Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.99 shipping
Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game
- Enter your model number to make sure this fits.
- The first cooperative LCG
- Build your decks from the 4 spheres of influence tactics, lore, spirit and leadership
- Build a party of heroes from an assortment of notable characters from the beloved novels by
- Number of players 1 - 2 (or up to 4 with 2 core sets)
- Playing time 30 - 90 minutes
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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 226 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are three perilous quests that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability. Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 12 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! Monthly 60-card expansion packs called Adventure Packs will introduce new quests, heroes, allies, attachments, events, and encounters, allowing players to fully customize their game and continue their fight against the Dark Lord!
From the Manufacturer
"An ancient evil stirs in the black lands of Mordor, and the people of Middle-earth speak of a terrible doom approaching from the east. The only hope lies in a heroic few who must work together to stem the tide of evil...Forge new legends in Middle-earth with The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game! Gather your friends and together take on the forces of shadow. As the first cooperative Living Card Game, The Lord of the Rings puts 1-2 players (or up to four with two Core Sets!) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middleearth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. Following the Living Card Game format, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will be expanded by monthly Adventure packs that will expand player card pools while introducing new challenging scenarios for the players to undertake."
Compare to similar items
This item Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||InStock Group||smartyshop||THE BT GROUP||AMA INC|
|Item Dimensions||3 x 11.75 x 11.75 in||8 x 8 x 1.5 in||1 x 2.75 x 5 in||3.9 x 13.1 x 14.4 in|
Top Customer Reviews
The Lord of the Rings: The Card game is the latest LCG (Living Card Game), to be released by the publisher Fantasy Flight Games, as of April 20th, 2011. This game can be played by up to 2-4 players cooperatively, but also makes for a satisfying solitaire experience if you don't have any friends handy, would like to experiment with deck construction, or simply opt to play alone. This product is the very first release in this exciting new series, and represents the base game that will be required to play any of the future expansions currently planned for development and release on an approximately monthly basis.
NOTE: If you are planning on playing this game exclusively alone, you should keep in mind that only the first of the three scenarios included within this box set is generally considered by the fanbase to be properly balanced for one player, and that from my personal experience, I think that this game seems to provide the best balance between challenge and sheer entertainment value when played with two players. With each player beyond the first, the general consensus seems to be that the game becomes less difficult overall, although it nevertheless remains a challenge throughout.
* What does this Core set come with?
The Lord of the Rings LCG Core set comes with 226 cards, separated into three different types of decks:
1) The Player Decks (of which there are four included in this Core set), are composed of a total of 116 cards from 4 different "Spheres of Influence," or factions (think colors of Mana, a la Magic: the Gathering). Also included are 4 copies of one Character card not belonging to any specific "Sphere" or faction, and when put together, 29 "Sphere" cards + 1 neutral card = 30 cards in each of the 4 pre-constructed Player Decks. These decks, regardless of "Sphere," are all composed of Allies (supporting characters), Attachments (weapons, items, or character enhancements), and Events (one-time effects and interrupts). These, along with 12 unique Hero cards (3 per Sphere), make up the pool of cards that players can draw from and use to construct any deck they would like to design to play in whatever game scenario they decide to pit themselves against. Each of the different Spheres of Influence can be mixed or matched with one another at each player's preference, and each Sphere of Influence has its own strong and weak points, working most effectively when paired with other Spheres that complement its strengths and compensate for its weaknesses. The four Spheres and some (not all), of their strong points are: Tactics (focused on offensive combat, damage avoidance and assisting other players with their own attacks), Leadership (with a focus on defensive combat, protecting other players, character buffs and resource generation), Spirit (focused on location exploration, cancellation effects, quest completion and Threat reduction), and Lore (with a focus on healing, card draw, Enemy control and Threat mitigation).
