I have owned this game for over four years, and am still making an effort to work through expansion boxes. Whilst expanding your player cards is important, and deck building will improve your chances of success, i obtain the most excitement from finding new quest scenarios to enjoy. As i play solo with one supporting deck, some quest rules can become overly difficult, so i may try to adapt the rules to better suit the solo experience.
So far i have found Khazad Dum and Dwarrowdelf cycle the best overall set for quests, this is for their reasonable difficulty levels and the general theme, fun and engagement i feel while playing. The Mirkwood Cycle is important to build up player cards, but quests are more mixed in terms of enjoyment, however they are usually easier to play against than later cycles. I initially skipped the outlands theme of the Numenor box and cycle, preferring to fight monsters, as these quests were considered very tough. That said, I found Isengard and Ringmaker Cycle extremely hard anyway and sometimes frustrating, with their time mechanic especially difficult to enjoy. The Lost Realm, Grey Havens and Sands of Harad boxes have been more enjoyable, although still quite a tough experience at times. I am really excited by the newest box, Wilds of Rhovanion, and have now finally purchased Heirs of Numenor.
The saga boxes seem a mixed bunch to me, and i am cherry picking these at the moment. The two Hobbit box quests i think are largely miss-able, as they can be frustrating to play through, but player cards are useful if you want to build a better Dwarf deck. The Black Riders is a very good box for building a hobbit deck, and also has nice quests that are not overly hard to beat with a solo deck. Flame of the West is another strong saga expansion to consider with great hero cards. The rest i have not played but general feedback about the high difficulty of the two end saga boxes is a concern as a solo player.
My preferred expansion sets so far, considering both the deluxe box itself and the cycle they support are :
1. Khazad Dum & Dwarrowdelf – great quests with excellent undergound tunnels theme, mostly a moderate difficulty level that can be played solo, and ideal for Dwarves.
2. Wilds of Rhovanion & Ered Mithrin – this new cycle is revisiting early locations and features Dale allies, but i have not yet played it and its rank is blindly made on excitement level only.
3. Core & Mirkwood – varied and generally good quest cycle, easier than later cycles and important to build up player cards, probably still the best place for newcomers to start.
4. Lost Realm & Angmar – involving storyline quests, nice side quests addition and a Dunedain theme, with relatively high difficulty, but just about playable solo until the harder last two scenarios of the cycle, which i have yet to purchase.
5. Flame of the West – great artwork, strong heroes and three varied quests featuring the undead, corsairs and an epic but very difficult battle to defend a city.
6. Sands of Harad & Haradrim – a desert and Haradrim theme with lovely artwork and high hopes for this series, and although i have not played all the cycle, i really enjoyed core box and the spiders quest. I still have 4 cycle packs to buy.
7. Grey Havens & Dreamchaser – a Noldor theme, with ship and sailing scenarios are a real change, taking up 5 of the 9 quests, however the middle of the cycle has superb island exploration adventure quests and a sea monster battle. I still have 4 cycle packs to buy.
8. Black Riders – moderate difficulty, essential for hobbit player cards and three related journey quests, this is an alternative collectors path going into the saga series rather than cycles.
9. Heirs of Numenor & Shadow – finally purchased the deluxe box in June 2018, an outlands theme and more battle orientated, we will soon see how it stacks up as i am a real latecomer to this one and have no cycle packs.
10. Voice of Isengard & Ringmaker – overly hard to solo with a time mechanic that is quite frustrating, the cycle has a couple of redeeming quests to discover, but they do build up the Silvan player deck, which is one of my favourites.
11. Hobbits – varied quests over two boxes but quest design is often fiddly, complicated and even annoying, the second box On The Doorstep quests are better than the first. Good for Dwarf player cards.
Other Sagas – i have not yet purchased Road Darkens, Treason of Saruman, Land of Shadow and Mountain of Fire, so am unable to comment on these, and quest storylines here are similar to those in the cycles. The extremely high difficulty level of the last two boxes gets some adverse feedback and i don’t have a strong desire to buy them at the moment. The Road Darkens and Treason of Saruman i will get eventually for the allies in particular.
More details on my favoured quests are found here > Lord of the Rings LCG