3.1. The Quest Deck
3.1.1. Quest Cards
3.2. The Encounter Deck
3.2.1. Encounter Cards Anatomy
3.2.2. Enemy Cards
3.2.3. Location Cards
3.2.4. Treachery Cards
3.2.5. Objective Cards
3.2.6. Objective-Ally Cards
3.3.1. Player Cards Anatomy
3.3.2. Hero Cards
3.3.3. Attachment Cards
3.3.4. Ally Cards
3.3.5. Event Cards
3.4. Card Properties
3.4.1. Spheres of Influence
3.4.2. Neutral Cards
3.4.3. Unique Cards
3.4.4. Unique Encounter Cards
3.4.5. Character Cards
220.127.116.11. FAQ (1.13) 'Character' & Enemies
4. Card Effects
4.1. Passive Effects
4.2.1. Encounter Cards With Actions
4.4. Forced Effects
4.4.1. FAQ (1.09) Forced Response
4.6. Travel Effects
4.7. Shadow Effects
4.8. Valour Trigger
4.9. Setup Effects
4.10.1. Archery X
4.10.3. Doomed X
4.10.4. Player Card With Doomed X
4.10.10. Secrecy X
4.10.14. Time X
4.10.15. Victory X
4.11.7. FAQ (1.55) Lasting Effects
4.11.8. 'Does Not Stack'
4.11.10. Immune to Card Effects
4.11.12. FAQ (1.14) The Word 'Cannot'
4.11.13. FAQ (1.26) The Word 'Switch'
4.11.14. FAQ (1.15) The Word 'Then'
4.11.16. FAQ (1.21) Search Effects
4.11.17. FAQ (1.31) Self-Referential Effects
5.2. Card Payment
5.6. Paying Costs
6. Card Status
6.1. Control & Ownership
6.1.4. FAQ (1.23) Attachments
6.2. Ready & Exhausted
6.4. Removed from Game
7.1. Player's Hand
7.2. Staging Area
7.3. Discard Piles
7.5. Running Out of Cards
8.1. First Player
8.2. Last Player
8.3. Next Player
8.3.1. FAQ (1.46) Next Player
8.4. Table Talk
9.1. Standard Mode
9.2. Easy Mode
9.3. Nightmare Mode
10. Seafaring Rules
10.2. The Corsair Deck
10.3. Preparing Your Fleet
11.1. Treasure Cards
11.2. Bilbo Baggins
11.3. Baggins Sphere
12.1. The One Ring
12.3. Fellowship Sphere
12.3.1. Resources Card Payment
12.3.2. Frodo Baggins
12.4. Staging Rules
12.5. Campaign Mode
12.5.1. The Campaign Log
12.5.2. The Fellowship of Heroes
18.104.22.168. Frodo Baggins
22.214.171.124. Saruman & Gríma
12.5.3. Campaign Pool
126.96.36.199. Boons & Burdens
188.8.131.52. Functions Like a Player Card
184.108.40.206. Campaign Cards
13. Setting the Game
13.1. Shuffle Decks
13.3. Setup Token Bank
13.4. Determine First Player
13.5. Draw Setup Hand
13.6. Set Quest Cards
14. Round Sequence
14.1. Resource Phase
14.2. Planning Phase
14.3. Quest Phase
14.3.1. Step 1: Commit Characters
14.3.2. Step 2: Staging
14.3.3. Step 3: Quest Resolution
14.3.4. Quest Advancement
14.3.6. FAQ (1.20) Engaged Enemies
14.3.7. FAQ (1.24) Questing Successfully
14.3.8. Side Quest
220.127.116.11. Encounter Side Quest
18.104.22.168. Player Side Quest
22.214.171.124. Side Quests in Play
14.3.9. Multiple Quest Card in Play
14.4. Travel Phase
14.4.3. FAQ (1.34) Two Active Locations
14.5. Encounter Phase
14.5.1. Step 1: Player engagement
14.5.2. Step 2: Engagement Checks
14.6. Combat Phase
14.6.1. Step 1: Resolving Enemy Attacks
126.96.36.199. FAQ (1.52) The Defending Player
188.8.131.52. FAQ (1.04) Damage and Multiple Defenders
184.108.40.206. Shadow Effects
220.127.116.11. Shadow Cards Leaving Play
18.104.22.168. Revealing Enemies as Shadow Cards
22.214.171.124. FAQ (1.41) Attacks Against a Character
126.96.36.199. FAQ (1.42) Additional Attacks by an Enemy
14.6.2. Step 2: Attacking Enemies
188.8.131.52. FAQ (1.11) Limitations on Attacks
14.6.3. Hit Points & Damage
184.108.40.206. Immune to Ranged Damage
14.7. Refresh Phase
14.8. Ending the Game
14.10. Winning the Game
15. Other Game Modes
15.1. Basic Mode
15.2. Expert Mode
15.3.3. Match Format
15.3.4. Match Scoring
15.3.5. Tournament Format
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. Some victory or defeat conditions can be added by a scenario.
In order to play a The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, you'll need the following components:
If the game text of a card contradicts the text of this rulebook, the text on the card takes precedence.
The rulebook reads: "Any progress tokens that would be placed on a quest card are instead placed on the active location." Legolas (CORE 5) has an effect that reads, "...place 2 progress tokens on the current quest." Legolas' effect would place 2 progress tokens on the quest; the core rule from page 15 instead places those tokens on the active location. Thus, the Legolas ability can successfully resolve, and the core rule can be observed, without creating a golden rule situation.
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.
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.
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 then 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.
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, treachery, and objective cards. The contents of the encounter deck are determined by the scenario the players are attempting. 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.
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, and during the course of the quest players may opt to travel to a location to confront its threat.
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 artefacts 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.
An objective-ally card is considered to be both an objective and an ally. The text effects of each of these cards commits it to the quest when it is in the staging area. This means that these cards count their stats and assist the players when resolving a quest. Any card effect that affects characters committed to the quest can also affect these objective-ally cards. If an effect allows the players to take control of any of these objective-ally cards, it is moved into the controlling player's play area. Once there, they can use it the same as any other ally. When this occurs, the card is no longer considered to be in the staging area, and is no longer committed to the quest (unless its controller commits it during the quest phase).
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. A tournament deck must contain a minimum of 50 cards. Within these guidelines any combination of allies, attachments, and events can be used in the player deck.
