Decipher Offers New Entry Options For The Lord of the Rings TCG Players - Press Release

Decipher Offers New Entry Options For The Lord of the Rings TCG Players
Shadows Expansion and Rotation Announcement Open Play


(Norfolk, VA--December 08, 2004) -- Decipher ensures the longevity of The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by offering an entry point for new players and announcing a rotation schedule that levels the playing field for all players while still allowing older cards to maintain their value.

"Shadows", which hit store shelves worldwide on November 3rd, features several components that address predictability in play and will ensure the staying power of the game. The new gameplay elements include:
* A new nine-card site path that allows more real-time decisions in which site to play
* New alignments for the minion cultures
* New and powerful keywords
* Addition of resistance to all companions which make burdens more potent

"Prior to Shadows, you had a very set path and there wasn't as much choice as to what you could play. You played a certain site one, site two, site three, etc." said Dan Bojanowski, Decipher Brand Manager for The Lord of the Rings TCG. "Now in Shadows, you bring nine sites to the game and you can make changes in real-time that directly affect which site your or your opponent plays next. There is a much closer tie between companions and minions to the site path so it makes for very exciting gameplay."

New players can also easily get up to speed with "Shadows" by purchasing one or more of the four starter decks. Almost every major character is available in the starters including Aragorn, Gandalf, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Éowyn, Éomer and Legolas. Each starter comes with the new sites as well as three random rares to expand a player's collection.

"Shadows" also introduces new gameplay in several new keywords including `Muster', `Toil' and `Lurker'. `Muster' allows players to draw cards when they might not otherwise be allowed to. `Toil' permits cards to play for reduced costs and `Lurkers' are key characters that must be skirmished last, keeping their potentially deadly game-effects in play.

"Shadows is also the first expansion that is not directly tied to a specific movie," Bojanowski continued. "So we are now able to pull things from the entire trilogy, DVD extras, and more. The movies may be done, but the game is far from over. We actually have a lot of material to work with."

Decipher has also announced a rotation schedule for The Lord of the Rings TCG that is key to the longevity of the game. Starting in January, the "Fellowship Block" will be retired from Decipher Standard Play. This means that cards from the first three The Lord of the Rings TCG sets will only be allowed in Expanded Format, Fellowship Block, Open Format and of course, casual play. Decipher uses blocks of play as tournament formats to allow players to compete in a specified card pool. Tournament directors and retailers may run any block tournament that they wish. Most Decipher championship events use Standard format.

"The rationale behind rotation is simple," said Trevor McGregor, Decipher Organized Play Coordinator. "Without set rotation, there is a substantial investment both financially and in play experience to get into a game. With set rotation, we can keep the card pool manageable. The sets that rotate out are still playable, but in their own tournament format."

Rotation for The Lord of the Rings TCG will officially begin on March 25, 2005 one week after the release of "Black Rider", the first 2005 expansion. Decipher currently has expansion sets planned through 2007.

For more information, visit www.decipher.com or www.dgma.com.

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