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Subject: My one cent review rss

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John Strong
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With the way the economy is, I can't give my 2 cents, so 1 will have to do!

Let me start by saying this review will not cover the rules (there are a TON of great posts covering the rules, not only here on BGG, but also on FFG site as well as the most updated FAQ). I will not cover the contents of what you receive (again, plastered all over BGG, you will find enough drool worthy material concerning the artwork, card stock, etc). No, this review will just flat out cover what happens, and how this makes my wife and I feel when we break it out to our table.

I apologize, but let me take a moment to let you know what type of gamers my wife and I are. If this section bores you, (you know you're yawning right now), feel free to scroll down. Anyway, I can honestly say that I was not a "gamer" by any stretch of the imagination. I am an avid movie (especially horror) fan, and even started up my own production company to try and get some films made. I wrote several scripts for projects, and we are actually in the process of filming one of them right now. Anyway, my buddy, who is also on the production team, and I were walking through a store one day many years ago, trying to find Christmas gifts for family and friends. It was during this that I stumbled across Betrayal at House on the Hill. It looked very interesting, but I ended up leaving without a copy. Time passed. Christmas showed up. And my buddy dropped by so we could do our annual gift exchange. I opened my gift from him, and it was Betrayal. So my friends and I gave it a go. And we really enjoyed the heck out of it! We played it numerous times over the years and had a blast, but soon, it ended up in the closet, and kind of forgotten.

That did not start my forray into gaming, although in hind sight, I wish it had. Instead, what started me on this path, was a few years ago, my wife (again, knowing my love of horror films, and Jason Vorhees in particular), found and gave me a unique Christmas gift. It was the Freddy vs Jason set for the game Horrorclix. She also got me the starter set for it and four booster boxes. Little did my wife know what that would soon give birth to! I loved that game!! And I started becoming obsessed with the idea of trying to collect all of the Horrorclix figures (on another side note, I am only six figures away from the complete collection!) While checking out boards for Horrorclix, one the main active forum still out there, one of the members also happened to be a designer on the Aliens vs Predator CCG. I wasn't sure what that was, but it sounded cool. He didn't want to part with any of his collection, but he directed me to a place where I could possibly find some-a LITTLE site called Boardgamegeek.com

Oh my... how fast addiction can grab hold once you've had a little taste. Just a little sample to get you going. Suddenly, I'm discovering all of these games, and find that I want them! Tons of them. I went from barely owning 4-5 games to now close to 100. I own games like Star Trek Fleet Captains, all three releases and expansions of Ascension, Thunderstone, Mansions of Madness, Age of Conan, the 24 CCG, the AvP and Terminator CCG's, Rune Age, Claustrophobia, Resident Evil Deck building game, Fight Klub, Testimony of Jacob Hollow, Blood Bowl Team Manager, and a bunch more!

I'm becoming a pretty big fan of FFG. My favorite game for awhile has been BBTM. I love many of them. Some definitely hit the play table more than others.... Until I discovered something new. Something strange. Something I didn't quite expect.

(For all of you that are still awake, and somehow still here, if you did skip the boring stuff, here's where things pick back up)

I decided to buy and give the Lord of the Rings LCG a try. My first LCG. What I stumbled on to was NOT a game. No... it was (feel free to insert Gollum's voice for a round of my precious if you'd like) more than that. This was no game. When we opened that box, I had no idea I would be whisked away into an adventure. Numerous adventures. And how appropriate. Based on a series of stories the culminates which follows the path of "one ring to rule them all", here comes this "game", one to rule them all. It has overtaken our gaming sessions.

We started out just attempting the first quest in the core set , each using one of the core starter decks in the box. I used Tactics, while my wife used Spirit. We could not overcome. Another attempt, me using Tactics, my wife using Lore. We got close, but again, could not get to the Anduin. So we crafted our own 30 card decks. I combined Tactics and Leadership, she wanted a team of Spirit and Lore. Suddenly, the sweet tale of success! So we moved onto Anduin. It was rough, but we made it out! Which brought us to our attempt at an Escape. We were crushed.

By this time, I could already see how this adventure was going to take over my soul. I purchased the first six adventure packs. After getting them and going through them, we crafted 2 50 card decks, and decided to try our Escape once again.

