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Monday, July 20, 2015

LOTR-LCG: Old Friends Meet Again, My First Year of Play

by Grant "pfcamygrant" Ellis

I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game mid-summer of 2014. That night I fell in love with the game system. I was thrilled at the attention to detail, the reverent treatment of the source material, and committed to seeking out every possible way to satiate my appetite for the game. I built my own collection, I attended events, I imported adventure packs, I spent hours in OCTGN and I joined a community of enthusiasts, analysts, and players who all shared the same level of passion for this game. One year has passed since the journey began, has my passion waned?  Has the fire gone out? I say nay, I am more enthusiastic for the game than ever! This article looks at how my play experience has evolved since I joined the ranks of the global player-base.

Ordinary People

Despite the awesome power displayed in the Lord of the Ring’s written narrative, such as an Istari’s epic duel with a Balrog, the treachery and treason of Isengard, the showdown between the Black Captain and the White Wizard, and so forth, the story is at its core the following:

A tale of ordinary people who persevere to accomplish extraordinary things.

This is a game that can be played and enjoyed by ordinary people. With patience, planning, and a willingness to commit to the learning process, you can find great satisfaction when playing the game.


My First Deck - The Noldorks

My initial foray into solo-play involved the construction of a tri-sphere Noldor themed deck around Elrond’s sons and the spirit version of Glorfindel. The deck taught me the importance of resource smoothing and the need to keep an eye on a growing card pool (in case a more appropriate or effective card would be released.) These boys were my “EZ-Mode Crew”, as I used a reduced difficulty in order to learn the flow of the game. I avenged a previous defeat in Dol-Guldur, I took the team into and through Khazad-Dum, I played through the Dwarrowdelf Cycle, and even got a taste of the Black Riders first quest. The major challenge was I still had a limited card-pool when I attempted to make a run at the game, and I didn’t quite have the best understanding of how to pace my play. I spent many hours reading and researching on a variety of websites, such as the Hall of Beorn and Tales From the Cards; trying to get a better grasp on the fundamentals I would need to tackle the more difficult adventure packs and to step up to a higher level of difficulty. I still like the idea of these three heroes in Tri-sphere, and I may revisit and post the 2015 version.

I Switched Gigs For This Game

Long before I was writing on this blog I covered game design and analysis for PC and console games. I was supplemental material to fill in on a web-comic, turning in about 1000 words a week. It isn’t any wonder that my final article would be about The LOTR LCG and I would drop that gig as I was fully committed to learning and getting better at this game. While I am still passionate and involved in the world of video and computer games, my heart is found in the world of cardboard tokens and sleeved cards with commissioned artwork crafted specifically for our community. Tolkien himself may not have had the chance to see this adaptation, but I think he would have approved of the level of craftsmanship and innovation in design.

The Road Goes Ever On and On

This article marks my thirteenth (lucky number) article and blog post on OutpostZero. While it is more of a love letter than any sort of in-game analysis or demonstration of deck design, it is where my heart is right now. Playing because I love it.

The game isn't over; it is just getting started, as we are beginning to play through the Angmar Awakened cycle and preparing to enter the Land of Shadow within our campaigns. It's been a wild first year, playing card-pool catchup, meeting up with old friends and making new ones too.

The year is more than half-through. Conventions and meetups have come and gone with more on the way. What keeps you motivated to play the game? Is it the eventual presentation of thematic events that are near to your heart? Is it the evolution and shift in the meta-game. Perhaps your favorite trait is finally getting the attention it deserves. Let us know in the comments section and on the forum how long you've been playing, some of your favorite in-game moments, and where you want to see the game headed. Game on. Always and forever.

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!

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