The Card Game rules - Fantasy Flight Games

The Card Game rules - Fantasy Flight Games
Introduction
The Living Card Game
“You have done well to come,” said Elrond. “You will
hear today all that you need to understand the purpose
of the Enemy. There is naught that you can do, other
than to resist, with hope or without it. But you do not
stand alone. You will learn that your trouble is but part
of the trouble of all the western world.”
–from the chapter “The Council of Elrond”
The Lord of the Rings,
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a one to
two player game that can be played using only the
contents of this core set. (Up to four players can play
the game cooperatively with a second copy of the core
set.) In addition, The Lord of the Rings: The Card
Game is a Living Card Game®, and the enjoyment
and experience of the game can be customized and
enhanced through the purchase of regularly released
60 card expansions called Adventure Packs. Each
Adventure Pack provides players with new options
and strategies for their decks (see page 27), as well
as an entirely new scenario against which to play.
Additionally, deluxe Quest Packs introduce new areas
of Middle-earth in which players can journey, explore,
and seek new adventures. The Lord of the Rings: The
Card Game can be played both casually, with friends,
or through the organized play program that is officially
sanctioned by Fantasy Flight Games.
Welcome to Middle-earth, a land of Hobbits, Elves,
Dwarves, Wizards, and Men. From the bright towns
and fields of the Shire, to the wilds of Mirkwood
Forest and Rhovanion, and to the powerful kingdoms
of Gondor and Rohan, the various peoples of this land
struggle against the foul minions and the ancient, evil
threat of the Dark Lord, Sauron.
Game Overview
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a game of
heroes, perilous journeys, and adventure set in the
lands described in the epic fantasy masterpiece created
by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. In this game,
players take on the role of a party of heroes who
are attempting to complete dangerous quests. These
quests take place during a timespan of 17 years: from
when Bilbo celebrates his 111th birthday (and Frodo’s
33rd) to days just prior to Frodo’s leaving the Shire.
Instead of directly retelling the classic stories that have
previously been narrated, this game provides players
with a variety of elements—characters, settings,
enemies, events, items, artifacts, scenarios—that allow
them to embark upon new adventures and share new
experiences with the beloved The Lord of the Rings
characters and settings during this period of Middleearth history.
Unlike most card games, in which the players compete
against each other, The Lord of the Rings: The Card
Game is a cooperative game in which the players
work together, competing against a scenario that is run
automatically by the game. In each game the players
attempt to overcome the particular encounters, enemies,
and challenges of a scenario, against which they either
win or lose together.
2
Component Overview
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game core set
includes the following components:
• This Rulebook
• 226 cards, consisting of:
• 12 Hero Cards
• 120 Player Cards
• 84 Encounter Cards
• 10 Quest Cards
Threat Trackers
Threat trackers are used to track a player’s threat level
throughout the game. Threat represents the level of risk
a player has taken on during a scenario. If a player’s
threat level reaches a certain threshold, that player is
eliminated from the game. A player’s threat level can
also draw out enemy encounters and set off unfortunate
circumstances throughout the course of the game.
To assemble a threat tracker, use the plastic dial
connectors to attach two dials to each faceplate as
shown in the diagram below.
• 2 Threat Trackers (each consisting of 1 faceplate, 2
dials, and 4 plastic dial connectors)
• 40 Damage Tokens
• 26 Progress Tokens
• 30 Resource Tokens
• 1 First Player Token
Cards
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game core set
features 226 cards. Four starter decks, each built
around a distinct sphere of influence (Leadership, Lore,
Spirit, and Tactics), can be played right out of the box
in the introductory game, or the cards in these decks
can be combined together to create tournament legal
decks. Also included in this set are 3 scenarios and 84
encounter cards for the players to compete against. For
a complete explanation of each card type, see
pages 5-9.
Damage and
Progress Tokens
Damage tokens represent
physical damage that has
been inflicted on characters
and enemies. Progress
tokens represent progress
that has been made on a
quest.
Resource Tokens
These tokens represent the
various resources at a hero’s
disposal. Resource tokens
are collected by a player’s
heroes, and are used
throughout the game to pay
for cards and card effects.
First Player
Token
The first player token
determines which player
acts first each phase. At
the end of each round, the
first player token passes
clockwise to a new player.
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Gameplay Overview
In each game of The Lord of the Rings: The Card
Game, players begin by choosing a scenario, and then
work together in an attempt to complete it. A scenario
is completed by successfully moving through all stages
of the quest deck. During a scenario, the encounter
deck aims to harm the heroes and to raise each player’s
threat level. A player is eliminated from the game if
all of his heroes are destroyed, or if his threat level
reaches 50. If all players are eliminated from the game,
the players have lost. If at least one player survives and
completes the final stage of the quest deck, all players
are victorious.
Spheres of Influence
There are four different spheres of influence in The
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and each has its
own distinct flavor and identity. Most player cards fall
under one of these spheres, represented by a unique
icon, as well as by a unique color on its card border.
Each hero has an emphasis in one of these four spheres.
A hero’s sphere dictates the types of cards that hero
allows a player to use.
Leadership
The sphere of Leadership
emphasizes the charismatic
and inspirational influence
of a hero, and that hero’s
potential to lead, inspire, and
command both allies and
other heroes alike.
Lore
The sphere of Lore
emphasizes the potential
of a hero’s mind. Intellect,
wisdom, experience, and
specialized knowledge are
all under the domain of
this sphere.
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Spirit
The sphere of Spirit
emphasizes the strength of a
hero’s will. Determination,
resilience, courage, loyalty,
and heart are all aspects of
this sphere.
Tactics
The sphere of Tactics
emphasizes a hero’s martial
prowess, particularly as it
relates to combat and to
overcoming other tactical
challenges that might
confront the players during
a quest.
The Golden Rule
If the game text of a card contradicts the text of this
rulebook, the text on the card takes precedence.
Decks and Card Types
Card Anatomy Key - The Quest Deck
There are three different types of decks in The Lord
of the Rings: The Card Game: the quest deck, the
encounter deck, and the player deck. There are also
hero cards, which do not belong to any deck. Each deck
has its own function and its own set of card types, as
described below. In the game, each player plays one
player deck, and the players work together to move
through a fixed quest deck. A randomized encounter
deck operates in conjunction with the quest deck in
each scenario to challenge the players as they play
against the game.
The Quest Deck
Each scenario represents a quest that the players are
attempting to complete. At the beginning of a game,
the players must choose which scenario they wish to
play against for that game. A scenario consists of a
sequential deck of quest cards (referred to as “the quest
deck”) and a randomized encounter deck of enemy,
location, treachery, and objective cards. For more
information on the scenarios in this core set, see
page 26.
Quest Cards
Each quest card represents one of the various stages of
the quest the players are pursuing in a scenario. Each
quest card is a numbered step in a fixed, sequential
order. These cards have their sequential information
printed on both sides, so they can be placed in the
correct order without spoiling the contents of the latter
stages in the scenario. Side A is the back of the card,
and provides story and setup information. After reading
and following any instructions on Side A, players flip
the card to Side B. Side B contains the information
necessary to move to the next stage of the quest.
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1. Card Title: The name of this card. Each sequential
stage in a scenario has its own unique name.
2. Scenario Symbol: A visual icon that identifies this
scenario, matching it to a subset of encounter cards.
3. Sequence: This number determines the order in
which the scenario deck is stacked at the beginning of
the game. When setting up, card 1A is placed on top,
followed by 2A, 3A, and so forth. Players proceed from
side A to side B on each stage of a scenario.
4. Encounter Information: A group of icons that,
along with the scenario symbol, identify which
encounter cards should be shuffled into the encounter
deck when playing this scenario.
5. Scenario Title: The name of this scenario.
6. Game Text: Story, setup instruction, special effects,
or conditions that apply during this stage of the
scenario.
7. Set Information: Every card has an icon denoting
the set it belongs to, as well as a unique identification
number within the set.
8. Quest Points: The number of progress tokens that
must be placed on this card in order to proceed to the
next stage of the scenario.
3
8
1
5
2
6
1
5
2
7
4
6
7
5
The Encounter Deck
Enemy Cards
The encounter deck represents the villains, hazards,
places, and circumstances that stand between the
players and the successful completion of their quest.
An encounter deck consists of enemy, location, and
treachery cards. The contents of the encounter deck are
determined by the scenario the players are attempting
(see “Scenario Overview” on page 26). The encounter
deck is shuffled at the beginning of the game.
