The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - Board Game Box Shot

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four players with two Core Sets!) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. By cooperating to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck, you will complete the quest before you and claim victory!

The Core Set includes 226 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are three perilous quests that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game in play
images © Fantasy Flight Games

Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 12 hero cards, and focus their decks on any combination of four distinct spheres of influence: Leadership, Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. Each sphere offer unique benefits to the party, so choose wisely!

Monthly 60-card expansion packs called Adventure Packs will introduce new quests, heroes, allies, attachments, events, and encounters, allowing players to fully customize their game and continue their fight against the Dark Lord!

User Reviews (47)

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Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Mage Wars fan
54 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“Great theme, Needs more”

This is a game set in one of my all time favorite universes, but it really was a disappointment for me over all. If you are familiar with ccg mechanics (I play MTG) then this is a fairly simple transition to make and is nice to get some co-op play in. The main problem seems to be in the design of the game. The manufacturer can almost be seen, holding out a grubby hand for your money. I know that this is a game that will want you to buy expansions, but it seems like they could have given me a lot more in the base game, especially for the price.
PROS: great theme and artwork
simple mechanics
co-op play
CONS: base game doesn’t allow for full decks of any type
only enough tokens and counters for 2 players

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PC Game Fan
58 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Customizable, Co-operative, and Challenging Card Game. ”

Game play:
1-4 players customize their decks and take them on against an event deck tailored by the Quest cards chosen. Player decks each have 3 heroes that belong to one of 4 spheres: Tactics (Fighting), Spirit (Questing), Lore (Support), Leadership (Kind of a Jack-of-all trades, with strong tricks). You must battle monsters, explore areas, and endure dangerous treacheries. The game is extremely difficult and without well built decks, you will be unlikely to succeed. One nice thing about this game is that in can be played Solo, although I have not yet tried it.

The art on this game is fantastic. I was originally worried it would just be screen-caps from the films for card art, but was very happy to see it is all high quality original art work for every card. I also find the layout of the cards to be very well done, easy to read, and great looking. These cards really capture the feel of Lord of the Rings.

If there is any real problem with the game, it is that it is very difficult. You are not looking for a challenge, I would not get this. But for those who are, you are definitely in for a treat with this one.

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I'm a Real Person
142 of 167 gamers found this helpful
“A great LOTR game with amazing rich theme”

A Co-op Living Card Game by FFG….. FFG doing what they do best.

So I picked the core set for about £25.00 when it first came out. THe core set states its for 2 players as you only get 2 threat counters but with a bit of paper or some dice, you can make it play for 4, yes the player decks will thin/weak but I feel it’s best played with 4.

The theme of the decks are amazing. There are 4 spheres to pick from, they are Tactics, Lore, Spirit and Leadership or basically Fighting, Card Drawing, Healing/Questing and All Round Bonuses. You can mix the decks up allowing you to make a super deck.

You play against an encounter deck that spews forth all the evil that dark lord has at his command which can all add to your threat! This is great mechanic that decides what leave of creature will attack you.

So, the 2 points that I like to cover. Social inclusion and AP.

Would my wife play this game?? NOPE! It’s not her thing and I doubt she would enjoy it. Yes, you can have bouts of AP depending on who you are playing with but it’s not enough to ruin the game.

One issue I do have with the game, as it is co-op, a power gamer could just tell everyone else what to do and plan out their turns. I’ve had this where the tactics player using the “lets give Gimli loads of damage and make him do more damage trick” and he just started ordering players about.

If you like Co-op and LOTR…. Pick it up… and some of the adventure packs to flesh the decks out. (I’m not on the pay of FFG btw, it just will make for a better game).

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I play orange
190 of 238 gamers found this helpful
“Bring your wallet! And your Mensa card...”

I was finally able to play with others. First off, you can throw out the 1-player idea. This is no more a 1 player game than CHESS. Unless you play both sides of CHESS and enjoy it. Then by all means, this is a 1-player game. I found the 1-player abysmal. If this was sold as a single player game i would give it a 2 out of 10. But, it really is more than that.

