News for November 2010
The Journey Lies Ahead 24
A look at Quests in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 17 November 2010

Enemies are amassing in southern Mirkwood under the watchful eyes of King Thranduil’s scouts. The Necromancer’s legions are growing and Lady Galadriel of Lórien must be warned. King Thranduil entrusts an urgent message to a band of capable heroes. On their journey ahead, these heroes must traverse the spider-infested regions of Mirkwood, make their way down the Anduin River, and face the perils of Dol Guldur itself.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game of heroes, quests, and epic adventure. Previously we were given a grand overview of the game and some of its mechanics. Today we will start a series of previews that will focus on different elements of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. In this first preview, we will take a look at one of the most unique aspects of the game: the scenarios.

Since The Lord of the Rings is a cooperative game, players join together and focus their efforts on completing a scenario. At the start of each game, the players choose a scenario, which consists of two elements: the Quest deck and the Encounter deck. Let’s take a closer look at each of these decks, and how they function in the game.

The Quest deck is a small, fixed sequential deck that provides the backbone and narrative arc of the scenario. During the game, the players attempt to progress from one stage of the quest deck to the next by committing heroes and allies to the Quest. Each quest card has a number of quest points that determines how much progress the players must achieve before advancing to the next stage. Additionally, most Quest cards have some kind of conditional game text that affects what the players can and cannot do while on that stage of the quest. In the easier scenarios, these effects are typically minor, but in some of the more difficult scenarios they can be daunting. For example, the Beorn’s Path card forces players to evade or kill Ungoliant’s Spawn before they can beat the Passage Through Mirkwood Quest.

In addition to progressing from one stage of the Quest to the next, the players will also have to contend with the larger randomized Encounter deck that is a part of each scenario. There are several different subsets of encounter cards in the core set, and each scenario’s quest deck provides the information the players need to build the encounter deck for that scenario. As the players quest, the encounter deck throws random challenges at them in the form of enemy cards that will attempt to harm the party, locations that need to be explored, and treachery cards that represent unexpected events and happenings. For instance, the players might have to fight Chieftan Ufthak, who progressively grows stronger in combat, or they might have to travel to the Enchanted Stream, which prevents them from drawing cards until they have finished exploring the location.

The 3 Quests included in the Core Set are narratively linked, following the heroes as they set out from King Thranduil’s palace in Mirkwood, fight their way down the Anduin River, and attempt to free one of their captured heroes from the dungeons of Dol Guldur. These Quests become increasingly challenging, and, since they are each a chapter of a growing story, can be played sequentially to create an epic adventure.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a Living Card Game, meaning it can be expanded through monthly expansions called Adventure Packs. Not only do these Adventure Packs include new heroes, allies, events, and attachments, but they also feature new challenges and stories for players. Each Adventure Pack contains a brand new quest for players to experience, letting them follow the tales of their heroes as they continually explore and face the perils of Middle-earth.

Once you experience the Core Set later this winter, the journey will have only just begun...

Check back soon for our next preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) 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. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

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Comments (24)

Published: 11/18/2010 9:07:33 AM

It's not really that someone is being a domineering jerk most of the times, it's the very nature of most of these games designed for co-op that someone has to direct everyone to do their stuff.  It ends up with one person actually playing the game and everyone else relegated to decision-approval roles, at best.  I don't see it as very repairable, in general.  :(

BUT I definitely agree with you that Co-op really fits the spirit of the novels and storylines.

Published: 11/18/2010 8:48:40 AM

Lord of the Rings lends itself well to co-op as its part of the spirit of the story.

Also if someone is being a domineering jerk as in your hypothesis, simple way to fix it, don't play with them. They will either learn to play nice or move on to a different game or group where they can exercise their tyranny.

Published: 11/18/2010 7:38:25 AM

@ Toq and @jhaelen - the anecdotal evidence (at least) seems to strongly suggest that what I've grumbled about is one of the main, consistent problems with Co-op games - the head chief running the show with no real, true co-op gameplay happening.  :(

And actually, there aren't enough competitive games in this universe so it's a massive disappointment that this was a co-op.  :(

Published: 11/18/2010 3:12:36 AM

Very promising. I _love_ that this is a cooperative game!

I also haven't experienced that cooperative games are dominated by a single player. While some players may try to, in my experience they have a difficult time to get everyone to agree on following their ideas. In our local group we have several players who compete to decide on tactics, thus there's always a healthy debate (which sometimes turns into a not quite so healthy endless debate...).

But that probably depends on the composition of local game groups. There are different kinds of players: those who prefer taking the lead, those wo are content to follow a leader, and those who will do everything possible to oppose the would-be leaders.

Published: 11/18/2010 1:55:40 AM

@Wytefang : if each player builds a custom deck, coop shouldn't end up the way you mentionned, as a single player basically doesn't know what his teammate based their strategies upon. (I hope I'm right, because I, too, dislike the "captain & grunts" aspect in coop games).

I'll definately give a try to this game (probably 2 core sets to evaluate the deckbuilding the game allows).

Published: 11/17/2010 10:43:02 PM

I like the fact that its cooperative and not competitive. Its a nice change and should make it easier to get some people in to it. There are already plenty of competitive games out there.

Published: 11/17/2010 10:37:18 PM

The biggest problem with Co-op games is that they almost ALWAYS end up as just one person actually playing or running the strategies for all the players in the game.  I've yet to see a game really address that issue and create a true co-operative game - though, imho, Battlestar Galactica by Corey K. came close.

I would have killed for this to be competitive.  Sigh.  :(

Published: 11/17/2010 10:07:12 PM

OMG an update! finally

Published: 11/17/2010 7:50:52 PM

Woo hoo! Finally! Probably means we're 2-3 months from release, judging by previous LCG Preview schedules.

Published: 11/17/2010 7:40:54 PM

"Once you experience the core set later this winter..." the news item states. "Check back soon for our next preview."


So my pre-order from ThoughtHammer won't be under my tree for Christmas for sure. Hopefully the next preview will arrive before Santa, at least...

Published: 11/17/2010 7:22:30 PM

 Having played both Middle Earth the Wizards (Iron Crown's game) and Decipher's Lord of the Rings collectible card games (Iron crown's was much better), I'm definitely curious to see how the mechanics of the cooperative game work. Will it be at all close to the cooperative LOTR board game? 

My hope is for a more complex METW type feel. Any release date?

Published: 11/17/2010 6:13:42 PM

Nice to hear some more news of this game!

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