11 December 2017
Early Access launch on Steam planned for early 2018
Fantasy Flight’s The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is coming to PC next year.
The co-op living card game – in which expansions are fixed collections of cards, rather than randomised packs as in collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering – first hit the tabletop back in 2011 and has been expanded with dozens of expansions and adventure packs since, filling in Tolkien’s story between Bilbo’s 111th birthday and Frodo leaving the Shire at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring.
Intriguingly, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game will be released as a free-to-play app sometime in 2018, with a single-player Early Access version landing on Steam “in the coming months”.
There are currently no solid details on how expansions will be offered for purchase, although the free-to-play model suggests the app will include micro-transactions or similar in-game purchases. There’s similarly no confirmation of which expansions will be added to the app first, or whether it’ll keep pace with its physical counterpart’s new releases.
Although the initial app will only include offline solo play with a single person controlling all three heroes, co-operative multiplayer is due to be added at some point in the future, enabling a two-player playthrough of its quests and deckbuilding aspects.
It’s the first release out of Fantasy Flight Interactive, the new video game development studio opened by the publisher a couple of months ago. Although The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game seems to be a relatively straightforward port of the physical game, the studio suggested it was also working on completely original games set in Fantasy Flight’s tabletop universes.