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DGMA: Setting the Standard!

DGMA: Setting A New Standard of Tournament Play

There has been great concern within the last few months regarding how a certain segment of cards in the Lord of the Rings TCG are adversely affecting the game. These cards promote a very limited approach towards deck designs while advancing only certain powerful deck archetypes. In the opinion of the DGMA – the Decipher Games Management Authority – without check or challenge, these cards will cause a significant increase in deck design stagnation as players continue to build decks guaranteed to win – and win only. The LotR gaming community as a whole will suffer an incredible rise in negative experiences and newer players will lose interest in a game that does not afford them the chance to compete on a fair and balanced playing field.

Quite simply put, these types of decks utilizing these specific cards are designed to win – period. There is nothing wrong with winning – especially at the tournament level. However, when a majority of the decks used in high-level tournament play share a large percentage of these “cards” in common – it is very clear that there is a card pool in this game which offers great strategic advantages, yet promotes a very one-dimensional train of thought, in a game which has so many untapped levels of strategy. The DGMA feels that this trend will negatively impact many future experiences in casual, league and tournament play. Therefore, they have created a new format of organized play: STANDARD FORMAT.

Standard Formant will join the “Open” and “Block” formats of play – with a very serious and noticeable change. Officially starting April 15th, 15 cards will be RESTRICTED within the Standard Format of play. Due to their cost versus application relationship to the game, these 15 cards have been carefully selected from the overall card pool as card “types” which promote a very one-sided approach to deck design. The reasons for RESTRICTING these cards are because they are TOO POWERFUL, UNBALANCED and TOO COST EFFECTIVE – negatively affecting the outcome of the game in general.

However, these cards are only RESTRICTED in Standard Play. They are still very legal and playable in OPEN and BLOCK Formats. They are not BANNED by any means. However, this new Standard Format does open the door to the possibility of “restricting” other cards in the future if they too cause a negative impact on the game.

For a complete review on why the Standard Format was created click HERE for the DGMA’s Official statement on this addition to the game.

For the Official Restricted List, please click HERE.

And of course, for the most recent rules, reviews and LotR Tournament Event information such as Premier Series Qualiiers (PSQ) and Territorials, please visit the Decipher Games Management Authority at www.dgma.com.

My fellow card gamers, please realize that in all games – especially trading card games – changes like this are in the best interest of the game – always. Healthy competition only thrives when balance in the system is stable and respected. Understand that before this new Standard Format was created, 15 cards upset this balance and summarily caused a very major shift in the perception of fairness and equality in the overall gaming community. Therefore, this questionable card pool has been placed in check in order to offer greater stability for a better and longer-lasting LotR TCG future Although we may not all agree with this change, let us all approach this new Standard Format with an open mind, and with support and justified criticism for the overall improvement of the game.

Thanks for reading,

Lao

Posted in Old Special Reports

DGMA: Setting the Standard!

DGMA: Setting A New Standard of Tournament Play

There has been great concern within the last few months regarding how a certain segment of cards in the Lord of the Rings TCG are adversly affecting the game. These cards promote a very limited approach towards deck designs while advancing only certain powerful deck archetypes. In the opinion of the DGMA – the Decipher Games Management Authority – without check or challenge, these cards will cause a significant increase in deck design stagnation as players continue to build decks guaranteed to win – and win only. The LotR gaming community as a whole will suffer an incredible rise in negative experiences and newer players will lose interest in a game that does not afford them the chance to compete on a fair and balanced playing field.

Quite simply put, these types of decks utilizing these specific cards are designed to win – period. There is nothing wrong with winning – especially at the tournament level. However, when a majority of the decks used in high-level tournament play share a large percentage of these “cards” in common – it is very clear that there is a card pool in this game which offers great strategic advantages, yet promotes a very one-dimensional train of thought, in a game which has so many untapped levels of strategy. The DGMA feels that this trend will negatively impact many future experiences in casual, league and tournament play. Therefore, they have created a new format of organized play: STANDARD FORMAT.

Standard Formant will join the “Open” and “Block” formats of play – with a very serious and noticeable change. Officially starting April 15th, 15 cards will be RESTRICTED within the Standard Format of play. Due to their cost versus application relationship to the game, these 15 cards have been carefully selected from the overall card pool as card “types” which promote a very one-sided approach to deck design. The reasons for RESTRICTING these cards are because they are TOO POWERFUL, UNBALANCED and TOO COST EFFECTIVE – negatively affecting the outcome of the game in general.

However, these cards are only RESTRICTED in Standard Play. They are still very legal and playable in OPEN and BLOCK Formats. They are not BANNED by any means. However, this new Standard Format does open the door to the possibility of “restricting” other cards in the future if they too cause a negative impact on the game.

For a complete review on why the Standard Format was created click HERE for the DGMA’s Official statement on this addition to the game.

For the Official Restricted List, please click HERE.

And of course, for the most recent rules, reviews and LotR Tournament Event information such as Premier Series Qualiiers (PSQ) and Territorials, please visit the Decipher Games Management Authority at www.dgma.com.

My fellow card gamers, please realize that in all games – especially trading card games – changes like this are in the best interest of the game – always. Healthy competition only thrives when balance in the system is stable and respected. However, before this new Standar Format was created, 15 cards upset this balance and therefore have been placed in check to stabilize the balance for a better and longer-lasting LotR TCG future. Although we may not all agree with this change, let us all approach this new Standard Format with an open mind with support and justified criticism for the overall improvement of the game.

Thanks for reading,

Lao

Posted in Old Special Reports

DGMA: Setting the Standard!

DGMA: Setting A New Standard of Tournament Play

There has been great concern within the last few months regarding how a certain segment of cards in the Lord of the Rings TCG are adversly affecting the game. These cards promote a very limited approach towards deck designs while advancing only certain powerful deck archetypes. In the opinion of the DGMA – the Decipher Games Management Authority – without check or challenge, these cards will cause a significant increase in deck design stagnation as players continue to build decks guaranteed to win – and win only. The LotR gaming community as a whole will suffer an incredible rise in negative experiences and newer players will lose interest in a game that does not afford them the chance to compete on a fair and balanced playing field.

Quite simply put, these types of decks utilizing these specific cards are designed to win – period. There is nothing wrong with winning – especially at the tournament level. However, when a majority of the decks used in high-level tournament play share a large percentage of these “cards” in common – it is very clear that there is a card pool in this game which offers great strategic advantages, yet promotes a very one-dimensional train of thought, in a game which has so many untapped levels of strategy. The DGMA feels that this trend will negatively impact many future experiences in casual, league and tournament play. Therefore, they have created a new format of organized play: STANDARD FORMAT.

Standard Formant will join the “Open” and “Block” formats of play – with a very serious and noticeable change. Officially starting April 15th, 15 cards will be RESTRICTED within the Standard Format of play. Due to their cost versus application relationship to the game, these 15 cards have been carefully selected from the overall card pool as card “types” which promote a very one-sided approach to deck design. The reasons for RESTRICTING these cards are because they are TOO POWERFUL, UNBALANCED and TOO COST EFFECTIVE – negatively affecting the outcome of the game in general.

However, these cards are only RESTRICTED in Standard Play. They are still very legal and playable in OPEN and BLOCK Formats. They are not BANNED by any means. However, this new Standard Format does open the door to the possibility of “restricting” other cards in the future if they too cause a negative impact on the game.

For a complete review on why the Standard Format was created click HERE for the DGMA’s Official statement on this addition to the game.

For the Official Restricted List, please click HERE.

