Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Single Player/Endurance Format

Let's start with a sad truth: There just aren't that many people playing Lord of the Rings TCG anymore! You're lucky to be able to find another person to play with period. Finding someone to play with on a regular basis (or often enough to feed your wildly growing addiction) is impossible.

At least that's how I felt.

So I decided to solve my problem by trying out some new ways to play Lord of the Rings TCG in a single player mode. Thus the birth of the Endurance Format.

As with the normal format, you represent the Fellowship and have a Ring-Bearer (any one of your choice) and one additional Companion (any one of your choice). You start at Site 1 (any one of your choice).

You have a draw deck that consists of 30 Fellowship cards (they must be unique/only one copy per deck, and may not contain any Companion cards).

You draw 4 cards to start.

Each turn, during the "Fellowship Phase" you may play 1 card from hand. In Endurance Format, you ignore all costs of cards.

When you move to the next site, you randomly choose a site from any site 2.

There is a Shadow Deck that consists of 60 minions (they must be unique/only one copy per deck).

You shuffle the deck and play the top 2 minions from that deck.

You then move to the maneuver phase, the archery phase, and then the skirmish phase as your would in Normal Format.

Ignore all Maneuver and Archery text on minions, but you still calculate the minion archery total and apply wounds to your fellowship.

If you have any Free People's Maneuver, Archery, or Skirmish events in hand you may play them at the appropriate time for free.

During the Assignment phase, if there are more minions than companions (which there quickly will be) you assign them however you choose.

When you have finished the Skirmish phase, if your Fellowship has survived, you move on to the Regroup phase as normal. You do not discard any minions (unless you have a Regroup event or action that allows you to do so).

You may then draw 2 cards, and proceed on to Site 3. There is no limit to the number of cards you can have in your hand, and there is still Initiative.

You then repeat the process, getting another Fellowship phase. Except this time, you play 3 minions. At Site 4, you play 4, and so on, until you have reached Site 9.


This format is titled 'Endurance' as a nod to video games with an 'Endurance' format where they just send bad guys at you until you can't take it anymore.

It's certainly not the same as the Lord of the Rings TCG you know and love, but it's a fun variant, and opens up a different world of strategies and deck types. What dynamic duo of companions lasts the longest? What cards help you survive the longest? How tough do you want to make your 'Minion Deck'? Try it out, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!


  1. Hi Ray!
    Happy to find this blog after many years i've been far away from this game, i've pretty damn gone to it!
    So i'm trying your exellent idea to play this as the one and the only player!
    Some questions nevertheless: in the fellowship, at the beggining, can i play any one Ring Bearer AND anyone character without taking care of the rule of "spend" 4 twilligh tokens for those two characters? I mean, can i but, for example, one Isildur, and one Boromir ? (3 and 3 = 6 twillight tokens?) Or must-i spend at the maximum 4 for this two characters?
    If we can play anyones, why can't we test an Ents of Fangorn (13 or 15 if i remember) and another ring bearer?
    Secondly, must-i make the maximum to try to kill my characters ON a skirmish phase? As for exemple, testing to play the minions? Or must i make anything to kill those minions with my characters? Exept the archery and manoevers "special abilities", must i apply the "automatic game texts"? For exemple "When you play this minions, tatatatatata..."?
    At last, but not least, in a skirmish, can i make the assignment really LIKE I WANT? I mean, everyone on this character, leaving the ring bearer safe?
    Thank you for your blog! Exellent !

    1. Hey Lazareth!

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      The first answer to your questions is: Try anything you want! This is just a way to be able to play by yourself, so whatever makes the game the most fun and challenging goes!

      But to answer with what I had in mind when I designed this, I'd say:

      1) Stick to the rule of 4 twilight cost total for your companions.

      2) You can use the text of the minions during any phase in any way to try for the maximum amount of kills/damage.

      3) You should assign minions as you normally would from both sides. First from the Free People's side, taking as little risk to your ring-bearer as possible, and then from the Shadow side, attacking the ring-bearer as much as possible.

  2. I've tried this format, and it really helped me become more familiar with the basic mechanics of LOTR TCG, before I could have the chance to play for real.

    I was wondering if you ever thought of a team version of the game, 2 players versus 2 players? I think it would be a great format, since two experienced players can «tutor» new players. Any ideas?


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