Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game FFG

Not really a review, more of a "hey check this out".

Lord of the Rings: LCG is a card game made by Fantasy Flight.  Its a living card game, meaning that you do not buy randomized packs and need to trade or find rares and uncommons to compete.  The "boosters" are always the same cards, and always the max number of them you can have in a deck.  The expansions come a couple of times a year and are basically 3x the boosters with new characters to be as.  When it comes to Lord of the Rings:LCG, you buy your starter set, and whatever else you feel like getting, and you're done.  Why?  Well its a special game.

There is no competing with other players in LOTR:LCG, because you play it cooperatively.  It doesn't matter if Tom has 10 booster sets and 2 expansions, because that only HELPS you, because you're on the same side.  In the game, you and your friends are presented with a series of randomized quests that come from a deck that makes your story.  Both of you pull from a deck that you make from your own cards to try and proceed through the quest.  Quests have varying difficulty and special rules set up from the get go, so there's plenty of reasons to play a quest multiple times.

The additions to the game come as booster packs with a new character, a new quest, and new cards that support this quest.  Some of the cards are new monsters, some of them are new equipment or events.  A couple of times a year there is an Expansion released.  This expansion is typically 3x the amount of cards as a booster.  You get several new heroes, quests, and all the cards needed to support it.  For example: one of the first boosters adds "The Hunt for Golem", and a Bilbo Baggins card as a character.  One expansion adds Moria, 3 dwarven characters for you to play, and 3 new quests to partake that happen inside Moria.

The game can also be played as a sort of super solitaire, but the harder quests are typically too strong for this play.  Its not impossible, but its better to use the weaker quests to practice on.  Practice you will need, because this game is hard.  If you are not cheating, you will likely be trying to finish the 2nd quest in the starter deck for many many sessions.  The 3rd one will wipe the floor with you until you're a veteran.

Reviewy type stuff?  The art is amazing.  The pictures are not abstract, and the action in them is inspirational while playing.  It sets the mood perfectly.  The theme of the game works.  There is another living card game set in a popular science fiction universe where you will fight space ships with your overly large horned rams... its silly.  Lord of the Rings:LCG is perfect.  You gather a group of adventurers.  You equip them with legendary weapons and armor, and you slay monsters in locations while trying to finish a quest.  There is no abstraction, you actually make a story as you go.  You are ALWAYS happy to see Gandalf.  If I have one complaint about the game, there are too many little pieces for my liking.  To give the game makers credit, there's a  lot less little knick-knacks than Fantasy Flight usually puts in games, but its still a lot for this type of game.

Chances are you're going to play it wrong the first few times.  Either watch someone on Youtube explain it, or play with someone that really does know how to play.  Its ok though, even playing wrongly, you'll have fun.  It really does scratch that deck making itch that I have been missing since quitting Magic.  Unlike a lot of "Magic" alternatives, you will be making, refining, and altering deck lists just like if you were playing Magic.

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