Lord of the Rings: The BoardgameSophisticated 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.