We had previously reported that board and card-game giant Fantasy Flight were establishing a dedicated videogames division. After a period of stirring grimly beneath the black pits of Mordor, Fantasy Flight Interactive are ready to share the first fruit of their labor: A PC free-to-play adaptation of their long-running cooperative The Lord Of The Rings Living Card Game, coming to Steam via Early Access in the new year.
PC Gaming has become a paradise of card-based games in recent years, although this is one of the first LCG’s to join the roster. Knowing Fantasy Flight, I reckon it won’t be long until it’s on our list of the best available.
For those who haven’t kept up with card-gaming terminology in the past few years, the key difference between a Collectible Card Game and a Living Card Game is simple. CCGs (ala Magic, Hearthstone, etc) have you expand your collection with booster packs containing a random selection of cards of varying rarities.
LCGs do away with that idea, and the concept of rarity entirely. Instead, you buy expansion packs, each containing one (or more) of every card in a given set. While still potentially expensive to maintain a collection long-term once a couple dozen packs have been released, it’s still far easier to manage and cheaper than the alternative.
The Lord of The Rings LCG promises to be initially free to play, with virtual card expansions available to buy at a later date. Interestingly, The Lord Of The Rings LCG is a singleplayer/co-op game, even in its tabletop iteration. 1-4 players pit their decks against self-running scenario decks. An unusual concept, but the heaving mountain of paid expansions for the physical version (including Hard Mode upgrade packs for existing scenarios) is a solid indication of the format’s enduring nature.
If nothing else, this puts us one tantalising step closer to Fantasy Flight’s best-known Living Card Game – Android: Netrunner – getting an official digital adaptation. Fingers crossed.
The Lord Of The Rings LCG is set to launch on Steam in early 2018, and will spend its first 3-5 months there wearing the Eary Access tag. You can wishlist it to keep informed of any updates on its store page here. While the game will be free-to-play eventually, players will have to buy in to get access before its full launch.