It wasn’t too long ago, in fact just under a year, that a curious little Deckbuilder showed up on the internet. It was called Rivendell Councilroom and it completely revamped the deckbuilding “scene” that makes up this game. Pretty soon others followed and deckbuilders like CardeGameDB were made obsolete with things like Love of Tales. That was just over two weeks ago.
It’s feast or famine apparently in terms of LoTR: LCG Deckbuilders. Just a few days later (a little under a week) a magical thing appeared: RingsDB. Inspired by ThronesDB and NetrunnerDB, RingsDB aimed to be not only a deckbuilding tool but a community resource where decks can be viewed and shared freely, where cards can be analyzed separate of deck lists, and where more discussion occur. It’s a wonderful time to be a Lord of the Rings: LCG player. With the Discord chat and the myriad of community content being released outside of stuff like RingsDB, things look quite wonderful on the horizon regardless of when and what content is released.
I’ve only been on RingsDB for half a day now. I saw the positive response the community gave almost instantly once it was released. Due to work constraints and other scheduling issues, I didn’t get a chance to dive in until now. For those of you who have yet to try it out yet, like myself, read on. For others feel free to skip to the bottom of this post. First, the home page:
To say that the home page isn’t slick and sleek would be insane. On the front page you immediately see four prominent decks from various members of the community. Not only does this give someone a quick glance at some higher tier deck examples but this also provides a great starting point for new players in general. Each deck featured favors a particular sphere, and with a quick click users are taken to a page filled with decks leaning towards said sphere.
The layout of these pages is just as clever and clean as the home page. Thumbnails for each deck’s Heroes are easily seen providing an easy visual for new and old players alike. Hovering over a Hero’s image or name provides a small preview containing its stats and abilities. To the right of each deck are icons indicating the number of comments, likes, and favorites (much like you would see on many internet sites today like Facebook, Reddit, etc.) Users can also see what version the deck is currently at, indicating how many changes the deck has gone through. Without even clicking on a deck list yet we are already privy to a wealth of information. Furthermore we can sort these deck lists by popularity, upload date, cards used, number of likes, the sky is the limit! Once we click on a deck things get even cooler!
Moving on to the deck’s page itself users are welcome to all of the cards included in the list. Number of copies, sphere of influence, starting threat, the typical information that we have come to expect when viewing a deck is just as accessible and easy to read. To the right is something that we have seen implemented before, albeit this time it is much easier to digest, being visible right along the card list. The user who submitted the list can provide a description containing their influences, cards to look for, piloting instructions and more all within the right column of the page. This set up provides users the ability to read along with the builder’s instructions and explanations while being able to refer to cards as they are mentioned, as opposed to scrolling up/down or bouncing between pages. Near the bottom of the list is the chance to glimpse under the hood of the deck itself!
I could spend an entire blog post just going over the deck list page but I want to go over some other features of RingsDB before I get too long winded.
Throughout the site we get access to the page’s menu. From left to right we are able to visit the home page, view our collection (which contains what decks we are working on/have published as well as what packs and expansions we own, the deck lists currently released to the community, individual cards, and reviews).
My Collection is pretty straightforward. Clicking on it opens up a dropdown menu with the options of Decks or Adventure Packs. As previously mentioned Decks brings you to your personal deck list page. The list contains not only the decks you have released into the wild for others to view/comment but your rough drafts as well. As you tinker with each deck the version number will tick up in small increments, indicating your changes and creating a history for the deck. The Adventure Packs section is a feature we have seen creeping up since builders like Rivendell Councilroom have hit the scene. Not every player has the entire card pool, and some people have differing quantities of different products. This page provides the user a chance to customize their collection so that when they build decks the builder knows what cards to include and how many copies to show (depending on how many core sets they own). From “My Collection” we move on to the Decklists page. Much like the earlier screenshot with the Tactics oriented decks, this page gives users the opportunities to view all the lists currently published and can be sorted by popularity, featured decks, recent uploads, their favorites, and those they have published themselves. Building a deck feels much like it did in Rivendell CouncilRoom and Love of Tales which is to say its smooth and simple to pick up for newer users. If you’re like me and many other members of the community with decks scattered across various sites, computer files, etc. you will find that the import feature works beautifully. With just a few free minutes at my office I was able to upload around 4-6 lists with ease. Some came from my blog, others were lurking in my computer, and a rare few were on other building sites like CardgameDB.
The Cards section is equally self explanatory. Again players have the option to basically look for whatever they want. From certain attributes like cycle and type to stats like willpower and defense, the knobs and wheels that are available to the user/deckbuilder are immense. Now we have something like the Hall of Beorn Card Database integrated smoothly into one resource.
The Reviews section may be my favorite. I quickly wrote my one review upon realizing the feature existed. You can only write reviews equal to your “reputation,” a stat I will admit I am unfamiliar with. Even so, the method is still easily understood and this should keep players from frantically trashing or praising a card without giving it some thought. Each card has the ability to be reviewed, and each review has the ability to receive comments, prompting more discussion beyond a decklist. The community it seems will only continue to grow with features such as this!
I am excited to see what happens to the community now that things like the COTRDiscord and RingsDB are taking the community by storm. There’s suddenly all new ways for people to contribute and discuss beyond commenting/reading various blogs. Deckbuilders can now easily share and discuss their lists without bouncing between a builder and forum.
For those who have scrolled down, welcome to the last paragraph of the post. I just wanted to quickly point out that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for such an amazing community like this! Every day I get to see other people become inspired to contribute and create to a game that every now and again we hear “is dying.” The Rivendell Councilroom, and other various community resources like Tales from the Cards, Seastan, and Cardboard of the Rings, remind me of the quote from Gandalf in The Two Towers (my apologies PJ haters):
“The coming of Merry and Pippin will be like the falling of small stones that starts an avalanche in the mountains… The Ents are going to wake up”
Like the Ents I think this community is beginning to wake up, and I am incredibly excited to see what the future brings!