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Tag: LCG

All About Living Card Games

Introduced by Fantasy Flight Games  all the way back in 2008, the Living Card Game (LCG) model of distribution is an innovative alternative to the widespread collectible card game model.  Anyone who has played Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon will know the sting that competitive play can bring to your wallet, as you try and track down those rare competitive cards whose prices make money strapped gamers sad. The LCG model was the answer to this, beginning with A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu back in 2008, with many more games joining the fixed distribution model later on.

For those who don’t know what the main draw of an LCG is, it’s quite simple; no random packs. Before you purchase a product, you know exactly what you’re going to get. No more chasing down those money cards and forking out ludicrous amounts of money just for the right to compete. Just work out which pack the cards you want are from and grab that. Or just grab everything; keeping up with an LCG is really not an expensive venture, and they combine excellent gameplay with their lowered barriers to entry to create a healthy and thriving scene.

If you’re not sure which LCG is for you, then you’ve come to the right place; I’ll be looking at each LCG that is currently in print and still continuing to release product (as well as one upcoming one), giving a brief rundown on my own thoughts on the game, as well as a quick recommendation on who I believe it’s suitable for. Note that this article doesn’t cover the LCG-like games of other companies (Doomtown: Reloaded and VS2PCG come to mind), but only those offered by Fantasy Flight Games.

I’m going to use the generic terms “Pack” and “Deluxe” to represent the smaller sixty card expansions (well, three times twenty different card) and the larger box expansions respectively. They are called different things depending on the game, but for the sake of simplicity, I will be using these two terms instead. If you’re thinking about getting into the LCG, click on the title just before their respective sections. Without further ado, let’s get into it, starting with:

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (2011)

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Lord of the Rings is an interesting product in that whilst it has been out the longest and has far and away the most product available for it (currently 33 Packs and 12 deluxe expansions), it is also the game that has the lowest barrier to entry, a virtue of the fact that the game is entirely co-operative. You need not be concerned with needing everything; you can grab everything at your own pace and slowly discover the game. In fact, the Core Set itself contains so many powerful cards that with the Core Set and even just a handful of packs, you can build decks to take on any adventure.

The game has really ramped up in the last few years. I found the initial quests in the early cycles to be a bit lacking, but the last three cycles have been absolutely amazing, as have the Fellowship adventures, which allow for a campaign mode as well. And boy oh boy have the quests gotten harder; even with well tailored decks and experienced players, the game is very difficult, just as a co-op game should be.

A great option for solo-play and even as a pseudo board game on its own, Lord of the Rings is definitely worth a look into if you’re looking for a readily expandable cooperative experience that’s thematic, challenging and innovative. Probably one of the further advantages of the game is that even if your area lacks a playgroup, you’re still able to enjoy all of the game by yourself, or even with friends; you don’t need a community for the game to be at its best. A good entry point would be two Core Sets and some of the Fellowship deluxes, Alternatively, one cycle of six packs plus the deluxe to go with it can replace the Fellowship deluxes. An important thing to note is that each cycle is tied to a deluxe, thus you’re better off not buying random packs without the corresponding deluxe. As far as cycles go, I was a huge fan of the Land of Shadow, and am really liking the interesting direction the designers have taken with the Grey Havens, so either of those would make for awesome places to begin your adventures in Middle-Earth.

Android: Netrunner (2012)

Android: Netrunner

I will freely admit that Netrunner is one of the few LCGs I haven’t had much experience with. An asymmetric card game set in a cyberpunk world, one player plays as the hacker trying to bypass all of the traps and blockades set up by the corp played by the other. It’s certainly a very unique game, forgoing much of the standard spend resources, play character of other games and replacing it with a game full of risk management, bluffing and constant tension. Sure, cards still cost money, but the main driving force of the game is action and risk management.

