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Volume 4 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
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The Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck and Card Game
Developed by Terry Donaldson,
Artwork by Peter Pracownik,
Game rules by Mike Fitzgerald
ISBN#: 1-57281-017-3


"WOW! COOL!" were the first words to come out of my son's mouth when he saw the Lord of the Rings deck. My son is a pragmatic 10 year old, who has trouble saying the word 'tarot' without rolling his eyes. And to make it even better, this tarot deck came with a game!  

As an avid Harry Potter game-card collector, and a big fan of Tolkien's books, "The Hobbit", and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, I expected my son to be a pretty harsh critic. He did notice the backs of the cards had an image of two rings, which bothered him a little… and some of the pictures of the hobbits had them wearing shoes! But this wasn't enough to dissuade him from grabbing the deck and disappearing with it for hours.   

We have had a lot of fun playing the game. The players begin as Free Peoples of Middle Earth, who are on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy the One ring, to keep it out of the hands of Sauron. While playing, a person can decide whether to join the forces of evil and earn dark points, or play on the side of Gandalf and the forces of good. My son especially enjoyed the score keeping.   

Tarot itself began as a card game called Tarocchi, so it seems appropriate for a tarot deck to also be a card game. However, I was not impressed with these cards as a tarot deck - they are much too cluttered. The light and dark symbols for the game do not fit at all with the tarot meanings. 

The only way to easily differentiate between the different suits, or even the Major and Minor Arcanas, is to read the name of the card; which is written along the side. The images illustrate several scenes from the books, and the text at the bottom of the card describes the scene. All of this leaves little room for the illustrations.    

While I would never choose this as a tarot deck for myself, I am grateful to have it, for it has improved my relationship with my son. Not only do we enjoy playing the game together, but also because of it, I have heard words I never thought I would hear: "You know Mom, I kinda always wanted a tarot deck. It doesn't make sense, but they do seem to work somehow. Would you teach me how to read them?" 

Reviewed by
Toria Betson

If you wish to purchase this (or another) deck, please visit the Tarot Garden. They have many decks from which to choose. If they are not currently stocking a specific deck, please note special orders are welcome at: sales@tarotgarden.com.

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