LORD OF THE RINGS – CONFRONTATION



OBJECTIVE OF LORD OF THE RINGS – CONFRONTATION: The objective of Lord of The Rings – Confrontation is to reach your victory conditions before your opponent does.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2

MATERIALS: A board representing Middle Earth, 18 character tokens, 18 Combat cards

TYPE OF GAME: Stratego-like strategic duel

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF LOTR-CONTRONTATION

In The Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, you will relive the epic battle between the Fellowship of the Ring and Sauron’s servants as told in J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Counting on the courage and might of its members, the Fellowship of the Ring tries to reach the Mordor unnoticed while the many powerful minions of Sauron relentlessly hunt down Frodo.

SETUP

The player who controls the 9 companions of the Fellowship will be the Fellowship player. The other player, controlling the 9 evil characters, will be the Sauron player.

Before starting to play, it is recommended that players familiarize themselves with their own characters and cards as well as those of their opponent.

The Fellowship player inserts the 9 Characters tiles (displaying the green parchment) into their white bases so that the images and texts are facing him and not visible to his opponent. The Sauron player inserts his 9 Characters tiles (displaying the red scroll) into their black bases.

Now both players have 9 game pieces each, which will be called Characters. (Note: your opponent must not see the Characters tiles that you place in their sockets). 

Each player takes their 9 Combat Cards in their hand. The Fellowship player takes the Fellowship cards and the Sauron player takes Sauron’s cards.

The game board is placed between the two players so that the corner with The Shire points to the Fellowship player and the corner with Mordor points to the Sauron player. The Fellowship player chooses 4 characters (from his 9) and places all four of them in The Shire area. He then places each one of his 5 remaining characters in the five regions in front of The Shire (Cardolan, Enedwaith, Arthedain, Rhudaur and Eregion). For these 5 regions, only one character may be placed per region.

The deployment is the same for the Sauron player: he places four characters in the region of Mordor, and the 5 other characters in the five remaining regions: Dagorlad, Gondor, Mirkwood, Fangorn and Rohan. Again, for these 5 regions, only one character per region.

The central mountain regions must remain empty during the deployment. Note: A player’s characters must be placed on the board in such a way that only that player can see the identity of his characters.

Example of a game setup

GAMEPLAY

The Sauron player always starts the game. Then the players take turns playing until the end of the game. 

Movement

In turn, a player must move one of his characters forward, using the following movement rules:

  • A character moves forward into an adjacent area. A character may never move laterally or backwards unless his ability text, Special Card or special rules allow it. For example: Frodo’s ability text states that he may retreat laterally when attacked.
  • Characters can never move laterally when in a mountainous region (even using special maps or abilities, unless specifically stated otherwise).
  • Players can have more characters in a region than the maximum number allowed for that region, as indicated by the number of dots under the region’s name.
    • 4 in The Shire for the Fellowship player and in Mordor for the Sauron player
    • 1 in a mountain region
    • 2 in all other regions
  • A player may never move a character into (or through) a region that already contains the maximum number of characters belonging to him (even using special cards or abilities, unless specifically stated otherwise).
  • A player can mix, at any time, his characters from the same region in order to deceive his opponent. (To shuffle, the player takes his characters and shuffles them behind his back or under the table and puts them back in the same region). This is always useful when your opponent knows the identity of one of your characters in a specific region. Characters from different regions can never be shuffled like this. A player cannot shuffle revealed characters until the action that revealed them is complete. 

Special movements

Yellow arrows can be seen on the board: along the Anduin river, and through the Mines of Moria. The Fellowship player, and only the Fellowship player, can move a character along one of these arrows. This counts as a forward move. Such movement can only be in the direction of the arrow, and only from the region where the arrow starts to the region where it ends. In addition, if a Fellowship character moves through the Mines of Moria while the Balrog is there, that character is immediately eliminated, without any combat.

Fights

If a character moves into an area occupied by one or more enemy characters, a battle takes place. The moving character is the attacker and the enemy character is attacked. If there are 2 or more unrevealed enemy characters in the area where the fight takes place, the attacker chooses which enemy character he attacks first. The attacker may also choose to attack a character already revealed in the region.

A fight can be resolved in 4 steps:

1. Reveal the characters

Both players reveal to the opponent their character involved in the fight.

