If an encounter card with the doomed keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, each player must raise his threat level by the specified value.
When an encounter card with the surge keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, reveal 1 additional card from the encounter deck. Resolve the surge keyword immediately after resolving any when revealed effects on the card.
The guarded keyword is a reminder on some objective cards to reveal and attach the next card of the encounter deck to the objective when it enters the staging area from the encounter deck, and place them both in the staging area. The objective cannot be claimed as long as any encounter card is attached. Once that encounter is dealt with, the objective remains in the staging area until it is claimed. If another objective card comes up while attaching a card for the guarded keyword, place the second objective in the staging area, and use the next card of the encounter deck to fulfil the original keyword effect. Enemy and location cards attached to guarded objectives do still count their threat while the enemy or location is in the staging area. An encounter card attached to a guarded objective is dealt with in the following method, depending on its card type:
Once all encounter cards attached to a guarded objective are dealt with, the players can claim the objective in the manner specified by its card text.
Uncharted locations represent unknown areas of Middle-earth, untouched and unexplored during this age of the world. As such, the players do not know what to expect when traveling to them.
These locations are double-sided. One side is called â€œLost Island,â€ and has the Uncharted keyword. Uncharted locations are always added to the staging area with the â€œLost Islandâ€ side faceup, without looking at the other side of the card. Locations with the Uncharted keyword do not have quest points and cannot be explored by placing progress on them, although progress may still be placed on them (in order to trigger their Action ability).
Each copy of Lost Island has the following text: â€œForced: After Lost Island becomes the active location, flip it over.â€ Thus, by traveling to an Uncharted location, the players can discover what kind of location it really is, flipping it over to its other side. Flipping over an Uncharted location removes all progress from it. Once flipped, it functions as a normal location, with the following exceptions: Double-sided locations cannot enter the encounter deck. If a double-sided location would enter the discard pile, it is instead shuffled back into the Uncharted deck, Lost Island side faceup.
Each copy of Lost Island also has the following text: â€œAction: Remove 4 progress from Lost Island to look at its facedown side.â€ Thus, by placing progress on a Lost Island card in the staging area, the players may look at its facedown side in order to gain information about where to travel.
Many locations on the other side of an Uncharted location have Forced effects that trigger after they are flipped. After flipping an Uncharted location, make sure to check the newly flipped location for any such effects. Note that â€œlookingâ€ at the facedown side of an Uncharted location does not trigger any of these effects.
Note that all copies of Lost Island have the Ruins of NÃºmenor encounter set icon on their Lost Island side, even though some of these cards may actually belong to different encounter sets.
The Exploration keyword on the main quest represents the playerâ€™s ability to traverse the Island Map prepared during the setup of the scenario. In this scenario, locations are not revealed from the encounter deck, and the entire island is laid out for the players to explore, one location at a time.
Locations in the Island Map cannot leave the Island Map for any reason, nor can they leave their individual positions within the island (for example, an effect that would switch two locations does not work in this scenario). The Island Map is not the same as the staging area and does not function in the same way. Note that there is still a staging area, which is used for enemies and other cards that would be placed into the staging area.
During this scenario, the active location is represented through the use of an â€œactive location marker,â€ which can be a resource token or a pawn/figurine of the playersâ€™ choice. The active location is not moved out of its place in the island map when the players travel to it. The locations adjacent (orthogonally, not diagonally) to the active location are considered to be in the staging area. All of the other locations on the Island Map are not considered to be in the staging area.
When the players quest successfully, progress is still placed on the active location before it is placed on the current quest, up to that locationâ€™s quest points, as normal. However, if progress is placed on any location equal to its quest points, it is not immediately explored. Instead, it remains in play.
During the Travel phase, if the active location has progress on it equal to its quest points, the players have the option to travel to a location in the staging area (i.e. an adjacent location). If the active location does not have enough progress on it, they cannot travel from it. If the players travel to another location, all progress is removed from the active location, and their active location marker is moved to the new location. At this point, the formerly active location is considered â€œexplored,â€ although it is not discarded or flipped over, and remains in place. Because players always travel from one location directly to another in this scenario, there is always an active location at any given moment in time. Remember that flipping an Uncharted location also removes all progress from it.
Players can freely travel around the Island Map using the above rules, and may return to locations they have already explored. Your goal is to find the entrance to the underwater Grotto which is somewhere inside the grand templeâ€“the three locations on the rightmost side of the Island Map. But, in order to enter the Temple, you must find the Gate Key somewhere on the island.
The setup for this scenario instructs the players to â€œPrepare the Island Map.â€ This is done by separating all 15 of the double-sided Uncharted locations in the encounter deck and laying them out in a three by five grid as shown below, with each â€œLost Islandâ€ card in the first four columns, and the three â€œTemple of the Deceivedâ€ cards in the rightmost column. This should be done without looking at the facedown side of any of these locations, so that the map is randomly generated.
Any card effects that reference a direction (left, right, above or below) should be interpreted from the perspective of the diagram below (â€œto the right,â€ for example, would mean in the direction towards the three Temple of the Deceived locations).
Remember you always have an active location, you track your progress along the
map with a token, the only locations considered to be "in the staging
area" are those orthogonally adjacent to your active location, and all
the locations in the Island Map enter place facedown, only to be turned
faceup once you travel to them, as shown on the example below:
To play normal mode, just follow the setup instructions on the quest card.
When you play normal mode (or easy mode of course) and if you're new to the game, you can also play the "Basic Game" defined in the core set rules:
Newer players or players who want a more basic experience can play and enjoy the game by not dealing shadow cards during the combat phase. This eliminates an element of surprise that could make the game too challenging for a beginner. Once players are comfortable with this experience, they can then add the shadow effects to make combat less predictable and more exciting.