You have my axe!

Fantasy Flight announces digital version of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

PC/Mac •

This is something we’ve known has been in the works for a while, but were verboten to talk about until today. Fantasy Flight‘s new FFG Interactive digital studio is bringing one of their LCGs to digital, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game which means that, unlike traditional CCGs like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, none of the new booster packs are random. Instead, new cards are released in known decks allowing you to always get all the cards currently available without having to dig through a ton of random boosters looking for that one Legendary you’ve been wanting. The digital version is going to take the same approach:

As a Living Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game relied on a fixed distribution of cards to remove randomness from the purchase model and brought players deeper into The Lord of the Rings universe with a focus on immersive, narrative-driven experiences. Now, Fantasy Flight Interactive brings that same philosophy to the digital card game market with The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game—a completely unique digital card game with a non-randomized approach to card purchasing and a focus on cooperative, story-based gameplay.

The Lord of the Rings LCG is a fantastic cooperative (or solo) card game that has you exploring Middle-Earth around the stories we know from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. That is, you won’t be traveling with the fellowship toward Mt. Doom, instead you’ll be tasked with adventures and dangers that weren’t spelled out in the books. Don’t worry, you’ll still bump into all the characters and places you’ve heard of and can even have them on your side, you’ll just be doing the stuff Tolkien only hinted at.

As a single-player experience, The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game tasks players with leading a team of three heroes through a series of narrative campaigns across Middle-earth as they face off against the dark forces of Sauron, controlled by the computer. Players will forge their own fellowships and build decks comprised of ally, event, and equipment cards to face challenges that test their willpower, knowledge, tactics and leadership.

The digital version is going to be free to download for both PC and Mac with other platforms a possibility after the Steam launch. No word on what will come with the free download, yet, but I’m guessing we’ll get the first few adventures that come in the base box for free, with the additional packs available for either in-game currency or cold hard cash. That’s just a guess, however.

It will also launch as a single-player game only, but cooperative online multiplayer is in the works and will allow two players to combine their forces to combat Sauron.

LOTR: TCG will be heading to Steam Early Access in the next few months with a full release scheduled for sometime in 2018. This is a huge release for FFG and, possibly, indicates that we’ll be seeing more of the FFG catalog on digital in the future. Happy times!

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Notable Replies

  1. Pitta says:

    There are both the AppStore and Google Play icons in the trailer.

  2. Yep, but so far they’ve only confirmed the PC/Mac version.

  3. Absolutely fantastic news! I hope the PC release ends up being the right idea, though, as I want this to be successful, both because I enjoy the game and because there are other FFG LCGs that I would love to get the digital treatment. If this is priced right, I will likely pour money into it. I really like the LCG model in theory, even though the cynic in me sees some of the trickery in how cards are actually released.

  4. Do this, and I’ll buy this. Do this with all the other Fantasy Flight LCGs, I’LL BUY ALL THOSE TOO.

  5. Amen!

  6. Pitta says:

    They do mention tablets on the official page (I hope iPhone too seeing the UI on the mockups but…).
    Beta starts soon on Steam (next 2 weeks soon).

    From the lengthy game mechanics explanations on FFG website seems to me a mix between the standard LCG and a deckbuilder, set in the LOTR world…which on paper is a dream come true for me.

    Gameplay seems fast (they mention 10-20 minutes game), highly replayable and fully async (mechanic wise).
    FFG doesn’t have an async history and the fact it’s PC first doesn’t bode well for async multiplayer but we will see…coop mp seems a long way off anyway.

    Can’t really wait.

  7. I am most excited about the distribution model and what success means if it should take off.

    I got deep into legend of the five rings a few years ago and played competitively for two years. Every three months I was forking our $300 to get playsets of all the best cards. It was quite exhausting.

    Then I slipped into game of thrones v2, an lcg, coming late to the party. It was still expensive because I was so late,but crafting your tier 1 deck was easier.

    So yeah, I like the LcG mode and hope it works out. Not sure though it will work in some games. Can you imagine simply playing back to back to back net decked tier 1 scrubs?

  8. There is a lot of cynicism floating around out there about this game, mainly over at BGG. I know there is not a lot to go on, but quite a few people seem to see this game as more a Hearthstone clone than faithful recreation of the tabletop game. This concern does mirror my fears about Fantasy Flight’s new digital division - that they will be giving us bastardized versions of the games we want, altered for the digital economy. Time will tell, and I still eagerly anticipate this game, but I can’t deny that there are some lingering questions about it.

    1. It’s BGG, so cynicism is naturally abundant.

    2. Hearthstone is PvP. The announcement stated clearly this version will remain co-operative. So I’m not sure how valid that comparison is.

    3. The original game itself is basically a deck building game with a ton of DLCs in the form of Adventure Packs. As long as they make the costs not unreasonable, and don’t get too greedy with the IAPs, I will give it a chance.

    4. I, for one, found the physical version to be fiddly. After two plays the week I got it, I haven’t touched it since. I would totally play a streamlined version of the game.

