Hi! I've played the fellowship edition of this game and have been developing a modification to make the thing reasonably playable. I've never played the return of the king game, but I figured my mod might work just as well and somebody might be interested. So here's what I came up with. Let me know what you think!
The goal of the game is to obtain the most points by the end of the game. The game ends when the ring has been escorted to the finish.
The provided score counters are used to track points. However, unlike the original rules the “S” notch is disregarded. Players are to skip over these notches without counting them towards their point count.
Starting the Game
Character pieces are placed on their respective starting locations. Any characters without stats (ringwraiths, lurtz) are not played at all. Any ring card regarding these characters are ignored.
Each player selects a character to play at the beginning of the game. They must continue to play this character throughout the game unless the character is killed.
The ring, denoted by one of the score counters, must be placed on xxxxx square.
On their turn a player must role the die to determine how many spaces to move. Only the die number determines the move, speed is not added in. Players can move any direction, either forward or backward. Movements do not have to be continuous in one direction (i.e. if a player roles 5 their character can move 3 spaces in one direction then 2 spaces in the opposite direction).
As in the original game rules, characters who pass red ring spaces must stop on that space and draw the corresponding ring card. They must remain on that space for the rest of their turn and cannot advance further unless commanded to do so by the ring card.
Ring cards that are not red are only drawn when a character lands on the corresponding space. Additionally, these cards are not required to be drawn. A player can choose to leave the card undrawn and remain on the space with no consequence.
The only way to end the game is to bring the ring to the end of the board. Upon reaching the finish the last round of turns begins. Each player apart from the one in possession of the ring must complete one last turn.
When a player lands in the square occupied by the ring they must pick it up. Additionally, a player may choose to stop at the ring square as they pass it. If they choose to stop on the ring they must pick it up and cannot advance further during that turn.
The player to accompany the ring to the end receives an additional 20 points to their score.
Additionally, throughout the game the player in possession of the ring loses 1 point per turn at the start of their turn. This point penalty begins on the turn following the turn when possession was gained.
The ring can be dropped at the end of a players turn. It remains in the dropped square until another player lands there and must pick it up.
Engaging Another Player
When character lands on a square occupied by another character they must engage each using one of their four abilities. When a character is set to pass another they can chose to cut their move short and stay on the occupied square, engaging the opponent, or they may continue on to the square indicated by their die roll.
There are two stages to engaging another player. First is the action stage followed by the consequences stage.
The attacker (the player who’s turn it is) first choses their action. Each action is based on the character skill attributes listed on their character card. The actions and their corresponding skills are as follows:
Run – Speed
Fight – Power
Persuade – Wisdom
Curse – Magic
Next, the defender must choose their action. If they chose an action that is different from the attacker’s action they must subtract 1 from their action point total.
Once both battling players have decided on their actions they must each role the die to calculate their action points. The roll value is added to the skill points associated with action and the penalty for a different defense action is applied. The player with the highest action point value wins the engagement and the next stage begins.
Now that a winner has been determined the results of the battle are decided. The victor has several options depending on the action they chose. These options and their effect on the defeated player are as follows:
Sprint: Move 8 spaces in any direction
Sneaky Escape: Move 4 spaces in any direction and gain 2 points
Hit and Run: Roll die. If 5 or 6 is rolled move 8 spaces in any direction and the defeated player loses their next turn.
Loot: Take one item from the defeated player. This can be a ring card or the ring. If they have no items then gain 3 points while the defeated player loses 3 points. They lose their next turn.
Brawl: Gain 4 points and the defeated player loses their next turn.
Kill: Roll die. If 6 is rolled the defeated character is removed from the game. Otherwise the defeated player loses their next turn.
Tribute: Gain 4 points while the defeated player loses 4 points and their next turn.
Relinquish: Take either a ring card or the ring from the defeated player and advance 4 spaces in any direction.
About Face: Roll die. If roll is even move the defeated player up to 30 spaces in any direction.
Alchemy: Gain 6 points. Move 8 spaces in any direction.
Enchantment: Take one item from the defeated player. This can be a ring card or the ring. If they have no items then gain 4 points while the defeated player loses 3 points. Move 5 spaces in any direction.
Death Stroke: Roll die. If 6 is rolled the defeated character is removed from the game. Otherwise the defeated player is moved by the victor up to 8 spaces in any direction.
Unlike the original rules, this game is battle based and relies heavily on the choice of actions and consequences in battle. This provides players more control over the game and gives the point system actual value.
Bringing the ring to the finish is the only way to end the game and get extra points, yet there is a point penalty for holding it. This incentives players to move the ring but not hoard it. It also encourages them to battle to gain points before trying to end the game by moving the ring.
Thanks! The parts of the game are interesting, nice to have it be more playable.
WRT theme: why would a member of the fellowship attack another ....or curse them...or kill them?