Beyond the rich theme and deep strategy, another thing that really makes The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game stand out is the fantastic art. It is a shame that the standard card size reduces many of these masterpieces to near postage stamp size, but there is some amazing artwork being created for this game. There is currently a thread on the FFG forums where everyone is sharing their favorite pieces of art – I want to encourage anyone who appreciates the artistic side of this game to go check it out.
As a game matures, players become familiar with the cards, particularly heroes, they they see all of the time. At a certain point, all of the extra space give to stats and rules text can almost be seen as noise that detracts from, or at least covers up, the wonderful art of these cards. This is where alternate art cards are a great idea. Not only do they showcase a new artistic interpretation of heroes that we know and love, but most of the “chrome” for stats and card text has been stripped away, leaving the artwork as the center of attention. So far the only official alternate art cards is the copy of Aragorn that came with the GenCon 2014 quest, The Old Forest, and the Fellowship event decks for Fog on the Barrow Downs.
I really like this card, and I hope that FFG continues to release alternate art cards for other heroes and beloved player cards. In the mean time, however, my bearish impatience got the better of me and I went ahead and created alternate art cards for each of the heroes in the Core Set. Having all of that extra space really allows for some dramatic art choices, so I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. The Grey Company just might be giving these out as promotions in the near future – we’ll have to see!