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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

The Lord of the Rings- The Card Game.png

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a card-based game released by Fantasy Flight Games. The game is set during the seventeen year period between Bilbo's 111th birthday, and Frodo's departure from Bag End. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game was first announced on 3 August 2010,[1] and was released on 20 April 2011.[2]

It is a Living Card Game, which differs from collectible card games in that each expansion is released in fixed packs with no randomness. There are, therefore, no "rare" or "common" cards which creates an even playing pool and a system that is easy to collect and fully playable with only the core set and any number of expansions.

Contents

[edit] Gameplay

Sample Player Card
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is nearly unique in that it is one of the few cooperative Living Card Games. The players (1-4) work together to defeat the scenario and complete each quest. While the Core Set comes with pre-constructed decks, players are encouraged to create their own starting with up to three hero characters (who start in play) from the spheres of influence.

The player cards are represented through four "spheres", which relate to various spheres of influence seen in the source material. The four spheres are:

  • Tactics.png Tactics (combat, direct damage)
  • Leadership.png Leadership (resource management, global effects)
  • Spirit.png Spirit (willpower, cancellation effects)
  • Lore.png Lore (card draw effects, encounter deck manipulation)


Decks can be constructed using any combination of spheres, but there must be a "resource match" to play the cards from the various spheres. This is done by using the native sphere of the hero, or by giving the hero a new sphere through "song" cards and other effects. Player decks are then composed of varying numbers and combinations of player card types: Allies, Attachments, and Events. The minimum deck size is 50 cards with a maximum of 3 copies per card.

Once decks are constructed, the players choose a quest scenario and begin setup according to the quest cards. This is where the encounter deck is constructed and shuffled, representing the difficulties the players will face as they complete their quest.

The game is then played in rounds consisting of seven phases, some containing different steps.

sample play area from official site
  1. Resource Phase - players draw one card and each hero gains one resource
  2. Planning Phase - starting with the first player, each player may play Events, Attachments, or Allies from his hand
  3. Quest Phase - players commit characters to the quest, reveal encounter cards, and resolve
  4. Travel Phase - if there is no active location, players choose a revealed location and travel there
  5. Encounter Phase - players engage enemies from the staging area for combat
  6. Combat Phase - players defend enemy attacks, then attack enemies engaged with them.
  7. Refresh Phase - players ready all exhausted characters and increase their threat trackers by one

Many cards have different effects that can be triggered throughout a round of play to modify or circumvent these rules. Part of the enjoyment of the game is coming up with new ways of beating the various scenarios. Once the completion are requirements are met on the last quest phase (either quest progress, defeated enemies, or captured cards) then the players win. If all heroes are discarded or player threat level reaches 50, then the game is over and the players have lost.

[edit] Saga Expansions

Black Riders box

The game has also featured "Saga Expansions", which follow the events of the books directly, as opposed to the original, tangential quests set before The Lord of the Rings. Each expansion contains three scenarios following a different segment of Tolkien's works. The gameplay of these expansions differs from the usual cycles in that there is a "campaign mode" of sorts in each. For the Hobbit, this gives access to "treasure" cards if certain objectives are met in particular quests. The campaign mode for the Lord of the Rings saga expansions is more involved, and players earn access to both "boons" and "burdens." Furthermore, if a hero dies during the campaign, the players are not allowed to use that hero in future scenarios.

The first two cover the events of The Hobbit. After that, the Lord of the Rings saga expansions each correspond to one of the six books in The Lord of the Rings.

  • The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill (2012)
  • The Hobbit: On the Doorstep (2013)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Black Riders (2013)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Road Darkens (2014)[3]
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Saruman (23 April 2015)[4]
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Land of Shadow (19 Nov 2015)[5]
  • The Lord of the Rings: Flame of the West (4 Aug 2016)[6]
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Mountain of Fire (5 Oct 2017)[7]

[edit] Print-On-Demand Scenarios

Periodically, as special releases for the annual GenCon event, the designers will create standalone scenarios of especial difficulty. After the initial release at GenCon, they are then available from Fantasy Flight Games via their print-on-demand system.

