The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game will arrive in Early Access by summer’s end

Much like hobbits returning to the shire, The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game will make it into Early Access before the first leaves of autumn fall: August 28, 2018. A digital adaptation inspired by Fantasy Flight Games’ cooperative card game of the same name, the game has players battling through a series of narrative stories to foil Sauron’s plans either solo or with a co-op partner. The game will only include single player experiences at Early Access launch, but will add co-op in “the coming months,” presumably in time for Frodo to feel ill on the anniversary of his encounter with Shelob. The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game is published by Asmodee Digital and developed by Fantasy Flight Interactive.

The game will release on Steam with a variety of purchase options. When it launches into Early Access, it’ll be available in $7.99, $15.99, $29.99, and $47.99 packs with increasingly more cards, in-game currency, and cosmetic items. Beyond that, a Collector’s Edition will include a two-player starter edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game alongside a One Ring replica, art prints, cosmetics, and the soundtrack.

The Lord of the Rings: Living Card game is not a direct adaptation of the tabletop card game, rather, it’s an adaptation inspired by the original game. What it does specifically keep is the Living Card Game format pioneered by Fantasy Flight on the tabletop, which does away with randomized boosters in favor of packs that always contain the same cards in the same numbers. The digital adaptation does have an in-game currency, but that currency is either used to directly unlock a specific card directly or for a randomized reward (gazing into a Palantír) that can include a card, but could be a cosmetic item or just more currency. The notable difference between the physical and digital versions of the game is that stories are fully narrated, with branching paths, and that the AI can dynamically react to players’ actions in a way that the random Sauron deck of the tabletop game never could.

We got a look at the game in January, but keep a flaming and lidless eye on PC Gamer for a fresh hands-on preview of The Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game in the coming days.