Enemy cards represent the villains, creatures, monsters,
and minions that attempt to capture, destroy, or mislead
the heroes as they pursue their quest. Enemy cards
engage individual players and remain in play until they
are defeated.
Card Anatomy Key - The
Encounter Deck
1. Card Title: The name of this card.
2. Engagement Cost: This number determines when
this enemy card will move from the staging area and
engage a player.
3. Threat Strength ($): The degree of danger this
enemy or location represents when it threatens the
players from the staging area.
2
3
4
5
12
5. Defense Strength (Ú): The effectiveness of this
enemy when it defends.
6. Quest Points: The number of progress tokens that
must be placed on this location to fully explore the
location and discard it from play.
7. Hit Points: The amount of damage required to
destroy this card.
8. Encounter Set Icon: Indicates which set of
encounter cards this card belongs to. Used in
conjunction with the “Encounter Information” icons
on side A of the quest cards of any scenario to
determine which encounter sets are used to build the
encounter deck.
9
7
4. Attack Strength (Û): The effectiveness of this
enemy when it attacks.
8
1
13
Location Cards
Location cards represent the perilous places to which
the players may travel during a scenario. They are a
distant threat to the players from the staging area (see
page 10), and during the course of the quest players
may opt to travel to a location to confront its threat.
9. Traits: Text designators that, while carrying no rules
in themselves, may be affected by other cards in play.
10. Game Text: The special abilities unique to this
particular card when it is in play.
1
3
11. Shadow Effect Icon: If a card has a shadow
effect, that effect is denoted by this icon, which also
serves to separate the shadow effect from the card’s in
play effect.
12. Card Type: Indicates whether this card is an
enemy, location, treachery, or objective.
13. Set Information: Every card has an icon denoting
the set it belongs to, as well as a unique identification
number within the set.
14. Scenario Title: The name of the scenario to which
this objective card belongs.
6
9
8
6
12
13
Treachery Cards
Objective Cards
Treachery cards represent traps, curses, maneuvers,
pitfalls, and other surprises the players might confront
during a scenario. When a treachery card is revealed
from the encounter deck, its text effects are resolved
immediately, and it is then placed in the encounter
discard pile.
Depending on the scenario, objective cards can
represent a number of different elements, ranging from
the goals of a scenario, to allies who assist the players,
to keys that allow the players to advance to the next
stage of a quest, to artifacts that are necessary to defeat
a difficult enemy or overcome a particular challenge.
Unless otherwise specified, objective cards are shuffled
into the encounter deck when setting up a scenario.
1
1
14
8
9
8
11
12
13
12
13
7
Hero Cards
Hero cards represent the main characters a player
controls in an attempt to complete a scenario. Heroes
start in play, and they provide the resources that are
used to pay for the cards (allies, attachments, and
events) in a player’s deck. Heroes can also commit to
quests, attack, defend, and in many cases they bring
their own card abilities to the game. Each player
chooses 1-3 hero cards and starts the game with them
in play.
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1. Card Title: The name of this card. A card with a
‰ symbol next to its name is unique. (See “Unique
Cards,” page 8.)
2. Cost: The number of resources a player must spend
from the appropriate resource pool(s) to play this card
from his hand. Cost is not found on hero cards.
3. Threat Cost: Found only on hero cards, this number
is the amount of threat a player must add to his threat
tracker at the beginning of any game in which he is
using this hero.
4. Sphere of Influence Icon: Indicates which sphere
this card belongs to. The card’s template color also
indicates this. Neutral cards have a grey template and
no sphere of influence icon.
5
6
7
5. Willpower Strength (Ò): The effectiveness of this
character when it commits to a quest.
6. Attack Strength (Û): The effectiveness of this
character when it attacks.
1
7. Defense Strength (Ú): The effectiveness of this
character when it defends.
8
11
9
Unique Cards
12
13
Some cards in this game represent specific,
formally named characters, locations, and items from
the Middle-earth setting. These cards are referred
to in the game as “unique.” They are marked with
a ‰ symbol before their card title to indicate their
uniqueness.
If any player has a unique card in play, no player can
play or put into play another card with the same title.
Any attempt to do so will fail to the extent that the card
attempting to enter play remains in its current location
(hand, deck, discard pile) and does not enter play. This
rule applies to all unique hero, ally, attachment, and
event cards that might enter play. Note that a unique
card is eligible to enter play if another card with the
same title is in a player’s discard pile but not currently
in play.
Multiple copies of the same non-unique card can be in
play simultaneously.
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Card Anatomy Key - Hero Cards and
The Player Deck
8. Hit Points: The amount of damage required to
destroy this card.
9. Resource Icons: Found only on hero cards, these
icons indicate the sphere(s) of influence to which
resource tokens in this hero’s resource pool belong.
They also indicate to which sphere(s) the hero card
itself belongs.
10. Traits: Text designators that, while carrying no
rules in themselves, may be affected by other cards in
play.
11. Game Text: The special abilities unique to this
particular card. Some cards have italicized flavor text,
featuring quotations from The Lord of the Rings novels.
12. Card Type: Indicates whether this card is a hero,
ally, attachment, or event.
13. Set Information: Every card has an icon denoting
the set it belongs to, as well as a unique identification
number within the set.
Character Cards
Sometimes, game or rules text will refer to “character”
cards. Both heroes and allies are considered to be
“characters.” Card text that says “choose a character”
allows a player to choose either a hero or an ally card
as the target of the effect.
The Player Deck
Ally Cards
The player deck includes a combination of ally,
attachment, and event cards shuffled into a deck from
which a player draws his cards throughout the game.
No more than three copies of any ally, attachment, or
event card, by title, can be included in a player’s deck.
Each of the four 30-card starter decks in this core set
can be played out of the box as an introduction to the
game. For advanced play, the cards in these starter
decks can be combined with one another, or further
developed with cards from Adventure Pack expansions,
to create 50-card tournament decks. (For more on the
art of customizing a player deck, see “Tournament
Deckbuilding and Customization,” page 27.)
Ally cards represent characters (friends, followers,
creatures, and hirelings) that assist a player’s heroes on
the quest. Ally cards are played from a player’s hand,
and they remain in play until they are destroyed or
removed from play by a card effect.
Attachment Cards
Attachment cards represent weapons, armor, artifacts,
equipment, skills, and conditions. When played, they
are always attached to (placed slightly under) another
card, and they tend to modify or influence the activity
of the card to which they are attached. If the card
to which an attachment is attached leaves play, the
attachment card is discarded.
2
5
6
7
1
4
11
8
12
13
2
Event Cards
1
4
12
Event cards represent maneuvers, actions, tactics,
spells, and other instantaneous effects at a player’s
disposal. An event card is played from a player’s hand,
its text effects are resolved, and the card is then placed
in its owner’s discard pile.
11
2
13
1
4
11
12
13
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For the First Game
For the first game, each player chooses one of the four
spheres of influence and uses the starter deck for that
sphere. The card numbers of each of the four spheres
are listed below. Each sphere is also listed with the
three heroes that should be used with that starter deck.
The players determine a first player based on a
majority group decision. If this proves impossible,
determine a first player at random. Once determined,
the first player takes the first player token and places it
in front of him as reference.
Leadership (cards 13-27; heroes Aragorn, Glóin,
Théodred)
5. Draw Setup Hand
Tactics (cards 28-42; heroes Legolas, Gimli, Thalin)
Spirit (cards 43-57; heroes Éowyn, Dunhere, Eleanor)
Lore (cards 58-72; heroes Glorfindel, Denethor,
Beravor)
Each starter deck should also include 1 copy of the
neutral ally card, Gandalf (card 73).
Next, the players select a scenario they would like to
play. For the first game, players should try the “Passage
Through Mirkwood” scenario, which was designed as
an introductory scenario. Separate the cards for this
scenario (see page 26). These consist of the quest cards
(numbered 120-123), and the encounter cards marked
with the Passage Through Mirkwood, Spiders of
Mirkwood, and Dol Guldur Orcs symbols (see
page 26).
Each player draws 6 cards from the top of his player
deck. If a player does not wish to keep his starting
hand, he may take a single mulligan, by shuffling
these 6 cards back into his deck and drawing 6 new
cards. A player who takes a mulligan must keep his
second hand.
6. Set Quest Cards
Arrange the quest cards in sequential order, based off
the numbers on the back of each card. Stage 1A should
be on top, with the numbers increasing in sequence
moving down the stack. Place the quest deck near the
encounter deck, in the center of the play area.
