Something for under the Christmas tree

Next to my Commodore hobby, I also enjoy playing boardgames and good cardgames with friends.  When it comes to boardgames, you cannot go wrong with games from Alea, Queen Games and the likes, but for cardgames, it’s a completely different ballgame.

First of all, most cardgames are so-called “Collectible Card Games” or CCGs (or also called Trading Card Games – TCGs) as you’ll end up with a lot of double cards for trading when you’re buying the packs (and usually, there’s only one rare card in a pack – most of the time it’s also a key card when you’re constructing your deck).
This brings us to the most important aspect of playing and enjoying card games: deck building.  You usually start with a pre-formatted deck that teaches you the basics of the game and then you expand it with the cards you buy later on.  If this is not your cup of tea (as you’ll be spending several hours building the “perfect” deck) and be dishing out a lot of cash to get all the cards you need, then a cardgame is not for you.
Next to that, the theme of the cardgame is also important, as you might enjoy immersing yourself in a world of magicians, warlords and elves but don’t like the futuristic theme of a SciFi-based cardgame.

But perhaps the most important aspect, is the actual gameplay.  How “interesting” is the game?  Does it have enough replay value to bring you back to the table not just once, but many many times (remember, these games become expensive rather quickly).

So, today, I got a phonecall from one of my friends who like me, likes a good boardgame and can enjoy an afternoon of cardgames.  He told me there was something quite interesting on the website of Fantasy Flight Games: a new Lord of the Rings cardgame!
I’ve been a big big fan of the world of Tolkien and like many others, thoroughly enjoyed the 3 movies.  Picking up Decipher’s CCG based on the Lord of the Rings was a natural progression, and what an experience this was!  The game is by far one of the best cardgames ever made, as it had a unique gameplay mechanism, cool artwork (actual images from the movies), and was being played world-wide.  I quickly became a big promoter of the game in the Antwerp area in Belgium and even now, long after the last set was produced by Decipher several years ago, we still enjoy playing the game.  For me, this game ticks all the boxes!
Now the FFG game is nothing like Decipher’s, but from what I’ve read so far, the game looks interesting and well worth a closer look.  Next to that, they’re not selling it as a CCG, but rather a cardgame that plays right out of the box.  Sure, you’ll be able to by expansions to strengthen your deck, but it makes picking up the game that much easier.

Here’s a little treat on what it’s all about:
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four 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 216 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are four perilous scenarios that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability. Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 16 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!

A release date is not yet announced, but my guess it’s going to be around the Christmas season.

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