Journey’s In Middle Earth Bones of Arnor Impressions
Over the past few weeks, my father-in-law and I have been sitting down over lunch breaks to play Lord of the Rings: Journey’s in Middle Earth. Although I purchased all of the available content for the game, we began with the starter scenario, Bones of Arnor. I call it a starter scenario, but it’s not really. It’s a great scenario that, even on its own, stands up as one of the best cooperative experiences I’ve had in a long time.
This is not a how-to-play guide for Journey’s in Middle Earth, but simply a brief impressions article about the first campaign, Bones of Arnor.
Diving into any of the Journey’s in Middle Earth campaigns is definitely a time commitment. We spent about 20 hours playing 14 scenarios, and that didn’t include the time we spent setting up our characters and preparing for each adventure.
The campaigns are broken up into regular campaigns – either battle maps or journey maps – and setting up your characters in between at your camp. When setting up your character, you can choose to purchase new skills cards with experience you have earned, and assign specific trinkets to use on your next adventure.
The camp plays a key role in deciding how you are going to conquer your next adventure. Your deck of cards you begin with is pretty basic, and has a mix of cards that provide benefits and bonuses for testing in combat and for other things.
Each card you add into the deck has the potential of diluting that deck, which means there are hard decisions to make. This isn’t a how to play guide, so I won’t be getting into any heavy details, but building your deck is key. There is no dice decisions being made here (thank goodness!), but instead, it is all about the cards you have.
There is a lot going on, and as I mentioned before, there are things here I won’t go into detail on. The story here, however, was really engaging. You might come across names from the lore that you recognize, but most of what we experienced felt new and unique to me.
Engaging with rangers, elves, hobbits, and more was really fun, and the world of Middle Earth really did come alive before our eyes. Even without all the extra expansions, the core box of Journey’s in Middle Earth is packed with content, and I highly recommend it. I can’t spoil more here, but I can say you should play it. And you should. Now. You will interact with great enemies of the free people of Middle Earth, tackle big enemies, thugs, and more. Explore towns, ruins, and caves. Help strangers, and figure out who might be a spy. You’ll build a raft, and destroy thrones. There is so much variety in the gameplay across the 14 scenerios, and I am thankful for every minute of it.
Sometimes a long board game can become a slog, and I’m just talking about games that last 2-3 hours. This was 15+ hours of continues fun and engaging game play, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything!