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Risk: The Lord of the Rings Expansion Set (incl. Siege of Minas Tirith game)» Forums » General

Subject: Little Gem rss

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Neil Henderson
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The Gondor and Mordor expansion set makes LOTR risk into what it should have been when it first came out. Balance is now better, the theme now makes more sense with the added territories, and the new figures - Warg rider, Mumakil, Orc crossbowman, horse archer, Ent and Gondorian infantry - are nicely done and really enhance the look of the board during play. Others will comment more on this, but specifically I'd like to go into more depth here on the 2 player "bonus game" included, called "Seige of Minas Tirith and Battle of Pelennor Fields". This is a little gem of a game imo. It reminds me in "feel" of a Kosmos small box game, and plays beautifully in around 45 minutes or so. You should be warned that there are several glitches and contradictions in the rules booklet though. I've contacted Hasbro for clarification, but until then house rulings are necessary can easily get over these minor problems. The board is divided into unnamed "territories" and represents the outer defences of Gondor (the "Ramas Echor wall"), and behind that the fields of the Pelennor and the walls of the city of Gondor itself. To win, evil must occupy Minas Tirith itself while good wins if 2 evil leaders are killed. Combat is basically the same as normal Risk, except that any territory can be left empty, and the attacker can assault with only 1 battalion. Three black dice (called "action dice") are thrown every three turns. Good chooses one of these and uses it for his turn, then evil chooses one of the remaining two, then good takes the last. This system is quite clever, as the die chosen dictates both how many reinforcement cards you draw and how many action you may perform on your turn. So for instance, a "5" on the die enables a player to take 5 actions but only draw 1 reinforcement card, while a "1" entitles you to 5 reinforcement cards but only 1 action. Players must therefore constantly juggle the need to move and fight (each takes up 1 of your available acions), with the need to collect cards for reinforcements. Everything that you expect from this battle is present here, albeit in simple terms. There is both melee and archery combat. Mumaks, Trolls, cavalry and infantry assume distinct roles. For instance, it costs 1 action for infantry to advance into the defender's territory after a successful assault, but cavaly get to advance free, making them excellent and fast assault troops. Trolls and Mumakil are necessary to operate both the evil seige towers and "Grond" - the great battering ram aimed at the gates of minas Tirith. There are catapults for both sides too, which can take out the enemy at a range of 1 2 or 3 territories. If the good player has the correct cards he slowly accumulates reinforcements both from the relieving forces of Rohan and Aragorn. These may appear on the flanks of the evil army, but their arrival is always variable and really add a nail-biting element for the forces of Sauron. Leaders add 1 to the highest die roll of your force as normal, and the Lord of the Nazgul may instil fear into the hapless defenders causing them to retreat. Richard Borg has created a superb mini game here, which is both original while still retaining the feel of classic Risk. And its FREE! 8/10 (would merit 9/10 but the rules problems took off 1 point for me)
It's worth mentioning here that the extra figures that come with the expansion are simply that - extras which can be used both with the original LOTR Risk and with the seige game. They are NOT complete extra armies - there are not enough of them nor are they different colours that would enable a 5th or 6th player to play the full Risk expansion. However, its my opinion that the LOTR Risk is much too overcrowded with 6 players - even with the expanded territories, and so this is not a problem for me. Luckily I bought the US version of Risk LOTR last year and so have been able to combine the figures from that with the LOTR Risk (European version) which I purchased at the same time as the expansion. I seriously doubt that with only the original "Risk" as well as the expansion you will have enough single battalions to comfortably play the full game and "make change" for all your battalions. This is a general problem which Hasbro should address for all Risk games though - more single battalions as standard. The Expansion is fully compatible with the original US Risk LOTR, and imo well worth US players investing in rather than the "Trilogy edition". Now, back to the walls of the White City............
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22518),
Great mini review. I'm really looking forward to the mini game. I just ordered the expansion last week and am awaiting its arrival. Thanks for clarifying the fact that the expansion does not come with an additional two armies. I thought it did to expand the original game to six players. I hear the Trilogy edition has armies of different colors. I wounder if it would be worth purchasing soley for additional armies, but then there wouldn't be enough of the expansion pieces for six players.
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Just to clarify. The expansion contains 4 more sets of figures in red, black, yellow and green. These are almost identical colours and indistinguishable from the original sets in the main game. There are 22 "infantry", 6 "cavalry" and 4 "creatures" in each set. For good these are Gondorian infantry, horsemen with spears (called "horse archers" in the mini game) and Ents. For evil we have Orc crossbowmmen, Warg riders and Mumakil (nice figures these last two). In the mini seige game ents are not used. In the main LOTR Risk all figures are simply representative of 1,3 or 5 battalions as normal. Playing with 6 is impractical here imo when each player must move the fellowship each turn, as players would get so few turns that no long term overall strategy is viable. And taking into account the "funnelling" effect of rivers,mountains and bridges on the game board, I really think that four players is absolute maximum for interesting tactical play. Still, each to his own, and a 6 player game is eminently possible (with some agreed house rules perhaps). Hasbro have certainly marketted this game in a strange way to say the least, so perhaps an expansion package with different coloured units for 2 extra players isn't beyond hope.......until then the only way is to buy extra games, or buy extra figures from Hasbro and paint them yourself. Hmmm.....perhaps the company knew what it was doing after all.....
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22545),
Great review. I too ordered the expansion last week. I like the fact pieces are different from the origional game. I just might order another expansion so I can get full armies of the new pieces! You say the colors are almost identical to the origional sets in the main game? I know in the new Trilogy edition the yellow and green pieces are very different in shade from the origional games yellow and green. Trilogy's red is close to but different from the red in the origional game. Black is the same(obviously!)
One thing thats interesting is after looking at the expansion map I noticed it was different from the Trilogy edition map. First off the expansion sets Gondor country cosists of 11 territories whereas the Trilogy editions Gondor has only 10 countries. The country Tolfalas(sp?) southeast from Belfalas in the expansion edition is a "dead" island in the Trilogy edition.
Mordor in the expansion edition consists of 5 territories whereas Mordor consists of 6 territories in the trilogy edition.Gorgonoth is split into two territories in the trilogy edition(Gorgonoth and Barad-Dur)
In the end you get the same amount of territories. I wonder why the differences though?
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22571),
Yes, there seems to be another quite drastic change between the two versions also. In the european expansion the ringbearer travels directly from minas morgul over the mountains to mount doom. In the trilogy edition the ringbearer's route is minas morgul/gorgoroth/mount doom, making the journey (and perhaps the game) that little bit longer. The expansion route is closer to the actual book description, but this difference will probably make changes to gameplay, however slight. Looks like the only way to find out which board is best - or if these changes make any appreciable differnce at all - is to play both of 'em. Having the "Tolfalas" territory playable does make Gondor harder to capture for instance. How many reinforcements are Gondor and Mordor worth in the Trilogy edition? (Gondor is "7" and Mordor "2" in the expansion. I wonder which board was produced first, and the rationale behind the changes? Just plain weird if you ask me.......
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22593),
Gondor and Mordor are both worth 7 and 2 respectively in the Trilogy edition. I actually like the expansions map better. As you pointed out Gondor is harder to capture. The trilogy editions Stronghold of Barad-Dur is kind of useless strategically being stuck at the top of Mordor. I like the expansion setup better,territory wise. The Trilogy edition has one extra turn for the ring to travel though.
 
