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War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Lords of Middle Earth...worth it? rss

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Josh Lacey
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Preface:
I love Lord of the Rings. I've even read The Silmarillion. It was a difficult read, but a lot of interesting stuff in there. I bought the lifetime membership to LoTRO...modest I wanted to make a game very similar to this...heck I had started making a game like this...until I found that it had already been made. I was just getting into board games at the time. It was basically going to be a cooler version of Axis and Allies, the only board game I played consistently as a kid...but I was going to use some of the new mechanics I'd learned playing "designer" board games with guys from work. My point is the game has a lot to live up to in my opinion...and it hits the spot. I really enjoy this game. It's a little lengthy to teach and play, but it does an excellent job of taking you along that journey without making you feel you have but one path to travel. Now this isn't a War of the Ring review though, so I will move on.

Lords of Middle Earth:
What it adds: New hero/minion miniatures, New hero/minion cards, alternate hero/minion cards, New Character/Strategy Cards, Gollum's alter ego Smeagol (Smeagol helps the little hobittses)...more dice, and an alternate starting scenario.

New hero/minion miniatures: New molds to go with new characters. I'm not going to lie. When I first bought this game I was kind of disappointed there were only two colors, but 5 nations that couldn't be blended until they were at war. Seemed like it was kind of cheap to not put in 5 color molds to make sure blended armies weren't a problem. I thought the Shadow Forces would accidentally start wars against a multi nation army without meaning to, thus activating nations in error etc. Having played it 5 or so times now, I can now see blended armies are almost never an issue. Well thank goodness I thought it would be an issue because I painted all of the nations. I've never painted anything in my life, but I painted the miniatures for the original game. Mostly just a flat color with a little highlight to add some oomph. Then I painted all of the companions and leaders detailed. I didn't know about wash, so I didn't use it, but I was still happy with the final product. So now I've painted my new heroes and minions...and I'm telling you, it's worth it. Paint them. It just makes the game feel more alive. I actually received and opened my LoME expansion about 3 days before the Collectors Edition was released. I was kind of ticked because I'd have to do more painting, and because I didn't get Tree Beard, but a minor complaint...and again I'm actually pretty proud of my newest paint jobs.


New/Alternate Hero/Minion Cards:
These were good, giving a little more flexibility and re playability in the game (I'll lump the new strategy and character cards into this statement as well). I can't imagine not using the new Gandalf card to get the extra dice in the early game. I particularly liked the addition of Gollum's alter ego Smeagol. I thought it was very clever. Smeagol is Gollum's friendlier alter ego and he thus provides benefits to the Free Peoples Player while he is in it. I did think that the new cards would make me less likely to play the Witch King and Gandalf the White at the risk of losing your new action dice, but the more I read the benefits of those characters, I'm sure it's a decision that has to be made each game based on how it is going.

More Dice:
Now, I'm not going to lie, when I ordered this game, I thought about the new characters and the new dice, and I just thought...ughhh more complexity to an already complex game. This in and of itself is not a problem as I have a quality gaming group that is willing to play just about anything. However this game is a little complex to teach and learn. Also due to the length, it is not something I can get out very often. I was ecstatic to play it 5 times last year. The problem was every time was with a different player. Not because nobody wanted to replay it, but because everybody wanted to play it, and we usually have 4+ for gaming days, so we play something better suited to 4 players. Short story long I questioned whether or not I would ever actually add the expansion...until I read the rules. Very simple. You get a new character, you add new dice. Your new character dies, you lose associated dice. No matter how many new characters you get, you can only use one new dice per turn. If Gandalf the White or the Witch King is out and you use a dice roll with a * on it that dice is removed from the game permanently. Very pleased with the simplicity of the addition. Granted it does add more actions and character cards to keep track of, but still the basic mechanic is simple.

