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Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
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Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

English language edition

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Product Awards:  
International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game, 2003

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 30 minutes 2

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Product Description

This stand-alone two-player Lord of the Rings game is designed by master game designer Reiner Knizia and illustrated by acclaimed Tolkien artist John Howe, the duo behind the bestselling core Lord of the Rings board game. In this wonderful game interpretation of the novels, the Fellowship must seek to bring Frodo to Mordor, and the dark lord Sauron must seek to capture Frodo and the One Ring before Frodo reaches Mt. Doom.

Each player controls nine characters who each have a unique special ability (the nine characters of the Fellowship are controlled by one player, and nine of Sauron's greatest minions are controlled by the opposing player). The game uses a hidden movement system to simulate the search for the ring, and the conflict resolution system is a brilliant cardplay mechanic from a limited resource pool of cards. The dark lord Sauron is stronger and projects more power, but the Fellowship have more devious and surprising maneuvers at hand. The straight-forward gameplay of The Confrontation allows each game to be played in about a half hour. Great strategy and fun.

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best 2-Player Game, 2003

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Asmodee North America, Kosmos, Fantasy Flight Games

  • Artist(s): John Howe

  • Year: 2002

  • Players: 2

  • Time: 30 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 591 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #137

  • Language Requirements: Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.


  • 1 Game Board
  • 18 Plastic Towers
  • 18 Cardboard Characters (for Towers)
  • 22 Oversize Cards
  • 1 Color Rules Booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.6 in 18 reviews

A quick, intense and fun gaming experience!
November 02, 2004

1 gameboard - very artistically painted board that has very highly themed regions (ie., Shire, Mordor) and funtional details (River Anduin and Moria tunnel). Easily laid-out and folded.

18 plastic pieces (with the character cards inserted) - Simple yet functional plastic pieces that hides easily switchable character cards. Character cards includes a brief description of each character attribute. Can be prepared and stored easily.

22 cards - High quality art, medium quality card stock. I immediately need to laminate them because dirt sticks on it easily but due to the lamination, it cannot fit the box anymore. You dont need to shuffle the cards during the game so it retains its quality.

The rules are simple yet the tactical options are immense - from the game set-up to its end game. You will really need to play the game at least twice (2 each on both sides) to memorize each unit's attibutes (strength, weakness, abilities) . The beauty of the game is its assymmetry. The two sides differ on their overall characteristics.

The Fellowship exceeds in special skills like sacrifice (Boromir), counter-measures (ie., Gimli against the Orcs) and special skills (Pippin's scouting skill). The Fellowship's Text cards have an edge over Sauron's.

Sauron's forces, on the other hand is simply powerful when it comes to strength (ie., Shelob, Balrog and Witch King) and brute (ie., Cave Troll). Their Strength cards supplement their already strong fighting force.

What's really great in this game is its BALANCE despite the assymmetry. Reiner Knizia designed each character's attributes ingeniously while keeping them believable when it comes to the theme (ie., Sam is stronger when with Frodo in the same region).

Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation is a very well-themed, highly tactical game of bluffing and strategy. I think this is one of Reiner Knizia's few highly-themed game masterpiece. Most of the time, you need to have a good memory to remember your enemy's units. It plays very quick (me and my officemate can play a game, 1 round for each side, in as low as 20 mins. I have never experienced a dull moment with this game even if I'm playing with a complete newbie. The game can really suck you to play it more and more. An experience you shouldn't miss!

If you don't have this game yet, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy!

After each game, you simply want to play again
July 02, 2004

This is one of the best games that I have ever played. It is an awesome strategy game that can be played over and over again. I truly cannot think of any real negatives that hinder this remarkable game. Two games can be played in relatively one hour. It is very easy to learn yet difficult to master. The card element significantly adds to the bluffing/strategic gameplay.

by Roy L.
Simple, Deep, and a Great LotR Game -- For All Ages
March 17, 2004

At at time when many mass market games are overly complex, shallow, and little more than cynical marketing vehicles for the latest hit film, this game comes as a welcome surprise. Not only is this a clever interpretation of the Lord of the Rings theme (with artwork by long-time Middle Earth contributor John Howe and a 'story line' that really resonates with the ringbearer's quest), but the game itself is superb.

The Confrontation comes out of the vibrant 'German' (really also French, British, and Italian) school of 'gamer's games'. Since most American gamers will be unfamiliar with this type of game, having grown up on Monopoly, Life, Clue, and Risk, it's nice to see this one so widely avaialble. Unlike these games, The Confrontation is very tightly balanced, so that only careful play can reliably win -- and careless play is always punished. Every move matters, so that play is always engaging; but the simple rules and engrossing theme keep the game from becoming sterile. Moreover, what makes this game really great is that it is accessible to all ages. Kids from 6 up can master it and win against adults. (And in a pinch, there are extra 'powers' included -- like Shadowfax or Palantir-- that can be used as handicaps.)

In short: One of the best new two-player games available (by perhaps the best game designer ever, Reiner Knizia); fast, easy to learn, and attractive -- with a fun and well-delivered theme. What more could you ask for! A superb introduction to quality European-style games for all ages.

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