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Middle Earth: The Wizards LCG

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#1 sirvolkar



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Posted 07 April 2009 - 10:12 AM

To me, Iron Crown Enterprise's Middle Earth: The Wizards holds some of the fondest memories of gaming.  It was, and still is, the finest CCG produced.  It captured Tolkien's world perfectly, and every game felt like you were telling the story of The One Ring's return, albeit in your own unique way.  The game mechanics were fantastic and kept everyone involved, unlike many CCG's which tend to fail as multi-player, social games.  Plus, the artwork was stunning!  In fact, FFG used one of the pieces for the box cover of Reiner Knizia LOTR game (a work of genius!).  If memory serves it was the "Stormcrow" card :)

This game is crying out to be restored and I believe it would do this best as an FFG LCG.  Why, you ask?  Behold my reasoning!

1. The game retains a strong following around the world, despite having died out many, many years ago.  Cards still appear on e-bay and sell for high prices.  An avid and loyal fanbase already exists - arguably greater than that of the later movie inspired CCG (a poorer, simpler, bastardised version in some ways).

2. The game would suit the fixed deck nature of an LCG.  Like AGOT, there are many unique cards - whether they are characters, items or enemies - and often only a single copy is required.  LCG's work well in this way, providing everyone with the chance to obtain such cards, but in the right quantity.  Then there is the story based intent of the LCG format which would apply itself perfectly to the story based mechanics of the game.  Interestingly, the base set of ME: TW was at one time released as a complete, unlimited set - predating FFG's LCG.  It might have even inspired them.

3. ME: TW would benefit from the Premium Base Set concept currently used in FFG's LCG product line.  The board could be the map of Middle Earth (replacing the only down side of the game - Region cards - which nobody bothered with thanks to the map in the Player's Guide) and pieces could be included to represent each players' fellowships.  This would speed up working out travel in the game and act as a great centrepiece.  In addition, as mentioned the game works best as a multi-player product.  Whilst the original had all five Wizards, a base set could include four and play to their strengths.  Potentially, Saruman could be removed for introduction at a later date (the later "Fallen Wizard" expansion for example).

4. The game already exists and much of the donkey work would not be required.  It was a pretty balanced game due to the fact that there were no specific factions.  And as an LCG you would eliminate the "Best Cards = Best Chance of Winning" syndrome some might argue afflicted the game.

5. As mentioned above, FFG already have connections with Tolkien, and presumably the estate.  They also appear to have worked with Jon Howe, too.  They also also have ties with Games Workshop who definitely have connections to LOTR.

6. With The Hobbit movie on the way, interest in Tolkien's work will once more be on the rise over the next few years.

7. It is potentially one of the few ways in which I could respect FFG more than I already do - you guys and gals rock!  But could you rock harder?  Resurrecting this fine game would be a resounding "YES".

#2 Guest_Not In Sample_*

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 05:22 AM

never heard of it, but it sounds like a good idea

#3 sirvolkar



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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:13 AM

It came out in 1995 and ran for a couple of years.  Started out with players taking the role of one of the five Wizards (Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, Alatar or Palando(?)), then went on to allow some real direct conflict by introducing the Nazgul, Balrog and Fallen Wizard as playable forces.

Decks contained two types of cards; those that you played on your turn (characters, items, factions, events, etc.) and those that you played on your opponent's (enemies, bad events and the like).  It was a 50-50 split, which allowed for some great deck design.  There was plenty of diversity.  Winning could be achieved through a points system, which itself included characters, factions, items and quests, or through the ultimate quest - finding and destroying the One Ring :)  Then with your confrontational cards you could focus on the overt approaches; animals (spiders, wargs, Shelob!), Orcs (lots of them!) or unleash The Nine in a variety of ways (my favourite), or you could try more subtler means; disrupting travel, hindering faction tests or, best of all, corrupting the hell out of your opponents heroes to ensure they fall sway to the Dark Lord on his dark throne.

In the base game players' parties could meet and coerce each other, but it wasn't until the later expansions when you could actually fight it out.

I could ramble on from memory for a while, but to save time here's the Wikipedia link;


If this game did anything for me it was that it got me even more interested in Tolkien's work.  It made use of everything and anything it could from the source material, not just The Lord Of The Rings, unlike the later film game that was further constrained by the limitations of the films.

#4 Kalidor



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Posted 27 April 2009 - 02:00 AM

I'll second this WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

One of the best ccgs ever; I still have hundreds and hundreds of cards/decks that I won't get rid of.

It was a deep and full experience.

A big card game with a bit of boardgame, a bit of RPG and a bit of storytelling.


#5 BeardFan



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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:16 PM

Excactly my thoughts! MECCG was probably the best CCG there ever was. I really liked the storytelling aspect of it, and the possibilty of thematic deckbuilding. We still play it once a month in our group (although the number of participants has dropped to 3-4 people).


Now, hasn't FFG a Middle-Earth license?


Really, this could become an excellent LCG. Nate announced a new LCG for summer, I wish it would be Middle Earth: The Wizards.


#6 David Spangler

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 11:58 AM

I could not agree more. This was a terrific game, arguably one of the best CCGs ever made, and absolutely gorgeous to play.  It deserved a much, much longer lifespan than it had.  I think it would bring real honor to the FFG stable, though for balance's sake, I think the new LCG may be a science fiction product.

#7 Ravnos Phantom

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 09:24 AM

Me too.

I own it all and I liked the concept of moving your company over the map best.

Wouldn´t be the worst idea as next LCG (but costly to FFG licensing cost-wise).


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