This is where I truly realized that this was no game. This truly was an adventure. It evoked feeling and emotion! And I'm not just talking about happiness for a victory, or aggravation over a loss. No, this was something more. I led a team of Aragorn, Theodred, and Legolas. She used Eowyn, Glorfindel and Denethor. We took our time. Every encounter could bring about a lot of damage to our heroes. Even death. Every location we had to explore brought about new dangers. There were so many things raising our threat. We had to make so many key decisions. Do we quest? Do I leave anyone to defend or attack? Do I go undefended, or do I defend. And this is where it got really cool. We were now in the third and final stage of this nerve wracking quest. The Nazgul had me engaged. My wife had just made two moves and it was my turn for the defend phase. She sat there, pulling the top of her shirt up high, almost to the point of covering her eyes. I had to take a deep breath. My plan included what would be suicide for someone. But it was worth the risk. I was going completely undefended for both attacks (the Nazgul and an Orc Guard). What fate would the shadow cards reveal? I flipped the first. No effect! I took one damage from the Guard. Now it was the Nazgul. His shadow........... No effect! Aragorn took big damage, however he had Citadel armor on, and so was still standing. My wife took a deep breath, and her shirt lowered a little, still clutched tightly. But due to the Nazgul, I still had to let someone die. My wife was surprised at first by my choice. I had to say goodbye to the valiant and heroic Legolas (he was stuck exhausted thanks to the Caught in a Web condition from the previous round, so he would not be able to help out). I could picture Legolas yelling from the web, drawing the Nazgul's attention after it's attack. The Nazugl took out Legolas, but it was the distraction we needed. Aragorn, Theodred, Gandalf, and a few allies all jumped the Nazgul...... and in one giant fell swoop, it was enough to overtake him! He was defeated. My wife couldn't believe it. She started to become ecstatic. I realized I had spent half that phase holding my breath and I let it out. I quickly reminded her that we still needed three more progress tokens to win. So during the questing phase of the next round (by this time, my wife's threat was 48, mine 47), we committed EVERYONE....... and just like that, we made our Escape! We gave each other big high fives, a big hug. I could actually feel some adrenalin running.

We have since hunted for Gollum. We are on his trail (and the trail of something else???), and it looks like we are headed for a Conflict.

For anyone out there wondering if this is worth purchasing... If you are just a casual gamer, than maybe it isn't for you. However, if you are a gamer, if you like a challenge, if you like a story, if you want to LIVE adventure without leaving your table, you MUST do yourself a favor and get this! I know this isn't the greatest "review". It's part back story, part session report, part God knows what. But words can not truly express how great this really is. What FFG has crafted, is truly a LIVING card adventure. I highly recommend not only the core set, but the adventure packs as well. I now have the first expansion on it's way to my door as well on Tuesday. Every adventure is and WILL be different. What heroes and spheres do you use? What effects, allies and attachments do you bring with you to help you along the way? What is around the very next corner? From the progression of the game, to the shadow effects, etc, no two adventures will feel the same. For those that think it is too hard, I say stick with it. Experiment with different heroes, combinations and more. You will be victorious. And that moment is pure exhiliration! It will evoke emotion! And you will find yourself craving for more. Dying to see what lies ahead.

Now go out and write your own adventure! I promise you will NOT regret it!!!

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Andrei Ivanesei
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I should buy less games
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Great review.

And by the number of "thumbs up" you got I'd say quite a few feel the same way.
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Chris in Kansai
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Otsu
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Genuine breathless enthusiasm is a rare and precious thing.
I salute you sir!

Timing couldn't be better either - I just set this up on the table to have a crack at deckbuilding and am now duly inspired .
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Markus
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You don't need any more.
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Well written. You almost made me regret the fact that I'm just about to sell this one.
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Bobb Beauchamp
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Volo
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Excellent review. Lots can go on about the production quality and talk about the rules. You've captured your experience that the game has created for you, the emotional connection it brings to your sessions.
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Eric Weidus
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Well said.

I know from experience whenever my wife lifts her shirt up, it doesn't matter what we're playing, the results are usually good. Sure that wasn't what was happening here?

My partner is moving, so I'm stuck with no one to play with. Maybe I'll con my wife into a game.
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Gijs Bouwman
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Execelent review. After collecting dust for a couple of months I recently opend the box of this one and well.........I can't stop playing. It's just so good
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John Strong
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Thanks everyone for the kind words! I really do find it amazing how invested we get into this adventure series. After making our own attempts at the different adventures, it truly makes me want to break out the movies and watch them! This is one series I hope and pray, that FFG continues for a LONG time to come! I plan on doing a lot of questing for a long time to come!

On a side note, it took numerous beatings and attempts, but we finally came out victorious in our Conflict. Now I'm looking forward to going on a Journey.......

Keep the adventure alive my fellow heroes!
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Peter Kossits
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Ha. This game made me watch the movies and start reading the books.
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Greysbull
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Please keep posting your adventures in the Middle Earth. They are a delight to read!
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John Strong
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Thanks Marcus... I will DEFINITELY keep posting about our experiences in Middle Earth. The story will be told!
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