Trivial Pursuit: The Lord of the Rings
Movie Trilogy Collectors Edition
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In this Trivial Pursuit collector's edition, see how much you can recall about the Fellowship and their quest through Middle-earth. How much do you remember from Frodo and Sam's perilous travels to Rivendell, the battles in Moria, the Battle of Helm's Deep or Frodo's travels to Mount Doom? Includes 1800 questions from The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
This game is really a fun time if you are anywhere near as obsessed as my friend and I are. We have watched all three movies many times and seen most of the special features and extended editions. These questions are difficult enough that it makes you think back to the movie (or book) to try and remember the line or scene. The topics vary from easy to very hard which is a nice change of pace. Even if you don't play the actual game using the rules provided, just answering the trivia cards is a fun way to spend an afternoon. The graphics on the game board and the game pieces are great, and it even includes your very own 'the one ring.' The one downside is the playing pieces, which can be bent fairly easily. Other than that, the makers found good questions to entertain the moviegoer who hasn't necessarily read the books. Good job guys and gals!
The rich lore of Lord of the Rings trilogy would seem the ideal material for fun and challenging trivia game. Sadly this is not it. Despite the potential of the material, this game ends up being both boring as a game, and empty as a Lord of the Rings experience. Fans of trivia games, even those who settle for the Trivial Pursuit family of games, will feel cheated by the shallowness and unevenness of the questions (despite their narrow focus) while those looking for a good Lord of the Rings game will be left empty handed.
As a trivia game, this edition adds nothing, and players are better off with whichever of the other Trivial Pursuit game suits there interest and the level of challenge they are seeking. The questions in all but one of the categories in this edition are basically impossible go get wrong (unless you slept through the films), so there's little opportunity for the kind of general knowledge play that makes the typical Trivial Pursuit game fun. In only one category (about the making of the film) is there any challenge, and there the questions are often far too difficult (unless you've followed the lore of the making of the films in detail). This unevenness of the categories not only spoils the fun of making smart guesses or connecting arbitrary bits of world knowledge and factoids (the core of a decent trivia game), it exacerbates the well-known 'end game' problem with Trivial Pursuit: the (endless) last phase of the game has everyone bouncing back and forth around the center space (in most games everyone will get that far at about the same time because most questions are so easy), fielding movie-making questions (what else would your opponents pick?!) until someone either makes a lucky guess or gets an easy question.
The real disappointment with this game though, is that as a Lord of the Rings game it is a disaster. This is particularly frustrating because Lord of the Rings has, unlike the Harry Potter series, inspired some truly excellent games, most notably the rich and subtle cooperative game by Reiner Knizia (one of the best games available on any topic) and the much simpler but still quite deep 2-player Stratego-like 'Confrontation' game (also by Reiner Knizia), both of which, in addition to being excellent games in their own right, are also superbly 'themed': the Lord of the Rings feel and atmosphere comes through during play and one really feels involved in an adventure in Middle Earth. (The 'children's game', again by Knizia, is also worth a look for kids under 8.)
Two other points are worth mentioning: (1) for those who have not yet seen the Return of the King, this game contains spoilers, which you might want to avoid; (2) the Middle Earth lore questions are all about the films, not the books.
Finally, it is important to note that there is another Lord of the Rings trivia game ('Lord of the Rings Trivia Game') available that not only covers the books rather than the films, but is also much more interesting as a game and does a better (though still limited) job of introducing the feel of a Lord of the Rings adventure.