The Fellowship of the Ring

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

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 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: one base set to lay down the foundation followed by two expansions to fill in the gaps.

Fellowship took most of its direction cues from the dramatic combat conflicts of the first movie. Elf and Gondor cards used many scenes from the prologue battle with Sauron, while Moria and Isengard were spearheaded by the likes of Cave Troll of Moria, Scourge of the Black Pit (1R165)LOTR-EN01S165.0 card.jpg and Lurtz, Servant of Isengard (1R127)LOTR-EN01S127.0 card.jpg. Being a fresh new game, most strategies relied on brute force on one side or another, and this worked well with the expectations of a new player base.

Because the cards use stills from a movie that wouldn't come out for another month, New Line Cinema prevented Decipher from releasing images they considered spoilers until the later expansions. As a result, Fellowship included some "prophetic" cards that referenced other cards yet to be printed. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm (1C349)LOTR-EN01S349.0 card.jpg 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)LOTR-EN01S310.0 card.jpg references Bill the Pony (3U106)LOTR-EN03S106.0 card.jpg, who was not released until Realms of the Elf-lords.

A card used to promote the release. Note the early differences, such as the flat Twilight icon.
The reverse side. Note the early differences, such as the switched Culture icon / background watermark.

Official Sets Promotional Promotional
Movie Block Fellowship Block Towers Block King Block
Fellowship of the Ring Mines of Moria Realms of the Elf-lords The Two Towers Battle of Helm's Deep Ents of Fangorn Return of the King Siege of Gondor Mount Doom Reflections
War of the Ring Block Shadows Black Rider Bloodlines Expanded Middle-Earth
Hunters Block The Hunters The Wraith Collection Rise of Saruman Treachery & Deceit Age's End
Unofficial Sets Player's Council Sets Shadow of the Past
The Hobbit Draft Game Packs Hobbit Draft Game Main Deck Hobbit Draft Game Shadow Packs Hobbit Draft Game Supplementary Packs
mLOTRO Cards MLOTRO Promo Cards MLOTRO Reflections II
Journey Continues Sets The Journey Begins