2) The Encounter Decks, which represent the "opponent" mechanism that the players are set against in each scenario, are made up of a total of 84 cards divided among several different card types, namely Enemies (monsters and evil characters), Treacheries (instant, punishing effects), and Locations (cards that have detrimental effects until discarded through the process of exploration). These cards are all grouped into seven different themed "Encounter Sets," for example, "Orcs of Dol Guldur," or "Spiders of Mirkwood." For each of the three playable scenarios that are included within the Core set, a different combination of these Encounter Sets is specified to be used to compose each quest's unique Encounter Deck. To illustrate this concept, while players do not encounter any "Spiders of Mirkwood" cards in the Journey Down the Anduin scenario, they will face them in the Passage Through Mirkwood quest, whereas cards from the "Orcs of Dol Guldur" Encounter Set will see use in both of these scenarios. I think that this is a very imaginative way to make each individual scenario a distinct, unique experience that nevertheless fits with all of the others. Though all three quests are initially set up in a very precise, specific way at the start of each game, there is always an unpredictable element in regard to which Encounter cards will be drawn and revealed for the players to contend with (and when), during each game. Additionally, during combat, each Enemy is dealt a card at random from the Encounter Deck which, when revealed, may have no effect whatsoever (if the players are lucky), but nevertheless has a fair chance to either somehow empower the Enemy or otherwise harm the players. This "shadow effect" can take a variety of forms, but often significantly bolsters an Enemy's attack strength or either triggers some other undesirable effect that could result in an unfavorable, unpredicted, punishing outcome and potentially turn the tide of the game against the players. This element of unpredictability adds a level of strategy to the game that I find extraordinarily engaging, and prevents combat and gameplay from ever becoming stale, predictable or overly simple, making sure that the players treat even the weakest adversaries at times with great caution, lest they be unpleasantly surprised and suffer unexpected losses or other adverse effects.
3) The Quest Decks (of which there are three included in this Core set), are composed of a total of 10 double-sided, sequential cards that lead the players through each of the three unique scenarios and specify different events that occur in each of the different phases of every quest. For example, upon completion of the first phase of a scenario and immediately revealing the next quest card in sequence, this new card may require the players to search the Encounter Deck and put a particular Enemy or Location into play, or instead introduce an unfavorable modification to the normal game rules until that quest phase is completed. Each new quest card also specifies novel objectives for continuing to progress toward eventually winning the scenario, and the final card of every Quest Deck always explains the unique conditions of victory for that game (which can sometimes vary even within the same scenario, due to branching paths of progression).
Additionally, every Core set also comes with a multitude of high quality cardboard tokens to represent 1) damage inflicted upon Characters and Enemies, 2) progress made toward completing quests or exploring locations, and 3) the resources available to every player's Heroes, which are used to play Allies, Events, and Attachments that match that Heroes' Sphere of Influence icon (or neutral cards). Further, this set includes one large "First Player Token" to signify which player acts first in each phase (which rotates clockwise after every full game round has passed), and also comes with two very handsome "Threat Dials" for players to keep track of their current level of "Threat" in a more dignified way than simply writing numbers on a piece of paper or tediously changing numbers on a pair of dice. This concept of "Threat" serves a variety of different purposes in the game, and although it primarily exists as something that players cannot help but to accumulate, it is a value that they nevertheless strive to reduce and minimize. First and foremost, during any scenario, if a player's Threat level ever reaches a certain value (50), that player is immediately eliminated from the game. Secondly, this unique mechanic also determines whether players have the option of choosing if and when to engage opposing Enemies in combat, or if they will instead have battle forced upon them, whether they are prepared to handle the onslaught or not. For example, if players want to bide their time to better outfit their Characters before contending with any Enemies, they may want to delay combat for several rounds while they prepare; however, if their Threat climbs high enough, they will be left with no choice but to confront their foes immediately, as each Enemy has an "engagement threshold" for attacking the players that, when met, means it is forced to enter combat with the offending player as soon as possible. Finally, as a third function, keeping track of Threat also serves to give the players a "score" upon winning a scenario so that they can attempt to either compare their performance between successive plays of the same quest, or the relative efficacy of different decks at completing the same scenario.
* So what does the game actually play like?
