I’ve been a long time fan of FFG’s living card game, Lord of the Rings: the Card Game. I started around the time Conflict of Carrock was just released,
so pretty early on in the game’s life and I was hooked after my first play. I have every card released to date, all PODs, all nightmare quests, all Sagas, expansions, adventure packs and so on. I even have some of the playmats, the first three released in FFGs now debunked Game Night Kits. It’s clear that I’ve invested a lot of money into this game.
But I have to admit, I’ve invested far less time in this game than I would’ve liked. I keep buying everything that comes up. I’m always excited about each new release, gobbling up any spoilers and preview articles I can find. I sleeve the new cards with glee as I sort them and place them comfortably in their boxes/binders. And then, I do nothing else. It just collects dust.
I rarely play this awesome game. Not because it’s bad, it’s a fun game when I do play, and it’s always on my mind when I’m not playing. But why don’t I just, you know, play damn game?
At first, the game was hard. I suck at this game and the difficulty was punishing for me. I was kind of put off by the reports of difficulty going around to the point where I avoided most of the punishing quests altogether and stuck to the easier ones. Heirs of Numenor in particular. I could’ve easily made a power deck like Dwarves or Outlands or use Spirit Glorfindel, but that felt like cheating. I wanted some challenge. So I put off the game for a long while waiting for the card pool to grow to build cool decks.
Secret is, I don’t like deck building. I never liked the idea of building a deck for a specific quest, and some quests require fine tuning. I played a lot of Magic cards back in the day and loved building decks, but I built decks because I wanted to try something new, not to counter others’ decks. And I still feel the same about building a deck to counter the encounter deck in LotR LCG. I guess I wanted that “One deck to rule them all”. And with the difficulty on the high side for an awful player like me who doesn’t like to deck build, I just kept collecting.
Then easy mode came along and I was ecstatic. I can finally dial down the difficulty and not feel like it was cheating. It was official rules from on high at the FFG offices! I built a deck for the first time and played the first scenario in the Black Riders Saga expansion and… got trampled over and over again (Spoilers – my deck sucked). I was so dismayed…
Deck building reared its ugly head again, and even now, I still don’t like it. So, I net decked, i.e. grab a deck online someone else built and shared. And I got frustrated once again… Why? Well, these guys…
It was very hard for me to find a deck without Spirit Glorifindel. And if he wasn’t the star of the show, Dain and his dwarves held sway. Outlands, the Slivers of LotR LCG, came up third. I focused on solo decks only that featured hobbits (popular flavor of the time), or traps, or any deck without Spirit sphere for that matter. But finding decks with those criteria was difficult. So I was left with scraps… my enthusiasm dwindled and dust continued to pile on.
Most people in my position might have just quit at that point. I mean, I’m not even enjoying what half of this game is, building decks. I just wanted to play, that’s all. But I’m stubborn and if Pokemon taught me anything when I was a kid, I had to collect them all! I kept collecting, and even buying the Nightmare packs, because buying cards that make the game harder was exactly what I needed (someday I will use them, someday…).
The Road Darkens comes by and my mouth was salivating at hero Gandalf. He’s powerful, but he’s tricky to play. He’s not some brute you slap down on the table and effortlessly trample over everything, no he requires finesses and cunning to make use of all his stats and unusual abilities effectively. My inner Johnny was awakened who had slept dormant all these years since I had quit Magic the Gathering. I will be “Gandalf guy” and – it was fun. Sure I net decked a stupidly powerful deck involving Gandalf and Elrond/Vilya combo (yes I even used, him… *shudder* Spirit Glorfy). But I had fun doing all these crazy tricks with this deck.
It was nice to have a deck that can be played against multiple scenarios. My interest in the game magnified tenfold and I played more in that time than I have ever done since first opening the core box. I was having fun again. I dabbled with some quirky decks having got my power high, using secrecy hobbits, traps, and silvans as they were being developed over the Ring Maker cycle. But as you might have guessed, I eventually shelved the game for reasons I’m not sure why. Between Black Rider’s and until now, I played very, very little.
So now Angmar Awakened cycle is fully under way and I feel it’s high time I get off my ass and actually play this damn game for real. The card pool has grown to the point where staples of old can be safely ignored in favor of more interesting cards creating more options in deck building, and by extension, net decking. No dabbling, no wimping out, no excuses! Just play!
What do I have to lose?
Well, I’ll probably lose – a lot! Even on easy mode because I’m just that bad at the game. But I learned – late in the game I might add – that you don’t have to win to have fun. I kind of wished I realized that sooner.
Regardless, it is now time to go on an adventure, albeit a very late one, and explore this amazing game (see Mission Statement here). Either that, or I sell my collection, but I don’t want to get rid of my precious. No, no, no. I can’t do that. *gently strokes card binder*