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63 out of 70 gamers thought this was helpful

Fantasy Flight is well known for their game components. I find the games I have from them usually have components of good material and plenty of little tokens to keep my plastic boxes busy. The Lord of the Rings LCG comes with a variety of tokens, cards, and threat counters all made of standard FFG stuff. I really like all of the components except that the cards are a bit on the thin side (many of mine came slightly bent) and the box insert could have been developed better (just a middle space to hold everything…Thunderstone where are you?).

The artwork is really where I think The Lord of the Rings LCG really shines the most. Taking it’s direction from the books instead of the movies, some of the characters (Legolas) are more in line with my original perceptions of what they looked like then they were in the movies. From the amazing color pallet of all the cards to various charming details, like how the Carrock (a future location card), can be seen in one of the Hunt for Gollums locations, add so much to the game and it’s theme.
The theme of various heroes from Lord of the Rings going on different quests is generally well presented in the quest scenarios. Their are three quests in the base game and the second quest involves going down a river. The way the cards are set up in this scenario you are going to see a lot of river locations pop up and enemies on the banks waiting for you to come ashore. In this way the theme comes across well. However, I find it odd that the theme is thrown out the window for the inclusion of well known Lord of the Rings characters. It doesn’t make sense for Aragorn, Denethor, and Eowyn to be on a quest, let alone a quest taking place before the Fellowship of the Ring. But I understand it’s a card game and FFG wants to use popular characters.

Let me get to what I like first before my semi-rant. I like how the stats are laid out for the heroes and monsters and how you have to make decisions between questing and fighting. I like that each scenario tasks you with doing different things and how many card combos work. The difficulty is also generally enjoyable to me even though at times it can be a bit too random and one sided (solo is a bit too hard on the last scenario). I also am also excited for the many more options this game will have in the future. My main problem with this game is that I really don’t like how the phase order plays out. For each round of the game there are seven phases: resource, planning, questing, traveling, encounter check, combat, and refresh. The problem is that you will be doing this each turn and when you engage a monster or monsters you will have to go back and do all of these phases again before fighting them if you did not previously destroy them.

I find this thematically wrong, as well as, a mechanic that drags the combat portion of the game down a bit. For example, say that my party fights an enemy. One hero is exhausted from traveling, one hero defends, and one hero along with an ally attacks doing one point of damage onto that enemy. After that resolves I have to go through six more phases which can take up to six or seven minutes in a two player game before I can damage that enemy again. I will also have to travel and quest again. Why are my heroes traveling and questing in the middle of a fight? Why does it seem like I am just poking at an enemy then running away to take a nap and cash in some Elven IOU’s for money so I can get some more people to poke at some more enemies? This honestly didn’t bother me at first since I saw how many of the game mechanics revolved around it, but after many plays winning and losing all the scenarios multiple times I must say that this is the single reason I don’t really feel like coming back to the game. Combat becomes a chore in micromanaging a few enemies against the encounter deck rather than an immediate life or death struggle. If they switch up the phases and mechanics to travel to a specific location then from that location having a certain amount of enemies (perhaps and enemy pile) come out that you have to fight and threat check against until they were all destroyed, then adding a set amount of progress tokens from that location to the quest I think it would have made for a better battle. I can also think of many other variations that would have made combat and questing work better, it’s just a shame that a game with so many good mechanics has one major flaw that (in my opinion) is holding it back.


All in all The Lord of the Rings LCG has a lot going for it. Great idea, great artwork, good deck drafting mechanics and combos. It just has a few major gameplay aspects that simply don’t work for me thematically or mechanically. If you like card drafting and LORT I think that this game is worth the thirty bucks you can find it for online. It gave me quite a few hours of fun and I feel like I got my money worth (though do note a lot of other people who focus more on the deck building aspect than I do have had a problem with needing to buy another core set…I really don’t think you do as I have played through and won all three scenarios in two player). I think with enough expansions this game could go up a half a point depending on how they take the game. While it would be hard to change the phase mechanics at this point I would like to see treasures, more end boss monsters, unique ways to trade with other players, and perhaps faster ways to travel through phases.