A: There is nothing in the rules that disallows this, although a player will need to find clever card interactions to make use of such 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. Hero Cards does not count toward the 50-cards minimum of a legal tournament deck.
Attachment cards represent weapons, armor, artefacts, 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.
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.
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.
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.
If any player has a unique card in play, no player can play or put into play another card with the same title. So if a player uses a unique hero, then an ally with the same title cannot enter play. If a unique hero leaves play for any reason, players can play or put into play other cards that share the same title as that hero. That hero is then ineligible to re-enter play until there is no card with the same title in play.
A unique encounter card cannot enter play if there is another copy of that card already in play. If this is the case, the card's effects are ignored and the encounter card is placed in the encounter discard pile.
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.
There are several kinds of card effects in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.
On the cards found in the quest and encounter decks, card effects fall into one of 7 categories: passive effects, actions, responses, forced effects, when revealed effects, shadow effects, travel effects, and keywords. Each of these card effect types is explained below.
Passive (or 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
If the players use the Stage 3b "Don't Leave the Path!" (CORE 121) quest card effect to search for a King Spider and put it into play, the "When Revealed" effect on the King Spider will not trigger, since the effect on "Don't Leave the Path!" does not specifically use a form of the word "reveal."
A card is only considered to be revealed if the card or game effect causing the card to enter play specifically uses a form of the word "reveal".
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.
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 , 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.
If an event card has two effects, one with the Valour trigger and one without, you may only choose one of these two effects to trigger when you play the card. You may still only choose the effect with the Valour trigger if your threat is 40 or higher
Similarly, if an encounter card card with Setup is in the encounter deck at the beginning of a game, search the encounter deck for that card and follow its instructions before resolving the Setup instructions on the quest.
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. Many keywords are specific to a scenario and one should refer to the instructions given on the quest sheet. Below are listed the generic keywords.
While a card with the archery keyword is in play, players must deal damage to character cards in play equal to the specified archery value at the beginning of each combat phase. This damage can be dealt to characters under any player's control, and it can be divided among the players as they see fit. If there is disagreement as to where to assign archery damage, the first player makes the final decision. If multiple cards with the archery keyword are in play, the effects are cumulative. Remember that does not block archery damage.
If a quest card has the battle keyword, when characters are committed to that quest, they count their total instead of their total [Willpowser] when resolving the quest. Enemies and locations in the staging area still use their in opposition to this quest attempt.
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:
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.
Q: What counts as a "ranged" attack?
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.
Secrecy lowers the cost to play the card by the specified value, provided the threat of the player who is playing the card is 20 or below. Secrecy only applies when the card is played from hand, and never modifies the printed cost of the card.
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.
If a quest card has the siege keyword, when characters are committed to that quest, they count their total instead of their total when resolving the quest. Enemies and locations in the staging area still use their in opposition to this quest attempt.
When an encounter card with the surge keyword is revealed during the staging step of the quest phase or in setup, reveal 1 additional card from the deck. Resolve the surge keyword immediately after resolving any when revealed effects on the card.
Time X is a keyword that represents the urgency of the heroes' quest. When a card with the Time X keyword is revealed, the players put X resource tokens on that card. These tokens are called "time counters." At the end of each refresh phase, remove 1 time counter from each card with the Time X keyword, if able. When the last time counter is removed, there will be a triggered effect that resolves on that card. Some encounter cards will also remove time counters, making it more difficult for the players to predict when they will run out of time.
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.
When resolving multiple effects with a shared condition, players should use this order of resolution: passive abilities first, Forced effects second, Response actions third. When determining the order of effect resolution among abilities within those categories, players should first resolve abilities that use the word "when" and then resolve abilities with the word "after". A player card effect that cancels an encounter card effect interrupts this timing structure. A cancel effect must be triggered immediately after the encounter card effect that it cancels.
Tom plays Sneak Attack (CORE 23) to put Beorn (CORE 31) into play during the combat phase. Sneak Effect has the condition, "At the end of the phase, if that ally is still in play, return it to your hand." During combat, Tom uses Beorn's triggered effect, which has the condition, "At the end of the phase in which you trigger this effect, shuffle Beorn back into your deck." At the end of the phase, a situation arises in which two conflicting effects are attempting to resolve simultaneously on Beorn. The first player determines which of the two effects resolves first. (The second effect no longer applies when Beorn leaves play.)
If two or more conflicting effects would occur simultaneously, the first player decides the order in which the effects resolve.
When a card with a triggered effect has a limit on the number of times that effect can be triggered (i.e. "Once per round," "Limit 3 times per phase," etc.), the limit is specific to that card. However, if a card has a limit of "once per game," that limitation is specific to the player who triggered it.
If an encounter or quest effect attempts to target a single player or card, and there are multiple eligible targets, the first player selects the target of the effect from among the eligible options.
If a player plays A Test of Will (CORE 50) to cancel the "˜when revealed' effect of Dark Sorcery (TLR 65), each player must still raise his threat by 2 for the Doomed 2 keyword on Dark Sorcery. Additionally, any effects that triggers after a card with the Sorcery trait is revealed will still trigger because Dark Sorcery has the Sorcery trait, and even though its "˜when revealed' effect was canceled, the card itself was still revealed.
The rest of the encounter card is resolved as normal.
When an encounter card is canceled, the game proceeds as if that encounter card was never revealed, except for it still fulfills that encounter card reveal. Effects that would have triggered in response to the canceled encounter card being revealed cannot be triggered.
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 (, , , or ) 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.
Part of the "˜when revealed' ability on Poisoned Vapour (ToS 61) reads: "Until the end of the combat phase, treat each damaged character's text box as if it were blank (except for Traits)." If Aragorn (ToS 1) had 1 damage at the time Poisoned Vapour was revealed, his text box would be treated as if it were blank. However, if that damage was healed, his text box would no longer be considered blank. If he was damaged again, his text box would be treated as if it were blank until the end of the combat phase.
A lasting effect created by an encounter card ability, is recalculated if the game state changes.
Ancient Forest reads: "While Ancient Forest is in the staging area each Forest location in the staging area gets +1 and +3 quest points. This ability does not stack with other copies of Ancient Forest." This means that even if there are 2 copies of Ancient Forest in the staging area, each Forest location in the staging area will only get +1 and +3 quest points total.
Some cards have passive abilities with the text "This ability does not stack with..." While two or more effects that do not stack with one another are active, only one of them will affect the game state.
