There are two reasons why I will be buying FFG's new Lord Of The Rings card game. Ok! There are actually four or five reasons; but there are two main reasons why I'll be spending my hard earned cash on this game and why my kids will go hungry for the next year. Those two reasons make up the title of this topic.
It's only fair to look at what's gone before to be able to see whats in store for this game. both of the previous Lord Of The Rings card game offerings have been award winning, market leading creations in their time but have now been cast into the firey pits of Mount Doom.
This topic is open in fellowship all to voice their opinion of those two games and speculate on how their rise and fall may have forged this new offering by FFG; surely the Lord Of The Rings card game to rule them all!
I myself have collected and played both of the other two.
The Decipher version I still own and play, very occasionally. I have every card of all 20 sets. It's a beautiful game and has some wonderful game mechanics and themes, and some pretty ugly ones too i hasten to add. The game designers struggled due to limited footage and a limited number of characters, and so orc, goblin and troll images are repeated throughout sets. Countless versions of the heros appear through the sets, I count something like 14 versions of Legolas for example. The game play was inspired through its first 3 years from the Fellowship Block to Return of the King Block, although I was never happy with the site and race to the end mechanics which never really worked well between sets. The game began to get stale once they'd explored the three films and opened up the roaming anywhere through Middle Earth sets. They didn't really follow the source material very well and gave the impression that the franchise or Licience was being somewhat milked. For example you could start at Mount Doom with Gimli as the Ring bearer then move to Bag End and have a fight between Knights of Minas Tirith and Sauron himself or with Shelob.
ICE Middle Earth the Wizards came at a rteally bad time for me, I'd just stopped playing Star Trek the card game and found ICE's Middle Earth game which i began to devour like a Hobbit at a birthday party banquet. I loved it, however know one else i knew wanted to commit to it. So i almost had the base set and then BAM out comes Star Wars card game by Decipher and I collected every set of that, and My ICE set was traded away to nothing as i couldn't afford to collect both games.
the ICE game had a lot of strengths, it wasn't tide to any one book or film but to the whole mythology and they even had some home brew dragons in too which they surmised had been hidden away since the First Age, presumably like Smaug. The game wasn't about battle or Vs players but was about quests and exploration, sure you could still beat your opponent but you visited locations faught monsters and plundered the treasure. each player took on the role of a Wizard or Istari. the game was more customizable than most as you could alter types of quests and gameplay through a special scenario book they released. i didn't really explore anything beyond the first set but each expansion added new cool was to play.
For me though the art ranged from excellent to poor, some images just didn't invoke the feel of the subject the card represented. Many images were taken from sources already in existance such as the roleplaying game and various calenders. I suppose the cost or commissioning artists to produce new cards was too expensive.
So whats the point of all this. well the Decipher game had many elements of the ICE game and the decipher game was more successful, so will the FFG game have in it the best elements of both of its predecessors?