Faramir met Aragorn in the midst of those there assembled, and he knelt, and said: ‘The last Steward of Gondor begs leave to surrender his office.’ And he held out a white rod; but Aragorn took the rod and gave it back, saying: ‘That office is not ended, and it shall be thine and thy heirs’ as long as my line shall last. Do now thy office!’
Then Faramir stood up and spoke in a clear voice: ‘Men of Gondor, hear now the Steward of this Realm! Behold! one has come to claim the kingship again at last. Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur’s son, Elendil’s son of Númenor. Shall he be king and enter into the City and dwell there?’
And all the host and all the people cried yea with one voice.
—The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 5
This scenario attempts to bring Aragorn to the throne at Minas Tirith. You’ll need to accomplish 3 things to win this scenario:
- You need to gain the support of the Tower Guard of Minas Tirith (by successfully influencing the Tower Guard of Minas Tirith)
- You need to acquire Narsil, and then, using Reforging, acquire Andúril, The Flame of The West.
- You have to play Return of the King at Minas Tirith.
You lose the game if either your Wizard or Aragorn is corrupted or killed. After your Resource Deck runs out, you can reshuffle your discard pile into a new deck, but you then have only 6 turns to complete the objectives; if you do not succeed in playing Return of the King before then, you lose the game.
Return of the King can only be played when you have acquired the faction Tower Guard of Minas Tirith and when Aragorn is in Minas Tirith and carries Andúril, The Flame of The West, which means that you first have to acquire Narsil and Reforging (in any order). (You do not need to gain the support of the Tower Guard before you gain either Narsil or Andúril; that can be done at any time, as long as it is before you play Return of the King.)
There are a few special rules for this scenario:
- Minas Tirith is never discarded, even when tapped (as when you gain the Tower Guard of Minas Tirith faction).
- The Tower Guard can not be gained with any card that allows you to gain a faction without a dice roll (resources that modify the roll are fine).
- If you fail the influence roll to bring Tower Guard of Minas Tirith into play, you can shuffle any Dunedan character (other than Aragorn) that belongs to the company that tried to influence the faction (i.e. that is at Minas Tirith) back into your deck together with the Tower Guard of Minas Tirith, instead of discarding the faction. Any items or allies the character had are discarded.
- Both Reforging and Andúril, The Flame of The West need to be stored in Rivendell.
- Aragorn II, carrying Narsil, needs to be in Rivendell when Andúril, The Flame of The West is stored.
- You can place Andúril, The Flame of The West and Return of the King in a sideboard (of only these 2 cards). At any time when you have gained Narsil and when you have stored Reforging in Rivendell, and when your Wizard is in Rivendell, you can tap the Wizard during your organization phase to shuffle these two cards into the remainder of your Resource Deck.
Your starting company should include Aragorn II. Gandalf is the Wizard for this scenario, because as Aragorn says at his coronation (in Return of the King), ‘he has been the mover of all that has been accomplished, and this is his victory‘.
The remaining characters should be various Dunedan (especially Faramir), various Elves (especially those based in Rivendell), and maybe a few warriors from Rohan.
This is my company for this scenario: Aragorn II, Éowyn, and Gildor Inglorion form my starting company. The remaining characters in the deck are: Beretar, Bergil, Boromir II, Halbarad, and Damrod, (Dunedan), Arinmîr and Celebron (Elf). I’d use Faramir if I had him, but sadly I don’t own that card. Halbarad, Arinmîr and Celebron are included mainly because they are Sages, which are needed to play both Reforging and Anduril, The Flame of the West.
You can’t use Denethor II in this scenario.
Location Deck & Resource Deck
The company starts in Rivendell, and it is probably a good idea to travel first to sites around Rivendell that allow you to gather items (Ettenmoors, Weathertop, Barrow Downs, Tharbad, and Ost-in-Edhil are all reasonably close and not too dangerous). You’ll obviously also need Minas Tirith, and so some sites close to that are good to include (especially Amon Hen, Glittering Caves, Isengard, and Tolfalas).
