WAR of the RING
The Second Edition
Francesco Nepitello & Marco Maggi
The ARES Games company was founded in 2011 following the break down of NEXUS. Company President Roberto DiMeglio was savvy enough to wrest his 2004 game WAR of the RING away from them and immediately started up ARES (I think it would have been better as Phoenix seeing as how it came about) and set about revising and publishing the second edition.
If you have the first edition there is a second edition kit that you can purchase to bring your game up to date. Plus you can download the 2nd edition rules online from Ares Games.
WAR of the RING is a two-Four player strategy game with over 200 plastic (unpainted) figures, over 20 dice and nearly 200 cards and counters - it is an epic game based on an epic story.
In my opinion it is really a two player game with each player taking on control of either the Shadow, Sauron and the Evil Minions or the Free Peoples and the Fellowship Heroes. If you play with four players then it is still one side versus the other only there are two players on each team. The game is already long because of the immensity of the subject but adding another player to each side only means more tactical discussion and thus more expired time.
The split for the Fellowship pair is pretty obvious, one side has the Free Peoples and the other the Fellowship. This itself can be amusingly conflicting as the Fellowship will probably require the Free Peoples to fight whilst the rules for the Free Peoples make it clear they are unlikely to strike first.
The Political Track shows how close the Free Peoples are to wanting to join in the War of the Ring and fight against Sauron.
The Sauron player(s) have two main strategies; find the Ring and defeat and capture the Free People’s Cities. The Sauron players have to try to forget the book and films and put themselves in Sauron’s mindset. He knows of the Ring’s existence but he doesn’t know of the purpose of the Fellowship. He believes that by destroying the Free People he will gain all the Power he needs - this can be a winning tactic for Sauron’s player(s).
The Free Peoples need to keep Sauron busy and to protect the Fellowship, particularly the Ringbearer.
The game revolves around the Action Dice as the face on each die corresponds to the actions available to the players each turn and the Event cards. Obviously these die rolls and Events add a random element of luck to the proceedings, but in the main it is the strategies and tactics of each player (or teams) that determine the result.
WAR of the RING has some amazing miniatures that are screaming out to be painted (by someone who can do them justice - for me personally they are better off as one-colour plastic pieces of art).
MAIN DIFFERENCES: 2nd Edition
The map has no Elven names
Some different sculpture of the miniatures plus the addition of a Gollum figure.
The cards are larger and thus clearer.
There are some new cards and some rule changes/revisions.