Site Number

From LOTR-TCG Wiki

Site number is a formal game term. Each game progresses through up to nine sites, each with an escalating site number. Site 1 is a safe refuge, and the beginning of a journey, while site 9 is the height of danger, the final climax before the Fellowship survives or fails. Sites aren't the only card types with a site number, however: minions also have a site number, representing when in the game they start showing up in force, and allies have a home site, representing the specific location where they live and can participate in the Archery and Skirmish Phases as if they were a companion in the Fellowship.

The site path corresponds roughly to the three-act structure of screenwriting.

Sites[edit]

There are two sets of rules for sites in this game.

Each site in Fellowship Block, Towers Block, and King Block—sets one through ten—has a fixed site number, located in the top left of the card when examined lengthways, superimposed on a compass rose. Sites in Towers Block and King Block (4-10) also have a block symbol above that: the Tower of Isengard (Tower block.svg) for Towers Block, and a stylized crown of Gondor (King block.svg) for King Block. These blocks (and formats based on these blocks, such as Towers Standard and Movie Block) have a fixed site path, where each site card can only appear at a single particular site number and each player has an adventure deck consisting of nine consecutively-numbered sites, all of which come from the most recent block of sets in the particular format. (You cannot play a Fellowship Block site like Weathertop (1U336)LOTR-EN01S336.0 card.jpg in a Towers Block or Towers Standard deck, for example.) If you replace a site using a card like Úlairë Nelya, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U233)LOTR-EN01S233.0 card.jpg, it has to be with a site of the exact same number. There are (usually) multiple options for each site number, but you can never begin your journey in Dagorlad (7U360)LOTR-EN07S360.0 card.jpg, the plains in the northwest of Mordor, or end your journey in Bag End (1U319)LOTR-EN01S319.0 card.jpg.

Starting with Shadows, sites in sets 11-19 have a black, unnumbered compass in the top left instead. Sites in Shadows can be played in any order, and are only assigned a site number once they're in play. This allows for greater flexibility and wider options in deck building, but it can lead to absurd results like traveling from Mount Doom (15R193)LOTR-EN15S193.0 card.jpg to the Streets of Bree (18U140)LOTR-EN18S140.0 card.jpg to Imladris (17U147)LOTR-EN17S147.0 card.jpg, Elrond's home, all in one turn. Under these rules, when you replace a site using a card like Úlairë Nelya, Third of the Nine Riders (11S222)LOTR-EN11S222.0 card.jpg, you can choose any site from your adventure deck, and the new site is assigned the same number as the one replaced. Under these rules, the site path is broken up into regions consisting of three sites each: 1-3 is region 1, 4-6 is region 2, and 7-9 is region 3.

For a comprehensive list of sites by block arranged in order of site number, see site.

In both rulesets, you play sites in order on one single path that both players must traverse. At the end of the Fellowship Phase, the Fellowship moves to the next-numbered site in the site path. If that site isn't already in play, the current Shadow player plays one from their adventure deck. Under the older rules, there's no choice: the Shadow player simply plays whichever site has the correct number. When using the later site path, the Shadow player picks their choice of site from any of the sites remaining in their adventure deck, and that site is now considered to have the correct number. This means that while the player who has advanced the furthest down the site path is in the lead, the player who is behind is compensated by being allowed to choose the site path for both players.

Also in both rulesets, sites 3 and 6 are sanctuaries where the Fellowship heals five wounds (or all wounds, if there are less) if they are there at the start of the Fellowship Phase. Pre-Shadows sanctuary sites have the Sanctuary keyword printed on them and a different border (and generally lower shadow numbers), while under the post-Shadows rules, any site you play at 3 or 6 instead gains the sanctuary keyword as long as it is site 3 or 6.

Cards that refer to specific sites refer to a site with that number from the same block. Haldir, Elf of the Golden Wood (1U48)LOTR-EN01S048.0 card.jpg is specifically referring to sites 6, 7, and 8 in the Fellowship Block site path. He does not get a strength bonus in any other format, since he will never be at Fellowship site 6, 7, or 8. The next two blocks have a symbol matching the theme of the block to set their sites apart. "Site 6" is Fellowship Block site 6, "Site 6Tower block.svg" is Towers Block site 6, "Site 6King block.svg" is King Block site 6, and "any Site 6" means it works at any site numbered 6 regardless of the site path in use. This rule was first introduced with Towers Block. and The switch to a new path rendered many cards, like Hobbit Farmer (1C295)LOTR-EN01S295.0 card.jpg or Goblin Domain (1R175)LOTR-EN01S175.0 card.jpg, obsolete. It was an unpopular and somewhat confusing rule change, and Decipher went out of their way to limit its impact in the next block. King Block only had a handful of cards that referred to specific King Block sites (eg Frodo, Wicked Masster! (7R318)LOTR-EN07S318.0 card.jpg), and in the third set in King Block, all cards that referred to specific sites referred to "any site" of a given number (eg Final Strike (10U20)LOTR-EN10S020.0 card.jpg). (After Shadows, cards generally apply to regions instead.) This rule about entirely separate site paths and block icons does not apply to the site numbers on minion cards, but it does apply to the home sites of allies.

