How to guides
LOTRS LCG is the first card game for which I will be developing a BoardKit and the first of this kit’s components I want to publish is the Player mat. It is going to be only one of five mats required for the LOTR LCG BoardKit, but as it can be used without the other components as simply a player mat, it was the best one to start off this kit. This way, I can get some feedback on this first element without all the kit being published.
So, lets talk about this mat. What you need to know is that with this LOTR LCG player mat I’m attempting to assemble in a clear and fun way all the cards a player will place on the table plus all the enemy cards that will engage with him in an 11 x 17 inch area. I also included some tracking mechanics to round-off all the basic components a player needs in front of him. Overall the mat is divided into six areas: Heroes, Allies, Attachments, Engaged Enemies, Deck and the Combo tracker. We’ll look at each in turn.
Like the Success tracker mat, it is focused on enhancing the sense of challenge associates with the Questing portion of the game. Unlike the other three mats though, the Questing path changes from adventure to adventure to deliver on its goal.
With this mat, my design goal is to nurture the sense of struggle at the core of LOTR LCG by giving it a central “score board”. This makes “board game” sense for me as it brings together the players in this coop game around their shared challenge. An LOTR LCG game is, at its best, a tense experience tied to surmounting what looks like impending doom and this mat builds-up that tension.
This is the second central mat. I recommend that you place it below or next to the Encounter mat. This mat is going to get the most action of all the central mats during any LOTR LCG game.
The staging area in LOTR LCG can become a crowded and confusing place, especially for inexperienced players. Threat contribution has to be assessed. Card text must be scanned periodically for triggers. Locations and enemies share the same space and when it comes to the travel and engagement phases these cards need to be triaged to establish a unified game plan. This is so that the group can progress through combat and be ready to deal with the threat at the start of the next turn. This is part of the challenge that makes this game fun, but for a boardgame version this could be a bit much for all but active CCG players.
Let’s see how a Staging mat could help.
This second mat is a standard sized mat (8.5 x 11 inches). It’s one of the four that will occupy the central area of the board game layout. The other three mats, the Staging area, Questing path and Success tracker are also of standard size. All four together occupy a space of ruffly 17 by 22 inches in the middle of the table and create the main board of this BoardKit.
Why not simply make one big central mat of them all? Three reasons. The first reason is that dividing them into standard sized mats makes them easy and cheap to print. The other reason is that this also makes them easier to carry to the game shop or to a friend’s house. As for the third reason, I will have you wait until I introduce the Questing path to cover it.
Let’s look at the different areas on this mat.