This game has been on our radar ever since we first saw it at our local Barnes and Noble. Supposedly it’s a Barnes and Noble exclusive, but there are similar-looking games on Amazon. Being fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise, we eventually splurged on the large board game and finally got around to playing it.
This game, at the time we bought it, was about $50. While the game was fun, I don’t think it was worth $50.
The board itself is rather big, which was fine. It consisted of all the locations that are mentioned in the movies (and probably some from the books) with pathways connecting them. Each pathway had a number of move values that it would take to travel and you could move up to the number you rolled or less than your roll value.
So, for example, if you rolled a two and had two branching paths – one that had a two and one that had a three, you could only go on the number-two path. Moving around the board was pretty simple and it was a fun way to do it rather than going through one linear path. Plus, there are events cards so that you can move anywhere on the board or move someone else anywhere. Then, of course, you have the cards that tell you a specific place to go.
The point of visiting as many locations as you can is due to the item cards that can be found. At the start of the game, each location has an item card randomly assigned to it, items that no one knows about because one of the items is the One Ring itself. The object of the game is to obtain the One Ring and deliver it to the Mount Doom location.
Of course, you need to keep the ring secret from the other players. There are ways to find out if someone has the ring. There’s a Gollum event card that forces whoever has the ring to announce it to everyone. You can also lose the ring if the Eye of Sauron and you land on the same space. It forces to go back to one of the starting points of the game and you have to drop the ring in that location.
While we imagine that the game can get a little chaotic the more people you play with — as you’ll have more opportunities to sabotage each other, use more event cards, and crash into each other on the board — we were getting a little tired of getting similar event cards and our turns going so quickly. The little character tokens weren’t the greatest quality, either. In fact, I accidentally broke a couple’s feet while trying to snap them out of their grid when first opening the box.
Hence, my point earlier when I don’t think this game is worth the $50. The character tokens were cheap plastic – Kris actually sliced her thumb open trying to get one out – and the event and item cards were repetitive. I don’t think they had enough ideas. Not to mention the fact that the event and item cards had the same backing. So, when we were supposed to put the item cards around the board at each place, we accidentally put the event cards down first.
I think they had the same backing on purpose, though, considering the creators of the game probably expected the players to be sitting at a table with their hands of cards held up and hidden from the other players. If the character tokens were similar to the tokens in Monopoly — better quality, a little weighted — and the events were much more varied, we probably would have had a better time with the game. Of course, we still had fun and may try the game out with a few friends, but we probably won’t break the game out again too soon.
Overall, the game was pretty good and we did have fun. I think this is one of those games that need more people for it to be more “chaotic” and really have a good time.
Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom gets a rating of…
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