The Black Riders is a Saga Expansion for The Lord of The Rings: The Card Game, which is a Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. Inside the box you will find 3 new quests based upon Frodo and Co.'s adventures from the first half of The Fellowship of the Rings, as well as new player cards and 5 new heroes to build decks around. All of the new heroes are Hobbits, and we are given a bevy of player cards to help them on their journey from The Shire to Rivendell. Most of the player cards play off the Hobbit keyword, providing a lot of synergy for a trait that has otherwise seen very little from previous expansions, but that's not to say that there aren't cards that will be able to fit in other decks. One example of that is the card Elf-Stone, which is arguably the best card in the set. For one Lore resource, you can attach it to a location. Said location gets +1 quest point, and once it is explored, you can put any ally in your hand into play.
The quests themselves ooze with theme, and there are many times where you can feel the tenseness of what Frodo and Co. were going through, hiding from the Black Riders, fighting off the Witch King from Weathertop, and the race against time to save Frodo and escaping the Nazgul in the Flight to the Ford. You can tell the designers really care about the source material, which makes the quests all the more enjoyable.
The designers at FFG take feedback from fans of the game really well, and have introduced two new modes of play for the game. Campaign Mode is intended for those who wish to play all of the quests from the Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions with the same heroes, in order. Depending on what decisions you make during each quest, a Boon or a Burden is added to either your deck or the encounter deck for the rest of the campaign. I like the idea, as it makes seemingly small decisions have a huge effect on future quests, but it is hard to say how successful the execution of this idea will be until the last Saga Expansion. Although Easy Mode was introduced a few months ago, I am including this as a new mode because the cards are now officially marked as to what constitutes Standard Mode and Easy Mode.
Overall, this is a great addition to the game, and very deserving of the 5 stars I have given it. The designers have really set the bar high for the future expansions, and hopefully they stand up to that high standard.
NOTE: You need a copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Core Set to play this expansion.