Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Steward’s Fear , the first Adventure Pack of the new Against the Shadow cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game !

The Steward’s Fear is a tale of corruption within the heart of Gondor that follows immediately upon the events of the three scenarios from the Heirs of Númenor expansion. Middle-earth’s heroes receive a summons from the Steward of Gondor, who suspects that Mordor sympathizers have begun to plot against the realm. When he asks the heroes to investigate, their search for clues leads them out of the main streets and back alleys of Minas Tirith…deep into an underworld where nefarious plots and deadly villains await them.

As the first chapter of the larger narrative in the Against the Shadow cycle, The Steward’s Fear enters a new realm of storytelling for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game . New mechanics and villains present all new challenges to Gondor, its heroes, and the players who would guide them to success. You’ll explore underworld locations, encounter hidden ambushes, and rally the troops during battles and sieges. Meanwhile, Gondor comes to life on the players’ side, too, as the White City receives support from those who live in the neighboring outlands.

Lead Developer Caleb Grace offers more insight into what players can expect from The Steward’s Fear and the whole Against the Shadow cycle.

Caleb Grace on Against the Shadow

When I started working on the Against the Shadow cycle, most of the initial design had already been done by Lukas Litzsinger and Nate French, who were working with a story crafted by the company’s CEO, Christian Petersen. My role in this collaboration was to develop all of those designs and ideas into a finished product. It was a fun challenge, and I’m proud of the set that we’ve created together. I think fans of the game are going to love each installment in this cycle.

Each time we start work on a cycle, we challenge ourselves with several design goals, one of which is true for all our cycles: to make sure each Adventure Pack offers something new. We want to ensure that each scenario feels unique and exciting. We don’t want to assume that players will be interested in an Adventure Pack just because it’s the next in the cycle. Instead, we want each chapter to stand on its own, and we want players to be able to play and replay them with loads of great new player cards.

Our second goal for the Against the Shadow cycle was a little more ambitious. We really wanted to push the narrative focus. Not only did each scenario need to be fun to play, it needed to move the story forward and immerse the players in the narrative. Taken together, the Adventure Packs tell a grand story full of intrigue, tension, and heroics. Each adventure leads directly into the next, and by the time the players defeat the last stage of the last quest, the players will have completed an epic tale that almost feels more like an inspired RPG than a monthly LCG. As a result, the Against the Shadow cycle accomplishes new feats of creative story telling in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game .

The story begins right where the Heirs of Númenor deluxe expansion ends: the heroes arrive at Minas Tirith, having just returned victorious from a hard-fought siege, and the Steward of Gondor has a special mission for them. Before that mission ends, the heroes will encounter new foes, fight deadly enemies, and investigate intrigues that lead them on a journey across much of the realm of Gondor. Along the way, they’ll make new allies and fight alongside some of the greatest heroes in Gondor’s history.

That leads us to one of the other design goals for the cycle: to give players the cards they need to build strong Gondor decks. In the same way that the Dwarrowdelf cycle focused around Dwarves, the player cards in the Against the Shadow cycle center around Gondor and her allies. Each of the other traits in the game receives some attention, but most of the player cards are meant to bolster the Gondor trait.

However, Gondor is such a large country, with many small fiefs, that we decided that one trait was not enough to represent all the grandeur of the ancient kingdom. So, we introduce the new Outlands trait in this cycle. Characters with this trait represent the people of the many outlying provinces that rally to Minas Tirith in her times of need. They are the men of Anfalas, Lamedon, Lossernach, and others. Their abilities gain strength as they gather together, meaning decks built around them offer a lot of really fun and synergistic strategies with which to experiment.

Thanks, Caleb!

You can look forward to new Outlands characters, support for the Gondor trait, dastardly villains, and threatening plots with the upcoming release of The Steward’s Fear .

The Steward’s Fear is due to begin the narrative of the Against the Shadow cycle in the first quarter of 2013!

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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