And of course, for the most recent rules, reviews and LotR Tournament Event information such as Premier Series Qualiiers (PSQ) and Territorials, please visit the Decipher Games Management Authority at www.dgma.com.

My fellow card gamers, please realize that in all games – especially trading card games – changes like this are in the best interest of the game – always. Healthy competition only thrives when balance in the system is stable and respected. However, before this new Standar Format was created, 15 cards upset this balance and therefore have been placed in check to stabilize the balance for a better and longer-lasting LotR TCG future. Although we may not all agree with this change, let us all approach this new Standard Format with an open mind with support and justified criticism for the overall improvement of the game.

Thanks for reading,

Lao

Posted in Old Special Reports

The NINE are Coming!

The FIERCE Black Rider Tour

“The Nine have left Minas Morgul. They travel in search of The One Ring. They are tireless – they will never stop searching until they find it… “

Hey gang…Lao of Gondor here. It is with great excitement and enthusiasm to announce that THE FIERCE BLACK RIDER TOUR has officially begun! On March 23rd, the Nine Black Riders thundered out from the gates of Minas Norfolk, in the Black Lands of Virginia. Well, not really…but it is really hot there in the summertime – and you should see the size of the mosquitoes! Talk about fell beasts! Yet I digress…The Black Riders will be fierce, relentless, steely and their resolution will be swift…for they are bent on one single purpose: To visit a store near you!

The FIERCE Black Rider tour was created so that you and your community will have the opportunity to meet with one of Nine Decipher LOTR TCG representatives. This type of personal interaction will grant many of you: the players, retailers and shopkeepers – the ability to get to know more about Decipher and what plans the LOTR TCG holds for the future.

Each Black Rider will be on hand to conduct tournaments, demonstrations and events which will increase interest and visibility for your store and local playing community. They will also be able to field your questions and concerns regarding the state of the game, where it will be heading and what you can expect for the next expansions.

Each Black Rider will host a BOUNTY TOURNAMENT. This will be a Booster Draft event which will give you the chance to collect new cards and experience the fastest growing and most challenging style of organized tournament play.

Here is more information straight from Decipher about the details of the Black Rider Tour. Believe me…you don’t want to miss your chance to challenge a Black Rider – do you?

FROM DECIPHER:

BOUNTY TOURNAMENT– An event you don’t want to miss when the Black Rider comes to your town! Play in a booster draft bounty tournament during the Fierce. Tour, and you may be able to win extra prizes!

When a Black Rider plays in a bounty tournament, you will have the opportunity to win big prizes by beating him during that tournament. Also provided for the winner of each tournament will be cool Fierce. T-shirts with the Black Rider card on the back! Booster Draft “Bounty” tournaments will be organized in advance with participating retailers and posted on www.decipher.com. Plus, the Black Riders will be giving away thousands of exclusive promotional cards: an ALTERNATE IMAGE FOIL version of a year-four preview card – BLACK RIDER. While this card will not be tournament legal until its actual release, it is sure to see plenty of activity in casual-play and non-sanctioned tournament decks!

The focus of our Fierce. Black Rider Tour will be on major metropolitan cities within North America and Europe. We are already taking requests from retailers for visits all over the globe for the first leg of the Fierce. Black Rider Tour this spring. Of course, we will not be able to visit every retail location, but our focus on major cities will help us to go where the populations are the heaviest.

For more information on when and where a Black Rider will visit a store and town near you, click HERE to view the schedule of the FIRST LEG of the Black Rider Tour.

And now, it is time for all of you to meet the Black Riders…

Joe Alread
Joe is a part of the Trading Card Game Studio at Decipher. He is a key designer for The Lord of the Rings TCG. Joe has a long history with Decipher as a championship-caliber player of the Star Wars™ CCG and as a Product Champion in the late 90s. You’ll have to bring your A-game if you plan on taking a bounty from Joe!

Dan Bojanowski
Our very own Coordinator of the DGMA, Dan is no stranger to tournaments. Lucky for you, his lofty position in the world of tournaments won’t help a bit when he has a bounty on his head! Lucky for Decipher, Dan is an icy-cold gunslinger. You might be less ashamed if you simply conceded your tournament game to him before it starts…

Kyle Heuer
Kyle is the Promotions Coordinator for Decipher’s Marketing Group. You are currently seeing his handiwork if you are subscribed to the Battle of Helm’s Deep mailing list! If you’re not subscribed, then believe me, you’re missing out! Kyle is also a veteran of the “bounty tournament” format. If you don’t believe it, ask him about So Cal! By the way, this whole bounty idea is Kyle’s brainchild…make him pay for it!

Joeri Hoste
Joeri is one of the European Marketing Coordinators for Decipher. If you live in Europe and play Decipher’s games, then you have probably had contact with him. Joeri’s multi-lingual skills have brought Decipher closer than ever to its European playing community! That means you shouldn’t expect your country’s international editions of The Lord of the Rings TCG to faze him a bit when trying to collect a bounty on him!

Kevin Reitzel
Kevin is a longtime friend of Decipher, being that he was one of our early Product Champions for the Star Trek™ CCG, way back in 1997! It is no surprise that he heads up the entire Product Champion program for Decipher. Bring a beat-down for Kevin, or bring a Product Champion application, but don’t bring both!

Mike Reynolds
Mike is truly a veteran of The Lord of the Rings property. Decipher was lucky enough to acquire him as a designer for The Lord of the Rings TCG. His previous experience is on the old LotR game – Middle-earth: The Wizards. Mike has been integral on the development of the booster draft format for The Lord of the Rings TCG. Word is that Mike’s pretty good at the game too. You’d better be honing your booster draft skills if you want to collect a bounty on Mike!

Marcus Sheppard
Marcus is the other part of our two-headed marketing monster in Europe. He works with Joeri Hoste to make sure that all of the parts of the marketing machine are working smoothly in the United Kingdom and on the European continent. If you’re a Product Champion who is slacking off on your duties, expect a call from Marcus. If you’re a Product Champion who is doing his job well, expect a call from Marcus. If you’re planning on winning a bounty game against Marcus, expect to make other plans!

Sean Smallman
Way back in the day, Sean developed and maintained our tournament reporting system. Sean even goes back so far that he was a playtester for the Star Wars CCG before its launch in December 1995! Sean now heads up our International Distributor Marketing programs, and manages the Star Trek™ brand. There is documented proof that Sean is a lunch-time-playin’, pick-up-game-winnin’ The Lord of the Rings TCG player. There’s no doubt that Sean is going to be a tough bounty to capture!

Kendrick Summers
Decipher’s Marketing Manager and Brand Manager for The Lord of the Rings, Kendrick might be best known for his role as Decipher’s very own Gold Leader. Rumor has it that he used to fly around the world in first class, just trying to play Decipher’s games in the most exotic of locations! You can be sure that on this tour, Kendrick will be flying in prop-commuters and driving ultra sub-compact rental cars to get to your neck of the woods! It’s been said that he has a killer Lightfootedness deck with an Uruk Shaman shadow strategy that is out of this world! Look out!
Actually, Kendrick expects to be giving away LOTS of bounty display boxes on his leg of the Fierce. tour, so break your plans for that week and show up at his tournaments!

For complete scheduling information regarding the Fierce Black Rider Tour, please visit the Tour Calendar HERE.

If you wish to follow the daily events of the Black Rider Tour and experience the excitement of the Bounty Tournaments in other areas of the US or Europe, then please click HERE.

If you wish to have a Black Rider visit your area, or if you need more information regarding the tour, please contact DECIPHER for the most current scheduling information regarding this promotion.

They Will Never Stop Hunting You! Actually in this case, I think the Black Riders are the Hunted! Have fun at the Bounty Tournaments.

