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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: On the fence about getting this game. Can it really be fun, though? rss

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Kari S
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I hope this is not the wrong place for this kind of a post but I've had difficulties finding active forums for the game.

I have been considering getting this game for months now and because I have been unable to move in either direction, I figured I'd post here, ask some questions but mainly look for opinions from people who are already into the game.

I have a couple of "major" reasons why I've been interested in this game. First of all, I've recently again (used to play MTG back in the day) gotten interested in card games and discovered LCGs. I got Game of Thrones and have especially been enjoying Netrunner. I was hoping I would be able to get my girlfriend into the Game of Thrones LCG (she likes the setting and likes boardgames) but it seems she find it too confusing and is losing interest very quickly. I suspect this is because she has no previous card gaming experience. Now, this boring story brings me to Lord of the Rings (a setting she enjoys probably even more than Game of Thrones) LCG: as a cooperative game, I have been thinking that it could be a good way to get her into card gaming and deck building in an easier way. By easier I mean that we could basically do everything cooperatively, which would enable me to help her and explain things all the time. This would hopefully give her a better understanding of the deck building "genre" and the leap to other games would not seem so hard anymore.

Another big reason was simply that I am very much into Lord of the Rings myself and have been for a very long time.

Now the reason why I feel hesitant. It is a cooperative game. I have never played a cooperative card game (nor a boardgame, actually) and have serious difficulties imagining why it would be fun. For me, card games and boardgames have always been fun exactly because of the competitive element. Don't get me wrong, I am still mainly a casual gamer, but I do enjoy the light element of competitiveness, the "ha, soooo close but I beat you there!" or the "damn!!! take a look at my hand! these two cards next turn and I would have beaten you!" at the end of the game. I just don't see how it's fun to play against... no-one? Who are you "angry" to? Why are you happy about beating no-one? I don't think it's impossible for this kind of a game to be fun, I just don't see how it would be that. And this creates my problem: am I simply the wrong audience for this game? Is the game just something that's not for me?

And finally, some questions about the game itself. How good is the core set? Is it good enough for real for casual gaming or does it get boring/repetitive very quickly and/or place some severe limitations for deck building (meaning that the card pool basically does not allow actual deck building at all)? IF we were to get the game and IF we were to enjoy it, I have no doubt that we'd drop more money on expansions later as well but after spending too much money on the other LCGs this autumn (especially since I lost interest on GoT after they announced the 2nd edition so now I feel I spent that money on nothing) I really don't want to pick a game that would basically require expansions from the start or very soon after the beginning.

Sorry for the long and boring post but I have really been stuck with this for months now and see no way out!
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Brad McGown
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Speaking as someone who has every card for the particular LCG, you said if perfectly yourself. It is a cooperative game. THAT makes this a great game in this particular format. I am a competitive Netrunner player, but I find it exhausting sometimes the stress of the tournament scene.

Lord of the Rings is a great change of pace game with a different kind of stress level. You would think this game would be easy, but the is untrue. It is a very difficult game, and it feels very rewarding when you beat a chapter of it. The theme and story of playing through each scenario really comes through and makes this a superb game.

I have always been into LotR, but my wife hasn't. After playing this game, she actually got into it so much that she read the books and watched the movies.

My opinion is that this game is not your typical LCG. Having the cooperative aspect makes it a puzzle that needs to be worked out. What decks you construct will change how each scenario plays as well. You get a lot out of the core set. I, myself, would probably go with two core sets so that you can both have the chance to deck build a bit. Then, if you decide to go with expansions, try to go in order from the beginning. The story is too rich and satisfying to skip around I think.

Anyways, I hope this helps. I think I have answered all of your question. If you have any more, let me know.
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Felipe Machado
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When I lose, I usually get angry with the Encounter Deck...

I'm a Magic player myself and enjoy the tricks you can do to "play your opponent" (hide cards on the top of the deck with a Brainstorm, play a trick on the declaring attackers step, etc...), and this is not a thing I can get from this game, 'cause you can't feel that you outsmarted anyone. You can do some tricks (like using an event to attack a Troll before he attacks you), but they feel more like a puzzle to solve: How do we get out of this situation?

This game gives me some other things, though (that's why this is my number 2 game of all times).
As a fan of the Tolkien universe, I really enjoy the thematic feeling this game gives me, for instance.

