The next game I’m going to teach my son is Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game. We’ve played the Lord of the Rings Board Game several times and we’ve even played the more complicated Middle Earth Quest after he watched the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. With the Hobbit coming to the big screen, I know he wants more so I picked up this game and we’re going to play to make sure he likes it before I buy some expansions for Christmas.
The first thing I liked about this game is it’s cooperative. While we usually end up playing a lot of game “together” even when we’re opponents, this takes some of the competitive nature out of the game as we work together toward a common goal. The Core Game comes with four ready made decks and three scenarios you can work through. The other thing I liked about this game is it’s also designed to be played with just one person. This let me set it up and go through the game mechanics a couple of times before I sit down with my son and teach it to him.
Each player has a deck of cards as well as one to three heroes. The heroes are the focus in the game and the deck provides support as the heroes work their way through the scenario. There are four spheres (Leadership, Lore, Spirit and Tactics) and the game comes with one deck for each sphere as well as three heroes for each sphere. In your deck you have attachments (think magical items), allies and event cards that you use to help you complete the scenario.
The bad guys have their own deck called the encounter deck. This deck contains enemy cards, location and treachery cards (think traps) that the players must navigate past. There are seven stages to each round where each player makes choices as to how they spend their resources, whether to commit heroes and allies to advancing through the quest and then combat with the creatures you encounter along the way. If you finish the quest, you win. If your heroes all die or the threat meter moves too high (which means you have a limited number of turns to complete the scenario), then you lose.
There’s some interesting aspects to the game play that you have to consider. If you commit too many characters to advancing through the quest in a turn, it leaves you open to enemy attacks. If you travel to a location, it both slows you up and it could result in either (or both) good or bad circumstances. If you’re used to game like Magic The Gathering, each hero or ally gets one action per turn. If you use it early during the quest portion, he’s not available when the creatures attack.
I played the first (and easiest) scenario solo and got through it both times although one time was pretty close. If there’s one knock on the game, I’d say it’s that there’s almost too much emphasis on the heroes and not enough on the deck although I used the same sphere both times so I don’t know if this was different for the other decks. I’ll report back on this as we play through the other scenarios and get further into the game.
Assuming my son likes the game, I’ll be getting him Lord of The Rings LCG: The Hobbit Over Hill and Under Hill Expansion since he’s really excited about that movie. The second Hobbit expansion is set to come out pretty soon so I see that in our future as well.