The game state constantly checks and (if necessary) updates the count of any variable quantity that is being modified. Any time a new modifier is applied, the entire quantity is recalculated, considering all active modifiers. A quantity cannot be reduced below zero: a card cannot have "negative" cost, stats, keywords, etc.
Some encounter cards have the text, "Immune to card effects." This means that the encounter card cannot be selected as the target of any card effect, and it ignores the effect of any card that would directly interact with it.
Some encounter cards have the text "Immune to player card effects". This text means that player cannot select the encounter card as the target of any card effect and it ignores the effect of any player card that would directly interact with it.
Cards with the text "Immune to player card effects" ignore the effects of all player cards. This means that player card effects cannot directly influence or interact with a card that is immune to player card effects. Examples include dealing damage to an enemy, placing progress on a location, altering a card's text or statistics, moving a card, engaging an enemy, traveling to a location, or discarding a card.
Pippin's (TBR 4) passive ability cannot increase the engagement cost of an enemy that is immune to player card effects, because that enemy will ignore Pippin's effect. However, if you engage an enemy who is immune to player card effects and has an engagement cost higher than your threat, you may still use Pippin's Response to draw a card, because this response is not affecting the enemy in any way.
However, a card that is immune to player card effects can still be affected by normal framework effects such as placing progress from questing successfully, engaging an enemy during the encounter phase, or dealing damage through an attack made by a character.
Hands Upon the Bow (D 131) cannot be used to attack an enemy that is immune to player card effects, because it clearly indicates that the player must pick an enemy in the staging area to attack. This is different from Quick Strike (Core 35), which targets a character and allows them to perform a normal attack, which is a framework effect.
Additionally, cards that are immune to player card effects cannot be chosen as targets of player card effects. This means that any player card that uses a form of the words "target" or "choose" cannot choose a card that is immune to player card effects as its target. This includes the "attach to..." text of any player attachment. Player cards that do not use the word "target" or "choose" but force the player to choose a specific card cannot choose a card that is immune to player card effects.
If a card effect uses the word "cannot", then it is an absolute: that effect cannot be overridden by other effects.
In order for a switch to occur, switched items must exist on both sides of the switch.
If a card effect uses the word "then," then the preceding effect must resolve successfully for the subsequent dependent effect to resolve.
If a card effect uses the phrase "put into play," it means that the card enters play through a card effect instead of through the normal process of paying resources and playing the card from hand. "Put into play" effects are not considered to be playing the card, and will not trigger any effects that refer to a card being played. "Put into play" will, however, trigger any effects that occur when a card "enters play".
Whenever a player searches through a deck, that player shuffles the deck after searching it unless a card effect says otherwise. Players do not shuffle or change the order of a discard pile after searching it.
If a card refers to its own title in its text it should be read as referring only to that copy of the card. A card that refers to other copies of itself will use the language "any copy of..." or "another copy of..." or "a card with the title..."
Triggered abilities are abilities on cards that have a bold trigger word such as Action or Response. These abilities are only applied when they are triggered. Passive abilities are abilities on cards that have an ongoing effect without a bold trigger word. Because passive abilities don't have a trigger they are always active and cannot be "triggered".
If a card instructs a player to perform one task or perform a second task using the structure "... must X or Y..." then the player must attempt to perform the first task, and performs the second task instead only if the first task cannot be performed.
If a card instead uses the structure "... must either X or Y..." then the player may choose which task to perform, although one of them must be performed in full, if able.
Collecting resources refers to both collecting resources during the resource phase and gaining resources through other card effects. An effect that prevents a hero from collecting resources prevents both methods of acquiring new resources.
Adding a resource to a hero's pool is the act of taking a resource from the token bank and placing it in that hero's pool. Adding a resource always results in the total number of resources controlled by the players being increased.
Moving a resource is the act of taking a resource from one hero's pool and placing it in another hero's pool. This does not count as "˜adding' a resource because it did not take a new resource from the token bank and the total number of resources controlled by the players did not increase.
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.
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.
Unless specified by a card effect, or granted player choice, the letter "X" is equal to 0.
Neutral cards, which belong to no sphere of influence, require no resource match to play. This means that they can be paid 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.
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.
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 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.
Players do not gain control of encounter cards unless control of the card is explicitly granted by a card effect. When an encounter card becomes an attachment and attaches to a character, that character's controller does not gain control of the attachment.
An unclaimed objective is one that is not currently claimed and under the control of a player. An unclaimed objective can be guarded or unguarded. A guarded objective is treated like an attachment if guarded by an enemy or location, and remains attached to that card until it leaves play, at which point it will return to the staging area. Any unclaimed objective in the staging area that is not attached to a card is considered to be unguarded. If an objective is claimed at one point, and then returns to the staging area, it regains the status of unclaimed.
The "Attach to..." rules text on an attachment is only a play restriction, and is not taken into account after the card is already attached.
When a player plays an attachment on a character controlled by another player, that character's controller gains control of the attachment. When a player plays an attachment into the staging area, or on an enemy or location, that player retains control of that attachment.
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.
"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.
Players may be instructed to remove cards from the game. When a card is removed from the game, it should be set aside and ignored for the rest of the game. Do not place any "removed from game" cards in the discard pile, as effects that bring cards back from the discard pile no longer interact with these cards.
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.
Enters the staging area is a term that applies to a card (enemy, location, objective, etc.) that is placed in the staging area. This term applies whether the card in question has been revealed from the encounter deck, placed in the staging area from out of play, returned from the discard pile or from engaged with a player, or by other means.
Any time encounter cards are "revealed" from the encounter deck, the players should follow the rules for staging. If a card effect uses the phase "Reveal and add to the staging area", it means the same as simply using the word "reveal", and the above steps should still be followed (i.e. treachery cards should still be discarded after resolving its effects, unless otherwise indicated by the card's text).
When a character is destroyed, or an event card is played, it is placed in the discard pile. This is not the same as being "discarded." Cards are only discarded when a card effect instructs a player to discard a card.
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.
The victory display is a game area where victory points are tracked. Cards in the victory display are considered to be out of play, but are not considered to be a part of the encounter discard pile. Cards in the victory display are not considered "removed from game," and some card effects may still interact with them.
