First Look – War of the Ring

It’s my son’s birthday which means more games.  The big game I picked up for him this year was War of The Ring 2nd Edition and I had a chance to flip through the rules last night and here are my initial thoughts.

The rule book is pretty thick but it’s not too crazy because there are a lot of pictures and examples.  It’s put together well and the game looks like a lot of fun.  You have the army aspect to the game but then each side has characters (or for the Dark Lord, minions) that also add an extra element to the game.  Sauron’s side has a lot of military might but the good guys have the Ring-Bearer and the fellowship to even things out.

The game is driven by action dice.  Each turn, the players roll their dice to see which actions they can take.  Sauron can allocate dice before rolling to looking for the ring.  Then within each roll, the player have a choice or three to do.  For example if you roll the “army action” you can either move two armies, attack with one, or use a military oriented card.

Speaking of cards, they play a big role as well.  You can use them to bring in reinforcements, help you in battles or use them to activate nations to help in your war effort.  There’s also a very light diplomatic angle to the game as well because not all armies are willing to fight for your cause right off the bat.

One of the knocks of the game is that there’s too much randomness.  Combat is random (determined by dice) and even which actions you can take are random based on the roll at the beginning of the turn.  I’m curious to see how that plays out because on the one side, I can see a person getting good roles early having a distince advantage but on the other hand, it also lends itself to more replayability.

The game looks fun.  In fact if we have a rainy day this summer, my son wants to have a Lord of the Rings day where we play Middle Earth Quest which leads into the events of Lord of the Rings then play War of the Ring to play out what actually happened during the books.  Look for more on this game soon as we get into the game more.

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