Lao

Posted in Old Special Reports

The Lord of the Rings RPG: In the Beginning…

Lord of the Rings RPG 101:

Fantasy gaming has been taken to a whole new level, spearheaded by Decipher’s OFFICIAL Lord of the Rings Role Playing Game – or RPG. In my humble opinion: the RPG experience is still one of the most rewarding over and above most other gaming platforms available. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing all types of all games – especially when it comes to Lord of the Rings. Yet, in pleasant contrast to TCG’s, video games, table-top miniatures and board games, in an RPG there are no set patterns, no rare powerful cards, no cheat codes, no rare figures, foils or holograms, no pre-programmed interactivity and best of all – no reset button. The only components you will ever need to fully enjoy the wonders of the Role Playing game system are a few books, a few friends and the one element no amount of money in the world can ever buy – your imagination!

The Lord of the Rings Role Playing system is quite simply the very best in RPG entertainment to date. The Decipher RPG Studio, led by Christian Moore, has created a simplified, yet engrossing system of play which embraces the very nature of The Lord of the Rings in the most profound way. Utilizing the breathtaking design and imagery from Peter Jackson’s extraordinary films in concert with the literary support and detail from Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings RPG is the pinnacle product of the industry; unparalleled and unmatched in its level of inspiration, production quality and artistic detail.

Honestly, I could write several pages praising the design achievements that the LOTR RPG Design Team has achieved, because every single support piece I have seen has been worthy of such accolades and more! However, I must address the details of this gaming system in later chapters of LOTR RPG 101. For now, just trust in the fact that this is the era we RPG fans have been waiting for. I am very proud and excited to embark upon what will be a very fulfilling and educational look at The Lord of the Rings and its impact upon the modern world of Role Playing and Fantasy Gaming.

But first…a little history:

Chapter 1: Introduction to Fantasy

It is a foregone conclusion that many people share a very misunderstood and ill-conceived perspective about people who are engaged in the world of role-playing games. Society perceives these “gamers” as congregations who shy away from “normal” society in order to bask in the realm of fantasy worlds filled with faeries, dragons, wizards, heroes and villains. Due to this misconception, normal society brands these people as deviants; those who choose to embrace the abnormal rather than fall in line with ‘decent’ society. How very uninformed and completely wrong society as a whole truly is.

Fantasy gaming has also traditionally been perceived as a past-time for the high-school outsider, the socially unskilled or the reclusive introvert. Would you be surprised to learn that RPG communities are frequented by doctor’s, lawyers, engineers, artists, writers, actors and scientists? Society’s perception of the Role-Playing Gamer has dissuaded many people from participating in what is probably one of the last, true forms of communication and entertainment our culture has ever known: the Oral Tradition.

Oral Tradition? What is that you may ask? In the pre-literary ancient days, and even in many pre-industrial societies today, the verbal passing of tales and legends preserved much of the lore we today call myth or fantasy. The Lord of the Rings itself is a manifestation of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien’s passion to preserve and encapsulate the grand testimony of his ideals regarding his interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon pre-history in a way that can be passed on; inherited from generation to generation.

So what does all of this have to even remotely do with role playing and fantasy gaming? Well, the core of any role playing game community is the Storyteller – or Game Master. In comparison, the preservation and passing of stories through the oral tradition is testimony to the skill of the storyteller – the original “Game Master”. From the telling of tales in ancient kingdoms to the ghost stories spun around frontier campfires – the storyteller transported audiences into far off places; distant lands full of wonder, of light, of darkness, of heroes, of great battles, of heroic sacrifices, of love, of fellowship, of pain and of joy. For a point in time, the listener could close his or her eyes and through awe-inspired imagination, become closer to a world far more interesting than the present. This was the first true form of escapist entertainment – now preserved in the form of the RPG; a more modernized form, yet no less impactful.

In the early 1970’s, this style of fantasy and escapist entertainment broke monumental ground as it took the form of one of the most influential RPG systems of all time: TSR’s (Tactical Studies Rules) Dungeons and Dragons. With its foundation firmly rooted in the modern fantasy masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings, this bold and exciting RPG combined a new system of integrated and interactive play. D & D, as it was affectionately referred to, allowed individuals to congregate and embellish upon the very foundation of Frodo’s journey. Each member of the gaming group created a character, who in turn joined the quest as a member of a fellowship of companions in order to protect the hero and fulfill the journey – which of course was to eradicate evil and restore light in the land.

For the last 30 years, Dungeons and Dragons, and fantasy gaming ‘en masse’ has taken great strides in the continuation of the oral tradition. This success through perseverance has undeniably succeeded thanks to the Lord of the Rings – the ONE TRUE SOURCE of which all modern fantasy gaming is based upon. This is due to the single fact that Tolkien’s unwavering preservation over his own, personal oral tradition – the pre-history of the Anglo-Saxon people – is so compelling and engrossing, that it is nearly unavoidable to use this material as a resource to perpetuate new stories with such fully realized races, cultures, maps, languages and mythologies – as Tolkien presented in his own works of Middle-Earth. However, as close as these realms were to Tolkien’s world – they were only BASED upon The Lord of the Rings which undeniably left the adventure longing for the next level; the ability to adventure IN MIDDLE EARTH ITSELF!

Now, we as role playing game fans, enthusiasts and fanatics alike have the unique opportunity to finally create our adventures within the context of The Lord of the Rings in a way never before attempted. The Lord of the Rings Role Playing game system in the most fully realized, detailed and structured system which has ever been offered in this industry. It has broken conformity with the standard D20 – 20 sided dice – rules systems in favor of a more engaging style of play – the Coda System; favoring greater character flexibility over the calculations of dice-induced fate. Yet I digress…and such details like this will be addressed in later chapters – so stay tuned!

If you are interested in delving into the LOTR RPG, there are several products that you may purchase right now to begin your journey.

1. The CORE Book – without a doubt, the single most important resource in the RPG library thus far. It is a beautifully designed, informational source-book full of almost every detail regarding the Third Age and more.

2. Maps of Middle Earth – Daniel Reeve, the master illustrator and map-designer who brought us many of the maps and scrolls used in Peter Jackson’s films – now has brought us 6 beautifully rendered and detailed maps – including close-ups of Gondor, Rohan, Mordor and the Shire.

3. The Mines of Moria: Adventure Game – Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to stand atop the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, defending your companions against the Balrog of Moria. What would you do? What choices would you have made? This mini-adventure is the perfect ENTRY POINT for beginners who want to try the RPG system in an adventure that is all too familiar.

4. The Two Towers: Adventure Game – The Battle of Helm’s Deep: Take command in the role of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas and assist King Theoden in defending Helm’s Deep against the onslaught of 10,000 Uruk-Hai, bent on the destruction of men. Experience the battle which made men heroes and made heroes legends! Yet another great ENTRY POINT for beginners and fans.

5. The Narrator’s Screen – all good storytellers need help every once and a while and the Narrator’s Screen is it. It is a self-contained reference which helps speed along many of the common actions necessary in the course of a game in an easy to read format. The cover which faces the audience is beautifully printed with a panoramic scene of Minas Tirith.

6. The Fellowship of the Ring Source Book – the second installment of the major RPG texts is a 128 page resource book, just as incredibly detailed and illustrated as its CORE BOOK counterpart. However, this sourcebook presents more of an overview regarding the characters, places, events and timelines within the context of the Fellowship of the Ring.

To take a closer look at these products, please visit Decipher’s online store HERE

For more information on the Role Playing Game, its creators and what is on the horizon, please visit Decipher’s LOTR RPG arena HERE

And of course continue to visit Gaming Havens here on TheOneRing.net for more continuing coverage of The Lord of the Rings RPG.