7. Follow Scenario Setup Instruction
The back of the first quest card sometimes provides
setup instructions for a scenario. Follow these
instructions before flipping the quest card.
For tournament deckbuilding rules, see page 27.
Players then begin the game starting with the first
game round.
Playing the Game
The Staging Area
Setup
Before playing The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game,
follow these quick steps in order.
1. Shuffle Decks
As with a deck of playing cards, shuffle all player
decks and the encounter deck separately until they are
randomized. Do not shuffle the quest cards into the
encounter deck, and do not shuffle the hero cards into
the player decks.
2. Place Heroes and Set Initial Threat Levels
Each player places his heroes in front of him, adds
up the threat cost of the heroes he controls, and sets
his threat tracker at the same value. This value is that
player’s starting threat level for the game.
3. Setup Token Bank
Place the damage tokens, progress tokens, and resource
tokens in a pile next to the encounter deck. All players
take tokens from this bank as needed throughout
the game.
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4. Determine First Player
The staging area is a unique element of the game’s
playing field. It represents the potential dangers the
players might face as they progress on their quest.
During the quest phase, enemy and location cards are
revealed from the encounter deck and placed in the
staging area. Cards in the staging area are imminent
threats to the players, including enemies that need to
be defeated and locations that need to be explored.
While a location is in the staging area, the players are
not considered at that location; instead it represents a
distant threat. Players have the option of traveling to a
location during the travel phase. Similarly, enemies in
the staging area are not yet engaged with any of the
players. Enemies engage players when a player’s threat
level is high enough to draw out that enemy. Players
also have the option to voluntarily engage enemies
during the encounter phase. (For more on engaging
enemies and traveling to locations, see pages 15-16).
Discard Piles
Each player has his own discard pile, and the encounter
deck also has its own discard pile. Whenever a card is
discarded, it goes to the discard pile belonging to the
card’s originating deck.
Suggested Play Field Setup
Tom©s Threat Dial
Tom©s Heroes
Enemy Engaged
with Tom
Tom©s Player
Deck
Tom©s Discard
Pile
Token Bank
Encounter
Deck
Encounter
Discard Pile
First Player
Token
Kris©s Player Deck
Kris©s Ally
Kris©s Heroes
Enemy Engaged
with Kris
Staging
Area
Quest Deck
Kris©s Threat
Dial
Kris©s Discard Pile
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Round Sequence
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is played over a
series of rounds. Each round is divided into 7 phases.
Some phases are played simultaneously by all players,
while in other phases the players act separately,
with the first player acting first and play proceeding
clockwise around the table.
The 7 phases are, in order:
1. Resource
2. Planning
3. Quest
4. Travel
If a hero is exhausted (see page 14), resources may still
be spent from that hero’s resource pool.
Cards with a cost of zero do not require a resource to be
spent in order to pay their cost, but they do require
at least one hero under that player’s control to have a
resource icon that matches the card’s sphere.
After a player plays an ally or attachment card from
his hand, he places it faceup and ready in his play
area. Attachment cards should be placed partially
overlapping, either above or below, the card to which
they are attached.
If a player has multiple heroes with similar resource
icons, he may use resources from multiple pools of the
same sphere to pay for a single card or effect.
5. Encounter
6. Combat
7. Refresh
Once all 7 phases are complete, the round is over, and
play proceeds to the resource phase of the next round.
A turn sequence diagram of all the phases, and the
game events that occur during each phase, can be found
on pages 30-31 of this rulebook.
Phase 1: Resource
Each player simultaneously adds 1 resource token to
each of his heroes’ resource pools. A resource pool is
a collection of resource tokens stored near a hero card.
These tokens belong to that hero’s pool, and can be
used to pay for cards that belong to that hero’s sphere
of influence. Each hero has 1 resource pool.
After collecting resources, each player draws 1 card
from his player deck and adds it to his hand.
When a player is instructed to draw one or more
cards, he always draws those cards from the top of his
own player deck. If a player has no cards remaining in
his player deck, he does not draw.
Example: Tom has 3 heroes: Glóin (who has
a Leadership resource icon and 3 resources
in his pool), Éowyn (who has a Spirit
resource icon and 2 resources in her pool),
and Eleanor (who has a Spirit resource icon
and 2 resources in her pool). Tom wishes to
play the Guard of the Citadel card from his
hand. The Guard of the Citadel belongs to
the Leadership sphere, so Tom must spend
resources from Glóin’s pool to play this card.
Since the Guard of the Citadel has a cost of
2, Tom moves 2 resources from Glóin’s pool
to the token bank and places the Guard of the
Citadel into his play area. Tom also wishes to
play the Northern Tracker card from his hand,
which belongs to the sphere of Spirit, and
has a cost of 4. To play this card, Tom takes 2
resources from Éowyn’s pool, and 2 resources
from Eleanor’s pool, for a total of 4. He can
do this because both Éowyn and Eleanor have
Spirit resource icons. Tom spends these tokens
and places them in the token bank, and then
places the Northern Tracker in his play area.
(See diagram on page 13.)
Phase 2: Planning
This is the only phase in which a player can play ally
and attachment cards from his hand. The first player
plays any and all ally and attachment cards he wishes to
play first. The opportunity to play cards then proceeds
clockwise around the table.
In order for a player to play a card from his hand (or
to activate certain card effects), he must pay for it by
spending resource tokens from the resource pool of a
hero who has a resource icon that matches the card’s
sphere of influence. This is called a resource match.
Resources that are spent to pay for cards or card effects
are taken from their hero’s resource pool and placed in
the general token bank.
12
Paying for Neutral Cards
Neutral cards, which belong to no sphere of influence,
require no resource match to play. This means that they
can be payed for with resources from any hero’s pool.
Also, when paying for a neutral card, a player may
combine resources from heroes with different resource
icons. Gandalf is the only neutral card in the core set.
Paying for Card Abilities
Some cards have abilities that can be triggered from
play, but still require the triggering player to pay
resources. Triggering a card ability from a card already
in play requires no resource match, unless otherwise
specified by the ability.
Example: Paying for Cards
1
2
3
(to token bank)
(from player©s hand)
(from player©s hand)
(to token bank)
1. Glóin has a Leadership resource icon and 3 resource tokens in his resource
pool. Éowyn and Eleanor each have a Spirit resource icon, and 2 resource tokens
in their resource pools.
2. To play the Guard of the Citadel from his hand, Tom spends 2 resource tokens
from Glóin’s pool, returning the tokens to the token bank. 1 resource token
remains unspent in Glóin’s resource pool.
3. To play the Northern Tracker from his hand, Tom spends 2 resource tokens
from Éowyn’s resource pool and he spends 2 resource tokens from Eleanor’s
resource pool, returning the tokens to the token bank.
13
Ready and Exhausted
Phase 3: Quest
Characters and attachment cards enter the game in the
“ready” position–that is, faceup on the playing surface
in front of their controller.
In the quest phase, the players attempt to make progress
on the current stage of their quest. This phase is broken
into three steps: 1) commit characters, 2) staging, and
3) quest resolution. Players have the opportunity to take
actions and play event cards at the end of each step.
When a card has been “used” for some purpose, such
as to commit to a quest, to attack, to defend, or to use
a character ability that requires the card to exhaust,
it is turned 90 degrees sideways and considered
“exhausted.” An exhausted card cannot exhaust again
(and therefore cannot partake in any action that
requires exhaustion) until it has been readied once
more. When a player is instructed by the game or by
a card effect to ready a card, he moves that card to its
normal upright position.
Ready
Exhausted
Step 1: Commit Characters
Each player may commit characters to the current quest
card. Characters are exhausted when they commit to
a quest. Players commit characters to the quest as a
team, starting with the first player, and then proceeding
clockwise around the table. Each player may commit as
many of his characters to the quest as he would like.
Step 2: Staging
After each player has had the opportunity to commit
characters to the quest, the encounter deck reveals
one card per player. This is known in the game as
staging. These encounter cards are revealed one at a
time, with any “when revealed” effects being resolved
before the next card is revealed. Enemy and location
cards revealed in this manner are placed in the staging
area, treachery cards are resolved and (unless otherwise
indicated by the card text) placed in the discard pile.
If the encounter deck is ever empty during the quest
phase, the encounter discard pile is shuffled and reset
back into the encounter deck.
Step 3: Quest Resolution
Finally, the players compare the combined willpower
strength (Ò) of all committed characters against the
combined threat strength ($) of all cards in the staging
area.
