News for January 2014
The Dunland Trap
Announcing the First Adventure Pack in The Ring-maker Cycle
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 07 January 2014

“I see that you do not yet know what to do,” said Celeborn. “It is not my part to choose for you; but I will help you as I may.”
   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Dunland Trap, the first chapter of The Ring-maker cycle of Adventure Packs for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!

Could it be possible to turn the Dark Lord’s foul arts against him? In The Dunland Trap, some of Middle-earth’s greatest heroes continue to aid Saruman the White with the work that he began in The Voice of Isengard deluxe expansion. As they seek to win a rare victory for the forces of good and their struggle against the Shadow of Mordor, the heroes must face new perils, including the threat posed by angry bands of militant Dunlendings!

The Dunland Trap features a combat-heavy new scenario, in which your heroes must battle their way to freedom against waves of ferocious Dunlendings. Additionally, among its sixty cards, you’ll find a new Silvan hero and three copies of each player card, many of which introduce greater shape and surprises to the Silvan trait.

As it begins The Ring-maker cycle, The Dunland Trap also provides more support for the Mount trait, as well as the Time X and Doomed X mechanics featured in The Voice of Isengard, and players will also discover thematic ties to Saruman and the White Council.

That’s not all, though, as the Adventure Packs in The Ring-maker also return to some of the game’s previously developed traits and mechanics. For more about The Ring-maker and the themes at its core, we turn to lead developer Caleb Grace.

Lead Developer Caleb Grace on The Ring-maker

The Ring-maker cycle continues the rich narrative tradition in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game by linking each adventure together into one continuous storyline, and the first pack of the cycle, The Dunland Trap, picks up immediately after the events in The Voice of Isengard deluxe expansion. The heroes are asked by Saruman to undertake a quest of grave importance, and the events of this scenario lead further into the overarching plot of The Ring-maker. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, however, so I’m going to talk instead about the cycle’s player cards.

One of the very first things that the design team wanted to do with the player cards in The Ring-maker was to develop the Silvan trait. By the time we started working on this set, we’d already bolstered the Dwarf, Gondor, Rohan, and Hobbit traits with heroes and allies to the point that each offered players the ability to build fun and thematic decks around them. It was high time to give Elves some more attention.

Before we started designing new cards around the Silvan trait, we needed to settle on the trait’s thematic core. We knew for certain that we wanted the Elves of Middle-earth to play differently from the other races we’d developed extensively. During the timeline of our game, one of the things that seemed to set the Elves apart from the other free peoples was their dwindling numbers and their standoffish attitude towards the problems of mortals. While they wielded great power, they reserved most of it to defend the shrinking borders of their ancient kingdoms. Whenever they did venture out or intervene on behalf of others, they would strike with great power and then quickly fade away.

That gave us a great starting point for developing the Silvan trait: Silvan allies have powerful abilities that trigger when they enter play but low hit point values so they don’t stick around for long. A good example is the Naith Guide (The Dunland Trap, 1), which reads: Response: After Naith Guide enters play, choose a hero. That hero does not exhaust to quest this round.” That’s the kind of ability that you want to trigger again and again, and that’s precisely the way Silvan are meant to be played.

As opposed to other traits such as Dwarf and Outlands where players are encouraged to get as many allies into play as possible, Silvan allies encourage you to bounce them in and out of play to take constant advantage of their powerful effects. But in order to play an ally again and again, you need a way of returning that ally back to its owner’s hand, so we crafted some events that represent the expert woodcraft of the Elves which require you to return a Silvan you control to your hand in order to play them. A good example of such a card is The Tree People (The Dunland Trap, 9), which reads: Action: Return a Silvan ally you control to your hand to search the top 5 cards of your deck for a Silvan ally. Put that ally into play and shuffle the other cards back into your deck.” With luck, this combo will not only return your Naith Guide to your hand so you can play it again next turn, but it will also allow you to trigger the Response effect on the Silvan you choose to put into play.

In playtesting, we found that bouncing Silvan allies in and out of play was a really fun game experience, but the Elves needed something more to unify them. That’s why we created Celeborn (The Dunland Trap, 1) to be a Leadership hero. The husband of Galadriel and Lord of the Galadhrim, Celeborn was a powerful ruler of a secretive people. His ability to rally and inspire the Elves of Lorien is represented in his ability: Response: After a Silvan ally enters play, that ally gets +1 Willpower, +1 Attack, and +1 Defense until the end of the round.” This ability works for each player’s Silvan allies, so everyone in your group can take advantage of their mobility.

But the Silvan trait isn’t the only theme being developed in The Ring-maker; there’s so much more to look forward to in this cycle! Where previous cycles dedicated a larger portion of cards to their main themes, the player cards in The Ring-maker provide more of a smattering of Middle-earth in order to introduce several new strategies and revive a few older ones too (Secrecy, anyone?). There’s something for everyone in The Ring-maker!

Seeking Strength to Withstand the Shadow

In Mordor, the Dark Lord rallies his strength. Time is not on your side. Can you help the White Wizard discover the means to defeat the Shadow? If so, you’ll first need to survive the deadly Dunlending assaults of The Dunland Trap!

The Dunland Trap is scheduled to lead Middle-earth’s heroes into The Ring-maker cycle and its intrigues early in the second quarter of 2014.

Note: The Ring-maker cycle and all its Adventure Packs require both the Core Set and The Voice of Isengard.

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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