Ever since the introduction of the Living Card Game®, fans have found the genre to be a compelling and unique gameplay experience. Since that time, we’ve seen card games evolve dramatically, and grow in popularity on digital and interactive platforms, but the fundamental attractiveness of the LCG model remains.
Now, Fantasy Flight Interactive brings the compelling LCG experience online with The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, adapted from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. We are thrilled to deliver fresh experiences to longtime fans and introduce the genre to a wider audience. Today, we’d like to briefly discuss what the title of Living Card Game means to us, and how we plan on adapting its design philosophy to an online, free-to-play game!
The strength of the tabletop LCG is that it offers players full control over the cards they want to play with, so that deck building is restricted by nothing but their own imagination. There is no element of “random buy.” Players know exactly what they are getting in every pack, and consistent releases ensure dynamic, expanding, and constantly evolving gameplay.
In the spirit of that gameplay-first design, we created a simplified in-game economy for The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game. While players can choose to make purchases with real money, the heart of game’s economy is Valor—after all, like any hero will tell you, valor can only be earned!
Players gain Valor as they complete new quests and challenges or when they attempt completed quests with new strategies. The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game rewards innovative or fresh tactics.
Just as the Core Set is the foundation for any tabletop LCG, so too is the player core starter set for The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game. After completing the in-game tutorial, players are granted an introductory pool of cards, featuring four heroes and a large set of attachments, events, and allies. We want players to have access to a deep card pool from the get-go, so they always have the option to play the way they want.
Additional cards come in the form of Hero Packs: predetermined bundles of cards featuring a powerful marquee card and two copies each of four supporting cards. A Hero Pack might be built around a particular theme or a memorable moment, or it might include a few cards that interact with one another in an interesting way. Whatever the case, players will always know what’s in a Hero Pack before they buy.
Finally, Valor cards round out the card pool. They can be purchased for—of course—Valor, or you can spend real-world money to acquire the ones you want. Valor cards are acquired individually, not within packs.
The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game also introduces Favor cards, powerful expendable cards that “burn” or disappear forever after a single use. After a player resolves their initial mulligan, they’ll receive a prompt asking if they want to use one of their Favor cards during that Quest. If so, that card will be added to their hand. Favor cards generally provide some kind of advantage that the players can’t get elsewhere—it’s a way to tip the scales against Sauron.
The LCG format isn’t just about innovative card distribution. It’s also about ever-evolving metagames, supported by a steady stream of new and incoming content and scenarios that challenge players both as tacticians and as deckbuilders. With each new release, LCG players enjoy a set of fresh challenges that asks them to think about the game in a new way. These challenges reinvigorate the game again and again.
Each quest in The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game presents a unique set of challenges to the player. Some might focus on fending off a mob of orcs, while others will have players rescuing a captured ally. Still another might see players moving through a dark forest, battling enemies and searching for an escape, all culminating in a climatic final encounter with a massive enemy.
These unique quests demand unique strategies, but with a wide assortment of cards at their fingertips, players will be able to rise to the challenge. Whether they prefer slow, controlling decks that increase their advantage and eventually dominate the board or fast-paced aggressive decks that quickly complete objectives, sneaking under the watchful eye of the Dark Lord Sauron, players will find the strategy that works best for them, and for the task at hand. Like its tabletop counterpart, The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game supports a wide range of strategies and encourages experimentation.
Over the years, the LCG fanbase has developed into a strong, tightly knit community of players. Whether they’re swapping stories at their local game shop or sharing strategies on message boards, LCG players share an unparalleled passion for their favorite games.
This sense of camaraderie is one of the greatest strengths of any living, breathing game, and we hope players will connect with one another in their passion for The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game, too. Expect us to share decklists we find interesting, unique, or fun, and stay tuned to our Twitch channel for frequent updates. If you have a deck you’re particularly proud of or a thrilling story of in-game heroics, you can share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!
During the game’s closed beta period on Steam Early Access, we’ll be looking for feedback on everything from balance issues to user interface, and everything in between. We want to build The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game into a compelling, lasting experience that sticks with players long after release.
The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game comes to Early Access Q1 2018. Check back here for more details on the game as it nears release, and keep an eye on our social media channels for quick updates.