About the Player's Council

I am Gandalf. And Gandalf means--me!

The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game by Decipher

In December of 2001, Peter Jackson launched the opening salvo for one of the most ambitious fantasy franchises of all time in theaters: The Fellowship of the Ring. It was breathtaking. It changed the world.

As a proven expert in translating settings into customizable card games (having done it before for Star Wars and Star Trek, among others), Decipher Inc obtained the license to release a card game based explicitly on the Lord of the Rings movies, with enough leeway to include material from the books that was never filmed.

In the eyes of many fans, the game that resulted was a near perfect marriage of mechanics and theme. In the two years after, expansions were released following the stories of The Two Towers and Return of the King as well.

In 2004, faced with the future of the game with no further movies to be based on, Decipher made some radical shifts to the game in an attempt to grant the game longevity, which was ultimately controversial with players. The game continued releasing semi-regular expansions until 2007, when the license to Lord of the Rings expired and the financially-troubled Decipher faded from the scene.

The Player's Council

In the wake of the game's official end and decline of its parent company, the community struggled along, rallying around The Last Homely House and later GEMP, a platform for playing the game. Over the years several attempts were made by the player base to organize into a player's committee (as had been done by the Star Wars and Star Trek communities before them), but for one reason or another each of these attempts was doomed to a slow death themselves.

In the wake of the 2020 covid lockdowns, the game experienced a major revival as home-bound nerds found themselves returning in droves to the games of yesteryear. Sensing the time was right, a small group of old guard fans decided to stop waiting for official recognition and make the dream of a PC a reality, for the first and (hopefully) final time.

Calling themselves the Player's Council, they were wary of repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. They started slow by running regular monthly league events on GEMP, and only haltingly branched out into maintaining the game's balance, rallying the player base, and building up a corpus of card designs, conventions, and rules.

The rest is history--here we are, and here we'll stay as long as there's a community of players for us to form around.

Join the Player's Council!

If any aspect of the above or below sounds like something that you are willing and able to contribute to, then please do not hesitate to consider joining our ranks! The PC can always use an extra pair of hands, eyes, or ears.

Come chat with us on Discord, and if you're already ready to take the plunge, then go fill out our membership form!.

Divisions of Labor

No man is an island, and no Council a monolith. The PC has many goals, and as we improve our own skills and bolster our ranks, we get ever closer to accomplishing our lofty vision.

Card Errata and Meta Maintenance

In Decipher's wake, no one managed to have the nerve to nerf the cards that had proven (over two decades!) to be broken. We have ended this drought of variety and started finally reining these cards in and returning the game to a healthy meta. This does not mean a stable meta! It has been stable to the point of calcifying, and every change will be a major disruption to what was previously an endlessly unchanging vista.

In addition to knocking powerful cards down a notch, we intend to lift up cards that never see play. After all, if a third of all cards are in no one's deck, then those cards may as well not exist. That's a shame, and one we intend to fix.

New Card and Set Releases

Changing cards is one thing, but we intend to take it a step further and add brand new cards to the game once again. This will have a similar effect to card errata, in that formats that have long been 'figured out' will once again be confronted with the scramble to identify how the influx of new changes are to be dealt with. From a pure gameplay standpoint this is a positive thing, and those who love the game's lore will also enjoy seeing some new faces among the old.

Directed Development of GEMP

GEMP is, if not single-handedly responsible for the longevity of the game's community (The Last Homely House deserves credit as well), it is the reason the community is as large and active as it is.

GEMP is also, uh, in need of some TLC, shall we say. The PC has taken over management of the platform, moving it to servers we control. As a result, we have started triaging issues and directing efforts to repair them, as well as planning features for the future. In addition, we intend to coordinate with the Star Wars PC (who use the same software) and ensure we can amplify our dev efforts further. If GEMP has managed to keep the game's heart beating all this time, imagine what it will do once it's been polished to a shine.

Building and Archiving Resources

There are a number of languishing projects in various states of disrepair surrounding the game. The Wiki. Card collection managers. Rulebooks and other materials. The forums. Each of these deserves to have effort poured into them to bring them to a level of usability, or existence in some cases.

By consolidating the efforts of all community members together under one organization, we can support, motivate, and learn from one another, and leverage this unity into improving the ecosystem surrounding the game, which will make the game itself healthier and more able to sustain the community around it.

Attracting New Players

No game community can survive without newbies. There are still people joining the game for the first time--but each of them is required to expend a supreme amount of willpower to be able to learn the game, navigate the archive of cards, understand GEMP, and otherwise incorporate 20 years of lore into their heads.

It is the goal of the Player's Council to soften these edges and make this game one that anyone can introduce to their friends, with a barrier of entry so low that anyone could step over it. There is no single thing that we can do to complete this effort, but an application of all of the above goals will let the community thrive and grow to be as equally impressive as the game it is built around.