside Song, ...), so there is lot ways to boost him even more, and when it comes to , Hobbit Cloak can make it better. In his specific case is not really important how many HP he's got, but when you don't want to use his ability all the time, one pair of Boots from Erebor would suit him well. As every hobbit, when you'll feed him well with Good Meal, he will offer some pretty nice discounts on event cards as Light the Beacons, Fortune or Fate, O Elbereth! Gilthonial!, Out of Sight, The Galadhrim's Greeting or very nice Stand and Fight which basically allows you to bring to the game from discard pile any ally from any sphere for 2 less then it's the real cost and you don't have to be in secrecy. He also works very well with Song of Mocking. His ability allows him to absorb damage from basically anything in the game and so his only weakness (or yours when you'll play him) is threat management. Luckily sphere is a specialist for threat management. Beside those events mentioned above, there are several cards which helps you to manage that, like Hobbit Pipe with Smoke Rings, Elfhelm and maybe even better cards for multiplayer: Wandering Took, Song of Eärendil and so on. So Frodo Baggins is really great hero, which is very well designed, even from thematic point of view. The artwork is great. Verdict: 5/5.