The Lord of the Rings Adventure Book Game
Our good friends at Ravensburger North America sent over the Lord of the Rings: Adventure Book Game while I was away at GenCon, and of course my son Lochlan hopped into it as soon as he could. Let’s take a quick look at how the game plays, and provide some thoughts on the experience as a whole!
The Adventure Begins – How to Play
In Lord of the Rings: Adventure Book Game, players will work together to complete chapters of the book, which is fitting because the game board is actually a book. Each chapter has a unique setup that will be required prior to starting the game, and a number of challenges required to complete in order to win the chapter. Should the chapter end without you completing the required challenges, you will lose, and have to restart the entire chapter.
In Chapter 1, for example, you will be running around The Shire with Gandalf, Sam and Frodo, attempting to steer clear of black riders which will shuffle around the board in a clockwise manor. An objective example would be having Gandalf and Frodo on a specific spot on the board, with Sam just a few spots away. This is an obvious nod to when Gandalf and Frodo are speaking inside Frodo’s Hobbit hole, while Sam is eavesdropping outside. I love all these subtle nods to the films and books, as it brings back so many positive memories.
Players will have cards in their hands, and these cards can be used for a variety of purposes. To begin their turn, players can move one character 2 spaces or two characters 1 space each. Then players can begin playing cards from their hands. Discarding a card will allow characters to move an additional space, or use specific types of cards from their hands to complete challenges. Players can also trade cards.
Once a player’s turn is finished, two cards are drawn from the story deck which just adds more symbol specific cards to their hand. Then, the top card of the plot deck will be pulled, which will cause certain things to happen within the chapter. We won’t spoil any of that here, but they are unique situations that will shake-up the game, and perhaps push you towards a different strategy.
The component quality of Lord of the Rings: Adventure Book Game is very, very good. I’m glad to see so many little miniatures included in the box – these could have easily been little cardboard tokens, but they are not! They are detailed miniatures, and made the experience much more enjoyable for my kids. When cardboard tokens are used, they are of the highest quality. They feel great to handle, and don’t seem like they will wear down too quickly with frequent use.
I love how the gameboard is built into a book, with each new chapter getting a spread of two pages within the book. I had some issues with the book not opening up totally flat, and causing things to slide once in a while, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.
Is it Worth It?
This isn’t really for adults to play together. While possible to do, and perhaps if you have only a minor interest in board games, that might be enjoyable. However, I found this best played with my kids. The various stories are fun to play through, and as they remember parts of the movies and books, their excitement only grows.
I think the gameplay here is simplistic enough that even fairly young fans can enjoy the experience. There isn’t anything overly complicated in the base set of rules, although certain challenges and chapter specific rules do add a level of complexity that even my nine year old son Lochlan had some issues with.
Overall, this is a great experience in the Lord of the Rings universe, and if you have younger fans in your house, I highly suggest this experience.