Go to the Luna page


21 out of 25 gamers thought this was helpful

Greetings, my followers. I am Luna – the Moon Priestess. The time draws near when I will be retiring from my presence on this isled land. I have drawn in the power of the moon’s light for countless years and brought protection to all those who take comfort from it. It is up to you, fair followers, to send your novices out to the Holy Isles where powerful priests stay. Can your novices garner the favour of the Isle priests? They hold many secrets and each carries a special ability, such as influencing the tides, working magic from the local herbs, locating mineral riches, and meditating on the wisdom of spells. Perhaps you will even be able to build a shrine in honour of the Moon and tire less for your devotion. Ultimately, you must reveal the depth of your allegiance and claim important positions on the Temple Island. You must show your strength here as a member of the Moon Cult or risk losing the faith to continue. Other novices from several orders will be on your heels, proving whose master commits the greatest fealty to me. Pay tribute to me and you will be rewarded with the deference of your peers. Fail in your commitment, and you may find yourself at the base of my throne rather than at the seat of it.

Seriously, my friends, does that sound like a game you would ever wish to play? Moon Priestess? Praising insipid lunar spirits? Spending two hours with your friends so that you can finally claim that, yes, I am the new Moon Priestess? You might as well take out your Barbies and have a tea party. Egads! Where did Stefan Feld come up with this theme? You are better off playing one of the many other games where the theme is a little more, well, “manly.”

Oh, geez! Reader, do not listen to him. The Apostate’s role in this game is to lead your novices into wicked temptation. Without your help he will be free to take this land for his own bidding. What would you rather? Another game set in the 15th century where you must develop shipping routes and trade cloth for wood and all that? Don’t you already have enough of those? Feld took a great risk making a game that does not copy the themes of about a thousand other games that are out there already. Yes, I am a woman, and maybe the title, “Luna: In The Domain of the Moon Priestess” has made it all the more easier to scan over. If it helps, you can pretend that you are competing to be the next Moon Priest. Or, pretend to be a woman and fancy yourself for the top spot. I don’t care. Remember when you spent countless days beating Metroid back in the 80s? Well, Samus was a title heroine as well. I even used to even kick a little Mother Brain *** back in the day myself. Get over it. Plus, I promise you will have a much easier time convincing your female friends and relatives to play. Regardless, this game is dripping with fantasy and the artwork is beautiful, if I may say so. You will not find a worker placement game that looks and feels quite like this.

Worker placement? Blah! Yeah, that’s just what you asked for – a worker placement game to add to your collection of maybe a half dozen games like this already. Remember the last worker placement game you bought? Didn’t you feel like it was pretty much exactly like the other worker placement games you own, just with different artwork? That’s what you are going to get here. Collect your workers, send them out, get them to do stuff, and repeat. Bor-ing. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like worker placement games myself. I will even pull out Agricola once in awhile. I’m not too big on the family theme, but slaughtering animals is pretty satisfying. Anyway, there is a reason Luna isn’t in the Top 100 – it’s a rehash of everything you’ve played before. Just play those older games and save your money.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In some of the more popular worker placement games I can think of, you start with a collection of workers. You must deploy them from your “reserves” using all the rules that the game provides. In Luna, your workers (here we call them “novices”) are already positioned on various Isles. Part of this game is to ensure that you balance the use of your novices to receive favours, their placement on Isles that either the Apostate or I might dwell upon and the journeys of your novices to these Isles in order to set them up for a future round. As such, my game requires quite a bit of strategical thinking, maybe more so than other games of this kind. Of course, you must also react to the moves of your opponents, meaning there is need for tactical decisions that could bode well for you or might give an advantage away that you were not able to see clearly at that time. You will find there are many decisions for you to make during the game, and the tension comes from not being able to take all the actions you would like. You must make the best of a situation that requires good foresight and quick decision making.

About that. Let me think of some of the worker placement games I know. More popular games (Agricola, Caylus, Le Havre) have a progressing amount of options that become available throughout the game. This allows players to become comfortable with several main actions before they need to work with more subtle actions further on. In Luna, you are presented right off the bat with a full 14 actions that you can take. Can you picture trying to make a decision during your turn? Can you even imagine memorizing all those actions? By having to constantly refer to the instructions and player aids, you can bet that the AP factor will be huge! In a game with few options available, you can do your best to decide what the best action will be. With 14 actions to choose from, you will be hopelessly lost.

