I will begin this rant saying I've recently picked up this game, though I knew of its existence as soon as it was announced. At the time, however, I was busy playing Decipher's Lotr, and before that I was playing ICE's Middle Earth ccg. So, as you can see, I've enjoyed and experienced all Lotr themed ccgs made to date and I picked this one up mainly because of the solo play factor and because it just looked like a good game (and it is). However, as a devoted Tolkien fan, I keep seeing some flaws with this LCG. I don't mind the non-canon characters, in fact I enjoy seeing them (Meccg had lots), so that's not the problem I have with this game. The thing that bothers me is how they've made the culture/race/faction spread. I think it looks rather disorganized, and it seems that cards are just disconnected from each other. What I'm saying here is that, for example, all Rohan cards don't really look like they belong in a particular culture/faction, or another example would be Gondor. All these groups of cards, since they're spread in all spheres of influence, have this lore/aesthetical feel of being kind of disconnected, and frankly, I think that the creators of the game don't put much thought when naming and creating the concept for certain cards, or at least when placing them in a particular sphere or set. If the game right now supposedly takes place in the 17 year old period before Frodo leaves the Shire, what is a card named Gildor's Counsel, with that particular art and flavor text doing in a set called The Hills of Emyn Muil? I could list lots of other examples. Everything about the cards feels just so scattered, so out of place. Maybe I'm not the only one who has thought of this. One can't build, say, a consistent, coherent Gondor-themed deck without including at least three spheres of influence, and sometimes just one card of a particular sphere.
I think that maybe this will all be fixed when we get more sets and get to the proper Lotr novels, but then I think another problem may arise. I really enjoyed Decipher's Lotr. The fact that the cards were in fact divided by culture (dwarves, elves, hobbits, etc) made it just feel better organized and "tribal" without it being that it was "necessarily tribal", or that you couldn't mix and splash cultures as you wished when building a deck, but it gave a better visual flavor than just having the word "Dwarf" written above the ability. However, what I didn't like about that game (though I think it couldn't be helped) was the dozens of versions each character had. Will we get this too in Lotr LCG? It seems likely, being that we already have two versions of a bunch of characters already. When we get to the Lotr novels, will we get another Bilbo, or yet another Aragorn, for example? Or maybe we won't and they decided to make Bilbo early in THFG to make hin unnecessary in future sets. I don't know. Also, the fact that characters are divided in heroes and allies also helps the possibility of many versions of the same character. I honestly hope that we'll see at most two cards for each character. More, in my opinion, wouldn't be necessary and feels like it kills the character's "uniqueness".
So I believe most of you now think that I hate this game or something like that. It isn't true. I love it, I like the gameplay, the very concept of the quest card, the illustrations, the visual design, etc. Enough to keep me playing it. It's just some lore and design things that really bother (or maybe will bother) me, and I was wondering if anyone else has felt something similar about them.