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War of the Ring: The Card Game adds co-op and solo modes in its first expansion

Against the Shadow introduces an AI opponent to the Lord of the Rings title.

Image credit: Ares Games

Lord of the Rings gem War of the Ring: The Card Game will receive its first expansion later this year, introducing new cooperative and solo modes.

War of the Ring: The Card Game released last year as a spin-off from the beloved board game based on Tolkien’s epic fantasy trilogy. The game pits two to four players - split into teams representing the Free Peoples and the Shadow led by Sauron and Saruman - against each other in a battle to control locations across Middle-earth and corrupt the Ring-bearer.

Image credit: Ares Games

War of the Ring: TCG’s first expansion Against the Shadow will allow all of the players to work together against a new AI opponent, operated by a dedicated deck of ‘bot’ cards. As in the original game, the human players will control the Free Peoples - including the likes of the elves, dwarves, Gondor/Rohan and Fellowship - against the efforts of the Shadow bot to overwhelm them.

The AI opponent will be controlled via the deck of cards and a flowchart that publisher Ares Games describes as a “simple” solution for the automated play, while also offering up a “sophisticated challenge”. (The flowchart appears on two reference cards in the box.) Play time is expected to be comparable to the original game, at around an hour or so.

Matt and Wheels chat about their time playing War of the Ring: TCG at Gen Con 2022

The automated opponent can be faced with two human players or a solo Free Peoples leader, allowing War of the Ring: TCG to be played as a solo game. Aside from the new bot cards, the expansion will include six new location cards for players to battle over and 27 additional path cards - representing moments from the books - that provide the narrative backbone of each match.

Like War of the Ring: The Card Game, Against the Shadow has been designed by Ian Brody, known for his work on the card-driven Quartermaster General series of wargames. It will be released this September, following a reveal at UK Games Expo at the start of June. A price is yet to be confirmed.

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War of the Ring: The Card Game

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Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.