At the beginning of every game, each player selects 1-3 Heroes, and then constructs a deck of 50 or more cards made up of the Attachments, Allies and Event cards of their choice corresponding to the Sphere of Influence icons that match those of the Heroes that they decided to use. Every Hero has a different starting level of Threat that is added to its controller's Threat Dial at the beginning of each game, and this usually means that the player that selected the strongest Heroes to play with also begins with the highest level of Threat; as a result, this player must typically contend with the most attention and harassment from the Encounter Deck, which can be painfully unmerciful at times. It is important for prospective players to keep in mind that the Core set only includes enough cards to make a 30-card deck for each of the 4 different Spheres of Influence, so with only one Core set the 50 or more card requirement in order to create a "tournament-legal" deck is only attainable through playing decks composed of cards from two or more Spheres (of course, there's nothing wrong with just using a 30 card, single-Sphere deck to play the game, but should a player decide to purchase several expansion packs and/or 1-2 additional copies of the Core set, constructing a 50 or more card single-Sphere deck becomes entirely possible). Finally, the players must agree on which scenario to play, and then set up the game according to how the scenario's corresponding quest cards tell the players to do so. The game itself progresses in sequential phases that together compose each full round of the game, with players taking turns back and forth, and at times acting simultaneously. During each game round, players move through seven different phases, during which they will:
- Gather resources and draw cards
- Acquire Allies (supporting characters), and strengthen their existing forces through playing Attachments (weapons, items, and other "permanent" character enhancements)
- Play Event cards that trigger one-time beneficial effects, such as healing, gaining extra character actions, or preventing enemies from using their abilities
- Combat vicious enemies that actively seek to destroy the most threatening players first, many of which have unique and dangerous abilities to contend with
- Attempt to make progress within and eventually complete the chosen scenario by "questing," the mechanism by which players move through each successive phase of a given scenario, and also how they attempt to explore and overcome dangerous and threatening Locations that serve to hinder the players and impede their progress
During the Quest Phase of each round, every player selects any number of his or her Characters and expends their available action that round in attempt to make progress toward completing the current quest phase of the chosen scenario. After players have chosen how many Characters they are willing to "commit" to questing, one Encounter card per player is revealed from the Encounter Deck and added to the "Staging Area," joining any existing Encounter cards already in play there. To resolve the players' attempt at questing, the "Willpower" value of all committed Characters is combined and compared to the totaled "Threat" value of all of the Encounter cards currently residing in the Staging Area. If the players' total Willpower is higher, they place a number of progress tokens equal to the difference between the two values on the current quest card (or the "active" Location, if there is one, as that acts as a protective buffer to the Quest Deck until it has absorbed its maximum allotment of progress tokens and is subsequently discarded); however, if the total Threat value is higher, every player must instead increase their Threat Dial by the difference, and no progress tokens are placed on the current quest or active Location, representing a "failed" quest. The Staging Area is a rather unique concept in this game, as it is a place on the table where cards revealed from the Encounter Deck essentially "lay in wait" to be dealt with by the players at their own choosing (for the most part). The players are, however, given significant incentive to attempt to clear out the Staging Area; if too many Encounter cards are left to remain and accumulate there, their combined Threat value will eventually become so much higher than the players' total Willpower that it could potentially raise each player's Threat to an unmanageable level, and remember, if a player's Threat value ever reaches 50, that player is immediately eliminated from the game, making victory likely to be far more difficult for any surviving players to achieve.
