In the BGG's thread AMA - ASK ME ANYTHING about the War of the Ring: The Card Game, Roberto Di Meglio answered a lot of questions about the upcoming War of the Ring: The Card Game (WOTRCG from now on). We compiled the most frequently asked questions, and their answer, in this post. THe AMA thread remains open for new questions, and whenever necessary, the answers will be added to this FAQ.

When will WOTRCG release?
Our goal is to have the printed game in Essen (October 2022) and in stores before Christmas. But production and shipping times are very unpredictable in the latest months - we can only be certain we're sending the game to print before the end of June.

Are there any plans for additional language versions?
Yes. We expect most of our War of the Ring language partners to release a translated version in 2023. At the moment, War of the Ring is translated, or soon to be translated, in English, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Ukrainian.

What will be the suggested retail price?
The English SRP will be $ 45 (US dollars).

Who is the designer of the game?
The game has been designed by Ian Brody, creator of the Quartermaster General series of card-driven strategy games, and developed by Karin Brody and Roberto Di Meglio (co-designer of War of the Ring).

Is this a collectible/living card game?
No. It is a complete "card game in a box" providing everything up to 4 players need to play. Each player uses a specific pre-constructed, asymmetrical deck of 30 cards, including cards from one or more different Cultures: Mordor, Isengard, Southrons, Monstrous, for the Shadow; Dunedain, Elves, Wizards, Rohan, Hobbits, Dwarves for the Free Peoples. There are 120 cards for the 4 decks (30 cards each, 63 x 88 mm size), 27 Path cards (80 x 120 mm size) and 14 Battleground cards (80 x 120 mm size).

Is there original art in the game?
Yes. Only about 1/3 is existing art from other War of the Ring games. The rest is original art by John Howe, Fataneh Howe, Andrea Piparo, Ben Wootten, Jon Hodgson, Dimitry Prosvirnin, Kuo Yang, Studio De Luca, Matteo Macchi, Francesco Mattioli. The entire series of "Paths" and "Battleground" cards is created by the Howes.

Do you have plans for expansions?
Yes. We have an expansion planned for release in 2023, which adds 5-6 players gaming modes, and also a greater variety of cards to cover the "War in the North" to use in 2-4 players games. There will be new cultures in the Expansion - Easterlings, Ruffians ("Evil Men") , Men of the North but they are not assigned specifically to the new players. When you play, decks will be built with different sets of factions in a 5-6 players game than in the 4 players' game.

There will be promo cards?
Yes, we are planning 4 promo cards, one for each deck.

Are there any additional products planned for the game? (For example, a playmat, or something like the WOTR board game sleeve tins.)
At the moment there are no other products in the making... But depending on the feedback we get, adding accessories is possible.

Are you going to release a Deluxe/Limited Edition?
We would love to, but it has not been decided yet.
We will definitely time our decision so we can announce/open preorders for a Deluxe version before the regular one hits shelves, so people can decide to go deluxe (and most likely wait a few months more, or just get the regular version.
The possible enhancements we thought of for a possible Limited Edition are in the packaging style, the inclusion of accessories and deluxified components (game mat, tokens, card holders), the inclusion of promo cards. We would definitely not want to tweak card size or type of card stock. From a gameplay perspective, it will 100% the same as the regular edition.

How close are the game mechanics to those in War of the Ring?
We tried to create a game which is different from War of the Ring, but provides similar "emotions" for the player, and with as many thematic and mechanic connections with WOTR as we could fit into a card game format. During each round, a Path card (representing the progress of the Fellowship) and a Battleground card (representing the military action) are activated, and players will fight for them - just like in War of the Ring you have to split your action on the Quest/Hunt for the Ring and the War itself.

What went into the decision to re-imagine War of the Ring into a card game?
In a nutshell, making WOTR more portable, faster to play, easier to access were all motivations to develop this game. And also to provide a new way to experience the LOTR trilogy to existing WOTR players, but potentially to new players as well.

What mechanism in the card game will create the decision dilemmas of the dice action from the board game?
Mostly, the decision of which cards to play and which ones to cycle away; and the decision to play cards to Reserve, Path or Battleground. This is very similar to the action dice dilemma in WOTR.

