A grand strategy board game that allows players to immerse themselves in the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The holder of the crown for most stunning Tolkien-themed game—and one of my favourite games of all time—is the classic, War of the Ring. If you enjoy a challenging, moderately complex wargame absolutely dripping with Lord of the Rings theme, this game is a must-buy.
What an incredible game this is—no other game I’ve played so effectively captures both the epic feel of armies clashing in Middle-Earth, and the desperate journey of the Ring towards Mordor. Everything about this game is big—the huge board, the roughly 200 plastic figures, over 100 cards—not to mention the huge scope of the game. Not only does War of the Ring cover sweeping, epic armies battling over Middle-Earth, but at the same time it tracks Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor, and somehow manages to balance these two very different game mechanics into a harmonious whole. One of the innovative ways this is done is through the use of custom dice that display icons instead of numbers. The players roll these dice and can move, attack and trigger events according to the various icons that come up.
The War of the Ring expansion Battles of the Third Age was an interesting supplement that not only expanded the original edition, but added two more ‘mini-games’ that focussed on the battles of Isengard and Minas Tirith, using modified mechanics.
It’s an indication of the popularity and classic nature of War of the Ring that a Collector’s Edition was produced; truly a gamer’s dream and my most treasured gaming possession. Not only are all the figures in the game hand-painted and resting in faux-velvet-lined compartments, but the redesigned board is 25% larger, the rulebook is gold embossed, and the game comes in a huge painted wood and resin box decorated in suitably Elvish fashion. It certainly doesn’t come cheap, but it’s probably one of the greatest expressions of the boardgame art form available!
Set aside a long afternoon and immerse yourself in War of the Ring.
I worked long and hard on the v2.2 summary and reference to make it the best it can be, scouring both original and Collector’s Edition rulebooks and their FAQs, and trying to distill the many rules into as succinct a format as possible. It includes the additional rules from the supplement Twilight of the Third Age.
v4.2 of this summary is completely reworked for Second Edition, and includes the Lords of Middle-earth expansion rules.