Netrunner has easily seen the most success out of all the LCGs, with hundreds of players turning up for its largest events.  Now many cycles in, the game is very deep and deck possibilities are vast and varied. That, however, comes at a cost, and the entry point at the moment is intimidating. In my own experiences, it’s the type of game that you have to make your main game to truly enjoy it;  the hidden knowledge component of the game means that not being up to date with the cards is going to cost you even more than in other games, and the risk management/math heavy nature of the game means that in order to get the most out of Netrunner, you have to invest yourself in it,

Thankfully, the community resources are far and away the most expansive of the LCGs, and you will likely have no issue finding tournaments or competitive-minded players to play against. I would recommend Netrunner to the competitive card gamer looking for something to throw themselves into, but definitely not for those looking to just dabble and play for fun; to me, the game just doesn’t quite do casual well, and shines brightest in the heat of competition.

Star Wars: The Card Game (2012)

Star Wars: The Card Game

Yet another asymmetric game, though not quite to the extent of NetrunnerStar Wars: The Card Game  has had a bit of a tumultuous history. After an excellent and interesting core set, the first cycle was rather weak, and that coupled with delays meant that many became disillusioned with it. As a point of comparison, Star Wars and Netrunner were released in the same year, but Star Wars is seven packs behind! This means that it’s much more difficult to find a tournament for Star Wars.

That said, the game is not without fantastic mechanics that, again, got much better as time went on (the second cycle was magnificent). If you’re a true fan of the license, you can have a lot of fun with this game, and there are a whole heap of viable options for deckbuilding at a casual, fun level. There is a bit of a thematic disconnect which a lot of people have taken issue with (an X-Wing blasting down Darth Vader, or the Executor being poked by Ewoks for example) but with two core sets and two Edge of Darkness expansion packs, a lot of fun can be had. It pains me that I can’t recommend this higher, given how interesting the game play is (really, if you like game design, try play a game of it) and how much I like the license, but you can’t win ’em all.

Warhammer 40000: Conquest (2014)

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest

Speaking of excellent game design, the LCGs continue to deliver with Eric Lang’s Warhammer 40000: Conquest. Much like Netrunner, Conquest really lends itself to tournament play above anything else; you can certainly play the factions you like, but due to the super tight game play, not playing with competitive options means you’re going to get crushed quickly. With a much more spacial aspect than the other LCGs (fitting given the license) and the extremely innovative and well thought out simultaneous decision making mechanic, Warhammer 40000: Conquest has a lot going for it gameplay-wise for a start.

What’s more, on top of the strong license, great gameplay  and fantastic artwork is the relatively low price point of the game at the moment. With only two deluxes and thirteen packs, you can have everything in the game for a relatively low entry point. Whilst recent developments on the game have been slow and it lacks the same consistent community which both Netrunner and the next game have in spades, you could do far worse as far as great, skill intensive competitive games go.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (2015)

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

Wasting no time after ending First Edition, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (AGOT 2.0) is running pretty hot at the moment. If you’re a fan of the source material, you’ll find all of your favourite characters faithfully represented in AGOT 2.0, which currently has a heavy focus on these unique fan favourite characters going into various challenges against one another as you struggle for the Iron Throne. With a healthy mix of luck and skill, relatively simple mechanics, a healthy and steadily growing community and the fact that it’s currently FFG’s youngest LCG, AGOT 2.0 is definitely the game to get into at the moment if you’re on the fence about all the others (or you’re just a mega-fan of the series).

Much like Netrunner and ConquestAGOT 2.0 is primarily a competitive game. The first of two game modes, Joust is the more common of the two and is  a traditional one versus one affair. In addition, casual play is much more encouraged mechanically than in any other LCG, at least in my opinion. This is further exemplified by the wilder, more chaotic Melee format, where three to four players struggle for the throne, forging alliances only to break them off just as quickly. The melee option even works quite well as just a family board game on its own, making AGOT 2.0 one of the easier games to sample first before committing.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game (4th Quarter 2016-Early 2017)

The only LCG not yet released that we’ll be looking at today is the mysterious Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Not too much is known about this game yet, but early reports point towards a hybrid LCG/roleplaying experience unlike any other game on the market. I’m incredibly curious to see how much FFG has learned about making a cooperative LCG from Lord of the Rings, and if they can get it right from the beginning, the popular theme and innovative design space may prove to be a winner!

