Well it finally arrived – the much awaited: The Lord of the Rings – The card game.
The reviews on this game have been singing it’s praise for months now and in Golem’s words “It’s my preciousss…..” now
This is what is now called a “Living Card Game”. It is designed as a co-operative game for 1 – 2 players and can be played with 3 or 4 if another base set is obtained. This is a card game of heroes, perilous journeys and adventure set in the realm of Middle Earth. This game has three different scenarios within the core set and 60 card scenarios are becoming available to continue the story.
Passage Through Mirkwood – Difficulty Level 1
Mirkwood has long been a dangerous place, and recently one of King Thranduil’s patrols has uncovered disconcerting signs of a gathering menace in the vicinity of Dol Guldur. A party of heroes, controlled by the players, has been assembled to carry a message through Mirkwood, down the Anduin, and eventually to Lorien, to warn Lady Galadriel of the imminent danger.
This is the scenario I will attempt to take you through today on a solo run…
This is followed by:
Journey Down the Anduin – Difficulty Level 4
Escape from Dol Guldur – Difficulty Level 7
Ok so let’s see how the story unfolds….
The game is set up and I choose to play with the Leadership Sphere of Influence. There are 4 spheres in total: Leadership, Lore, Spirit & Tactics.
My Heroes are: Theodred, Aragorn & Gloin
The setup is simple in this game. Get out the tokens (wounds, resource & progress) and place where players can reach them. The Encounter Deck from whence the nasties come, has the eye on it’s backs. The first scenario card 1A (each card has an A & B side) directs you to find an Old Forest Road and Forest Spider card and place them in the “staging area” – this is where the encounters sit until engaged and where the threat comes from. The player/s place their heros in front of them and add up their threat cost – this is put on their threat counter as their starting threat. Simply put, if your threat level reaches 50, your dead…. The players shuffle their decks (with the one ring on the back). Players draw 6 cards. Set up looks like this:
Objective 1A / 1B Flies & Shadows
The turn is played in 7 phases, when two or more players are involved a first player token is used, in this game twas only I….:
Phase 1 – The Resource Phase
Each player adds one resource token to each heroes resource pile and draws one card.
The heroes gather their resources. They will need 8 progress tokens to complete this stage.
Phase 2 – The Planning Stage
First player plays ally and attachment cards, player actions, Next player plays ally and attachment cards, player actions.
Theodred expends his 1 resource token and calls in a Snowbourn Scout (ally). As this card comes into play its ability allows for 1 progress token to be placed on a location. the players move one step closer as the token is placed on the Flies & Shadows Location.
Phase 3 – Quest Phase
Players must now commit characters to the quest (by tapping them). When commiting to a quest, those that commit add their Willpower together. In this case a total of 3 is scored. Once this is done a card is turned over to the staging area for each player (so in this game 1 card is revealed and placed down). Another old forest Road is revealed. Players may now play actions. We now resolve the Quest. The cards in the staging area total their Threat strength (in this turn 4), this is compared to the willpower score of the committed characters (3). The characters lose by 1 and the players threat counter is increased by 1 point.
The heroes move out – Aragorn and the Snowborn Scout commit to the quest. A total of 3 willpower. Aragorn then uses his ability, spending his resource and readys. Gloin uses his resource to play Ever Vigilant and readys the Snowbourn Scout. The air feels heavier (threat counter reaches 30).
Phase 4 – The Travel Phase
Players may now choose to travel to a new location. They may choose any location that is in the staging area. There are two main reasons you would do this. 1. to get the response effect and 2. to lessen the staging areas threat level. However, the heroes must now play enough progress tokens on this location to complete it before going back to the main quest. The heroes pass this round.
Phase 5 – The Encounter Phase
Each player may choose and engage 1 enemy from the staging area, players may play actions, engagement checks are made (starting with the first player, players check their threat level, the highest rated monster will engage the player if its score is equal or less than the players threat level score) In this game the spiders score of 25 is less than our score of 31 and so he attacks!
Suddenly a Forest Spider leaps out of the canopy above!
Phase 6 – The Combat Phase
The enemy attacks first, players declare a defender if they wish and the enemies attack value is compared to the defending characters defence value. After this is done, any remaining ready charagters can attack the enemy under engagement.
The Snowbourn Scout leaps to defence of the heroes. The Spiders attack of 2 slices through the scouts defence of 1 and the 1 wound take is enogh to finish the scout off. Enraged, the heroes attack. The damage totals 7 and the spiders defence of 1 means it takes 6 wounds, it falls in a heap.
Phase 7 – The Refresh Phase
Each player readies his cards, raises his threat counter by 1 (now 32) and 1st player token passes to next player.
As the heroes ready and prepare to continue, the Threat counter raises by 1 (31).
The round is over and we start next round at phase 1
The story continues….
The heroes gather themselves. Theodred calls in another Snowbourn Scout. As the scout arrives, another progress token is placed on the quest location. All players decide to commit to the quest (willpower 5). Aragorn uses 1 resource and readies and Theodred gives Aragorn a spare resource. Another Forest Spider reaches the Staging area and the threat score is 4. Another progress token is placed on the quest as the willpower score is 1 more than the threat this round. The spider attacks and again the scout defends, dying for the cause. Aragorn attacks doing two wounds to the large arachnid. As the heroes prepare to fight on the threat counter moves to 33.
A Guard of the Citadel joins the group. The heroes all commit for 5 willpower. Theodred gives 1 resource to Aragorn who uses it to ready. The encounter card is Driven by Shadow and the staging areas threat is doubled to 4. Another progress token is added to the quest. The wounded spider attacks and the guard pays with his life. Aragorn finishes the spider and everyone readies. The treat counter increases by 1 to 34.
Well, the heroes have 16 turns (barring any unfortunate events) to complete the quest. Gandalf did appear on turn 4 then wandered off again! The heroes did complete the quest with the threat count at 48!
Hope you enjoyed the review, I will be looking for a playing partner at the club meeting.