News for June 2009
Conflicting Interests 7
A look at combat in the upcoming Middle-earth Quest!
Middle-earth Quest | Published 05 June 2009

“Orcs were multiplying again in the mountains. Trolls were abroad. No longer dull-witted, but cunning and armed with dreadful weapons.”
– From the chapter “The Shadow of the Past” The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

Sauron has begun spreading his influence over the lands of Middle-earth. Corrupting the lands and their people, his taint can be found sprawling across near every village and hamlet. Resistance comes hard, and brave heroes are attempting to prevent this blight from reaching a fever point. Everyday is a battle against the forces of the Shadow. Combat is a way of life in the lands of Middle-earth.

The minions of Sauron and the creatures that have been swayed to his side are fierce, and it will require all the cunning a hero has in order to defeat them. Each hero has a unique deck of combat cards, which represent the various tactics they have honed in their years of conflict. The deck of the nimble Argalad focuses heavily on the arts of ranged combat, while the valiant noblewoman Eleanor’s deck focuses on both the arts of close combat and range.


The Shadow is not without dangerous abilities as well. Three decks are available for use in the destruction of the heroes. The Ravager deck is focused more on the melee side of combat, yet has a few strong ranged attacks. The Zealot deck is the opposite, focusing on range with a scattering of melee-oriented cards. Last is the mighty Behemoth deck. This deck is chock full of powerful close combat cards, capable of felling an unprepared warrior in a single blow. Both the Witch-king and the terrifying Balrog draw from the Behemoth deck, and it is truly worthy of representing these fell entities.

Once combat is joined, both players select a card from their hands and place it face down in front of them. Both cards are then simultaneously revealed. Each card has a special ability which is immediately resolved. These abilities may cancel the opponent’s card, do extra damage, or even provide a benefit for the next round of combat.

On the upper left corner is the type of attack being played, either ranged or melee, and the upper right is the total defense. Defense ranges from 0-4 shields and tells how much damage the card will be able to shrug off. Finally, the number in the top center of the card is the total damage it will inflict if the attack is successful.

Each hero, monster and minion has a Strength attribute. This number determines how many cards they can play in any given combat. Each combat card has a number on the lower left, indicating how much of your prodigious strength it consumes. Once a hero or minion has reached their strength limit, they are exhausted. Once exhausted they may not play any more cards in the current combat.


This plays a large part into the strategy. Do you go for the high damage card, which will take up a significant portion of your Strength, or do you play it safe with smaller attacks that give you more options later in combat? The choices you make spell the difference between hope and despair.

Middle-earth Quest is a game of adventure and conflict set in the time leading up to the creation of the Fellowship. One player will adopt to mantle of Sauron and do his best to spread his evil influence across the lands. Up to three players become heroes and will do their best to foil Sauron's foul plots, and rally the peoples of Middle-earth to their side.

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Comments (7)

josey wales
Published: 6/15/2009 9:26:45 PM

I like rolling dice also.  I feel it adds a realistic randomness to combat (as long as it's not overdone!), since you can't always plan for everything.  However, this card system looks like it has potential.

Published: 6/9/2009 2:41:54 PM

 I really like the idea of using combat decks as opposed to dice. Looking good so far. I can't wait to hear more.

Published: 6/9/2009 9:21:53 AM

 Looks interesting... Another epic addition to battle-chess with massive battles...

Published: 6/7/2009 4:04:00 PM

Indeed, no dice! Could have been a great coöperative game like Arkham Horror if the combat system would have used dice.

Published: 6/7/2009 5:54:49 AM

Quite interesting ... let´s see how it works out ... For my part I really like dice giving a game this special feeling of luck ;o)

Published: 6/5/2009 8:51:20 PM

This gem is looking more awesome every day!

Question to FFG: the cards seem to be the small type (like those in WOW:tag?). Are they linen-coated?

I hope so, as there will be no way to put them in card sleeves, and I much prefer playing with the kind of cards found in WOW: TAG. They have a fantastic feeling, and stand wear and tear.

David Spangler
Published: 6/5/2009 4:47:59 PM

Well, well. no dice.

This was a good preview, but I wished for a bit more information; it was too short!  I have questons!  Ah well, wait until next week and eventually for the rules and the game itself to see how all this works out.

I can see where the choosing the right cards and measuring which cards against your strength brings a strategic element into the game, but just from this preview alone, I have to say combat seems a bit, well, pale, not as exciting as it might be.  Of course, gameplay may prove this thought quite wrong.  And because cards are used for moving as well, I can see that this mechanism creates some real choices for the player.

But what can I say?  I like rolling dice!

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