Saturday, December 6, 2014

Game Review: Lord of the Rings the Card Game

The Lord of the Rings Card game is a cooperative Living Card Game in which players work together to complete a harrowing Quest. Living Card Games (sometimes alternatively called Expandable Card Games) are card games that are not collectible. Rather than coming in randomized booster packs with different rarity levels of cards, sets are released that contain fixed cards. In this manner players can purchase expansions that contain the cards that they are interested in using. Most Living Card Games have Core sets that contain a good mixture of cards that will allow a player to make multiple decks and begin playing. Expansions are released every 1-2 months (depending on the particular game) and contain a full play set of all the cards in that expansion. The cooperative play in Lord of the Rings allows players to work in concert to complete the Quest that they have been assigned. The game can be played by 1-4 players and scales in difficulty as more players are added.

Each player controls three Heroes which represent the
adventurers striving to complete the Quest. Heroes start the game in play and will help define the type of cards that the player will use in their Player Deck. In addition to the ability to attack, defend, and make progress towards completing the Quest – each Hero also possesses abilities and/or traits that represent the way in which that Hero acts. Powerful Heroes are more Threatening to the Enemy than less powerful Heroes which means that they will have less time to complete their mission before the Enemy reacts to their presence. Threat acts like a game clock that determines how much time a player has to finish the Quest. The following heroes are among those that come in the Core set: Aragon, Legolas, Gimli, Eowyn, Theodred, Denethor, and Glorfindel. Each new expansion contains at least one additional Hero including Elrond, Frodo, Boromir, Galadriel, and Prince Imrahil.

Players use cards from their Player Deck to arm themselves for the battles ahead in the Quest. Player Decks are made up of Allies, Events, and Attachments. Allies are companions that you recruit to assist you in your endeavors. Allies are able to help you fight, defend, and make progress towards completing the Quest. Guard of the Citadel, Longbeard Orc Slayer, Gondorian Spearman, Miner of the Iron Hills, Faramir, Beorn, and Gandalf are some of the Allies included in the Core set. Some Allies also have Hero versions (although only one version of each unique character can be in play at any given time). Events are the actions that Heroes and Allies take during the Quest – such as Feint, Sneak Attack, Radagast’s Cunning, Gandalf’s Search, and Beorn’s Hospitality. Attachments are the Artifacts, Weapons, and Titles that your Heroes acquire during the game. The following Attachments are among those included in the Core set: Horn of Gondor, Blade of Gondolin, The Favor of the Lady, and Dwarven Axe. Each expansion contains additional Allies, Events, and Attachments such as Radagast, Gildor Inglorion, Arwen Undomiel, Gwaihir, Sword that was Broken, Vilya and Nenya (Elrond’s and Galadriel’s Rings of Power respectively), Black Arrow, and many more.

The Quest deck contains the Locations, Enemies,
and Treacheries that the players must overcome to complete the Quest. Locations are places that must be explored during the Heroes journey. The geography of Middle Earth is represented in the Core set by Location cards like Mountains of Mirkwood, Necromancer’s Pass, Enchanted Stream, and Old Forest Road. Enemies are the monsters and villains that must be fought during the Quest. Enemies include generic monsters such as Wolf Rider, Forest Spider, and Hill Troll; as well as specific villains like Chieftan Ufthak and the Nazgul of Dol Guldor. Treacheries represent the attacks and attention of the Enemy through cards like Caught in the Web, The Necromancer’s Web, and Pursued by Shadow. The Quest itself is made up of the Quest Cards that define which Locations, Enemies, and Treacheries the Heroes could face as well as the conditions necessary for the players to move through and hopefully complete their mission. Each expansion contains additional Quests, Locations, Enemies, and Treacheries for the players to face.
If you would like to try a demo of the Lord of the Card Game let us know and we can arrange one for you. Otherwise, keep your eyes on this spot for upcoming Lord of the Rings Card Game events. There are some good resources available if you are interested in finding out more about the Lord of the Rings Card Game on your own: Board Game Geek and the Hall of Beorn.

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