12-05-02 Latest News

RING LORE: A Beginner's Guide to The Two Towers TCG
Lao_of_Gondor @ 2:35 pm EST

A Beginner's Guide to Playing the Game

And so it begins...

The long awaited return of RING LORE...a unique and in-depth study of the Lord of the Rings TCG by yours truly...Lao of Gondor.

This newest installment of RING LORE will focus on how to get started playing THE TWO TOWERS TCG by Decipher, Inc. So if you are already an experienced gamer, please bear with me as I offer newcomers and beginners alike, my advice on how to start and share in the continuing adventure of the greatest TCG to date!

The Two Towers TCG premiere set is definitely upon us and has indeed changed the face of LOTR TCG gaming as we know it. Since November 6th, throughout both League and Tournament play, I have been exposed to only a fraction of the potential within this 365 card set, and it is safe to say that the world of LOTR TCG gaming will never be the same.

The Two Towers offers a complex, richly layered and unique gaming experience as it continues where the final Fellowship of the Ring expansion, The Realms of the Elf-Lords, ended. New cultures, characters, allies, possessions and enemies have been added to the mix as the quest to destroy the One Ring unfolds upon a new battleground. New mechanics,
keywords and three new cultures: Dunland, Raider and Rohan have expanded the game in such way to reflect the vastness of the peoples and places of Middle-Earth, aside from those we have already experienced in the previous three Fellowship expansion sets.

The adventure path is also quite new and has now changed to reflect two distinct journeys: Frodo and Sam's march towards Mordor and the charge of the "Three Hunters" (Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli) across the Rohan plains in search of their captured comrades, Merry and Pippin. The adventure path incorporates the same dynamic of 9 distinct SITE locations which, through the keywords RING-BOUND and UNBOUND, affect either journey - or both at the same time.

But before we get into any of that, let's take this slowly and from the top:


If you are a newcomer to the game, or if you are interested in
continuing the thrill and excitement of the first three sets then visit your local gaming store, or your online retailer, and purchase either the ARAGORN Starter Deck, the THEODEN Starter Deck or - if your funds so allow - the DELUXE Starter Set. Depending on the vendor, the basic Starter Deck retails for $9.99 to $10.95 and the Deluxe ranges from $19.95 to $24.95. You can find all of these supplies and more here at the Decipher On-Line Store.


The three different Starter decks represent three different design themes which give you a unique glimpse into the world of this trading card game. Starter decks offer you the ability to play straight out of the box with absolutely no need for enhancements from booster packs (see Booster Packs entry below). Each basic starter comes with a rulebook and a fixed 60-card deck plus three random rare cards - for a total of 63 cards per box.

The Aragorn Starter Deck features the PREMIUM Aragorn as your suggested starting companion. It is further enhanced with GIMLI and LEGOLAS to offer you the strategy of how the "Three Hunters" tirelessly search for Merry and Pippin, who are also in this deck. The Shadow side features the new DUNLAND Culture: the savage wildmen recruited by Saruman - who's strength in numbers is almost as dangerous as the ferocity of the Uruk-Hai as they burn, pillage and plunder across the Rohan Plains!

The culture of ROHAN represents the defense of the Free Peoples in the THEODEN Starter Deck. This configuration allows you to explore the nobility and power of the Riders of Rohan, and their leaders EOMER, EOWYN and THEODEN. Supporting the forces of Shadow are the fighting URUK-HAI, as they have returned with a more powerful and versatile nature, combining the use of archery and site control to dominate the world of men.

Finally, the DELUXE Starter deck contains not only a playable deck (like the basic starters); it also contains an 11-card booster pack, glass bead tokens (to represent the twilight pool and wounds) player markers and comes in one of three beautifully designed containers branded with the cultural flavor and icon of the ELVEN, ISENGARD or ROHAN cultures.

In the Deluxe Starter Deck, the Free Peoples side is based around GANDALF and his ability to generate power from the tokens in the twilight pool. The Shadow forces are represented by the newly introduced RAIDER culture - specifically Easterlings and Southerons; aggressive minions of men who have arsenals of new and as yet unexplored abilities such as the AMBUSH tactic!

For a complete list of each starter deck, visit the Decipher TWO TOWERS Starter Decks Card list page here.


Booster Packs are 11-card supplements that further enhance your ability to create new and devastating strategies for your customized deck design. Each booster pack is different and contains cards which represent each different culture. Each 11-card pack contains 1 rare card and one out of every 6 random packs contains an ultra-rare holographic card (a foil
version of a card.) Booster packs come in boxes of 36 packs and can either be purchased by the pack or by the box - whichever you prefer. Packs usually retail for around $2.95 to $3.95 and full sealed boxes range from $80 to $100.


Ahh...you wish to test your skills, eh? Well then, when it comes to the community of gaming, there's none out there like that of the Lord of the Rings TCG. There are tournaments, league nights, home-based league kits, special events and even free demonstrations and strategy seminars thanks to the tireless efforts of the Riders of Rohan–Decipher's Product Champions. To find out who your local Rider of Rohan is, visit Decipher's Main Page or locate your specific area and Product Champion from the PC list here. For tournament information you can either go to Decipher's Tournament Main Page or visit the Decipher Games Management Authority at www.dgma.com. Or quite simply, visit your local retailer, gaming supply store or comic book shop and ask if they support tournament and league play and who the Rider is for that particular store. Believe me, if there's a gaming opportunity that you want to become involved in...we have got you covered!

Aside from time, patience and a little luck...that's about it...you are ready to embark on one helluva gaming adventure! You will probably need to purchase the standard gaming supplies such as: glass tokens, dice, plastic card protectors, card binders, storage boxes and other such paraphernalia if you wish. My advice to you, if you really are interested in investing in this game, please always visit www.decipher.com for the latest news, updates, rules errata and FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) to keep your knowledge of this game current and up-to-date. And of course, keep an eye (or two, as often as you can spare them) on GAMING HAVENS here at TOR.N for more articles and strategy tips which you will definitely see in the near future.

As for all of you experienced gamers out there, please use these guidelines as a means to advise newer players on how to enter the game. Remember, the more people who play, the more opportunities you will have for larger and more challenging playing experiences. And somewhere along the line, you will meet new friends, expand your playing community and most importantly of all...you will help secure the stability of the game within your area for years to come.

THE TWO TOWERS is just beginning to unfold and its gaming opportunities are beyond measure. Hit those stores, buy those decks and get to work!


Lao of Gondor

On the next Installment of RING LORE: CULTURAL IDENTITY!