- Jens HoppeDenmark
Frederiksberg... So I am not supporting BGG in 2019
I finally got around to trying the game last night, having invited my brother over for a match. Rules explanation and setup took about an hour and a half (yes, I can be a very thorough explainer of rules ) so we didn't start properly until about 22.00. We called a stop to the game at about 2.00 in the morning, not being even remotely finished.
Despite that, we both enjoyed it a lot. The rules, while certainly verbose (as I have commented on before) are not really that complex and we seldomly had to refer to them.
I, as the good guys, didn't do too well (at least it didn't feel like I did!) The fellowship didn't advance very quickly, being revealed on several occasions and near the end of the game having made it only to Lorien. Boromir had succumbed to the ring early on, at about the time the Fellowship had their first lunch break after leaving Rivendell. Pippin was sent off to show the dwarves the harsh realities of the book of Mazarbul, while Strider, Legolas and Gimli went south to help the war effort.
Down south, which saw most (if not all) of the military action, Gondor and Rohan had been decimated (no units left in either available pool), and my opponent had captured Minas Tirith, Pelargir and Helm's Deep. Aragorn was holed up in Dol Amroth with the last remaining Gondorian army. Rohan had lost most of its forces as well, and Gimli and Legolas were both killed when Helm's Deep fell, sacrificing themselves to absorb losses. On the other hand, on our last turn my brother let the newly arrived Witch King press a kind-of-even attack on Edoras, which (due to wonderful die rolling on my part) ended in defeat and death for the poor wraith.
Now, whether my trusty fellowship could have made it to Mordor before Sauron could have taken the 4 VPs he missed for a military victory is anybody's guess... I felt confident that I would at least get pretty close, but my brother felt his conquest of Middle Earth was a matter of a few turns.
I felt the rules were reasonably elegant, although personally I think I would have preferred a little less complexity overall. To me, the game seems full of little chrome rules which I don't really see doing much for the game.
My feelings are still undecided with regards to the action dice mechanism. On the one hand it felt like a reasonably elegant "limited choice" mechanism, but personally I was annoyed with the randomness of it. It just feels wrong when you are all set up to move the fellowship, only to roll three palantirs and a helmet.
Oh, and (predictably) the figures didn't do a thing for either of us. Having huge groups of figures all crowded around in the Gondor/Ithilien/Rohan area looked ridiculous. My brother started laying the nazgul flat on top of the army units to alleviate the space problem, making it look like they were taking a nap while the army moved.
And if I don't find a substitute for those figures soon, I am gonna have to spray paint them or something. Having so few colors of units doesn't look very good, and on a few occasions we did get them mixed up despite our best intentions.
But despite these quibbles, we both enjoyed the game a lot and look forward to trying it again.
- [+] Dice rolls