Lord Of The Rings Adventure To Mount Doom!
My husband and I used to be anti co-op. Not in life. There we have and will always be unequivocally a two-player team. I’ve got his back. He has mine. Defend to the death…that sort of thing. But in gaming, competitive play was our chance to release some of our inner wildness. To go up against each other and show our respective might! It’s probably some deep rooted evolutionary tactic to make his manly plumage seem extra plumey haha
Anyhoo. Fast forward 10 years of rock-solid marriage, almost 3 years of board gaming, and a heck of a lot of bone tiring life events, and we appear to have discovered the joy of working together around the table! So, when we got the chance to play LORD OF THE RINGS ADVENTURE TO MOUNT DOOM, we were very excited. A chance to flex our newly found friendship in all things cardboard! And it seemed even more apt given that it is based on Frodo and his brave pals looking after some pretty important bling! And as a big Lord OF The Rings fan, my husband was extra keen to get this game to the table!
This game plays over a series of rounds and tells the story of Frodo's perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. It’s a journey that has the Fellowship friends moving across the board to Mount Doom (hopefully before being destroyed by lots of lurking nasties!). The artwork, characters, and encounters will be familiar to those who know Lord Of The Rings but you don’t need to know the series (although having an in-house Lord Of The Rings super-fan gave me lots of bonus narrative content!).
It’s co-operative but you have your own turns and it’s based on this cool double-dice rolling mechanism. On your turn you roll 2 black dice and two different colour dice of your choice. The black dice values show which of the six round specific threats/allies the pals will encounter that turn (I’m talking about you, Nazghûl!) so you choose one for the turn and ignore the other. The coloured dice represent the Fellowship characters (Frodo and Sam, Gimli, Aragorn, Legolas, Merry and Pippin) and the value on their colour co-ordinated die shows how many spaces they can move across the board. Each spot on the board has the potential to cause harm (if there’s something nasty waiting for you – yes Uruk-Hai – I mean you!) but if you can land exactly upon a location, you’ll get something helpful – we never say no to a Gandalf card!
In Lord Of The Rings Adventure To Mount Doom, what you need to bear in mind is that the Fellowship is there to protect the ring bearers. And there’s a lot of fun dice rolling combat in this game. So, you need to work together to work out which dice to use on everybody’s turns. Not only to leverage the round’s threats/allies to your advantage (or least worst options!) but also to make sure there are always enough pals ahead of Frodo and Sam to battle the nastiesl! Because, when it comes to combat, they can only rely on the friends in front. But the clock is ticking away, and so you can’t leave Frodo and Sam too far behind either as they have to get to Mount Doom before the board gets overrun with Nazghûl!
We are really enjoying this game. It is full of fun decisions which must be considered both pre and post rolls (as you can push your luck and re-roll some). It also maintains a great group dynamic in terms of how to best to balance the ongoing dilemma – push Frodo and Sam forwards or hold them back to have help in the fights! Having your own strengths and knowing when to use them to best help the team ensures an interesting ongoing dialogue throughout . Getting a bonus move if you can align a black die roll with a threat that has already been dealt with is also great in terms of comboing out the actions you can take on a turn, but having some encounters remaining throughout the round also keeps the synapses sizzling!
Light on rules but heavy on fun, we were able to get going almost straight out of the box (but the instructions are really clear for any uncertainties). Our 8-year-old son loved rolling the dice and his excitement when we defeated a monster was infectious! Given that the combination of encounters will be different each time we play, and much depends on dice rolls and mitigation powers, this game has great replayability too as no single strategy is guaranteed to work every time. And with games playing under an hour, this game is a great choice for us. As newbies to the co-op scene, this game has definitely reassured us that working together can be just as fun as fighting for supremacy! Hah