(Review Credit: Ember)
[: There are some personally-tested Player Tips at the end of the review.]
Lord Of The Rings: The Board Game, designed by Reiner Knizia and distributed by Fantasy Flight Games, is an amazing cooperative strategy game that includes the great bonuses of beautiful artwork and a perfect adhesion to The Lord Of The Rings‘ storylines and themes.
What players must do is work together as a whole to get the Ring-bearer to Mount Doom and destroy the Ring there… before the darkness consumes them. And the genius of this is that if you want to win, there can be NO competition against each other— only against the game. Indeed, players will often need to willingly sacrifice their own characters or cards so that their fellow player(s) can get the Ring to its final destination.
The need for complete and intense cooperation, selflessness, and strategy between all players, planning ahead every step of the way— and all the while struggling and fighting against the fierce ‘will’ of the game itself— makes this the most unique, challenging, and definitely enjoyable board game that I have ever played. Whether you like LOTR or not, Lord Of The Rings: The Board Game is excellent, and highly recommended!
#1: Because of the nature of the game, it’s recommended that you play this with your closest friends— it helps.
#2: The best total number of people playing at a time is three; that way there aren’t too many ‘event’ tiles being turned over, yet there are enough players to make sure that the Ring gets destroyed at the end.
#3: If you’re playing this game for the first time, remove one ‘Ring-bearer moves one step towards the darkness’ tile and three or four of the regular sundial tiles. Once you can beat the game with Sauron on Step 15 and those tiles removed, add one tile back in, and try again. When you can beat that, add another, etc. And when you can beat the game with all of the tiles added back in and Sauron on Step 15, take those tiles back out, move Sauron to Step 12, and play again… etc.