While any Location cards revealed from the Encounter Deck are content to merely sit and wait in the Staging Area until players choose to travel to them (which has the effect of making the selected Location "active," transforming it into a protective buffer for the current quest card), depending on each player's level of Threat during the Engagement Phase, any Enemy cards laying in wait may actively leave the Staging Area and seek the players out, forcing them to engage in combat whether they want to or not, or have any hope of surviving. During each game, if a player's Threat ever becomes too high, they may find themselves with frustratingly little control over which (or how many!), Enemies engage them in combat, and this can definitely make for a very challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. For example, if a player has a current Threat rating of 20, a Forest Spider with an engagement cost of 25 won't look twice at them, and will simply sit in the Staging Area until a player becomes more threatening. While it will continue to contribute its Threat value against the players' Willpower during the Quest Phase (until it leaves play or is removed from the Staging Area), during the Engagement Phase it will simply stay put unless a player chooses to optionally engage it in combat (at the beginning of each Engagement Phase, all players have the option of forcing one Enemy in the Staging Area to immediately engage with them, should they choose to do so). However, if at any point a player acquires a Threat rating of 25 or more, instead of giving them any option, during the next Engagement Phase the Forest Spider will immediately leave the Staging Area of its own volition and proceed to attack that player's Heroes and Allies. Although Enemies engaged in combat with a player suddenly become a direct risk to his or her Characters, they fortunately no longer continue to contribute their Threat value against the players' combined Willpower during the Quest Phase, and likewise, while a Location is "active," although it does begin acting as a protective buffer for the Quest Deck, it too no longer contributes it's Threat rating against the players' Willpower. Regardless of how many Encounter cards remain in the Staging Area, however, during the final phase of every game round each player must always increase their Threat Dial by 1, moving them ever closer to inevitable defeat unless they are able to complete the scenario in a timely fashion (or otherwise take advantage of a variety of card effects in order to reduce their Threat and buy them more time).
By default, each Character only possesses one action per round, which they may expend to either quest, defend, attack, or in some cases, activate special abilities. Unless they benefit from various card effects to give them additional actions, this limitation leads to players having to frequently weigh the risks and benefits of committing their Characters to carrying out different functions necessary to complete the scenario; however, by merit of covering themselves on one front, players could potentially be leaving themselves vulnerable on another. For example, by choosing to defend against an attacking Enemy, their Heroes or Allies may not suffer any damage this phase, but neither will their Characters be able to attack in return and rid them of that Enemy, leaving it alive to continue harassing them round after round until it is finally dealt with. Given how quickly that Encounter cards can add up and at times become utterly overwhelming, decisions like this are demanded of the players during almost every phase of each full game round. Do the players try to spend their actions in order to explore dangerous Locations and remove them from play, or should they instead focus on destroying the Enemies directly engaging them in combat before their defenses are overwhelmed and their Characters killed? Or, do the players opt to help lessen the increasingly burdensome strain on one another, as opposed to spending their available actions and resources to contend with their own threats? I have found that this game contains an engaging, but not overwhelming demand for strategy and planning, and for a game that pits the players against a deck that plays itself, without any conscious decision-making from a sentient opponent, it provides a fantastic challenge that at times has really left me having to think hard to figure out how I could possibly manage to save myself or another player from either losing Characters or being eliminated outright after making some poor decisions or revealing a particularly nasty Encounter card or shadow effect. Gameplay continues until every player has been eliminated from the game (from their Threat reaching a value of 50, or having all of their Heroes killed), or until at least one player survives to see the requirements of the final quest card of the chosen scenario fulfilled.
* So what exactly is a Living Card Game?
For those of you that have not heard of this concept before, an LCG differs from the traditional Collectible Card Game format (think Magic: The Gathering, World of Warcraft, etc), in that the contents of every box or booster pack of the same name will be identical in every way; that is to say, every copy of the LOTR LCG Core set will contain the exact same distribution of cards as any other Core set, and contents will not vary in the slightest between boxes. In this way, there is essentially no "rare chasing," so players will never find themselves buying boxes of decks or booster packs hoping to get that one-in-a-million, golden-double-reverse-holofoil-promotional card that someone can buy online as a single for some outlandish price. Additionally, the "living" component refers to the notion that each month, an expansion to the Core game will be released in the form of an "Adventure Pack." All of these Adventure Packs will contain 60 cards, divided amongst 1 new Hero for one of the four Spheres of Influence, 3 copies of 9 brand new cards for players to consider adding to their various decks, as well as the Quest Deck for a new scenario (typically 3-4 cards); any remaining cards (26 or so), will be used to help construct a new Encounter Deck for players to pit themselves against in the new Adventure Pack's included quest. These Adventure Packs will be separated into 6-month "cycles" of 6 releases each that all share a common theme and/or take place within the same region(s) of Middle-Earth, and in addition, we will also see the release of bi-annual "Deluxe" expansion boxes, which are meant to serve as larger expansions to kick off or supplement each new cycle or block of Adventure Packs. The very first of these Adventure Packs is named "The Hunt for Gollum," which is the first release of the "Shadows of Mirkwood" cycle.
