The Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game - Board Game Box Shot

The Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game

, | Published: 2013
31 14 0

The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game is a semi-cooperative game—players will work together to defeat the game (or to put it another way—if Sauron wins, everybody loses!). If players defeat the game, the player who has earned the most Glory will be declared the winner.

Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game box and contents

Players start out in The Shire with only Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee with access to purchasing Bill the Pony. As they approach Rivendell, they encounter their first of Sauron’s forces— represented by Sauron’s Enemies dice. They also meet the Elves who help to equip them with Weapons, Heirlooms and Gifts— four of each are included with the game; one of each type is dealt out randomly each time you play. As the Fellowship strikes out from Rivendell to travel through the Mines of Moria, more of Sauron’s minions rise up to challenge the players but the players also now have access to six characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy— the 6 character cards are double-sided to provide twelve different playable characters.

After the Mines of Moria, players will fight their way through Helm’s Deep, Pelennor Fields, and past the The Black Gate of Mordor to reach Mount Doom where they have an opportunity to score one last time. At the final location—The Grey Havens—players tally their points for final scoring.

Players alternate taking turns for Sauron and his forces. Sauron’s forces are represented by three sets of “Enemies” dice. Early in the game, players will face the likes of Goblins and Trolls with The Fellowship of the Ring Enemies dice. As players progress in the game, they will encounter tougher foes such as Wargs, Mumakil and Nazgul with The Two Towers Enemies dice & The Return of the King Enemies dice. If players are not able to defeat all of Sauron’s forces before his next turn, they may not advance to the next stage and Sauron gains corruption. Corruption is spread onto the cards on the playfield making the dice associated with these cards useless while corrupted. If too many cards are corrupted, Sauron has conquered Middle-earth and all players lose the game.

Most of Sauron’s actions are automated— so the player taking Sauron’s turn is instructed how to resolve Sauron’s attacks and manage his dice. However, players will have to make tough choices when it comes to spreading corruption. Any corruption that is not spent by the player is subtracted from their Glory score. If players are willing to sacrifice their opportunity to buy a die, they may use their Fellowship points to remove corruption from dice.

Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game dice
images © WizKids

The Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game is packaged with a box insert that holds all of the cards and dice in an easily visible and accessible manner— making game set up and breakdown simple.

User Reviews (1)

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29 of 29 gamers found this helpful
“Twists, Turns, Poor Production Values”

Quarriors is one of my favorite games. But, for some reason, the production value on the dice, even in the newer versions, leaves a lot to be desired. Now comes Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game, a semi-cooperative dice builder from the same company that put out Quarriors — WizKids.

LotRDBG is not a rehash of Quarriors. It actually has more of a board game feel to is as you gain access to different areas of The Wild. Initially, you can only draw from one row of cards/dice in the Wilds, the Shire, in order to prepare yourself for the dangers that lurk outside this peaceful setting. Quickly, though, you will find yourself traveling to these fearsome locations, and as you do, Sauron will notice and attack (the turn’s first player will act as Sauron at the end of the round, turning over the first player marker to the player on the left). Anyway…you can read the full description above.

So the good and the bad:

The Bad –
– This game feels a bit rushed. There are errors in the printed rulebook (you need to go online to get the updated one).
– The printing on the dice is shoddy, to say the least. I have two dice where the ink runs so badly, the icons look like they grew hair.
– There is no real mention this is a semi-cooperative game where you work together to defeat Sauron and destroy The One Ring, but for every decision each player wants to gain points in order to have the most points at the end of the game and be the uber-savior of Middle Earth. Nothing really points this out and it’s glossed over in the rulebook.
– The rulebook is horribly written and you’ll need to read through it multiple times to really get a feel for gameplay.

The Good –
– It captures the feel of progression through Middle Earth, with impending doom always nipping at your heels.
– It has dice!

I’ll admit, I did enjoy the game once we took about 45 minutes to get used to the mechanics, try to find answers to our questions in the rulls, and watched how-to-play videos. It’s really not a difficult game, but if you’re a Quarriors player, it might prove more challenging than you expect. There are similarities, but major differences (do I Muster — set aside dice to fight and give me points if they survive the round like in Quarriors — or do I Prepare so I can gain a point if another player decides to fight Sauron and his minions, or not gain a point if a battle does not ensue?)

It’s a good game, but not great. It adds a strategic element to the Dice Building genre. But until WizKids gets their act together and delivers some quality control, their products will always feel haphazard.

 

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