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d peruzzini
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Re:Little Gem
sorry if i dont quite understand as i dont have any version of LOTR risk yet but could you please clarify: 1) are there enough unit figures with the expansion to just play the 2 player game? 2) if i buy the expansion i take it i will only need the original LOTR risk not the Trilogy version 3) where are you guys ordering it from?
thanks any help would be appreciated
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
zzini (#22598),
In answer to your questions:
1. Yes. I never think that any version of Risk includes enough single battalions to make "change" during the game. This one is no exception. However, that is my personal feeling, and you'll find enough figures to cope in the box, though you'll probably stil have to juggle and swap figures in territories during games "making change". This isn't a huge problem, but I find it gets irksome. I bought both "LOTR Risk" and "Risk LOTR" and have combined the figures from both games, so I have orcs and elven archers coming out of my ears.......
2. The expansion is compatible with the European "LOTR Risk" or with the original US version "Risk LOTR". The new "Trilogy" edition contains the complete map (including Mordor Haradwaith etc), and everything you need to play the full 4 player game. It does NOT include the additional free 2 player seige game on the seige of Minas Tirith. If you have the original LOTR Risk game then, you only need to purchase the expansion.
3. There are many games outlets who have the expansion. I bought mine from Games Lore (www.gameslore.co.uk). You can also try The Games Store at www.tgs.co.uk
Hope this helps
 