* Wow, it sounds like I could save a ton of money by playing an LCG. Is there a catch?
According to the existing LOTR LCG rules, every player can include up to 3 copies of any non-Hero card in their "tournament-legal" deck. In many ways this is great, as the Adventure Packs will contain exactly 3 copies of each new player card they introduce, and the Deluxe expansions have been confirmed to follow suit; this means that if you buy just one copy of every future release, you will most likely have enough copies of any cards you could possibly want in order to suit all of your deck building needs, without any reason to chase rares or singles, and eliminating any reason whatsoever to order entire boxes of booster packs at a time, only to receive hundreds of copies of the same useless common cards for your money and never getting that elusive rare that you were really hoping for. HOWEVER, instead of containing 3 copies of each non-Hero card, the Core set (this product), only has 1 or 2 copies of a large number of player cards, which, for the truly hardcore player (or people with issues, such as myself), may necessitate the purchase of up to THREE Core sets if they want to have at least 3 copies of every card and therefore "unlimited" deck construction options; keep in mind, though, that this would still only mean unlimited options for ONE player, but that this could indeed be easily expanded to accommodate 2-4 if the players restrict themselves to only building decks using different Spheres of Influence. While this is frustratingly unfortunate (and expensive), this will hopefully not remain a problem with any future releases. What this all boils down to is that if you are anything like me, and you end up enjoying this game immensely, you're going to have to ask yourself if it's worth shelling out the cash for 1-2 additional copies of the Core set in order to put your mind at ease and to allow you unrestricted deck construction options. Of course, you can simply play the game with just one Core set, but you will have to live without having the maximum number of copies of some of the most powerful player cards at your disposal. If you can live with that knowledge hanging over you, then you certainly have much greater willpower than I do!
I did end up deciding it was worth it to me to pick up another two Core sets after my first, as I've been having an absolute blast playing this game so far and I plan on most often playing with just one other person, with each of us running decks using cards from two different Spheres of Influence each; this way, both of us can pick up to 3 copies of whatever cards we want, and the only potential problem down the line with any future releases may be figuring out who gets first dibs on any neutral cards (since players will still only get 3 copies of each new neutral card per purchase, players may have to fight over these unless they decide to buy multiple copies of specific expansions). At this point in the game's development, however, this isn't a problem, and the Core set specifically includes 4 copies of its only neutral card (and buying 3 Core sets would mean 12 copies, 3 for each of up to 4 players to include in their decks). Still, the monthly Adventure Packs do contain several neutral cards and Characters, any of which may eventually cause some controversy (possibly necessitating multiple purchases), depending upon their utility and popularity. The only neutral card included in the Core set, Gandalf, is inarguably one of the strongest Allies in the game, and if future neutral cards end up being similarly powerful, the pressure to purchase multiple copies of specific future releases could quickly become frustrating.
* Hmm. Are there any other gripes people seem to have with this game?
I can only think of one other problem that comes immediately to mind; if you do decide to buy a copy of the Core set, you should be prepared to think up of your own way to conveniently organize and safely store all of the cards, tokens and trackers that come with it. The actual box that all of the pieces come packaged in only contains a cardboard insert that is rather useless for the purpose of attempting to organize anything, as if you were to simply put all the cards and tokens in stacks or piles in the box, they would slide around and become a jumbled mess with even the slightest jostling. I'm not exactly sure how FFG intended for us to use the cardboard insert to organize anything (if at all), but I went ahead and simply threw mine away. Planning ahead, and wanting to have plenty of room to accommodate cards from future expansions, I ended up deciding to order a bunch of different Ultra-Pro Deck Boxes that are color-coded to match the four Spheres of Influence (Leadership is purple, Tactics is red, Lore is light green, and Spirit is light blue), and I also ordered a white box for neutral and quest cards, a couple black boxes for Encounter cards, and some other colors to store custom player decks (these usually combine cards from 2-3 different Spheres). I also took the liberty of storing the wound, progress and resource tokens in separate, small-size Ultra-Pro transparent acrylic cases, and at the moment just have my Threat Dials and the First Player Token packed loosely into the box wherever I can fit them. All of these components seem to fit well enough into the box that the Core set comes packaged in, and so far it appears to be a convenient, sturdy way to transport and store everything. Although the game box itself is awfully full at the moment, when I do end up needing to add even more deck boxes in the future, they could be made to fit simply by turning the majority of them onto their side instead of having them lay on their backs, which frees up quite a bit of room while still allowing the game box to be sealed completely when I replace the top. I'm sure that eventually I'll have to find some alternative means of storing the cards from the Core set and countless monthly and Deluxe expansions, but for the time being, this method seems to work just fine.
