The most recent adventure cycle which we have seen in its entirety (at least the standard packs, no Nightmare yet for most of it) is the Ringmaker cycle, which began with the Voice of Isengard, and saw the players unite the Dunlendings under Saruman’s rule, enable him to forge a ring of power, and prove instrumental in the creation of the Uruk-hai. Not altogether a great week at the office…
Aside from what the players got up to thematically, mechanically, this was one of the most frenetic cycles. I’ve posted previously my thoughts on the Time mechanic, and its impact on the game, but even without the extra cards that get hurled at you by “time” this was a cycle very heavy on surge.
In terms of printed surge, the count was high, if not crippling, with a peak of 1 in about 4.5 cards surging in The Dunland Trap and the Nin-in-Eilph, dropping down to a more sedate 2 cards out of 26 for the 3 trials. Easy mode did little to change this, simply squashing the outliers towards the mean, with a high of 1 in 5 and a low of 1 in 11.
As in the previous cycle, the point where things get really punishing are in the cards with conditional surge, or surge-like effects. The Antlered Crown for example, boasts 15 out of 24 cards likely to find some way of throwing another card out at you, and 1 in 2 or 3 is common across the cycle. Nin-in-Eilph becomes the gentle options, with only 1 in around 4.5. Once again, Easy Mode offers less respite than the name might suggest, with multiple quests still finding an effect similar to surge on around half of cards.
Average surge likelihood:
Highest: 1 in 4.5 (21%) The Dunland Trap, Nin-in-Eilph
Lowest: 1 in 13 (7.6%) The 3 Trials.
Cycle overall: 15% standard, 13% Easy,
Surge-type effect Likelihood:
Highest: 1 in 1.5 (62.5%) The Antlered Crown
Lowest: 1 in 4.5 (22%) The Nin-in-Eilph
Cycle Overall: 40% standard, 34% Easy,
Overall Verdict – just plain silly