It really is an easier way to bring someone into deckbuilding and teaching the mechanics. I've done this with 3 friends so far, none of them had previous experience with card games. First few games you both play with your hands open and you discuss every play... It'll take more time, but the person will understand the line of thought.

As for deckbuilding in the Core Set, it gives you some possibilities. You have 4 spheres, with 3 heroes belonging to each one, so you can mix and match those 12 heroes. Playing Glorfindel (Lore) will give a different approach than playing Denethor (Lore), so even within the same sphere you can find some differences.
That being said, I do enjoy deckbuilding with a bigger pool. Creating some thematic decks (Eagles, Dwarves, Hobbits, etc...) is really cool.

For reference, before I've bought my third expansion (I've bought Foundations of Stone and Conflict at the Carrocks right away, for their heroes), I've played the first adventure around 15 times... Trying new decks.

One thing that I think it's important to say, though, is that it's a hard game in the beginning (with a small card pool).
The second adventure made me lose 4 times before I could beat it, and the third adventure of the Core is way harder.
So you guys need to be prepared to lose.
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Khamull wrote:
I hope this is not the wrong place for this kind of a post but I've had difficulties finding active forums for the game.


This is quite strange considering both BBG and FFG forums are quite active .

Quote:
I was hoping I would be able to get my girlfriend into the Game of Thrones LCG (she likes the setting and likes boardgames) but it seems she find it too confusing and is losing interest very quickly. I suspect this is because she has no previous card gaming experience.


I had the same experience, played with her once and she just never played again, as she likes more obvious boardgames. She prefers the "fun-factor" aspect of a boardgame even if that boardgame seems brainless to me. Guess it's just another way of approaching leisure time.

Quote:
Now, this boring story brings me to Lord of the Rings (a setting she enjoys probably even more than Game of Thrones) LCG: as a cooperative game, I have been thinking that it could be a good way to get her into card gaming and deck building in an easier way. By easier I mean that we could basically do everything cooperatively, which would enable me to help her and explain things all the time. This would hopefully give her a better understanding of the deck building "genre" and the leap to other games would not seem so hard anymore.


Well, yes, most certainly if she's interested in the setup and like flavor of Tolkien world she won't be disappointed as the game is very thematic. Now for the deckbuilding part, it's not even compulsory for her to deckbuild. You could do that for her. What may rebuke her though may be the complexity if the game. If her global view of boardgames match the description i'm doing of my own girlfriend, it could be an issue.

I tried LOTR LCG on my friend and she basically told me "it feels like I'm at work" ( we're both civil engineers). Your gf likes the LOTR universe probably more than mine though, so the theme could prevail over the rules.

Overall, this is not an overly complex game, but it has certainly a lil' learning curve at the beginning. Once you get the basic mechanics though, it's a breeze on most scenarios.


Quote:

Now the reason why I feel hesitant. It is a cooperative game. I have never played a cooperative card game (nor a boardgame, actually) and have serious difficulties imagining why it would be fun. For me, card games and boardgames have always been fun exactly because of the competitive element. Don't get me wrong, I am still mainly a casual gamer, but I do enjoy the light element of competitiveness, the "ha, soooo close but I beat you there!" or the "damn!!! take a look at my hand! these two cards next turn and I would have beaten you!" at the end of the game. I just don't see how it's fun to play against... no-one? Who are you "angry" to? Why are you happy about beating no-one? I don't think it's impossible for this kind of a game to be fun, I just don't see how it would be that. And this creates my problem: am I simply the wrong audience for this game? Is the game just something that's not for me?


Well, that's a different kind of experience. But the situation you're describing at the end applies to cooperative game. I did not count how many times my group lost and I showed the cards I had in hand sayin' exactly the same "one more turn and we would have one this one, guys!".

Sure enough, for a coop game to be good, the AI mechanics has to be. LOTR LCG has amazing AI mechanics, high replayability, 3 difficulty modes (easy, normal, nightmare), is scalable with the number of players, has nearly 50 scenarios available.

I know a bunch of other cooperative boardgames out there that you could try (even on your own), thinking especially of Arkham Horror (MAN DAT GAME). That one is for me, the best boardgame ever. Period. And I love some wargames, competitive Euro games like Catane Settlers, card games like MTG or Star Wars Decipher.

