Alignment (aka Kind, aka Side)
Alignment is a term that can be used to refer to the dual roles that players act as: Free Peoples and Shadow. In official media these are usually referred to variably as "kinds of cards" or individually as the "Free Peoples side" and the "Shadow side", but as "side" and "kind" are difficult words to search on and occasionally ambiguous, it is here referred to as Alignment.
When building decks, you must have an exactly equal number of cards of both alignments. The minimum is 60 cards total, so that means at least 30 Free Peoples cards and 30 Shadow cards. For this reason it's not possible to start the game with a deck of an odd number of cards.
The Free Peoples, sometimes abbreviated as Freeps or referred to erroneously as Light (as a holdover from the SWCCG which has an equivalent "Light Side"), are the cards representing the "good guys" from Lord of the Rings.
They include the following cultures:
Free Peoples cards have their twilight cost in the upper-left-hand corner, highlighted by a grey sphere. That twilight cost always puts tokens into the Twilight Pool.
Free Peoples cards can be one of the following types:
The Shadow are the cards representing the "bad guys" from Lord of the Rings.
They include the following cultures:
- Gollum (sometimes)
- Ringwraith (rebranded as Wraith later in the game)
Shadow cards have their twilight cost in the upper-left-hand corner, highlighted by a black diamond. That twilight cost always takes tokens out of the Twilight Pool.
Shadow cards can be one of the following types:
The Gollum culture is the only one officially printed with cards in both Free Peoples and Shadow varieties. This is done to emulate the movie's schizophrenic portrayal of said character. Free Peoples version of him are always titled Sméagol, and Shadow variants are always called Gollum (meaning both can be on the table at once depending on both player's decks).
The One Ring
The One Ring is represented by a unique The One Ring card type, and is neither a Free Peoples nor a Shadow card, in spite of always being borne by Free Peoples cards (and in spite of thematically being sought after by Shadow cards). It is attached to the Ring-bearer as if it were a Possession, but remember that it is not a possession (nor an Artifact) and cannot be targeted by cards. It can however be "put on" and "taken off", and cards may force that effect to occur.
Sites are also neutral and of neither alignment. However, see Site Control for when a Site may temporarily be controlled by the Shadow player (or liberated by the Free Peoples player). Each site will have text that makes it primarily "for" Free Peoples or "for" Shadow, but the card remains neutral nonetheless.
Kinds of Cards
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
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.
- kinds_of_cards section
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