There are 9 different types of cards in the LotR-TCG. Each has its own limitation as to where and when it may be played, and what kind of other cards it may bear.
Most cards in The Lord of the Rings TCG are one of two basic kinds: Free Peoples or Shadow. There are also sites and The One Ring, which are neither Free Peoples cards nor Shadow cards.
Free Peoples cards represent the forces of good. Each player has his own fellowship, made up of a Ring-bearer and other companions. When you take your turn, you play and use your Free Peoples cards. Free Peoples cards have a light colored circular field in the upper left corner.
Shadow cards represent the forces of evil and corruption. When another player takes his turn, you play and use your Shadow cards to hinder that player. 'Shadow cards have a dark colored diamond-shaped field in the upper left corner.'From the Comprehensive Rules 4.0:
There are nine different card types in the game: The One Ring, site, companion, ally, minion, possession, artifact, event, and condition. Companion, ally, and minion cards are also collectively referred to as character cards.
See the following pages for more detailed information on each card type.