So some coop games are lame. Won't quote a single one, because it's my opinion and that's out of topic. But not this one.
Quote:

And finally, some questions about the game itself. How good is the core set?

As a seasoned player, and I know most of us out there agree on that, the Core Set is decent (and got us into the game so... decent enough), but it's definitely the soft spot of the game.

Quote:
Is it good enough for real for casual gaming or does it get boring/repetitive very quickly and/or place some severe limitations for deck building (meaning that the card pool basically does not allow actual deck building at all)?


The Core Set is a game on its own, a very difficult game I should add. Expect to lose like A LOT. Then, you'll want to start deckbuidling, true enough. One Core Set is not much to build with effectiveness two decks.

Something you should know about the game is that you can't put more than 3 cards of the same title in your deck. In expansions, cards come by three, it's logical. But in the Core Set, some cards are x2 and some are x1 (some of the best).

Some early players (like me) bought two or three Core Set to have every card x3. Be aware this is not necessary anymore. The card pool is huge and there is a ton of expansions.

Quote:
IF we were to get the game and IF we were to enjoy it, I have no doubt that we'd drop more money on expansions later as well but after spending too much money on the other LCGs this autumn (especially since I lost interest on GoT after they announced the 2nd edition so now I feel I spent that money on nothing) I really don't want to pick a game that would basically require expansions from the start or very soon after the beginning.


You should definitely get some expansions quickly. The Core Set only contains 3 quests, and you'll like to have more variety for your game and your player decks.

The internet community of this game is very lively, so if you jump in, you'll just have to ask around. There are New player guides (made by other fans of the game), even thematic guides (say like "I want build a Rohan deck, what should I buy?").

Quote:
Sorry for the long and boring post but I have really been stuck with this for months now and see no way out!


As a conclusion: this is an amazing game.
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Andrew Brown
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Your situation sounds exactly like mine, only my partner suggested picking this up instead of me.

It can be frustrating at times explaining rules because there are lots of little exceptions and really confusing timing rules, so it may seem that what you're saying is completely contradictory to something you had just explained. To be completely blunt, the game is quite complicated. There also might be some issues of quarterbacking. I try to let my partner make decisions and explain the possibilities and ramifications, but sometimes she doesn't completely understand, makes a bad decision, and I get frustrated lol. She also tries to resolve everything out of order which normally doesn't have averse effects, but in some cases, it does.

That said, she's keen to learn and let me teach her, and we got over most of these bumps, and she's developed her own decks, strategies, and does quite well.
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Chris Alton
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Yes it can be great fun. I admit that you don't get the same feeling as beating a human opponent. It's more a case of pitting your skill against what can sometimes be overwhelming odds (the AI encounter deck). There is a great sense of satisfaction to be had in defeating a quest that you have previously failed three or four times.

I love this game, and despite drifting off to try other games every now and again, this is the one I keep coming back to. Dreaming up new deck builds seems to take up an inordinate amount of my waking thoughts

Edit:- you will want to move on from the core set pretty quickly. The quality of the later quests is far higher than earlier ones. The Black Riders has some of the best (in my opinion) quests around, but I don't know how realistic it would be to play these quests with just the Core Set and The Black Riders as your card pool - maybe someone else could help here?
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Georg Bauer
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I've been in the same boat with the added complication that I don't get any MTG plays anymore (or if, then I only get them very rarely), so for me it was getting something I can play on my own while still having a full deck construction experience. LOTR LCG delivers great in that area. You have a not gigantic, but big enough card stock to choose from (at least after you buy the expansions), due to the LCG character you can concentrate on some archtetype early on and so be selective in your buying, and the game is hard. Think "MTG Horde decks on steroids" hard. With lots of fun different twists on the different encounter decks. And with the added benefit that you can play it multiplayer and that actually even adds to the experience (due to the many multiplayer oriented card traits and mechanics) while still being great fun solo, too.

So, yeah, can be fun. totally.
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Hans Notelteirs
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I think this is definitely the game for you.

You like Lord of the Rings and this LCG is very thematic. You want to play an LCG and know what you're getting into when playing MTG. And you want to play an LCG with your girlfriend. LotR LCG is excellent for that!

Of all the LGCs currently out there LotR is the one that would have the most success with your girlfriend for a variaty of reasons.