The player side quest, The Storm Comes, has the text: "Limit 1 copy of The Storm Comes in the victory display." This text prevents more than 1 copy of The Storm Comes from entering the victory display. If the players defeat The Storm Comes, and there is already a copy of that side quest in the victory display, then the copy that was just defeated is placed in its owner's discard pile.
The players determine a first player based on a majority group decision during step 4 of setting up the game. At the end of each round, the first player passes the first player token to the next player clockwise on his left. That player becomes the new first player.
Some cards refer to the "last player." The last player is considered to be the player sitting directly to the right of the first player. If there is only one player playing, then that player is considered to be both the first and last player.
The shadow effect of Pathless Country (TBR 72) reads: "Shadow: After this attack, the attacking enemy engages the next player then makes an immediate attack." If there is only one player in the game, there is no next player to engage. The word "then" indicates that the immediate attack is conditional on the attacking enemy engaging the next player, so the enemy will not make an immediate attack.
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.
Easy Mode is an alternative mode of play, ideal for new players and for players who prefer the narrative and cooperative aspects of the game with less challenge.
To play a scenario in Easy Mode, simply take the following steps during setup of any scenario:
In Standard Mode, you include all cards marked with the appropriate encounter set icons when you build your encounter deck.
In Easy Mode, when you build the encounter deck, you remove all encounter cards designated as "difficult." These encounter cards are marked with the "difficulty" indicator (a gold border) around their encounter set icons.
You will find the appropriate list of cards to take off the encounter deck in the rulesheet dedicated to each scenario.
The twenty-two card Nightmare Decks increase the challenge levels of the scenarios they modify, and Nightmare Mode appeals most to those skilled veterans who hunt for new challenges, deadlier enemies, and taller mountains to scale. Nightmare Decks can be purchased via Print On Demand.
Ship-enemies function in the same way as enemies and are considered to be enemies for all purposes, with the following exceptions:
The Corsair Deck is a separate deck made up of only non-ship enemies, and represents the sailors, pirates and raiders players may encounter on Corsair ships in the encounter deck.
When ships are included in a scenario's encounter deck, that scenario's Setup will instruct the players to "prepare the Corsair Deck." This is done by removing all non-ship enemies from the encounter deck, placing them in a separate pile, and shuffling it. This pile is referred to as the Corsair Deck. Ship-enemies remain in the standard encounter deck.
The enemies in the Corsair Deck are only revealed through card abilities, such as the Boarding keyword.
The Corsair Deck has its own discard pile. Whenever a non-ship enemy would be placed in the discard pile, place it in the Corsair discard pile instead. When the Corsair Deck runs out of cards, immediately shuffle the Corsair discard pile back into the Corsair Deck
To prepare their fleet, each player chooses and takes control of one of the four unique ship-objectives included in The Dream-chaser's Fleet encounter set: the Dream-chaser, the Dawn Star, the Nárelenya, or the Silver Wing. One of the players must choose the Dream-chaser. In a game with only one player, that player takes control of the Dream-chaser and one other ship-objective of his or her choice. Each ship-objective that is not used is then removed from the game.
Finally, the player who controls the Dream-chaser attaches the Heading card to the Dream-chaser and sets it to .
The Heading card attached to the Dream-chaser represents the fleet's current ability to navigate their ships with the wind and through the many hazards that may appear at sea. A bad heading represents sailing poorly, into hazards such as enemies or foul weather.
The symbol shown on the Heading card is called "your current heading." All players share the same heading. Some cards will have additional or different effects depending on the current heading. The possible headings are described below:
If you are instructed to shift your heading off-course, you must rotate the Heading card 90Â° counterclockwise so that your current Heading is one step closer to the worst setting (). If it is already at the worst setting (), it cannot shift off-course.
If you are instructed to shift your heading on-course, you must rotate the Heading card 90Â° clockwise so that your current Heading is one step closer to on-course (). If it is already at on-course (), it cannot shift on-course.
Note: When you are instructed to shift your heading on-course, it does not shift all the way to the on-course () setting; it only shifts one step closer to the on-course () setting.
Sailing is a keyword that represents that the players are currently traveling across the sea on their ships. At the beginning of each quest phase (before committing characters to the quest), if the main quest has the Sailing keyword, the first player must perform a Sailing test.
Sailing tests represent the players' ability to change their course or alter their sails and riggings in such a way as to adapt to the changing winds.
In order to perform a Sailing test, you must first shift your heading off-course. This represents the shifting of the winds, and the difficulty of navigating at sea. (If it is already at , it does not change.)
Then, the player performing the Sailing test exhausts any number of characters he controls, committing them to the Sailing test. After choosing which characters to commit to the Sailing test, that player looks at a number of cards from the top of the encounter deck equal to the total number of characters committed to the Sailing test. If the encounter deck does not contain enough cards to look at, shuffle the encounter discard pile back into the encounter deck first.
Some encounter cards have a symbol on the bottom left corner of their text box. This symbol represents a success when performing a Sailing test. For each symbol found on the looked at encounter cards, you may shift your heading on-course. If no symbols are found, your heading stays the same. Then, discard all of the looked at cards.
symbols have no effect other than representing success during a Sailing test.
Players have the opportunity to use Action effects before and after a Sailing test, but not during.
A player is permitted to add a treasure card to his player deck before the game begins if both of the following conditions are met:
Any treasure card that meets the above conditions can be added to a player's deck during the setup of a scenario. No more than 1 copy of any treasure card, by title, can be added to a player's deck. Treasure cards added to a deck do not count towards that deck's 50 card minimum.
This version of Bilbo must be used when playing the scenarios in this set. The Bilbo Baggins hero card included in this box belongs to a unique sphere of influence, the Baggins sphere, denoted by the symbol. As Thorin and his companions came to rely on the unlikely hero, players will need Bilbo's help to defeat each scenario in this deluxe expansion.
In The Hobbit Saga Expansions, the version of Bilbo Baggins has the text: "The first player gains control of Bilbo Baggins." When the first player token passes during the refresh phase, the first player gains control of Bilbo Baggins, all resources in his pool, and all cards attached to him. If Bilbo Baggins is the last hero under a player's control, and he then leaves that player's control, that player is immediately eliminated from the game.
Therefore, managing a limited number of resources becomes an important part of each scenario. In addition to paying for cards that match Bilbo Baggins's sphere (as well as neutral cards), there are numerous situations in these scenarios in which resources can be used to assist the players.
