Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth is a co-operative adventure game from Fantasy Flight. Since it is an app-assisted game, to play the game you will need to download an app, either on your phone, computer, or tablet. We enjoyed learning this game and unboxing all of its incredibly detailed components. Come check this game out at the shop, we will have it available in our play space.
After you downloaded the app you can select which part of the campaign you would like to play, and at what difficulty. Players select their characters, rolls, and skills. Prepare the matching decks based on your choices, and input this into the app. Then, your starting inventory will be determined, so you will need to obtain those cards and set them face-up with your character card. The app will then prompt you to place down tiles that will create the map you’ll be exploring, which will have a unique layout every time you play the game. When setup is complete, it is time to start the game.
Lord of the Rings is played over a series of rounds, until you either win or succumb to the looming threat. Each round consists of three phases, which include actions for the players and the enemies. During the Action Phase, players take two actions in any order they’d like, which are moving into adjacent spaces, interacting with the environment, and attacking enemies. When exploring a new area, exploration tokens are settled immediately and are considered a free action. Attack enemies by moving into range and performing a skill check, which will vary based on your weapon. When performing a skill check, look at the stats of your character and flip over that many cards. For example, when prompted for a Strength Check 3, you will have to flip at least three cards with success symbols on them. Input any damage and status effects on the enemies, until they are defeated.
After all players have made their actions, begin the next phase for the enemies’ turn. The app will determine which actions enemies will take, as well as if any new spawns appear. Remember that taking too much damage and fear can defeat your hero, and potentially end the game. In the final Rally Phase, players prepare for the next round. Discarded cards are shuffled back into your deck, and settle any effects, if needed. The game is completed when you have survived defeating the threat and all enemies on the board.
The components for Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle-Earth are great, the character and enemy miniatures are fantastically done, with lots of painting potential. The other components are cardboard chits and plastic stands. The art of is inspired from the books, rather than the movies, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference. Since the game was developed with the app in mind, it runs seamlessly as a ‘Dungeon Master’ and is more involved than you might expect. It is not an easy game, and there may be campaigns that you need to try multiple times to defeat, but replaying is a unique experience with map changes. There is also an option to save your game if you run short on time. You can pick it back up at any time, as long as you have access to the app.
Next week we are playing Azul! Although it is not a new release, it is still one of our favorites in the shop. Come join us next Tuesday to play this relaxing, abstract strategy game. Alternatively, if there are any demo nights you missed, we can show you one of our previous games. These will be any of our games featured in our Spotlight Series!