Monday, 12 March 2012
War of the Ring
I should enjoy nothing more right now than the telling of a long tale by the fire side at the Green Dragon, Bywater. I’m afraid, however, my newly planted legumes cannot abide my long departure, so a shorter version shall have to suffice.
I played War of the Ring last night. So long had it been since I last dusted off the rules and laid out the game that this really felt like I was learning it all over again. This later turned out to be a good and a bad thing. Good because my opponent, the erstwhile Matt, had never played before, and bad, because I realised again the glorious and rolling tale this game encompasses - and was saddened therefore that it hadn’t seen a lot of table time between!
The game took a lot longer than it should have - being new-again to the rules was as much a help as a hindrance, I knew roughly what should happen - but finding the particular rules was like trying to find a hobbit that doesn’t want to be found.
War of the Ring, for those unfamiliar with it, is an epic game that attempts to recreate the the unfolding tale of political and military machinations that are the backdrop to the wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Shadow player is attempting to mobilise his armies into the right places in order to affect a sweeping and overwhelming campaign against the Free Peoples.
The Free Peoples on the other hand are a disparate and disunited group of nations, apathetic and unknowing to the wave that will soon be breaking against them. The Free Peoples player must activate and motivate to action the various nations in order to hold out against the forces of Sauron long enough to allow to the Fellowship to make the trek to the Cracks of Doom.
War of the Ring is a game that really rewards replaying. There are many nuances in what can and does take place, and many choices to make about what and when to do things. I won’t describe the rules in minute detail, nor cover our game. Suffice to say it was highly enjoyable and thematic, and it left me wanting to play again; the game moves forward like forward like a cohesive and epic tale - as it should.
Lord of the Rings is my favourite book. War of the Ring is possibly the best game adaptation of that theme that I have played. It is a magnificent effort: to condense the tone and scope of the books into a game experience the way has been achieved in this one. A wonderful game.
Now I want to play it again!