Be sure to tune it to the next installment of LOTR RPG 101: Breaking all the Rules!

Until then, the world of Middle Earth belongs to YOU!

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

The Lord of the Rings RPG: In the Beginning…

Lord of the Rings RPG 101:

Fantasy gaming has been taken to a whole new level, spearheaded by Decipher’s OFFICIAL Lord of the Rings Role Playing Game – or RPG. In my humble opinion: the RPG experience is still one of the most rewarding over and above most other gaming platforms available. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing all types of all games – especially when it comes to Lord of the Rings. Yet, in pleasant contrast to TCG’s, video games, table-top miniatures and board games, in an RPG there are no set patterns, no rare powerful cards, no cheat codes, no rare figures, foils or holograms, no pre-programmed interactivity and best of all – no reset button. The only components you will ever need to fully enjoy the wonders of the Role Playing game system are a few books, a few friends and the one element no amount of money in the world can ever buy – your imagination!

The Lord of the Rings Role Playing system is quite simply the very best in RPG entertainment to date. The Decipher RPG Studio, led by Christian Moore, has created a simplified, yet engrossing system of play which embraces the very nature of The Lord of the Rings in the most profound way. Utilizing the breathtaking design and imagery from Peter Jackson’s extraordinary films in concert with the literary support and detail from Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings RPG is the pinnacle product of the industry; unparalleled and unmatched in its level of inspiration, production quality and artistic detail.

Honestly, I could write several pages praising the design achievements that the LOTR RPG Design Team has achieved, because every single support piece I have seen has been worthy of such accolades and more! However, I must address the details of this gaming system in later chapters of LOTR RPG 101. For now, just trust in the fact that this is the era we RPG fans have been waiting for. I am very proud and excited to embark upon what will be a very fulfilling and educational look at The Lord of the Rings and its impact upon the modern world of Role Playing and Fantasy Gaming.

But first…a little history:

Chapter 1: Introduction to Fantasy

It is a foregone conclusion that many people share a very misunderstood and ill-conceived perspective about people who are engaged in the world of role-playing games. Society perceives these “gamers” as congregations who shy away from “normal” society in order to bask in the realm of fantasy worlds filled with faeries, dragons, wizards, heroes and villains. Due to this misconception, normal society brands these people as deviants; those who choose to embrace the abnormal rather than fall in line with ‘decent’ society. How very uninformed and completely wrong society as a whole truly is.

Fantasy gaming has also traditionally been perceived as a past-time for the high-school outsider, the socially unskilled or the reclusive introvert. Would you be surprised to learn that RPG communities are frequented by doctor’s, lawyers, engineers, artists, writers, actors and scientists? Society’s perception of the Role-Playing Gamer has dissuaded many people from participating in what is probably one of the last, true forms of communication and entertainment our culture has ever known: the Oral Tradition.

Oral Tradition? What is that you may ask? In the pre-literary ancient days, and even in many pre-industrial societies today, the verbal passing of tales and legends preserved much of the lore we today call myth or fantasy. The Lord of the Rings itself is a manifestation of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien’s passion to preserve and encapsulate the grand testimony of his ideals regarding his interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon pre-history in a way that can be passed on; inherited from generation to generation.

So what does all of this have to even remotely do with role playing and fantasy gaming? Well, the core of any role playing game community is the Storyteller – or Game Master. In comparison, the preservation and passing of stories through the oral tradition is testimony to the skill of the storyteller – the original “Game Master”. From the telling of tales in ancient kingdoms to the ghost stories spun around frontier campfires – the storyteller transported audiences into far off places; distant lands full of wonder, of light, of darkness, of heroes, of great battles, of heroic sacrifices, of love, of fellowship, of pain and of joy. For a point in time, the listener could close his or her eyes and through awe-inspired imagination, become closer to a world far more interesting than the present. This was the first true form of escapist entertainment – now preserved in the form of the RPG; a more modernized form, yet no less impactful.

In the early 1970’s, this style of fantasy and escapist entertainment broke monumental ground as it took the form of one of the most influential RPG systems of all time: TSR’s (Tactical Studies Rules) Dungeons and Dragons. With its foundation firmly rooted in the modern fantasy masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings, this bold and exciting RPG combined a new system of integrated and interactive play. D & D, as it was affectionately referred to, allowed individuals to congregate and embellish upon the very foundation of Frodo’s journey. Each member of the gaming group created a character, who in turn joined the quest as a member of a fellowship of companions in order to protect the hero and fulfill the journey – which of course was to eradicate evil and restore light in the land.

For the last 30 years, Dungeons and Dragons, and fantasy gaming ‘en masse’ has taken great strides in the continuation of the oral tradition. This success through perseverance has undeniably succeeded thanks to the Lord of the Rings – the ONE TRU SOURCE of which all modern fantasy gaming is based upon. This is due to the single fact that Tolkien’s unwavering preservation over his own, personal oral tradition – the pre-history of the Anglo-Saxon people – is so compelling and engrossing, that it is nearly unavoidable to use this material as a resource to perpetuate new stories with such fully realized races, cultures, maps, languages and mythologies – as Tolkien presented in his own works of Middle-Earth. However, as close as these realms were to Tolkien’s world – they were only BASED upon The Lord of the Rings which undeniably left the adventure longing for the next level; the ability to adventure IN MIDDLE EARTH ITSELF!

Now, we as role playing game fans, enthusiasts and fanatics alike have the unique opportunity to finally create our adventures within the context of The Lord of the Rings in a way never before attempted. The Lord of the Rings Role Playing game system in the most fully realized, detailed and structured system which has ever been offered in this industry. It has broken conformity with the standard D20 – 20 sided dice – rules systems in favor of a more engaging style of play – the Coda System; favoring greater character flexibility over the calculations of dice-induced fate. Yet I digress…and such details like this will be addressed in later chapters – so stay tuned!

If you are interested in delving into the LOTR RPG, there are several products that you may purchase right now to begin your journey.

1. The CORE Book – without a doubt, the single most important resource in the RPG library thus far. It is a beautifully designed, informational source-book full of almost every detail regarding the Third Age and more.

2. Maps of Middle Earth – Daniel Reeve, the master illustrator and map-designer who brought us many of the maps and scrolls used in Peter Jackson’s films – now has brought us 8 beautifully rendered and detailed maps – including close-ups of Gondor, Rohan, Mordor and the Shire.

3. The Mines of Moria: Adventure Game – Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to stand atop the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, defending your companions against the Balrog of Moria. What would you do? What choices would you have made? This mini-adventure is the perfect ENTRY-POINT for beginners who want to try the RPG system in an adventure that is all too familiar.

4. The Two Towers: Adventure Game – The Battle of Helm’s Deep: Take command in the role of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas and assist King Theoden in defending Helm’s Deep against the onslaught of 10,000 Uruk-Hai, bent on the destruction of men. Experience the battle which made men heroes and made heroes legends! Yet another great ENTRY POINT for beginners and fans.

To take a closer look at these products, please visit Decipher’s online store HERE

For more information on the Role Playing Game, its creators and what is on the horizon, please visit Decipher’s LOTR RPG arena HERE

And of course continue to visit Gaming Havens here on TheOneRing.net for more continuing coverage of The Lord of the Rings Role Playing game.

Be sure to tune it to the next installment of LOTR RPG 101: Breaking all the Rules!

Until then, the world of Middle Earth belongs to YOU!

