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First Age Update

by on March 27, 2014

Shadowy Cloak

Almost a year ago, I posted about the beginning of a brand new custom project, a fan expansion for this game created by yours truly entitled “First Age”. The idea behind this expansion is that it would take LOTR LCG back to the First Age, covering the events of the Silmarillion, and including characters and foes from that time period. It’s hard to believe that so much time has elapsed since my first announcement, but juggling many different projects, as well as the usual demands of life, has meant that the project has taken longer than anticipated. However, I’m happy to report that I’m getting close to completion, helped by several others who have contributed card and design ideas. So the first order of business is to ask you fine readers for help. Even though this is a fan expansion, actually especially because this is a fan expansion, I would like to get people to playtest it, so that it is as balanced and fun as possible. If you are interested in helping to playtest, comment below!

The second order of business is to share a bit of what will actually be in the release of First Age. There will be around 100 new player Undismayed-Front-Facecards, reflecting the unique characters, items, and events of the First Age. In many ways, this is designed to be a new “Core Set” for a different age, as it didn’t make sense to me to have players take Aragorn or Thorin Oakenshield adventuring through Beleriand thousands of years before they were born! However, in order to make sure that there are still many deck building options, some existing player cards will be compatible with First Age, namely those that fit thematically. A Test of Will for example, makes sense in any age, as does something like Feint. Thus, I will release a list of existing player cards that fit thematically with the First Age. Of course, this is a fan expansion, and players can do whatever they like. If you want to see how Legolas would have fared against Glaurung the dragon, be my guest!

While every sphere will get some love in the new player cards, there is also a brand new fifth sphere: the Mastery sphere. Anyone who’s read The Silmarillion knows that the lines between good and evil are a bit more blurred than they are in The Lord of the Rings, and those who are supposed to be good often engage in questionable acts in pursuit of their goals. The Mastery sphere represents those in Middle-earth who sought to use their considerable power, skill, ambition, and craft against Morgoth. Someone like Fëanor is a perfect example. Mastery cards will be quite strong, but they come with a cost, and I don’t mean just resources, but Corruption. Corruption is a brand new mechanic in First Age that can both be inflicted by player cards, through the use of abilities, or by the encounter cards themselves, as Morgoth seeks to sow disunion amongst his foes. If a character takes too much Corruption, he may even turn against his comrades, just as the Noldor slayed their kin at Alqualondë. There will be more details on the Mastery sphere and Corruption soon.

The final tidbit for today is revealing what the three quests in the First Age release will be: the Quest for the Silmaril! You will have theEyes-in-the-Dark-Front-Face opportunity to recreate the epic journey of Beren and Lúthien as you seek to recover a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth himself. In The Isle of Werewolves, you must rescue some of your fellows who have been captured by Sauron, during this time a lieutenant of Morgoth, and imprisoned in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. In The Seat of Morgoth, you will sneak into the depths of Angband, coming face to face with perhaps the most powerful force of evil that has ever been, one that makes Sauron look like a member of the Lollipop Guild: Morgoth himself. Finally, in Hunting of the Wolf, you will hunt down the monstrous wolf, Carcharoth, seeking the Silmaril that he has swallowed. Do you think you can do better than Beren and Lúthien? Will you fall to temptation like a Son of Fëanor? Will you seek the aid of the Valar? Or will you rely on the strength of Men? Find out soon!

 

 

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43 Comments
  1. I absolutely would love to play test “First Age”! And I love the sneak peaks above. Probably one of my favorite parts of the Silmarillion. Let me know!

  2. I am interested in play testing for you, but I play very sporadically, as I’m so busy. Right now is a good time for me to play test. I tend to play 2-player solo but can try multiple different configurations as you need.

  3. The First Age: When We Rode Giant Dogs.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      The First Age: Who Let the Dogs Out?

  4. Glaurung permalink

    WOW!!!! You really make a serious job man!!!! Sounds amazing………i still cannot breath…….

    Count me in if you need……

  5. Would love to playtest if I had the time… sadly I don’t. 😦
    Though I do have one bit of feedback: In the last sentence of Undismayed, there should be a “If this character is still in play” clause, just in case you do something cool that slips the character into your hand or deck. 🙂

  6. Hi! I will, also, want to play test if you need…
    I’m reading your posts with high interest being a LOTR LCG player, so count me on

  7. MPK permalink

    How are you going to create thematically appropriately strong heroes like Beren, Tuor, or Ecthelion while still maintaining balance between other player cards?

    In other news, at least players will still be able to use Glorfindel.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That is the big challenge. Originally, I was going with the idea that all stats throughout the game, including enemies, would be inflated to represent the greater scale and power of the characters alive at this time (power tends to diminish as the ages progress…). However, in practice, this tended to make the game harder to balance and didn’t add much in a gameplay sense. So I decided to instead go with stats that are comparable to that in standard LOTR LCG (with some exceptions), instead placing emphasis on the abilities on characters and attachments. The “restricted list”, which only allows certain cards from the existing card pool to be played with First Age cards and scenarios is the main way of handling the balance. Players should understand that a 3 attack strength in First Age is NOT equivalent to a 3 attack strength in the Third Age (standard LOTR LCG).

  8. Also, love the idea of corruption!

  9. Tom Eskey permalink

    Hi Ian – I would love to be part of the playtesting team. I’m recently retired, so I am ready, willing, and able to dedicate as much time and effort as needed. I love your blog and the Grey Company podcast as well. Thanks for all you do for the community.

