Something stirs within the Shadows of Middle-earth…
Fantasy Flight Interactive is proud to announce our first title: The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, a narrative-driven digital card game set in the world of Middle-earth!
Drawing from the bestselling The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games, The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game tasks players with adventuring across Middle-earth, battling the dark forces of Sauron, recruiting heroes, and earning new cards along the way.
Why The Lord of the Rings?
In 2011, Fantasy Flight Games released The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, a Living Card Game® that challenged players with strategic deck building and tested their logic, planning, and improvisation while telling the stories of their adventures through Middle-earth.
It also had a key feature that set it apart: it was cooperative. Players were not opponents; they were allies. Instead of fighting one another for dominance, players had to work together to defeat Sauron, represented by a randomized Encounter deck filled with enemies and treacherous plans.
The design of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game was revolutionary, and it’s still inviting players to become heroes of Middle-earth and embark on new adventures. For us at Fantasy Flight Interactive, the game’s strong bond between gameplay and narrative attracted us immediately. We felt that the inherent concept of players tackling an otherworldly and omnipotent enemy translated especially well to digital platforms.
The digital card game market is thriving and rapidly expanding. There’s a healthy diversity in options, but we at Fantasy Flight Interactive noticed something of a void within the marketplace—there weren’t a lot of options for non-competitive, narrative-based experiences. Most digital card games focus on competitive play, fueled by purchasing cards from random packs. We’re big fans of many of those titles, but we wanted to do something different. We wanted to make a game that encouraged replay through refinement and self-improvement; a game that incentivized players to work together; a game that married complex, puzzle-like board states with a thrilling narrative played out across an incredible world. The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game provides these experiences.
How Does it Play?
Fans of the tabletop game will notice similarities in the digital experience of The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, and we think they’ll appreciate the streamlining we’ve implemented, facilitated by the game’s new digital platform.
The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game tasks players with completing quests by leading a band of three heroes through various locations, completing objectives and defeating enemies along the way. A player’s deck consists of 30 cards, comprised of attachments, events, and allies. The cards that you can include in your deck are determined by your heroes’ identities. There are four spheres of influence—Leadership, Tactics, Spirit, and Lore—and if your hero belongs to one of these spheres, you can add cards of that type to their deck.
The players lose the game if all of their heroes die or if their threat (determined by the heroes in the campaign and increased by Sauron each round) reaches the maximum threat level.
In The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, there are essentially only two phases—Planning and Adventuring. The AI handles the duties that come with operating the game and controlling the scenario, including playing cards from Sauron’s deck and using enemies to engage the heroes. The players are freed from controlling the operation of the game to focus on the choices they make with the cards in their hand and their characters on the field.
The result is fast, focused gameplay. The structure of The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game leads to a lot of improvisational tactics, as well as some more meticulous planning and plotting. Players can focus their mental energy on their own decisions, as the AI keeps track of the nuanced rules and gameplay restrictions.
For more information on the similarities and differences between The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game and The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, you can read some thoughts from designer Caleb Grace on the FFG website here.
When Can I Play it?
The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game will come to Steam Early Access Q1 2018 in a closed beta period as a single-player title. Players can purchase one of three Founder’s Packs to access the full available game experience. Each Founder’s Pack will include additional content as well, including in-game currency, cosmetics, and more.
For now, check for further updates from us on social media or here on our site as we reveal more gameplay and content planned for The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game. We’ll have plenty more to show you in the form of articles like this one, gameplay streams, screenshots, art, and more.
Until then, may the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.