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Subject: My Favorite Game rss

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I first saw Lord of Rings in a gaming store and thought it looked dumb. Then I got into boardgames and tried out a copy. I’d never played a cooperative game before, and it instantly became my favorite game as I played it constantly until I knew the taste of victory. It also got me into games by the great Reiner Knizia

Gameplay (35 out of 35): You play as one of five hobbits (Fatty included in the well known line up of Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry) traveling across Middle Earth towards Mount Doom. Each point on the master map leads to either a safe haven (Rivendell and Lorien) or a scenario (Moria, Helm’s Deep, Shelob’s Lair and Mordor). Within scenarios you move tiles that dictate the flow of the game by either bringing on events (usually bad), moving you or Sauron along the master board’s track (always bad) or helping you finish the scenario. While this creates the feeling of the dark forces working against you, much of the game is still in your hands through hobbit cards. So essentially the game requires card management, event management and a lot of luck, but the most important component for victory is coordination between players. This makes not just for great gaming but also a true feeling for the subject matter within a Reiner Knizia abstract system. Anyone familiar with the books knows that comradeship is very important in Tolkien’s work and it is no less so here. To win one must think of the group and the situation and act in a selfless manner. This bleeds into event and card management in each scenario by planning ahead with other players and knowing when to play powerful cards (Boromir, Sting) and items (staff).

In essence you must work as a team against a very difficult system. Much of the game is in your hands but enough is out of your hands to create tense moments.

Components (10 out of 10): The boards and cards feature excellent artwork from John Howe that really gets the player into the spirit of the game. The ring looks like a flat donut, but all the other pieces overshadow this one flaw.

Originality (5 out of 5): I’ve never played a game like it since or yet, and never such a great game adaptation of a work of literature.

Overall (50 out of 50):The combination of luck and personal decisions make it a good game. As a Lord of the Rings fan the game becomes so great in light of the system, that while abstract, incorporates the themes of determination, fellowship and hope. Tolkien would be proud.
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Fritz Schwartz
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Quote:
The ring looks like a flat donut, but all the other pieces overshadow this one flaw.


We have this game (signed by the great Doctor Knizia himself!!), but Sandra doesn't want to try it until we get a really nice "one Ring to rule them all". She already has a replica of Arwen's pendant or some such.

One of these days!
 
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Dan Conley
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Life is too short not to live it up a little!
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Paul...thanks for a GREAT write-up of the game! It's a favorite of mine, as well. The tension has always been nearly palpable around the game table as those Event tiles are turned! gulp What a fantastic job of capturing the themes and spirit of the books!

I also agree re, the doughnut...it's not pretty, even though I'm actually fond of doughnuts!!! laugh I'd like to find a suitable replacement piece myself...

Sadly, in our small game group, one of the fellows has taken a strong dislike to the game due to the luck factor, so I'm not sure how much it will get played in that setting. Maybe I need another group....?!?

Thanks again for the post!

Dan
 
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Mark Farr
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Thanks for the review!

I am desperately trying to get hold of this one. I have asked two retailers to try and source it for me. For some reason, it is one of only two or three Fantasy Flight games that aren't brought to South Africa. We have Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (both regular and deluxe), also by FFG (and Dr. Knizia), but not this one!

As far as a suitable replacement ring is concerned, there are very nice plastic rings in both Lord of the Rings Risk and Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, if you can bring yourself to purchase either of them. The rings are similar enough in these two games to be identical. These games are surely very cheap in the US. If I ever get my hands on this game, I will be using the ring from one of these two (which are never played) instead of the "doughnut".


 
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Sean Franco
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If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
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Tobold wrote:
We have Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (both regular and deluxe), also by FFG (and Dr. Knizia), but not this one!


I have to say that, as highly as I think of Lord of the Rings (a top 10 game for me for sure), I think the Confrontation is a better game. Congrats on a great buy!!
 
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