While attached to a hero, The One Ring has the text: "Attached hero does not count against the hero limit." Therefore, it is possible for the first player to begin the game with up to 4 heroes under his control if one of those heroes is a Ring-bearer with The One Ring attached.
The One Ring has the text: "The first player gains control of attached hero." When the first player token passes during the refresh phase, the first player gains control of the attached Ring-bearer, all resources in that hero's resource pool, and all cards attached to that hero. If the hero with The One Ring attached is the last hero under a player's control, and that hero leaves that player's control, then that player is immediately eliminated from the game.
The One Ring also has the text: "If The One Ring leaves play, the players lose the game." Just like in the books, the players will need to carefully guard the Ring-bearer because if the attached hero leaves play, then The One Ring is also discarded and the players lose the game.
Included in The Land of Shadow is a unique, double-sided encounter card: Gollum / Sméagol. Each side of this card represents a different aspect of the iconic character: Gollum is an enemy card while Sméagol is an objective-ally. Just as in the books, Gollum will stop at nothing to reclaim his "Precious" while Sméagol wishes to aid his "nice Master."
Because the Gollum / Sméagol card does not have an encounter card back, it can never be shuffled into the encounter deck. Instead, a scenario featuring Gollum / Sméagol will instruct the players to put him into play during setup, and identify which side to put faceup.
While his enemy side is faceup, Gollum looks like this:
The last line of Sméagol's text box cannot be affected by card text, including encounter card and quest card effects. If Sméagol takes damage equal to his hit points, the players immediately lose the game.
If an effect causes Sméagol is to be flipped to Gollum, discard all damage tokens from Sméagol. When Sméagol flips to Gollum, the Sméagol objective-ally leaves play, and the Gollum enemy enters play. Gollum always enters play in the "ready" position, regardless of whether Sméagol was ready or exhausted when he was flipped to Gollum.
The Fellowship sphere emphasizes the sacrifice and determination of the valiant heroes who took up the burden of carrying The One Ring in the fight against Sauron. The Fellowship sphere cards are only intended to us when playing the scenarios presented in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions.
Heroes belonging to the Fellowship sphere can only be used when playing the scenarios in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions. Also, only 1 hero from the Fellowship sphere can be played at a time. Therefore, it is not possible for there to be more than 1 hero belonging to the Fellowship sphere in play at any time.
The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions features Frodo Baggins and other heroes who belong to the Fellowship sphere. When using these versions of those heroes, players cannot start with any other version(s) of these heroes as a starting hero or include any other version(s) of these heroes in their decks.
As a hero, a Fellowship sphere hero collects 1 resource during the resource phase. In addition to paying for cards that match the Fellowship sphere, resources from a Fellowship sphere hero pool may be spent to pay for neutral cards as well.
As a hero, this version of Frodo Baggins collects 1 resource during the resource phase. In addition to paying for cards that match the Fellowship sphere, resources from Frodo Baggins' pool may be spent to pay for neutral cards as well.
When setting up any scenario in The Black Riders, The Road Darkens or The Land of Shadow expansion, the first player must take control of a hero from the Fellowship sphere with the Ring-bearer trait at the beginning of each game and attach The One Ring to that hero.
A: Yes. When setting up the game in Campaign Mode you must choose a hero from the Fellowship sphere with the Ring-bearer trait and attach The One Ring to that hero. Any hero that meets these qualifications is a legal choice.
When using this version, players cannot start with any other version(s) of Aragorn as a starting hero or include any other version(s) of Aragorn in their decks.
As a hero, this version of Aragorn collects 1 resource during the resource phase. In addition to paying for cards that match the Fellowship sphere, resources from Aragorn's pool may be spent to pay for neutral cards as well.
Aragorn has the text: "The first player gains control of Aragorn." When the first player token passes during the refresh phase, the first player gains control of Aragorn, all resources in Aragorn's resource pool, and all cards attached to Aragorn. If Aragorn is the last hero under a player's control, and he leaves that player's control, then that player is immediately eliminated from the game.
When setting up any scenario in The Treason of Saruman or The Flame of the West Saga Expansions, the first player must take control of Aragorn from the Fellowship sphere at the beginning of each game.
When playing the scenarios in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions, players reveal encounter cards individually in player order during the Staging step of the Quest phase. Beginning with the first player, each player reveals 1 encounter card and resolves its staging before the next player reveals a card. If an encounter card has an effect that uses the word "you" then the encounter card is referring to the player who revealed the card. If the revealed encounter has the Surge keyword, the player who revealed that card reveals an additional encounter card. Encounter cards with the Doomed X keyword still affect each player.
Peril is a keyword in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions. When a player reveals an encounter card with the Peril keyword, he must resolve the staging of that card on his own without conferring with the other players. The other players cannot take any actions or trigger any responses during the resolution of that card's staging.
Campaign mode is an exciting way of playing The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game that combines all the scenarios from the The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions into one epic adventure! To play campaign mode, the players play through each scenario in order. Players only advance to the next scenario after they have defeated the current scenario. If the players lose a scenario, there is no penalty but they must play it again in order to defeat it before they can advance to the next scenario.
A: No. When a hero's name is added to the list of Fallen Heroes, that character is considered to be incapacitated for the duration of that campaign. Therefore, each version of that character, hero or ally, cannot be used.
A: No. Players should only record their results in the Campaign Log after successfully defeating a scenario. Furthermore, if the players defeat the scenario but are still unhappy with the result, they may choose not to record their results and try again.
The Campaign Log is used to track the course and development of the entire campaign. At the end of each scenario, the players record their results by entering all of the relevant information in the Campaign Log.
When setting up a scenario in campaign mode, the players refer back to the Campaign Log to make sure they are using all of the correct cards. In this way the results of each scenario can affect the outcome of the next one, and the decisions players make in the first adventure may determine their success on future scenarios.
When playing campaign mode, players must record the names of their heroes in the Campaign Log at the beginning of the first scenario. If a hero is in a player's discard pile at the end of the game, that hero's name is added to the list of Fallen Heroes in the Campaign Log. A hero whose name appears on the list of Fallen Heroes cannot be used by any player when playing future scenarios in that campaign.
When setting up a scenario in campaign mode, if a player had previously recorded Aragorn as one of his heroes in the campaign log, that player loses control of that version of Aragorn. That player may choose a different hero to replace Aragorn without incurring the +1 threat penalty. Record the new hero in the campaign log. Any cards with the permanent keyword that were attached to the previous version of Aragorn are transferred to the Fellowship sphere Aragorn.
