Over (Gold) Hill and over Dale, the great wyrm Smaug flew. Where he passed, great warriors were few.
Men of Dale # Resource # Man Faction # 2 MP
Unique. Playable at Dale if the influence check is greater than 7. Standard modifications: Men (+2), Dwarves (+1).
The Men of Dale are one of several factions up in the north-east. They are a hardy bunch, living near the great dragon, yet it's easy to convince them to join your side, especially if you say you'll go kill Smaug.
Men of Dale are ideal for a typical dragon-slaying deck. They are worth 2 MPs, not a staggering amount, but when you're around all those greater item sites you can get enough MPs anyway and factions are mainly useful for not limiting your item MPs. It's also ideal in a dragon slaying deck for its ease of play. You can have a big, tough man without much influence, Beorn for instance, try to bring in the Men and only need to roll better than a 3. Or you can have someone like Thorin (needs better than a 4) or Dain (needs better than a 2) bring them in. Or for some fast points you can give someone like Gamling the Old a Horn of Anor and send him round to bring in the Men of Lake Town/Northern Rhovanion, Dale, and Dorwinion, possibly followed by the Iron Hill Dwarves and Wood-elves. Another option is to put someone like Fram Framson, Beretar, or Boromir under the control of a Wizard and let him bring in the faction. Or if you want to make a likely thing positive, have Brand need to roll better than a 1 to bring them in.
Overall, you'll probably want to include just about all of the factions in Northern Rhovanion and its neighboring regions in a deck around there, especially if you're playing single deck. With a dragon deck you end up with lots of item MPs, several of which go to waste unless you get some factions as well. Plus, if you're up in the north you can use the only "army" card so far, Alert the Folk. While discarding a couple MPs may not sound like a good idea, you may get more than those 2 MPs in kill points. Plus, once you get the faction out it's not as safe as it once was.
Several very nice cards can help to shut down the faction half of a dragon deck. No Escape From My Magic placed on the Men of Dale can be a real downer, there's the usual Muster Disperses, and you can use one of several agents to take away all of your opponent's faction MPs, thereby rendering several of her item MPs worthless. Gergeli, Gisulf, and Woffung all have multiple home sites in the north-east while Daskun and Fori the Beardless each have a site in that area as well. A good agent strategy may have an agent or two each for the greater Rivendell area, Gondor, Mordor, and dragon country. With a few Twisted Tales or Good Sense Revolts, you can really harm a deck without just throwing creature MPs away.
I used Men of Dale as one of the factions in my recent tournament deck. They, the Men of Lake-town, and/or the Men of Northern Rhovanion managed to be worth 4 MPs several times in testing and in the tournament. Unfortunately, though, they seemed to be cursed and would all huddle together at the bottom of my deck. Other decks that have included them, though, have all done very well. The Men of Dale are a solid low end faction.
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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.