If the Ò is higher, the players have successfully
quested, and they make progress on the quest. A
number of progress tokens equal to the amount by
which their Ò overcame the $ are placed on the
current quest card. Note that if there is an active
location (see page 15), progress tokens are placed on
that location until it is explored, and the remainder are
then placed on the current quest.
If the $ is higher, the players have unsuccessfully
quested, and they are driven back by the encounter
deck. Each player must raise his threat dial by the
amount by which the $ was higher than the combined
Ò of all committed characters.
If the combined committed Ò score is equal to the
combined $ score in the staging area: no progress
tokens are placed, and the players do not increase their
threat dials.
Characters committed to a quest are considered
committed to that quest through the end of the quest
phase, unless removed from the quest by a card effect.
They do remain exhausted once this step is complete.
14
Example: Resolving a Quest
Kris©s Play
Area
1
3
Tom©s Play
Area
2
Staging Area
Quest
Deck
Encounter
Deck
1. Tom exhausts Éowyn to commit her to the quest. Kris exhausts both Aragorn and the Guard of the
Citadel to commit them to the quest. A Gladden Fields location card is already in the staging area.
2. The players reveal 1 card per player from the encounter deck, and add them to the staging area.
3. The players add up the total committed Ò and compare it to the total $ in the staging area. This
results in a 7 Ò to 7 $ stalemate. Tom uses Éowyn's card ability to give the players an additional
point of Ò, which allows them to place 1 progress token on the current quest card.
Example: Tom commits Éowyn (4 Ò), and
Kris commits both Aragorn (2 Ò) and a
Guard of the Citadel (1 Ò) to the current
quest. A Gladden Fields location card (3 $)
is in the staging area. After all players have
committed their characters, the encounter
deck reveals 1 card per player: an East Bight
Patrol (3 $) and a Hummerhorns (1 $). The
players have a combined Ò of 7, and the quest
deck has a combined $ of 7. As it stands, this
quest attempt will end in a draw. However,
Tom decides to use Éowyn’s ability, which
allows him to discard 1 card from his hand
to increase her Ò by 1, taking the player’s
combined committed Ò to 8, so the players
place 1 progress token on the current
quest card. (See diagram above.)
Phase 4: Travel
During the travel phase, the players may travel as a
group to any one location in the staging area by moving
it from the staging area and placing it alongside the
current quest card, causing it to become the active
location. The players can only travel to one location
at a time. The first player makes the final decision on
whether and where to travel.
While in the staging area, location cards add to the
encounter deck’s $. Once the players have traveled
to a location, that location no longer contributes its
$, as the players are considered to have traveled to the
location and are confronting its threat.
Instead, an active location acts as a buffer for the
currently revealed quest card. Any progress tokens
that would be placed on a quest card are instead placed
on the active location. If a location ever has as many
progress tokens as it has quest points, that location is
considered explored and is discarded from play.
Players cannot travel to a new location if another
location card is active; the players must explore the
active location before traveling elsewhere. Some
locations have a travel effect, which is an additional
cost that must be payed when the players travel there
(see “Travel Effects,” page 23).
Example: Tom and Kris have just scored 3
progress tokens against the current quest card.
The Enchanted Stream location, which has
2 quest points, is active. 2 progress tokens
are placed on the Enchanted Stream card,
discarding it from play. The other progress
token is then placed on the current quest card.
15
Phase 5: Encounter
The encounter phase consists of two steps: player
engagement, and engagement checks.
Step 1: Player Engagement
First, each player has the option to engage one enemy
in the staging area. This is done by moving the enemy
from the staging area and placing it in front of the
engaging player.
Each player has one chance to optionally engage one
enemy during this step, and an enemy’s engagement
cost has no bearing on this procedure.
Step 2: Engagement Checks
Second, the players must make a series of engagement
checks, to see if any of the enemies remaining in the
staging area engage them. The first player compares his
threat level against the engagement cost of each of the
enemy cards in the staging area. The enemy with the
highest engagement cost that is equal to or lower than
this player’s threat level engages this player, and moves
from the staging area to the space in front of him. This
is called making an engagement check. After the first
player makes an engagement check, the player to his
left makes his own engagement check. This player
compares his threat level against the engagement
cost of each of the remaining enemy cards in the
staging area, and engages the enemy with the highest
engagement cost that is equal to or lower than his own
threat level.
This process continues through all the players,
proceeding clockwise around the table. Once all players
have made an engagement check, the first player makes
a second engagement check. Players continue making
engagement checks in this manner until there are no
enemies remaining in the staging area that can engage
any of the players.
Whether an enemy is engaged through an engagement
check, through a card effect, or through a player’s
choice, the end result is the same, with the enemy
and the player engaging one another. In all cases, the
player is considered to have engaged the enemy and the
enemy is considered to have engaged the player.
Note that during this phase enemies do not attack
players, they merely engage players. Enemies attack
the players with whom they are engaged during the
combat phase (see page 18).
16
Example: The first player, Tom, has a threat
level of 24. The second player, Kris, has a
threat level of 35. There are 4 enemies in the
staging area: a King Spider (engagement cost
of 20), a Forest Spider (engagement cost of
25), Ungoliant’s Spawn (engagement cost of
32), and Hummerhorns (engagement cost of
40).
Tom and Kris both pass during the player
engagement step, declining their opportunity
to optionally engage enemies.
Since he is the first player, Tom makes the first
engagement check. Tom’s threat level of 24 is
compared against each enemy in the staging
area. The Hummerhorns (40), Ungoliant’s
Spawn (32), and the Forest Spider (25) each
have an engagement cost that is higher than
Tom’s threat level, so none of these enemies
engage Tom. The King Spider (20), however,
has an engagement cost that is equal to or
lower than Tom’s threat level, so the King
Spider engages Tom. This card is moved out of
the staging area and placed in front of Tom’s
play area.
Next, Kris makes an engagement check,
comparing his threat level of 34 against
the remaining enemies in the staging area.
The Hummerhorns (40) do not engage Kris.
Ungoliant’s Spawn, with an engagement cost
of 32, is the enemy with the highest cost that
is equal to or below Kris's threat level, so this
card engages Kris.
Tom then makes another engagement check,
and since his threat level and the enemies
in the staging area have not changed, no
further enemies engage him. Kris makes
another engagement check, and this time the
Forest Spider (25) engages him. Tom’s next
engagement check passes, and then Kris
makes a final engagement check, in which
nothing engages him.
The end result, then, leaves Tom engaged with
the King Spider and Kris engaged with both
Ungoliant’s Spawn and the Forest Spider. The
Hummerhorns remain in the staging area. (See
diagram on page 17.)
Example: Making Engagement Checks
Kris
Tom
1
2
3
4
5
Staging Area
1. The first player, Tom, makes the first
engagement check. The King Spider has the
highest engagement cost (20) that is equal to or
lower than Tom's threat level of 24, so the King
Spider engages Tom.
2. Kris makes the next engagement check.
Ungoliant's Spawn has the highest engagement
cost (32) that is equal to or lower than Kris's threat
level of 35, so Ungoliant's Spawn engages Kris.
3. Tom makes the next engagement check. His
threat level is lower than the engagement cost
of the enemies remaining in the staging area, so
neither of those enemies engage Tom.
4. Kris makes the next engagement check. The
Forest Spider has the highest engagement cost (25)
that is equal to or lower than Kris's threat level of
35, so the Forest Spider engages Kris.
5. Tom, and then Kris, each make another
engagement check. The Hummerhorns'
engagement cost is higher than each of their
threat levels, so it remains in the staging area at
this time. Since all players have made successive
engagement checks without being engaged by any
enemies, the "engagement checks" step is now
complete.
17
Phase 6: Combat
In the combat phase, enemies attack first. All enemies
that are engaged with the players attack each round,
and the players resolve those attacks one at a time.
At the beginning of the combat phase, the players deal
1 shadow card to each engaged enemy. Deal the top
card of the encounter deck, face down, to each engaged
enemy. When dealing cards to a single player’s
enemies, always deal to the enemy with the highest
engagement cost first. Cards should first be dealt to the
enemies attacking the first player, and then proceed
around the board until all enemies have 1 card.
If the encounter deck runs out of cards, any enemies
that have not been dealt shadow cards are not dealt
shadow cards this round. An empty encounter deck
only resets during the quest phase (see page 14).
Resolving Enemy Attacks
When resolving enemy attacks, the players follow these
4 steps, in order. Players may play event cards and take
actions at the end of each step.
1. Choose an enemy. The first player chooses which
attack (among the enemies to which he is engaged) to
resolve first.
