This week, Tim is joined by BassWakil (Bass) to discuss his Custom Lord of the Rings set.
If you want a deep dive into the inspiration, creation, and conclusions of the set you can check out this Tumblr post written by Bass.
Set Intro (1:25)
Bass started this project in 2019 and used Tabletop Simulator to playtest the set. The goal of the set was to design a top down set inspired by the Lord of the Rings movies. The art for these renders come from from the films by Peter Jackson.
Theme by Color 6:55
Bass was initially inspired by the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game distributed by Decipher and looked to group colors by factions. However, he quickly realized it would be better to mechanical themes into colors.
Bass initially struggled to find enough depth for the blue slice of the color pie, but eventually settled on some additional themes that felt natural in the color.
Initial Playtesting (12:00)
To help iterate on the set, Bass utilized Tabletop Simulator and a proto-Jumpstart format he conceived. Twenty card decks of a single color were assembled and then shuffled together to help develop potential archetypes and get information quickly about how mechanics were playing.
The Ring Mechanics (14:20)
It was important to Bass that he get the flavor of the One Ring right. The mechanic went through several phases as an effect on cards, a monarch like mechanic, an equipment like ability for players. However, Bass finally landed on the concept of Burden Counters and Poison.
To acquire the ring you play card with the ability “The Ring Tempts You”:
Lands and Journey (38:15)
Next, Bass wanted to tackle the idea of travel and adventure. Much of the Lord of the Rings is about traveling to different locations. Initially Bass started with a DFC style mechanic; however, considering the complexity of the Ring, he wanted to have simpler supporting mechanics. Bass eventually settled on — Journey.
The Lord of the Rings features several battles, and many of the battles center around a central fortification. Bass tried designed mechanics around extra combats and banners before landing on his Besieged mechanic.
The Fellowship (50:35)
A mechanic Bass had hardly any trouble with was the Fellowship. This mechanic takes inspiration from the Ally mechanics of Zendikar to encourage drafters to look at acquiring unique creature types.
Bass really wanted to tackle the concept of mounts in this set especially considering the importance they play in the story. Several different mounted groups received representation in card form including the Riders of Rohan and the Men of Harad.
One of the problems Bass uncovered while designing the set was a lack of flyers. Because Bass was restricting himself to the movies, he came up with some alternative evasion mechanics that keyword the “Daunt” style attackers already prevalent in magic.
The last mechanic Bass and Tim covered was a fusion of crew and equipment. These spells allow you to place creatures at famous locations in Middle Earth for additional effects.
That’s the podcast for the week. To join the conversation and look at some more cards from the set, visit our discord!
This episode featured a ton of references to both magic and Lord of the Rings. Here’s a list of some references you may not already be aware of:
The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by Decipher (4:21) – Here’s the Wiki for information about the LotR TCG.
Corsairs of Umbar (6:45) – Peter Jackson, along with many of the film crew, made a cameo in the Return of the King as a Corsair of Umbar.
The Dunlendings (9:10) – A group that Sarumon used to attack the people of Rohan.
Frodo and the One Ring (17:30) – Upon release there was both a common and rare version of Frodo and the One Ring. These are the two common versions of both. There were a total of five blocks released with each block containing three sets. Additionally, there were four non-block sets released for the trading card game.
Rings of Power Names (18:45) – Every ring of power has a name that you can find at this wiki page.
Star Wars Rebellion (29:40) – You can learn more about this board game from this three minute video.
Spellslingers (44:25) – I believe this is the podcast when Beacon became the official Pro-Vigilance Podcast.
Unemployed Elves (57:50) – It’s a little sloppy, but I believe this is every Elf you can ride.
This isn’t explicitly referenced in the podcast, but I just want to spread the good word of Grond when I can.