Thoughts on Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

John Braley and I played Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation (first
edition) last night, and we took an inordinately long time for what is
usually billed as a light, two-player game. Now, part of this was
because it was us playing, and we take a long time at everything, but
I don’t think that’s all of it. I think there were at least two other

1. Each of the characters and many of the cards had special powers,
but the rules on the characters and the cards weren’t definitive, as
in a CCG. Instead, you had to keep flipping through the rulebook to
find out what they *really* did in detail (and there was only one
rulebook for two players). In fact, there was also a non-definitive
reference sheet, but that only seemed to confuse matters — you had to
/ could look up each character or card power in three different
places. I think part of this is the fault of trying to make the game
look “light”. If they had made the components bigger, they could have
put the definitive rule text on the components, cut the rule book in
half, and just duplicated the power text on the reference sheet.

2. Much of the rules text was ambiguous or plain hard to understand at
first reading. Partly, this was because it had to cover so many power
interactions and exceptions, as with a game like Cosmic Encounter
(this game might be thought of as Cosmic Stratego), but part of it was
just bad writing, in our opinion.

John also remarked that there was a hell of a lot of chaos in the game
because of power interactions among hidden characters, and that
subtracted from the strategy. He said in some ways, on first playing,
he preferred Stratego, but that repeated play might help create a set
of “book openings” as in Chess.

I’m going to go back and read the BoardGameGeek entries for the first
and second editions, but meanwhile, I welcome feedback from my friends
on whether any of this is fixed in the second edition, or whether they
experienced any of these problems with the first one.…


One thought on “Thoughts on Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

  1. After reading BGG, my conclusions re playing LOTR: The Confrontation are (1) It’s too complicated for what it is. (2) The ergonomics suck.


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