Readers of my blog and enthusiasts of my YouTube channel know that I love a good dungeon crawl / role playing game.
Dungeons & Dragons naturally usually takes care of that, but what about times when the group can’t get togehter? Solo play? OR something not as involved as having to set up some of the larger board games like Gloomhaven?
Something quick, and compact like a card game?
Enter Lord of the Rings the card game by Fantasy Flight Games.
A few of the considerations that I’ve noticed, and take into account to answer the eternal gaming question- is something I would play?
Well, its Lord of the Rings, so that right there has some weight to it. If you are a LotR fan the cast of characters, locations, and challenges will fit right in.
If you are indifferent to Lord of the Rings, it is still fantasy enough to make sense, and better vs. some of the more generic fantasy games out there. Terrinoth is “ok”, but its all generic, and will never have the alpha of Lord of the Rings.
Being Lord of the Rings, the narrative of the game grows with you as you watch the movies (again), ready the books, and explore the lore. I find this online vs. offline has big narrative value. I can watch/read the media, get pumped, and play the card game.
In that narrative the game does a great job of fantasy journey/quest. You pick characters, build a deck of supporting cards to draw each turn- featuring items, boons, supporting heroes, and powers, and tackle a quest.
Each quest has locations to explore, monsters to fight, and a timer to beat.
It all comes together really well, and works giving one a fast playing RPG adventure crawl experience.
There are a few counter points to keep in mind.
The learning curve is HARD. Not in terms of rules, but in terms of deck building, and figuring out how to solve each quest. Even the “easy” quests are hard, the hard quests will brutalize you. The only game that I have played that is more hard-mode-alpha is Xenoshyft.
Be ready to sink time in and enjoy the ride as you learn the power curve of the game.
For group play this might not be the best. For solo play it works- I can take my time trying out the quests with different builds and characters. I can go online and ready/watch other ideas to beat the quest, and the replayability is quite high given how each quest plays out differently in terms of locations and monsters that populate it on one side, characters, gear, and your cards on the other.
A second consideration is that it is a LIVING card game- Fantasy Flight Games style. There are LOTS of expansion beyond the core, lots of adventure packs, and more and more are always being released.
I got in about half-way from launch and it was a bit overwhelming at that time. Plan to spend some time mapping out the stuff you are interested in.
Counter points is that will all the content of the game, one can select the expansions one might be interested in- wilderness, dungeons, etc.
Final consideration- sleeves.
Lots of shuffling the cards, lots of organizing and flipping cards over. I’ve got my sets sleeved from day one, and feel like the costs of the cards + sleeves needs to be considered.
Next post- a quest in action.