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War of the Ring (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: 5 player Risk-type variant rss

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Jordan Lyseng
United States
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I have never designed a game, but I am thinking of ways to use the game board and pieces to play a war game with up to five factions. This requires both expansions. This is an early draft and I am seeking advice and suggestions.

I have divided the factions as:

Isengard - Isengard units + Dunlandings
Southron and Easterlings
Proud Men - Rohan + Gondor
Noble Races - Elves + Dwarves + Dunedain/Hobbits

Each of these factions has roughly the same amount of pieces but they are not equal, I would like a solution to this other than by a second copy of the game. I am not using leader units. I think elite units will represent 3 regular units.

Each faction has two characters.

Sauron - Mouth of Sauron (standing model) + Witch King (mounted model)
Isengard - Saruman + Ugluk (Witch King standing model)
Southron and Easterlings - Southron King (mounted Mouth model) + Gothmog
Proud Men - Boromir + Aragorn
Noble Races - Gimli + Legolas

Their abilities would be the same as the regular game and the character cards would be used. These generals fit thematically and serendipitously balance out combat power giving each faction 1 and 2 combat characters.

Generals can be captured and held prisoner. They can be used as bargaining chips in this way. when they move with an army and prisoners roll two die for each space, double sixes mean the prisoner escapes. They can be held in strongholds indefinitely until the stronghold is taken or you release them. Generals can move without an army according to their level, Saruman is level 1. Generals can be captured even if they are alone. They cannot be destroyed.

I want to use a victory point model for winning the game much like what is used for a Military Victory, rather than global domination. The factions simply aren't big enough for global domination. Maybe there could be a mechanic to enslave a faction once you eliminate it... but completely eliminating factions is what makes Risk so shitty to play sometimes. I don't know how many points would win. Only strongholds give points.

Dol Guldur is occupied by neutral spiders, Lothlorien by Eagles. Moria is abandoned and worth 0 points.

I divided the strategy event cards and divided them up so that each faction has 6 that fit them thematically. The Free Peoples armies cards all have to do with mustering, but the three shadow factions have some movement and attack cards mixed in. I don't know if you should draw a card each turn, every other turn, or only after winning a battle or taking a stronghold.

Each turn you can move any number of units up to two spaces. You can attack with any number up armies. Siege rules still apply. Sieges can not be continued by reducing an elite.

How should mustering be handled? 1 in each stronghold? 2? I think cards should allow mustering anywhere an army is, or double mustering where the card specifies.

Turn order:
Play card

What do you think? Suggestions?
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Greg Love
Western Australia
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An interesting idea, but I would be more inclined to just play Risk Lord of the Rings.
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Jordan Lyseng
United States
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Complete Rules except for cards which I am balancing and playtesting.

War of the Ring: Battle of the Five Kingdoms


Isengard - Isengard units + Dunlandings
The Forces of Morgoth - Mordor
The Southern Kingdom - Gondor + Rohan
The Last Alliance - Elves + Dwarves + Rangers/Hobbits
The Haradrim - Southron and Easterlings


Characters are now only used for their combat strength. They do not have hit-points so once the army they are in is depleted, they are captured. Characters add 1 re-roll (this might need to be bumped up to 2 to increase worth.)

When moving a captured character, roll 5 dice minus the size of the army moving him, to a minimum of 2. Double sixes and the captive escapes and moves up to his level. They can be held in strongholds indefinitely. Generals can move without an army according to their level, Saruman is level 1. Generals can be captured even if they are alone. They cannot be destroyed.

(Isengard) Saruman, Corrupted Wizard + Uglûk, Uruk-Hai Chieftan
(The Forces of Morgoth) Witch-King, Lord of Angmar + Mouth of Sauron, Black Númenórean
(The Southern Kingdom) Aragorn, King of Gondor + Boromir, Steward of Gondor
(The Last Alliance) Legolas, Son of Thranduil + Gimli, Son of Gloin
(The Haradrim) The Black Serpent, Southron King + Gothmog, Eastern Lieutenant


Armies have a maximum size of nine units. Characters do not effect this maximum limit. Elites represent 3 units. Leaders are not used


Each faction has 2 strongholds, awarding them 1 point each.

(Isengard) Orthanc, North Dunland
(The Forces of Morgoth) Mount Gundabad, Barad-Dûr
(The Southern Kingdom) Minas Tirith, Edoras
(The Last Alliance) Woodland Realm, Grey Havens
(The Haradrim) Umbar, North Rhûn

Lothlorien, Dol Guldur, and Rivendell are neutral Strongholds overrun by spiders or eagles.