As a multiplayer game it is rather fun. We used the starter decks and played a couple of the core set quests. Now, there are a LOOOOT of rules, and those rules have a LOOOOT of elements to keep track of on the cards. It really felt like learning a variation of MAGIC the GATHERING from scratch. Now, for some that is a very positive thing. I prefer the elegance of a game with simpler rules, but still, once i got the rules down, it was a real challenging and enjoyable adventure.

I can see how deck-building and expansions will add a lot of joy to the set. I can’t see high replay value. So open up those wallets, because this game will crack open your safe and get you to spend. Much like MAGIC, once you enter its big cash commitment.

Beyond the complex rules, is a rich theme of Middle Earth, which I enjoy. Also, the creators really did their take on Middle Earth, not just Peter Jackson’s Movie derivative world. In addition, it creates the challenge and danger of the world.

Overall: Fun, if you have the cash and the brain space to hold all the rules.

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My First Favorite!
45 of 59 gamers found this helpful
“The coop that doesn't feel like a coop”

This game is bar-none my favorite exploration of the Lord of the Rings universe in game form, even though you are not (yet) directly experiencing the published stories. The quests so far take place in the years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, similarly to Middle Earth Quest.

Like most coop games, it can be played solo, though it is punishing when played so. Unlike most coops, it seems to avoid the alpha player problem, wherein one player is trying to run the whole game, telling everyone where to go and what to do. In this game, you are able to assist each other from time to time, and you do have to divvy up objectives, but ultimately you are fighting the guys you choose to engage (or who engage you.)
The game structure seems pretty similar to other FFG CCG/LCGs, as far as phases and card types (though the names are different in some cases, no kneeling here.) If you have played A Game of Thrones LCG, you should pick this up quickly. I suspect there similarities to the Cthulu and Warhammer Invasion games as well.

This is a great coop and solo game, with loads of replayability right out of the box, let alone with the upcoming expansion packs.

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Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed
69 of 96 gamers found this helpful
“"Wait, what are we doing again?"”

A group of gamer friends and I decided to sit down and try this game out. We’ve all been playing and designing board games for years, so we have a lot of experience in learning and explaining new games. I want to attempt to convince you of this experience, because after reading the rules and eventually “winning” the game, I still don’t know how to play Lord of the Rings.

The game started out nicely enough. We laughed about giving our heroes titles and planned out synergies between our events and abilities. Then, we went on a quest. During the course of this quest, it is fair to say that we were brutalized. Damage flooded the board and our threat levels went directly up above forty. Nothing could stop the horde of evil from destroying the lands of dwarves, elves and humans.

With sadness in our hearts, we began the next round by calling in some allies. Immediately, we sent a billion people on the quest, breaking it in our rage. Through the luck of the draw, no new monsters were added, allowing us to easily break up the ones already on the board. We gained momentum. Next turn, we finished quest two. We “won” the game on turn four.

I have absolutely no confidence in this “win” because I still have no confidence that I understand those rules. The level of arcane abstraction needed to play this game may not be available to mere mortals. For this reason, I’ve read that tutorials exist on line to teach you how to actually play the game. In my mind, this is a failure of game design.

Not all games need to be intuitive, but LotR:tCG goes too far in the other direction. The game has a pile of stages, each with different arcane rules, and each requiring you to manage your resources at the beginning of the turn. I’m sure that we would understand this game by the fourth playthrough, but I didn’t have any fun on the first… why would I try it a second time?

I do not recommend this game to people who want to sit down and play a fun game. I do not recommend this game to people who want to play a CCG. I think I could actually only recommend this game to rules-lawyering sadists… you could study this game for hours and hours and then make your friends suffer in your wake. Needless to say, this game is not for me.

