Earlier this week, Fantasy Flight Games announced that they were releasing a new mode for their popular adventure board game Lord of the Rings: Journeys In Middle-earth. The app-assisted board game now has a new "Adventure Mode," which is more focused on exploration and storytelling than the other modes previously available. We wanted to learn more about this new addition and find out why they decided to create it, so we reached out to Fantasy Flight and chatted with the developer of the game, Grace Holdinghaus.
TechRaptor: With the release of Adventure Mode, we're seeing an entirely new approach to the game that seems to emphasize exploration over difficulty. What was the initial impetus to implement this new mode? Was there feedback from the community about the difficulty of the core game the impacted your decision to make Adventure Mode, or was this always planned for eventual release?
Grace Holdinghaus: We were hearing from many people just after the core set released, that initial flood of feedback that games enjoy in the first few weeks, and many of those people were saying how they'd love to play the game with their children, with their families, or with their friends who don't play board games. But they felt like they couldn't, due to the difficulty of the game. We wanted a mode for those players, so that Journeys in Middle-earth could be enjoyed the way they wanted to enjoy it.
TR: In what ways does this fundamentally change the gameplay experience?
GH: Adventure Mode changes two things. First, Adventure Mode removes the threat increase from exploration tokens. So on journey map adventures, that means you now have much more time to go exploring and search those interesting tokens and side encounters that maybe before you had to leave behind. Second, Adventure Mode gives each hero one inspiration at the beginning of each Shadow Phase. With the extra resources, heroes are better able to defend against enemy attacks, pass last stands, or pursue the objective. Hopefully, the overall effect to gameplay is a much more relaxed and fun experience for groups who want a little more freedom to explore.
TR: What kinds of feedback from the player community have you received that the design team has found surprising or useful?
GH: I greatly enjoy seeing the community play the game in their own unique ways. The jump in scale from our play tester pools, to people all over the world exploring the campaigns is incredible. Some people prefer to only upgrade into success cards, some people have examined every skill card for possible combos and chosen their favorites regardless of symbol. Some people love sticking with one role, others love dabbling in two or three roles to craft their perfect deck. I'll never tire of seeing how each group experiences that aspect of the game.
TR: Now that Adventure Mode is released, can you give us a hint toward what's coming down the road for Journeys in Middle-earth? Or at least where the team's efforts are focused?
GH: Our next expansion will be announced very soon, and I'm on the edge my seat anticipating fans' reactions! I can say that this next expansion will be big, and offer a lot of new options for heroes as well as new areas of Middle-earth to explore.
Adventure Mode is now available in the app! To check out Journeys in Middle-earth for yourself, head over to Fantasy Flight to learn more.
What do you think of their implementation of Adventure Mode? And what do you make of Grace's note about the next expansion offering new options for heroes and new areas to explore? Let us know in the comments below.