I am feeling in the mood to play The Lord of the Rings Card Game. This is a deck-building game like Magic, Netrunner and Call of Cthulhu. Instead of playing against another player you team up and play against the game. It is cooperative, which is nice.
You get to play some of the well-known characters from The Lord of the Rings, such as Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas, and you get to travel around locations in Middle-Earth and fight spiders, goblins, orcs, trolls and Nazgul. Its great.
It actually plays like a puzzle. Each scenario has a special deck of encounters and other bad stuff, and you have to play your deck against that deck. Figuring out how to deal with the encounter cards that turn up using your characters and abilities is what makes it a challenge.
If you have friends, then they each gets deck and you all play against the scenario together. The scenario’s encounters scale with the number of players, so it isn’t easier with more players.
There are three scenarios in the core set, and loads more in all the expansions. I have a bunch of the expansions. The game is by Fantasy Flight Games, and follows their superb new ‘Living Card Game’ format which has fixed sets of cards to buy and no random booster rubbish. If you decide you need a particular card, or want to play a particular scenario, you can just buy that add-on pack. Each add-on pack comes with new player cards and a new scenario encounter deck to play against.
This is one of the most flavourful card games out there, but it is also quite difficult. Until you get the hang of the behaviour of each scenario’s encounters, you can have a hard time of it. There is a scoring system, but initially you will just be worried about beating the mission at all.
It is easy to get started. You can throw together a set of decks from the cards in the core set and play the first introductory scenario. Then if you fancy getting creative, you can try putting together your own decks, adding cards from the expansion sets to make them more powerful.
The scenarios in the expansions get gradually tougher so there is always a challenge.
I last played well over a year ago, and so to get back into it I took the deck I had built before and re-played the very first introductory scenario, Passage Through Mirkwood.
My deck is based around the heroes Aragorn, Eowyn and Beravor.
I got eaten by spiders. Obviously my skills have faded.