Whichever LCG you do end up choosing, I hope you have an amazing time with the diverse, thematic experiences awaiting you in each and every box. Fantasy Flight Games have done a wonderful job with the core of each of their card games, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this innovative model of card games (there are two more upcoming LCGs, but they’ll have to wait for another article).

Dungeoneering 101

What’s new?

Dragon Shield sleeves for all you TCG fans. Personal favourite brand of mine as they feel amazing and last forever. Also they are are made by Arcane Tinman who develops Spoils, one of my

all time fave TCG’s.

For the kids: Chupacabra  which is a new dice game based on surviving fantastical monster attacks.

New Chapter packs of A Game of Thrones LCG and Call of Cthulhu LCG

 Small World Realms and Descent are the big ones. Descent preorders have all been served with airfreighted stock.

Also new preorders such as Dominion: Dark Ages, DC deck building game and 3012: Deckbuilding game

 What we played!

Lunch Time Descent! Although not every day, we throw caution to the wind and play a scenario from Descent 2nd edition. It is our express goals to make this into a regular-ish thing we can do when we aren’t swamped with work. Last week was First Blood, the starting scenario involving Mauler letting his goblin followers escape while the heroes break up his pow wow.

Enter Syndrael, Alaric and Avric

Knight, Necromancer and Disciple intervening on Maulers party by unloading alot of flame and steel upon the horde of goblins. We didn’t finish the session but ended it with the heroes bogged down under an avalanche of dead ettins and goblins.

 

The game plays really well and fast. There is a tonne of variation in the box, a plethora of play with a full campaign already included in the box filled with player choices on what to do. There is an interesting mix of mission objectives, I only thought the adventurers would be mindlessly killing things but I was glad to see missions about grabbing vegetables and suck. Only problem I have is that there is no finality in the game aside from defeat, with the heroes constantly enduring all manners of punishment to grind the overlords minions to dust.

Mind you I LOVE miniatures. They are pretty much on the amazing side and having two dragons is always better than none.

Anyone for a Game of Thrones?

A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, which began with A Game of Thrones in 1996, is a hugely successful fantasy series that has gripped the imagination of readers, boardgamers, roleplaying gamers and television audiences—and soon, video gamers as well.

Fantasy Flight Games have been releasing games based in this rich melieu for some time now, and with the release of the second edition of the A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, it’s the perfect time to have a look at them!

A Game of Thrones LCGIt all started in 2002 with the release of the A Game of Thrones LCG: Core Set. This endlessly engaging Living Card Game (expansion sets are a fixed number of cards of the same type; no random collecting) has won two Origins Awards, and FFG run regular tournaments. Players assume the leadership of one of the great houses of Westeros, each with a different play style, and by exercising military might, intrigue, or diplomacy, they compete for power. In addition, a special plot deck brings in thematic effects that can greatly affect the game. The game can be played by two players or more, and with three or more players, each chooses a role at the start of the each round which engages with the other roles in interesting ways. The great thing about the game is that it acomodates a whole range of different playing styles, whether you prefer military conquest, diplomatic manoeuvring, or underhanded scheming… And with six deluxe expansions and over 40 ‘Chapter Packs’ of 60 cards each, the variety is staggering.

I’ve gone into some detail before about the ‘BattleLore’ game Battles of Westeros, but if you’re a fan of the Command & Colors games such as Command & Colors: Ancients, Memoir ’44, Battle Cry and BattleLore, you can’t go past this fresh new take on the system. Not only is it full of the character of the books, with a big emphasis on the leader personalities and their impact on the battles, but the system moves away from the ‘play a card to activate units on a particular flank’ system, and gives the player a lot more flexibility and choice. I’ve found it to be a very strategic game with a lot of tactical complexity to explore, and very different from the other games in the C&C system series.