First of all the she knows the theme since she probalby has at least seen the movies. This is a big deal. She knows a couple of the characters and will know that playing Gandalf is a big deal for example.

Secondly, In my experience LCGs and girlfriends are a difficult match. They probably play but they will hardly ever start deckbuilding. The cooperative nature of LotR LCG means that not only you can help her out during playing. You can also take the time to do the deckbuilding for her.

This is also huge. She might not want to build decks but you will hear her talk how she likes or dislike this or that card for this or that reason. If you like Deckbuilding you can set decks up for her if you want. Or just let her play with a standard deck more to help you out.

Lastly, if your GF doens't like it after all, LotR LCG is still an excellent excellent solo game. One of the very best there is. So you still will get your money's worth out of it.

This might be a co-op game. But it's a hard one. You'll have to earn your victories. And when you beat the second quest of the core set for the first time you have more satisfaction than beating most other competitive games.
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Jan Probst
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Khamull wrote:
Now the reason why I feel hesitant. It is a cooperative game. I have never played a cooperative card game (nor a boardgame, actually) and have serious difficulties imagining why it would be fun. For me, card games and boardgames have always been fun exactly because of the competitive element. Don't get me wrong, I am still mainly a casual gamer, but I do enjoy the light element of competitiveness, the "ha, soooo close but I beat you there!" or the "damn!!! take a look at my hand! these two cards next turn and I would have beaten you!" at the end of the game. I just don't see how it's fun to play against... no-one? Who are you "angry" to? Why are you happy about beating no-one? I don't think it's impossible for this kind of a game to be fun, I just don't see how it would be that. And this creates my problem: am I simply the wrong audience for this game? Is the game just something that's not for me?

I don't think you're the wrong audience, you just haven't considered the genre before.

A good solo engine is difficult to beat*, personally and viciously desires your downfall, and is remarkably satisfying to hate**.
Basically, it checks all the buttons you list in the quote there.


* For consensus definitions of "difficult". If you are god's gift to boardgaming and see games in squiggly green matrix code, they might not be all that hard.

**Fair warning that if, like some Usual Suspects, your fun is absolutely *contingent* on winning, most solo engines won't oblige. Unlike players who might get fed up with that type's crap, it won't kick you out though.
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David McLeod
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Buy the game!

And if you don't like, I have no doubt that one of the LOTR:TCG junkies on this site will gladly buy the cards off you!

Just imagine it like this, doing puzzles is fun. Doing puzzles with someone else is even more fun!

LOTR:TCG is a lot like that.

Have fun!
 
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A.J. Sansom
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Kari,

Your concerns were mine going into this game. Naturally, it's impossible to find out if it's going to be a perfect fit before actually trying your hand at deckbuilding, etc.

There have already been multiple responses directly speaking to your individual questions, so I just wanted to chime in to suggest that you read some of my playthroughs at:
Ajax013 Solo LOTR Playthrough

At the very least, I'm hoping it'll give you an idea of the imagination that the game plays at, and might give you an idea if you want to take the plunge.

Good luck with your decision
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Marlene Thornstrom
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I'd suggest having your gf watch the Rahdo run through of the game so she can get a feel of the game.



BTW, while I understand your use of the term "deck building" in this context (and thought for a long time that "deck building" and "deck builder" referred to MtG-style games), in the board game world, it does not apply to the LotR LCG. Instead, it refers to games like Dominion.
 
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Kelly B
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Rhado's runthrough does have a fair number of pretty key mistakes. I've only watched it on the phone, however, so I'm not sure if those mistakes are noted in the...notations. I'd be wary, however, of introducing the game through that mechanism.

Ricky Royal's and Tragic's playthoughs are moderately paced with some good explanation as to what is going on. Tragic will note that one should not learn the rules through his videos but his mistakes aren't quite as fundamental as Rhado's (bless both of them, however, for their truly amazing work).
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Marlene Thornstrom
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happycatmachine wrote:
Rhado's runthrough does have a fair number of pretty key mistakes. I've only watched it on the phone, however, so I'm not sure if those mistakes are noted in the...notations. I'd be wary, however, of introducing the game through that mechanism.