How long did the development of this game took?
The work on WOTRCG began 6 years ago, so you can imagine the amount of dedication we put into it to make it good. The current version has been playtested for more than 1 year.
Ian Brody added: It wasn't 6 years of continual development. 6 years is a long time, for sure, though. The design process is fast and then slow, and I usually have about 3-4 games I work on simultaneously. Once you have "a game", playtesting is super slow, so you have to start working on another game. After gather results from a few playtests, you go back to spend some super-focused time rewriting things, and then back to playtesting. Once you get to blindtesting, things slow down even more, and asking blindtesters to put up with more than one revision cycle is generally asking too much.
And the process is artistic, so you have to give yourself the latitude to do what you think makes the game better even when what you most want to do is finish. (I actually had to learn that lesson.)

Will there be a design diary?
Yes, Ian Brody announced his intention to write a Design Diary. In his words: Like I said, for this game, at some point in the future I'll write a designer's diary, where I'll delve into the building blocks of WotR I borrowed to construct this design.

Are there any similarities with the Lord of the Rings LCG, or Decipher's Lord of the Rings TCG?
Not at all. We think you can find some similarities with Quartermaster General and War of the Ring - even if we thing WOTRCG is unique and different from both its "parents." There is no connection or design similarity to previous Lord of the Rings-based card games, except of course those arising from the theme itself.

What is the player count for the game?
The game was originally designed for 4 players, playing in teams, 2 players as the Free Peoples and 2 players as the Shadow. It can be played very well also with 2 or 3 players, using specific game modes and scenarios. There are three different ways to play with less than 4 players.

  • playing in 2 or 3 players, with one or two players playing two decks each (similar to how you play QMG with less than the full complement of players)
  • playing a 2-player scenario ("The Fellowship of the Ring" short scenario, included in the core set)
  • playing the 2/3 player "Duel" mode (one deck for each player, slightly different rules for the card draw to rotate decks more quickly).
I can honestly say the game scales well from 2 to 4 players, with no "compromise" on fun or playability at the various players' counts. We put a lot of time in developing the 2 player version: we think it works really well. it is different from the 4 player version (you play with 60 cards instead of 30 each, so there is less control on the deck, hence the game has a higher luck factor), but fast playing and fun. The 3-player version is a variant of the 2-player Duel (1 Free Peoples player vs. 2 Shadow players) that we are playtesting now as the final development of the core set.

Is it possible to play solo or co-op?
For the moment we do not have a solo mode ready yet, but Ian is working on it, and we will release it if we are happy about it plays.

What about game lenght and depth in comparison with WOTR?
It is epic-size for a card game, about 90 minutes for a full game (shorter than WOTR though) and almost no setup time. We believe the game has a lot of depth - after months and months of intense playtesting, we still discover new strategies, new combos, new ways to play.

Does the game cover the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy?
The standard playing mode (the "Trilogy" scenario) is a full experience - Shire to Mordor, in fact, not Rivendell like in WOTR. There is one short "The Fellowship of the Ring" scenario designed by Ian, which we plan to include in the core game, and additional scenarios might be released in the future - we already have a first draft of "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" as separate scenarios, but they are not fully developed yet, and are still being playtested. When all three will be fully developed, linking them in one campaign-like narrative is also a possibility. But this is not a part of the core game, to be clear. In the core game you find the Trilogy scenario and the Fellowship of the Ring short scenario.

Are you going to release the rulebook soon?
We plan to release the rulebook after it is finalized, in July.

Can you tell us something more about the Expansion?
Ian Brody wrote: The planned expansion will generally cover a lot of the stuff from the appendices, like the battles in Mirkwood, Bree, Lonely Mountain, and more. So I reserved some narrative areas for the 6 player expansion, but gameplay wise, I felt the best approach for me was to make the 4 player game as good as possible, because if players didn't like it, there would never be an expansion. Getting 6 players to table at once is tricky, so early on I decided to focus on the approach I took.
After that, I have no idea where the product goes. There are currently no plans for further expansions, but if people really like it and want to buy more of it, and I can think of more ways to make the game more fun or replayable, who knows. I can also imagine a similar, shorter, simpler game based on the Hobbit.

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