Why I like Arkham Horror: The Card Game better than LOTR LCG

20 thoughts on “Why I like Arkham Horror: The Card Game better than LOTR LCG”

    1. Uh oh, did a Gen X’er sneak in here? 😉 That’s what I would put you at anyway if I had to guess. Arkham Horror has a lot of different varieties so I’d say look into the various games and give it a try! They’re all pretty good and its mostly a matter of figuring out which one appeals to you the most.

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  1. I never played the Lotr card game though I do have the core set, got it as a gift I think. It makes sense that game design would improve over time.
    People into these games should enjoy this post. I found it an entertaining read as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for giving it a go, Stew! LOTR LCG is a good game and some people really love it still. I think it depends heavily on how much you like to solve puzzles. If you ever find yourself with some free time, you’ll have to crack it open and tell us what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Its great fun, if you ever are in the mood for a board or card game. I wouldn’t be surprised if I write a bit more about Arkham in the coming months as I play it more too. Thanks as always for reading, John! 🙂

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  2. Didn’t realize how expensive these card games could get! Looking at LOTR LCG on Ebay, etc, I’m glad I’m just spending money on figures & paint (which adds up way too quickly)
    Thanks for the reviews, probably won’t invest in either one but enjoy reading thorough reviews of products that provide a balanced perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOTR LCG would be expensive if you try to buy it all now. The game had regular releases for years so there is a ton of content out there for it. I also don’t know how “in print” it is since the game is old and all board game makers are having trouble with shipping from China too so that might explain the prices you saw a little bit. While its probably a good deal to buy all of the game that you can in a lot, it is meant to be collected slowly over time so that it is a more reasonable cost. It also isn’t like CCG’s where you buy anything blind so you know roughly how much it costs upfront which I like too.

      With that said, I don’t think I’d recommend LOTR LCG because MESBG has better theme and narrative to it, overall. You’re already in the right place and spending your money wisely, I’d say!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I largely agree with your review. I absolutely LOVED the Lord of the Rings: The Living Card Game and did have a complete collection at one point (including all the Nightmare packs), but have sold it all for some of the reasons you mention, as well as another reason.

    The gameplay I think was great and generally so was the theme and uniqueness of most quests. What led me to sell it eventually was the fact that some cards were, like you mention, pretty much auto-includes in pretty much any deck you’d make. I didn’t mind that per se if the card was useful and helpful, but it does limit options and I never really enjoyed the time investment in making new decks from scratch. So what ended up happening was that I’d use pretty much the same deck against any quest and then tweak it slightly whenever I played a new quest and received new player cards. But that meant that 90% of my collection of player cards was pretty much left unused, taking up space and having been quite a financial investment.

    Because of the high difficulty I didn’t want to experiment with weaker decks because that would take even a lot more time and result in a lot more fails. So eventually it just kind of burned me out. I would spend a lot of money and time and then get my ass kicked multiple times for what felt like quite arbitrary reasons. As you mention, it’s a bit ridiculous how powerful some very generic enemies such as Orcs are in the game, especially when you’re playing as these famous heroes. I agree with your point that if they swapped the named heroes with FFG’s own creations, that aspect at least would be much better.

    I agree that they got the difficulty more right in Arkham, which makes it more fun. Campaign progression with XP to upgrade cards is also a much more satisfying system than just swapping any card you want, but all the cards (supposedly) being pretty much the same power level. There’s less of a sense of progression.

    All that said, the core gameplay is quite solid and FFG has announced a revised edition where they’ll add campaign boons and burdens (like from the Saga boxes) to the regular cycles. So I may just re-enter the game to try it out. But yeah I do enjoy Arkham more for the reasons you mention. If they used Arkham’s campaign and XP system, I think the LotR LCG would be a complete winner and I’d probably buy it again in an instant.

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    1. I’m glad to hear that you had similar experiences but also a bit bummed because I think the game never fully reached its potential. They just didn’t balance the card pool very well and they didn’t make enough decks viable to keep the game interesting, especially as they increased the difficulty and made casual decks even harder to win with. Its a shame but I think they kind of lost sight of what made the game great as time went on.

      I didn’t realize that the revised edition would change the gameplay up. I’d like to see them redo the card pool more because the scenarios themselves are nice and the card artwork is generally top notch. If they can fix some or all of the problems that developed over the game’s life, I think they have a pretty strong card game in there.

