|The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 08 March 2011|
“Frodo rose to his feet. A great weariness was on him, but his will was firm and his heart lighter. He spoke aloud to himself. `I will do now what I must,' he said. 'This at least is plain: the evil of the Ring is already at work even in the Company, and the Ring must leave them before it does more harm. I will go alone.”
- The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a unique, fully cooperative card game - the first Living Card Game to adopt such a formula. The flexibility and adaptive nature of this game is clearly evident, as The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game can be played either solo or with friends. In our past previews we have explored an overview of the game, how quests work, the dangerous power of Shadow Effects, and previewed the 4 spheres of influence: Spirit, Leadership, Lore, and Tactics. Today we’ll take a look at how the game plays with one player as opposed to 2-4.
Setting Off Alone
One of the most exciting prospects of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is the possibility of one person creating a deck and playing a full game on their own in one convenient session. While the game is a cooperative experience, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game can also be played entirely alone if desired. This means that you can try out that new deck the same night you build it, enjoying a full game experience in the process.
There is no additional setup needed to add more players to your game. The game scales very easily, with only minor changes to gameplay when accommodating multiple players. One aspect of the game that changes is the Quest phase. After players commit their chosen characters to the quest, cards from the Encounter deck are added to the Staging Area. The number of cards added to the staging area is equal to the number of players playing. Other than that, the changes to gameplay are quite intuitive. For example, each player resolves their combat individually starting with the First Player.
The number of players can also influence deck-building. While the effects of most cards aren’t more or less powerful depending on the number of players, there are some that can be more effective when playing solo. A great example of this is the hero Denethor. His ability to look at the top Encounter card is always useful, but in multiplayer games there is no assurance as to what the card directly under the one you’re looking at is, and it will be revealed regardless. Yet, in a one player game, Denethor’s ability lets you know for sure what lies ahead on your quest. The trade off is, once you exhaust Denethor to activate this ability, you have one less character to quest, defend, or attack with.
Another way to enjoy The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game solo is by controlling multiple decks to learn how each sphere of influence interacts with each other. This is a great way to learn what kind of deck best suits your play style. Since decks can contain any combination of cards, trying each sphere out and seeing how they play off others is a good way to determine which spheres would make up your ideal deck.
The way alone is not easy, though. If you’re the only player at the table, negative card effects will always target you. Once players encounter cards like Caught in a Web on their own, they will surely begin looking for more players with more Heroes to join them on their quest. Fortunately, as we mentioned earlier, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is easily scalable.
The Core Set is designed to support 1 to 2 players, but players can combine two Core Sets to include up to 4 players. When playing with 4 players, each player can utilize one of the four spheres of influence. With each of these spheres in play, players will discover all kinds of interesting combinations and powerful synergies. But we’ll explore that more later...
Stay vigilant. More information on The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is coming soon!
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.