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dreadpirate

Lord of the Rings LCG (On-Going Review)

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Hey All,

So up front, this is going to be a plug for playing LOTR LCG. If you do not enjoy LCG's, solo/coop adventures, deck building, challenging games, etc.. this is probably not the game for you. As far as I am aware, there is no pvp/1v1 aspect to this game.

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Now with that out of the way, let's dive right into it. My first interaction with this LCG was a dusty old box sitting on the shelf of one of the local FLGS's. From the look of the box, the game clearly saw almost no play here locally and I kind of shrugged it off and proceeded to buy some more warhammer because you know, addiction and all lol. Fortunately, I went home and could not stop thinking about the game. Could it really be that bad? Do I really need a community/others to play this like other card games? Cue hours of googling, watching videos, reading reviews, and all of that other late night, lack of sleep induced adventuring. I have to say, what I ended up reading and learning was that there is an extremely strong game with a huge amount of content to play supported by an awesome community and the best part? You can play it solo or with a partner and co-op the whole thing!

Lucky for me, I was heading back to my FLGS for a tourney and knew what I was picking up! (along with arkham horror lcg because we LCG now boyss).

Fast forward to that Sunday, i'm sitting at my kitchen table trying to learn the game on my own, my son "helping" me and my wife shaking her head at another game in the house.. all too familiar for a lot of people i'm sure.

So finally, after a few hours, I am able to get all of the mechanics down pretty easily and am breezing through my first scenario in the CORE set.

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CORE - Passage Through Mirkwood - Difficulty Level 1

Difficulty 1 my ass! I foolishly picked the Lore Beginner deck to play this since I am a fan of control in magic (and make no mistake, there are lots of interactions in this game that have large similarities to magic). I quickly found out that control is not the way to win solo, in fact, unless you're splashing colors, Lore is almost useless from what i've seen. So after prolonging my defeat, I was resigned to making a better deck (because thats the point of this game, refining from failure for the most part).

So after deciding I was going to take a different approach and because i'm a sucker for Rohan, I decided to go Leadership. Leadership luckily has was of defending, attacking and questing all while not doing any "the best". Without spoiling too much, I was able to crush my way through the path and squish some 8 legged friends along the way.

While my writing may not be able to accurately convey the amount of fun and stress that goes into this adventure, but needless to say, I was hooked!.

Solo Playthroughs (5) Successes (4)

Coop Playthroughs (2) Successes (2)

 

CORE - Journey Down the Anduin - Difficulty Level 4

Well now we're cooking with gas! Difficulty 4 LETS DO THIS.

High off of my initial success, I immediately shuffled up the new scenario and embarked on my adventure with Aragorn leading the charge.... annnd squished. That's the one thing I really notice about this game, when they ramp up the difficulty, they really RAMP it up. Again, I won't spoil too much but I have to say that some of the scenario setups really adds to the challenge of this one and Hill Trolls are NASTY. Aside from that, you start to get a better understanding of how certain cards interacts and this scenario introduces a few new mechanics (such as not being able to attack if there are other enemies on the board) and if you cannot clear the other enemies, goblin snipers make QUIIIICK work of you and your crew. I have to admit, this one put me on tilt the first few times just based off the sheer difficulty climb and the inability to do anything against certain cards early on (unless you're playing coop). That's something I should touch on as well, this game is made primarily as a two player / handed game. I embarked on this game knowing that I would be playing primarily solo (hard to get together with people / wife isn't a huge lotr or card game fan). So after making a few different decks and planning actions to contend with certain monsters in the deck and a long grueling grind, I finally beat this adventure solo by the skin of my ass with 49 threat (50 threat kills you). With 1 hero still alive, I pronounced my victory to an empty room while my wife congratulated me from the other room. Dreadpirate 1, Anduin 5.. lol.

Solo Playthroughs (6) Successes (1)

Coop Playthroughs (1) Successes (1)

 

Some quick thoughts on the game.

I'll say it again, if you do not like learning from losing, deck building, or LOTR theme, this game may very well not be for you. I am a systematic person in the sense that I do not like jumping ahead in scenarios, "cheating" myself or a monster and because of that I feel like I am getting a lot more out of this game and getting a feel for how it should be played. Sure I could buy a couple of adventure packs, slot some cards in from those into my deck and breeze through the scenarios but where's the fun in that?!

One of my favorite things about this game is the sheer complexity of it all, the interactions, the phases (there are 7 phases alone, with many sub phases inside of those), the cards and the lore, it all just fits perfectly in this game. Another thing that I thoroughly enjoyed and am enjoying is the atmosphere. Yes it's Lord of the Rings, but it's not "Movie" Lord of the Rings. None of the characters look like they do the in movies, there are tons of people in the game you have probably never heard about and a lot of nice little flavor text that as a huge fan of the series, I greatly appreciate. I have to admit, I am not surprised, from all of the love Arkham Horror LCG receives it makes sense (considering this is the same team that made LOTR LCG). The fun is definitely doubled when you're able to get a second person involved, the combos you can pull off and slaying a huge monster really feels like an epic experience. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of OH SHIT moments when we were crushing it.

I had been meaning to do this write up for some time now, but as everything in life, we do it when we find the time so here we are.

For a co-op card game that came out in 2011 and is STILL putting out adventures / expansions / Nightmares I have to say that FFG definitely hit the nail on the head for ths specific type of genre and I would highly recommend it to anyone who fits the criteria i've outlined above.

I'd be happy to field any questions on the game as well (if anyone has any).

For me, this game is a solid 8.5/10. I deducted .5 because there should be a specific Solo way to play (it just assumes you're always running two decks/hands which is perfectly viable and i'll probably go down that road myself a bit further, but for now im reserved to doing the solo thang). The other 1 point of deduction is purely based off the fact that no game is perfect and always has room for improvements. I do have to say that I am super excited to get into some of the mid->later expansions as I hear the mechanics get really interesting instead of the typical "go here, close this location".

Thanks all for reading!

 

 

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