      Of course, I don’t think either one of us is made out of money so I don’t necessarily mind that the game isn’t for me any longer. I don’t know if I can keep up with Arkham and LOTR LCG at once, even if I want to!

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  4. Couldn’t agree more Jeff.
    I’ve only played the digital version of LotR, and it disappointed me somewhat. I’d already played Arkham at that point so that could be part of the reason why.
    I didn’t like the deckbuilding or the story progression anywhere as near as much as I did with Arkham, and it was very much a case of play, lose, adjust deck, repeat.
    However, if they were to go back and use Arkham’s core mechanisms to re-do the game, then I’d be queueing up for it, as I love the LotR’s theme.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you like puzzles, LOTR might actually be more appealing but if I played Arkham first, I don’t think I could go back either. Its a shame that the theme was lost in LOTR because like you, that is what draws me in, much more than the gameplay itself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and as my wife likes to say, “Great minds think alike!”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I grew up on LOTR. The world fascinated me and started me towards games like D&D. I guess there’s a whole generation out there that did the same. Tolkien’s got a lot to answer for… all good, of course!
        ‘Great minds think alike’? Don’t let me drag you down to my level whatever you do!😉

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  5. I’ll be honest, I still haven’t found time to play the LotR game that I picked up, (along with a few expansions) yet, but the thing really is I’ve never gotten into CCGs. even though (as a Gen-X’er) I was around and in the target geek market when M:TG came out, along with a pile of other games. A bit old for Poke’Mon or YuGiOh, though. 😉
    Still, I have to admit I don’t really “get” deck building, even though it’s included in games like Warhammer Underpants and Marvel Champions (in MC we’ve just used base decks rather than customise them).
    After reading this I just hope the LotR stuff I’ve got is early enough in the release cycle that filthy non-card-gamer-casuals like myself and Marouda can still understand, enjoy, play and win games!

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    1. You were the right age to buy and own the most valuable Magic cards and it sounds like you didn’t! By the time I got in, those cards were expensive for a kid to be able to buy and fairly rare.

      In regards to deck building, I tend to look for other people’s decks and then tweak them to my liking. I have built a few decks where I change the original deck idea quite a bit but usually I only swap out a couple of cards that don’t work for me as well as the person who built the deck. There’s no shame in that in my book and I think its fun. I will say that the appeal of deck building is that its something to think about outside of playing the game which is nice. If you do build your own deck and do well, you feel a sense of accomplishment too. Kind of like making a really good army in wargaming, I suppose. Its yours, you made it, and you were successful with it!

      With that said, I do hope that you and Marouda actually like LOTR LCG too. I actually played it with an ex-girlfriend and she didn’t like it all. I guess that is yet another reason why she is an ex 😉 The game isn’t overly complicated to learn or play, but the deck-building aspect is kind of frustrating because you will quickly find that you have to use the most powerful decks in the game to do well at some scenarios. Some people enjoy that challenge but I found it was too much and sapped the joy and theme from the game. When you do get around to playing it, I’d be curious to hear what you think of LOTR!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was around at the time but card games just never had any appeal to me really. I did pick up a set and boosters for some Marvel game as well as a coule starter sets of a Star Wars CCG, but only played the Marvel one once (never even played the SW one) and ended up giving them away a few years ago to Tarmor.
        While I understand the concept, I still don’t “get” deck building though. I understand that the more cards you add the less likely you are to draw any specific card, but then why wouldn’t you just avoid any cards that are sub-optimal and only add in the most powerful ones? And the MC game doesn’t seem to have any limit to the number of cards in a deck – at least that I could find…
        Then again, I don’t enjoy list building in minis games either. Once they turned heavily away from creating thematic armies in a simple/straightforward way and much more heavily towards min-maxing rule breakpoints, setting up synergistic combos using auras/combos/special rules and cards, it really put me off.
        Being realistic, it probably won’t be anytime soon for LotR. We’ve had a lot of MC expansions trickle in over the last year, and we pretty much end up needing to relearn the game every time we take an extended break from it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It sounds like you had some Overpower cards. I remember that game even if I didn’t play it. I think games like Overpower show the pitfalls of CCGs. The games are here today and gone tomorrow and they’re basically worthless if their player base abandons it sadly.

        Deckbuilding does require some practice and it isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, its easy to find decklists online for pretty much any game. I would recommend finding some content with tips on how to deckbuild for Marvel Champions and try to apply them to any decks you build. There’s a chance there that you might grow to enjoy it a bit more or maybe not! The good thing is that you don’t have to love it to enjoy LCG’s!


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