While waiting for the ring and stuff.. please do this side quest for me...

7/10, Cooperative Game, Deck Building, Storytelling, Variable Player Powers -

While waiting for the ring and stuff.. please do this side quest for me...

The Lord of the Rings: Journey in Middle-Earth

Designer: Nathan I. Hajek, Grace Holdinghaus
Published: 2019
Players: 1-5
Playing Time: 60-120 Mins
BGG Rating: 7.9
BGG Ranking: 108
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Mechanics: Coop Campaign, Deck building, Modular Board
Sleeves: MUS 41x63mm, BST 70x120mm

Game Description:

Embark on your own adventures in J.R.R. Tolkien's iconic world with The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth, a fully co-operative, app-supported board game for one to five players! You'll battle villainous foes, make courageous choices, and strike a blow against the evil that threatens the land — all as part of a thrilling campaign that leads you across the storied hills and dales of Middle-Earth.

Each individual game of Journeys in Middle-Earth is a single adventure in a larger campaign. You'll explore the vast and dynamic landscapes of Middle-earth, using your skills to survive the challenges that you encounter on these perilous quests. As you and your fellow heroes explore the wilderness and battle the dark forces arrayed against you, the game's companion app guides you to reveal the looming forests, quiet clearings, and ancient halls of Middle-Earth, while also controlling the enemies you encounter. Whether you're venturing into the wild on your own or with close companions by your side, you can write your own legend in the history of Middle-Earth.


Quick play overview:

Players try to save the Middle-Earth from darkness.. by surving one day at a time.

On a turn players first SCOUT which means that they check the top 2 cards and they can put one of them infront of them to use them later to improve some skill checks, or put them on top of the deck if they want a guaranteed success or on the bottom of the deck if the card is not useful at that time.  Then players do 2 actions:

  • Move up to 2 spaces
  • Interact with an object or Person of Interest
  • Fight a group of enemies

Most of the interactions and fighting is done by doing a skill test. Which means that you turn a number of cards from the top of your deck depending on the value of your hero's skill that is needed (strenght, agility, wisdom,…). Some cards in the deck have an automatic success while others can be boosted into a success by spending inspiration tokens which you get by exploring or killing off enemy groups.

Of course with time you will improve your deck and this way increase your success rate and also collect items that will allow you to use your successes in a better way.


Final thoughts:

The IP, improving of your character's deck, items etc. and a good story bring this game to life. I do admit that the same gameplay in a nameless universe would not attract me as much. The fights are tense. Bad positioning can cause the enemies to quickly swarm you and cause a scary situation without much warning.



Gameplay: 7/10

The exploration and skill checks is a standard dungeon crawler thingy. I prefer the deck manipulation to the average dice rolling mechanics in similar games.


Art & Graphic Design: 8/10

The board is great looking and the rest is good as well. Minis are a bit boring unless painted.

Graphic design is well done as all the info is quickly visible.


Rules & Complexity: 8/10

The rules are simple as you need to know your few possible actions and how the enemies will move, so you can plan your turn and your positioning. The APP gives you instructions what to do if anything special is going on.

The complexity is never in the way of gameplay. There are some keywords that you have to learn but once that is done you are good to go till the end of the campaign.


Theme: 10/10

The IP is what sold me on this game. I'm a LOTR fan and I do prefer to hunt THE orcs over just general orcs 😊


Fun & Replayability: 6/10

It's a campaign game that I play for the story. The gameplay is a mix of relaxing exploration and a nail bitting scenarios where hordes of enemies try to box you in.  It's like reading a good book.

The campaign is not replayable as you will know exactly where to go and what to do.. but there are enough scenarios in the main box so you get your money worth. This game is made with expansions in mind.


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