So last week, we got to try out The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, a sweet deck-building game from Cryptozoic. I admit that at first, I was skeptical about whether the game would be fun because it strongly reminded me of the DC deck-building game, which was a game I had already learned. I thought to myself “Why the heck would I want to relearn a game that is so remarkably like something I already know how to play?”
Well, I am pleased to report that although mechanically the games are similar in the sense that there is only one resource to manage , there are two HUGE differences that set the two games apart and make all the difference to me.
The first difference is the flavor of the game. I’m just a casual LOTR fan, but I am more familiar with the lore of Middle Earth than I am with the DC universe. All the cards have art from the movies on them, and the creative team did a fantastic job at capturing what the cards did mechanically in both the artwork and the title of the cards. In my very first game, I bought a card very early on in the game called What Do You Smell?, which let you look at the top card of your deck. If it iwas an enemy card, you put it in your hand. If not, you can destroy it(which can be a good thing). The art was this Uruk-Hai dude sniffing the air with a nasty face. The art and title summarize what the card does thematically, which is find an enemy and add it to your forces, or destroy any, you know, manflesh. I found myself belting out the title of the card in the worst imitation of an Uruk-Hai several times, sometimes with replies of “MANFLESH!” echoing back to me from people in the store.
The other difference lies in the strategies available to win the game with. Sure, the most obvious(and sometimes best) route is to just kill the Archenemies because they are worth lots of points relative to what you spend defeating them. But there’s another way to get ahead on victory points available. There are a few cards you can buy that are worth substantially more than other non-Archenemy cards that ask the buyer to tailor their deck to make them worth it. For example, there is a card called Longbottom Leaf that isn’t very good on it’s own, but each Leaf you have at the end of the game is worth substantially more points, meaning there are strategies that may pop up from time to time other than who can assemble the most of the one resource each turn.
Other awesome features of The Two Towers include defenses, the One Ring, the Wall deck, and Impossible Mode, but I won’t spoil everything for you here. We have a demo copy at the store at all times, and I am always willing to teach anyone willing to learn!
Enough about last week. This weekend is actually the prerelease weekend for the new Magic set, Theros, so while I’m going to be at the store all weekend, I might not have a ton of time to run actual demos because prerelease weekends are usually very, very hectic. That said, everyone is welcome to just show up on Sunday to play some board games courtesy of my personal stash and GG’s growing stable of demo games. If I find I’m not so busy after all, I will be running demos as usual, probably focusing on teaching people how to play fast paced, easy to learn games like Fluxx because well, Fluxx is cool.
Fluxx World Finalist signing off,