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Lord of the Rings: The Search
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Lord of the Rings: The Search

English language edition

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30-40 minutes 2

Designer(s): Peter Neugebauer

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Kosmos

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Product Description

Frodo and Sam are on their quest for the mountain of their destiny. The search starts at Auenland: Tiles for wood, water, mountain and flatlands are put down, first in the form of a cross of 6 x 8 tiles. When a certain landscape is finished, an adventure tile is placed. If a player cannot place a tile, all three tiles from his hand are put into the open stock and he draws new tiles from the hidden stacks. The active player places a tile, then moves his Hobbit and draws a tile from the stock. The Hobbit moves from landscape to landscape (not tile!) and collects adventure tiles. These tiles score victory points or give him special abilities. If the stockpile is used up and the players have no tiles in their hand, tiles from the open stock are used. If no tile can be placed, the mountain comes into play; a tile is placed face down and shows a neutral landscape which can be bordered by any landscape. If next time no tile is fit, the mountain moves, and only with the last tile placed do players know where the mountain really is. Now they move their hobbits toward it, with the hobbit reaching it first scoring special points, and concluding the game.

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 2.8 in 14 reviews

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Fun game, but a little complicated
January 16, 2004

This is an excellent game, as far as LOTR licensed games go. I've seen some awful ones, but this is one of the best. That said, it's a good game to play with a friend, but it takes a while to learn the rules, some of which just seem to be thrown in to take up space on the page. If you're a LOTR fan, snap this up, especially ar $14.95, but if you're just looking for a game to play to pass the time, I would go with Aquarius, by Looney Labs.

Not the best, but certainly not the worst.
February 06, 2003

I found this game to be quite enjoyable. There are definately a few rules that need to be modified. However, if you do so this game will provide an enjoyable experience. I even had a chance to play a three player game that my game group was experimenting with. If you keep a hand of only two tiles instead of three, a three player game plays fast and fun. Some other rules we modified included the following:

- play all tiles face down when they are placed on the board

- play blue tiles on ALL enclosed water regions (not just the normal ones)

- the ring MUST be found before anyone can end the game at Mount Doom

If you add these rules, the game plays like a dream. Well maybe it ends up playing more like a bad dream. My one gripe with the game is that as you build the board, you ultimately must choose a direction to begin moving. Once you choose which direction to go, you're pretty much stuck moving in that same direction as the other player will most likely nab all the tiles before you turn around. So, if you (or your opponent) builds a bad board, you're pretty much defeated. Another shortfall is the element of luck. You can grab 4 or 5 tiles and still win the game if you get high scoring tiles. Meanwhile, your opponent may grab 6 or 7 tiles AND arrive at Mount Doom and they still might lose the game. Despite, these complaints I would still recommend this game as it is extremely relaxing and enjoyable. The strategy isn't too intense and you never feel as though you're just 'going through the motions.' There is a final point to remember when playing, however. When playing, you MUST remember that this is LOOSELY based on the trilogy. Sure, the tiles represent characters and objects from the book such as Shelob, Legolas, and Lembas. However, this is where all similarities end. In this game Frodo and Sam (and in our three player games, the hobbit 'Screwey'), compete against one another. This is certainly NOT like the books. Just remember when playing that it is a game of strategy loosly based upon The Lord of the Rings. If you can look past that fact, you will definately enjoy this game. So, to conclude (finally) if you enjoy games with strategy that won't cause you to bite your nails off in frustration, luck that will leave you griping about why you didn't move to that 'other' tile, and tile games with pretty artwork and semi-simplistic rules, then this game is definately worth your time. However, do avoid this game if you're looking for something a little more involved and in depth. LOTR: The Search will give you a night of light fun, light strategy, and heavy luck.

Relaxing, fun game if you don't take the theme too seriously
January 06, 2003

I've played this game about 10 times and found it very enjoyable. True, the game does not simulate the epic struggle of good and evil in the Lord of the Rings books. However, it's great for an enjoyable afternoon of game playing.

My minor gripe is that the person with the ring, once they know where Mt. Doom is at, can continue wandering around trying to pick up extra points for as long as they want. Therefore, I added one simple rule at the end.

Once the location of Mt. Doom is known, the player with the ring must go there as quickly as they can (although they are not required to use any of the special treasures they've picked up). They are free to move to a region with a counter as long as it doesn't add distance to their rout to Mt. Doom. The other player can wander around getting points until the player with the ring reaches Mt. Doom. Once the ring reaches Mt. Doom, the game ends.

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