In this post I wanted to share a system I devised for managing the various conditions and effects that you can come up against in the Lord of the Rings LCG.
As I get further along in the quests, the game has introduced more temporary conditions and ongoing effects. When there are several in play at the same time, I find that I do a poor job of keeping track of every condition in play and which phase trigger in, so I needed to discover a way to enjoy the game without having to reread every card in play to ensure that I’m satisfying every such card condition. My solution was to recommission a Gamemastery Combat Pad I purchased years ago to keep track of character and enemy initiative order in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
The Combat Pad is great for tracking temporary card effects. It is a dry erase board with magnets that can be rearranged or removed as needed. I use the left side of the board to list the phases, the magnets to keep track of the card conditions, and the area to the right of the magnets for totals and stacking conditions (staging area synergies, mostly). The dry erase board makes it really easy to update any of the information quickly.
I created this example using conditions mostly found in The Drúadan Forest quest. I've listed each phase on the left. The magnets on the right list an ongoing effect or condition next to the phase in which it takes effect. It sits propped up at the end of the table we play on.
Here’s a breakdown of my shorthand and what each condition magnet means:
- ≠ $ Cards
This condition is in play for all phases, so I put the magnet at the top, not next to a phase. It indicates that there is a card in play that means we cannot collect resources from any card effects.
- Cards +1 $
This condition is in play for all phases, so I put the magnet at the top, not next to a phase. It indicates that players must pay one extra resource for each card they play.
This condition is in play during the questing phase, so the magnet is placed next to phase 3. It indicates that players but quest using the Battle keyword.
- +2 Threat x 3 Wose
This condition is in play during the questing phase, so the magnet is placed next to phase 3. It indicates that the staging area gets 2 additional threat for each Wose in play. There are currently 3 Wose in play.
- Archery +3
Since the archery keyword is resolved at the beginning of the combat phase, this magnet is placed next to phase 6 to indicate that players must take archery damage and that the total damage is currently 3, as specified by the cards in play.
- +1 Threat
Since threat is increased in the Refresh phase, this magnet is placed next to phase 7 to indicate that players must raise their threat by one additional threat at the end of the round.
The magnets are in three colours, so if you wanted, you could really get clever and use a colour system to indicate the source of the conditions. For example, using the green magnets for conditions that are from the quest card, brown for conditions from the encounter deck, etc. I haven’t taken it that far (yet). It’s a quick matter to write the conditions down as they are revealed during the quest, but there are enough magnets that if you wanted, you could prepare the magnets beforehand with the conditions that will be found in the current quest and have them waiting in the wings for placement as needed.
To newer players, don’t be intimidated or think that the game is so complicated that this sort of tracking is a necessity. Honestly, after you have played a quest a few times, you get the hang of remembering the effects that are in play. I just found that I would either completely forget a condition or realize it several phases too late. This solution works for me and I feel like it keeps me honest and provides my group an at-a-glance list of the current mechanics in play.
I’d love to hear how you guys keep track of card conditions.
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