There’s also a great range of expansions available so your armies and strategies can grow: Wardens of the West gives you Lannister reinforcements; Wardens of the North more troops for House Stark; Tribes of the Vale lets you add clansmen as allies to your force; Lords of the River adds House Tully as allies; and the upcoming Brotherhood Without Banners introduces even more new units and commanders.

Game of ThronesThe latest exciting release in FFG’s stable of Westeros-based games is the return of their much-praised game A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, in a spectacular new second edition that incorporates much of the original game’s expansion material. It’s the perfect time for new fans—those who have discovered the melieu through the incredibly impressive HBO television series, for example—to start gaming in the world of Westeros.

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame sees three to six players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, as they vie for control of the Iron Throne through the use of diplomacy and warfare. It’s an epic boardgame that requires more than military might to win—much as in the books, there are many ways to achieve your goals, and strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play will all be required. And with totally updated components covered with stunning artwork, new innovations, and the best bits from the original two expansions, this is the definitive edition of the game.

As you can see, if you’re a fan of A Game of Thrones and a strategy gamer, there’s a wealth of good gaming to be had. Just remember: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

What’s Hot: Lord of the Rings LCG – The Hills Of Emyn Muil

Hills Of Emyn MuilLord of the Rings: The Card Game fans rejoice! The latest adventure pack, The Hills Of Emyn Muil, is here!

Having lost Gollum’s trail at the Carrock, then embarked on a mission of mercy to Rhosgobel, the heroes now come to the hills of Emyn Muil, where they have only one objective: to find Gollum.

The Hills of Emyn Muil is the fourth Adventure Pack in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle of expansions for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game! The hunt for Gollum continues in this exciting expansion, which includes a Quest card and its related Encounters, as well as new Hero, Attachment, and Ally cards. This engaging Adventure Pack contains the first ever single-card quest, in which players must gather victory points by exploring a wide range of dangerous locations.

With 60 new cards for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Hills of Emyn Muil will augment existing decks while providing players with entirely new challenges for their heroes. Can you scour Emyn Muil and determine Gollum’s whereabouts before it’s too late?

What’s Hot: Lord of the Rings Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack

Conflict at the CarrockThe second of the Adventure Packs for The Lord of the Rings Card Game is here: Conflict at the Carrock!

You’ve joined in The Hunt for Gollum, and now the second Adventure Pack in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle beckons. Hot on the trail of Gollum, the heroes venture down the banks of the Anduin, only to hear whispers of a new threat looming.

Conflict at the Carrock Adventure Pack contains 60 fixed cards from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, continuing the heroes’ quest to find and apprehend the creature Gollum. A new hero joins the quest, along with three copies of nine new player cards from all four spheres, a new deck of Encounter cards, and the Conflict at the Carrock Quest cards.

A variety of new player cards offer exciting deck-building options, featuring new and familiar faces. Frodo Baggins is beginning to feel restless in the Shire while the Beorning Beekeepers offer their assistance to anyone willing to help drive the troublesome Trolls away. A Long-beard Mapmaker discovers a hidden Dúnedain Warning that just might help the heroes avoid defeat.

Conflict at the Carrock focuses on the lumbering Trolls terrorizing the Beornings, and while facing them in combat is fearful enough, Sacked! cards will endanger your heroes at every turn. Muck Adders will snap at your heels while you try to navigate the difficult locations surrounding the Carrock.

This is not a stand-alone deck. A copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Core Set is required to play.

Keep a weather eye out for the next Adventure pack, coming soon: A Journey to Rhosgobel. Preorder now so you don’t miss out!

Guest Video Review: Lord of the Rings Card Game

Lord of the RingsI’m happy to announce that premiere boardgame video reviewer Drakkenstrike has kindly allowed us to re-post his excellent videos on the Games Paradise blog!

