In War of the Ring, one player takes control of the Free Peoples (FP), the other player controls Shadow Armies (SA). Initially, the Free People Nations are reluctant to take arms against Sauron, so they must be attacked by Sauron or persuaded by Gandalf or other Companions, before they start to fight properly: this is represented by the Political Track, which shows if a Nation is ready to fight in the War of the Ring or not.
The game can be won by a military victory, if Sauron conquers a certain number of Free People cities and strongholds or vice versa. But the true hope of the Free Peoples lies with the quest of the Ringbearer: while the armies clash across Middle Earth, the Fellowship of the Ring is trying to get secretly to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Sauron is not aware of the real intention of his enemies but is looking across Middle Earth for the precious Ring, so that the Fellowship is going to face numerous dangers, represented by the rules of The Hunt for the Ring. But the Companions can spur the Free Peoples to the fight against Sauron, so the Free People player must balance the need to protect the Ringbearer from harm, against the attempt to raise a proper defense against the armies of the Shadow, so that they do not overrun Middle Earth before the Ringbearer completes his quest.
Each game turn revolves around the roll of Action Dice: each die corresponds to an action that a player can do during a turn. Depending on the face rolled on each die, different actions are possible (moving armies, characters, recruiting troops, advancing a Political Track).
Action dice can also be used to draw or play Event Cards. Event Cards are played to represent specific events from the story (or events which could possibly have happened) which cannot be portrayed through normal game-play. Each Event Card can also create an unexpected turn in the game, allowing special actions or altering the course of a battle.
After Nexus, the publisher of the 1st edition, filed for bankruptcy, War of the Ring was picked up by Ares Games, and the designers used the opportunity of the new print run to release a 2nd edition that incorporates a few simple rule and card changes to address a few game balance and integrity issues that had been exploited by experienced players. For more information on component and rule differences between the editions, please visit the following:
Note: It is not recommended to use the Twilight of the Third Age 1st-edition expansion module in the War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age with the 2nd edition, because both it and the 2nd edition make the Free Peoples slightly stronger relative to the 1st-edition base game (which is generally regarded as slightly favoring the Shadow player), hence making the Free Peoples player too strong. Instead, Ares Games will be releasing a whole new arc of expansions that is compatible with the 2nd edition and introduces new ideas, starting with War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth.
The Breaking of the Fellowship is an alternate setup for War of the Ring, playable either with the Second Edition or with the First Edition (expanded by Battles of the Third Age). The Fellowship already traveled from Rivendell to Rauros, and it’s now scattered, while the armies of the Shadow are in motion, ready to unleash their might against the strongholds of the Free Peoples…
Card and Card Protector Info
Number and Size of Cards
Game contains 110 cards sized 67x120mm
Suitable deck protectors:
Mayday Games "Custom Large Sized For WOTR: CE and More" 70x122mm (2 packs @75 per pack)
Ares Games "Custom size card sleeves" 68x120mm (1 pack @120 per pack)
Although size indication between Mayday Games and Ares Games is different, they are actually the same (Ares Games deck protectors are manufactured by Mayday Games).
Size of Dice
The action dice of both the Free People and The Shadow are 16mm.
The white combat dice are 12mm.
Suitable combat dice custom replacements
For those looking for combat dice that closely resemble the action dice:
Chessex "Scarab" in Royal Blue for the Free People and Scarlet for The Shadow.
This variant streamlines War of the Ring in order to simplify teaching the game and keep new players from feeling intimidated, or overwhelmed with choices. To meet this objective, the Ring of Doom variant focuses gameplay on the Fellowship’s quest while dispensing with the bulk of the rules concerning armies and battles. The effect is to shorten rules exposition and more quickly orient newcomers to War of the Ring’s core mechanics: using action dice, moving the Fellowship, the dynamics of the Hunt, the dangers of the Mordor track, and the need to stay just ahead of the Shadow’s march to military victory.
Übersetzung der "Dwarven Rings" Regeln für Ringkrieg-Turniere von Kevin Wojtaszczyk.
German translation of "Dwarven Rings" tournament bidding rules by Kevin Wojtaszczyk. Posted with author's permission.