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The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: How can I rate this game a 10? rss

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Jason DeWitt
United States
Eagle Mountain
Utah
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Preamble: I chose to make Lord of the Rings: TCG the subject for my first review as it has the greatest disparity between my personal rating and the average rating on BGG. In this review I do not intend to give a full description of the rules, but rather describe why I like this game.

A word about CCG/TCG (collectible/trading card games):
For me, in order for a collectible card game to reach its full enjoyment potential, a few conditions must be met:
1- I need to have a group of friends who are also investing in the game. This provides me with opponents to play the game against and also people to trade with. Trading is a unique aspect to CCG's and can be quite enjoyable.

2- All members of the group must spend relatively the same amount of money (ie. no one outspending anyone else by more than twice as much money invested). This is important because most of the strategy involved in CCG's is in deck design. If I am playing against someone who has 10 times the number of cards that I do (actually happened with Decipher's Star Wars CCG), there is almost no chance for me to even be competitive in a game.

Fortunately for me, both of these conditions were satisfied for Lord of the Rings: TCG making my 10 rating and this review possible.

The Answer
So, how can I rate this game a 10?
1- The theme. Theme is important to me in games. I can enjoy a game with great mechanics, but games that are both fun and have a theme that interests me are more enticing for me to play. For me this game does a good job of creating the feel of Lord of the Rings. The cards use images from the movies and so my Legolas or Gimli look like the Legolas or Gimli that I associate with the story. You also create a fellowship to help your ring-bearer reach the end of his journey (a path of 9 location cards).

2- Everyone gets to be the good guys and the bad guys. This is a great mechanic that allows everyone to try to destroy the ring while also having the ability to try to thwart the efforts of the other players. In this game half of your deck is made up of Fellowship cards while the other half are Shadow cards. Thus you can create two strategies for every deck you design. The two strategies also inter-relate. For expample: If you have lots of inexpensive (in shadow token cost [the currency of the game]) shadow cards you will likely be drawing more cards after your turns as the shadow player, thus giving you the possibility to have more Fellowship cards in your hand when you are the Fellowship player. On the other hand inexpensive cards are not as strong and may be easily defeated by your opponent. On the third hand if you can get out more minions than your opponent has companions you can possibly overwhelm the ringbearer and eliminate that player from the game (winning the game if there are only two players). Lots of tasty decisions in the deck design; and as deck design is where most of the strategy is in CCG's, that is a very good thing.

3- The shadow token mechanic. When you are the Fellowship player you can play as many fellowship cards as you want (and can use) each turn. You will not suffer from lack of Mana in this game. However, every card you play will give your opponent(s) more power, more ability to hurt your Fellowship. This will affect both how you play the game, and how you design your decks.

4- Multiplayer. I really enjoy the multiplayer rules for this game. On your turn, you control your fellowship while all the other players can use their Shadow cards against you. For everyone else's turn you will be using your Shadow cards and teaming up with the other people who's turn it isn't to stop the current player's fellowship. So you are competing against all the other players while also cooperating with them to stop each player. In fact, I rate this game as a 10 only when playing multiplayer (however I do not suggest playing with more than 4. It really slows the game down while creating a lot of down time.)
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Steve Oliver
United States
Alameda
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Nice review! thumbsup

I am interested in picking up enough cards to make 4 decks to hand out at game night for a 4-player game. Do you think someone can enjoy the game without having made their deck (and so not knowing the deck as well as they would otherwise)? And would 4 starter decks be enough, or will I need to get some boosters as well? I already have a Fellowship stater and was thinking of getting a few more of those.

The shadow pool sounds a little like the system in the new Stargate TCG where you play the good guys on your turn and your opponent tries to thwart your plans, and then on their turn you get to try and disrupt their team.
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Tiago Nunes
Portugal
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I have some preconstructed decks for this and found playing it enjoyable, the whole equilibrium mechanic with the shadow tokens is really great.

Never had the chance to play it with 4 people though cry
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Brian B
United States
Leawood
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I had lots of fun with this CCG and a group of us played it quite a bit. Interest faded with the never ending stream of new cards to buy and learn. It was fun to pair up minions and fellowships in one deck. Good looking cards as well....
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Gene Vogel
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I used to have a core group of CCG players when this came out. It was a cool game - easier but not as much fun as Middle Earth CCG. We usually kept pace with each other regarding our spending on it so that was really nice. I need to dig this one out again!
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Richard Diosi
Canada
Newcastle
Ontario
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Nice review.

I really like this the most of all my CCGs for many of the same reasons you stated. I only play it with my son currently and we are just starting to build decks (I have recently purchased several hundred booster packs from Hill's). I'd love to try this multi-player, though I'll have to supply my gaming group with pre-built decks when we play.

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Jason DeWitt
United States
Eagle Mountain
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Steve,

I think that someone could enjoy the game just using a preconstucted starter deck (that's how I started out). Obviously you wouldn't be getting the full flavor of the game, but the gameplay is enjoyable enough to stand on its own (for a couple of plays anyway).

Four starter decks could work, but it would probably be best to get different starter decks for each player. The way that Decipher did the starters was to have about 60 set cards with 3 random rares, so it might be more enjoyable for each deck to be more unique.
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Ken B.
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Through Fellowship block, this game was aces...I'll give it that.


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Gordon Wong
Hong Kong
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Nice review.

I do love the game with several players. The game was designed well along with the story. It is so great to re-generate the story whenever we play it.

I did supply decks for my friends and finally they got decks for their own.
 
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Dylan Shakespeare
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The cards look so beautiful that I could collect it for that reason.
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Chris Cornelius
United States
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I still play this game almost every day with another guy where I work. I havn't played any other CCG's, but I don't know how they could compare to this. The subject matter is what puts this one over the top for me. There is still an active community at lotrtcgdb.com/forums/ come by if you still like to play and discuss all things Lord of the Rings TCG.
 
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