2. Resolve special abilities of the characters

The Fellowship player reads aloud and first applies the text present on his Character tile, then the Sauron player does the same. (Exception: if the Warg participates in the fight, the Fellowship character’s text is ignored). Several Fellowship characters (see their texts) can retreat at the beginning of the fight, before the text of Sauron’s character is read and applied (with the exception of the Warg). After one of these characters has been revealed and his text read aloud, he may (but is not required to) retreat laterally or backwards to an adjacent area. A character may never retreat to an area occupied by an enemy character or already containing the maximum number of characters. Likewise, it is neither possible to retreat laterally into mountainous areas, nor backwards through the Mines of Moria, nor against the flow of the Anduin River (opposite direction of the yellow arrows). In the case where a Fellowship character retreats, the text of Sauron’s character has no effect (unless that character is the Warg). If no character retreats, check if one of the character’s text triggers the elimination of one or both characters. When a character is defeated, he is removed from the board and the battle ends.

3. Playing Cards

If none of the characters have retreated or been defeated after applying the character texts, each player must secretly choose one of the remaining Combat Cards in their hand. Players then simultaneously reveal their cards face up on the table. Some Combat Cards have a text, hence being Power Cards, while some have a number and are Strength Cards. The abilities of the Power Cards are always applied before the Strength Cards. If players reveal two Power Cards, the Sauron player’s card is read and applied first, followed by the Fellowship player’s card.

4. Comparing Strengths

If the combat is not over after applying Power Cards, each player adds the number on his Strength Card (if any) to his character’s strength. The character with the lowest total strength is defeated. If both characters have equal total strength, they are both defeated and removed from the board. When a character is defeated, he is removed from the board and placed face up on the table next to his opponent. A character who has retreated is not considered defeated. After a fight, used Combat Cards are discarded and placed face up next to the game board. Once all 9 Combat Cards have been used (which occurs simultaneously for both players), both players take them all back into their hands. Any player may look at his opponent’s discarded Combat Cards at any time.

Once a fight is over, if there are still enemy characters in the same area, another fight begins. This new fight is resolved as described above. A player’s turn does not end until all combats in a region have been resolved and only one player (or neither) remains in each region. When a combat is over, or after retreating, any character revealed to the opponent but not defeated is again repositioned to be hidden to that opponent. 

Expecting an easy win, the Sauron player plays his Strength 1 card as it has no effect due to the Troll character effect. But the Fellowship player plays Noble Sacrifice and both characters are eliminated!

The Combat Cards

Fellowship Cards

The Fellowship player has 5 Strength Cards, ranging from 1 to 5. The Fellowship player’s Power Cards are detailed below.

Note: If the Sauron player has played the “Eye of Sauron” Power Card, the Fellowship player’s Power Card will have no effect.

  • Magic: Both players have one “Magic” Power Card each. The player who plays this card during a combat must immediately replace it with one of his already discarded Combat Cards. If that player has no discarded Combat Card, that “Magic” card has no effect or strength. If both players play their “Magic” card simultaneously, the Sauron player has to choose and reveal his replacement card before the Fellowship player.
  • Noble Sacrifice: if no character has retreated (including Sauron player’s “Retreat” card), this card automatically kills both fighting characters. The “Noble Sacrifice” effect also applies if the Sauron player cannot retreat his character laterally.
  • Elven Cloak: If the Fellowship player played this card while the Sauron player played a Strength Card, the Sauron player’s Strength Card is ignored. In the case when the Sauron player has played his “Magic” card and has replaced it with a Strength Card, that card is also ignored.
  • Retreat (backwards): The Fellowship character retreats backwards and into an adjacent area containing no Sauron characters. This area must also not contain the maximum number of Fellowship characters allowed (otherwise the character cannot retreat and the fight continues).

Sauron Cards

Sauron’s player has 6 Strength Cards, ranging from 1 to 6. Sauron’s Power Cards are detailed below: 

  • Magic: See above for a description of the Fellowship “Magic” card.
  • Eye of Sauron: If the Sauron player played this card and the Fellowship player played a Power Card, the Power Card is ignored. If the Fellowship player has played a Strength Card, then the “Eye of Sauron” card has no effect.
  • Retreat (laterally): The Sauron character retreats laterally to an adjacent non-mountainous area, containing no Fellowship characters and not already containing the maximum number of Sauron characters allowed. When the Sauron player plays this card and can retreat his character at the start of the battle, the Fellowship’s “Noble Sacrifice” card has no effect in that battle. 

Character special powers

Each character is listed below with their combat strength inbrackets.