* Any final thoughts?
All in all, this was an awfully long review, and even though there is still so much more I could touch on, I think that I should end it here. If you're a fan of strategy and card gaming like I am, or if you are interested enough in this product to have taken the time to read this entire review, considering the cost, I think that this product is definitely worth giving a shot, and I'm very excited to see where Fantasy Flight Games takes this game in upcoming expansions. I'm very excited to start playing this brand-new LCG franchise at the very beginning, and I'm really looking forward to collecting each new Adventure Pack and Deluxe expansion as they're released. I hope this review was helpful, and until next time, enjoy your gaming!
- High quality cards and components. Like most FFG games, the cards are well made and the art is fantastic.
- Box says 1-2 players, but you can unofficially play up to 4 players with just 1 core set, it works fine, but you will be playing with just the pre-constructed decks
- Has a solo play option if you can't find someone to play with, or want to test a new deck idea
- Is Wife/Girlfriend compatible. As a co-operative game, many people have reported that they can get their wife/girlfriend to play with them, while they cannot get them to play a competitive card game like Warhammer Invasion Core Set or MTG. This is the primary reason I bought it, and on that count, it delivers.
- Playable out of the box (1 of the pre-constructed decks is really, really bad solo though). You could buy this game, and nothing else, and still get many hours of entertainment out of it for 2-4 players. I can't imagine a single core set holding a person's interest for *that* long if they are only playing solo.
- 2 player game is well balanced in terms of difficulty
- Because it is co-op, its a good introduction to TCG/CCG/LCGs.
- Has a scoring system, so you can compare your score on a quest to other people, or your previous score.
- Limited deck construction choices with 1 core set (or even 2), but this will be fixed as more expansion packs are released
- The solo game can be disproportionately hard. The 3rd quest is virtually unbeatable (solo) with a single core set. Few players with 2 core sets have even been able to beat it, and winning it currently relies on a lot of luck (the 3rd quest is ranked a 7 in difficulty, and is the hardest in the core set).
- Difficulty can be very random. All card games have good and bad draws, but some of the mechanics in this game are set up so that very strong cards can have no effect at all, just by chance. The number of times this happens to you in a single game makes a huge difference in difficulty. There are also a few cards that help you control this, making the "odds" tilt more in your favor. Perhaps future cards will help it seem less random.
- Game difficulty scales very poorly with more players. 3 and 4 player games are very easy (luckily, there are some very easy "house rules" you can add to make it more of a challenge for yourself).
- Rules are somewhat complicated compared to more mainstream card games, such as Dominion,Thunderstone (AEG) Board Game, etc. This is not really a con, its just something to be aware of if you are new to this type of game. Rules have a few things that are unclear, but the next FAQ will probably clear most of them up.
- Scoring system is kind of simple, and decks have already been created that will get a "perfect" score if you are willing to play long enough.
The game comes with three pre-built decks. Some of them are impossible to use during solo play, unless you are OK with never winning (seriously, it says so in the manual). The game has a reputation for being brutally hard, and it's mostly because the pre-built decks are purposely imbalanced. You are encouraged to break them down and mix them up, but if you're like me, that sounds like less fun than "just playing the game" right out of the box.