Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

What’s it about?
An epic band of adventurers struggles through rulebooks dangerous locations, treacheries and lethal enemies to achieve their quest.

Is it pretty?
It’s certainly very stylish and well made. No cubes! A little too stylish perhaps, I’m tempted to replace those fancypants threat dials with two d10’s in a not too distant future.

How difficult was it to learn the game?
For once we didn’t have to listen to an explanation, but had to learn the game ourselves. A first! The rules booklet is quite big and explains most things very well, but we managed get confused about a few points that weren’t made very explicit. It took us a while to figure out an entire fight does not get resolved in one single turn. For a while we were convinced we had a turn 1 party-wipe.

A practice round in particular is very helpful.

How long/boring is it to have to wait for your go?
Not too bad, since you go through most rounds together. If you have a questing guy and a combat guy, combat guy will hog up some time calculating all of this combats, but you can probably support him with your event cards so you still have to stay in the action, so to speak.

How’s the flavor?
Well. I don’t really care much for the Lord of the Rings theme at this point. It doesn’t really kindle my imagination any more. Regardless, the flavor is bountiful. The entire game really emulates the filmic nature of questing and combat.

How internally consistent is the flavor?
I find it a bit curious that in the time it takes for my hero to exchange one blow with an enemy, I also have time to recruit new allies, get people fancy titles and equipment, and have my other heroes explore vast tracts of land.

I suppose it’s – again- the filmic nature of cut scenes where you go from one short battle scene, to a big exploration discovery, to someone being declared ‘protector’ of something, and back to the fight.

Also this.

Is it still fun if you suck?
Well so far we’ve only done the first scenario. I can imagine it gets a bit frustrating if you keep wiping against the harder scenario’s, but it’s no fun if there’s no challenge, right?

Is it fun to play with people who know everything about the game when you don’t?
Yeah, it will definitely help to teach you the rules. Your cards in hand are hidden in order to avoid all too blatant quarterbacking behavior.


Can you two-player it?
That’s what it’s made for! That’s also the main reason we bought it blind, two-player games designed for the purpose are too good to pass up. It’s really nice to be able to pull out a game on a Wednesday night after dinner without having to make plans to meet up first.

Can you play it with your non-gamer family to pass the time?
Oooh… I’m not about to try unless the family parties get REALLY boring.

Is there anything irrationally fun or annoying about it?
Fun: Cardgames really have their own kind of bliss. I love the seemingly infinite ‘but if I tap this to untap yours so you can tap to..” possibilities, even the inevitably ensuing rule disputes. The only thing I don’t like is the ‘collectible’ adjective, having neither the time, the money, nor the inclination, to spend so much on one single game. The scenario card game is an elegant alternative. So yeah, I’m not sure it’s a good game, but I do like it.


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