2. Declare defender. A character must exhaust to
be declared as a defender. Only one character can
be declared as a defender against each attacking
enemy. A player also has the option to let an attack go
undefended, and declare no defenders for that attack.
Unless a card effect specifies otherwise, players can
only declare defenders against enemies with whom
they are engaged.
3. Resolve shadow effect. The active player flips that
enemy’s shadow card faceup and resolves any shadow
effect that card might have.
4. Determine combat damage. This is done by
subtracting the defense strength (Ú) of the defending
character from the attack strength (Û) of the attacking
enemy. The remaining value is the amount of damage
that must immediately be dealt to the defending
character, possibly destroying that character (see
“Hit Points and Damage,” page 20). If a character
is destroyed by an attack, additional damage is not
assigned to another character. If the Ú is equal to or
higher than the Û, no damage is dealt.
If an attack is undefended, all damage from the
attack must be assigned to a single hero controlled
by the active player. Allies cannot take damage from
undefended attacks. If a defending character leaves
play or is removed from combat before damage is
assigned, the attack is considered undefended. A
character’s Ú does not absorb damage from undefended
attacks or from card effects.
18
Example: Kris is engaged with 2 enemies,
the Forest Spider and Ungoliant’s Spawn.
One card from the encounter deck is dealt
face down to each engaged enemy, first to
Ungoliant’s Spawn and second to the Forest
Spider, as Ungoliant’s Spawn has a higher
engagement cost. These cards determine any
shadow effects that might affect the resolution
of the attack. Kris can resolve the attacks
against him in any order; he decides to resolve
the attack made by Ungoliant’s Spawn first.
Kris first declares a defender for this attack.
Kris exhausts his Silverlode Archer, declaring
it as a defender against Ungoliant’s Spawn. To
resolve this attack, Kris flips the shadow card
that was dealt to Ungoliant’s Spawn faceup.
The card is the East Bight Patrol, which has
the shadow effect “Shadow: Attacking enemy
gets +1 Û. (If this attack was undefended,
also raise your threat by 3.)” Kris resolves
this shadow effect first, increasing Ungoliant’s
Spawn’s Û by 1. He then determines the
attacking enemy’s total Û (6) and subtracts
the defender’s Ú (0), and the result is the
number of damage tokens he must deal to the
defender (6). Since the Silverlode Archer only
has 1 hit point, it is immediately destroyed.
Kris now resolves the other attack being
made against him. He declares this attack
undefended. He flips the shadow card that
was dealt to the Forest Spider faceup. This
card is the Enchanted Stream, which does
not have a shadow effect. The attack resolves
normally, with no additional modifications or
effects. Kris determines the attacking enemy’s
total Û (2), and since there is no defender,
he must deal this much damage to one of his
heroes. Kris’s only hero is Aragorn, who has
5 hit points. Kris places 2 damage tokens on
Aragorn, who survives the attack with 3 hit
points remaining. (See diagram on page 19.)
The first player then repeats these 4 steps for each
enemy that he is engaged with. After the first player has
resolved all enemy attacks against himself, the player
to his left resolves the attacks his enemies are making
against him, following steps 1-4 in turn for each enemy.
If playing with more than 2 players, proceed clockwise
around the table with each player resolving all of his
enemies’ attacks.
Characters that are declared as defenders are only
considered to be defending through the resolution of
the attack. Once an attack has resolved, the characters
are no longer considered “defenders,” but they do
remain exhausted.
Example: Defending Against Enemy Attacks
1
2
4
3
1. Kris is engaged with 2 enemies, the Forest
Spider and Ungoliant's Spawn. At the beginning of
the combat phase, 1 card from the encounter deck
is dealt face down to each engaged enemy, as a
shadow card.
2. Kris decides to resolve the attack made by
Ungoliant's Spawn first. He exhausts the Silverlode
Archer, declaring it as a defender against this
attack.
3. To resolve the attack, Kris first flips the
attacker's shadow card faceup. The shadow card
is the East Bight Patrol, which gives the attacking
enemy +1 Û. Kris compares the enemy's total
attack (6 Û) against the Silverlode Archer's
5
defense (0 Ú), and places 6 damage tokens on the
defending character. Since the Silverlode Archer
only has 1 hit point, it is destroyed and discarded
from play.
4. Next, Kris resolves the attack made by the East
Bight Patrol. He declares this attack "undefended."
5. To resolve the attack, Kris first flips the
attacker's shadow card faceup. The shadow card is
the Enchanted Stream, which has no shadow effect.
The Forest Spider's attack is 2 Û. Since this attack
was undefended, Kris must place all the damage
on a single hero he controls. He places 2 damage
tokens on Aragorn, who survives the attack with 3
hit points remaining.
19
Attacking Enemies
Once all players have resolved enemy attacks, each
player (starting with the first player and proceeding
clockwise) has the opportunity to strike back and
declare attacks against his enemies.
In order to declare an attack, a player must exhaust at
least 1 ready character. A character must exhaust to be
declared as an attacker. When declaring an attack, a
player must also declare which enemy is the target of
the attack. A player may declare multiple characters
as attackers against a single enemy, pooling their
attack strength into a single value. A player has the
opportunity to declare 1 attack against each enemy with
which he is engaged.
To resolve an attack against an enemy, a player follows
these 3 steps, in order. Players may play event cards
and take actions at the end of each step.
1. Declare target of attack, and declare attackers.
A player does this by choosing 1 enemy with whom
he is currently engaged, and exhausting any number of
characters as attackers.
2. Determine attack strength. Add up the total attack
strength (Û) of the attacking characters that have been
declared against that target.
3. Determine combat damage. This is done by
subtracting the target enemy’s defense strength (Ú)
from the combined Û of all the attacking characters.
The remaining value is the amount of damage that is
immediately dealt to the target. If the Ú is equal to or
higher than the Û, no damage is dealt.
Characters that are declared as attackers are only
considered to be attacking through the resolution of the
attack. Once an attack has resolved, the characters are
no longer considered “attackers,” but they do remain
exhausted.
After a player’s first attack has resolved, he can declare
another attack against any eligible enemy target that he
has not yet attacked this round. Each player can declare
an attack (with any number of eligible attackers he
controls) against each enemy with which he is engaged
once each round. Once all of a player’s attacks resolve,
play proceeds clockwise from the first player until all
players have resolved all of their attacks.
Shadow Cards Leaving Play
Shadow cards remain on the enemy to which they were
dealt throughout the combat phase. If that enemy leaves
play, discard its shadow card from play. At the end of
the combat phase, discard all shadow cards that were
dealt this round.
20
Example: Tom is engaged with two enemies,
the Dol Guldur Beastmaster and the Dol
Guldur Orcs. He can declare one attack
against each of these enemies this round, but
he must declare and resolve these attacks one
at a time.
Tom declares his first attack against the Dol
Guldur Orcs, and exhausts Glorfindel to
declare him as an attacker. Tom determines
Glorfindel’s Û (3) and then subtracts from it
the Dol Guldur Orcs' Ú (0), and gets a result
of 3. Tom places 3 damage tokens from the
token bank on the Dol Guldur Orcs. Since the
Dol Guldur Orcs only have 3 hit points, they
are destroyed, and the Dol Guldur Orcs card
is placed in the encounter discard pile.
Next, Tom declares Legolas and the
Gondorian Spearman as attackers against the
Dol Guldur Beastmaster. Legolas (3 Û) and
the Gondorian Spearman (1 Û) pool their
attack strength together, for a total Û of 4.
The Dol Guldur Beastmaster has a Ú of 1, so
3 points of the attack are dealt as damage.
Tom places 3 damage tokens from the token
bank on the Dol Guldur Beastmaster. Since
this enemy started with 5 hit points, it survives
the attack with 2 hit points remaining. The
damage tokens remain on the Dol Guldur
Beastmaster to indicate that it is damaged.
(See diagram on page 21.)
Hit Points and Damage
For each point of damage dealt to a character or enemy,
one damage token is placed on the character or enemy
card. Each damage token on a hero, ally, or enemy
card reduces that card’s hit points by 1. Damage tokens
remain on a card until another effect heals or moves the
damage off of the card, or until the card leaves play.
Any time one of these cards has 0 hit points, it is
immediately defeated. Defeated characters are placed
in their owner’s discard pile, and defeated enemies are
placed in the encounter discard pile. Note that hero
cards that are defeated are placed in their owner’s
discard pile. When resolving effects that move cards
from a player’s discard pile to his hand or deck, hero
cards in the discard pile are ignored, as hero cards
cannot move to a player’s hand or deck.
