Since I had very little time over the weekend to write (I was at Ghengis Con) so I let Mike Hess review this card which he knows better than I do.
How many angels can fit on the head of a pin? Who cares. The real question is, how many dwarves can you fit in a single company. Well, when those fun-loving dwarves get in the mood, the answer can be "just about all of them" if they throw
An Unexpected Party # Resource # Permanent-event
Only playable during the organization phase on a company. There is no limit to the size of this company. Dwarves with a mind of 2 or less in this company do not require influence to be controlled; and there is no limit to how many Dwarves may be brought into play on a given turn with the company. Discard this card if the company has more than one non-Wizard character with a mind greater than 5 or more than two non-Dwarf characters or no Dwarf with a mind greater than 5. Cannot be duplicated on a given company.
The first power of this event is not necessarily the best, but I am going to talk about it first and then move to the second effect.
Up until now, the only way you could get more than 7 characters travelling together was if two or more of them were Hobbits. That's okay as far as it goes, but lets face it, Hobbits aren't going to protect anybody. Now that the Dwarves can throw a party, you can practically travel with an army. It might be considered a drawback that you are raising your hazard limit along with the size of the company, but let's face it, very seldom will your opponent have that many hazards in his hand anyway, and if he does, then he's probably discarding resources which can be to your own benefit. Also, with some of the new strategies that bypass the hazard limit, this card can only help you. Let them attack with unlimited orcs. They will never have as many as you have dwarves, and dwarves will kick orc butt anyway.
Under perfect circumstances, you can get 13 dwarves, one wizard, and another character, or the size of Thorin's company in The Hobbit, into a single company. One limitation is that you can't have more than one non-wizard character with a mind greater than 5 in the company, so you can't have Thrain, Gimli, Thorin, and Dain travelling around together, but I don't consider it much of a problem considering the advantages. Think about it. You have 15 characters travelling around together. That gives you 14 +1 prowess modifiers on a single attack, or 14 +1 bonuses for a corruption check. Very handy for helping to defeat those at-home Dragons, or carrying around those corruption-heavy dwarven rings. Or use The Dwarves Are Upon You! You can have +26 in total prowess, the perfect match for a Ghouls with The Moon is Dead and Plague of Wights. It also helps in the Under-Deeps, when you have to face a Balrog at the Under-Gates. Either you can throw a couple of 1 mind dwarves at it, or tap enough dwarves for your toughies to defeat it, and still have a couple left to play those two items, assuming you've gotten there relatively unmolested.
The second power though is the one that I consider even better. Forget A Chance Meeting. With this card, you can put as many dwarves in play on a single turn as you have in your hand, if they meet the criteria (which would be a 5 or less mind attribute) and you are at a haven. Again under perfect circumstances, this means that on your first turn, you could get your wizard and six dwarves into play, and travel your first Movement/Hazard phase with 12 characters. Naturally, the draw is never going to be THAT good, but here is what I do. Usually, I can get a dwarf or hopefully my wizard into play on the first turn, and have some major or greater item to try to get into play. Since I put three Unexpected Parties into my deck (yes, I traded to get three as soon as I saw the power of this card) I can be fairly sure that it will come up reasonably soon, so if it and a number of dwarves don't come up on the first turn, I travel somewhere dangerous with a big card draw, and take every opportunity to draw as many cards as I can, and most often, by my third turn, I have Unexpected Party and a number of dwarves, and bring them all in at the same time on one trip to a haven. In any case, even if you have a couple of things you need to get done first, you can just collect dwarves until the opportunity to visit a haven, or even a dwarf hold, arrives and put them all in play at once. More than once an opponent has rejoiced at his luck in killing off a small dwarf in my party only to see three, four, or even five come in to replace him on the next turn.
There are a couple of stoppers. Seige, for one, can keep this company in limbo, since there are only a couple of scout dwarves. I recommend a Palantir of Osgiliath in the deck for this purpose. Corruption can also be a factor, since many of the smaller dwarves have a built in -1 corruption. This can be gotten around since you can spread your items over a pretty wide range of dwarves. Also, once you have your company in place, a Fellowship or two can be very helpful.
All in all, what weaknesses this card has are more than compensated for by its strengths. If there is a real effective stopper for it, nobody has come up with it yet, and I haven't seen it. Siege probably could cause the most headaches for it, but there are ways around that, and Siege is only one card in quite a few, and chances are good that your opponent won't be playing one, and if he is, since it is rare, he is likely not to have more than one, and he may never see it in a game.
And whatever is said about its effectiveness, this card is a very fun card to play, and will never be absent from any dwarf based deck I build. And my rating has to be taken from within the context of building a dwarf based deck, as of course this card would be absolutely useless in any other deck, but that is its purpose and it carries it out so well.
|Ratings for An Unexpected Party:|
Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1997 by Trevor Stone. Permission given to duplicate so long as no profit is made and the copyright notice is kept in tact, blah, blah, blah.