When playing the scenarios in The Land of Shadow in campaign mode, players cannot use any card with the title "Aragorn."
The list of boons and burdens that the players earn as they play through The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions in Campaign Mode is called the Campaign Pool. After the players defeat a scenario and record their results in the Campaign Log, they must add any boons and/or burdens earned to the Campaign Pool.
Boons are neutral player cards that must be earned by playing through a scenario in campaign mode in order to be used. Players are not allowed to include these cards in a game until after they are earned, unless a scenario directs them to do otherwise. When the players earn a boon card, they enter that boon's title in the Campaign Pool. If a boon card has the Permanent keyword, the players record which hero it is attached to in the Notes section. When setting up future scenarios in the current campaign, the players may include any boon cards as recorded in the Campaign Pool in their decks. These cards do not count against their deck minimum. If a boon with the Permanent keyword was recorded as being attached to a specific hero, that boon must be attached to the specified hero at the start of the game. If a boon card has an encounter card back, that card must shuffled into the encounter deck when setting up the game.
Burdens are encounter cards that can be earned when playing through a scenario in campaign mode and subsequently included in the encounter deck. Instead of an encounter set icon, burdens have a "burden set icon" used to identify what burden set they belong to. Because burdens don't belong to an encounter set, they should not be included in an encounter deck until the players are instructed to include them (even if the burden set icon is the same as an encounter set icon used for the scenario). When a player earns a burden card, he enters that burden's title in the Campaign Pool. If a burden card has the Permanent keyword, the players record which hero it is attached to in the Notes section. When setting up a scenario in the current campaign, the players must refer to their Campaign Log and include each burden card listed in the Campaign Pool in the encounter deck. If a player has earned a burden card with a player card back, that card is shuffled into his deck after he has drawn his starting hand. If a hero is added to the list of fallen heroes, then all boons and burdens with the Permanent keyword attached to that hero are removed from the Campaign Pool.
Q: If I use the ability on Leaf-wrapped Lembas ("Add Leaf-wrapped Lembas to the victory display, and remove it from the campaign pool, to ready all heroes in play.") but I lose the scenario and have to play it again, do I still remove Leaf-wrapped Lembas from the campaign pool?
A: No. While removing the boon from the campaign pool is part of the cost to trigger the Action on each of the Gift attachments (Phial of Galadriel, Three Golden Hairs, Lórien Rope, or Leaf-wrapped Lembas), that decision should not be recorded until after the scenario is defeated. Even then, if the players are unhappy with the result, they may still choose not to record their results and try again.
Permanent is a keyword found on some boons and burdens. Once a boon or burden with the permanent keyword is earned, it is attached to a hero and that choice is recorded in the Campaign Log. A card with the permanent keyword can only be attached to one hero for the duration of a campaign. Attachments with the permanent keyword cannot be discarded from the attached hero while that hero is in play. If a hero leaves play, attachments with the permanent keyword attached to that hero are removed from the game.
"Functions like a player card" is a term that appears on some burdens (like The Searching Eye or Poisoned Councils), which is a burden treachery card with a player card back. Those cards are encounter cards, but they have a player card back because it is meant to be shuffled into a player's deck. The term "functions like a player card" is on those cards clarify that it should not be placed in the encounter discard pile after resolving its effect. Instead, the player who drew one of those cards holds that card in his hand like a regular player card. If one of those cards is discarded from a player's hand, it is placed in that player's discard pile.
The campaign card is a card type that serves to place a scenario within the larger campaign. When setting up a scenario in campaign mode, the players must place the campaign card for that scenario next to the quest deck and follow any additional setup instructions on the card. After the players defeat that scenario, they turn over the campaign card and follow any resolution instructions, updating their Campaign Log accordingly.
Don't forget to remove any card with the "difficulty" indicator around its encounter set icon (a gold border) from the current scenario's encounter deck. Some older scenarios (including those in early printings of the core game) do not have the above mentioned "difficulty" indicator icon on relevant cards in their encounter decks.
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.
The players must record the names of their heroes in the Campaign Log at the beginning of the first scenario. If a player changed heroes between two scenarios or if one of his previous heroes has been added to the Fallen Heroes list and been replaced by another hero, the player receives a permanent +1 starting threat penalty for each hero change. Follow any Setup instruction on Boons & Burdens from the Campaign Pool. Permanent Boons or Burdens must be attached to the heroes who earned them, according to what was recorded in the Campaign Log. If a player card with Setup instructions is in a player's deck at the beginning of a game, that player searches his deck for that card and follows its instructions before drawing his first hand. Similarly, if an encounter card with Setup is in the encounter deck at the beginning of a game, search the encounter deck for that card and follow its instructions before resolving the Setup instructions on the quest.
When setting up any scenario in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions, the first player must take control of a hero from a Hero with the Ring-bearer trait with The One Ring attached to that hero or Aragorn at the beginning of each game.
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.
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.
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.
Flip the Nightmare Mode card from the "Setup" face to the "Nightmare Mode" face and follow any additional instruction.
Place the Campaign Card next to the quest card and follow any additional instruction.
FAQ (1.19): "When Revealed" effects are resolved if the cards are revealed during setup. A player can trigger responses during setup, following the normal game rules. Players cannot take Actions during setup. "When Revealed" effects that last "until the end of the phase" will last until the end of the first resource phase. Effects that last "until the end of the round", will last until the end of the first round. Players then begin the game starting with the first game round.
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.
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.
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.
After a player plays an ally or attachment card from his hand, he places it face-up and ready in his play area. Attachment cards should be placed partially overlapping, either above or below, the card to which they are attached.
In the quest phase, the players attempt to make progress on the current stage of their quest. This phase is broken into three steps:
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.
A: A player commits all characters he wishes to commit to a quest at once. Responses to the characters committing (such as those on Aragorn and Théodred) can then be triggered in the order of that player's choice. After a player has committed his characters (and triggered any responses to those characters committing), the next player has the opportunity to commit his characters to the quest.
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.
A: No. Resolve the staging of the revealed card, including any "˜When Revealed' effects, before resetting the quest deck, if able. If you are unable to completely resolve the staging of the card because it instructs you to interact with the encounter deck in some manner, then reset the quest deck and finish resolving the effect.
If the 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 overcame the are placed on the current quest card. Note that if there is an active location, 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 of all committed characters.