Any enemy cards that are not defeated remain engaged
with a player until they are defeated or removed by a
card effect, or until that player is eliminated from the
game (see “Player Elimination,” page 22).
Example: Attacking Enemies
1
3
2
4
Tom is engaged with 2 enemies, the Dol Guldur
Beastmaster and the Dol Guldur Orcs.
1. Tom first declares an attack against the Dol
Guldur Orcs, and exhausts Glorfindel as an
attacker.
2. Tom takes Glorfindel's attack (3 Û) and
subtracts the Dol Guldur Orcs' defense (0 Ú), and
gets a result of 3. Tom places 3 damage tokens
from the token bank on the Dol Guldur Orcs. This
enemy started with 3 hit points, so it is destroyed
and discarded from play.
3.Tom next declares an attack against the Dol
Guldur Beastmaster, and exhausts both Legolas
(3 Û) and the Gondorian Spearman (1 Û) as
attackers.
4. Tom takes his combined attack (4 Û) and
subtracts the Dol Guldur Beastmaster's' defense
(1 Ú), and gets a result of 3. Tom places 3 damage
tokens from the token bank on the Dol Guldur
Beastmaster. This enemy started with 5 hit
points, so it survives the attack with 2 hit points
remaining. The damage tokens stay on the enemy
to indicate that it is damaged.
21
Phase 7: Refresh
Winning the Game
During the refresh phase, all exhausted cards ready,
each player increases his threat by 1, and the first
player passes the first player token to the next player
clockwise on his left. That player becomes the new first
player. Play then proceeds to the resource phase of the
next round.
If at least one player survives through the
completion of the final stage of the scenario, the
game ends in a victory for the players.
Ending the Game
The game ends in one of two ways, with the players
either winning or losing as a team. The players are
considered to have lost if all players are eliminated
before the completion of the final stage of the scenario
deck. The players are considered to have won if at least
one player survives through the completion of the final
stage of the scenario.
Player Elimination
A player is eliminated from the game if all of his
heroes are killed, if his threat level reaches 50, or if a
card effect forces his elimination. (Future expansion
scenarios may have threat elimination levels at values
other than 50; for all of the scenarios included in the
core set, a player is eliminated when his threat level
reaches 50.)
When a player is eliminated, his hand, all of the cards
he controls, and his deck are placed in their owners’
discard piles. Any encounter cards with which that
player was engaged are returned to the staging area,
retaining any wound tokens that have been placed on
them. The remaining players continue to play the game.
Note that after a player is eliminated, one less card is
revealed from the encounter deck during the staging
step of the quest phase, as there is now one less player
involved in the game.
If all players are eliminated, the game ends in a loss
for the players.
Quest Advancement
Players immediately advance to the next stage of a
quest as soon as they place a number of progress tokens
equal to or greater than the number of quest points
the current quest card has. Additional progress tokens
earned against the quest do not carry over to the next
stage. All progress tokens on the quest are returned to
the token bank when players advance to the next stage.
Players follow any instructions on the newly revealed
quest card as it is revealed.
The game state of other cards does not change; cards
in the staging area remain in the staging area, cards
engaged with players remain engaged, exhausted
characters remain exhausted, damage tokens and
resources remain as they are placed, and the round
sequence is not interrupted.
22
Scoring
If the players win the game, use this process to
determine their group's score for the game. A
group's score is determined by adding together three
undesirable elements (the final threat level of each
player, the threat penalty on all dead heroes, and the
number of damage tokens on all surviving heroes),
and then subtracting any victory points that have been
collected. Players collect victory points by defeating
enemies and exploring locations that grant victory
points (see page 24).
When a player is eliminated, his threat is considered to
be 50, and all of his heroes are considered dead. Note
that an eliminated player’s threat does not, however,
increase beyond his threat elimination level (50,
unless otherwise specified by the quest rules or by a
card effect).
With this scoring system, a victory with a low score is
more desirable than a victory with a high score, and it
is even possible, if the players do remarkably well, to
achieve a negative score on a quest.
Scoring is a useful tool in evaluating the performance
of a deck or a party over time, or in comparing one
deck or group of decks to another. This enables
players to play the same scenario multiple times with
different hero and deck combinations, evaluating their
effectiveness in each game. A scoresheet is provided on
the back cover of this rulebook.
Example: Tom, playing a solo game, has
defeated the “Passage Through Mirkwood”
quest, with a threat level of 43, one dead
hero (with a threat cost of 8), 6 damage on
his remaining heroes, and 5 victory points.
His final score is calculated in the following
manner:
Final Threat Level (43)
+ Threat Cost of Each Dead Hero (8)
+ Damage Tokens on Heroes (6)
– Number of Victory Points Earned (5)
Tom’s Final Score (52)
Advanced Concepts
This section details some of the more advanced
concepts players might encounter as they delve deeper
into the The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.
Card Effects
There are several kinds of card effects in The Lord of
the Rings: The Card Game. On the hero and player
cards, card effects fall into one of 5 categories:
constant effects, actions, responses, forced effects,
and keywords. On the cards found in the quest
and encounter decks, card effects fall into one of
6 categories: constant effects, forced effects, when
revealed effects, shadow effects, travel effects, and
keywords. Each of these card effect types is explained
below.
Constant Effects
Constant effects continually affect the game state as
long as the card is in play and any other specified
conditions are met. These effects have no bold trigger,
as they are always active.
The location card Enchanted Stream provides an
example of a constant effect.
Actions
Actions are denoted by a bold “Action:” trigger on a
card. Actions are always optional, and can be triggered
by their controller during any action window in the
game sequence. In order to trigger an action on a hero,
ally, or attachment card, the card on which the action
is printed must be in play, unless the action specifies
that it can be triggered from an out of play state.
Event cards are actions that are played directly from a
player’s hand.
Some action triggers are preceded by a specific
phase of the game. This type of trigger means that
the following action can only be triggered during the
specified phase. For example, an effect with the trigger
“Quest Action:” can only be triggered during an action
window of the quest phase. Actions without a specified
phase can be triggered during any action window
throughout the round. (See the “Turn Sequence” chart
on pages 30-31.)
The hero card Glorfindel provides an example of
an action that can be used during any player action
window. The event card Radagast’s Cunning provides
an example of an action that can only be used during
the quest phase.
Responses
Responses are denoted by a bold “Response:” trigger
on a card. Responses are always optional, and can
be triggered by their controller in response to (i.e.
immediately after) a specified game occurrence. In
order to trigger a response on a hero, ally, or attachment
card, the card on which the response is printed must
be in play, unless the response specifies that it can be
triggered from an out of play state. Event cards with
“Response:” effects are responses that are played from
a player’s hand.
The ally card Son of Arnor provides an example of
a response effect that can be triggered (at a player’s
discretion) whenever its specified trigger (“after Son of
Arnor enters play”) is met.
Forced and When Revealed Effects
Forced effects are initiated by specific occurrences
throughout a game, and they occur automatically,
whether the card’s controller wants them to or not.
They are denoted by a bold “Forced:” trigger on a
card. These effects initiate and resolve immediately,
whenever their specified prerequisite occurs. The
enemy card Marsh Adder provides an example of
a forced effect that must be triggered whenever its
specified trigger (“each time Marsh Adder attacks”) is
met.
When revealed effects are a special case of forced
effects, that occur automatically as soon as the
encounter card is revealed. They are denoted by a bold
“When Revealed:” trigger on a card. When revealed
effects do not resolve when the card is revealed as a
shadow effect.
Shadow Effects
Some of the cards in the encounter deck have a
secondary effect that is known as a shadow effect.
These effects are offset from a card’s non-shadow
game effects by the graphic shown above, and they
are formatted in italic type. Shadow effects are also
denoted by a bold and italic “Shadow:” trigger on the
card. Shadow effects only resolve when the card is
dealt to an attacking enemy during combat.
The enemy card Dol Guldur Orcs provides an example
of a shadow effect that triggers whenever the card is
dealt to an attacking enemy as a shadow card.
Travel Effects
Some location cards have travel effects, which are
denoted by a bold “Travel:” trigger on a card. Travel
effects are costs or restrictions that some or all players
must pay or meet in order to travel to that location. If
the players cannot fulfill the requirement of a location’s
travel effect, the players cannot travel to that location.
23
Keywords
Restricted
Keywords are used as shorthand for common
game effects that appear on a number of cards. The
keywords and their role in the game are explained
below. Keywords are denoted textually, usually at the
beginning of a card’s rules text.