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

ARMS & TACTICS: LOTR TCG FAQ – PART 2! REVISED

REVISED VERSION: 3/12/03

UPDATE: There have been clarifications made to the following Entries:

Frodo, Tired Traveller
Hornburg Armory
Dunlending Arsonist

Please reference these specific entries as being updated with new rules clarifications. Thanks!

Welcome to the second FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) List dedicated to The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game!

If you would like to read and reference the first ARMS and TACTICS FAQ, please click HERE.

In this second installment, we will delve deeper into the LOTR TCG in order to better understand many of the more common, uncommon and rare situations where card texts and rules applications become unclear and questionable. Be sure to keep your most current rulebook handy since this FAQ does site specific areas of text from both the Starter and Deluxe rulebooks found respectively in both the Two Towers Basic and Deluxe Starter Decks. And without further delay…

THE OFFICIAL GAMING HAVENS
LORD OF THE RINGS TCG FAQ – REVISED 3.11.03
Part 2: Delving Deeper towards Shadow and Flame

Q. If I bid 4 twilight and place 4 burdens on Frodo, Tired Traveller and I use Faramir, Captain of Gondor (CoG) and Mablung as my starting companions – can I remove 2 burdens – one for each Ring-Bound man played? Are Faramir and Mablung considered being “played” even if they have no twilight cost as the starting Fellowship?

A. From Page 10 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

Starting Fellowship: Your fellowship begins with Frodo bearing The One Ring. You may play other companions (not allies, possessions, artifacts or conditions) from your draw deck (in any order), as long as the total twilight cost of your starting companions is 4 or less.

You do not add twilight tokens for playing your starting fellowship. Site text is not active when the starting fellowships are played.

You may use “When you play” game text on a starting companion. You may spot a companion in your starting fellowship as a requirement to play another starting companion.

CLARIFICATION: Playing Starting Companions is a START OF GAME situation. Frodo’s game text is a FELLOWSHIP PHASE action. Therefore, since you are not playing these starting companions in the Fellowship phase then you are NOT able to remove those burdens from Frodo, Tired Traveller as per his game text.

Q. Does a companion’s text apply if I want to use him in my starting Fellowship? For example: Mablung, Soldier of Gondor. His text says: “To play, spot a Ring-bound man”. Would that only apply if he’s in my hand and I want to play him? Or would I have to also have a Ring-bound man in my starting fellowship to play him as per his game text?

A. As stated in the rules excerpt above, since you are playing companion’s from your deck, then he or she must be played in accordance to the rules of their text as well. Therefore, if you want to use Mablung in your starting Fellowship, you must have a Ring-Bound man and spot that companion in play BEFORE Mablung can be played. Then you may play Mablung accordingly.

Q. Can I exchange a weapon that’s been played? If so, where do I put the one that I am exchanging? Example: Sword of Gondor is in play on Aragorn. I draw Ranger’s sword. Can I give Sword of Gondor to another Gondor companion and then play Ranger’s sword on Aragorn? Or, if I do not have another Gondor companion, who can use this possession? Can I discard Sword of Gondor from Aragorn in order to play Ranger’s sword?

A. From Page 23 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

Transfer of Artifacts and Possessions: You may transfer an artifact or possession between your Free Peoples characters during your fellowship phase by paying the twilight cost for that artifact or possession again. (Minions may not transfer artifacts or possessions.) Both characters involved in the transfer must be at the same site. (Remember that an ally is always at his home site during your fellowship phase.)

An artifact or possession may be transferred only to a character who may bear it (as indicated by a “bearer must be” phrase in its text). You may not voluntarily discard a possession or artifact borne by your character.

Transferring a card is not playing that card, even though you must pay its twilight cost. “When you play” game text is not performed when transferring a card.

Q. Troop Of Uruk-Hai says that a companion doesn’t gain strength bonuses from weapons. But does the TEXT of the weapon still apply? Example: Bow of the Galadhrim makes Legolas strength +1 and its text says “Each time
Legolas wins a skirmish, you may would a minion.”

A. The text of the weapon DOES still apply since the text does not add a strength bonus. However, in the case of RANGER’S SWORD – Blade of Aragorn, this card’s grants ARAGORN +2 as both a strength modifier and as a text based strength bonus only against an Uruk-Hai. Against the Troop of Uruk Hai – BOTH strength modifiers are nullified as specifically addressed by the Troop’s card text.

Q. Can you discard a companion who has already been played? Example: You already have 5 companions in play and you finally draw Aragorn and instead of having 6 companions, I would like to get rid of the weakest one
to replace him with Aragorn. Can I just discard him?

A. From Page 19 in the STARTER Rulebook:

You may not play a card from your hand to replace another card IN PLAY, even if those cards have the same card title or represent the same personality.

Q. HORNBURG ARMORY Site 6 text states “Fellowship: Play a possession to draw a card”. If you play more than one possession, can you draw more than one card?

A. Yes. As long as you can fulfill the text of any card – unless it is an action which specifically states may only be executed once, then you may repeat that action until you are unable to do so. In this case, when you can no longer play possessions, then you cannot draw any more cards utilizing the site text.

CLARIFICATION – RULE OF FOUR: Remember, you are only allowed to draw no more than 4 cards during your Fellowship Phase. So, if you have other means of drawing cards, aside from using the text of this site – you are still only able to draw a limit of 4 total cards.

For example, Eowyn and Legolas are in play. You play Eowyn’s sword on Eowyn: Draw a card. The card drawn is Bow of the Galadhrim. Play the Bow on Legolas: Draw a card. That card is another powerful Fellowship support card. So, as seen by the example – this site allows you to not only arm companions with weapons and armor, but it also allows you several added extra benefits of card cycling. However, the balance – or drawback – is that the twilight pool will become larger with the additional twilight generated by playing multiple possessions.

Q. The Dunland Minion DUNLAND ROBBER states “Each time this minion wins a skirmish he is strength +2 and fierce until the regroup phase.” Since you don’t skirmish again until after the regroup phase, how
would this apply?

A. From Page 16 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

FIERCE: Assignment Phase (Fierce): During the fierce assignment phase, ignore an effect that results in assignment with a minion that is not fierce. A minion must be FIERCE at the START of the fierce assignment phase to participate in a fierce skirmish.

An ally that was able to be assigned to a normal skirmish (because the fellowship is at that ally’s home or as a result of a card effect) is also able to be assigned to a fierce skirmish.

EXAMPLE: The FIERCE Skirmish (phase) takes place after the normal Skirmish Phase and BEFORE the REGROUP phase. Therefore, if the Dunland Robber wins his first Skirmish, during the Fierce skirmish phase you must re-assign him to another companion (or the same companion) and he will then receive the +2 strength bonus. After that Fierce Skrimish – then you enter the regroup phase.

SCENARIO: During assignment – you place the Dunland Robber against Gimli. Now you enter normal Skirmish phase. Gimli loses. Since Gimli has lost – the Dunland Robber is now FIERCE and strength +2. Now you must fight the Dunland Robber again. This is the FIERCE Skirmish phase. When this phase is over, you then enter the regroup phase.

Q. The HORNBURG COURTYARD Site 5 states “While you can spot Aragorn, the shadow number of Hornburg Courtyard is -2”. What does this mean and why is this important?

A. The shadow number on a SITE card is the number in the black circle – the twilight cost if you will – and NOT the site number. Therefore, while you can spot Aragorn (as part of your Fellowship) as you move to Site 5: Hornburg Courtyard – the twilight cost is -2 of its original Shadow Number. This helps the Fellowship reduce the twilight pool by 2 and could possibly limit the amount of minions and resources the Shadow player may use during his Shadow phase.

