Lord of the Rings
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      About the Game

      The Lord of the Rings TCG is a fun, easy to learn game of adventure and peril. Each player's deck is a mixture of good and evil. On your turn, you play only cards from your hand that represent goodness, like the fellowship. On your opponent's turn, you play Orcs, Trolls, bad weather, burdens on the Ring-bearer, and the like, in order to slow your opponent's progress.

      Each player controls a fellowship of major characters from the story. Fellowships begin in the relative safety and civility of The Shire, then move to Rivendell, Moria, Lorien, and finally Amon Hen. The first fellowship to reach this final destination on the adventure path wins, which represents the urgency of their mission.

      The harder you push your fellowship, the more vulnerable they are to minions of Sauron, Saruman, and the depths of Moria. If your Ring-bearer is killed, or becomes corrupted and runs off with The One Ring, you lose. The player who maintains the most optimal balance of safety and urgency usually wins. But even if your Fellowship is woefully behind on the adventure path, your minions and Ring-bearer burdens might still kill or corrupt the competition's Ring-bearer.

      Each player can have any character in play. For example, all players begin the game with Frodo bearing The One Ring. There is no competition between players to get unique characters on the table. The game allows each player to form the fellowship of nine, but it also allows a player to form a smaller fellowship which will not attract as much attention. A few characters can travel with the fellowship who did not in the story. These let you specialize your deck along a particular culture, such as Dwarves or Elves. (By the way, a fellowship with only the 4 main Hobbits is certainly viable, and a lot of fun to play.)

      The central theme of The Lord of the Rings TCG is risk, which manifests with the play of every card. The more cards the fellowship plays to help their cause, the more attention they draw from the forces of Shadow; the more minions they skirmish, the more temptation the Ring-bearer faces. Risk is handled through a central receptacle of pitch-black glass tokens called the twilight pool. Each card the fellowship plays adds tokens to twilight pool equal to the card's cost. A powerful character like Aragorn adds many tokens; his sword adds a few more. If you need a little athelas for healing, this adds a twilight token, as does a simple spell from Gandalf, or Bill the Pony to carry your baggage, or a sudden tactic during a skirmish.

      Twilight tokens are the "money" your opponent uses to play shadow cards against you. A shadow card's cost is the number of twilight tokens an opponent removes from the twilight pool to play this card. Typical shadow cards are minions, so you can imagine that the more cards played to help your fellowship, the more minions your fellowship may face. You must also add tokens to the twilight pool for every move for each character in your fellowship and for the shadow number of the site they are moving to.

      Taking another look at the Hobbit deck, stealth is the key. This means using the Hobbit natural stealthiness to keep the twilight pool low and to avoid the minions that do get played.

      By Michael Reynolds courtesy of Decipher Inc.
      TCG Game Designer
      September 4, 2001

      This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings TCG, and is in no way affiliated with New Line Cinema or Decipher Inc. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the films and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.
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