Middle-earth is a land of wonder and enchantment. However, dark shadows loom on the horizon, threatening to enshroud the world in eternal night. Who can stay this terrible storm? What hope is there against the shadow of the Dark Lord?

Greetings, anxious heroes! Welcome to another exciting preview of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game . We started off these previews with an overview , highlighting some mechanics and the cooperative aspect of the game, and then moved on to learn about Quests . Today we will delve deeper into the game and explore the first of the four spheres of influence from which players can build their decks.

Each sphere of influence comes with its own unique strategies and play styles. And while each sphere is capable in its own right, they really come to life when mixing with and playing off of other spheres. First, let’s take a look at Spirit.

The sphere of Spirit is mainly focused on Willpower, questing, and Threat management. Spirit represents an individual’s resolve and determination, making Spirit-focused decks great for questing. Each hero in the game has a Willpower Strength rating, which represents their effectiveness when committing to a quest. The higher your heroes’ Willpower, the higher their chances are of successfully making progress on the Quest. Heroes such as Éowyn also have abilities that make them even more formidable when questing.

During the Quest Phase, all heroes and allies committed to the quest must have enough Willpower to endure whatever threats they might encounter on their journey. Once players have decided who they are committing to the Quest, one Encounter card per player is revealed and added to the staging area. If the amount of Threat in the staging area exceeds the players’ collective Willpower, each player raises the threat level on his dial. This will draw unwanted attention to the players, and it also brings them that much closer to being eliminated from the game. On the other hand, if the combined Willpower is greater than the amount of threat in the staging area, progress tokens are placed on the quest, bringing them that much closer to their goal.

Two of the main obstacles the heroes will face on their journey are Enemies and Locations. Enemies must be encountered directly by an individual player, but Locations are traveled to by all the players together. Dealing with these obstacles are the two primary ways to make progress on quests. The Spirit deck consists of many cards that reduce the time it takes to explore locations. A Lórien Guide can find the quickest route on a quest, while Event cards like Strength of Will can encourage your companions to forge on through the worst of locations.

Additionally, Spirit cards also focus on controlling player Threat. As mentioned earlier, players are eliminated if their Threat climbs too high. In case a Wandering Took is causing mischief and raising your threat too high, you might pass him off to a friend with lower Threat, or seek refuge with The Galadhrim .

Join us next time for another look at The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game !

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

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