The Fellowship of the Ring (1983)

This is The Fellowship of the Ring wargame (1983) from Iron Crown Enterprises, one of several produced by the company. They secured the license in 1982, and released four Middle Earth adventure modules (for Rolemaster sort of, but aimed at D&D audiences) and a simple strategy game called The Riddle of the Ring. Then came this game. MERP, the full fledged RPG, came out the following year, in 1984, and recycled much of the art from the board game components.

On to the game itself. It’s a two-player head-to-head wargame that apparently builds on SPI’s earlier War of the Ring game. The good guys try to hide the ring and get their forces as close to Mordor as possible, while Sauron dispatches agents to locate the ring. Many RPG-esque combats will ensue. The game ends when Sauron succeeds, the time limit runs out or the good guys declare the Fellowship broken — in the latter two instances, victory is determined by how far and how fast the good guys have traveled. I know it says right on the box that this is a simulation of just the first book, but man, that feels anti-climactic. Also, it also feels like Sauron has a distinct advantage in terms of power. The hidden ring is a clever idea though.

The map is lovely, as are the other illustrated components. I quite enjoy the cover, which depicts the attack of the Watcher in the Water outside Moria. The artist, G.B. McIntosh, is better known for historical and botanical paintings, oddly enough

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