Minions[edit]

Most minions do not have any business showing up too early in the story. The armies of Sauron are not (yet) besieging the Shire at the beginning of the story, so Culture Sauron.svg Sauron orcs are less prone to show up early on. This is represented by the site number printed on minions, on the bottom left of the card, also superimposed on a compass rose. (It's the same place that the signet or resistance is printed on a companion.) This represents the earliest point on the site path when you're supposed to play them. If you play them before that, the minion is considered roaming as long as its site number is higher than the site's site number, and costs two additional twilight to play.

Minions don't worry about any of the block icon rules. A Fellowship block minion with a site number of 4, like Cave Troll of Moria, Scourge of the Black Pit (1R165)LOTR-EN01S165.0 card.jpg, is roaming at a Fellowship Block site 2 like Ettenmoors (1C331)LOTR-EN01S331.0 card.jpg, a Towers Block site 2 like Derndingle (4U330)LOTR-EN04S330.0 card.jpg, or a King Block site 2 like King's Tent (7U335)LOTR-EN07S335.0 card.jpg.

There are a number of cards that modify site numbers, usually associated with the Tracker and Ranger keywords. Tracker minions generally reduce the roaming price penalty or the site numbers of other minions (but not themselves when they are played). You play a Tracker minion like Orc Ambusher (1C261)LOTR-EN01S261.0 card.jpg or Grishnákh, Orc Captain (5R100)LOTR-EN05S100.0 card.jpg with the roaming penalty, but it helps reduce or prevent the penalty on subsequent minions. A handful of Ranger cards increase the site number of minions after they've already come into play, not to increase their cost to play but to make them vulnerable to roaming minion hate like What Are They? (1C119)LOTR-EN01S119.0 card.jpg and Ranger's Bow (4C131)LOTR-EN04S131.0 card.jpg.

Generally, all of the minions of a given culture or subculture have more or less the same site number, although there are occasional exceptions.

Allies[edit]

Allies are played to the support area, but they have a home site (or two) where they live, even if that site is not on the current site path. That home site is printed as a Subtype on the card, on the band across the center of the card. For example, Elrond, Lord of Rivendell (1R40)LOTR-EN01S040.0 card.jpg is played in your support area, but he is simultaneously at Fellowship Block site 3. All of the options for site 3 in Fellowship Block are in or around Rivendell, his home.

If the Fellowship is at (one of) an ally's home site(s), that ally can contribute to the archery total in the Archery Phase if they are an archer, can take wounds normally in the archery phase, and can participate in the Skirmish Phase the same way companions can. They're also considered to be at the same site, which mainly matters for transferring borne possessions and artifacts.

However, ally home sites do respect the block icon rules. Elrond, Lord of Rivendell (1R40)LOTR-EN01S040.0 card.jpg only lives at Fellowship Block site 3: he is not at the same site as the Fellowship at a Towers Block site 3 like Golden Hall (4U338)LOTR-EN04S338.0 card.jpg. Only allies with a home site of 3Tower block.svg (for example, Aldor, Soldier of Edoras (4R262)LOTR-EN04S262.0 card.jpg) live at Golden Hall. To make things even more confusing, Decipher continued to print new allies who lived on previous blocks' site paths! Elrond, Keeper of Vilya (6R15)LOTR-EN06S015.0 card.jpg, a Towers Block card, lives only on the Fellowship Block site path.

After Towers Block, the Fellowship never travels to any ally's home site. By King Block, Decipher had abandoned any effort to put new allies onto the King Block site path. The only allies printed in that block or in Reflections all lived on previous blocks' site paths; no ally has a home site like "Site 4King block.svg". Allies were abandoned entirely after set 9, in any case.

Allies tended to cluster by culture, or else by which group scene they appeared in the Lord of the Rings films.

Comprehensive Rules 4.0[edit]

Site cards represent locations in Middle-earth, and are used to chart the progress of the game. Nine sites are placed in your adventure deck. (See building your deck.)