Drakkenstrike is well-known in the online boardgaming community for his finely crafted and comprehensive videos, taking you step-by-step through the most popular new boardgames as they hit the market. We’ll be featuring some of these fantastic reviews now and again on the blog. Enjoy, and thanks again to Drakkenstrike for his amazing work.

Let’s kick things off with a detailed look at The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

Stay tuned for more top-quality Drakkenstrike Reviews!

And to help you out with playing the game, I’ve made a free rules summary and reference sheet for you to download and print.

Preorder The Lord of the Rings Card Game Now!

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is now available to pre-order for a special price!

Begin your adventure in Middle-earth soon!

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a brand new cooperative card game from Fantasy Flight Games that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with two Core Sets!) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate your efforts to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck, and you will complete the quest before you and claim victory!

The Core Set includes 216 cards that can be used to assemble a wide variety of decks right out of the box. Included are four perilous scenarios that, along with countless combinations of settings and enemies, offer near-limitless replayability.

Additionally, players can build a party from a set of 16 hero cards, and focus their decks on any combination of four distinct spheres of influence: Leadership, Lore, Spirit, and Tactics. Each sphere offer unique benefits to the party, so choose wisely. Select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate your efforts

Preorder now!

Lord of the RingsWhy not also pre-order the first three Adventure Packs while you’re there to be sure of enjoying this exciting new game to the fullest when it arrives at our warehouse? The first series is called the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, and it begins with The Hunt for Gollum. The elusive creature known as Gollum is hiding somewhere in the Anduin Valley, and this pack sets the stage for the coming quests by tasking players with searching for Gollum and capturing him (the overall goal in Shadows of Mirkwood). For this first quest, players are tasked with uncovering the clues in the form of the Signs of Gollum Objective cards, which are shuffled into the Encounter deck. Featuring a new hero, new player cards for all four spheres of influence, and an assortment of new Encounter cards, The Hunt for Gollum begins your dangerous trek through the Shadows of Mirkwood!

The second pack, Conflict at the Carrock, sees players venturing down the banks of the Anduin hot on the trail of Gollum … only to hear whispers of a new threat looming. A new hero joins the quest, along with three copies of nine new player cards from all four spheres, a new deck of Encounter cards, and the Conflict at the Carrock Quest cards.

A variety of new player cards offer exciting deck-building options, featuring new and familiar faces. Frodo Baggins is beginning to feel restless in the Shire, and a Long-beard Mapmaker discovers a hidden Dunedain Warning that just might help the heroes avoid defeat. The lumbering Trolls terrorizing the Beornings, and while facing them in combat is fearful enough, Sacked! cards will endanger your heroes at every turn. And watch out for Muck Adders, that will snap at your heels while you try to navigate the difficult locations surrounding the Carrock.

Finally, in A Journey to Rhosgobel, after facing a fearsome group of trolls, the heroes have pressed further into the Anduin Valley to continue their search for Gollum. However, when they stumble across a dying eagle wounded in a fight with goblins, they are compelled to offer their assistance. Since the Eagles play such an important role in the Shadows of Mirkwood Adventure Packs, players will want to retain the trust of their winged allies by saving one of their kin. In order to do so, they must bring the bird to Rhosgobel and seek out the wizard Radagast, who knows many secrets of the wild.

A Journey to Rhosgobel contains 60 fixed cards from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. In this exciting expansion, even more Eagles join the Tactics sphere, while Leadership players are given a Dunedain Quest that will inspire confidence in their cause. The heroes’ trek through Mirkwood leads them to Haldir of Lorien, whose unnatural agility will aid the party in their task. However, the sky grows dark with foul minions of the Shadow, and every step toward Rhosgobel causes the heroes’ avian ally more pain. There is no time to lose!

Each adventure pack contains 60 fixed cards from the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a game of heroes, perilous journeys and adventure. Be the first to set off on the quest!