Q. STILL THEY CAME “Skirmish: exert an Uruk-hai who is not assigned to a skirmish to make another Uruk-hai strength +3.” When would you have minions not assigned to skirmishes?

A. Remember, Skirmishes are always a one-to-one singular Skirmish event. Meaning that if an Uruk-Hai is skirmishing Gandalf, and Gandalf loses – that skirmish is over and you move to the next skirmish, say Legolas versus another Uruk-Hai.

NOTE: This is why assignment and skirmish order is so important. When this happens, the Uruk-Hai skirmishing Gandalf is no longer in a Skirmish and you now can play STILL THEY CAME and exert that Uruk-Hai in order to make the minion skirmishing Legolas strength +3. Skirmishes all fall under the SKIRMISH PHASE – the phase where all ‘singular’ skirmishes and Fierce skirmishes take place.

Q. WARMED UP A BIT “Stealth. Skirmish: Discard an unbound hobbit.” A. Does this mean from your hand or from your playing area? B. what benefit would it be to discard any player. EXAMPLE: Pippin and Merry both have cards that say to add a burden or exert the Ring-bearer to discard them. WHY?

A. From page 39 in the Starter Rulebook:

DISCARD: The default meaning of the word “discard” is “discard from play.” Discarding from other locations (such as from your hand or from the top of your draw deck) is always specified.

EXAMPLE: There are several reasons why you would use this card, or use the discard ability shared by Merry and Pippin. Treebeard: Earthborn and Gandalf: Greyhame are two of the biggest reasons, since you may discard an unbound Hobbit into Treebeard and play him later on. Or as in Gandalf: Greyhame’s case – for 1 twilight, play a companion from your discard pile. This will save your Hobbits from an early overwhelming and keep them alive for future strategy towards the endgame. The penalty for using their game text is exerting or burdening the ring-bearer. With as much burden removal and companion healing that is available – this isn’t really a major concern. However, discarding in this fashion is really only used as a last resort, or if your deck is designed to counter the effects of such a playing dynamic.

Q. DUNLENDING ARSONIST “Each time this minion wins a skirmish, play a Dunlending man from hand. His twilight cost is -2. That man is fierce and damage +1 until the regroup phase.”

SCENARIO: Ok, so you’ve laid out all your minions, you maneuvered, shot arrows, assigned and skirmished. Now if this guy wins, and there is enough twilight pool to cover the -2 cost, you can pull out ANOTHER one? If you do that, how is it decided who he fights, especially if all companions have been assigned to a skirmish?

A. If you have the resources to play another Dunland minion, then he enters the FIERCE Skirmish Phase in the next ASSIGNMENT round.

EXAMPLE: You have 4 companions assigned one-to-one to fight four minions in play – two of which are Dunlending Arsonists. If both Dunlending Arsonists win, and if there is enough twilight in the pool, then each of the Dunlending Arsonists can use their game text to retrieve and play another Dunlending minion from the discard pile. Now you have 2 extra minions to re-assign and defend against in the FIERCE Skirmish Phase.

CLARIFICATION: FIERCE SKIRMISH Minions are subject to a secondary assignment phase after completion of the first Skirmish phase.

Q. Can you look through YOUR OWN discard pile at any time to count how many cards you’ve discarded of a certain type or any other reason other than searching for something that a card specifically tells you to go to your discard pile for?

A. From Page 22 in the Deluxe Rulebook:

DISCARD: Discard piles are always face-up, and cards are discarded one at a time so all players can see which cards are being discarded.

You may look through your own discard pile at any time, but you may not look through an opponent’s discard pile.

When a card leaves play for any reason, any cards played on that card (or borne by or stacked on that card) are discarded.

Playing cards from draw deck or discard pile

The order of your discard pile is irrelevant, and you may place any card you wish on top after playing a card from there.

There is no penalty if you don’t find (or choose not to play) a card you are looking for in your draw deck.

WHEW!!! Well I think that’s enough for now. I hope this newest FAQ was able to shed some light on several of the newer and more difficult rules interpretations – which always seem to pop-up from time to time. And if there is something that has not yet been covered that you would like to see addressed – let us know! Please continue to send in all of your questions and concerns no matter how large or how small.

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out – or two as often as you can spare them – for the next installment of ARMS and TACTICS – The Official Gaming Havens LOTR FAQ!

And for all official and current tournament rulings and FAQ’s, please visit DECIPHER.COM and DGMA.COM.

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

The Lord of the Rings TCG: How it has Positively Changed Peoples’ Lives!

Hey gang! Usually I report in with strategy guides, FAQ’s and a host of all other sorts of LOTR TCG related gaming material. But today is different. Today, I would like speak to all of you with a different voice – a voice of reflection.

The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game is so many things to so many people. For the competitive player, it is the chance to seek out paths of glory against skilled opponents and fierce competitors. For enthusiasts, it is an opportunity to collect yet another precious and timeless collectible to place alongside their numerous Tolkien based treasures, books, maps, photos and figurines. For the casual gaming fans, it is a pocket-sized travel-ready aspect of the literary work–perfectly suited for the occasional pick-up game where socializing is the goal, not winning.

And then for many others…including myself, it is all of the above, some aspects more than others – but most importantly–it is the way that has changed many personal areas of my life…for the better.

I have seen first-hand how other trading card game communities coexist. I have felt the gritty essence of the competitive spirit loosed upon tournaments and the players. I have seen these communities fall under the yoke of such strife! But thankfully, I have not seen much of this type of presence in our game. Quite the contrary. The Lord of the Rings TCG is THE game which has given us the opportunity as competitors, enthusiasts and fans to grow together as friends, to become closer as people and to share how the Lord of the Rings experience has influenced each one of our lives.

The Lord of the Rings TCG has brought us so many special, precious and life-affirming possibilities. It has provided us with possibly one of the most important life changing opportunities we seldomly ever take advantage of: the opportunity of meeting new people! For me personally, this game has given me more than I could have ever hoped for. Throughout the course of my career in this game, I have met and become friends with incredible people (including fellow TOR.n staffers Flinch, Quickbeam and Calisuri), become a Rider of Rohan (Decipher’s Product Champion Program), become a staff member of TOR.n, and most importantly – I met one of my best friends, Ram Deleon, and recently became Godfather to his son – Samuel. Who knew that The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game could offer so much? Maybe it’s new motto should be: One game – many blessings.

Here is another incredible story I would like all of you to really read. It is probably one of the most wonderful LOTR TCG life-changing tales I have ever read. This comes from the desk of Kyle Heuer:

Couple Gets Engaged Playing The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game

About four months ago Decipher was emailed a request by a player of The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game who was preparing to ask his long-time girlfriend to marry him. Mike Sugden and his girlfriend, Beth Brown, had grown very close while playing The Lord of the Rings TCG. The time they spent playing the game with each other meant so much to them both that he decided to propose while they played a game.

Mike’s request was simple: would Decipher make a special card for him to propose to Beth with? Decipher responded with a resounding ‘yes’.

Mike worked with us to develop the game text that would be on the card. He wanted Beth to have a choice for both the answer to his proposal and gameplay. Mike selected the culture, title, cost, card type, and game-text. Then the card, Will You Marry Me?, was ready.

Valentines Day (February 14) finally rolls around and Mike is set with his cards. He builds Beth’s deck for her – as he usually does – but this time leaves out any card that would let her look at his hand. Mike needed to surprise her with the card and an untimely peek from Sting would ruin the whole proposal. About half way through the game Mike draws the card and a ring to play it with. Mike is incredibly nervous at this point, but is ready to propose.