Site cards have a dark compass in the upper left corner. This symbol is used on sites from the Shadows expansion set onward, differentiating them from sites found in previous sets (which use a different compass symbol, and may also use a block symbol).

If your fellowship moves to a site that has not been played yet, one of the Shadow players must place a new site on the adventure path. (See moving your fellowship.) To determine which player, look at the site you are moving from. Each site has an arrow at the bottom center of the card. This indicates who is to play the new site, with [an arrow pointing to the right] meaning the Shadow player to your right and [an arrow pointing to the left] meaning the Shadow player to your left. In a two-player game, there is only one Shadow player at a time, so that player always plays the new site.

The first time the first player moves during the game, a Shadow player looks through his adventure deck and chooses the next site to place on the adventure path. It becomes site 2. The next time a site is added after that, it will be site 3. Both of those sites are in region 1.

You may play a copy of a site on the adventure path even if an opponent’s copy was already played as an earlier site. The copies are treated as different sites, with each given a different site number.

Some cards allow a player to play the next site on the adventure path at times when the fellowship is not moving. These may be used even when the next site is already there. In such cases, the new site replaces the old one; put the old site back in its owner’s adventure deck. The new site takes the same site number the old site had, so that there is always only one site 1 in play, one site 2, and so on. When a site is replaced, all cards played on or stacked on the old site are moved to the new site.

[Note that this rule quote only applies in post-Shadows formats such as Expanded and Standard. See below for other formats.]

- site section

When you play a game using the Fellowship block, Tower block, or King block format, you cannot choose any site from your adventure deck when it is time to play a new site on the adventure path. Instead, the site which has the next consecutive site number must be played.

[Historical versions of standard such as Towers Standard, King Standard, and Movie Block were never official formats unto themselves, but unofficially players use the last legal site path released in those formats.]

- Formats section

In the Fellowship block, Tower block, or King block, sites are numbered, and you must include one for each of the nine site numbers.

- Adventure Deck section

Sites in your adventure deck do not have a site number until they are played on the adventure path.

[Note that this rule quote only applies in post-Shadows formats such as Expanded and Standard. See above for other formats.]

- adventure deck section

Each minion is normally played to a certain range of sites beginning with the minion’s site number. If the minion is played to (or is currently at) a site that has a lower site number, that minion is roaming. The player must pay a roaming penalty by removing an additional two twilight tokens when playing that minion.

Ally cards have a home site number indicated just after the card’s type, on the same line (such as Ally • Home 3 • Elf). These home site numbers all refer to adventure paths from the Fellowship block, Tower block, and King block. Allies have no home sites on adventure paths from the Shadows expansion set onward.

- ally section

The sites provided in sets from the Shadows expansion onward have a dark compass in the upper left corner. They have no site number.

The sites provided in Fellowship block sets have no block symbol. The sites provided in Tower block sets have site numbers identified with the Tower symbol (Tower block.svg). The sites provided in King block sets have site numbers identified with the King symbol (King block.svg).

Sites with different block symbols are alternatives to each other, not an extension of one another. When a site’s number is specifically mentioned in game text, that number uses a block symbol.

Hobbit Stealth (1C298)LOTR-EN01S298.0 card.jpg ("Skirmish: At sites 1 to 5, cancel a skirmish involving a Hobbit. At any other site, make a Hobbit strength +2.") can cancel a skirmish only at a Fellowship block site. However, this card adds its strength bonus at any other site.

When an effect says "site X or higher," it applies only to sites from the Fellowship block.

When game text refers to "any site X," it applies to any adventure path, regardless of block symbol.

A card which says "any site 5" works at site 5 and at site 5Tower block.svg.

- block symbol section

Each minion is normally played to a certain range of sites beginning with the minion’s site number. If the minion is played to (or is currently at) a site that has a lower site number, that minion is roaming. The player must pay a roaming penalty by removing an additional two twilight tokens when playing that minion.

Block symbol has no effect on whether a minion is roaming or not.

A minion with a site number of 4 must remove 2 more twilight tokens to play at site 3 (or site 3Tower block.svg). If that same minion plays to site 4 (or site 4Tower block.svg), there is no roaming penalty. If he survives the fellowship’s first move to 3, he would no longer be roaming when the fellowship moves to site 4.

- roaming section

Card Layout
Tokens Twilight Tokens Culture Tokens Wounds Burdens
Characters Twilight Cost Culture Strength Vitality Resistance Signet Home Site Site Number Game Text Lore Collector's Info
Other (Modifier Layout)
Sites Shadow Number Site Arrow