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LOTR Board Game News
Xoanon @ 12:06 pm EST

Game designer Dave Farquhar gives us the latest dish on the new LOTR Board Game currently in development!

Latest news on release dates is that an English edition will be released in the fourth quarter of 2000. This is earlier than I had expected, but fits nicely with the October German release. As well as a German, English, and I believe US release, the game will be coming out in New Zealand and Australia. The Lord of the Rings Board Game will also be published in other languages.

Reiner Knizia has designed a sophisticated game, that is by no means 'roll the dice and move round the board'. LOTR plays in around an hour, which represented a huge design challenge considering the length and thematic depth of the books. Earlier test versions lasted hours, so we attempted to compress the story into key episodes. These are played through by the 'Fellowship' (the players), to form a continuous story. Tension really cranks up as you are desperately trying to get out of Moria, before it is too late, or trying to make those last desperate steps toward Mount Doom, as Sauron's influence has almost reached you. As well as Sauron's direct threat, an ever present concern to the Fellowship is the corrupting influence of the Ring.

While Reiner's name is well known to fans of European board games, it is probably worth giving a little more info here. Reiner Knizia is German, based in England, but operating as a designer world-wide. The current Games 100 list in the United States contains 10 of Reiner's designs, and I hope to see this one listed at the top next year.

I am hoping to gain permission for a small amount of John Howe's artwork to be shown on your site. Having seen it, I know many LOTR fans will be interested. However, it is all copyright, so I shall keep you informed on that one. Just a hint; there are four large boards in the game, all painted by John in poster style. These are my favourites, but in addition there are stacks of cards. This project kept John out of mischief for some months.

Here is a link to some early information on Mik Svellov's excellent board game site. It is no longer entirely accurate, and the picture although used for the press release is not the final version. It will give you some idea of what the box will look like though. Incidentally, the game now plays with 2 to 5 players. I can testify to that after dozens of lunch time two-player test sessions, after which I returned to work an exhausted wreck. Finally, here is a site where you can hear Reiner Knizia interviewed, during which he talks a little about the project.

Dave Farquhar