If an encounter card with the doomed keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, each player must raise his threat level by the specified value.
When an encounter card with the surge keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, reveal 1 additional card from the encounter deck. Resolve the surge keyword immediately after resolving any when revealed effects on the card.
The Burn X keyword represents Smaug's devastating attack against Lake-town. When instructed to resolve Burn damage, total the amount of all Burn X on locations in play and assign it to the Lake-town objective. When assigning Burn damage, each player may exhaust any number of his characters to assign any number of Burn damage to those characters (up to their remaining hit points). Any damage not assigned to characters must be assigned to Lake-town.
The guarded keyword is a reminder on some objective cards to reveal and attach the next card of the encounter deck to the objective when it enters the staging area from the encounter deck, and place them both in the staging area. The objective cannot be claimed as long as any encounter card is attached. Once that encounter is dealt with, the objective remains in the staging area until it is claimed. If another objective card comes up while attaching a card for the guarded keyword, place the second objective in the staging area, and use the next card of the encounter deck to fulfil the original keyword effect. Enemy and location cards attached to guarded objectives do still count their threat while the enemy or location is in the staging area. An encounter card attached to a guarded objective is dealt with in the following method, depending on its card type:
Once all encounter cards attached to a guarded objective are dealt with, the players can claim the objective in the manner specified by its card text.
During setup, stage 1A instructs players to build a Smaug deck. The Smaug deck includes all copies of Smaug and has its own discard pile. Effects that interact with the encounter deck/discard pile do not interact with the Smaug deck/discard pile. When Smaug is discarded, place it in the Smaug discard pile. If the Smaug deck is empty, shuffle the Smaug discard pile back into the Smaug deck.
At the beginning of each Quest phase, the first player must choose either his play area or the staging area as a destination for Smaug. He then reveals the top card of the Smaug deck, and puts it into play int the chosen area. If he chooses his play area, he immediately engages Smaug. If another version of the Smaug was already in play, move all damage tokens on that version to the new Smaug as it is revealed and discard the previous Smaug. Smaug is only defeated when he has 0 hit points remaining.
To play normal mode, just follow the setup instructions on the quest card.
When you play normal mode (or easy mode of course) and if you're new to the game, you can also play the "Basic Game" defined in the core set rules:
Newer players or players who want a more basic experience can play and enjoy the game by not dealing shadow cards during the combat phase. This eliminates an element of surprise that could make the game too challenging for a beginner. Once players are comfortable with this experience, they can then add the shadow effects to make combat less predictable and more exciting.