Lord of the Rings Card Game – Rules Summary

I wrote up a rules summary for the Lord of the Rings Card Game.


1-3 heroes.
Minimum 50 cards (not counting heroes), max 3 of each card.

Set threat tracker to heroes’ starting threat total.
Draw hand of 6 cards, can mulligan another 6.
Follow setup on quest card 1A.

Win if complete all scenario quest stages.
Lose if all players eliminated.
Player eliminated if all heroes die, or reach 50 threat.

When players take turns doing something, start with current first player and go to left.


Turn Sequence:
7 phases.
Can play actions or abilities after each phase and after steps within phases.


1. Resource.
Add 1 resource to each hero’s pool.
Each player draws 1 card.


2. Planning.
Can play allies and attachments.
Must match sphere of hero paying.
Multiple heroes of same sphere can co-pay for a card.
Anyone can co-pay for neutral cards.
Zero-cost cards still need to match sphere.
Paying for triggered abilities usually does not require a sphere match.


3. Quest.
Three steps:

i) Commit.
Exhaust characters (heroes and allies) to commit to quest.

ii) Staging.
Reveal one encounter card per player, resolve any “when revealed” effects and place in staging.
If encounter deck empty in this phase, shuffle discards into new deck.

iii) Quest Resolution.
Add up willpower of questing characters vs threat of cards in staging.
If positive, put that many progress tokens on active location if any, or quest stage.
If negative, raise threat tracker by that amount.
If active location has enough progress tokens it is explored and discarded and extra progress is placed on the quest stage.
If the quest stage has enough progress tokens it is completed and reveal next quest stage (extra progress does not carry over).


4. Travel.
If no active location, can travel to a location in staging.
It becomes active location and is no longer in staging.


5. Encounter.
Two steps:

i) Each player may optionally engage an enemy in staging.

ii) Each player takes turns comparing threat level with engagement cost of enemies in staging.
Enemy with highest cost equal or lower than threat level engages that player.
Then next player compares.
Keep going around until no more enemies can engage any player.


6. Combat.
Deal an encounter card face down on each enemy as a shadow card, in order of engagement cost highest first. If encounter deck empty, no more shadow cards this round.
Enemies attack first. Each player takes turns resolving attacks.

4 steps:

i) Choose an enemy engaged with this player.

ii) Exhaust only one character as defender, or attack is undefended.

iii) Reveal and resolve shadow card effect.

iv) Subtract defence from attack score.
If positive, place that much damage on defender.
If total damage equal or greater than hit points, then dead and discarded.
If attack undefended, all damage assigned to one of engaged player’s heroes ignoring hero’s defence.

(Repeat for all this player’s engaged enemies, then next player resolves attacks).

Players attack second. Each player takes turns resolving attacks. One attack per player per enemy.

3 steps:

i) Declare target enemy and can exhaust multiple characters as attackers.

ii) Total attack strength.

iii) Subtract enemy defence from total attack strength.
If positive, put that much damage on enemy.
If 0 hit points, is dead and discarded.

(Repeat until all this player’s attacks are resolved, then next player attacks).

Discard remaining shadow cards at end of combat phase.


7. Refresh.
Ready all exhausted cards.
Increase threat tracker by 1.
Pass first player token to left.


Final threat level + Threat cost of dead heroes + Damage on surviving heroes – Victory points.
(Optional: + 10 per turn if playing tournaments).



Doomed: If revealed during staging, each player raises threat by X.

Guarded: (Objective cards). If revealed during staging, attach next encounter card to objective card as a guard. Once guard is resolved, can claim objective.

Ranged: Can attack enemies engaged with other players, either as own player’s attack or joining another player’s attack.

Restricted: Maximum two restricted attachments per character. If attach a third, discard one of existing two.

Sentinel: Can defend against attacks on other players.

Surge: If revealed during staging, draw another encounter card after resolving this card’s ‘when revealed’ effects.

Victory: When this leaves play, keep it aside and add points to score.


One comment

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