Wednesday, August 01, 2012

LOTR TCG Rules Explained - Episode 2: New Site Path Rules

Players who haven't played since the Movie Block (everything before the Shadows expansion) may be confused to see sites with no site number on them in the new sets.

Starting in Shadows, the way that sites were played changed. Now, instead of having 9 set sites and only being able to play the site with the appropriate number each time your opponent moved to the next site, you have a set of sites you can choose from, and play the site you want to play next.

This increased the strategy of the game significantly as you could now choose to play a site whose text benefits your Shadow side if your opponent is ahead of you and moving to a new site. You could also choose the site with the highest Shadow number to give you the maximum number of tokens if you have a lot of minions to play. 

Site manipulation also became very popular using cards like Ulaire Nelya, to give your Shadow side extra benefits, or to set up a better Fellowship phase for yourself when it became your turn:

The rules for the new adventure deck are simple: 
  • You still only get 9 sites in your adventure deck.
  • You cannot have more than one copy of any given site in your adventure deck.
  • You can have no more than 3 sites with the same Shadow number in your adventure deck.
  • The 3rd site and the 6th site on the adventure path automatically gain the keyword Sanctuary.
One of the most exciting changes was the introduction of old sites with the new freedom to play them at any point in the site path, not just site 1:


  1. I just stumbled on this site tonight. Very nice. I bought a bunch of cards many years ago when our local store was dumping the game and played the game off and on with my son. For some reason, he always has cleaned my clock. That was several years ago. I've been wanting to pull it out again and give it another whirl. I even pulled out the card boxes tonight.

    I never got any Shadows starters but did get two Black Riders and a few boosters here and there after that. I think the new site mechanic was an improvement. I just need those cards! I'll have to see what Hills Wholesale is selling.

    Anyway, thanks for keeping the flame burning and the tips on playing.

    Are there any free card inventory programs or spread sheets? I used to use the one online back when they had the online game, but that died years ago as well.

  2. "Are there any free card inventory programs or spread sheets? I used to use the one online back when they had the online game, but that died years ago as well."

    While not a spreadsheet or inventory checklist there is a new (free) website to play online. Nothing to download. All rules are enforced so no cheating occurs. It has a deckbuilder with search filters built in. For casual play everyone has access to 4 copies of every card! Leagues can be joined which specify which cards you may use.

    This info could be posted on the home page to encourage more players to try it out.

    I often see a dozen players on at a time.

  3. To get back on topic: Site manipulation. Wow, LotR almost became a completely new game after Shadows released. Much more dynamic and strategic to be playing your sites wherever it suited best. Forest-based Nazgul quickly became a favorite and very powerful shadow that could often swarm!

    Unfortunately site manipulation got so overpowered and, in a sense, anti-rules like as a given site could/would be played and replayed over and over at each site on the path. Instead of cleaning up these rules the site, Council Courtyard, was banned from play else shadow players were adding a burden after EVERY move!

  4. Thanks for the advice. I'm going to stick to playing the movie block. Tonight my son and I played our first game in several years and had a blast. Now I'm getting a Fellowship booster box and some other odds and ends. Please keep posting about the game.

  5. Word to Marduk. Not only did Nazgul track laying get old ("Hi there, hope you didn't plan on any conditions!") but it also got silly from a meta perspective as you could end up at Mt Doom @ site 3 (as a SANCTUARY!) and the prancing pony as site 9.

    I kind of wish they had modified a sort of half-way measure. Instead of site numbers, region numbers. All sites have a 1, 2 or 3 in their corner, and you can play any site as long as you're in the correct region. (which means... once you left say... region 2, you know you'd never see Council Courtyard again) Once they had it all balanced out, they could have then come out with some "wild card" sites. Places representing generic rivers, forests, etc that could be seen in any region.

    Hmmm.... maybe some of us should sit down and figure out what each site's region would be in case players want a variant.

    I was also disappointed they kept banned the "shadow choke" cards (like No Stranger to the Shadows) when with the new region rule, they became kind of useless.

    Oh what could have been...


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