Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Hobbit Board Game and LOTR Risk

Today I stayed after school to play some board games with friends, among them were The Hobbit the Board Game and LOTR Risk which I am here to review for you.

By the way, thanks for all your Q&A questions yesterday, feel free to ask as many as you'd like!  I'm going to wait on answering them for a couple days to give people who don't visit the blog everyday a chance to ask one.   I appreciate your participation though!

So: the games.

The Hobbit the Board Game revolves around Bilbo and the Dwarves as they try to get to Erebor, obviously.  Along the way, you can play dwarf cards, and depending on the status of the card you play, you can move the team a space and collect resources--rations, which look suspiciously like lembas, but which are probably meant to be cram--a cunning point, an intuition point, or a strength point.

Image result for the hobbit the board game

Along the way you bump into different obstacles, like Bilbo's encounter with the trolls, the spiders of Mirkwood, etc.  You can use your rations to purchase cunning/intuition/strength points which can aid you when battling these obstacles.

The goal of the game is to make it to Erebor before Smaug catches you; you move toward him from one side of the game board and he moves to meet you in the middle from his side.

We didn't finish playing this game because some people in the group weren't really interested, but the little we did play was pretty fun.  This game is a bit different because you all move the same piece along the game board.  The trick is that some spaces are better than others, so you need to be strategic about what dwarf card you play because that dictates what space you land on and can use.

Image result for the hobbit the board game

I also liked the scoreboards which keep track of how many cunning/intuition/strength points you've accumulated; it's something I've never really seen before in a game and I thought it was a pretty creative idea.  The artwork was done by John Howe, so the whole board looked amazing and there was even a little red Smaug figurine to go along.

There were a couple inconsistencies, such as the fact Smaug is moving toward you when in the book Smaug stays in Erebor, and the board is designed to look like you're going down a mountain, which doesn't really make much sense when you think about it.

There are some special power cards you can accumulate which have pretty interesting descriptions, such as "Elrond's Counsel" which gives you added benefits when encountering any of the obstacles.  I liked how the majority of these cards were pretty accurate with the story and added to the overall ambiance.

Image result for the hobbit the board game cards

The game board itself and the different components were high quality and I recommend this game to you if you enjoy quiet and strategic board games that don't take too long.

The second game definitely takes much longer than The Hobbit the Board Game.  I was really excited when I saw this game in the cabinet.

Lord of the Rings Risk is a new spin on the old classic.  Instead of competing for continents, players try and conquer the different realms of Middle-earth.  It took us a long time to set up the game.  Habitual players of Risk know that it is a very long game--longer than Monopoly even.  When my dad and sisters play, we play for an hour or two and set it aside.  Cumulatively it may take a week to complete, if we even manage that.

Image result for lord of the rings risk

Lord of the Rings Risk takes even longer because there are several extra factors such as power cards which grant you bonuses in battles and rules that differ from the original.  If your territory, for instance, includes a stronghold (highlighted in gold on the board) you are granted benefits in battles.  If you attack with a specific piece called a Leader (which is not in the original Risk army) you also get +1 whatever your die reads.

We didn't finish this game either because we had to go home, but I had fun.  My friend Kolby didn't really like the added parts as much, but I thought that they were kind of cool.  We didn't have a chance to really play with them this time around though, and I hope that at some point I'll be able to try again.

Overall, I really enjoyed these board games and I would recommend them to you!  It's that time of year to stock up on quiet indoor activities with winter fast approaching.

Image result for lord of the rings risk


  1. These look really fun! :D I'm not usually a board games kind of person, but there are some that I really like, such as Stratego, Blurt, Chess, and Boggle. I've never actually played Risk, but I have these grand dreams of being awesome at it- which are likely never to come true.
    I knew as soon as I saw the cover of that Hobbit board game that the art was by John Howe. I love his style. :)

    1. Oh I adore chess! You must try Risk; it is such fun.
      Same, he is one of my favorite artists :)

  2. I want Lord of the Rings Risk!! I LOVE Risk!!

  3. I heard the map for LOTR Risk is terribly inaccurate. Would you say so? I kind of want the game but I'm such a perfectionist that would probably drive me up the wall!

    Btw, I nominated you for the Q&A tag if you want to do it. No pressure :D https://benitajprins.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/qa-tag/

    1. Hmm, it wasn't reallly accurate, you're correct. Barad-dûr, for instance, was it's own territory which doesn't really make sense if you think about it.

      Oh thank you, I love tags!! :D