04 April 2019
We wants it, we needs it
The next deluxe expansion for the Lord of the Rings living card game will give Gollum’s split personality two sides – literally.
A Shadow in the East marks the first time that players have been able to team up with the tragic former hobbit Sméagol, who becomes a playable hero in the upcoming set. Gollum could previously be encountered as an enemy.
Because his rags don’t have any pockets (and less so because he’s weak-willed in the presence of the Ring), Sméagol can’t carry attachments – including The One Ring, which becomes a wearable item for the first time in the expansion – but has the ability to draw extra cards from the deck at the cost of threat, making him a useful guide to the rest of the party.
Bringing the corruptible companion along with you carries a risk, though. Two Stinker cards shuffled into the encounter deck can cause Sméagol to turn back into Gollum, with the controlling player turning on the rest of the group until he’s defeated and reverts back to his friendly personality.
The character’s changing nature is reflected by the first joint hero and enemy card in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, with Sméagol and Gollum on reverse sides of the same double-sided card. The other hero in the new set is Faramir.
With the One Ring now able to be worn, A Shadow in the East introduces new Master cards that let the heroes use the Ring’s power for a short time, such as by cancelling the effects of encounter cards. Using it obviously comes at a cost, with the Ring reducing its bearer’s threat elimination level and the party losing the game if the Ring leaves play at any time.
A Shadow in the East kicks off the Vengeance in Mordor cycle of releases for The Lord of the Rings: TCG with three new scenarios set in the domain of Rhûn: The River Running, Danger in Dorwinion and The Temple of Doom, which we can only assume features a cameo appearance from Indiana Jones. (Spoiler: it doesn't.)
A Shadow in the East will be released for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game in the third quarter of 2019. It’ll cost $30 (£23) in the US; UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but expect it to come in around the same price as previous deluxe expansions for the game: £28.