This is your chance to forge the destiny of an age, like you never did before!
I may have mentioned several score times that War of the Ring is my favourite game of all time (and my Collector’s Edition my most treasured possession), so you can well imagine that I was very excited to hear that Ares were going to release a card game with the same name. But how could a card game possibly live up to the incredible experience that is the epic War of the Ring?
Well, as it turns out, surprisingly well! I’ll have a full video review out in future, but for now let me tell you I’m quite impressed with this game, and the way it manages to capture some of the atmosphere of its much bigger brother. In the same way in which the board game separates the story into the big military conflicts and the story of the journey of the Ring, the card game has the Shadow and Free Peoples fighting over battlegrounds and path cards. Each of these locations restricts which armies and characters can be played to it, so you have constant decisions about whether to commit powerful characters to the intimate story of Frodo’s journey, or the epic battles shaping the future of Middle-earth.
And since every time you play a card you have to discard a card from your hand, there are also agonising choices about which cards to play and which to keep, and whether you want to commit them directly to a battle or path or put them into reserve to play on a later turn. Much like the board game, it’s that classic choice of whether to go for the easy victory point gains, or build up your forces for the long haul.
The ideal format for this struggle is a 2 player vs 2 player team game, but there are different scenarios and different ways to play that involve customising the deck, and a 2 player ‘duel’ version which I have found just as satisfying as the team game.
I’m sure I’ll be enjoying this game for some time to come, when I feel like a bit of that War of the Ring experience without the 3+ hour play time. Of course it’s nowhere near as satisfying and deep as that amazing game, but it is an excellent, well-designed card game with some interesting choices, great art, and that classic LOTR flavour.