Monday, May 05, 2014

The Lord of the Rings... The Card game

In my ongoing quest to explore all gaming things related to Middle-Earth, I have long had my eye on Fantasy Flights, The Lord of the Rings - The Card Game...



But I am more of a miniatures kind of guy... so I like tabletop miniature wargames obviously, and boardgames that feature miniatures of some sort... so the card game stayed on the shelf, as I was unsure whether I'd get a kick out of playing with just 'cards'...

But I eventually caved in to temptation, especially when I stumbled across it online at a reduced price compared to that which I had normally seen advertised, thanks to the "Book Depository"... so I bought it for Xmas... but as you can probably tell... its stayed unopened for some months as other hobby/gaming activities held my attention...

However, the other week I got to grips with it, thanks in part to the online video tutorials from Fantasy Flight, also available at Youtube...

Intro here:


The game follows a series of missions or quests you can complete, and it's that Living Card Game system where you can collect further themed packs to add to this Core Set, to enhance the gaming experience...

From my perspective, it plays a little like a Role-play session, but without the GM, the game itself being the GM against you, and your mate, if you wish. It's a game that can be played solo against the game, or co-op with a friend against the game. An interesting concept.

It is lavishly filled with wonderful art work on the cards themselves, and the game certainly feels like adventuring in Middle-Earth.

The video tutorials will help with getting to grips with the game and completing the intro training scenario. This one is fairly easy...

The problem comes with the second scenario in the game, and this one presents a serious learning curve... thus far I've tried it about 6 times with my son... and we haven't got past it yet!

But we'll keep trying...

Must admit, if we'd found it a little easier, I'd be buying all the expansion packs, to continue the fun... but with coming up against a road block of a mission, in 2nd one in the game, I do feel a little that I am being compelled to buy more expansion sets, to get the extra cards I need, to get past this hurdle... which is slightly annoying... In theory we should be able to do it with just the core set cards, but that requires 'Deck Building' - another experience I am yet to figure out how best to do...

Still, no doubt over time I may collect some of the extra sets, especially as there are Hobbit sets too...

An entertaining game, that's quick to set up an play and perfect for a wet weekend afternoon... so if you're a Middle Earth fan, and used to these living card games and deck building, you're sure to enjoy it...


17 comments:

  1. Sounds like an intriguing distraction although I think you may have hit the nail on the head with the strategic placing of a tough mission just to drum up sales of the expansion packs - or are we becoming cynical?

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    1. I dunno Michael, you and me both perhaps??? ;-)

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  2. Sounds like fun. Did the mission you try 6 times was it a very similar outcome or did you need like a specific set of cards to show up in order to get past?

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    1. The problem is right at the start of the 2nd mission you have an uber bad guy to deal with; A hill troll. Plus theres another in the encounter deck and also a pretty nasty Orc hero. They are difficult to deal with quickly and there's every chance if you don't get one down withing a couple of turns, another may show up on top! Plus theres regular critters too that need dealing with. The games not just about fighting but also 'questing' and if you put resource into one area, you arent putting them in the other ... so its tough getting the balance right - if you dont put enough in 'fighting' you'll get killed and you put all in to fighting, the quest will get away from you, and you'll lose that way!

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  3. I've certainly been intrigued by this game before, and have been close to picking up a copy, but for want of someone to honestly tell me what they think about it. This is great food for thought! Cheers, Scott.

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  4. Sounds like a fun game, I'll be trying this out when I have spare money, i've always liked card games really. I hope it's not a 'buy to win' experience though, that certainly takes the fun away!

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  5. Hm I'm still not taken with card games as I just can't get into things without miniatures. I'll cheerfully pick up board games for middle earth though, just got the Lord of the rings risk edition to play with the boys when there older!

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  6. Nice review and you raise all the cons/issues my group has experienced with the game. The first mission is a great game and loads of LOTR fun. But if you think the second mission is hard (and we've beaten it a few times) then try the third (with one of your starting heroes captured at the beginning)!!! We've never beaten it, and as a result quickly lost interest in the whole genre.... we've even tried the Star Wars variant (albeit that's not a co-op game) and that's equally as hard from the core set.
    Blaxkleric
    http://fantorical.blogspot.com

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  7. I still have the Game of Thrones card game unopened, still not sold on these!

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    1. I was shown Magic the Gathering card game once, a few years back... its was OK for an evenings fun, but it didn't grab my enough to buy into it... this game is a bit like that, you 'tap' your card(hero) to use them (turn them sideways to show they're exhausted, and then some mechanism will refresh them back to use again)... and thus the game plays out round after round as the heroes encounter monsters, location and treacherous events... all nicely LOTR themed, which was the hook for me... but as you stay, I am not 100% convinced... but if easier I'd have played along, but getting a game, that you can't complete is annoying... and off putting... I used to find that with many adventure based computers games . you could get to a point then get stuck, so since you couldn't complete it, you effectively wasted your money on the gaming experience... Everyone likes a challenge I am sure and if it was too easy it would equally be a bit naff... getting the balance right for the manufacturer/game designer is the key...

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  8. I'm not a gamer but I would like to try playing games (even card-games) but it seems that this one is not the best thing for a beginner !
    Interesting review !

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  9. I've got the game as well Scott, along with all of the expansions. I've never been a card gamer though and had trouble grasping the rules and strategy. I'm OK with it however. I bought the cards mainly because of the artwork (just as I did with the old Decipher LotR cards) and the hope that I would be able to find an opponent on the island since card games seem to be all the rage these days. Unfortunately other players are not to be found but I'm still happy with the purchase. I hope the game gets better for you and your son!

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    1. I am intrigued by the expansions... The 3 core scenarios are considered difficulty rating 1, 4 and 7. I have managed 1, struggled with 4 and haven't tried 7. Wondering what the difficulty ratings are of some of the other sets...

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  10. Don't know if I'd ever be a fan of card games, but I'm itching to try out some of FFG's LOTR board games.

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    1. I do enjoy their War of the Ring Boardgame - its very enjoyable. I have also had fun with MiddleEarth Quest, though did find the final game deciding confrontation a bit of an anti-climax... The other LOTR board game they do called 'Lord of the Rings Boardgame' I found very dull, and sold it on...

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  11. I consider myself a novice to middling LOtR LCG player. It does take some time investment to overcome that initial learning curve. One thing to keep in mind for that second quest is that certain decks out of the box I are much better than others. Mist been a while but leadership and lore I think are best for that second quest. Tactics seems like it should be, but it's not.

    I would not recommend even trying that third quest unless you invest in more cards. The second is, however, definitely doable.

    The issue is that FFG uses theses cores to give you a taste of the game. But if you become serious out progressing and quest building you need to pick up a second core. From there, some folks think the mirkwood cycle is key because of some of the cards included (though I found most of the quests quite fun). From there it's sort of a matter of interest. You might like some of the expansions that target the actual books, instead of material that happened in between.

    Checkout out boardgame geek and http://hallofbeorn.wordpress.com

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  12. And apologies on all the typos - I am writing from an ipad!

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