Some attachments have the restricted keyword. A
character can never have more than two attachments
with the restricted keyword attached. If a third
restricted attachment is ever attached to a character,
one of the restricted attachments must immediately be
moved to its owner’s discard pile.
Doomed X
If an encounter card with the doomed keyword is
revealed during the staging step of the quest phase,
each player must raise his threat level by the specified
value.
Guarded
The guarded keyword is a reminder on some objective
cards to reveal and attach the next card of the encounter
deck to the objective when it enters the staging area
from the encounter deck, and place them both in the
staging area. The objective cannot be claimed as long
as any encounter card is attached. Once that encounter
is dealt with, the objective remains in the staging area
until it is claimed. If another objective card comes up
while attaching a card for the guarded keyword, place
the second objective in the staging area, and use the
next card of the encounter deck to fulfill the original
keyword effect.
Enemy and location cards attached to guarded
objectives do still count their threat while the enemy
or location is in the staging area. An encounter card
attached to a guarded objective is dealt with in the
following method, depending on its card type:
Enemy: The enemy leaves play, either by being
defeated or as the result of a card effect.
Location: The location leaves play, either by being
fully explored or as the result of a card effect.
Treachery: The treachery’s effects resolve, or are
canceled. (Treachery cards are immediately triggered
when they are revealed.)
Once all encounter cards attached to a guarded
objective are dealt with, the players can claim the
objective in the manner specified by its card text.
Ranged
A character with the ranged keyword can be declared
by its controller as an attacker against enemies that are
engaged with other players. A character can declare
ranged attacks against these targets while its owner is
declaring attacks, or it can participate in attacks that are
declared by other players. In either case, the character
must exhaust and meet any other requirements
necessary to make the attack.
24
Sentinel
A character with the sentinel keyword can be declared
by its controller as a defender during enemy attacks
that are made against other players. A character can
declare sentinel defense after the player engaged with
the enemy making the attack declares “no defenders.”
The defending sentinel character must exhaust and
meet any other requirements necessary to defend the
attack.
Surge
When an encounter card with the surge keyword is
revealed during the staging step of the quest phase,
reveal 1 additional card from the encounter deck.
Resolve the surge keyword immediately after resolving
any when revealed effects on the card.
Victory X
Some enemy and location cards award victory points
when they are defeated. When such a card leaves play,
one player should place it near his threat dial to remind
the players of the victory points when they are scoring
at the end of the game. It is recommended that one
player collects all the victory cards the players earn
during the scenario, as victory points are applied to the
score of the entire group. (See “Scoring,” page 22.)
Lasting Effects
Many effects last only for the duration of one action
(immediately after being triggered), but some effects
last for a set period of time, or even indefinitely. Effects
that last for longer than a single action are called
lasting effects.
Multiple lasting effects may affect the same card at
the same time. The order in which the lasting effects
take place is irrelevant, since the net sum of all lasting
effects is applied to the card.
If one of a hero’s, ally’s, enemy’s, or location’s
statistics (Û, Ú, $, or Ò) is ever lower than 0 after all
effects are applied, that statistic is rounded up to 0. Any
time a new effect is applied to a card, the net sum of all
active effects should be recalculated.
Paying Costs
Many cards are written in a “pay or exhaust X to do
Y” manner. When confronted with such a construct,
everything before the word “to” is considered the cost,
and everything after the word “to” is considered an
effect.
Costs can only be payed with cards or resources that a
player controls. If an effect is canceled, the cost is still
considered to have been paid.
In Play and Out of Play
"In play" refers to cards that have been played or put
into play (in a player’s play area), to cards that are
waiting in the staging area, to the currently revealed
quest card, and to encounter cards that are engaged
with that player. "Out of play" states are" in a player's
hand," "in a deck," or "in a discard pile.” Card effects
do not interact with cards in an out of play state unless
the effect specifically refers to that state.
Running Out of Cards
If a player runs out of cards in his player deck, he
continues to play the game with the cards he has in play
and in his hand. He does not reshuffle his discard pile.
If the encounter deck is ever out of cards during the
quest phase, the encounter discard pile is shuffled and
reset back into the encounter deck.
Table Talk
Players are permitted and encouraged to talk to one
another during play, and to work as a team to plan and
execute the best course of action. Players can discuss
anything they would like, but they cannot name or read
out loud directly from cards in their hand, or from cards
that they have seen but the rest of the players have not.
Control and Ownership
A player “owns” his heroes and the cards that he has
chosen for the player deck he is playing. A player
“controls” all cards that he owns, unless another player
or the encounter deck takes control of the card through
a game effect. Any time a card leaves play, it reverts to
its owner’s hand, deck, or discard pile (as directed by
the effect forcing the card out of play).
When a player plays an ally card, it comes into play
under his control and is placed in his play area. If
another player takes control of that ally, it is moved to
the controlling player's play area. Ally cards cannot be
played under the control of another player, they can
only change control through card effects.
When a player plays an attachment card, he has the
option of giving control of that card to another player
by attaching the card to one of that player’s characters.
Players always assume control of attachments that
have been played on their characters. If control of
that character changes, so does the control of any
attachments on that character.
25
Scenario Overview
There are 3 unique scenarios included in this core set.
Each is introduced, along with a list of encounter sets
for that scenario’s encounter deck, below.
Passage Through Mirkwood
Difficulty level = 1
Mirkwood has long been a dangerous place, and
recently one of King Thranduil’s patrols has uncovered
disconcerting signs of a gathering menace in the
vicinity of Dol Guldur. A party of heroes, controlled by
the players, has been assembled to carry a message
through Mirkwood, down the Anduin, and eventually to
Lórien, to warn Lady Galadriel of the imminent danger.
The Passage Through Mirkwood encounter deck is
built with all the cards from the following encounter
sets: Passage Through Mirkwood, Spiders of
Mirkwood, and Dol Guldur Orcs. These sets are
indicated by the following icons:
Journey Down the Anduin
Difficulty level = 4
Having survived the dangers of Mirkwood Forest,
the heroes continue their journey along the banks of
the Anduin river, toward Lórien, with dire news of a
gathering threat in Southern Mirkwood.
The Journey Down the Anduin encounter deck is built
with all the cards from the following encounter sets:
Journey Down the Anduin, Sauron’s Reach, Dol Guldur
Orcs, and Wilderlands. These sets are indicated by the
following icons:
26
Escape from Dol Guldur
Difficulty level = 7
While exploring in the vicinity of Dol Guldur at Lady
Galadriel's request, one of the heroes' companions
is captured by the Necromancer's forces, and is now
awaiting interrogation in a dungeon beneath the hill.
Knowing their friend's time is short, the heroes decide
to attempt a desperate rescue.
The Escape from Dol Guldur encounter deck is built
with all the cards from the following encounter sets:
Escape from Dol Guldur, Spiders of Mirkwood, and
Dol Guldur Orcs. These sets are indicated by the
following icons:
Tournament Deckbuilding
and Customization
Much of the depth and fun of The Lord of the Rings:
The Card Game comes when players conceive and
construct original decks, using the cards of this core
set and those found in Adventure Pack expansions. A
tournament deck must contain a minimum of 50 cards.
Additionally, no more than three copies of any card, by
title, can be included in a player’s deck. Within these
guidelines any combination of allies, attachments, and
events can be used in the player deck.
Each player also starts the game with 1-3 heroes.
Players may confer together before each game to
select the heroes they would each like to use during
that game. If more than one player desires to use the
same hero, they must decide among themselves before
the game begins, and the other player(s) must choose
different heroes. In such situations, if the players
cannot decide who will control a certain hero, a random
method should be used to determine control of that
hero.
When building a deck, it is important for a player to
consider how he intends to pay for the cards he is
including in his deck. It may be tempting to use the
most powerful trio of heroes available, but is it worth
starting the game with the high threat level those heroes
would bring? Similarly, a deck full of high cost cards
and effects might look powerful on paper, but the time
it takes to build up the resources to play those cards
could become rather problematic as the enemies mount
their assault. A player should also make sure that all
the cards in his deck belong to a sphere that matches
at least one of his heroes’ resource icons, lest he find
himself with a dead card he cannot hope to play.
Another useful approach when building decks is to
follow the cohesion that can be discovered by building
around a trait. For instance, if a player wants to run a
deck built around three different spheres, it might make
sense to use Dwarf cards from all three spheres to take
advantage of Dwarf synergies and card interactions.
