The LOTR Movie Site
September 8, 1999

War of the Rings Board Game
Luke Sydlaske

War of the Ring was a Simulation board game put out by SPI (Simulations Publications Inc)in 1977. This particular version is the Designers Edition which includes a few extra tidbits.

The board itself is 2 feet 10 inches in width and height...which makes the board literaly huge! The whole board is basically a map of middle earth as seen in Tolkiens works. It is divided into small hexagonal spaces for the counters to move along.

The game gives you the oppurtunity to visit all the locations in Tolkiens classic trilogy. And at most major locations (i.e. Barrow-Downs, Lorien, etc.) you aquire equipment just as the fellowship did. You can also play virtually all the key players in Lord of the Rings!

There are two basic way to play. (1)The Fellowship game : You play the fellowship (Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippen, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, and Gandalf). As the fellowship you start at Rivendell where the actual quest began. Youe mission is to cast the ring into the Cracks of Doom as frodo did in the books. Sounds easy right? Wrong. Because your openent controls the dark power
players(i.e. All the Nazgul, Mouth of Sauron, Orcs, men of Harad etc.) His job is of course to destroy the fellowship before they can complete their mission. But the game is much more complex than this.

The game is quite complicated in order to stay within the bounds of Tolkiens works. The dark power player cannot just see the fellowship and send out his minions to cruch them. In fact, he knows nothing of their whereabouts unless he searches and finds them, which can be a difficult task alone. But mind you it is not an easy task as the fellowship. Along with the Nazgul you must face
Barrow Wights, Trolls, Shelob herself...and even the dreaded Balrog of Moria!

There is also the presence of Gollum. Who can unpredictably be controlled by either player. So you must be very carefull. He could turn on you at any second!

As if this doesnt sound good enough...we havent even told you how to play the second way. (2) In the second option the players battle over middle earth in an all-out strategic war. Including orcs, trolls, Haradrim, and Goblins.Of course they will be battling hordes of Rohirrim, men of Gondor, dwarves, elves, and even Ents! And in the second version there is an option to play with three people.The third person plays Saruman and controls all his "Hand Orcs" that reside in Isengard. This makes for great fun when playing with a bunch of Lord of the Rings enthusiasts.

All in all both ways to play are fun. If you are looking for a short 1 hour game I recommend the fellowship version...it is much more contained to only a few variable. But if you are looking for maximum experiance play the larger version which takes roughly three hours. Did I mention that in the larger game you still move the fellowship as you would in the smaller version only there
are now armies to stop you along the way. But by say, splitting the fellowship, as in the books, and sending Aragorn and the rest of the party and off to war you greatly increase your chances of success.

It would not only increase your chances of a military victory with heroes like Gandalf to lead your armies, but also the fewer to actually set foot into Mordor the better...this will be the most challenging part of the game. Just as it was for Frodo and Sam. Imagine an entire army pouring into Mordor with the ringbearer at its front...Sauron wouldnt care for that at all...better to distract him with your armies and sneak the ring in undetected, "As he is distracted by more pressing matters to the West."

This game is extremely fun and engrossing. If you have never even heard of the Lord of the Rings before, this game will just be a good game, nothing more. But if you love Tolkiens work as I do it can be much much more. Just imagine you being able to battle the Uruk-Hai at the walls of Helms Deep. With this game it is a reality.

If anyone happens to have this game and never really bothered because it looked too complicated, think again! If you ever see it for sale anywhere (highly unlikely) then buy it up quick!

I hope that I will be able to supply you with some pictures when I get a new scanner. Which should be soon.

If anyone wants to know more about the game just e-mail me.