Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-5
Amount of time to play: 30-60 min
Age requirements: 15+
Set-up time: 5 minutes
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game uses Cryptozoic’s Cerberus engine. You must gather allies, artifacts and enemies to gain power and defeat your arch-enemies.
This game runs on an engine similar to the DC Deckbuilding Game. You use your power to defeat arch-enemies or purchase cards from the center of the table. The game ends when the main draw deck is empty or all the arch-enemies are dead.
You start the game by randomly selecting a hero. Each hero comes with a unique card you add to your starting deck. The arch-enemy deck is arranged by level with the Nazgul on top and Lurtz at the bottom. In between them you place three random level two and level three arch-enemies.
On your turn you play your cards and add up your Power. You may then purchase as many card as you can afford in Power. There are allies, artifacts, maneuvers, locations and enemies in the center of the table (called the Path).
There are cards that let you attack the other players and defend against attacks. Some cards also ambush the next player when they are placed in the Path. Fortunes are zero cost cards that instantly help you and then are destroyed.
Each card you buy is worth VPs. Quest cards are worth 5 VPs but require you to meet a requirement to score them. Once the game is over you add up the VPs in the lower left-hand corner of all your cards. The player with the most points wins.
This deck-builder is easy to learn and teach. It makes a great intro to the deck-building genre.
The card quality is very good. The card art is movie stills which are pretty good. Some look better than others. The rules are easy to follow, read and teach.
I like the new cards that are added in this rendition of the Cerberus Engine. The Quests, Ambushes and Fortunes make sense for this game.
The unique character cards are a nice touch that adds a little variety without shoe-horning players into a specific strategy.
The speed of the game is good and I like how everything ramps up. As you grow in power, so do the arch-enemies.
The theme is hit-and-miss in this game. At times it fits the mechanics but other things don’t really match up.
Included in the game are impossible mode arch-enemies. These are tougher and hit harder than the normal ones. Be aware that they might really hose someone’s deck early. Also impossible mode Lurtz is uber-annoying and take much fun out of the game. I did not mind the other aspects of the impossible mode but would not play it with Lurtz as written again.
If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings or are looking for a deckbuilder to play with non-gamers try The Lord of the Rings Deck-Building Game.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 4 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6