Game review: Lord of the Rings card game, the Black Riders
Posted December 17, 2016
The Lord of the Rings card game by Fantasy Flight Games is a unique and innovative system of exploring the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. In the Black Riders Saga expansion of the game, players re-create the events of the first novel.
The Lord of the Rings card game begins as one to two players select a character to represent in the game. An appropriate deck of cards is used for each playable character.
Next, players choose one scenario to play. These scenarios become playable stories in which a player or players work to achieve specific scenario goals to progress the story to a successful conclusion. Hazards, monsters and obstacles must be overcome or the scenario ends in failure.
Unlike the adventures found in the base game of The Lord of the Rings and its expansions, the Black Riders Saga expansion includes some rule changes and updates in order to aid gameplay.
In this expansion, players can now to choose to play the role of Frodo Baggins. Heroes can now be part of the Fellowship sphere, which means they bear the responsibility of carrying the dreaded One Ring during the game. The Frodo Baggins player has some unique cards and abilities to help during the scenario, which are designed specifically for this expansion.
A new objective card called "The One Ring" is included in this expansion, and it must be attached to a ring-bearer character at the beginning of the game. If the One Ring leaves play, the game ends with a defeat for the players.
An awesome new way to play this game is using the Saga expansion campaign mode. This allows players to work through all of the exciting events from the three Lord of the Rings novels. There are six expansions, including this one, and 18 different adventures. This expansion includes the first three adventures: A Shadow of the Past, A Knife in the Dark and Flight to the Ford.
The coolest part of campaign play is the use of a campaign log, which is included. The log keeps track of the results of each adventure, and certain cards can be added or removed during play. These effects carry over to the next adventure, so the decisions one makes during the game have a lasting impact. For example, if the players find the special sword "Sting" they will get to keep and use it in further adventures.
Two new types of cards are used in campaign mode. They are called boons and burdens. Boons are special cards that are earned during an adventure and can be added to a player's deck of cards. Burdens are added at specific times to an encounter deck that help provide challenges for the characters to overcome. This gives much more variety to the game.
The Black Riders Saga expansion for The Lord of the Rings card game is excellent. It is the perfect place to start for those looking for the thrill of actually being a part of Middle Earth and its exciting history. Players will need the original card game to play this expansion, but that's it. For Lord of the Rings gamers, this is a wonderful gateway to adventure.