Parents' Guide to

Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Stingy, hard card game adaptation has high learning curve.

Game Mac, Windows 2018
Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game Poster Image

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Fans of this popular tabletop game could be disappointed in its digital counterpart. The digital version of The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game looks just as good, and allows for fun additions like animation effects, music, and voice-over. Still, subtle changes have been made to the game rules, and there's no way to play against (or with) an actual human (for now). Worse though, the game fails to explain itself to new players, which makes an already challenging game much harder.

Though the likeliest players of The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game are fans of the Tolkien book series, newcomers will probably wonder what the heck is going on. It's not for lack of text; there's tons of that -- probably too much. It's because the story's so sprawling and has so many characters, and the game starts in the middle of the tale with its own half-invented narrative. More troublesome than not really knowing who's who is not knowing what's what in the game. The tutorial explains some very basic things like placing cards and identifying the information on them, but fails to help new players understand what kinds of cards they should choose and why. Worse still, it does little to explain the Threat/Fate system. The result of these omissions is a very steep learning curve that puts a real damper on fun. Bringing things down even more is a stingy reward system that makes you replay the same quest a silly number of times or spend lots and lots of money. The good news: The game's still in early release, so these things could be fixed. The bad news: Right now, resentment's a likelier build during play than a winning deck.

Game Details

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