Unique. Unless he is one of the starting characters, he may only be brought into play at his home site. All of his corruption checks are modified by +3.
Home site: Bag End
First, he's an uncommon, in 1 of about every 41 (or about every box) of boosters and easy to trade for if you don't get him.
Second, he has one less mind than Frodo, though his influence number is the same as Frodo's (-4). Since 1 influence is rarely usable, though, you can consider Sam just slightly better influence-wise. He has one less marshalling point, too, but unlike Frodo you don't lose it if he dies.
And his corruption checks are modified by +3 instead of Frodo's +4, which can sometimes make a significant difference.
But other than that, from his statistics he's similar to Frodo. So the main difference is more strategic than factual. Since there are such restrictions on bringing Hobbits out, many players will bring Frodo out first, making neither of you have him if you both play him. But if you play Frodo and Sam, chances are good that at least one of them won't be played by your opponent, allowing you to get the advantages of having a Hobbit out while your opponent doesn't. Just putting Sam in doesn't do as much good because then your opponent can just put in Frodo (or Bilbo for that matter) and be better off than you, so it's usually best to put at least those two (or possibly three, if you have them) in for this use.
I personally think Sam's better than this, worth at least as much as Frodo. After all, he did remain true to the cause even when Frodo himself was overcome with the corruption and the evil influence of The One Ring, carrying Frodo to Mount Doom himself. But that's just my opinion.
Overall, Sam is a slightly scaled down Frodo, but with enough advantages over him to make him well worth putting in your deck.
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