    5. Reading the announcement, it sounds like they’ve adopted some concepts from Star Wars Destiny (spheres= colors, and using resources to put cards into play)

    6. I would be impressed if they set the AI to actually have the style of Sauron, as opposed to just being a generic AI.

    Yes, those who are expecting an exact port will likely be disappointed. Otherwise, we shall see. Cautiously optimistic.

  9. Pitta says:

    I feel that the fact they went for rounded portraits cards is the main reason people went nuts with the Heartsone thing (without even reading what it is).
    Streamlined or not that’s the only thing that can accomunate the two games.

    The other thing it’s that it’s not a 1:1 port, but for the that I’ll reserve to judge when I’ll be able to play it.
    After all, both Elder Signs and Battlelore are streamlined versions of their board game counterparts, and I loved both (Elder Signs being one of the best digital games I ever played).

    I have high hopes about this (which unfortunately leads generally to disappointment)…please be good, please be good, please be good.

    And for the love of God, make multiplayer ASYNC!!!
    But I’m not confident, seeing it will be tested on PC first and both Asmodee and FFG having zero consideration for async.

  10. CTD says:

    This could work really well - there is no AI to code. It is a co-op where the app can enforce the rules and do all the fiddly bits that are so easy to overlook when playing the game. In that sense it is similar to Pathfinder, which manages to enforce fiddly rules pretty well. Each DLC pack messes with the rules somewhat so it is difficult to see how LOTR LCG can be sustainable long term, but Pathfinder is similar and seems to be lurching along unsteadily, but somewhat alive.

  11. It is more than just the look, though. Three are plenty of complaints about the supposed economic model, with “hero packs” available for purchase and consumable boosts available for in-game currency (which can conveniently be bought with real money). On top of that, it was mentioned that there is no defending in the digital version.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the game, but there are reasons for concern for those who want a recreation of the tabletop experience, even if the game is streamlined for mobile; they can go too far with the “streamlining” and I personally hope that they don’t.

  12. Pitta says:

    Pretty sure they will sell the packs as they do with the retail version. There will be fixed packs as iaps.
    Not too different from the digital Pathfinder model I guess.

    I think they will have the base pack and maybe Mirkwood for free, then you’ll have to buy.

    I’ll wait and see for the defending thing (the clash is instant and goes both ways).

    As the favor cards…I don’t know what they are supposed to do in a non competitive game.
    Paid cheat?

  13. Yup, it’s the favor cards that strike me as dodgy.

  14. Streamlining for the digital space doesn’t bother me too much. Just about every boardgame app out there had to take one or more shortcuts. Even Ascension and RftG technically use minor shortcuts so as to keep multiplayer flowing.

  15. Pitta says:

    Did someone managed to watch the live stream (now just ended) ?
    Tons of infos but I was at work so couldn’t see it very well, and for some reason they aren’t going to archive this one.

  16. I was going to, but ended up having to clean vomit out of carpeting for the third time today. Having a wonderful day with the kids!!

  17. Those $1.99 painters’ drop cloths from Home Depot are the greatest things ever when the kids are sick. I have them everywhere!

  18. Now you tell me…

  19. I missed it too, but there was at least this clip on the site. 30 seconds of gameplay. :slight_smile:

  20. Pitta says:

    Great find!!!

  21. Pitta says:

    I’m watching the stream as I write this.

    JUST WOAH, my jaw dropped.

    It’s WAAAAAAAAAAY better than I expected and looks so incredibly fun and deep!!!

    It’s really a marvel to look at…tons of effects and voiceovers everywhere.


  22. Does it look like it plays somewhat like the tabletop game or is it an entirely new thing?

  23. Pitta says:

    It’s been a while but it seems to me they kept the feeling intact.
    I highly suggest to watch the whole 1 hour stream, they play 2 full quests.

    Technically it’s WAY better than I expected…actually it’s top notch.

    They changed things but the whole concept and card game Corey vision seems intact to me (but it has been a while so maybe other can chime in).
    It sure looks hard as nails and super deep.

  24. Pitta says:

    Ffg is online now.
    Looks GLORIOUS.

    EDIT: I asked and they are considering async for coop play (may or may not change, but good to know).

    The game looks and plays fantastic already imho.

  25. Jules says:

    Looking forward to Lord of the Rings LCG. Watched some old streams on twitch. They plan to launch into early access q1, most likely March. Early access wont last for ages. They dont want the game to live and die in EA. So ea is gonna last a month of 6 probably and they want decent version to start with so people keep playing.
    At the start there will be 4 hero packs:
    Rangers of Gondor: Faramir (Lore)
    Faithful Servant: Sam Gamgee (Leadership)
    Shieldmaiden of Rohan: Eowyn (Spirit)
    Prince of Mirkwood: Legolas (Tactics)

    With another 12 hero packs to be released while in early access.

    They plan to add content like these hero packs and new adventures on a regular base.

    They get complains about the needed internet connection but they state it is needed when the game becomes cross-platform. (One account to rule them all and in the darkness bind them :wink: )
    and the connection is also needed when buying hero packs /valor cards to prevent duplicates beyond the max allowed in a deck and new adventures. (Valor is an in game currency you get by playing.)

    Leaderboards, co-op etc wil be implemented at a later point.

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