The Fellowship of the Ring

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The Fellowship of the Ring
ID1
NameThe Fellowship of the Ring
CreatorDecipher
Release Date2001-11-06
Is OfficialYes
PlatformsPaper, LotR-O, GEMP, mLOTRO, Tabletop Simulator, Lackey, gccg
Notes


A card used to promote the release. Note the early differences compared to the finalized Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf culture template, such as the flat Twilight icon.
The reverse side. Note the early differences compared to the finalized Culture Moria.svg Moria culture template, such as the switched Culture icon / background watermark and brighter / more saturated colors.

This was it. This was the set that kicked off The Lord of the Rings TCG. Released November 6th, 2001, one month before the theatrical release of the movie by the same name, The Fellowship of the Ring (commonly abbreviated as FOTR) laid down the groundwork for every set that followed it. This was the first "base set", and it started a pattern that would define the Movie block regular release schedule: for each movie, one base set to lay down the foundation followed by two expansions to fill in the gaps.

Themes and Mechanics[edit]

FOTR took most of its direction cues from the dramatic combat conflicts of the first movie. Culture Elven.svg Elven and Culture Gondor.svg Gondor cards used many scenes from the prologue battle with Sauron, while Culture Moria.svg Moria and Culture Isengard.svg Isengard were spearheaded by the likes of Cave Troll of Moria, Scourge of the Black Pit (1R165) and Lurtz, Servant of Isengard (1R127) . Being a fresh new game, most strategies relied on simple interactions on one side or another, which worked well with the new player base.

Many of the core mechanics took cues from the story of FOTR, which persisted throughout the lifetime of the game even when later blocks did not line up with their inclusion quite so well. For instance, Sanctuaries being at site 3 and 6 lines up with Rivendell and Lothlorien; the Rule of 9 restricting the number of companions that can be played comes straight from the Fellowship's canonical size; and an emphasis on protecting the Ring-bearer, Frodo, at the expense of all other companions.

Because the cards were released a month before the movie itself did, New Line Cinema prevented Decipher from releasing images they considered "spoilers" until after the movie. As a result, FOTR included some "prophetic" cards that referenced other cards yet to be printed. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm (1C349) was the only site 5 in the set, making it impossible to play without it, so you could imagine players' confusion as they looked down the spoiler sheet only to find that the Balrog was nowhere to be found! The first two versions of the Balrog were released in Mines of Moria four months later, but until then the site was a constant reminder of bigger and better things to come. Similarly, Sam, Faithful Companion (1R310) references Bill the Pony (3U106) , who was not released until Realms of the Elf-lords; and Gandalf's Cart (1U73) refers to Artifacts, which were not released until MOM and ROTEL.

Starter Decks[edit]

FOTR released with two standard starter decks, a pattern which would be followed by most following sets, and also included a Deluxe Starter Set. The Gandalf starter is a proto-Rainbow strategy paired with Moria, while Aragorn is a Ranger deck paired with Uruks. The two decks are not particularly well balanced, with the Culture Gondor.svg Gondor fellowship doing a much better job of surviving, due to the number of possessions which can be played on each companion, and the fact that the Culture Moria.svg Moria deck suffers with only half of its usual combo, and interacting poorly with the starter-only discard shuffle rule. The Deluxe Starter Set pairs Hobbits with Nazgul.

Cultures[edit]

As the premier set, this was the debut for each of the following cultures. All of the Free Peoples cultures would remain relevant throughout the game's lifetime, but each of the Shadow cultures would wax and wane at different times.

Free Peoples:

Shadow:

Notable Cards[edit]


Sets
Official Decipher Sets Promotional Promotional
Fellowship Block The Fellowship of the RingMines of MoriaRealms of the Elf-lords
Towers Block The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
King Block The Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
War of the Ring Block ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
Hunters Block The HuntersRise of SarumanTreachery & Deceit
Non-Block Sets ReflectionsExpanded Middle-earthThe Wraith CollectionAge's End
Unreleased Sets The Great EyeShelob's Lair
Unofficial Fan Sets Player's Council Shadow of the Past (V1)
The Hobbit Draft Game Main DeckShadow PacksSupplementary Packs
mLOTRO MLOTRO Promo CardsMLOTRO Reflections II
The Journey Continues The Journey Begins