Ricky Royal's and Tragic's playthoughs are moderately paced with some good explanation as to what is going on. Tragic will note that one should not learn the rules through his videos but his mistakes aren't quite as fundamental as Rhado's (bless both of them, however, for their truly amazing work).


Rahdo's run throughs are watched by so many people that all the mistakes get caught and annotated.

The point is for the gf to get a feel for the game, not to learn the rules. Rahdo has an animated style, is very enthusiastic and goes through the thought process of the game. While Ricky Royal and Tragic are better with the rules (Tragic, especially as he plays so many LCGs), they don't "sell" the game to people who aren't already feeling positively towards it.

E.g. look at the most recent Tabletop episode featuring "Forbidden Desert". They make two rules mistakes throughout the game: 1) excavate tiles adjacent to pawns when you're only allowed to excavate tiles pawns are on top of, and 2) moving the tiles in the wrong direction when doing storm movement.

Mistake #2 is not really a factor as long as you keep the storm movement consistent, but #1 makes the game easier. Yet this is still a better video to watch for non-invested people deciding if they like the game compared to say, Game Night!'s video that goes through a comprehensive rules overview (although they still got #2 wrong ).
 
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Jason Nopa
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So you really have 2 things stopping you.

1. There's the question of whether your gf would enjoy the game. Do you play other games together? What kind of games does she enjoy?

One of the biggest problems with GoT/Netrunner/Star Wars LCG is that unless you're playing with people at your skill level and knowledge of rules and cards, it is very easy to get destroyed and things can get complicated due to the very large card pools.

I can't blame her for not having interest in GoT, because I don't think I'd be able to jump in without a lot of work. And to truly experience the VS/competitive game, you have to be willing to put in the work and play a LOT to catch up to other people you play with. [often this means losing a lot while you learn]

2. You're unsure about the co-op element vs standard vs games.

As mentioned earlier, you have to think about the game more as a puzzle. So while competitive games have both things going on (player interaction where you play mind games/tricks, and situational problems that you need to find solutions for), LotR takes the former away and is almost purely the latter.

The fact that it's co-op means that you don't have to be a stickler for rules as both of you learn the game, and you can teach her other elements common in these types of card games.

Lastly, because it's co-operative, there's no pressure to keep up with all the expansions unless you want to. You can take it as you both still enjoy it, or you can stop at a certain point. The core set offers 3 scenarios (with scenarios 2 and 3 being pretty difficult), with enough cards to build modest decks. Your options improve as you get the expansion packs.

I think the only real question is to ask yourself whether you would get tired of playing scenarios over and over again. The variability of the encounter deck and the variance in quests and mechanics has been fantastic. More than 3 cycles have completed and they have not run out of interesting ideas and play mechanics while still maintaining a fairly consistent set of play mechanics.

There's a reason why we love this game, but it's not always immediately apparent from the outside. I would say that there's no harm in just giving the core set a try and teaching your gf fundamentals...
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Susan F.
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Khamull wrote:
I was hoping I would be able to get my girlfriend into the Game of Thrones LCG (she likes the setting and likes boardgames) but it seems she find it too confusing and is losing interest very quickly. I suspect this is because she has no previous card gaming experience. Now, this boring story brings me to Lord of the Rings (a setting she enjoys probably even more than Game of Thrones) LCG: as a cooperative game, I have been thinking that it could be a good way to get her into card gaming and deck building in an easier way. By easier I mean that we could basically do everything cooperatively, which would enable me to help her and explain things all the time. This would hopefully give her a better understanding of the deck building "genre" and the leap to other games would not seem so hard anymore.


I think you should try LOTR LCG. It's a great game, and it's likely your girlfriend will enjoy it if she's really into the theme. Also, as others have noted, it's actually an excellent solo experience on the off chance she winds up not liking it.

That said, it may not actually work as a "stepping stone" into other LCGs. I play LOTR with my husband (as well as solo on OCTGN) and he really likes playing the game. He's not particularly interested in deck building though and that hasn't changed. I deck build for both of us (keeping in mind his favourite cards and playstyle). I've tried to get him to try Android Netrunner with me. No luck. He doesn't like it. Similarly, my Mum is a LOTR nut and I've taught her LOTR LCG as well. She enjoys playing with me/us but I wouldn't try to get her into other LCGs either.
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This is an absolutely awesome game, beautiful art, very thematic. And not at all expensive (the core set anyways) to dip your feet into it. Luckily the core set alone has tons of playability, although I bet once you finish the scenarios in that, you will have pack-itis...!!!