  10. Glowwyrm permalink

    I’d love to be a part of the play testing team. This sounds like an awesome idea!

  11. anderslundqvist permalink

    Sounds very interesting. Count me in.

  12. Count me in

  13. I’d love to playtest!

  14. Victor R. permalink

    Hello Ian,

    Please consider me as one of our play testers. I have octagn set up and usually play at least a couple of times per week, so I could devote that time to play testing.

    Kind regards.

  15. Nusse permalink

    Hi, i’m definitely interested in playtesting!

  16. TalesfromtheCards permalink

    Thanks for all the interest in helping, everyone! I will be sending out playtest materials to all of you soon, perhaps even today, but Monday at the latest.

  17. Interested in seeing the cards to be honest. Hopefully I’ll have time to playtest them for you.

  18. Fantastic effort! I would love to give this a spin down at the gaming club. We have often talked about the possibilities of creating scenarios from other ages. A campaign covering the life of Turin Turambar would be an absolute joy to play. So many characters, so many adventures…. I hope it is possible to truly capture the story and the sense of grandeur, dread and doom and still making it playable. If not chosen for playtesting, we will follow this project with great interest.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I tend to always give myself new stuff to do when I’m not even done with my current project! That being said, once the First Age expansion is done, which is focusing on the Quest for the Silmaril, I’m planning on creating regular expansions for it. My idea right now is to create a “Turin cycle” covering his adventures. As you said, it will be hard to capture the immense feel of that story, but it will be a fun challenge!

  19. Scroll Lock permalink

    I will be proud to playtest!

  20. Matthew D. permalink

    What’s the Similarilion? Is Tauriel in that movie? 😉

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Ha! Just wait for Tauriel’s spin-off movie in 2016!

  21. Two Sheds permalink

    I would love to play test! (solo and two player)

  22. PsychoRocka permalink

    Would love to help with testing, I do however only use real cards not OCTGN or anything…. would be willing to print it all out and playtest though =)

  23. I would love to try this extension !
    When everything is play tested and finalized, do you plan to also release your source files for the cards (be it PSD, Strange Eons or something else) to allow for translations ? I would really, really love to get those cards translated in French and printed by printerstudio or artscow to seamlessly integrate them with my collection.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Once everything is ready for the final release, I will definitely make the source files available!

  24. Greg Mahler permalink

    I am not sure how you are organizing this play testing, but I am interested as well.

  25. Strategian permalink

    I’d be glad to play test.

  26. Honey Roasted Almond permalink

    I am really looking forward to this expansion! I recently started reading the Silmarillion after reading many wiki articles on various aspects of Tolkien’s mythology and would love to explore these events and themes in the game. My gaming time right now is quite limited, but if you still need playtesters towards the end of May, I would be happy (and will feel privileged) to do it.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks! The Silmarillion is really amazing. There are a couple of chapters, dealing with geography and peoples that are a bit tough to get through, but the stories are great.

  27. Honey Roasted Almond permalink

    Btw, I love the illustration of what I assume are Glorfindel and the Balrog during the Fall of Gondolin. Looking forward to see what other cool art comes from this.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Definitely one of the best parts of working on this project has been finding amazing First Age art along the way.

  28. Jim Beszhak permalink

    I am likely the only person on this thread that does not want to play test it. I’m too new to the game and actually play fairly poorly, since I bought the core set, I have thought about how great it would be to play using the story lines set out in the Silmarillion. I may like that book more that the lotr. All that aside I do know one thing: “If you build it, they will come.” Even if you didn’t make the source files available, I would pre-order this game now; sight unseen. I can’t wait.

  29. I would love to be a part of the playtest. Where or how do I sign up?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Look out for an invitation to the playtest group!

  30. c.adrian permalink

    Don’t even know what I want to say first from the excitement. Got The LOTR LCG game a year ago, but I got more into it just 2 months ago (accepted the fact that this is going to be a solo game for me).

    So, like any other obsessed person out there, you start getting the first packs, then start looking for some fan made things, dividers, storage ideas (which made me really happy for some stupid reason) and after all that is kind of settled (and you have a plan on how many packs a month you should get, but still hard to control yourself)…fan made cards/scenarios.

    Cutting this short…this blog looks like a goldmine, for more reasons than one. Can’t wait to give this expansion/side core set a try. I’m a little sad that FFG hasn’t already thought of this, but glad that someone did. Theme related, like you suggested, I will try to play only with cards that make sense for that age, at first, but I’m really curious to see how other characters would fit into the scenarios since I really think that the “world” from Silmarillion was much harsher than Lord of the rings, and I always thought how things might have gone in different circumstances.

    So, a sincere thank you for your work, I can’t wait to get your cards near the FFG ones.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’m glad you like the site! I’m sure FFG has thought of the Silmarillion idea, but the big problem is getting the rights to it. The Tolkien Estate has the rights to the Silmarillion, and they’ve taken a pretty hard line on giving out the rights for any type of merchandise or commercial use. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to do this project, as a fanmade expansion is probably the closest we will ever get to a Silmarillion expansion for the game, unfortunately. You’re right about the First Age world being much harsher, and I’ve tried to reflect that in the quests. Anyway, thanks for your interest!

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