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My First Game Tip
42 of 59 gamers found this helpful
“A real challenge! Not for the feint of heart.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will kick your butt. It takes no prisoners. If you want to sit down and get beat down multiple times before discovering the correct deck build to beat a given scenario then this is your game. If you are looking for a solo game be warned, playing one deck and trying to win is absolutely brutal. You almost need 2 players or decks to have a chance at the harder quests.

I can easily recommend this game to any who love cool combos and devising decks to crush their adversaries. It will have you thinking and planning out strategies and you drift off to dream about Spiders and Trolls crushing your party underfoot as they carry out the will of the Dark Lord.

This game is not for the feint of heart. You have been warned.

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Dragon Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Phoenix Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
161 of 240 gamers found this helpful
“Decent coop at too high a cost.”

I am going to start this review off by saying that I am personally not the biggest fan of co-op games. This mostly a personal preference, but I do like veriety and my playgroup did want to play some things that where ‘vs the board’ and this is among them. So although I like to say I kept an open mind as best I could, note the disclaimer :-).

Probably out of the three co-op games I have tried (pandemic, ghost stories and this) given the choice if I had to play co-op, I would chose this.

Now if I said I would chose this why is it that it has such a low score from me you ask? well the reason I would chose it has something to do with that ironically, this game probably has the least amount of ‘randomness’ out of all of the aforementioned titles, it has a good flow and a power build up/challenge set that is possible to overcome if the players at the table play well. The problem comes with the replay value, the base set comes with three scenarios effectively, and once you have a team of players who is competent at the game from playing a few rounds and understands how to work together, you will win 99% of the time, with little or no challenge [the 1% being when the board and all the players decks are out to screw you]. Now the up side to this is that you win because there is an understanding as to what to do in the scenario which makes this game great! my greatest complaint against coop games has always been the board just randomly decides to f* you over and the game ends without any real feeling of accomplishment, this game does not have this to that degree.

So in conclusion, pro is lack of (utter) randomness when compared to other coop and prevalence of skill needed in players. con is easily overcomable obstacles that do not have a lot of re playability(yes i know there are ‘packs’ to boost this, but i actually have not found any of the three packs we purchased much harder then the hardest base adventure.)

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52 of 86 gamers found this helpful
“Single player, cooperative, and awesome!”

I took this game for a spin and was pleasantly surprised! I’m a big fan of magic, but also a big fan of cooperative games. With the Lord of the Rings “lore”, high quality illustrations and production value of Fantasy Flight Games and fresh gameplay mechanics, you’ve got an absolute winner.

The core set comes with everything you need. And if you’re playing single player (or cooperative) playing with a different sphere of influence will give you completely different styles of play. I can’t wait to play more and mix different spheres of influence together. (If you know magic, think of playing green, but then also being able to mix green and red)

They’re also going to continue to crank out expansions with new quests to go on. I’m definitely joining this “fellowship”!

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Greater Than Games fan
1A Games fan
100 of 169 gamers found this helpful
“Addictive game, rich in Tolkien theme”

It took me a few times of playing my brother’s copy before buying this game for myself. I started playing LoTR in this current cycle (Against the Shadow.) I jumped in with both feet and sunk a lot of money into the game quickly to catch up on all that is available. That is my only real complaint about the game. It isn’t cheap to keep up with the newest cards for the game. However, the new cards and quests that come out make it well worth it to me. I love building my own decks and I am madly in love with the co-op aspect of the game. The world is rich in Tolkien theme and is based upon the books rather than the movies. Not all the quests are easy to beat and a good challenge is always rewarding when you do beat them.

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Amateur Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
39 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to loose, hard to win”

Lord of the Rings the Living Card Game is a Coop card game based on the Lord of the Rings universe. Your goals is to fulfill a quest, defeating monsters and explore locations.

I was eager to get my hands on this game as a complex replacement for Pandemic. But After some plays I found it extremely difficult and…boring. I don’t feel drawn into the game. Defeat monsters, go questing (if you have left some characters) and hope that you have some willpower left to continue the quest. It reminds me of Battlestar Galactica. Easy to loose, hard to win. As for a Coop game I found the player interaction very basic.

