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Subject: For those who are thinking about getting it... rss

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Wayne O Connor
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Based on the the highly regarded trilogy by Tolkien, The War of the Ring is a Boardgame that seeks to offer the players the opportunity to master the forces of the Free peoples and Sauron and his minions against the backdrop of Tolkiens beautifully imagined setting. Released by Fantasy Flight Games, one of the true giants of gaming in recent years, this game scores high firstly for its beauty. Fantastic detailed miniatures, tokens and a beautiful board map of Middle Earth. Fantasy Flight have consistently maintained quality in this area and here once again they don’t disappoint.

But what of the game itself? The Game allows players (2-4 players) the chance to play either for Sauron or the Free peoples. Initial set up is pre ordained by a listing in the book with players being told where and how many troops are present in each map zone. For the sake of tidiness, counters are provided to act as proxy pieces to avoid over cluttered zones. The games primary mechanic is the use of Action dice which are rolled and by their results offer players command options such as Mustering (recruiting new pieces) and Army (moving army units). The dies also include “joker” style icons which can be used as any order and also can be used to play cards which players draw each turn that determine new tactics and events (many based on events from the trilogy such as the Balrog of Moria, The Ents march etc). These cards also double as Combat cards during battle.

The game is won by either a military victory (seizing a certain number of stronghold/cities by either side) or by the passage and outcome of the Ring. Each turn the Free peoples may choose to move the Fellowship towards Mount Doom and the Sauron player must choose how much to expend (in terms of action dice) to find the ring. When the Fellowship move, the Sauron player may roll dice equivalent to the Action die he has set aside to stop the move. If successful the Fellowship may suffer corruption (12 points and the Free peoples lose) or lose a member of the Fellowship. If the ring reaches Mount Doom, the Free peoples win.

On the Miltary side, players must first rally the various armies to action on a Political track on the board. This is done by Action Die results or by actions of the opponent (for example an attack on one of your settlements). Also certain key characters pieces such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas may awaken the factions represented also (other characters such as Saruman, The Mouth of sauron etc are also present and allow ceratin tactical advantages to players). Once fully active players may fully utilise their troop’s to stage war in Middle Earth.

Combat is handled simply, the number of troops determining a die pool of D6s that are rolled generally hitting on a 5 or 6, though certain factors such as fighting in sieges or within Strongholds can alter the number needed. A hit removes a troop. Cards held by players may alter or offer interesting twists (The Nazgul Strike, Onslaught) etc so combat is always interesting.

In summary, War of the Ring is a truly splendid game. Beautiful to look at, Easy to learn. Each game offers multiple twists and options, a wonderful balance of strategy and of course luck that also succeeds wonderfully in capturing the feel of the book. Highly recommended to all!

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Einmal ist keinmal
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Nice review. I agree with all but this:

pyramidlagota wrote:
Easy to learn.

You must be a wargamer.
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Jim Cote
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pyramidlagota wrote:
Beautiful to look at...

And blind.
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matt erwin
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I agree with your review wholeheartedly. Nice job!
 
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Michael Withstand
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Yes each game is a whole new game but some things tend to be obvious and repeated. Such as Minas Tirith will always be one of those stronghold attacked and besieged.

The fellowship will almost a;ways try to reach Lorien in the hope of healing corruption once declared there it may move towards Lorien either through Moria or the High Pass though.

Gandalf and Strider usually leave the fellowship quite early in my games to gain those additional action dices for the free people.

Dwarves tend to be the last free people nation to go into war. The firsts are Eleven, Gondor and Rohan.

However what happens to the ring quest has always been different in my games. I have had Frodo scoring BIG suffering a mere 2 corruption points only when he threw the ring into Mont Doom(I guess that means he gets to keep all of his fingers laugh). In another game Frodo was completely corrupted even before reaching Mount Doom.

So I'm saying that the Military aspect is mostly kind of predictable given the same setting and map and composition each play but the ring quest could be totally different and unexpected.
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Wayne O Connor
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Im not a wargamer...
But i do wear glasses...so maybe half blind.

I actually did find the game pretty easy to learn but maybe its the 24 years of gaming... Key terms like mustering and Combat rolls and saves etc are a bit second nature after a while, whatever way they are dressed up in an individual game.

And i do think the board and the individual pieces are of great quality and really gorgeous. But i do admit a bias towards FFG, i regard their games as some of the strongest in production values out there...and while ive played a few duds from them (the World of Warcraft Boardgame was disappointing), Ive yet to find a game that didnt impress me visually out of the box...

Though of course there is their trend for a Million pieces and tokens...

Also, i agree that some actions become a given in each game. The inevitable attack on Minas Tirith etc...However thats not neccessarily a bad thing...it might not go to plan every time...and i do know games like A&A which have the same instances (Ie. If you dont hit Pearl Harbour as the Japanese in your first move, youre...well...youre mad...). I actually like how, maybe by accident or the geography of the world, certain moments play like from the book or at least convey elements of Tolkiens world.

Ive also watched the Fellowship, despite intense hunting as they got closer, reach Minas Tirith without venturing near Lorien, and reach the Cracks of Mount Doom reasonably unscathed by corruption.

Either way, i stand by by review, with an acknowledgement that to new gamers, it might be hard to grasp certain rules initially. nothing a session cant iron out im sure...
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Kevin Wojtaszczyk
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I'm thinking your gaming group is getting caught up on a one way thing.

If you play the shadow again, look at it from the perceptive of not attacking MT. Look instead to attack areas which are weakly defended. Like DA, Erebor, Woodland Realm, etc... get all 4 one point cities maybe...

Also, for the FSP, save the moves and don't necessarily stop in Lorien to heal... obviously depends on corruption, but if you get to Mordor sooner, that's less cards the shadow has drawn which could effect you.

Getting the extra die with Strider promotion is pretty common occurance, provided you don't lose him in the first hunt to a random casualty... doh!

Great review and happy gaming!
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Michael Withstand
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Well Minas Tirith is so close to Mordor that it's naturally the quickest route to 2 Victory points though may not be the easiest.

Not that this military quest being somewhat predictable is a bad thing.
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Rauli Kettunen
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My name is Watt wrote:
Well Minas Tirith is so close to Mordor that it's naturally the quickest route to 2 Victory points though may not be the easiest.


Saruman files a complaint. Helm's Deep is only 2 dice away from Isengard (MT is minimum 3 dice). Assuming you can get past the Fords on 1 attack, you can slap HD under siege with the 2nd die.
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magic gecko
Australia
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. Re: For those who are thinking about getting it...
Get It.

This one is brilliant.
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Towerwood
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In my last game, Sauron avoided conflict with Gondor during the whole game, and Minas Tirith was therefore never attacked. He nevertheless got a victory by capturing the following strongholds:

Helm's Deep (2)
Woodland Realm (2)
Erebor (2)
Edoras (1)
Dale(1)
The Shire (1)
Pelargir (1)

Only in the last turn, Sauron invaded Gondor by attacking Pelargir from the see (card).

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