The Good: Interesting bonus idea, Good way to get a lot of product, Fun game
The Bad: Massively overproduced, Not at all necessary
The Basics: A decent way to stock up on The Lord Of The Rings TCG cards from The Two Towers block, The Two Towers Anthology has a neat,collectible Tengwar set as a fair gimmick.
With the The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game, there was surprisingly little waste. Unlike other flagship products for Decipher, Inc., like Star Trek and Star Wars, the The Lord Of The Rings TCG had very few repackaged products, which might be why it remains one of the stronger trading card games in the secondary market. With The Two Towers block of cards, Decipher came up with The Two Towers Anthology. Far less limited than the sellout The Fellowship Of The Ring Anthology cards, The Two Towers Anthology is a perfect product for those looking to get a lot of cards from The Two Towers sets of TCG cards inexpensively. They are a boon for players, have a unique item for collectors and have been blown out by Decipher in such a way that now they make a good investment for investors who are able to buy in extreme bulk.
At the end of the day, though, The Two Towers Anthology boxed set is a very simple and direct repackaging product. The boxed set consists of: 2 packs each of:
The Two Towers,
"Battle Of Helm's Deep,"
"Ents Of Fangorn,"
1 starter deck (usually from The Two Towers),
1 The Two Towers Deluxe Draft Pack,
1 checklist for the cards in The Two Towers block,
and the exclusive Tengwar Reprint set.
The checklist is a real boon, especially to those who do not want to have to log onto the internet every time they want to figure out what they are missing. But the reason to buy The Two Towers Anthology boxes are the Tengwar Reprint set. Unique to this boxed set, it features eighteen of the most popular and powerful cards from The Two Towers block reprinted with all of the text in Tengwar (the Elven language of Middle Earth).
Not even technically a set of The Lord Of The Rings TCG cards, The Two Towers Anthology followed the "Ents Of Fangorn" set. It was a clear attempt to sell-off extra stock before the release of The Return Of The King. Fans who already had master sets of The Two Towers, "Battle Of Helm's Deep," and "Ents Of Fangorn" quickly figured out that there was only the Tengwar sets exclusive to this product. As a result, most only purchased one box, took the Tengwar set and dumped the rest. One supposes that Decipher was just happy it was no longer their problem anymore.
It is possible, one supposes, to collect the entire The Two Towers block of 621 cards set (the first three sets had 365, 128, and 128 cards, respectively) by opening The Two Towers Anthology, but it would take quite a bit of time and would be greatly disproportionate to the value of these packs. Moreover, one would be stuck with an excessive number of the Tengwar reprint sets.
The The Two Towers Anthology Tengwar Exclusive cards are mostly reprinted from The Two Towers, though Gollum and Smeagol make it into the anthology from "Battle Of Helm's Deep." Because these are impractical to play with (they aren't in a real language and few will be able to read the Tengwar script!), they are clearly more for collectors and for me, the Anthology Tengwar reprint cards are what I get signed by the celebrities when I meet them. For the sake of completion, though, the reprint set includes: 1 The One Ring, 7 Fellowship, and 10 Minion cards.
What is the point of the The Two Towers Anthology then? Decipher - always adept at marketing - tried to sell these to the collectors. Fairly transparent about simply selling off the old product and doing their best to raise capital, Decipher, Inc. presented this as a set for the collectors. While the cards in the packs are perfectly playable, the cards in the Tengwar reprint set are unplayable, save one supposes, by elves.
The rulebook for this game is forty pages long and it is included in the starter decks that are in this boxed set. Essentially, though, the sets in this boxed anthology product follows the rules originally laid out in The Fellowship Of The Ring (reviewed here!) set.
There are no rules changes or card type additions in The Two Towers Anthology boxes because every single card is a previously-released card.
Strangely, I do have a highlight for this set. The Tengwar reprint of 4R154 looks great. This is the Grima, Wormtongue card and it looks great. No more functional than any of the other cards in the set, it is one of the cards I am most excited about getting signed when I meet Brad Dourif at a convention!
The The Two Towers Anthology are fairly hard to find now, even in the secondary market. Collectors do not truly need them, so very few people stockpiled these; they seem to be a product that mostly just came and went very naturally. Every The Two Towers Anthology boxed set included one of the Draft packs, but largely, this repackage was seen for what it was and collectors and investors wisely avoided it.
As a buyer, I actually like The Two Towers Anthology boxed sets. Collectors will certainly only need one, though there are many dealers like myself who sell the Tengwar sets for about the cost of a whole boxed set and open up the other packs. This is a nice way to get product in at low cost and had it not been so massively overproduced in the first place, it probably would have retained a greater sense of value.
These cards use images from The Two Towers, reviewed here!
This set was preceded by "Ents Of Fangorn" (link above) and followed by The Return Of The King (reviewed here!).
These cards are sold in my online store! Check out my current inventory of the exclusive cards by clicking here!
© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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