The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game Review: You Shall Pass

These days, you really can’t throw a stone without hitting some sort of digital trading card game. From the genre staples of Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, to newer roguelikes such as Slay The Spire, digital trading card games offer fans electronic ways to experience tabletop card games on their own or through the convenience of various online multiplayer modes. The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game is the last addition to the genre, offering fans the ability to play a digitized version of the original tabletop game set in the iconic fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien.

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A Romp Through Middle Earth

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The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game is inspired by the cooperative Living Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, combining an immersive narrative experience with in-depth deck-building strategies as players adventure throughout Middle Earth. The game excludes any PvP gameplay features, focusing instead on its lore and story-driven single-player and co-op PvE experiences for a more steadily-paced game.

Before we go further, it should be stated that this review is being written by the most casual of digital trading card game players, who also appreciates and enjoys The Lord of the Rings for what it is, but does not necessarily consider himself a “fan” of the beloved franchise. That said, I can confirm that my experience with The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game was far more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be.

Jumping into the single-player campaign is a little intense. The tutorial is very good at guiding newbies like myself through the game’s rules and mechanics. However, there is a lot to take in all at once. I’ve played plenty of Hearthstone in my day, but LOTR: Adventure Card Game took me to an entirely new level. No doubt, fans of the physical card game (and other digital card games in general) will likely have less of a learning curve than those who are a little less familiar with the genre. However, because it was so well-executed, I was able to move on through the various campaigns and encounters with a surprising amount of understanding having completed the tutorial.

Deck-Building Your Way To The Top

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Deck-building in LOTR: Adventure Card Game is as robust or simple as you allow it to be. In a nutshell, decks are comprised of three Heroes, all of which have a sphere of influence, allowing you to play specific reinforcement cards during battle (similar to the mana system of Magic: The Gathering).

Pre-built decks are available for players who aren’t super confident in their deck-building skills, which are effective enough to progress through the game. However, since the majority of players will likely be far more versed in deck-building strategies, building a custom deck is straightforward enough for veterans to take full advantage of.

Upon finishing quests, players are awarded Fellowship Points (which is basically in-game currency) based on the various challenges that are completed, such as using specific cards a certain number of times and avoiding some of the game’s nuances, such as triggering what’s known as “Threat Events.” These points can then be used for purchasing additional cards and unlocking the heroes that you wish to add to your deck.

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If you’re planning on picking up The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game, keep in mind that the game is inspired by the original tabletop game, and shouldn't be considered an exact digital replica of the physical game. As long as you come in with this expectation, both fans of The Lord of the Rings and fans of the digital trading card game genre will be able to find things to enjoy about The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

A review copy of The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game was provided to TheGamer for this review. The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game is available now on Steam, and will be coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in Fall 2019.

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