Lord of the Rings: The Boardgame

Beautifully designed and illustrated, Lord of the Rings: The Boardgame proves challenging without being too difficult to enjoy.

Video Reviews

Lord of the Rings: The Boardgame

Sophisticated Games What epic blockbuster movie would be complete without its very own board game? Enter acclaimed and prolific German game designer Reiner Knizia and Lord of the Rings: The Boardgame, beautifully illustrated by longtime "Middle Earth" artist John Howe. The meticulously crafted art on the box, evidence of the great deal of work that went into this collectible, inspired hopes that the game would play as well as it looked. Reading the 16 pages of detailed rules, on the other hand, inspired fears of being unable to grasp the details of the game long enough to enjoy it. But to the players' hobbit-like glee, that impression was totally wrong. Unlike most board games, the goal is not to win single-handedly but as a group -- with each player in control of one of five hobbits: Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, or Fatty (bonus points if you remember him) -- by cooperating to destroy the golden Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Rules that had seemed confusing in text prove to allow for neat permutations in the gameplay. By the middle of the game, the group was plotting and planning moves in advance of the challenges, and many a hobbit that night sacrificed himself to move the fellowship along. And the Ring was destroyed before Sauron captured a single one of us! If the first game proves slightly too easy, the rules allow for several ways to make the game more challenging to the Fellowship. While it may not be Instant Classic material (Scrabble, Monopoly, etc. ...), this big beautiful game would light the dewy eyes of any Lord of the Rings fiend on your Christmas list.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Screens Reviews
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Lunarcy!'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film Reviews: 'This Is Where We Live'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Joe O'Connell, March 15, 2013

More by Lindsey Simon
Phases and Stages
Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott
Sheet Music

Oct. 25, 2002

In Play
In Play
Neverwinter Nights is more than a game, actually: It's a gaming system to be built on.

Aug. 9, 2002


Lord of the Rings: The Boardgame, Sophisticated Games, Reiner Knizia, Middle Earth, John Howe, Lord of the Rings, Mount Doom, hobbit, Sauron

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle