Merchandise Monday #11

Today’s merchandise Monday features my Lord of the Rings Risk. I love it when traditional games come out with custom fandom versions:

Lord of the Rings Risk

Lord of the Rings Risk

Of course the playing board is a map of Middle Earth:

Middle Earth board Map

Middle Earth board Map

The playing board map does not only demarcate areas by names, but it shows you landmark images of where everything appears in the context of the actual story. Here is an example using the Mordor region:

Demarcated Landmarks

Demarcated Landmarks

You can have 4 players. 2 players will represent the army of Mordor/Isengard etc.; and 2 players will represent the army of Gondor/Rohan:

Playing Pieces

Playing Pieces

So who wants to play with/against me? πŸ™‚

✘ Hack It! ✘

9 thoughts on “Merchandise Monday #11

  1. They released this game a dozen years ago, with a different (better-looking?) box, after the second LOTR movie, THE TWO TOWERS. It’s not bad but, like Risk itself, you can’t satisfactorily play with only two persons, you need that third player at the least. You can play a two-player game, but it’s not all that great.

    Key narrative flaw to this LOTR-Risk game, as we recall: you do NOT proceed all the way to Mordor with the darn Ring. We figured, circa 2002, they would release another LOTR-Risk game, following release of RETURN OF THE KING, which would take the Ring into the darkest depths of Mordor, to cite the Led Zeppelin. However, it would seem this never occurred, as your game board seems to be essentially the same as the 2002 version (slightly different color treatment?) so it’s still an incomplete odyssey to date in LOTR-Risk.

    Key operational flaw to the LOTR-Risk game: it plays more like “Diplomacy” than “Risk.” There is no real naval element, or cross-continental movement, in dear old Middle Earth. It’s a constricted environment, strategically. The strategic openness is part of the thrill of Risk, but it’s pretty absent in the LOTR version. And Middle Earth, of course, is a dead ringer for Europe 1914. Fresh unpredictability is attempted via the use of cards-for-effect, and the cards and their messages were kind of fun also, as we recall. That element worked. We would probably still opt for a good six-player game of cardless “Diplomacy” instead.

    Seem to remember that the LOTR plastic game pieces were cute too, but not nearly as easy to manipulate while playing as were the original Risk cubes.

    As abtbenjamins noted above, a REAL METAL golden-colored Ring was also included with LOTR game, with runic inscriptions engraved, do they still do that? That was hilarious, but it’s an element of the game, acting as its game-turn marker. Also noted by abtbenjamins, and unlike original Risk, the LOTR version has a defined ending point short of total annihilation of your foes. That is when the funny metal ring proceeds, automatically and eventually, off the map edge. So the LOTR version of the game has several key differences from the Risk original template.

    However, the LOTR version would be difficult to play by mail, due to the use of decks of cards in its play. Have fun!


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