Board Game Review: Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

I don’t review board games very often (mainly because . . . I just haven’t), but I’ve been playing one over the last few weeks that I just had to talk about. First, a bit of background.

I love board games. Not things like Monopoly and Life–although I started with those. No, I’m more into complicated things that have lots of little pieces to keep track of. Settlers of Catan is great, but I’ve gone on since then. I like big rule books, complicated strategies. I like games that make me think, and think a lot.

The only problem is that these kind of games can be difficult to play. When you have a job, a family, church responsibilities, and the like–and you’re trying to coordinate schedules with other players that have the same–it’s tricky to find time to get everyone together to play a game that can take upwards of four hours to finish. In Utah, things were easier. I just sacrificed a few hours of sleep to be able to play games. Finding people wasn’t a problem, since there were just plain old more people in the area.

Now, things aren’t as simple. Western Maine doesn’t exactly have a slew of boardgamers, and I don’t have a ton of time. Denisa plays some games with me, but she dislikes tricky rules. That’s a problem. TRC loves games, but he’s still a few years from being able to handle the really big games. So for now, I play Magic with him, and I play some lighter strategy games with Denisa.

Fantasy Flight Games came out with a Lord of the Rings themed card game about six months ago. I love FFG–they’re a great company, and they make great games. But this game was special. It can be played solo. Yeah–like strategic solitaire. I read up on it online, and it looked solid, so I asked for it for my birthday.

I love this game.

It totally works as a solitaire experience, but this isn’t your standard face card set up. The theme permeates the game. You’re battling orcs and spiders, using heroes from the LOTR world. The game is story-based, and it unfolds like a story. I’ve played probably about ten to fifteen games so far, maybe more–and it keeps staying fun. It’s got elements of deck building, letting you sit there and think about what cards would play well with other cards. The games only last 45 minutes, so you can play one and not have to devote hours and hours of your life.

There’s no coordinating of schedules, and the game can be played with two people, too. TRC likes to play with me, but the strategy is still a bit beyond him. If you get two games, you can play with up to four people. For where I am in my life right now, this is the perfect game. Better yet, they release periodic updates to it, continuing the story. So if I want, I can be playing this game for a long time to come.

Anyway. The bottom line is that if you’re like me–or you like story-based card games–this is definitely a game to pick up. If any of you have any specific questions, let me know. I’m happy to answer anything. Happy gaming!

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