Again, these are half-truths from a wicked tongue. I admit, my trust in your Order has broken such caution when it comes to availability of options. Yes, there are 14 actions that are available and you may find when discovering the rules of this land that you and your fellows will be initially puzzled. Let me assure you: once you progress through several turns you will find the laws here are very easy to live under. There are more actions available than what you may find normally, but many of them are variations on a single goal. There are really only four types of actions that you must be concerned with: Isle actions (gaining favour and influence on the Isles), movement actions (traveling around the Isles), Temple actions (taking positions within the Temple), and three ‘other’ actions that are very easy to understand. In fact, all the actions are easily comprehended after some practice and the player aids I provide will lead you steadfast through your journey. Even so, what the Apostate has failed to make clear is that not all the actions are available at every moment. Although all of the game’s actions are available right from the beginning, the ones you can choose are mainly dependent on where you have established novices on the turn before. As novices work and tire, you increasingly limit possible actions as the turns progress. As such, you are able to choose your best actions from a wider range on your first turns, and then you only have a select few actions when completing your final turns. In this way, action selection is manageable and you will be finding yourself enjoying the challenge of the game rather than the “complexity” of the rules (which, just to be sure, really take up only 3 pages of the rulebook.)

Yes, regarding some of those actions. In the Temple actions, you will compete with your opponents to take positions in the Temple (a despicable goal, I’m sure.) However, you will often find that every player will take at least one Temple location. They will all score the same points for entering the Temple. At the end of each round, players will score one point for each novice in the Temple. As you can imagine, everybody scores about the same points. Where is the competition in this? With everybody doing the same thing, you will never feel like you are actually gaining ground. There is no complex strategy on how to win, so really it’s all just a matter of luck on who will be declared the (yech) Moon Priest or Priestess.

There is no denying that a principle way of gaining influence here is to be sanctified in my Temple. Unless somebody has misunderstood the goal of my game, you will find that players will be somewhat balanced when it comes to taking positions in the Temple. But players who are not careful might find themselves removed from the Temple soon enough. An influence point may be lost in one place, but a point may be gained elsewhere. In other respects, those novices who wish to join me for worship may lose opportunities to gain favour from the priests of the Isles. Those players who are not in attendance, however, will miss out on my services but have the faith of those priests. Players will always be gaining one person’s favour while missing out on another. What I know is that all of you are doing your best to prove yourselves worthy of my position and thus I would only expect all of you to commit to you goals with the same fervour as your competitors. But my Holy seat can only be granted to one and it will be awarded to the player who manages to see the interconnectedness of all the Isles, actions, and opportunities to gain influence. What I think you might like about my game is that no part of it exists on its own. Each part relates to the others in one way or another. Some of these relationships are easier to see than others. It is the player who makes the best of these relationships and is able to exceed the endeavours of the rest. I think you will find that luck has very little to do with your success.

Well, I’ll tell you that one of my greatest dislikes is having a continuing argument with a silver-haired imp who calls herself the Moon Priestess. So I’m going to wrap up the reasons why I think you should not buy this game and just leave the Isle nation to my eventual overrule. The theme is for girls and the fantasy stuff feels tacked on. You will be overloaded by way too many choices and after sitting there forever you will never feel like you are doing anything coherent or planned. Even if you do have a plan, you will only ever realize one-tenth of it, and you would be best to not deal with the frustration. One of my disciples here, Glamorous Mucus, summed up Luna by stating, “I did a bunch of stuff, and then the game ended and we counted up our points.” If that kind of unengaging gameplay excites you, well then, maybe I can have you over to mow my lawn.

Luna is a beautiful looking game, regardless of what you might think of the theme. Personally, I believe sending your followers out in a fantasy world to gain the favour of those in my service works well. While this is a worker placement game, you will find the mechanic refreshing as there is a special interrelatedness to all the available actions that you might not have found in other games of this type. There are many different ways to gain points – some more crucial than others – but all will help you in your quest. There is a balance in both strategical planning and tactical competency that I think you will enjoy. As I know the work of the future Moon Priest or Priestess will be difficult, I can assure you that when you feel like taking on my game again, the board will be set up differently – in both island positions and the initial placement of your novices – so that the game will pose new challenges every time. Simply put, Luna is a stunning game and I believe a must-have for fans of Feld’s previous creations and those who are looking for something different in the worker placement category.

Go to the Mansions of Madness (1st ed) page
41 out of 83 gamers thought this was helpful

If you like horror,atmospheare,mystery,investigations that you can feel in a game,this is all you want.Remind me the video games that i played many years ago like “Resident evil” or “silent hill”.
If you know what i am talking about this boardgame is like you live the same experience.solving a mystery,searching for a key,trust your fellow investigators,solving a riddle,searching for a weapon or item that could save your life and trying to figure out what the **** happened here!
You forget you are playing a boargame,feels like you live in!!!
Ultimate experience!
Ultimate horror!
Ultimate game!

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