Basic Game
Newer players or players who want a more basic
experience can play and enjoy the game by not
dealing shadow cards during the combat phase. This
eliminates an element of surprise that could make the
game too challenging for a beginner. Once players are
comfortable with this experience, they can then add the
shadow effects to make combat less predictable and
more exciting.
Expert Game
For an expert level challenge, players can attempt
to defeat all 3 scenarios using the same combination
of players, decks, and heroes. The score from each
scenario can then be added together to get a single
score measuring overall success on the entire
campaign. For a “nightmare” level challenge, do not
reset threat, hit points, or player decks at the beginning
of each scenario. When playing such a campaign,
the players should start with the “Passage through
Mirkwood” scenario, follow with the “Journey Down
the Anduin” scenario, and finish with the “Escape from
Dol Guldur” scenario.
Each sphere of influence has a distinct flavor, which
can be used to a player’s advantage when building a
deck around that sphere. For instance, a deck could be
built around the sphere of tactics to support its heroes
with an impressive array of armor and weaponry, and
then take the fight directly to the enemies that emerge
from the encounter deck. As the card pool grows with
Adventure Pack expansions, each of the four basic
starter decks in this core set can be developed into fully
playable tournament decks.
It is also possible to focus on multiple spheres when
building a deck. A deck built around both the sphere of
spirit and around the sphere of lore could focus on selfpreservation, with numerous effects that heal hit points
and reduce threat. The trick to building around multiple
spheres is resource management; having the right
type of resource available at the right time becomes
more difficult when a deck is built around two or three
different spheres.
27
Credits
Game Design: Nate French
Graphic Design: Kevin Childress
Additional Graphic Design: Brian Schomburg,
Andrew Navaro, and Michael Silsby
Art Administration: Kyle Hough
Art Direction: Zoë Robinson
Creative Content Development: Jason Walden
Rules: Nate French
Editing: Kevin Tomczyk
Proofreading: Patricia Meredith and Mark Pollard
Cover Art: Daryl Mandryk
Production Manager: Eric Knight
Producer: Mike David
FFG Lead Game Designer: Corey Conieczka
FFG Lead Game Producer: Michael Hurley
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Special thanks to Joe Mandragona, Fredrica Drotos,
and Sam Benson at Middle-earth Enterprises for their
patience and feedback. To a wonderful team of core
playtesters: Damon Stone, Jonathan Pechon, Jerry
Warwick, Kathy Warwick, Kat Pealsey, Denise Shepler,
Jonathan Benton, Tony Sullivan, Nathan Bradley, Chris
Perry, Rob Jones, Marius Hartland, Eric F. Huigen,
Martijn Ketelaars, James Black, Jason Hawthorne,
Ninno Canonico, Jared Duffy, Steve Zamborsky,
Cesare Ciccarelli, Will Lentz, Francesco Moggia, John
Goodenough, Jason Walden, Adam Sadler, and Brady
Sadler. And to everyone who demoed an early version
of the game at GenCon 2010. Thank you, thank you,
thank you.
©2010 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. No part
of this product may be reproduced without specific permission. “The
Hobbit,” “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” “The
Return of the King,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and the characters,
events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz
Company d/ b/a Middle-earth Enterprises and are used, under
license, by Fantasy Flight Games. Fantasy Flight Games, Fantasy
Flight Supply, and the FFG logo are trademarks of Fantasy Flight
Publishing, Inc. Living Card Game, LCG, and the LCG logo are
registered trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy
Flight Games is located at 1975 West County Road B2, Suite 1,
Roseville, Minnesota, 55113, USA, and can be reached by telephone
at 651-639-1905. Retain this information for your records. Not
suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts. Actual
components may vary from those shown. Made in China. THIS
PRODUCT IS NOT A TOY. NOT INTENDED FOR USE OF
PERSONS 12 YEARS OF AGE OR YOUNGER.
28
Section Index
Actions 23
Advanced Concepts 23
Ally Cards 9
Attachment Cards 9
Attacking Enemies 20
Attacking Enemies (diagram) 21
Basic Game 27
Card Effects 23
"Character" Cards 8
Component Overview 3
Constant Effects 23
Control and Ownership 25
Credits 28
Decks and Card Types 5
Defeating an Encounter Card 25
Defending Against Enemy Attacks (diagram) 19
Discard Piles 10
Doomed X 24
Ending the Game 22
Enemy Cards 6
Escape From Dol Guldur 26
Event Cards 9
Expert Game 27
Forced and When Revealed Effects 23
For the First Game 10
Game Overview 2
Gameplay Overview 4
Guarded 24
Hero Cards 8
Hit Points and Damage 20
“In Play” and “Out of Play” 25
Introduction 2
Journey Down the Anduin 26
Keywords 24
Lasting Effects 25
Location Cards 6
Making Engagement Checks (diagram) 17
Objective Cards 7
Passage Through Mikwood 26
Paying Costs 25
Paying for Card Abilities 12
Paying for Cards (diagram) 13
Paying for Neutral Cards 12
Phase 1: Resource 12
Phase 2: Planning 12
Phase 3: Quest 14
Phase 4: Travel 15
Phase 5: Encounter 16
Phase 6: Combat 18
Phase 7: Refresh 22
Player Elimination 22
Playing the Game 10
Quest Advancement 22
Quest Cards 5
Ranged 24
Ready and Exhausted 14
Resolving a Quest (diagram) 15
Resolving Enemy Attacks 18
Responses 23
Restricted 24
Round Sequence 12
Running Out of Cards 25
Scenario Overview 26
Scoresheet 32
Scoring 22
Section Index 29
Sentinel 24
Setup 10
Shadow Cards Leaving Play 20
Shadow Effects 23
Spheres of Influence 4
Suggested Play Field Setup (diagram) 11
Surge 24
Table Talk 25
The Encounter Deck 6
The Golden Rule4
The Living Card Game 2
The Player Deck 9
The Quest Deck 5
The Staging Area 10
Tournament Deckbuilding and Customization 27
Travel Effects 23
Treachery Cards 7
Turn Sequence (chart) 30-31
Unique Cards 8
Victory X 24
Winning the Game 22
29
Turn Sequence
This chart provides a detailed structure of the phases
and steps involved in play. Items presented in red are
known as framework events, as they are mandatory
occurences dictated by the structure of the game.
Action windows in which players are free to take
actions are presented in green.
• Red – Players cannot interrupt with actions.
Responses can be played if their conditions are met.
• Green – Any player can take actions generally, or
between the game steps stated in the rules.
1. Resource Phase
• Each player adds 1 resource to each of his heroes’ resource pools,
and draws 1 card.
• Player actions.
2. Planning Phase
• First player plays ally and attachment cards.
• Player actions.
• Next player plays ally and attachment cards, etc.
• Player actions.
3. Quest Phase
• Players commit characters to quest.
• Encounter deck reveals 1 card per player.
• Player actions.
•Resolve questing.
• Player actions.
4. Travel Phase
• Players may travel to 1 location if there is no currently active location.
• Player actions.
30
5. Encounter Phase
• Each player may choose and engage 1 enemy from the staging area.
•Player actions.
• Engagement checks are made.
•Player actions.
6. Combat Phase
• Deal 1 shadow card to each enemy.
• Player actions.
• First player resolves attacks made by enemies against him. (See page 18.)
• Next player resolves attacks made by his enemies against him, etc.
• First player declares and resolves attacks against his enemies. (See page 20.)
• Next player declares and resolves attacks against his enemies, etc.
• Player actions.
7. Refresh Phase
• Each player refreshes all cards he controls.
• Each player raises his threat by 1.
• First player token passes to the next player on the left.
• Player actions.
31
Scenario Name
Player
Names
Final Threat
Level
Number of Players
Threat Cost
Of Each Dead
Hero
Damage Tokens
on Remaining
Heroes
Notes
Player
Subtotal
Combined
Player Subtotals
Victory Points
Earned
TM
Final Group Score
Scenario Name
Player
Names
Final Threat
Level
Number of Players
Threat Cost
Of Each Dead
Hero
Damage Tokens
on Remaining
Heroes
Notes
Player
Subtotal
Combined
Player Subtotals
Victory Points
Earned
TM
Final Group Score
Scenario Name
Player
Names
Final Threat
Level
Number of Players
Threat Cost
Of Each Dead
Hero
Damage Tokens
on Remaining
Heroes
Notes
Player
Subtotal
Combined
Player Subtotals
TM
Victory Points
Earned
Final Group Score
32
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