Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

A Guide to Mastering Middle-earth Collectible Card Game


The Middle-earth Collectible Card Game is a hidden gem from the ’90s, and lets you play about with strategy, some fantasy adventure, and, of course, the rich lore of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world. The game was first released in 1995 and picked up steam quickly with fans of the books and more general card game enthusiasts. It’s a bit of a niche classic now, and while it’s not in print anymore, I can still find cards and sets online or at specialty shops after a quick search. There’s also a fairly dedicated fan rework project, including an online playable version of MECCG, available online.

The game lets you control characters, artifacts, and events from the Lord of the Rings universe. You’ll be building decks, battling opponents, and trying to earn points by completing quests. It’s a mix of strategy and luck, and every game feels like a new journey through Middle-earth. So, let’s get started on how to play the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game and maybe even become pretty good at it!

Quick Tip for Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Always balance your deck with a mix of character, resource, and hazard cards to handle whatever your opponent throws at you!

Rules for playing Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Alright, let’s talk rules. The Middle-earth Collectible Card Game can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s super engaging. Each player needs a deck with a minimum of 30 resource cards and 30 hazard cards. You’ll also have a separate deck for characters and locations, known as the play deck.

The game is played in turns, and each turn has two main phases: the untap phase, where you ready your cards for action, and the resource/hazard phase, where you play cards to help your own cause or hinder your opponent’s. You’ll be moving your characters across a map of Middle-earth, trying to complete quests and gather points.

Combat is a big part of the game, and it’s resolved through dice rolls and card effects. You’ll need to be strategic about when to fight and when to avoid conflict. The game ends when one player’s deck runs out, and the winner is the one with the most points from completed quests and defeated enemies.

Card Types for Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

There are several types of cards in the game:

  1. Character Cards: These represent the heroes and allies you’ll recruit.
  2. Resource Cards: These include allies, items, and events that help you on your quests.
  3. Hazard Cards: These are used to challenge your opponent with creatures and events.
  4. Site Cards: Locations in Middle-earth where your characters can go on quests.

For beginners, it’s a good idea to start with a pre-constructed starter set. These sets give you a balanced mix of cards to learn the game.

How to Play Middle-earth Collectible Card Game and Game Mechanics

Here’s a quick rundown of the game mechanics:

  1. Setup: Each player starts with a wizard (like Gandalf) and some minor characters at a haven site. You’ll shuffle your decks and draw a starting hand of cards.
  2. Gameplay: You’ll alternate turns, moving characters, playing resources, and setting hazards for your opponent. The goal is to complete quests at different sites and gather points.
  3. End of the Game: Victory is achieved by amassing the highest number of Marshalling Points compared to other players. Additionally, alternative paths to winning exist, such as annihilating the One Ring for hero players, or for minion players, by delivering it directly to Sauron.

The game has been crafted for a group of 2 to 5 participants, yet it also allows individual/solo play. The game is played with two six-sided dice, introducing an element of chance.

How to Win at Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Winning at Middle-earth Collectible Card Game (MECCG), a complex and strategic game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic universe, requires a deep understanding of its rules and mechanics. To emerge victorious, players must construct a well-balanced deck, combining resource cards that effectively support their characters and strategies, while also including hazard cards that disrupt their opponents’ plans.

Success hinges on efficiently managing your resources, such as character influence and the allocation of items, allies, and factions, to complete various quests and missions. It is crucial to anticipate and counter opponents’ moves by carefully choosing when to play hazard cards. Knowledge of card synergies and timing can turn the tide of the game. Players should remain adaptable, adjusting their strategies based on the evolving state of play and their opponents’ actions. Ultimately, the key to winning at MECCG is a blend of strategic planning, tactical execution, and a touch of luck with card draws.

As general rules of thumb (thumbs?), I recommend that you should:

  1. Know your cards well and how they interact with each other.
  2. Plan your moves ahead and anticipate your opponent’s strategy.
  3. Balance your deck with a good mix of combat and non-combat cards.
  4. Use your hazard cards effectively to slow down your opponent.
  5. Complete quests efficiently and protect your characters from harm.

As you get more experienced, you’ll develop your own style and strategies for winning.

Best Strategies for playing Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Now, for some advanced strategies:

First, always adapt your strategy based on your opponent’s moves. If they’re aggressive, focus on defense and counter-attacks. If they’re defensive, find ways to outmaneuver them and complete your quests quickly.

Second, control the board. Try to dominate key locations and use them to your advantage. This can give you a strategic edge and more options for your turns.

Third, manage your resources wisely. Don’t overextend your characters or play too many cards at once. You need to maintain a balance to respond to threats and opportunities.

Lastly, learn from each game. Every loss is a chance to improve your deck and strategy for next time.

Deck Building and Best Cards in Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Deck building is crucial in Middle-earth Collectible Card Game. You’ll want to tailor your deck to your play style and strategy. Here are some tips:

  1. Include a variety of cards to handle different situations.
  2. Have enough character cards to maintain a presence on the board.
  3. Balance your hazard cards to challenge your opponent without overloading your deck.

Best Cards in Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Some of the best cards include powerful characters like Aragorn and items like the One Ring. These can turn the tide of the game if used correctly.


In Middle-earth Collectible Card Game, you’ll face both good and bad scenarios. If you’re in a tough spot, try to retreat and regroup. If you’re ahead, press your advantage but stay cautious. Always be ready to adapt your strategy on the fly.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

Here are some common questions:

Q: How many cards can I play in a turn?
A: There’s no set limit, but you can only play as many as your resources allow.

Q: Can I change my deck between games?
A: Yes, you can adjust your deck as long as it meets the minimum card requirements.

Q: What happens if my character dies?
A: They’re removed from the game, and you’ll need to play another character from your hand.

Additional Tips

Don’t forget about the psychological aspect of the game. Bluffing and reading your opponent can be just as important as the cards you play. Also, keep an eye on the meta-game. The most popular strategies and cards can shift, so stay informed and adjust your deck accordingly.

If you’re interested in the lore behind the game, check out The Tolkien Society for more on the world of Middle-earth and its creator, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Middle Earth Collectible Card Game Fan Rework Project

Council of Elrond – The world coordinating body for the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game

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