Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

War of the Ring

A couple of chaps who live locally and have been featured on this page before were keen to get together for a postprandial game last night, and with one of them a committed Tolkien man it seemed an opportune moment to try out War of the Ring.

Being quite taken with the idea of an evening stroll in Middle Earth, Matt and Ben inhabited the earthy cloaks and shining helms of the Free Peoples while I assumed a darker - you might even say more shadowy - guise.

We didn't really know what we were doing (which incidentally favoured this incarnation of the Shadow, whose main strategy seems to be a blunt one: attack with overwhelming force), but here is a short AAR anyway.

The Shadow mobilised for war and took Lothlorien almost immediately with a scarcely credible series of dice rolls. Rivendell was thence bent to our Will.

A shadow falls on Middle Earth...

For the Free Peoples the Elvish folk were ready for war but no one else cared to entertain the thought. While Gandalf and Strider detached from the fellowship and sped around in a vain yet Churchillian endeavour to warn the North and Rohan (and everyone else) of the coming peril, Saruman prepared and struck at Rohan with all his might, or at least a decent percentage of it. Helm's Deep fell without a blow, and Edoras too was abandoned.

Why was Edoras abandoned? Because the Rohirrim, fighting fire with fire, sought to capture Dol Guldur from the forces of the lidless eye.

Orcs and Nazgul attack nasty Elves.

And so an entertaining game of move and counter-move followed as both sides utterly disregarded the Ring and strove to win a military victory.

The Free folk took Angband and threatened Mount Gundabad - which would have left them one VP shy of victory - but the Shadow retaliated by taking various other spots and threatening Dol Amroth, leaving Sauron two short of a dark triumph of his own.

On to Gundabad!

But with both sides still a turn and some good results away from win, the bell sounded, and we were obliged by our native good sense to call it a night.

We were all over the place with rules and strategy, but in spite of that the game was great fun, and we could all see the potential there.

Hopefully we'll get to play again.


  1. That map appears to have particularly effective shading to give a more 3D effect.

    1. Yes, it's quite nicely done. My only quibble with the presentation is that cubes would be more immersive than figures. Everyone has their own mind's-eye image of what the various peoples should look like, and, sadly, these don't match up to the image I have in mine!

  2. Funnily enough I played this last Saturday, against my daughter's partner (I painted all the figures for him as a birthday present last year).

    It ended as a win for the West, as Frodo managed to roll 6 character actions in one turn and basically sprinted across the board and into Mordor before I could stop him. In the interim I, too, had burnt Rohan to the ground, was poised to destroy the Shire and had a massive army camped round Minas Tirith, all without even getting the Haradrim activated.

    I think it is as good a game about Lord of the Ring as you are likely to find. There are a lot of rules, but the mechanisms capture what you need, - the Corruption of the Ringbearer system works well, and the character & army cards add a lot of flavour.

    I'm lined up to play again, as I did the figures in the expansion set as a Christmas present. It gives my wife and daughter an excuse to leave us to it and go shopping.

    1. It was noble of you to paint up the figures. Your daughter's partner must be a real keeper! I agree, I think it's about as good as you are going to get. As you say, there are a lot of rules at first, but once you internalise them I'm sure you will be playing the situation not the rulebook, and there are so many options for strategy that I think you could get a really enjoyable and ongoing rivalry underway with a regular opponent.

      Will keep an eye on your blog for any accounts of your own battles...

    2. The figures weren't that much trouble. As you'll know from my blog I'm a badass soft plastic figure painter, so lots of dry brushing over black undercoat and tinted varnish.

      As a game I think it does a good job of balancing the politics, narrative and strategy of the book. However, don't hold your breath for AARs - I don't really do them for board games.

  3. Postprandial! Nice. Must use that in conversation ;)

  4. Hey Aaron nicely done. I've heard good things about game. I know what you mean about figures in some games like this, you can purchase different colored cubes from a couple of different places if your so inclined. Just an FYI.



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