The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game goes offline in a good way

Title The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game goes offline in a good way
Author Nick Diamon
Posted in News
When October 19, 2020

When Fantasy Flight Interactive shut down in January 2020, many people thought that the fledgling studio's closure marked the end of The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game as well..

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Sweet! So does this mean there’s no point buying the analog version? This is just a straight-up translation to digital, right?

Although I imagine a lot (most?) of the content is missing. Look at all the expansions! That’s insane, but I guess par for the course for a venerable Fantasy Flight game.


From what I understand, it isn’t. The mechanics and cards are totally different.

I have the analog cards, it’s great if you are willing to play 2 handed. The digital version is a different game, some similar concepts (threat, investigating locations) however the cards are mostly different. And the scenarios, campaigns are different from the card game.

I like the digital game, but I save it up for later, when I have time to go into the deck building. There are some tough missions in it, where you really need to invest some serious time for deck building.

They are - Such a strange decision to make.

I wonder why that is. Would the rules of the physical version have been too difficult to implement? Or are they just too antiquated and the digital version took the opportunity to “improve” the game? With some many direct digital implementations of physical boardgames these days, it seems like an odd choice to redesign a game like that.


How many expansions for LOTR was there? I would think that writing the code for all the expansions and new card sets would be the reason they dumbed it down.

Xbox Game Pass for PC announced (just yesterday, I think) that this is leaving Gamepass at the end of the month. Perhaps this is not coincidental with the announcement above.

The Gamepass announcement prompted me to download and try it. I own the analog version and enjoy it a lot. I couldn’t make sense of this version and uninstalled pretty quickly.

If you “just” implement the physical version, you will either objectively get it right or wrong. That’s just one more metric on which you can fail. If you don’t even try to implement the physical version but do your own thing, that takes some of the pressure off. People may like what you did or they may not like it, but one thing they can’t say is, “You fucked up my beloved game!” See Steam Gloomhaven. (Yes, I know, they promise they’ll get the “real” game in there – years down the road – but I humbly predict this will never happen.)

I humbly inform you it has already happened. Their newish Guildmaster mode implements the very same game you play in the analog version, down to every fiddly rule within a scenario. What’s lacking still is the campaign, but that is on its way. This is a far cry from LotR:ACG in which the digital version is an entirely different ruleset.


Oh, I didn’t realize it had been dumbed down. Are you saying that from experience or just assuming based on the fact that it’s not the physical version?

I mean, I look at the digital implementation of Sentinels of the Multiverse, and I’m astonished at how much they were able to carry over. Which, as near as I can tell, is everything. There’s no difference between the physical and digital version, and that game has a ton of weird exceptions and nested actions and card gimmicks and so forth.

(I may be wrong about everything being the same, but from what I’ve seen – and I’ve even tried Aeon’s End, which is a real bear – it is everything.)

That surprised me as well. As recently as a year ago, I was swearing up and down there was no way they were going to just port the game to a digital version, that it would end up being some half-assed CRPG with Gloomhaven branding. But, nope, seems they’re fully implementing the same tabletop game everyone* knows and loves.


* except me

they made a different game, that has some of the card art of the original version. It feels streamlined, but the stories are totally different. (so far I am concerned, I only played a couple of missions, but realised that I really need to put time in the deck building). It is similar in that you can use your heroes to fight or to investigate a location. You can play allies. All similiar to the card game. I think the digital game only uses 1 resource type, where the card game had 4 different resource types, called spheres.

That sort of thing would drive me nuts if I were into the actual card game and I picked up the videogame version. Ugh.


If you want a faithful translation of the paper game to digital, the search term you need is ‘OCTGN’. You can find youtube examples of gameplay using this. Tabletop Simulator also has well done versions, though I find the 2D version to be easier to manage with the number of cards.

Since I have Gamepass, I installed this to take a look. It’s been years since I’ve played the LOTR living card game, and apart from Locations and Progress, I don’t remember it all that well. This digital version still features Progress, and it has a one-action-per-side mechanic that is a nice departure from Magic and Hearthstone. Its combat mechanics still bring to mind those other CCGs, though; units have attack and health, and you play the units on a battleground and then have them attack opposing units.

So far I find it pleasant, with nice voice acting, but nothing revolutionary. I’ll spend some more time with it.

I’ve got the PC version on Steam and enjoy it. Steam says I’ve got over 20 hours playing it. I have played the “real” card version, but not much and not in quite a while, so I can’t really give a comparison.

But the PC/Console version is a fun game and I think it works quite well, although I can certainly see why those that are into the original cardboard version are unhappy with the changes.

Also the PC version went through some growing pains where IIRC it started out as F2P and then they realized that was not working well. So I think there’s some leftover animosity from that. On Steam for example, the total rating is Mostly Positive 74% whereas the recent rating is Very Positive 86%. Back when it was in Early Access I think it had really poor ratings (in the 60s) and it’s had to claw it’s way back.

I’ve played the LCG card game up to the penultimate quest in the Grey Havens cycle with the ships. Probably still one of my favorite cycles. I have the Saga’s and some Gen Con quests too but haven’t played much of them.

I love boats!

So I’ve played through the first two tutorials, which took a surprising amount of time – and you can’t save during them. Is there any reward for completing them? There’s a reward screen that says something about a journey deck, but I’m not sure what that means.

Anyway, I’m enjoying this game so far, though I haven’t seen that much of it yet. The second tutorial introduced a number of new mechanics – good and bad event triggers, some win/loss conditions – that I thought were interesting.

One annoying UI thing: you can’t see an entire card in your hand, even if you hover the mouse over it. You have to click or right-click it to see it. It’s not just cosmetic; some cards have power text and other info near the bottom.

I finished the five tutorials, which were a bit long for my taste, and started the first “real” campaign, on the middle ‘Adventure’ mode. It was close but I lost on the final boss. I liked that, but I see why people recommend playing the quests on ‘Narrative’ (easy) mode first. I don’t know if the rewards vary depending on difficulty level; I imagine so?

Still not sure what to make of this. I’ll play a bit longer for sure.