Where To Next?
I know, I know, the latest LOTR LCG deluxe expansion, Heirs of Numenor, just came out, and we still have a whole AP cycle to enjoy. That doesn’t mean it is ever too early to start some meaningless speculation about what will come next for this game. We’ve gone in-depth (get it?) with the Dwarves in Moria, and now we’re busy fighting epic battles in the realm of Gondor. Which area of Middle Earth is next? In this article, I will talk a little bit about the possible next destinations for this game, and end with my own little pipe dream as to what I would like to see.
I think this is the most likely of the possible next cycles. Why? Rohan obviously played a large role in the events of LOTR and there are already a healthy level of Rohan cards and a few Rohan synergy cards, so it would make sense for the game to go back and essentially finish what was started. As far as meaningful events for the game to tap into for AP scenarios, this could be a good place to first introduce the threat of Saruman, albeit only an indirect one at this point. According to lore, Grima Wormtongue was captured by and interrogated by the Nazgul in Rohan and was able to gain valuable information from him, specifically the location of the Shire. There could definitely be a scenario or two revolving around that event, as well as some type of interaction with Theoden and Helm’s Deep (and fingers crossed for some type of Ent cameo as well). Because of all these things, I expect to see Rohan as the next big AP cycle. Of course I won’t be totally surprised if I’m completely wrong.
There has been a fair bit of love for Elves so far, of both the Noldor and Silvan persuasion, but nothing near to the attention Dwarves have receives. If not Rohan, then I would fully expect some type of major Elf focus, but where? I doubt we would be returned back to Mirkwood, and Elrond’s house already got a fair bit of attention in the last cycle, so I think it would make sense for Lothlorien to be the focus. Just as we received Elrond and his ring in the final AP pack of Dwarrowdelf, I imagine Galadriel and her ring would show up in the final pack of this potential AP cycle. Lorewise, I imagine that a possible story could revolve around performing some kind of task for Galadriel, and definitely there would be the potential for some “treasure”-type cards in the form of gifts from Galadriel, similar to the ones that the Fellowship receives.
#3: The Shire/Hobbits
The other big possibility is a cycle that focuses on hobbits. I think this is less likely than the other two because of lore and gameplay reasons. However, there are already a few cards that work with the Hobbit trait and so there is a foundation for something to be built upon at some point. The story could focus on defending the Shire and the oblivious Hobbit residents from threats that are coming from the outside. We could see some more Took allies to supplement Wandering Took and Keen-Eyed Took. And most importantly of all, this would be a logical place for the introduction of a Tom Bombadil card (although I picture him more as an Event than a Hero or Ally). I think there is a fair bit of potential for some interesting play, especially to interact with some of those early parts of Fellowship of the Ring that haven’t really been explored that much in other games (the Old Forest, the Barrow-Downs, etc.).
And now my personal wish…
THE HUNT FOR THE BLUE WIZARDS!
(or hopefully some more creative title…)
The opening picture to this article perhaps spoiled it, but my suggestion from a bit out of left-field would be to have a cycle where our heroes have been sent East to find the missing Blue Wizards. Originally, this idea came about because I wanted the game at some point to explore the East and the Easterlings, which is something that Tolkien might have eventually spent some time exploring but unfortunately never really had the chance. They are referenced at some points throughout the lore, but only in glimpses, and the mystery of what exactly lies in the East has always intrigued me. Then, when I thought about another mystery of the Tolkien lore, the two Blue Wizards who went into the East and never returned, it made sense that that would provide a perfect justification for an adventure to be set there.
I should say that I wouldn’t want the players to actually discover what happened to the Blue Wizards, as that is something that should remain a mystery for all time I think, but the search itself could lead to some other meaningful revelation and, more importantly, give us a chance to grapple with and learn more about some of the dangers of the East. I really like this idea because it gives us all a chance to experience something new in this world we love, and could lead to some new mechanics and types of cards that we have never seen before. At the same time, this suggestion is controversial because I know that there are many players who are nervous about FFG creating content outside of Tolkien’s lore. I can definitely see the validity of these concerns, but so far I feel that the game has done enough to inspire my confidence that they could do it in a way that would be respectful and feel right.
Well, that’s it for this edition of wild speculation. Please let me know in the comments what you think will be next for this game, and what your personal preferences and pipe dreams are!