The Lord Of The Rings: Adventure Card Game | Review


*arrow woosh*
GEM
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game
is a new game based on the legendary fantasy
world of Middle-earth, and the book series
written by JRR Tolkein.
RAD
That’s right! It began with the forging of
the great cards. Three were given to you as
Heroes; to be used in battle. Seven was the
number of cards you could have on the board
at any one time. And nine, nine cards was
the maximum you could have in your hand,
to be played to defeat your enemy. But they
were all of them deceived, for another card
was made.
GEM
What other card?
RAD
There’s no other card, actually. That’s just
how the line goes. But the rest is true!
GEM
Oh. Cool!
*units shouting “Hammer and tongs!” – “I serve no man!” “You would die before your stroke fell!”
“We have vanquished the beasts, come my friends, I see the path ahead!”*
GEM
The game is similar to other strategy
card games like Hearthstone and Magic The
Gathering. You have a deck with units, spells,
and buffs that you use Resources to play,
taking turns with your enemy. But instead
of trying to bring your opponent’s health
to zero, each round (or location) has a different goal.
RAD
Yeah, and this brings a nice amount of variety to the
game, and you’ll be travelling through a number
of locations in each quest. The Goal can range
from simply defeating a certain number of
enemies, to using a card’s Willpower to reduce
an Objective to zero.
GEM
But no matter what the Objective is, the gameplay
remains the same. You start with three Heroes
on the board, each with different skills and
strengths. If they all reach 0 health then
it’s game over.
RAD
I quite liked the heroes, and how differently
they all played. Plus, it’s so cool seeing characters I know and love.
Each is part of a Sphere of Influence,
which changes their gameplay style and determines
what cards you can put in your deck. My favourite
was Aragorn. His power lets you use one Resource
to let him take another turn, which was so
handy. Although, I gotta say, the Heroes don’t
feel quite as powerful as they do in the
books.
GEM
You are definitely always on the back foot.
Although, your enemy is Sauron – the Dark
Lord himself. So it makes sense that it’s
a bit of a struggle.
RAD
Yeah but I’m playing against his lackies,
like spiders and orcs! Aragorn should be able
to smite those weaklings down! The game is
rather challenging, requiring thoughtful strategy
if you’re to succeed, especially because the
cards you’ve already played carry on to the
next location – with the same amount of health.
The road goes ever on and on, down from the
door where it began…
GEM
Even though there’s 3 different difficulty settings, I still found this tricky even on the easiest mode!
But Rad, even with the enjoyable challenge
sometimes requiring me to replay a few chapters, I have
one sizable gripe.
RAD
Is it that there’s only one included campaign?
GEM
YES! The base game only has one campaign,
which contains five quests, and three challenge
encounters, with extra campaigns available
for half the cost of the original game. Now,
there is a decent amount of play time with
what’s here, but it still feels like
buying half a game.
RAD
Yeah, I agree and because it’s quite story based it
doesn’t make me inclined to keep replaying it.
Although there is a pretty rich story on offer.
GEM
Now this I was into. Tales of hobbits, and
ancient wolves, and the slinking, stinking
Gollum… it’s a fantasy fan’s dream. There’s
also slight choose-your-own-adventure type
moments, and even though you ultimately end
up in the same spot they’re pretty fun. And I liked
how the objectives changed with whatever was happening
in the story.
RAD
See, I’m a big Lord of the Rings’ fan, but
the way it was presented – with big walls of
text with voiceover – was too dry. If I wanted
to read the books I’d just do that.
WIZARD
Don’t just stand there with your mouths agape, hurry!
NARRATOR
The wizard disappears into the trees and you scramble to follow
RAD
In fact, the entire game lacks the pizazz and juicy design of something like Hearthstone.
And sometimes the design is downright confusing.
It wasn’t clear at first how to move to a
new chapter, so I accidentally skipped most
of the tutorial and had to go back and play it! I was wondering why there was stuff I didn’t understand
GEM
Yeah, I wasn’t dazzled by the deck building either.
You can build your deck for different play
styles, but I was pretty happy with just the
standard pre-built ones. I didn’t find much difference gameplay wise between them and my own deck.
RAD
All in all, this is a pretty solid game
that doesn’t really bring anything fresh
to the table. The phases and combat are very
similar to Magic The Gathering, with minor
tweaks. The main difference of course is that it includes
Lord of the Rings characters and lore. So
if you want that style game anyway and you’re
a fan, it’s not a bad offering. I’m giving
it 2.5 out of 5 rubber chickens.
GEM
I enjoyed the challenge and it strikes a good balance between being complex and accessible
but overall it just didn’t excite me. So I’m giving
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game
2.5 out of 5 rubber chickens as well. By the
way, I like your costume.
RAD
What costume? This? Oh, no, I’ve just aged terribly.

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