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d peruzzini
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22606),i should have included this as question 4 but do you get enough cards also? i guess what i want to know is; is the 2 player game by Borg playable with just the components found in the expansion box, with no other LOTR risk games needed. thanks
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
zzini (#22616),
To answer your question is would be Yes. The everything needed to play the two player game in the expansion set is included. I can hardly wait to get mine
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22619),
Actually the answer is NO. You need some of the figures (elven archers, black riders, cavalry and orcs) and also the territory cards from the original LOTR Risk to play the two player seige game. You MUST have the original game to play the seige game from the expansion - this is clearly stated on the box.

 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22633)
Oops my bad
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
I was wondering. Are there different leader units in the game? Or are they the same as in the first game(shields)?
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22635),
Just shields.
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
I got my expansion pack today and I noticed another map differance. Minhiriath(Rohan) in the trilogy edition is conected port wise to both Belfalas and Umbar. In the expansion map its connected to Belfalas only. Belfalas is then connected to Umbar.
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22701),
I wonder if this makes any difference - the rules on sea movement are somewhat contradictory (as are a few rules and concepts in this game unfortunately - the rulebook needs tightening up).
1. The game rules state you may attack/move from any port to any other territory DIRECTLY connected by a sea lane. Looking at the board, this implies that you may only move one port at a time per turn.
2. However, the card "Corsairs of Umbar" limits a player in that he may "only move by sea to the CLOSEST port". This implies that normally one can move/attack from one port to any other on the map.
If we play according to 1. above, then the card makes no sense. However, ports are only DIRECTLY connected to the next closest port on the map. The two things are contradictory.
I've really no idea which is correct. I play that a player can move to/attack ANY port from any other. Otherwise the Corsairs card becomes useless.
Comments?
 
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Stephen Scholtz
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22518),

Couple more questions, if someone has a moment to answer...

1) Still confused about the armies. Ok, so they're same colours and but they are different characters, right? However, they aren't enough pieces to make up an entirely new army (the equivalent of an army from the original games), nor are there enough pieces in there to play the two player game...am I reading that correct? That seems kind of silly. Agreed, the game assumes that you have the original game for the expansion to complement, but to not be able to play the two player game as a stand alone game w/o involving pieces from the original seems kind of silly. (?) It also seems silly that there is enough to make a whole new army to be played in the original - that makes the Ent pieces useless as they aren't used in the two player game and there aren't enough of them to be used in the 4 player game...or again, am I reading that wrong?

2) Does the expansion include the new rules and cards that can be found in the Trilogy edition, like Alliance and Team/Hunt for the Ring gametypes? I see mention of territory cards...what about event cards? Any new ones?

Thanks for your help! The news of this Expansion set has really thrown me for a whirl and I'm trying to figure out which one I should get, or both, to add to my original edition.
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22703),
Your telling me the rulebook needs tightening up! I am still trying to figure out the rules for the battle of Minas Tirith.
Looking at the Risk LotR Expansion "Corsairs of Umbar" card it states:
Play Immediately
Until the start of your next turn, all battalions in a port may only move by sea to the closest port.
To me that means if you play this card then ALL battalions that are in a territory with a port can only move/attack into the next closest port. They cannot move/attack into an adjacent territory on land. That seems like a silly card to play.
In Risk LotR Trilogy edition some of their cards are different. For instance,their "Corsairs of Umbar" card states:
Play Immediately
Until the start of your next turn,all seaborne invasions lose 3 battalions before they begin invading.(1 Battalion must always remain)
Basically if this card gets played then for one full round of play any seaborne invasion a player wants to do has to pay a penalty of losing 3 battalions right at the start. Not a bad card.
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22706),
I read the card slightly differently. I believe it means that any battalions in a port which CHOOSE to use the sea to move/attack, can only do so into the next closest port. I don't think its meant to stop those same battalions choosing instead to attack an adjacent land territory as normal.
As you say though, this could be read either way. Sad really that so many game rules seem to be written by people who have no real appreciation of the English language. Problem seems to me to be that THEY know the interpretation of a rule, but often don't have the skill to convey this in a totally unambiguous way. So, us poor players are faced with interpretation problems, and (in the mini seige game in particular) ommissions and downright contradictions. (throws hands up in frustration.........
laughlaugh)
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Daddy (#22738),
Aw I see how you interpret the card. I won't have that problem since I use the Trilogy edition cards which seem to be clearer IMO.
What kind of piece count did your Risk expansion set have? Mine was Black and red(4 creatures,6warg riders,21 infantry), Yellow(4 creatures,6 horsemen,20 infantry), Green(1 General,4 creatures,6 horsemen,18 infantry-mini game calls for 20 infantry to start)
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
Shagz (#22704),
1) Yes the characters are different from the Risk LotR game. The colors MOSTLY match-up. I'll explain what I mean(I have Risk LotR,Risk LotR trilogy edition,Risk Lotr expansion)
Risk LotR expansion green is the exact same as the green in Risk LotR
Risk LotR expansion red is the exact same as the red in Risk lotR Trilogy edition(slightly darker but noticabally different than the red in Risk LotR)
Risk lotR expansion Yellow(light yellow) is different than the Yellow of Risk LotR(Dull yellow) and Risk LotR Trilogy edition(mustard color)
Risk LotR black is the same as all the blacks(obviously!)
It is my understanding that the Risk LotR expansion pieces match up exactly with the European Risk LotR set.
2) Yes the expansion set includes new rules/cards found in the trilogy edition.
The Risk LotR expansion has the appropriate territory cards for the new map. New event cards. There is one event card thats found in the Risk LotR expansion pack thats not in the Risk LotR trilogy edition-- That is an Uneasy alliance card. Some of the mission cards in the Expansion set differ from the Trilogy edition slightly in terms of points/armies rewarded.
 
