Lord of the Rings:LCG - reviews and general thoughts

It all started with accepting 100 plays challenge and pledging to comment each play. Soon my thoughts outgrew the BGG comment format and also FFG's forum. I decided to post them in a form of a blog here. In time I got rid of session reports and replaced them with expansions reviews. Enjoy.
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LOTR:LCG - A game or a hobby?

Wojtek Wojcik
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Board Game Designer
I very much like designing games but I think I prefer to play them.
Metallum ... game I most proud of.
Microbadge: Terraforming MarsMicrobadge: Metallum fanMicrobadge: Podcast listenerMicrobadge: Plays Games With FamilyMicrobadge: 15 Year Geek Veteran
The question asked in the title is at the back of my mind for a while now and I decided that easiest way to answer it is to write it down here. I must say that I am curious to see to what conclusion I will arrive by the end. I've started wanting to state some general observation but let me keep it personal. Is LOTR:LCG a hobby for me or just a part of board gaming? If it is a hobby then did it replace board games?

Ok, one point is easy to tackle. I still am a board gamer, I play regularly (every two weeks at the least), I read the news, blogs, listen to podcasts - so I say that I can safely say that I did not replace old hobby with a new one.

Second point. Is LOTR:LCG a standalone hobby for me? Here I want to go through certain observations:

Interest - It all starts here for me. If I seek information, read about given things then the first signs of a hobby are there. I do read a lot about LOTR:LCG (all FFGs previews, tons of threads, posts and blog articles also listen to podcast(s)). CHECK

Money (or Time see bellow) - I bought the game on a cheep side of things (most stuff used) but still with 2 core sets, Khazad Dum and 9 AP I've spent a lot. CHECK

Accessories - Important part of indication whether interest is becoming a hobby for me is whether I invest in non-essential things that make experience better. Be it magazine subscriptions, comfortable furniture, above average equipment it has to be there. In case of LOTR it is expensive but terrific card sleeves from FFG, deck boxes, printing additional scenarios. CHECK

Time - I played this game almost 200 times at this point. If I assume that it took me on average 1/2 hour to play one game I already invested 100 hours in playing the game. I should also add the time dedicated to building, tweaking and re-tweaking my deck - it is not huge amount but I am sure its significant. Add all the reading, posting, bloging, thinking and you will get a huge number CHECK

There is no denying it LOTR:LCG is a standalone hobby for me.

So the most interesting question comes up finally. Did the new hobby pushed back the old one?

Interest - Well I've definitely reduced the number of board game reviews I read but I feel it is mostly due to the fact that there are so many of them that it is not possible to read them all and once you start to be choosy on what to read you discover that there are not so many of them that are actually relevant for you. On other interest fronts (podcasts, forums, BGG) I did not see much decline on the board gaming side of things despite huge increase of interest in LOTR:LCG.
VERDICT: Both hobbies coexist nicely here.

Money & Accessories - I've seen huge decline in my buying of board games before discovering LOTR:LCG. This trend only continued here. On the other hand I've spent quite some money on the living card game and I even sold some of my rarely used games to fund those purchases.
VERDICT: LOTR:LCG seem to have pushed board games back as far as money go even if it was a continuation of a trend.

Time - As you see above I've spent ton of time on LOTR:LCG - was board gaming hit by it? On the first glance: not really. Since I play the living card game excursively solo it did not take away from playing games with others. I never turned down another game to play LOTR. So where did all this time came from? I've stopped watching TV, I read much less now, I greatly reduced time on-line. One note though: I think that board gaming did get hit a bit ... before discovering LOTR:LCG I would often talk my wife into playing a two player game with me every now and then (say once per week on average). Now I am not that persistent as I can play the game.
VERDICT: Yeah, although not by much but LOTR:LCG did push board gaming back here.

Final thoughts:
As you can see from above LOTR:LCG became a hobby of mine. It did pushed general board gaming back a bit but not as much as it would seem if looking at the amount of resources I dedicate to the game.

How about you? Is LOTR:LCG just another game on your shelf? A hobby? If the latter what did it replaced/pushed back?
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