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.
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.
Q: If players have placed progress tokens on a quest equal to its quest points, but a game effect prevents them from advancing, can they continue to place progress tokens on the quest?
A: Yes. There is no upper limit to how many progress tokens may be placed on a quest.
Q: If there is an active location with a Response effect that triggers when it is explored and the players make enough progress to explore the location and advance to the next stage, when do the players resolve the location's Response effect?
Tom has just successfully quested during stage 1B of The Hunt Begins (SoM 11), and he will be placing enough progress to advance to the next stage. However, he must first resolve the Forced effect (which resolves immediately upon the occurence of "questing succesfully") before placing progress tokens on the quest.
Questing successfully and the physical placement of progress tokens are two separate game occurrences that happen in sequence during the Quest Resolution step. As soon as the players determine that the total committed Willpower is greater than the total Threat in the staging area, they are considered to have quested successfully. Any Forced or passive effects initiated by questing successfully resolve before physically placing progress tokens.
Side quests represent secondary adventures that the heroes may undertake while pursuing the main goals of the quest deck. There are two kinds of side quests: those with encounter card backs and those with player card backs. Side quests are never considered to be a part of the quest deck. The top card of the quest deck is called the "main quest."
A side quest with an encounter card back is called an "encounter side quest." An encounter side quest is both a quest card and an encounter card. Each encounter side quest is part of an encounter set and it is shuffled into the encounter deck when setting up a scenario that uses its encounter set. When an encounter side quest is revealed from the encounter deck, it is added to the staging area. Because side quests are quest cards as well as encounter cards, the "when revealed" effects of side quests cannot be cancelled by player card effects. If a side quest is dealt to an enemy as a shadow card, it functions as any other encounter card without shadow text.
A side quest with a player card back is called a "player side quest." A player side quest is both a quest card and a player card, and can be included in player decks. A player side quest can be played from a player's hand during the planning phase by paying its cost. When a player side quest is played or enters play, it is placed in the staging area.
While any side quest is in the staging area, it functions like a quest card with the following exception: when a side quest is defeated, the players do not advance to the next stage of the quest deck. Instead, the side quest is added the victory display.
At the beginning of each quest phase, if there are one or more side quests in the staging area, the first player may choose one to be the "current quest" until the end of the phase instead of the quest card that is currently active via the quest deck. While a side quest is the current quest, any progress that the players make is placed onto that side quest and any card effects that target the "current quest" target that side quest. Progress must still be placed on the active location before it can be placed on a side quest. Any progress that is made beyond the current quest's total quest points is discarded; do not place progress on any other quest card in play.
Q: If a side quest is the "current" quest, is the text on the main quest still active?
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 paid when the players travel there.
A location card is immediately discarded from play any time it has as many progress tokens as it has quest points, whether it is active or not.
If a card effect causes two locations to be active at the same time, they are both considered to be the active location. However, when a card effect targets "the active location," it does not target both active locations at the same time. The first player must choose which of the active locations the effect will target. Both active locations serve as buffers for the quest stage and when placing progress on the active location, the players may divide that progress among both active locations however they choose.
Q: In what order is players' optional engagement handled?
A: The first player has the first opportunity to optionally engage an enemy, or pass. After that, each player, moving clockwise, has the option to engage one enemy. Once each player has had this opportunity, this step is complete.
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.
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.
When a player engages an enemy, that enemy has also engaged him, and when an enemy engages a player, that player has also engaged that enemy. There is no difference between engaging an enemy and being engaged by an enemy. Effects that trigger "after an enemy engages you" will trigger at the same time as effects that trigger "after you engage an enemy."
A: Yes. An enemy that enters play directly engaged with a player has engaged that player.
Durin's Bane (D 150) cannot leave the staging area and is considered to be engaged with two players. Player 1 has Mablung (RM 84) and wishes to trigger his Response effect, but he cannot because he has not actually engaged Durin's Bane. Player 2 wishes to play Feint (CORE 34) to prevent Durin's Bane from attacking him. He can, because Durin's Bane is considered to be engaged with him.
An enemy that does not leave the staging area but is considered to be engaged with a player does not actually engage that player, nor does that player engage it. In order for a player to engage an enemy, the enemy card must physically enter his play area.
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.
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 . (If this attack was undefended, also raise your threat by 3.)" Kris resolves this shadow effect first, increasing Ungoliant's Spawn's by 1. He then determines the attacking enemy's total (6) and subtracts the defender's (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 (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.
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 does not absorb damage from undefended attacks or from card effects.
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.
When an enemy makes an attack against a player, or a character controlled by a player, that player is "the defending player" regardless of whose character is declared as a defender. Card effects, including shadow card effects, that target "the defending player" or "you" still target the player who the enemy is attacking even if another player declares one of his characters as a defender for that attack.
Q: If a player does not declare any defenders against an attack, is he still considered the defending player?
A: Yes, the player an enemy is attacking is considered to be the defending player. Whether or not he declares defenders, and whether or not any other player declares defenders for him, does not change his status as the defending player for the attack.
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.
Enemies that are dealt as shadow cards are not considered to be revealed from the encounter deck.
If an enemy attacks outside of the combat phase, it is still dealt a shadow card at the beginning of the attack. Then follow the 4 steps under Phase 6 "Combat" in the rules. There is an action window after each step. Any shadow cards dealt to the attacking enemy are discarded after the attack resolves.
A: No. Enemies are added to the staging after resolving their "when revealed" effects. An enemy that makes an attack as part of its "when revealed" effect, is not in the staging area or engaged with the defending player unless a card effect says it is.
If a card involved in combat changes control, is returned to the staging area, or engages another player during the resolution of an attack, that attack still resolves with the card still participating from its new state.
A: Not unless it is directed to by card effect.
Bilbo Baggins (OtD 1) has the most poison attached when Crazy Cob (OtD 29) is revealed from the encounter deck and its "When Revealed" effect triggers an attack against the character with the most poison attached. Even though the first player controls 3 other heroes, any undefended damage from this attack must be applied to Bilbo Baggins. Because Bilbo is already exhausted from committing to the quest, he cannot exhaust to defend himself and will be killed if the attack is undefended. Knowing this, the first player chooses to exhaust one of his ready characters, Bombur, to declare him as the defender for this attack. At this point, the attack resolves as normal and any damage from the attack is applied to Bombur.
