Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Art of the Bluff

Wow, it's been quite some time since I published an update. Life has gotten all the more busy as I have a second son now. Dominion is my game of choice these days, but I'm hopeful that with the upcoming Hobbit movies, Lord of the Rings TCG will see a resurgence and this blog will have a second life breathed into it. 

But in the meantime, this is a post I've been meaning to write for quite some time.

Imagine this situation: Your opponent has just moved to Site 7 from Sanctuary and is looking pretty good wound-wise. However, he only has 3 people left in his Fellowship. You've got 12 Shadow to play with, you're looking pretty good. The only problem is: You have NO minions in your hand.

Sound familiar?

It's one of the worst positions to be in. Your opponent can basically waltz to Site 8 unscathed, and tip-toe into Site 9 the next turn without a worry. Do you just scoop up and concede now?

Perhaps, or you could bluff it.

The art of bluffing is a delicate one, that requires both good timing, good poise, and a whole lot of acting.

The bluff essentially consists of you representing enough minions to give your opponent a 'good' fight, but acting as if you'd rather he move on to the next site to give you the sure over-whelming of his Ring-Bearer.

Some keys to bluffing include counting out the available Shadow in the pool into groups that represent the minions (the non-existent ones) in your hand.
For example, if you're playing Wraiths and your opponent gives you 12 Shadow, you might count out one group of six and two groups of two to represent a Nazgul and two Morgul Brutes. For extra finesse, make sure to look back between your hand and the Shadow pool repeatedly, as if you're trying to get the math correct.

If you want to really put on a show, you can take extra pool on the side, and act as if you're seeing how much Shadow you would have total when your opponent moves to the next site.

The bluff ends when you fold up your hand and say, "No Minions." Then you get to see if bluff worked. Chances are against you, but there is nothing more satisfying than when you know you've mastered this art and your opponent replies, "I reconcile."


  1. Bluffing is quite an art. Like you said, there is a time to use and a time to pass and realize that there will be bigger opportunities as the game progresses. Bluffing in the beginning of the game is a sure-fire way to reveal your tactics for the end of the game. I am excited to see if The Hobbit movies breathe a breath of fresh air into the LOTR TCG. I have been playing since 2002 or so and LOVE the game. However, opportunities are far and few between to practice my once honed skills... thanks for posting and hope to hear more from your blog!

  2. Awesome, I am a huge fan of the LOTR TCG game, and i use this strategy sometimes when I have slow the fellowship down. My favorite fellowship for Gondor is Boromir lord of gondor and the Merry friend to sam, give boromir his sword and a couple of fortifications and you are good to go as long as you get faramir or aragorn down soon

  3. I also really like the Imrahil, Prince of Dohl Amroth, the Garrison of gondor, and knight of dol amroth, Great set of knights right there.

  4. Knights rule!

    Anyway, bluffing never works, because everyone knows that however much twilight you need to win, will always be exactly 1 more than the twilight you have.

    (my friends and I were fond of calling it the "Rule of One" - nearly had a drinking game made out of it)


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