|Players:||2-5 (2-5) (3-6 players with the Sauron expansion)|
|Play time:||1:00-1:30 (1:30-2:00 with the Sauron expansion)|
|Ages:||12+ (but probably appreciated by younger if there's at least one adult)|
|Content:|| 1 Master board
2 Double-sided scenario boards with 4 adventures
1 Sauron figure
5 hobbit figures
60 Hobbit cards
5 Character cards
5 Gandalf cards
35 Feature cards
23 Square event tiles
11 Round life tokens
1 Hall of Fame sheet
Expansion "Friends & Foes":
23 Dark Event tiles
|Game target:||Your task is to stop the Dark Lord Sauron from winning back the magic Ring, which Frodo has inherited, and which Sauron would use to forever enslave the land. Taking part of an individual Hobbit, you must co-operate with the other players as a Fellowship, during a sequence of adventures. Journey through Middle Earth, taking on the challenges of four of the most hazardous regions, Moria, Helms Deep, Shelobs Lair and Mordor, to destroy the Ring in the volcanic fires of Mount Doom before Sauron reaches you on the corruption line.|
|Rules:||Rules in English to the basic game
Rules in English to the expansion Friends and Foes
Rules in English to the expansion Sauron
|Strategy:||Read ahead and plan for the events on each scenario.|
|Comments:||My edition is from 2000. The designer is Reiner Knizia and illustrations by John Howe.
Thematic developer and tester is David Farquhar.
This is a strange game which is a kind of mix between an ordinary board game and roleplaying game, as you have to co-operate to succeed. There is a competitive variant, but I doubt that it's really interesting to play. You either love it or hate it. Probably a really good family game, as you have to discuss.
I tested it at the Essen fair with David Farquhar as a demonstrator and I immediately fall in love with it. Without doubt the best game at the fair! But you need to be able to read the text on the cards and boards to fully appreciate it. It gives a great feeling of the ambiance of Tolkiens book and fans of his it will appreciate the game much.
There's been a lot of discussion about which number of players are good or bad. If you're just two player, you won't get all the cards at Rivendell and there are fewer who might be killed on the way. On the other hand if you are five, there won't be enough of tokens to everyone, which means that in average you have to throw the die more often, as well as the cards are fewer to aid each player and the shields are spread out more, so there are fewer who has five shields to call Gandalf. In practice it means that the game is well balanced for all different numbers of players.
There's a good FAQ with better structured rules at Chris Lawson's Web Pages.
I haven't played it with the Sauron expansion yet.
|Extract from Essen game fair report 2000.||Finally back to "Lord of the Ring", which was a fantastic experience and both did we fall in love with this masterpiece, although it helped to be a Tolkien fan. The game rather told the story and everyone played one of its Hobbit characters. On the different places should you collect cards and tokens which could help you to survive all the way to Mount Doom, but more important, co-operate and even sacrifice yourself for the group and especially for the current ring-bearer. Probably not a game for hard-core gamers, who are too competitive! We succeeded to come about halfway on the last board, so it wasnt that bad. But the game requires that you can read all the text on both the boards and the cards, so I have to wait for the English version will come to Sweden. I heard that it would come to the shop Tradition Gothenburg within a couple of weeks, so Ive just booked it. Although it costs more than any other game Ive bought (645 SEK = 146 DM!). Its even worse than the "standard price" for imported games here, which is up to 500 SEK (112 DM). But on the games official home page, its sold for 30 GBP (around 95 DM), so the Swedish prize doesnt surprise me. Actually most of the games on the fair is 2/3 down to half of the price.|
|Extract from Essen game fair report 2001.||Our first gaming for the day was "Friends and Foes", which David
Farquhar demonstrated the English copy. It was a pleasure to meet him again. We didnt
really know what to expect, but was surprised what a difference the expansion made to the
game "Lord of the Ring". Except that there are two new scenarios Brie and
Isengard, there are also the Foes. Every time you draw the first tile in your turn and
this happens to be a good tile (fighting, friendship, hiding or walking) you also turn
over the upper card in the "foes" pile. You can ignore him and let someone else
kill him if you want, but when you altogether has got 8 foes in a row you have lost the
game. On the other hand if you have turned up all 30 enemy cards and defeated them you
have won in another way! If you dont have any foes at the beginning of some
scenarios, you might skip them (2 of 3 scenarios) and in that way the game wont be
longer. For example you may go around Moria, but then you also miss Lothlórien. Every
character has also an extra ability card, which may be used once per game and a few new
Gandalf cards are added. You can destroy the foes in two ways, either through doing whats
written on each card, for example walk three steps nearer Sauron or sacrifice one or two
life tokens. If you choose to not play a card in your turn, you before could either draw
two cards or back one step from Sauron. Now you add the possibility to destroy one foe.
After a meagre start in Bree Dave was sure that we wouldnt make it all the way, but we actually managed to go all the way through the game with Merry as the only one at the end of the last scenario, who put the ring into Mount Doom. We collected 8 shields and destroyed 20 foes, so we ended up with 88 points at the first try! My opinion is that Knizia has succeeded to make an already good game even better with a new dimension. (CGS=9, ML=7, SL=6, TB=7).
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