Fortifications and unused strongholds on the map grant a fortification bonus. The attacker must roll sixes to land a casualty during the first round of battle if the defender is on a fortification. Moria is abandoned and grants no bonus.

Sieges are only possible in the 13 strongholds listed above. Siege rules are similar to WotR where sixes are required for the attacker to land a casualty against the defender. The attacker can sacrifice one unit to continue the battle for another round.

Set up:

Each faction places 15 units within their borders.

Turn Order:

1. Muster
2. Play card
3. Move/Attack


Each strongholds grants 2 units. They can be mustered in any territory you control. Besieged strongholds do not grant mustering. Minimum of three units can be mustered per turn.


Cards can be earned once per turn for winning a battle (defeating an army or causing a retreat) or capturing a stronghold. A player does not need to play a card if they have one.


Each turn you can move any number of units up to two spaces. You can attack with any number up armies. Attacking halts your movement for the involved units.


Umber, Dol Amroth, Enedwaith, and Grey Havens are ports. It takes two movements to move between them. Movement between ports must be sequential.
(ex. Umbar -> Dol Amroth-> Edenwaith -> Grey Havens)

Sea battles are not implemented. Armies may lay siege from ships.

Alternate Turn Order: credit to [url= https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1009584/making-risk-more-fu...]Molus Maximus in the Risk Variant Forums.[/url]

1. Reinforcement Phase, starting from 1st to last in turn order, all players place their reinforcements on the board BEFORE the next phase;

2. Attack/Movement Phase, starting with the person who goes 1st, that player can either make one attack or one movement (one country to another adjacent country only) at a time. Once their single attack or movement is done, the 2nd player, then the 3rd, until the last players makes a single move or attack. This process is repeated until every player says they have no more moves or attacks;

3. Recalculation Phase- The player with the largest number of territories goes first during the next turn, next highest second, all the way down to the fewest goes last. Use continents controlled or # of units as tie breakers.


Hold 5 strongholds to win the game. 7 for 1v1.
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Yosef Bender

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some great ideas have you gotten to play test them out yet? I think I would still like to add elements of the original game, having ways that smaller factions can be allied and you can make diplomatic actions with other players and NPC . The ring could still be, sent for its distraction powerful if dark Lord gets it, and perhaps even be used by any free nation with its corrupting power, please give me feedback on how you played the game?
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Jordan Lyseng
United States
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Each faction has 6 cards. When there are no longer any cards to draw from, shuffle the discard pile into a new draw pile. I tried to keep the cards balanced but unique for all the armies. I also tried to vary the power level of the cards.

Saruman- 1 strength 1 level. +1 muster in Orthanc with Saruman is present.
Uglúk - 2 strength 3 level
• +2 muster +2 movement to 1 army
• Roll three combat die against invading army
• Extend siege for 3 rounds without penalty
• +1 to any existing army
• +2 muster
• +2 muster

The Southern Kingdom
Aragorn- 2 strength 3 level. Aragorn has 2 leadership
Boromir- 2 strength 2 level
• +3 muster. Draw a card.
• Roll 3 die against adjacent army.
• +3 muster.
• Roll 3 die against invading army.
• +1 movement for 2 armies.
• +2 muster.

The Forces of Morgoth
The Witch King- 2 strength ∞ movement
The Mouth of Sauron- 1 strength 2 movement
• +4 muster. Move the Witch King.
• +2 muster.
• Extend siege for 3 rounds without penalty.
• +1 movement for 4 armies.
• +2 muster.
• +1 muster to existing army.

The Last Alliance
Legolas- 3 strength 3 level
Gimli- 3 strength 2 level
• Roll 3 die against adjacent army.
• +4 muster to a coastal region.
• +2 muster. Draw a card.
• +1 movement for 1 army. Ignore enemy armies.
• +2 muster.
• +2 muster.

The Haradrim
Black Serpent- 2 strength 4 level
Gothmog- 2 strength 4 level
• +5 muster on Eastern edge of map.
• +2 movement for 2 armies.
• +3 movement for 1 army.
• +1 movement for 1 army from a coastal region to another coastal region.
• +2 muster.
• +2 muster.

For flavor and economy I used existing cards with similar powers and appropriate flavor text. I sleeved my card and I just placed a small piece of paper with my variant rules in the sleeve. This way I can play the variant or regular WotR with out any additional modification.
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