Buy it! It is cheap!
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Don Smith
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Buy the core set. Try it solo then teach it to your girlfriend. Co-op works intensely well as you work together to survive and complete the quest.

It is an exciting, thematic, challenging, and replayable excellent game IMHO.
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Mark Riley
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Listen buddy, I held off buying this game for about 3 years after it came out as I'm a big fan of the old Middle-earth

Eventually I broke and got the Core Set almost reluctantly. It's a fantastically good game. The scenarios are a real challenge and there's a lot of them in the series to keep you going for life. I would advise you to buy it if (1) you are a LOTR fan (2) you enjoy a game which generates a constant stream of decisions for you to make (3) you enjoy a game where the pressure on you is constant from the off (4) you enjoy a game that you beat by a combination of intelligent card play and also luck (you never know when or even if the cards you want will arrive) and (5) you don't mind losing a lot!

I would say that if you want to doodle about in Middle Earth and soak up the atmosphere, go for Middle-earth. If you want a tense game set in Middle Earth, go for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
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Joe Field
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Man, I love this game. Been with it almost since release... I dabble with GoT, A:NR and L5R, and this is the one I call home.

It's not competitive, but you're competing – with the designers for victory, and with your fellow players for prestige. It's a great example of implementing a theme in a game, and it's true to the source material all the way through.

I highly recommend you learn as much about how the game plays before you sit down with your girlfriend and attempt to teach her how to play. If you go in blind, you'll turn her off this fine game for life.
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Aaron Kanner
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Hey! Nice nickname! Khamul is the best Tolkien character!! haha

If you wan't to play this game more than just a handful of times, you will want to get expansions for this game. It is made that way. Otherwise it will get boring with the limited cards you have and you will be tired of the limited amount of strategy you have at your disposal. You don't have to get the full collection, but this game isn't necessarily a complete game the will satisfy you for a long time with just the core set. So decide if you want to spend some money. It definitely is a fantastic game, loads of fun, but with just the core set, you won't quite experience that.
 
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Arthur Reike
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Factoring in your perplexities... Lotr Lcg should be a good buy.

The big issue with competitive games is that if one of the players is even slightly more 'hardcore oriented' the session will end up boring. That's the magic in coops, the balancing work is done by the designers.
I play Lotr mainly 4 player and even those days when there's some friend just curious to try, it can be an awesome gaming night. The pace of the game won't collapse because of that like in other (wonderful) boardgames like Eclipse or Mage Knight.

And the most brilliant thing about Lotr Lcg is that there are tons of scenarios so that you can fine tune your approach as you wish, there's a huge difficulty spectrum at your disposal, from the easiest decks to the nightmare ones.
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Dmitry Vensko
Belarus
Minsk
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If you never played a coop game you should try one. No other way to verify if you like it.

As for expansions - don't even bother. You WILL want all of them if you like the game. No way to resist. Not a chance.
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Jake Courtney
United States
Quincy
Illinois
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Buy this game. It's legit.
 
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chadgar24
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Michigan
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Beating the encounter deck is more fun than beating an opponent for this reason:
when playing against someone in a deck-building game you don't know what they are going to throw at you. But in this game you do....and you still lose. You know all the cards in that deck, how many, and what they do...and you STILL lose. So...imagine the feeling when you BEAT it on your forth try. Now...imagine that feeling doubled when you AND your partner beat it (mind you, the more players the harder it is to beat). You will have these moments:
Me: okay revealing shadow card.....OH CRAP! I am dead....Aragorn is dead
Partner: What if I play this.. (Hasty Stroke, cancels shadow)
Me: YYYEESSS!!
P: been saving that since turn 1!
High-5s abound.
it's just really fun to work together, help each other, and beat this really hard game.
its also fun in the later scenarios when cards make something bad happen and you have to 'talk it out' and decide who does this bad thing:
Me; ok, we need to deal 4 damage total to our characters...I can take....2 on Legolas
P: I can take one...on Sam
Me:.....still 1 more....
Silence....looks at nails...
Me......soooo I think you should.....you know....take it.

anyway, buy it, play it, laugh and have fun.
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