War of the Ring (Collecter’s Edition: Second Edition Rules; Lords of Middle Earth Expansion).
Using the CE with the 2nd edition cards and rules Mike and Phil played as Rohan and Gondor against Andy and Darryl playing as Sauron and Saruman.
We completed the game we had previously started. The Good players had a plan. Unfortunately the dice had other plans. They had planned to defend Minas Tirith with Gandalf the White and destroy Orthanc with the Ents (Saruman being conspiciously undefended and the Ents Attack card being ready in hand). However they just simply could not roll a Will of the West. So they had to watch in horror as Minas Tirith was beset by Nazgul led armies and Saruman eventually remembered to re-inforce Orthanc. Minas Tirith was tough to defend without adequate leadership (Faramir having been removed through a nasty card earlier) and was soon under siege again. The Southrons advanced towards Pelargir and smashed through an Elite Army of Elves and Gondor on their way towards Dol Amroth. Mumakil proved deadly every single time. Even in the subsequent siege!
Meanwhile, what of the Fellowship? Well led by Strider Smeagol having fled as they reached Lothlorien the corruption was soon back to zero (Athelas, other cards and resting in Lorien). Refreshed they headed out towards Mordor but they were well suplied now with gifts from the Elves (blue chits). However likewise Sauron had placed lots of traps (red chits) ready for their arrival.
The War was soon going badly for the Good players. Eventually, though it did take a long time all of Gondor was in flames and Helm’s Deep had fallen very quickly due to the Devilry of Orthanc (twice). The Evil players had acquired 8 VPs!
However it was not all going Evil’s way as fairly early on the Dwarves and the Elves led by Gimli had conquered Moria. So this forced the Evil players to defend Dol Guldur from this force with two large armies (one of Orcs and one of Easterlings). This led to a stalemate in the North and with a Power Too Great in play it would take time for Evil to grab that final stronghold. The Woodland Realm and Erebor were safe, being well defended by a screening force of the Men of the North who although they never became active or even moved on the Political track were quite a strong force by game end through card play. Elrond defended Rivendell against the small force from Gundabad whilst the Dunedain looked on. Evil forces were soon heading rapidly towards Lorien preparing for a final battle. The Witch King and Mouth of Sauron were held back for fear of rousing the Men of the North from their slumber.
This gave the Fellowship the time they needed. They were discovered at Morannon where the mighty Legolas and Strider (never to be Aragorn) fell. With Pippin as the guide and with Boromir in support they head out towards Mount Doom. Boromir and Pippin soon fell. The Evil players were soon rolling only eyes but the Good players risked a potential 7 corruption damage and thanks to Elven rope they pushed on. Then Pippin and Boromir were lost and Gollum took the lead (the players having earlier forced the discard of We Shall Get It) with card play. Again more fortunate draws and now with fewer eye dice the Fellowship were able to push on. Despite Shelob’s Lair and all the other Red Tiles being in the bag somehow they survived and reached Mount Doom. An eye tile did just two damage and they survived on 6 corruption and thus claimed Victory! Well done Mike and Phil.
This proved to be a long game. Mainly this was due to the Felowship faring very badly at the start and the Orcs led by Gothmog failing to take Minas Tirith in one attack, requiring re-inforcements to come. Also Dol Amroth held out against the Southrons despite all those Mumakil cards and weak Leadership. Because the Good players were trying to find blue chit cards for the Mordor journey they lacked battle cards except those requiring Leaders or Companions which were in short supply.
Using the new rules and the Lords of Middle Earth rules was interesting…and challenging. Lots to remember and forget. Still I think I missed the Corsairs and the Siege Engines so not sure how often I would play it. It certainly makes the sieges quicker without them if the Good player is unprepared because those Trebuchets buy time. The new Elven ring and Minion dice are different: easier to muster but less reliable than the usual dice and they certainly gave the Good players more options.