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Mat

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Go to the War of the Ring page

War of the Ring

103 out of 122 gamers thought this was helpful

I know, strong title, but I do believe this is a masterpiece. It certainly is at the top of my collection.

The game is asymmetrical, with different strategies and victory conditions for each side (the Shadow vs. the Free Peoples). There are some obvious choices, but it is possible to surprise the opponent and adapt to events. Both the action dice and the cards are key. Each side rolls their dice pool to trigger their actions available each round, then players alternate choosing one die and taking one action (move, attack, muster, take cards, play cards, activate characters). The cards also have two functions: the top part is an action effect and the bottom part is a combat effect. The characters for each side have strong abilities that can really boost an army, and the FPP has the Ring Bearer that can move in secret across the map and whose objective is, of course, to bring the ring to Mordor and try to destroy it.

That’s just a short summary. There is a lot to do in this game, as you can work on a strategy, but tactical play is also necessary depending on the opponent’s choices and the cards drawn. The rules are well written and detailed, with enough examples. Combat can slow things down a bit, but it is an essential part of the game… and the story. That’s a big plus for me too; it really feels like you’re helping a story unfold. And even though certain known events are triggered, it doesn’t feel scripted at all. No two games are exactly the same, so replayability is very high. You have to commit enough time though. The 2-hour playing time is way too conservative. Maybe if both players (yes, it can be played with 3-4 players, but it is mostly a 2-player game) are very well versed in the game, it could be done in 3 to 4 hours, but based on the games I’ve played, it’s more a 4 to 5 hours affair. You won’t notice though, the experience is that immersive.

One last thing: the production quality of this game is quite impressive. The map is huge and both beautiful and functional. The special action dice are very nice (there are also regular black and white dice for combat). The cards are well designed and the various cardboard tokens are thick. The many miniatures are detailed and easily identifiable. The overall artwork is perfect.

So here you go, my quick take on this very deep and thematic awesome game.

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