As for now I can not recommend this game. If you are looking for a Coop game check out Pandemic, Battlestar Galactica or Defenders of the Realm. If you are looking for a LCG then have a look at Game of Thrones.

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37 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“Probably the best solo game I've ever played!”

Having played only the core set in solo or 2 player games I can say that it’s the best solo game that I have played so far (I believe that the expansions will improve the gameplay and the replayability). The deck building aspect and the cooperative mechanic are exceptionally well built in the game and the overall gaming experience that the game offers is great. I think that the game works best when played by 2 and the LCG format will be an advantage over time. I think that everyone who enjoys solitaire games must have this one too!

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Advanced Grader
Gamer - Level 4
89 of 188 gamers found this helpful
“Just for 2 players?? Come on FFG...”

This game is fantastic! For me, the best LCG made so far… great components, great theme, great artwork, the playability….humm it´s not for amateurs, but you can understand by the two or three times that you´ll play.
If you´re a fan of Tolkien´s work, just as I am, than this is a game you MUST have.
The first time I saw it at GENCON 2010 I was stunned. I wanted to buy immediatly but they were just showing the first impressions to the public… great maneuver FF! 🙂
When I finally bought and had my hands on it, I´d sure that I had a great game.
But, only for 1 or 2 players??? Since I don´t like play alone… You´ll need another core box so you can play with two more… I think this wasn´t very smart because obviously you want to gather your friends to play this awesome game. I don´t like this at all. In my mind this game could be just like Dominion and be available for 2 to 4 players. But… anyway…

I love this game!

You must check this out ASAP! I totally recommend.


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Novice Reviewer
37 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“Great Game”

I play this as much as I can with my 13-year-old son. We get beat most of the time, but that just makes the victory all the sweeter. Can’t wait for all the adventure packs to come out.

• Easy to learn
• Cooperative gameplay
• Rich theme and narrative
• Fantastic artwork
• Ample expansions planned for the future

• Card component quality is so-so.
• Box insert is worthless.

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37 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Great Game, but needs to have more.”

I am a big fan of this game. My only negative remark about it is that I do not think the cards exist to make it through the harder quests. I am sure that with the monthly expansions, this problem will be fixed soon enough. However, as it stands, I can not make it past the third quest included in the book or the Massing of Osgaliath from GenCon.

All that being said, this is a must own.

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Gamer - Level 2
37 of 81 gamers found this helpful
“Fantastic Co-op game!”

Purchased multiple core sets so I could make custom decks, that should tell you how much I love this game. This is a very challenging game at times and that is one of my favorite things about it.

Also love that it can be played solo, which sometimes is my favorite way to play. Highly recommended!

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Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester
41 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Excellent Cooperative Card Game!”

The best part of this game is the flexibility. There aren’t too many single player games that are enjoyable, and this is one of them. It also works well as a cooperative game. I really enjoy the LCG games, because FFG provides some excellent upgrade decks that don’t strain your wallet too terribly. Warhammer Invasion is my favorite, but this is a close second. If you are a Lord of the Rings fan… get it!

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37 of 87 gamers found this helpful
“Good, but loses its luster...”

As a cooperative LCG based on Lord of the Rings; I was looking forward to this game the day it was announced. After a few (albeit expected) delays I purchased the game the day it arrived at my FLGS and had a blast playing it….

….for a few months. Then things got really repetitive.

I applaud Fantasy Flight for creating something truly unique, but while I once played this game 4 to 5 times per week it is now collecting dust.

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37 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“Brutal but fun co-op experience”

This game is nothing but brutal. Linear resource collection and limited card drawing make this really hard to establish yourself before the game starts pounding you into the dirt.

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I'm a Real Person
37 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“One of the best single player games I've played in a while”

I purchased this game on a whim, and am so glad I did. Single player, coop, either is a great deal of fun. With so many character option, even with preset scenarios the replay value is great.


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