12/28/00 - Latest News
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Board Game Review
Xoanon @ 2:32 pm EST

Hi, I'm a barliman regular... Don't know how much you've followed up on the LOTR boardgame that was released recently as I had seen a couple of articles on your site, so I thought I'd drop you my two cents worth of info here.

I live in the U.S. and getting the game was none too easy for quite some time. Wizards of the Coast was labeled as selling it due to Hasbro buying the game for publishing over here. However, the WOTC mail order crew didn't have it. They directed me to their Gamekeeper stores who did have it but only at their local stores. (which there are none in Wisconsin.) Calling the closest one to me in IL, I convinced them to take a phone/credit card order and received the board game a few days before Christmas.

This is without a doubt, the most incredible board game I have ever played. I consider myself a gaming fanatic and have been one since a very young age. I've played many of the most in-depth board games around. (Axis and Allies, Conquest of the Empire, etc. etc.) I now head up a gaming group called the Mithril Realm Gaming Group here locally. I also host a site for it: http://www.vbe.com/~jarrok/ This is just to let you know that this recommendation doesn't come lightly. A little bit about the game:

This is the very first time a cooperative game system has worked to this level of playability. I have now played the game with only two people and all the way up to the maximum of five people. Let me tell you, this game is NOT easy, and until you've played several times and realized how to cooperate with others and in what ways, you will not be successful. The object is of course, to destroy the one ring. First off, there is a 'Corruption Line'. This is on the master board in which your hobbits and Sauron reside. Sauron starts the game in the darkness and the hobbits start the game in the light. As different things happen during the game your hobbits are forced to move forward on this line, leading them into the darkness and in the end, losing them to corruption if you are not careful. Also, different events can cause Sauron to move towards the hobbits on this line, representing his spreading evil over the world. If at any time during the game your hobbit moves into or past Sauron, he/she is lost. One hobbit begins the game as the ring bearer, (this is always frodo to start)... if the ring bearer touches Sauron or is eliminated, the game is over! After each scenario, the ring bearer may change hands depending on the person who's collected the most 'ring tokens' along the way. The group must always protect the ring and it's bearer. There are four scenarios, Moria, Helm's Deep, Shelob's Lair, and Mordor. In between these scenarios you also visit Rivendell and Lothlorien for healing. This is represented by extra actions your hobbits can do like spending points to move back into the light on the corruption line, or even drawing more cards. The cards in the game represent things like, friendship, traveling, attack and hiding. These mostly are to move markers on the scenario boards trying to get yourself some required 'life tokens' and also to move the main marker thru the scenario to end it. During the scenario you draw 'event' tiles which can simply move certain markers, or cause actual events to happen. The events are things that can cause good and bad things to happen.

Out of *many* games so far, we have managed to only destroy the ring just twice, but lost most of the hobbits in doing so. If you are a Tolkien fan like I am you MUST have this game... it is simply beautiful with the John Howe artwork and the game could NOT have been better!

I hope I've expressed that this is one simply awesome way to get through the next year until our films arrive!

Thanks for your time, (feel free to chop parts of this letter as needed)