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‘Risk: Lord of the Rings’ Comes With Its Own One Ring

4 Minute Read
Feb 16 2023
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To get the full Risk: Lord of the Rings experience, you have to throw the whole game in a fire every time you play.

Risk: Lord of the Rings has a foundation you’re probably pretty familiar with. Risk has been around since the dawn of man, but it only recently started getting some fun and interesting spins on the classic formula, like with Risk: Warhammer 40,000. Similarly, Risk: Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition adds a lot of new mechanics to enhance the gameplay and keep it in line with the story of the Lord of the Rings movies and books.

Risk Lord of the Rings board
All images via Board Game Geek

Risk: Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition was released in 2003 and builds on the classic Risk foundation. It’s a competitive area control game with dice-rolling combat. The objective of all players is to have the most points when the game ends. But unlike the original Risk, here the game is on a timer.

Risk Lord of the Rings components

How To Play Risk: Lord of the Rings

The setup follows pretty much the same as normal Risk, meaning it’s boring so we’re skipping it. But, after setup, The One Ring is placed in The Shire. At the end of each player’s turn, they move the Ring along the set path toward Mordor. There are occasional blocks that require rolling a 4+ for the Ring to move beyond, to add some variance to the game length.

Risk Lord of the Rings combat

Other additional mechanics in Risk: Lord of the Rings are that of Leaders and Adventure Cards. Each team has 3 Leaders which will add to the combat roll of any army they are accompanying. But, on top of that, if a Leader is on a Stronghold or Site of Power, they will gain additional benefits. If they are on a Stronghold, they gain extra defense. But the real excitement comes from the Sites of Power.

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Risk LotR Cards
Territory Cards and Adventure Cards

If a Leader conquers a territory with a Site of Power, they gain an Adventure Card. The Adventure Cards can have a wide variety of effects. Some are played immediately, while others can be held onto and played at the appropriate time. This adds a level of player control that really is lacking in classic Risk.

Once the One Ring has reached Mount Doom, the game ends and players count up their points. Each player scores points for each territory they control, as well as bonus points for controlling an entire region, and any points gained from Adventure Cards. Whichever player has the most points wins!

Final Thoughts

Risk: Lord of the Rings is a great spin on classic Risk. Maybe I’m biased, but the theme is also much stronger. I’m way more invested in defending Middle Earth from the forces of Evil than I am in saving Australia from the forces of South Africa. The addition of the turn timer with The One Ring is a great addition, which we’ve seen in most modern editions of Risk, as well as the Leaders. The Adventure Cards do a great job of giving players some amount of agency in how things shake out, versus being completely beholden to the whims of the die.

If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings and of Risk, this is obviously a great game to pick up. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get your hands on a copy for cheap. It’s hard to find and was only made in a limited printing. But if you do get a copy, it’ll look great on your gaming shelf!

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Author: Matt Sall
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