It becomes Mike’s turn to play, but just as he is about to play the card to propose there is a knock at the door. Beth’s best friend dropped by to hang out and chat. Mike is now stuck on the brink of proposing to the woman he loves! Twenty minutes later, after some coaxing from Mike, Beth’s friend finally departs.

As Mike begins play, he plays a Sting to his Frodo and looks at Beth’s hand. Mike wanted to make sure that Beth had plenty of minions to play so that there would be a real choice for her – there were five big minions for Beth to play. Mike plays the card and the ring for Beth, then adds 30 twilight into the pool. Beth gets confused and asks to read the card.

After a few moments of silence, Beth looks at Mike and asks, “Do you expect an answer right away?”

Mike responds, “We can leave it here in the Shadow phase for a bit.”

Beth looks at the card again, then at Mike, then at the card again. She starts to cry. Through the tears she finally gave him his answer… “I won’t play any minions.”

Mike and Beth embrace.

Believe it or not, they continued the game after all that. Mike went on to win the game, but technically Beth won as Mike had an illegal deck. Sorry Mike, have to give it to her 🙂

I had the pleasure of talking with Beth since the proposal and I asked her what she thought of all this. She said it was perfectly “geeky-romantic” and she is very happy. She did say that she was disappointed that she couldn’t play any of her minions, because she would have smashed him with what she had in her hand.

Congratulations to both of you.

Kyle Heuer
Promotions Coordinator

To view the article in it’s entirety and to see the custom made proposal card, please click HERE

The “Proposal” card is precious in a very, very special way, and I think Decipher deserves a great deal of acclaim for responding to this type of deep personal request. I mean, this falls right in line with some of the great proposal gestures of all time! Most importantly however is that two fans’ lives have been incredibly changed forever thanks to what essentially is just a “simple trading card game”. Wow, stories like this really pull at the heartstrings!

If you have a story on how the Lord of the Rings has positively affected your life in one form or another, please share it with us. We would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

Report from Helm’s Deep Weekend

Battle of Helm’s Deep
Pre-Release Event
Wizards of the Coast, Westminster Mall – Westminster, CA
February 22, 2003

Tournament Director: Norman C. Lao

Before I begin, if you would like to visually experience the tournament, then please our Battle of Helm’s Deep Pre-Release PHOTO GALLERY and take a look at all of the images of the tournament. Thanks to FLINCH for posting these!

And now…for the Real Deal!

Lao of Gondor’s Tournament Diary:

When I woke up on Saturday Feb. 22nd, I knew that I was in for one helluva day! My mind was going in ten different places at once, and for many of you who know me – that’s a very dangerous thing. I checked, rechecked and triple checked all of my prize support, all of my player lists and made several calls to my host store to make sure all is going according to “Hoyle” (ahem – yes a shameless card term). And, once I rolled up on 10 am – the dust began to settle, the smoke began to clear and I headed out the door to begin the tournament…

As soon as I arrived at the Wizards of the Coast store in the Westminster Mall (Southern CA), I felt an energy inside the store that buzzed with a fevered pitch! You definitely knew that something BIG was going to happen – soon! There were already 10 players who were anxiously awaiting to start. Unfortunately for them that wouldn’t happen for another excruciating 2 and a half hours! Believe me, everything was pretty hectic right up until start time as player after registered player, walk-ins and fans alike swarmed into this tiny little back area which was literally about to bust at the seams! It is safe to say that this store has NEVER hosted a LOTR TCG crowd as big as this. Players began competing for space as the gaming tables became cramped. The Wizards’ staff underestimated the sheer amount of square footage needed to play this type of game and raced to clear off shelf space in order to find more seating accommodations. Well, at least it was a positive learning experience for next time.

The time now was 11:30 and panic and pressure began to rise in the store as 36 players from all over Southern California – including one player who came as far as Las Vegas – sold out this event in record time! 22 of these players were pre-registered and 14 walked-in right up until the last minute of registration! As the clock ticked towards 12 noon, I realized that there was no more space, there was no more patience, there was nowhere left to hide and there was no more time, and that is when I brought out the coveted boxes of The Battle of Helm’s Deep Tournament Support! Then, the crowd silenced – for about a second!

As all 36 players frantically rushed through their packs and starter decks to construct their tournament decks, I circled the room and was incredibly surprised to see that – aside from the obvious number of high level tournament players in attendance, there was a significant amount of beginners as well. This was probably for me, the most exciting aspect of the whole event as these newcomers threw their proverbial gloves down and joined the gauntlet of tournament players with an attitude becoming of the Lord of the Rings mission statement: they thought, played and were FIERCE. It was a quite a refreshing change to say the least.

The tournament schedule was slated for four – 45 minute games which lasted over the course of 5 hours. During that time, there were emotions which ranged the spectrum of elation to frustration as these new cards literally wreaked havoc across the span of all the tables. Veterans and beginners alike found victory and defeat delivered to them by the hand of either the Wargs, the Mumaks or the dreaded Gollum: Stinker. New and unpredictable, unique tactical scenarios, which may never be duplicated again, were tested or bested; nonetheless played in lieu of the newness of the cards and the scarcity of sealed deck resources. It was a real treat to just observe and watch how the cards fell and what the players’ reactions were to all the new cards seen and played over the span of 4 games.

Yet, when it was all said and done, and when the last point was tallied – if I may steal a line from Highlander: In the End, There Can Be Only One!

Undefeated 4-0 Garrhet Noda of Culver City, Ca took the coveted First Place spot, earning himself the top prize – a limited edition 2003 Return of the King Calendar from New Line Cinema! Travis Frazier of Trabujco Canyon, CA won second place – a FIERCE T-Shirt – with his surprising and last minute upset in his fourth and final game. And, much to my surprise, first time tournament player Dustin McCurdy, who began the game only several months ago – found himself amongst the rankings of higher level tournament players and earned himself the Fellowship Participation award.

Aside from myself, Flinch from Gaming Havens and Quickbeam representing GreenBooks (who also played in the tournament) were also on hand capturing each and every exciting moment for the TheOneRing.net. They both helped me tremendously with exciting and challenging Trivia sessions which occurred between rounds. Thanks fellas – everyone LOVED the trivia games.

The pre-release tournament was a great success overall and the players all walked away with smiles and great booster pack prizes and promo cards from Decipher, and limited edition OneRing Bookmarks and strategy guides from Black Label Games – promoting their Lord of the Rings video game (thanks Anson).

I want to thank Decipher for all of their support – especially Tracey Halliday and Scott Gaeta for their efforts in helping me run the smoothest – and largest – tournament I have ever organized. And I would like to specially thank PC’s Cat Ceder and Garrhet Noda who really helped me at the end of the tourney, organizing the ratings and making sure everything in that aspect was taken care of. At the end of the day, as many of you well know, its difficult to keep it all straight and without their help, it definitely would have been a lot more difficult. Thanks guys!

It was a great time had by all and I’m sure we can expect more of this in the near future. Thanks Decipher! Let’s do it again sometime.

Ents of Fangorn anyone?

Thanks for reading…

Lao

Posted in Old Special Reports

FEBRUARY 22nd and 23rd: Battle of Helm’s Deep Pre-Release Event!

Just a reminder: There are only 4 days left! The pre-registration area for the Battle of Helm’s Deep pre-release on DGMA.com will CLOSE FEB 17th at midnight. If you haven’t signed up for the event, please visit DGMA.com and do so by midnight this Tuesday. After that, you will only be able to purchase a spot on the day of the Tourney – either Feb, 22nd or 23rd – as a walk-in first come, first serve registration.

FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLAYERS and LOTR TCG FANS!

