I started this blog last Spring, with only a very limited idea of what I was going to do with it. I had been playing Lord of the Rings the Living Card Game since its launch a few years ago, was impressed by the extent of the online community for the game, and wanted to be more involved – I had considered applying for the vacancy for a new co-host on Cardboard of the Rings which had recently appeared until I realised that, living in England, I would need to record at about 2 in the morning. Podcasting by myself wasn’t a particularly appealing prospect, so I decided to opt for a blog instead. I initially tried to put content out at one article per week, before realising that this wasn’t particularly sustainable, and moving down to an average of around fortnightly.
Last week, WordPress sent me an email saying that the blog had been viewed 10,000 times in 2014. Even allowing for a few hundred views which I can write off as me refreshing pages to check they had uploaded correctly, that was a pleasant surprise: there were various points last year, when I started to suspect that I was writing solely for my own benefit – most of the time, I’m not even sure whether my wife (who I hold entirely responsible for my Lord of the Rings addiction) is even reading these, never mind anybody else.
Last year saw some interesting changes in LotR play for me – for one thing, we got ourselves hooked on the Pathfinder ACG, which probably saw Lord of the Rings take a major hit in terms of amounts of play time, but it also saw the start of a regular(ish) organised play group at our friendly local gaming shop.
This was the first time I’d ever played the game with people who I hadn’t taught the rules to – it proved an interesting mixture of seeing cards and combinations used that I’d never have thought of, with the challenge of suddenly having to co-ordinate decks and heroes, rather than just grab any set of decks out of the cupboard. I think you know you’re involved in a pick-up game, when the heroes of you dwarf deck are Thorin, Ori and Celeborn!
Organised play also meant a bit of a divergence in custom cards – on the one hand, doing this blog gave me the impetus to think a bit more concretely about the custom cards I periodically design, and to actually get some of them printed out. On the other hand, ensuring legal decks to turn up at an official event for has occasionally involved last-minute panics, and arriving with a barely-functional elf deck that relies on the now-absent Celebrian ally to function properly (apparently Hall of Beorn isn’t an official FFG site)
The year to come looks good for Lord of the Rings the Living Card Game- I’m looking forward to The Battle of Helm’s Deep in the Treason of Saruman expansion, combined with the new Erkenbrand (technically he’s already out, but no sign in the UK yet) and the next cycle set amongst the Dunedain in the North. The biggest items on my want list are a new version of Theoden (Leadership probably, although I could see Lore) and an objective ally Maglor appearing in the Lost Realms! (ok, this is never going to happen, but I may make one anyway…) The multiplayer difficulty rating system is turning out to be a much bigger project than I’d imagined, but I’m still optimistic of getting something in place that can be a useful resource for players.
Although you (or I) might easily forget, this isn’t solely a blog for the LCG, but for Lord of the Rings related gaming generally. Hopefully this will be the year where I finally get enough time to play enough games of Middle Earth Quest to work out a variant with a shorter run-time (bit of a vicious cycle here, if the game was shorter, I’d be able to play it more often, then I wouldn’t need to create a shorter variant…) I also hope to spend more time on the Lord of the Rings Dice-Builder and see whether there’s potential here for a Lord of the Rings Dicemasters (It’s an idea I’ve seen mooted on Board Game Geek – I suspect it won’t work, but I still want to try). I also hope that this will be the year when I finally get round to doing as much work for Ian’s First Age project as I always intend to.
Thanks to all who read, comment, like and follow the blog – it’s always nice to have feedback, especially when the feedback is helpful / constructive. I’d also encourage people to like the Facebook page, as it’s a much less unwieldy way of posting short notes, comments, and updates from game company websites without needing a full article – I’d love it if we could get some proper conversations going on there this year.
Wishing you all a good year of gaming.