Enemies of the Shadow who have been waiting to know when they could get their hands on the first expansion for War of the Ring: The Card Game - your lit beacons have apparently been seen. Publisher Ares Games opened pre-orders for Against the Shadow, which should arrive in Autumn of this year.
It’s been nearly a year since War of the Ring: The Card Game released and gave fans of board games based on Tolkien’s seminal fantasy novels another banger for their shelves. Normally a competitive card game that splits players between the Free Peoples - Dwarves, Elves, Hobbits and the human Kingdoms - and the Shadow’s forces led by Sauron and Saruman.
Each vie for control of battlefields and key locations throughout Middle-earth while also alternatively protecting or corrupting the Ring-bearer on his way to Mt. Doom. This normally required at least two people - one for each opposing faction - but the upcoming Against the Shadow expansion includes an automated AI opponent that a solo player or cooperative pair can battle against.
The human player(s) will control the Free Peoples, while the Shadow’s deck is completely replaced with new cards specifically tailored for this new play mode, so you can leave the core game’s cards in the original box when journeying alone. An accompanying flowchart guide provides all the instruction needed to lead the deck through what the publisher has called a “sophisticated challenge” for players, though how that stacks against humans who can taunt you with their best Christopher Lee impressions remains to be seen.
Against the Shadow’s pre-order box will come with a rulebook and two flowcharts, a deck of 60 Shadow AI cards and sleeves for that faction and also all the slightly larger path and battleground cards. Two Shadow Battleground Cards and four Path Cards come with the expansion, along with alternate art promo cards for Gothmog and the Whip of Many Thongs. The whole thing can fit inside the included metal tin featuring artwork of the Balrog.
War of the Ring: The Card Game was designed by Ian Brody. Pre-ordering the box will set you back $40 without tax, but Ares Games states that it will ship orders to the US and EU for free. The publisher also stipulates that the Autumn 2023 release date is “estimated” at this time and does not provide anything more concrete.