“We hates them, precious.” Caleb Grace discusses some of the unique elements included in ‘The Land of Shadow’, the next installment in the Saga Expansions of Fantasy Flight’s Lord of the Rings Living Card Game series. ‘The Land of Shadow’ is the fourth in the series—beginning with The Black Riders—that allows players to follow the characters of LOTR through the story arc of the novel.
‘The Land of Shadow’ follows Frodo and Sam after the breaking of the fellowship on Parth Galen, as described in the second book of The Two Towers, as they try to find a way into Mordor to destroy the One Ring. The game’s three scenarios will take Frodo and Sam into Mordor in the company of Gollum/Smeagol.
Grace introduces a unique new element into the LCG, using a two-sided card to represent the two sides of Gollum/Smeagol’s character. In this expansion, he is both an Enemy and and Objective-Ally. As an enemy under the influence of the ring, he will attack the first player. Gollum is a difficult and determined enemy, who will get defensive benefits in the beginning of the game, so played should not be fooled into thinking he will be easily defeated! If defeated, the card is flipped over to the Smeagol side and he becomes an ally. An unsuccessful quest causes Smeagol to revert to Gollum, starting the cycle over again.
Having Smeagol is critical, however. Smeagol has to be an ally for the players to clear certain locations and move the quest along. He is an unpredicatable ally. The expansion includes the ‘We Hates Them’ card which immediately flips Smeagol to Gollum, or allows him to attack immediately if he already on the Gollum side. The players have one advantage; the can use the One Ring to cancel the effects of ‘We Hates Them’ at the cost of 1 resource and the exhaustion of the One Ring.
This promises to be an exciting addition to the Saga Expansions, introducing a new level of uncertainty, and really capturing the spirit of the novel in the interaction of Frodo, Sam, and Gollum/Smeagol, as they move along the borders of Mordor. This is addition to the new characters, actions and equipment traditional associated with LOTR LCG expansions. Fantasy Flight states that ‘The Land of Shadows’ is already shipping.