When an enemy makes an additional attack, discard all of its previously dealt shadow cards before dealing it a new shadow card.
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 (3) and then subtracts from it the Dol Guldur Orcs' (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 ) and the Gondorian Spearman (1 ) pool their attack strength together, for a total of 4. The Dol Guldur Beastmaster has a 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.
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 - 40 - 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.
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.
When a player is the active attacker during the combat phase, the game rules grant him the option to declare 1 attack against each enemy with which he is engaged. If, through card effects such as ranged, a player is able to declare attacks against enemies with which he is not engaged, the game rules still only provide for a single attack against each of these enemies.
However, if a player makes an attack against an enemy by a card effect such as Quick Strike (CS 35) or Hands Upon the Bow (D 131), that is an extra attack and does not count against the limit of 1 attack.
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.
Q: What happens if an attacking enemy is destroyed before its attack resolves?
A: When resolving an enemy attack, the defending player should check the status of the attacking enemy at end of each step: is there still an attacking enemy? If yes, proceed to next step. If no, end the attack.
"Immune to ranged damage" means that characters participating in an attack via the ranged keyword are not able to deal damage to that enemy. (If a ranged character participates in an attack against such an enemy through another means than the ranged keyword, then it is able to damage it and will count its .)
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.
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.
Turn over the campaign card and follow any resolution instructions. The players then record their results by entering all of the relevant information in the Campaign Log. After the players defeat a scenario and record their results in the Campaign Log, they must add any boons and/or burdens earned to the Campaign Pool.
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.
As players make their way through the scenarios in The Hobbit Saga Expansions, Bilbo Baggins will assist them in many ways, but the players must also take care to protect him. If Bilbo Baggins leaves play, for any reason, the players immediately lose the game.
When playing The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions, if the Ring-bearer or Aragorn leaves play, for any reason, the players immediately lose the game.
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.
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.
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.
To reset the other game elements at the beginning of a new "expert game" scenario, perform the following steps in order:
All non-hero cards in play and in hand are shuffled into their owner's decks. All encounter cards are returned to their encounter sets so they are available for the next scenario, if needed. This includes cards in players' victory display.
In a Race Against the Shadow tournament, teams race one another and the clock to win a scenario. Two teams play simultaneously, switching off at set points in the round, and the team that finishes the scenario first within the allotted time wins the match.
Each table will need a two-player game clock with pause functionality, for example, a chess clock. There are several free clock apps that would also be appropriate.
The Tournament Organizer (TO) may choose any set of scenarios, but due to their difficulty, Escape from Dol Guldur, The Battle of Laketown, The Massing at Osgiliath and Nightmare Decks are not recommended. The TO will advertise the selected pool of scenarios in advance of the event. Players are expected to provide their own quest and encounter cards.
Each player brings a legal The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game deck to the event. Legal decks contain a minimum of 50 cards and a maximum of 3 heroes. Players must select their heroes according to one of the following two formats.
In the extended format, at the beginning of each match each player may select his 3 heroes from a sideboard consisting of all heroes. Extended format events are slightly more casual, and allow players a chance to better adapt to the various scenarios with their selection of heroes.
Each match, each team will be paired against one other team. Each team will provide its own copy of the announced scenario, and their opponents may check the encounter deck for completeness. Randomly determine which team goes first.
Each team will begin with 45 minutes on the clock for a match length of 90 minutes. At the TO's discretion, depending on the general amount of time it takes to complete a scenario, this number can be adjusted up to 60 minutes or down to 30 minutes. Any adjustment to the time controls should be announced when pairings are posted.
In a Race Against the Shadow match, each round is broken into three phase groups. Teams alternate play through these phase groups, playing their cards and advancing through their quests, then observing their opponents' phase groups. The phase groups are:
The first team will begin by playing their Resource and Planning phases. Then they will start the other team's clock, and the second team will play its Resource and Planning phases. This process continues through the other two phase groups until the second team finishes its Refresh phase and the first team starts a new round.
Example round: Team 1 plays first. Team 1's players complete their Resource and Planning phases, then hit the clock. Team 2 then plays its Resource and Planning phases while Team 1 observes. After Team 2 hits the clock, Team 1 plays its Quest and Travel phases and hits the clock again. Team 2 then plays its Quest and Travel phases and hits the clock. Team 1 then plays its Encounter, Combat, and Refresh phases and hits the clock. Team 2 plays its Encounter, Combat, and Refresh phases, and the round is over. When Team 2 hits the clock again, Team 1 will begin the next round with its Resource and Planning phases.
When they are not on the clock, players on one team should observe their opponents' turns to ensure that all rules and encounter cards are followed correctly. Additionally, players may discuss the actions of their next turn during their opponents' turn, so long as they do not distract their opponents in the process. If a player has a question or rules dispute, he pauses the clock while he interrupts the other team. When the issue has been resolved, the active team restarts the clock, and play continues.
The team that finishes the scenario without the other team finishing in the same Phase Group is awarded a Match Win and 5 points.
If the team that played first completes the scenario first, the other team has their next phase group to attempt to complete the scenario.
If both teams complete the scenario in the same phase group, the team with the lower score wins. If the scores are also the same, the match is a Draw and each team is awarded 2 points.
If both teams are eliminated in the same round, or if neither team completes the scenario, the match is a Modified Loss and each team is awarded 1 point.
If a single team is eliminated, the other team is awarded a Match Win and 5 points.
If a team exhausts its allotted time, it is eliminated and the opposing team is awarded a Match Win and 5 points.
Standard Swiss Pairings are used. Random pairings are allowed for the first match. For future pairings, pair teams within the same score group as per Swiss style pairings. As teams are paired, the Tournament Organizer will announce the next scenario to be used.
Tournament organizers should always pair teams within score groups. Rather than pairing randomly, sort the teams in each score group by team number, then pair the top number to the bottom, the second to the second to last and so on. This allows for the subtle adjustment of teams if one team has already played another and has the same effect as using brackets so that the top 2 teams do not meet until the last match. The "odd" team of a score group will be paired down to the next score group, playing the highest ranked team of that score group.
If there is an odd number of teams in the tournament, the lowest-ranked team receives a bye, counting as a Match Win. When there is more than one lowest-ranked team, the lowest-ranked team with the lowest team number receives a bye. The team with the most points at the end of the Swiss rounds is the tournament champion.
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. 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 self-preservation, 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.
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.