J.R.R. Tolkien

Fantasy Flight Games have announced The Wilds of Rhovanion, the next Deluxe Expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.

The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game continues to provide adventurers of Middle-Earth with new lands to explore and greater threats to face. 1 to 4 players use heroes from J.R.R Tolkien’s fantasy universe to embark on journeys similar to those found in the novels.

As the shadow of Mordor extends its reach, ever more people are torn from their homes and left without safety or refuge. When you are met with one such band of wanderers, you find yourself honor-bound to deliver them to a new setting where they may finally find peace. But the road is treacherous and fraught with dangers. Will you be able to keep them safe? Who knows what you may encounter over the Edge of the Wild?

In this expansion you accompany a group of refugees, the Haradrim from the previous Adventure Cycle, seeking asylum in the Wilderlands. Three original scenarios take you from the Vales of the Anduin, through Mirkwood Forest, then into the Iron Hills as you explore the vast, untamed country of Rhovanion. Those familiar with Tolkien Lore will remember these settings from the story of The Hobbit. Bard Son of Brand, descendant of the bowman who slew Smaug, is ready to join as a hero to guide you through his homelands. The merchants of Dale also help you master the art of the trade which is focused on your ability to utilize Item attachments.

The expansion comes with 156 cards which includes 2 hero cards, 13 quest cards, 39 player cards, and 102 encounter cards. As is customary for FFG’s Living Card Game format this Deluxe Expansion will be followed by 6 monthly Adventure Packs which build upon the story set forth in this box.

The core set is required in order to play this Deluxe Expansion. Expect to find the Wilds of Rhovanion in stores in the first Quarter of 2018.

flame of the west

Fantasy Flight Games is set to release a fifth Saga Expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. The Flame of the West adds three new adventures that will allow you to experience exciting events from The Return of the King.  There are new hero and player cards, new tactics, and new scenario cards that will tie in wonderfully with previous expansions in Campaign Mode.

flame of the west cards

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields scenario will take you from the siege of Minas Tirith through to the titular battle, perhaps the high point of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Developer Caleb Grace explains that, “we wanted to make this quest the most epic scenario in the game.  And we also wanted it to serve as the culmination of several other scenarios in Campaign Mode.”  The scenario plays out as closely as possible to the story in The Return of the King, even requiring you to set Aragorn out of play because the siege of Minas Tirith begins while he is on his way to Pelargir!

Whether you have all of the Saga Expansions or just the Core Set of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Flame of the West sounds like a must-have addition to your collection.  For more information about The Flame of the West, click here.


warriors of middle earth

The classic fantasy epic Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien can be experienced in a very immersive way in Ares Games’ War of the Ring, an epic board game in which players can play through Tolkien’s grand saga as they take on the roles of either the Free People of Middle Earth or The Shadow (forces of Sauron).  To date, War of the Ring has had only one smaller expansion, Lords of Middle Earth, but now Ares Games has announced a second expansion for the game, Warriors of Middle Earth.

In the core game, many additional characters appear other than the Free Peoples and the armies of the Shadow, but have not been “playable.”  Now, this new expansion will include Ents, Dead Men of Dunharrow, Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, Corsairs of Umbar, Wild Hilmen from Dunland, and Giant Spiders.  Each of these character and creature groups will feature miniatures and special abilities.

In Warriors of Middle Earth, new game mechanisms will be introduced to the game, including Faction Dice and Faction Events.  As in the core game and first expansion, Warriors of Middle Earth will be illustrated by John Howe.  This new expansion is set for release in the Q4 of 2015, in or around November.

For more information on this new expansion for War of the Ring, please visit Ares Games’ website here.

Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) is known for popularizing the Living Card Game (LCG) format. With this, instead of the endless buying and collecting of cards to make your playing decks up to date, players now choose to buy a stable release of cards that are not randomized. You buy the same pack as someone else, you both have exactly the same cards, no rare cards to chase.

One of the first series in this format was Lord of the Rings (LotR) based on the books by JRR Tolkien. What set this LCG apart is that it was the first and I think only co-operative LCG. You do not compete against your fellow player(s), instead by yourself or with others try to defeat a “Villain” deck. If you cannot tell, I am a huge fan of this game. I think you would be to if you like high fantasy, cooperative games, card games in general and don’t mind buying a product 6-8 times a year to keep up with new content.

Speaking of content, FFG initially decided to have Organized Play for this co-op game which would reward participants with a “Nightmare” mode version of previously released content. This idea became very popular and so they used their in-house printer to produce Print on Demand (POD) Nightmare decks that you could directly buy from their site (and some retailers). Well, the Organized Play did not last, because this is a co-op game, but the releasing of Nightmare decks for older content still thrives.

On their website, FFG has just announced that the last 3 adventure packs for their third cycle of content called Against the Shadow now have Nightmare forms available. As for every Nightmare deck, owning the original pack is required because the Nightmare deck will instruct the player which cards to take out of the original pack and which to replace with Nightmare cards to make the experience both new and much more challanging.

