Review – LOTR: TCG – Fellowship of the Ring Saga Expansion
Can you keep it secret? Can you keep it safe?
|Designer||Nate French, Caleb Grace, MJ Newman|
|Publisher||Fantasy Flight Games|
|Category||Cooperative, Deck Building, Campaign|
LOTR: TCG – Fellowship of the RIng Saga Expansion allows players to play through 6 scenarios based on Tolkien’s first book of the same name. Is it a nostalgic and challenging romp through Middle Earth, as one would hope, or is it best left in the Dead Marshes?
New to LOTR: TCG? Check out my review of the original here.
Ugly and evil-looking creatures abound and some violence (with minimal blood) shows up in a few art pieces, but nothing worse than the Peter Jackson movies.
Players will play through 6 scenarios based on the movie of the same name in LOTR: TCG – Fellowship of the Ring Saga Expansion, henceforth LOTRTCGFOTRSE (I’m kidding, we’ll stick with Fellowship of the Ring). Players will help Frodo escape the Shire, flee the Prancing Pony to Weathertop, escape to Rivendell, etc. What’s unique about this expansion is that the first player will take control of Frodo, the ring-bearer, who acts as an extra hero that can collect resources and activate special power (often involving the Ring of Power).
Unlike the Angmar Awakened expansions (check out my review here), Fellowship of the Ring includes the cards for 6 scenarios, hero deck-building cards, and 6 heroes (Frodo Baggins A and B, Sam Gamgee, Merry, Fatty Bolger, Pippin, and Gandalf). All that stuff makes Fellowship of the Ring the most complete expansion yet from this second wave of LOTR: TCG.
The scenarios are well-designed and do a good job of putting players into the scenes from the book. It was exciting reliving the book and film as I played, and unlike what can happen with video games based on movies, none of these scenarios felt too forced (though some are certainly better than others). The battle with the Balrog is particularly enjoyable. Minor spoiler alert: most of the time, the Balrog shall indeed pass, for you are but a mortal human playing cards.
Some of the highlights of the player hero cards are special allies (Galadriel, Bill the Pony, and Elrond) and powerful attachments for Gandalf. Yes, attachments for Gandalf, who is now a playable hero (praise the Lord). Gandalf is the strongest hero yet, and his attachments make him even stronger. However, he has a high threat cost, so prepare to battle with many enemies if you’re choosing to play as Gandalf. You can also choose a hero set of 3 hobbits, who are quite weak, but will be able to avoid most enemies for a while because of their low threat cost. The 2 strategies offered are so different that it almost feels like you’re playing 2 different games, which is great!
The components are, once again, phenomenal minus the box. The artwork is stellar, the cardstock is good, but the box is simply too big for all these cards. I get that it’s nice to have extra room, but the core box already has so much extra room, I don’t see why Fantasy Flight Games keeps releasing these expansions with boxes as big as the original. Perhaps they’re including enough room for those who want to pick up all the starter packs, but it’s a lot of wasted space for people who aren’t going to pick those packs up.
I’d still like to see more meaningful choices that affect future scenarios, but I get that Arkham Horror: TCG fills that gap for Fantasy Flight Games. I’m also still not a fan of constructing a 53-card deck, knowing that you probably won’t see all your cards, but at least this expansion provides quite a few cards that help you go through your deck so you can get the right card for the situation.
Fellowship of the Ring is the most complete expansion for LOTR: TCG and the most enjoyable. You won’t find any plot twists or originality like there was in Angmar Awakened, but you will get to replay key scenes from the book. It’s the best bang for your buck, and if you enjoy LOTR: TCG, this is the best expansion Fantasy Flight Games has put out in the second wave. Plus, Gandalf.
Fantasy Flight Games (Asmodee North America) kindly provided a review copy.
The Bottom Line
6 solid scenarios based on a beloved book and the best second wave expansion yet.