Your travels have led you across the face of Middle-earth, from the Shire to the very heights of Mount Doom. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has evolved through new cycles of Adventure Packs and the recent release of The Mountain of Fire, the concluding chapter of the Saga Expansions that invited you to play through the entire journey of The Lord of the Rings.
Today, a new FAQ for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game goes into effect, tweaking some cards and changing some interactions to ensure that your adventures in Middle-earth are as fun and challenging as the designers intended. You can download the FAQ here (pdf, 14.4MB)—and read on for developer Caleb Grace’s thoughts on the most recent changes!
Caleb Grace on the New FAQ for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
It’s been a long time since our last update to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game FAQ—over a year. “Why so long?” you might ask. Well, I am pleased to say that the design team hasn’t felt it was necessary to issue a new update until now. When it comes to the state of the game at large, we’ve been very happy with the meta overall, with the exception of a few over-powered cards.
This current FAQ is being issued primarily to rein in some of these more problematic cards. But before we dive into the errata, it’s important to understand why we choose errata. The design team is fully aware that players generally dislike errata, because everyone prefers their cards to work as written. We never make the decision to errata a card lightly. However, as The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game continues to grow and evolve, some cards become the centerpiece for combos that they were never meant to enable. When those combos are proven to negatively impact the players’ experience, then we feel it’s important to act on behalf of the long-term health of the game. Let’s discuss the seven cards receiving errata in order of release: Wandering Took, Boromir, Out of the Wild, Hama, We Are Not Idle, Caldara, and Wingfoot.
First, Wandering Took (Core Set, 43). This ally’s appearance on our list may surprise some players, but with the addition of Song of Eärendil (Road to Rivendell, 34) and Vanish from Sight (Flight of the Stormcaller, 11), it was possible for one player to reduce each other player’s threat down to zero before eliminating themselves, or potentially even resetting their own threat with Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water, 53). Because threat serves as the timer for most games of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, any card combination that can nullify threat on the first turn needs to be addressed. Wandering Took was selected because its ability presented the easiest and least intrusive fix: giving it a limit of “once per round.”
Second, Boromir (The Dead Marshes, 95). We know there are a lot of passionate Boromir fans in the game, and we hesitated for a long time before issuing this errata, but the fact is that a limit of “once per phase” was long overdue. When Boromir was first released, all the way back with the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, the cost of raising your threat to ready Boromir was more significant because there weren’t many ways to reduce your threat. But as the game has expanded, so too have the options for threat reduction. Now the cost of raising your threat by one is much less significant, considering it gives you multiple actions from such a powerful hero.
Third, Out of the Wild (Road to Rivendell, 36). Unlimited use of this event has the potential to dismantle a scenario’s encounter deck and break the intended game experience. The fix for this card was a simple one: after Out of the Wild adds an encounter card to the victory display, it adds itself to the victory display as well. That prevents players from recurring the event and removing significant parts of the encounter deck. It also makes Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram, 37) slightly stronger.
Fourth, Háma (The Long Dark, 76). This was a tough one because there wasn’t an easy fix, but ultimately, we decided that it wasn’t good for the game if a single player could engage every enemy in play and recur Thicket of Spears (Core Set, 36) each turn to completely negate the combat phase. We added a limit of “three times per game.” Players can still use Háma the way he was intended, but they cannot recur the same card infinitely.
Fifth, We Are Not Idle (Shadow and Flame, 129). This zero-cost event is simply far too effective, to the point where it breaks the cost curve of the game and makes resources insignificant. In a dedicated Dwarf deck, it is possible to play every ally in your deck by round two when recurring this card. That obviously has a negative impact on the game—not to mention it’s tedious for other players to watch while they wait. The fix for this event was another no-brainer: change the word “character” to “hero” and there is now a hard limit to the number of resources you can gain. The card now feels much more balanced when compared to similar effects such as Captain’s Wisdom (The Thing in the Depths, 32).
Sixth, Caldara (The Blood of Gondor, 107). Like Boromir, Caldara’s ability was balanced at the time of her release, but with the additions of Sword-thain (The Dread Realm, 149) and Prince Imrahil (The Flame of the West, 5), the potential benefits from Caldara jump from two free allies to four free allies. Not only that, but the release of Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm, 140) and her ability to discard a card in order to gain a resource means that players can potentially resolve Caldara’s ability on round one and bring her back with Fortune or Fate (Core Set, 54) on round two. This lets players continually resolve Caldara’s ability throughout the game, gaining four free allies every time. She has been giving the limit of “once per game,” making the decision of when to trigger her ability more significant, while still remaining powerful.
Seventh and last, Wingfoot (The Nin-in-Eilph, 92). This attachment has an ability that also needs a limit to prevent abuse. As it’s currently worded, Wingfoot allows the attached hero to ready each time the named card type (enemy, treachery, or location) is revealed from the encounter deck. When attached to Eleanor (Core Set, 8) after making her a Ranger with Doughty Ranger (Beneath the Sands, 63), it becomes possible to cancel the “when revealed” effects of every treachery card for the rest of the game, negating the value of the treachery card type. This is clearly something that should not be allowed to exist, so Wingfoot has been changed to read “If a card of the named type is revealed during this quest phase, exhaust Wingfoot to ready attached hero.” The cost of exhausting the attachment to ready the hero means that the ability can never be triggered more than once each round.
We hope that players appreciate the careful thought that goes into these errata. It’s our goal to keep the game as fun and inviting as possible, and we take that very seriously. To that end, this FAQ update also includes a few rules clarifications and Q&A entries intended to clear up some confusing interactions.
Thank you for reading the new FAQ and playing our game! If you ever have rules questions, please contact our design team through the Rules Question Form, and we will be happy to answer you with an email.