Friday, August 31, 2012

The Fellowship: An Unexpected Journey

I wrote a long post about CCGs (customizable card games) for my personal blog, which you're welcome to read if so inclined. The basic gist of it: My name's Lenny, and I'm addicted to CCGs.

Hi, Lenny.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I used to be addicted. When 100% of my money was discretionary income, 100% of it was spent on trading card games. Overpower, Redemption, and then the Star Wars CCG were the biggest monetary sinkholes, but I also dabbled in just about every other CCG that was released, even the lesser-known ones. When Magic: The Gathering was in its heyday, there were many, many copycats.

Because of my former addiction, I've tried hard over the years to steer clear of overly mercenary collectible card games. When I discovered Dominion, I found what I imagined was the Platonic ideal for all those CCG shadows on the cave wall: no random collecting, no trading, simple enough rules that anyone can jump in and play.

And yet I still felt the pull of the CCG: Dominion ends at the point where the game behind the CCG usually begins. CCGs are complex beasts, with lots of situational cards, arcane rules, and the ability to test the mettle of one's deck against others' after building it, and sometimes I want the more immersive experience. The pregame stage of building a deck over time is a huge draw. The little theme decks you can create (all Jawas! all Ewoks! Silver Sable and the Wild Pack!) keep the downtime light. Of course, the monetary investment in what could be only mediocre cards is too prohibitive to really be tempting, but sometimes I do miss CCGs.

Enter Fantasy Flight Games' Living Card Game (LCG) format. With LCGs, boosters are all the same, so victory is not assured simply by outbuying the other players. Players are allowed to get in as deep as they want and no deeper. And their LCG I was eyeing, the Lord of the Rings, can be played solo, so even if no opponents could be found, the game can still be played.

It must have been destiny. In a recent math trade, I received the Lord of the Rings LCG core set and one adventure pack ("A Journey to Rhosgobel"). What I hope to detail in this series of posts (all tagged "The Fellowship") is my journey, there and (hopefully) back again, in Tolkien's Middle-Earth and what I encounter therein. I can't guarantee I'll buy any additional cards after I exhaust these initial acquisitions, but I'll document what happens with what I've got. My journey will most likely focus on solo play (though I plan to rope in others where I can). Feel free to track with me, give me pointers, or offer suggestions. I will need them, as "one does not simply walk into Mordor." The road goes ever on and on!

This post is the first in a series of posts called "The Fellowship." To see other posts in this series, click on the "The Fellowship" tag below.


  1. I also have an extensive CCG background, and Lord of the Rings is the first game that I've found that fills the void left by Star Wars CCG. Keep in mind that LotE can be very difficult, especially when playing solo. Don't let yourself get discouraged if you lose each quest a few times before you beat it. The difficulty is one of the reasons it has been such a hit with my group, and is part of what makes it a great game for cooperative play.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I'll detail my first quest in my third post, but believe me: I am not afraid to lose several times before winning. :-)


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