Lord Of The Rings Cooperative Board Game
I love Lord of the Rings, I love board games and I love cooperating with others.
So why not combine all three in one?
That's exactly what Reiner Knizia did when he designed this game!
It's a game for 2-5 players, which usually lasts about 1 hour (might take longer on your first time through).
It's a cooperative board game, meaning that the players work together to beat the game, rather than each other.
It's based on the Hobbits' journey from the Shire to Mordor in their attempt to destroy the One Ring.
The first time you play it, you may think it sounds very complicated, but my family got to grips with it quickly - 2 adults and 2 kids, aged 9 and 11 at the time we bought it.
There are really 5 'boards' in the game: a Middle Earth board which stays out all the time and 4 scenario maps (2 double sided boards) which are changed as the Hobbits move through the game.
The Middle Earth board has two tracks on it: one which shows the progress of the Fellowship towards Mount Doom and the other is called the Corruption track.
The Hobbits start on one side of the Corruption track and Sauron starts at the other end.
As events unfold, the Hobbits get more corrupted and Sauron slowly moves closer to them - if Sauron meets any of the Hobbits, they are eliminated and if Sauron meets the Ring Bearer, it's "Game Over man, Game Over"! (to quote a quite different movie, in a different genre!)
The scenario boards are where the main play happens and they are based on places and events from the books: Moria, Helm's Deep, Shelob's Lair and Mordor.
Without going into too much detail, the goal of each scenario is to progress in different areas, such as Travel, Friendship or Battle, while collecting different tokens which can help prevent corruption.
Along the way, you have to spend cards and work together to prevent various nasty events from happening and there is lots of tension throughout as you regularly "escape from the frying pan and into the fire".
Each Hobbit has their own special ability which overrides the normal rules of the game. This helps keep everyone involved as they all have something to contribute.
When it comes to actually winning, Lord of the Rings is hard as nails.
We have lost more games than we have won and it took several plays before we won it for the first time.
However, even if you lose you get a score for your efforts and this challenges you to improve next time.
With lots of text to read, it's not really for younger children, but older kids and adults will spend ages talking over strategy and what they can do to beat it next time.
The artwork deserves a mention too: it's absolutely beautiful and if you think it looks similar to the movies you'd be right - it was done by the same person who did the pre-production art for them.
In short I can heartily recommend this game, particularly for those cold winter weekends.
With Christmas on the way, this is a great choice for both kids and adults.
Click the "Buy Now" button to get your copy!
Following the success of the Lord of the Rings board game, Reiner Knizia created a game based on the Hobbit too.
Note: Don't confuse this Lord of the Rings board game with the card game of the same name: the packaging looks similar, but they are not the same thing.
In this video review, you can see more details of two of the boards and how the different components relate to each other.
You can also see the corruption track, as well as the different markers that are used.