For all of you who live in Southern California or nearby, you have the opportunity to attend TWO pre-release tournaments! This DOUBLE-HEADER weekend is indeed a very special circumstance and here is all of the event information at this time:

THE OFFICIAL PRE-RELEASE EVENT OF THEONERING.NET!

FEBRUARY 22, 2003: WIZARDS OF THE COAST – Westminster Mall (Westminster, CA)

The WIZARDS OF THE COAST Store in the Westminster Mall, Westminster CA is the Official Pre-Release Tournament location of TheOneRing.net! This tournament will be held SATURDAY, Feb. 22nd. Here is a link for all of the official tournament information for this pre-release: [EVENT DETAILS]

FEBRUARY 23, 2003: SQUEEZE PLAY – Tustin, CA

There will also be a second Pre-Release Tournament at SQUEEZE PLAY in Tustin, CA on SUNDAY, FEB 23rd. Here is a direct link to the Battle of Helm’s Deep Pre Release at Squeeze Play: [EVENT DETAILS]

Thanks all for reading. Don’t forget…Pre-Registration CLOSES FEB 17 at midnight!

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

HELM’S DEEP PRE-RELEASE! FEB 22-23!

ARE YOU READY!?!

We are only three weeks away from the Official Pre-Release of the Battle of Helm’s Deep Weekend! During the weekend of FEB 22nd and 23rd, across the country and around the world, LOTR TCG players, collectors and enthusiasts will all come together and take part in one of the most exciting TCG events of all time!

On FEB 7th (which is only a few days away) at DGMA.com, you will be able to PRE-REGISTER your spot for $25 to have the incredible opportunity of taking part in this exciting event and collect a brand new LOTR TCG expansion two weeks before it is legally released in stores! For your entry fee, you will receive 1 pre-constructed Battle of Helm’s Deep Sealed Deck (either the Legolas or Eowyn theme), 3 BOHD Booster Packs and 1 Alternate Image collectible card of Theoden, King of the Golden Hall as your souvenir of this event.

BUT WHAT IS A SEALED DECK TOURNAMENT?

For those of you who do not know what a SEALED DECK tournament is, then this pre-release tournament is just for you! This is your chance to not only play in a very exciting and surprising tournament format, but to also have one of the very best and most challenging playing experiences ever.

Sealed Deck Pre-Release tournaments are incredibly fun for all skill levels – because the cards that you are playing with EQUALIZE the playing field as much as possible. Everyone will be using cards from one of two Sealed Deck themes which limit the variable of pre-constructed deck surprise. The Starter Deck lists are even available for study on Decipher’s website which you can find here.

However, the 3 Booster Packs which are also a part of your deck construction strategy keep that element of suspense very much alive as it becomes the most powerful dynamic in the format of Sealed Deck play. These cards are the “unknown” factor in the game – which is where your abilities as a player are put to the test.

But don’t worry, the most important part of this event is to HAVE FUN! Players from all over the territory will take part in this event as both collectors and enthusiasts of the game. For all of you newer players, this will be a great opportunity to learn from experts who will probably share with you a trick or two. For collectors, bring your trade binder along because with this many players congregated all in one place – there will always be an opportunity to find the cards you are looking for. And for all of you experienced players… time to put your skills to the test as you are forced to play with your wits and your talents – since this format will deprive you of the comfort of your own customized pre-constructed decks!

FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PLAYERS and LOTR TCG FANS!

For all of you who live in Southern California or nearby, you have the opportunity to attend TWO pre-release tournaments! This DOUBLE-HEADER weekend is indeed a very special circumstance and here is all of the event information at this time:

FEBRUARY 22, 2003: WIZARDS OF THE COAST – Westminster Mall (Westminster, CA)

The WIZARDS OF THE COAST Store in the Westminster Mall, Westminster CA is the Official Pre-Release Tournament location of TheOneRing.net! This tournament will be held SATURDAY, Feb. 22nd. Here is a link for all of the official tournament information for this pre-release: [EVENT DETAILS]

FEBRUARY 23, 2003: SQUEEZE PLAY – Tustin, CA

There will also be a second Pre-Release Tournament at SQUEEZE PLAY in Tustin, CA on SUNDAY, FEB 23rd. Here is a direct link to the Battle of Helm’s Deep Pre Release at Squeeze Play: [EVENT DETAILS]

Thanks all for reading. Don’t forget…Pre-Registration begins FEB 7th at www.dgma.com!

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports

COMING SOON: LOTR TCG ONLINE!

Hey gang! The title says it all. Who’s feeling goosebumps!?!

Have you ever wanted to stay-up all night gaming, but all of your friends are already sleeping? Have you ever wanted to test out your newest deck design – against someone in Russia…or China…or in Ohio? Have you every wanted to game so badly and for so long but couldn’t find a crew to match your stamina? Well then…THIS GAME IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU!!!!!

The Lord of the Rings Trading Card game is about to go ONLINE! The realm of Middle Earth will soon be set upon an all new “Fourth Age”; a digital world where players from all over the globe can compete in the style and dynamic of the “offline” version of the LOTR TCG that we have all come to enjoy without measure!

The Lord of the Rings ONLINE Website is up and completely accessible and has links to actual game screens, news-articles, notes from the designers and a link to sign-up to become a BETA tester for the game. Check out all of these fantastic goodies HERE!

And, as for some additional reading material:

The following article was the first official press release of the ONLINE LOTR TCG from August, 2002. For those of you who are new to this information…enjoy! And for those who have already read this previously… now is the time to refresh your memory and get in gear for what could become the single most exciting online TCG ever played!

And, most importantly, from now on, you will be able to return to Gaming Havens periodically and follow along with the progress of this fantastic upcoming game as we continue to bring you new information, interviews and updates as the game progressess and comes even closer to completion. But for now, here’s what’s happening:

NEWS RELEASE
DECIPHER® TRADING CARD GAME STUDIO
253 granby street • norfolk, virginia 23510 – 1813
phone • 757.623.3600 • fax 757.623.3630
norfolk • denver • los angeles

DECIPHER ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR ONLINE VERSION OF
THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ TRADING CARD GAME

(NORFOLK, Va., August 28, 2002) — One of the most popular trading card games available today — The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game (TCG) — is about to go digital! The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game Online will open its virtual doors to ‘round-the-clock Internet play early in 2003, Decipher announced today. Decipher is partnering with Worlds Apart Productions, widely recognized for its critically acclaimed online roleplaying game, “The Eternal City,” to produce the online version of the game.

“The Lord of the Rings TCG is simply the most incredible game Decipher has ever created, and we are extremely excited about being able to offer its game mechanics and strategies to even more players through the online version,” said Chairman and CEO Warren Holland. “The popularity of this game and the popularity of The Lord of the Rings story has the potential in my mind to create the most dynamic worldwide online gaming community the Internet has ever seen.”

The Online Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game will allow players to purchase randomly assorted card packs, build their decks, make trades, and play against a multitude of opponents just like they already do with the popular paper version. However, the nature of the Internet will allow players wherever they may be to find an opponent to play no matter the time of day.

Decipher’s partner in bringing The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game online, Worlds Apart Productions, has been developing and managing online games for six years. An announcement was made earlier this week that Worlds Apart will take over Decipher’s online game development, effective immediately. The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game Online will join the already popular Star Trek Customizable Card Game Online, which launched in May 2001.

For Immediate Release. For further information, contact:

Tracey Halliday, Decipher, 757.664.1102
Monica Jones, Decipher, 757.664.1146
Scott Martins, Worlds Apart Productions, 303.863.8199

More to come…

Lao of Gondor

Posted in Old Special Reports