The difficulty of this scenario is that you need several sites where you can gather “Information”. You’ll need to play Reforging, as well as Anduril, Flame of the West, and may want to use Farsight to get Narsil quicker into your hand. All of these can only be played at sites that can give you Information.
However, there are only a few sites where “Information” is playable. You can go to Weathertop or to Amon Hen, which are both ideally located (close to Rivendell and Minas Tirith respectively), but will have to travel further afield for other sites where you can gather information—The Worthy Hills, Geann A-Lisch, Stone Circle, Isle of the Ulond, The Wind Throne, Nûrniag Camp, or Urlurtsu Nurn.
You’ll therefore want some cards that let you to play Information at sites that normally do not allow you to do so. I’ve used Forgotten Scrolls, a minor item that lets you play Information at Ruins & Lairs. And Look More Closely Later allows a sage to untap a site at which Information is playable.
Both Reforging and Anduril, Flame of the West require a Sage, so make sure you have a few in your deck, or use a card like Gift of Comprehension to give that ability to a Dúnedan, but be aware that this does give 2 corruption points, and to play Anduril, The Flame of the West (which has a corruption value of 1), the Sage character acquiring it will have to perform a corruption check modified by -3!
The second challenge is that you’ll need to travel to a site where you can find Narsil, a greater item. You have three relatively close by: Tolfalas, Dead Marshes, and Moria. Of these, Tolfalas is the least difficult—the other two are Shadowholds, and make you draw 8 hazard cards, and Dead Marshes has a challenging site path, through two Shadowlands (if you come from Lórien).
Since the aim of this scenario is not to gather Marshalling Points, you do not need to include Factions (and their sites), apart from Tower Guard of Minas Tirith. You may want some cards that help you in gathering factions (as mentioned earlier, you can’t use Muster), but you can also try to acquire this Faction with a Dunedan (which gives you +1 already) with some free direct influence, for example Aragorn. Note that you can’t use Denethor II (who has +2 for this faction) in this scenario.
Your company will travel mostly through Wilderness, so it is a good idea to include some resources that make travel through such regions easier (like Ford or Fair Travels in Wilderness or Elven Cloak). There are also some Border-lands and Free-domains you’ll have to travel to to get to Minas Tirith, so you could include similar cards that help you in those regions.
The rest of your Resource Deck could consist of items you can gather (weapons and armour are always a good idea!), and events that help your company in combat. Since you have Gandalf, you might want to include a Ring. You might also want to consider some items that will give extra direct influence to its bearer. Since Aragorn has a mind of 9, I’ve found it difficult to bring enough other (strong) characters in play before Gandalf appears (which might be a while, since there is only 1 Wizard in the deck).
If your company will travel around Rivendell and south of Lórien (Gap of Isen, Rohan, Anórien, and so on), you’ll want hazards that can be played in Wilderness, Borderlands, and maybe a few Shadowlands regions, as well as in sites that are Ruins & Lairs, Freeholds, and a some Shadowholds. I’ve used mostly Orcs and a few Animals (Wolves, Wargs, Crebain), as well as other hazard cards that work well with these creatures like Minions Stir or Carrion Birds. Abductor, Slayer, and Ambusher are good hazards for the Borderlands (Rohan and Gap of Isen). You’ll probably travel through more than a single Wilderness region at a time, so the creature hazards that can be played to double Wilderniss regions are good to include, in moderation (Cave-Drake, Giant Spiders, Giant, etc.). Cave Worm (playable to the regions of the Misty Mountains) is a good powerful creature to include—it has 16 prowess, but only 1 strike, so it won’t destroy your company, but still provide a good challenge.
Since you’ll have a good number of Dúnedan characters in your deck, Night is a good card to include, particularly in combination with Doors of Night.
I’ve also included a few corruption cards (Lure of Expedience and Lure of the Senses). They made my games really hard! I lost the first six games I played with this deck due to failed corruption checks. I finally won the eight time I played this scenario. It was a very satisfying win!