  • The Massing at Osgiliath (2011)

In this scenario you are defending the city of Osgiliath from a massive horde of orcs an Easterlings attempting to take the city. The quest involves high numbers of enemies and effects that change depending on which side of the river Anduin you are on.

  • The Battle of Lake-town (2012)

Largely considered the most difficult quest currently in the game, this scenario recreates the battle against Smaug at Esgaroth. The players seek to defend the city and keep it from burning.

  • The Stone of Erech (2013)

This scenario sees a young Derufin running off to investigate the Stone of Erech and the heroes must go and save him, encountering the Army of the Dead along the way. The quest features the "spectral" keyword, which changes how the players attack enemies, as well as a time mechanic, through which the night deepens and the wights grow more powerful.

  • The Old Forest (2014)

Released at GenCon 2014, this scenario departs from the usual quests because it is not a (very difficult) standalone quest, but an addition to Campaign Mode. The Black Riders box did not include the Old Forest or the Barrow-downs and this deck, along with a second released as part of the 2014 Fellowship Event, will cover those chapters of the book.

  • Fog on the Barrow-downs (2014)[8]

Originally released as the feature of the Fellowship Event 2014, this quest fills in another gap in the Black Riders expansion. It allows players to reenact the events of the namesake chapter from the book. Players face wights and get trapped in barrow locations.

  • The Ruins of Belegost (2015)[9]

This scenario involves delving to what remains of Belegost in search of lost artifacts. The ruins are filled with many perils, including a fire breathing dragon named Naurlhûg.

  • Murder at the Prancing Pony (2015)[10]

Originally released as the feature of the Fellowship Event 2015, this quest involves solving a murder mystery when Barliman Butterbur finds a dead body at the Prancing Pony.

  • The Siege of Annúminas (2016)[11]

The scenario was the featured event of GenCon 2016 and the Fellowship Event 2016. This scenario has the players attempting to save Annúminas against the assaulting forces of Angmar. This scenario introduced "epic multiplayer mode" in which between three and twelve players play on three concurrent stages of the quest. It was released to retail in 2017.

  • Assault on Dol Guldur (2017)[12]

This scenario was the featured event of GenCon 2017 and the Fellowship Event 2017. Like Siege of Annúminas, it also supports epic multiplayer mode. In this scenario, the players take on the role the elves played in attacking Dol Guldur to defeat the Necromancer. It is not yet available from retailers.

Upcoming

  • The Wizard's Quest (2018)[13]

Upcoming

  • The Woodland Realm (2018) [14]

The Wizards Quest is to be featured at Gencon 2018 and The Woodland Realm is to be featured in the 2018 Fellowship Event.

Upcoming

  • The Mines of Moria (2019) [15]

The Mines of Moria is going to be featured at Gencon 2019

[edit] From the producers

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with two Core Sets!) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth's most dangerous fiends. By cooperating to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck, you will complete the quest before you and claim victory!

The Core Set includes 216 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are four perilous scenarios that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability. Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 16 hero cards, and focus their decks on any combination of four distinct spheres of influence: Leadership, Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. Each sphere offer unique benefits to the party, so choose wisely!

[edit] External links

References

  1. Fantasy Flight Games News at Fantasyflightgames.com(accessed 4 August 2010)
  2. Fantasy Flight Games releases The Lord of the Rings Card Game at Middle-earth News.net (accessed 15 May 2011)
  3. http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4636
  4. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2015/4/23/doom-hangs-on-a-thread
  5. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2015/11/19/into-the-spiders-lair
  6. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/4/26/the-flame-of-the-west
  7. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2017/10/5/hour-of-the-shire-folk/
  8. http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5315
  9. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/2/18/new-adventures-in-middle-earth/
  10. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/2/18/new-adventures-in-middle-earth/
  11. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2017/3/16/the-siege-of-annuminas/
  12. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2017/9/14/assault-on-dol-guldur/
  13. http://gencon.highprogrammer.com/gencon-2018.cgi/event/CGM18128974
  14. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/11/13/decide-your-destiny/
  15. https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2019/5/16/the-long-dark-1/
Licensed Collectible Card Games set in Middle-earth
  Middle-earth Collectible Card Game (1995-1998)
  The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game (2001-2007)
  The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (2011-)