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John McMillan
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Re:Little Gem
It's worth mentioning here that the extra figures that come with the expansion are simply that - extras which can be used both with the original LOTR Risk and with the seige game. They are NOT complete extra armies - there are not enough of them nor are they different colours that would enable a 5th or 6th player to play the full Risk expansion.

SAY WHAT?!? In my mind, the main appeal of the Expansion Edition was the promised ability to support 5 or 6 players on an expanded map. If what you say is true, then I feel quite misled by Hasbro and Rob Daviau. Even the BoardGameGeek Summary Description section needs editing. I apologize if I am belaboring this point, but please clarify this for me.

I already own the original US Edition. Since I don't really care about the 2-player bonus game, and the expansion won't support a fifth or sixth player, is there any point in me purchasing the Expansion? It doesn't sound like it to me. If I want the expanded map and revamped rules, I can purchase the Trilogy Edition at my local ToysRUs a lot cheaper than I can import the Expansion from an English game vendor. Am I missing something?

Thanks for your help,
John
 
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James Morgan
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Re:Little Gem
jmcmilla (#22749),

The expansion edition DOES NOT provide enough armies to play with 5-6 players on the expanded map. To play with 5-6 players you need Risk LotR and Risk lotR trilogy edition. The pieces in the Trilogy edition are different shades than the ones in the 1st edition.
I would recommend importing the expansion only if you wanted to play the two player game and wanted some different(cooler IMO) figures to use.I am in the process of trying to order just the pieces for the expansion edition just so I can have a different character army
 
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Neil Henderson
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab (#22750),
In reply to your question above my expansion set contained:
Green: 1 leader 6 cav 4 creatures 21 infantry
Yellow: 6 Cav 4 creaturs 22 infantry
Red: 6 cav 4 creatures 21 infantry
Black: 6 cav 4 creatures 23 infantry
A shame - and pretty inexcusable - that your green set was short for the mini game startup. Could you simply swap the green/yellow starting figures - this should give you enough.
As a footnote, the setup lists 4 RED mumakil for evil (only), yet the disposition chart shows 1 BLACK mumak in area 3. Where did he come from? ??? I've simply assumed that this one black mumak should in fact be red. Am I missing something - or is Hasbro colourblind hehehe......
Finally, I agree with you that non European players should not consider importing the expansion unless they want the 2 player seige game. Instead they should spend their time writing letters to Hasbro inc. .......... laugh
 
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John McMillan
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Re:Little Gem
Bighab wrote: I would recommend importing the expansion only if you wanted to play the two player game and wanted some different(cooler IMO) figures to use. I am in the process of trying to order just the pieces for the expansion edition just so I can have a different character army

Thanks for your response. Please keep us posted on your efforts to order just the expansion pieces. Are you writing directly to Hasbro?
 
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