Fellowship characters

  • Frodo (1): Frodo may retreat laterally when attacked, but not when attacking. 
  • Sam (2): If Sam is in the same region as Frodo when Frodo is attacked first, the Fellowship player may reveal Sam who then replaces Frodo in the fight. Sam has a strength of 5 when he is in the same region as Frodo, but the Fellowship player must then reveal Frodo and Sam at the start of the fight to justify Sam’s strength.
  • Pippin (1): When Pippin attacks, he may retreat back into an adjacent area after both characters have been revealed for battle.
  • Merry (2): Merry defeats the Witch King immediately, before Combat Cards are played. Against all other enemies, the usual rules apply.
  • Gandalf (5): In a combat against Gandalf, if players are to play Combat Cards, the Sauron player must choose and play his Combat Card first. After the Sauron player reveals his Combat Card, the Fellowship player chooses and plays his (even if the Sauron player has played his “Retreat” card). If the Sauron player plays his “Magic” card, then the Sauron player must reveal his replacement card before the Fellowship player chooses and plays his Combat Card.
  • Aragorn (4): Aragorn may move to any adjacent area (forward, backward and laterally) as long as he attacks at least one enemy character. Aragorn may not attack laterally in the mountains. 
  • Legolas (3): Legolas defeats the Flying Nazgûl immediately, before Combat Cards are played. Against all other enemies, the usual rules apply.
  • Gimli (3): Gimli defeats the Orcs immediately before Combat Cards are played. Against all other enemies, the usual rules apply.
  • Boromir (0): In the event of a fight with Boromir, both Boromir and the character of Sauron are immediately eliminated.

Sauron characters

  • Balrog (5): If the Balrog occupies the Caradhras region when a Fellowship character enters the Tunnel of Moria (running from Eregion directly to Fangorn), the Sauron player may reveal the Balrog to immediately kill the Fellowship character (including Frodo) without a fight taking place.
  • Shelob (5): If Shelob is not in Gondor when she defeats a Fellowship character, she returns immediately to Gondor. Upon her return to Gondor, if there are already two other Sauron characters in Gondor or at least one Fellowship character, she is immediately defeated and removed from the game. 
  • Witch King (5): The Witch King can move laterally into any adjacent region as long as he attacks at least one Fellowship character. Otherwise, he can only move forward like the other characters. He cannot attack laterally in the mountains.
  • Flying Nazgul (3): The Flying Nazgul may move to any area on the board, provided that this area is occupied by only one character from the Fellowship. This special ability allows the Flying Nazgûl to attack an adjacent mountainous area. Otherwise, the Flying Nazgûl moves according to the usual movement rules.
  • Black Rider (3): The Black Rider may move forward as many regions as he wishes provided he attacks at least one Fellowship character in the destination region. If he does not wish to attack, he may move forward into an adjacent region according to the usual movement rules. However, the Black Rider may neither move into or through a region already containing the maximum number of Sauron characters, nor through a region occupied by at least one Fellowship character.
  • Saruman (4): Saruman may decide that no Combat Card is played during any of his combats. If none of the characters are defeated (or have retreated) before the Combat Cards are played, the Sauron player may decide that the outcome of the combat is determined solely by the strength of the characters. All other normal combat rules apply.
  • Orcs (2): When attacking, Orcs immediately defeat the first Fellowship character attacked in the region.
  • Warg (2): In a fight against the Warg, the Fellowship character’s text has no effect.
  • Troll Cave (9): In a combat involving the Troll Cave, the Sauron player’s Combat Card is ignored. The Sauron player must, however, play a Combat Card and discard it, even though it will have no effect during the combat. 

END OF GAME

There are several ways to end the game:

  • when Frodo enters Mordor, the Fellowship player wins instantly, even if there are Sauron characters in Mordor
  • The Sauron player wins the game immediately if one of the following two conditions is met:
    • a) Frodo is defeated. 
    • b) 3 Sauron characters have entered The Shire.
  • If a player, when it is his turn to play, cannot move any of his characters forward, he loses immediately.

Ideally, play two games, with each player alternately playing Fellowship and Sauron. The winner of each game earns 1 point for each of his characters remaining in the game at the end of the game (the loser gets no points). After two games, the player with the most points is the winner. 

The Fellowship player wins by bringing Frodo into the Mordor to destroy the One Ring!

Enjoy! 😊

VARIATIONS

The Deluxe Edition adds 4 Special Cards, to be played once per game, 9 new characters with unique character abilities, and a few rules changes.

FUN BLURB

Each choice counts, so choose wisely. The fate of Middle Earth is in your hands. One game to rule them all.

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