Alternate Starting Scenario:
It sounds intriguing, but I'd like to get another 5-10 games of the base game under my belt before I try this. There's still too much strategy to learn before trying this tweak. In short, you have the opportunity to play the game as if The Fellowship was never brought together like in the story. Maybe Boromir was sent back to Gondor, and Legolas to the Woodland Realm. Well in the scenario they start in those realms as playable characters, and the fellowship starts out weaker. It's an interesting tweak that allows a more militaristic approach for the FPP player. The Shadow in turn gets 1 to 2 special actions to offset the advantage of the FPP having a stronger military advantage.

In closing:
God bless you if you made it this far into my ramblings. In closing does the expansion add value to the game. To put it simply, yes. I had the most fun I've had playing this game, when playing with the expansion. Having the extra heroes on the board made it feel a little more alive and the game went right down the end. The FPP player lost to corruption 2 steps from the crack of Mount Doom. I can't imagine not playing with the expansion now.
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David Siskin
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You can still get Treebeard in the BGG store.
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Josh Lacey
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I didn't see him there, last I checked, but essentially he cost $15 bc I had to buy 3 promos for games I don't own. Id pay $5-$7 but not $15.
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ft
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He's still there. He costs $10, not $15, but that is pricy for a single figure so do not let yourself be hasty in the purchase. That said, I really enjoyed this implementation of Treebeard and would recommend the buy.

Also, since I've chimed in, know that you wrote a good review and your painted figures look great.
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Josh Lacey
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Thanks for the tip!
 
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Josh Lacey
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fyrian wrote:
He's still there. He costs $10, not $15, but that is pricy for a single figure so do not let yourself be hasty in the purchase. That said, I really enjoyed this implementation of Treebeard and would recommend the buy.

Also, since I've chimed in, know that you wrote a good review and your painted figures look great.


Eclipse Pulsar expansion is available on the Geekstore today, so I used that as an excuse to also get the Treebeard expansion. I still have none of the games for the promos...so not a ton of use, but $18.50 for both (that includes shipping) will probably be worth it.
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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I agree heartily with the conclusion of this review.

WoTR with LoME is a far better game than without. I love the additional choices and characters.

Re: Treebeard - Played 5 games with LoME and Treebeard. Treebeard was never mustered by either of us. Just sat there next to the board on his card looking sleepy. He is far from an essential addition unless you are a "completist".
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Josh Lacey
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fubar awol wrote:
I agree heartily with the conclusion of this review.

WoTR with LoME is a far better game than without. I love the additional choices and characters.

Re: Treebeard - Played 5 games with LoME and Treebeard. Treebeard was never mustered by either of us. Just sat there next to the board on his card looking sleepy. He is far from an essential addition unless you are a "completist".


In regards to Treebeard...having played with him a couple times now I totally agree.
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Chris Shaffer
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Keeop wrote:
One quick question... the Gandalf card box that comes with sleeves... this item, in my understanding, does NOT have extra sleeves that you could use for LoME, correct?


Correct. I have the metal box with sleeves and disappointingly don't have enough sleeves for all the cards with the Lords of Middle Earth expansion.
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Adam Fenrick
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TheCat wrote:
Keeop wrote:
One quick question... the Gandalf card box that comes with sleeves... this item, in my understanding, does NOT have extra sleeves that you could use for LoME, correct?


Correct. I have the metal box with sleeves and disappointingly don't have enough sleeves for all the cards with the Lords of Middle Earth expansion.
The tin says the sleeves are 68x120, but I found these (http://maydaygames.com/card-sleeves-70-122-mm-custom-large-s...) on Mayday which claim to be 70x120, though everyone says they are actually 122 length. They are for WotR CE, so my assumption is they would be the same(though I am not sure). I mean, if they claim to be 120 but everyone says they are 122, maybe the tin is off by 2cm each way was well(ie – 68x120 = 70x122). Has anybody maybe tried these sleeves?

Edit: I did just find this on the tin box page of Ares website.
"The sleeves are also compatible with the cards included in the War of the Ring – Collector's Edition."
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Tom Duensing
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Thanks for the review. It prompted me to buy the expansion.

I too custom painted the heroes and painted the armies in single colors and then dipped them. It really made a big difference on how the game looks on the table and was as much work as I expected it would be.
 
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