It’s been ten years since the first Saga Expansion for The Lord of the Rings LCG was released. I can still remember the excitement of reading about the first box, taking us through the first half of The Hobbit, and getting a fourth hero from the yellow, “pipe” sphere! When the box arrived, I gave the first scenario a try, and promptly got nowhere. Two further attempts were equally ridiculous in terms of difficulty, and I have not played it since. There are three scenarios in the box, but I’ve never tried the other two because of this difficulty.
The follow up box, On the Doorstep, proved to be much more fun when it came out in 2013, and to this day I have very fond memories of the first scenario, where characters poisoned by the spiders are turned upside-down to symbolise what happens in the book. Very thematic, and it did somewhat bring my attention back to the game!
In 2014, after much speculation, FFG finally began to release the Lord of the Rings saga boxes, starting with The Black Riders. I’ve tried the first scenario in this box twice, first being utterly destroyed with a thematic hobbit deck, then in my abortive attempt at a full saga play-through back in 2015.
Since then, we’ve had five more boxes that cover the events of the whole trilogy, but I haven’t played through a single one. I’ve studiously bought them all, including multiple copies to get those all-important encounter sets to ensure I could have each quest set up ready to go, but they have remained unplayed all this time.
Now, where Lord of the Rings LCG is concerned, that isn’t entirely surprising. I’ve talked about this a lot on the blog, but the difficulty level ramped up so quickly that it really ceased to be enjoyable for me somewhere around the Ringmaker cycle, and I have a lot of unplayed content for the game. There are certainly two full cycles that I have never played, and plenty where I’ve only played the deluxe box or less. The game, I find, is just brutal from the off, and I’m not always in the mood for that kind of pummelling!
However, I’ve been reading a few bits and bobs about house rules, not trying to make it easy, but just trying to give myself a chance, and I’m finding it interesting to read about how other folks have handled this game. It is a co-op game, so nobody should really care about making some variation to make it more fun. It surprises me at times how much of a stickler for the rules I can be, when I think back to games such as A Touch of Evil where I would actively create my own content to play! So I’m thinking about trying some of these things out, with the idea that I might make a serious attempt to actually play through a saga campaign this winter! I know that I’ve excitedly talked about starting campaigns through complete cycles before, of course, and promptly gotten nowhere, but hopefully this time I can take it easy and just plod through, peppering the saga games into my more regular gaming. It’s exciting to consider, as it’ll be like having a completely new game to discover!!