LOTR
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Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game is a digital conversion of the popular tabletop game from Fantasy Flight Games. Published by Asmodee Digital, the game is currently in Early Access on Steam. Take control of the heroes of Middle-earth and fight the evil forces of Sauron in this digital collectable card game. Collect cards, build your deck, and admire the wonderful artist interpretations of Tolkien’s fantasy world.

While LOTR: Living Card Game is a Free to Play game, players can opt to purchase special packs that provide various resources and starting cards. Palantir allows players to use Saruman’s orb of the same name to acquire random cards, avatars, and other goodies. Valor is the main currency and this allows you to unlock future missions, buy pre-made packs of cards, and unlock specific cards for deck building. Valor can also be acquired by doing daily quests, so it is possible for diligent players to build a competitive deck with enough time and effort and not spend a dime of real life cash.

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Asmodee Digital was gracious enough to provide me with one of the paid starter packs thankfully so I was able to really get into the thick of the game quickly. Coming from a history of playing Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, Smash Up, and many more deck or collectable card games, I was itching to play one of my favorite properties turned into a digital card game.

In LOTR: Living Card Game players go up against the computer controlled Sauron (a co-op mode is coming) as he also casts spells and monsters to stop your team of heroes. Like many familiar games, characters can attack, block, have special abilities. The game throws players in to quests that are built in stages. Each stage has an objective to complete that once it is met, the player can chose to “travel” to the next.

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Timing is a major factor in LOTR: Living Card Game. To say it is difficult is an understatement. Where many CCG games pride themselves on being easy to learn, don’t expect that here. Even with all the experience I have, I was unable to defeat any of the quests in normal mode, even after collecting every card and building what I thought was a powerful deck. Players choose three heroes with defining cards associated with them. Your 30 card deck must have synergy but the challenge comes from the complicated turn based system that creates some of the most brain twisting puzzles I have ever faced in a game.

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Unlike other games, blocking is not a reaction effect. Players must burn a turn to make a character block, forcing the next attacking creature to face it and take it’s attack in damage. This then expires both cards for the turn. Each round you must choose to defend, attack, or cast a spell. Maybe I just couldn’t wrap my head around it but let me tell you, it’s frustratingly difficult. Even meeting the quest requirements for the round isnt simple, once you see the travel option, even if you press it, the round must end and Sauron will pummel you until his resources run out and all his creatures have attacked. Planning many steps ahead is the only way to win in LOTR: Living Card Game.

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While only being in Early Access, LOTR: Living Card Game has the makings of a great game for challenge seekers. Fans of difficult tactical planning will enjoy it and fans of the property will love the fantastic story based aspects, voice work, and art. As more cards and quests are added, along with co-op I can see myself coming back to the game. I love a challenge and hopefully will find a way to make a deck that works and can win in normal mode some day. With a mobile version in the works as well, I can see LOTR: Living Card Game being a great alternative to many of the other digital CCG on the market. Check it out!

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game is currently in Early Access on Steam. This article is based on features and resources provided by the publisher.

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