Each cycle of six adventure packs has an ongoing theme. The Against the Shadow cycle has your Heroes delving into the intrigue and treachery prevalent in Gondor in the timeperiod of the LCG which is in-between Gandalf leaving Frodo and the Shire behind after Bilbo’s party and exit but before the Ringwraiths leave to find the Ring. After securing Minas Tirith, it is now time to go deeper in to Modor itself with these last three decks of the cycle:


1) Assault on Osgilath
In the original release, players must secure all locations (a type of “Villain” card) in play and hold each during the course of the game. In Nightmare mode, a new location is added that can only be traveled to under very specific conditions. On top of that new Enemy cards have been added that are much tougher to defeat than the original counterparts. It took many tries for me to defeat this Adventure the first time around, I can only imagine how challenging now. But, see this is ok because my player decks have improved over time with newer products, so I think I am prepared for the challenge!


2)The Blood of Gondor
The “trick” to this Adventure pack originally were these “hidden” cards that were revealed when certain conditions were met. This unknown threat really made you second guess your long term strategy because you had to take into account this randomness. Every Adventure pack brings its own challenge. Now in Nightmare mode, some of the cards are even more powerful if flipped over as a hidden card then when encountered normally.  The amount you need to prepare for this unknown will be even greater, so the need to be smart with your resources will be even greater. Think of it as being forced to prepare for an ambush, you know it is coming, you just don’t know when and how hard.


3)The Morgul Vale
I really liked playing this scenario the first go around. This time you had to defeat three distinct Captain enemies (each with their own tactics to defeat) on you way to rescue Faramir. A sense of urgency really came out in this one. Nightmare mode will have these Captains harder, mostly by making it take more time to defeat them which allows the “timer” more time to run out, i.e. the time it takes Faramir’s captors to make it to the Dark Lord. If that isn’t enough, the location themselves have been beefed up as well. Maybe Faramir will appreciate my efforts even more this time around!

Remember, if you are interested in the Lord of the Rings LCG, you must start with the core box. I hope you do, with these Nightmares on the loose, sounds like the good guys need as much help as they can get!

lost realm

Fantasy Flight offers up a bonanza of info regarding their new expansion to the LOTR LCG (now that’s a lot of letters!). The expansion, already briefly previewed by ACD Distribution, focuses on the evil-hunting bands of Dúnedain roaming the wilds of the North.

Per the preview:

Outside the peaceful villages of Bree-land, lies a land tainted by ancient evils. In the darkest, northern reaches of Eriador, the Witch-king of Angmar once ruled. His armies terrorized the region for nearly seven centuries, and though he no longer resides within Carn Dûm, there are other evils that have found their way to Angmar.

lost realm cards

The Expansion offers plenty of new characters, allies and scenarios. In keeping with the theme of the Dúnedain, many cards offer new mechanisms for engaging enemies and encouraging attack. A big example is the set’s Aragon card.

Some of Aragorn’s benefits are obvious. By offering a consistent and immediate means of pulling enemies away from your fellow players, Aragorn’s ability grants you new freedom in the construction of your deck and the selection of your heroes. You face less need than ever to include Ranged characters…in order to attack those enemies that engage your fellow players.

Finally, the preview takes an extended look at the Secret Vigil card, a example of how the set offers Dúnedain-flavored access to threat reduction.

Even as it offers Tactics players a range of new freedoms, The Lost Realm provides them with some limited, thematic means to explore an entirely new role – threat reduction. For a single resource, Secret Vigil (The Lost Realm, 12) can attach to an enemy and reduce its Threat Strength by one, making it easier to quest successfully so long as that enemy remains in the staging area. Then, once that enemy is destroyed, Secret Vigil reduces each player’s threat by an amount equal to the target enemy’s printed Threat Strength. When you consider that The Galadhrim’s Greeting(Core Set, 46) costs three resources for a table-wide threat reduction of two, you’ll be especially thankful for the Dúnedain and their Secret Vigil, especially when they eliminate an enemy as threatening as an Angmar Marauder (The Lost Realm, 44).

For fans of the LCG, this Expansion offers plenty of food for new deck building ideas. Take a closer look at Fantasy Flight Games’ preview here.

battle of the five armies boar

An upcoming release for Ares Games, The Battle of Five Armies, will be published in seven different languages…French, German, Italian, Polish, Portugese, Spanish, and English.  Sorry, no Elvish, Dwarvish, or Entish.

The Battle of Five Armies is a fantasy, miniature game based on the climactic battle in the novel, The Hobbit and is designed by Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, and Francesco Nepitello.  All three all designed 2004’s War of the Ring.

Ares has partnered with IELLO (France), Heidelberger (German), Raven Distribution (Italian), Galakta (Polish), Devir Livraria (Brasil) and Devir Iberia (Spain).

Expected release is this year, July for the English edition and September for elsewhere.

From Ares Games:

The Battle of Five Armies – based on the climax of JRR Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit – pits the hosts of the Elvenking, the Dwarves of Dain Ironfoot, and the Men of the Lake led by Bard the Bowman against a horde of Wolves, Goblins and Bats led by Bolg, son of Azog. Will Gandalf turn the tide for the Free Peoples? Will the Eagles arrive, or Beorn come to the rescue? Or will Bilbo the Hobbit perish in a last stand on Ravenhill?

The Battle of Five Armies features a game board representing the Eastern and Southern spurs of the Lonely Mountain and the valley they encircle, and a number of plastic figures representing troops, heroes and monsters.

The Battle of Five Armies is a standalone game based on the rules for War of the Ring, which is from the same designers, but with the rules modified to function on a tactical level as they describe a smaller battle rather than the entire war. Ares Games plans to expand the Battles game system in the future, releasing expansions depicting other battles from the Third Age of Middle-earth narrated in The Lord of the Rings, such as the Siege of Gondor and the assault of Saruman against Rohan.