Author: unknown

Land of Legend 1973




I must say directly that this is the most remarkable "Tolkien"-Boardgame I was able to get into my collection.

Obviously, the company publishing this game has not been licensed by Tolkien-Enterprises. At the end of the rules a disclaimer can be found, stating that only some of the illustrations of the rulesbook were inspired by Tolkienīs "Lord of the Rings", but that neither the illustrations nor the game itself are the work of Professor Tolkien and that "therefore no authorization or endorsement from Professor Tolkien, his heirs, or his publishers in any way is claimed by this company." "Quest of the Magic Ring" was created to "express gratitude to the author of that incredibly wonderful triology, both for inspiration and for that original journey into the realms of Middle-earth - a world which no game made by humankind can ever hope to comletely explore or attempt to fully recreate." Nonetheless, Miss Priscilla Tolkien, a relative of J.R.R. Tolkien must have been involved in the process of the creation of this game, since special credits are given to her for answering many questions and for "fulfilling a lifetime dream".


In order to avoid copyright violations, the inventors of the game made some changes in the names of the places on the game-map. So the Cracks of Doom are called the "Crack of Fire" or Minas Tirith is simply called "The Great Citadel". Aragorn is referred to as "The Ranger", and Frodo is a Hobbit called "The Ringbearer". Even the Map has been altered, giving a distorted overview over Middle Earth. Most remarkable is the Box-Art, showing the Fellowship traveling through Moria, but with 5 (!!!) Hobbits. A sentence on the Box reads: "A Game of Adventure in Mythical Earth (!!!)". Surprisingly enough, not everything was changed: So Gandalf, Bree, Rivendell or the Ents are still given with their original names.


But now to the game itself: Itīs for 2 to 7 players: Ringbearer, Gandalf, Ranger, Citadel Men, Riders of the Mark, White Wizard and Dark Lord. The game pieces are coloured glass-tokens. The 3 members of the Fellowship each get one token representing their character, Riders and Citadel Men get 2 tokens (=2 armies) each, the White Wizard gets 3 Ork-Army tokens and the Dark Lord gets 4 Ork-Army tokens and 2 Black Riders tokens. Movment on the map is made by simple roll-the-dice method, with the exception that the route for the next up to 7 moves must be planned BEFORE rolling the dice. After the dice is rolled, the player must move his pieces as far on their planned route as possible (except when he has planned to stop earlier.). This may force players to enter random event zones on the board which might delay them or do otherwise harm.

In order to win, the good forces must try to bring the Magic Ring to the Crack of Fire, whereas the Dark Lord and the White Wizard each try to get the Ring and bring it to their stronghold. The Ringbearer might be captured by Orks, which will hold him captive until heīs able to roll a "1", or by the Black Riders, which will kill the Ringbearer when the find him. An Ork Army simply must have enough movement points to reach the Ringbearer, whereas a Black Rider must reach him by an exact die roll (Thus making it harder for them to get the Ringbearer. The Ringbearer might be accompanied by an other good character or army, which could take an attack from an evil unit, thus allowing the Ringbearer to escape.


Ork Armies might also fight against Human-Armies in order to try to capture their strongholds and remove those players from the game. The fight-procedure is simple: Both players roll a dice and the one rolling the higher result wins. The loser has to roll again: rolls he a "1", his unit is removed from play. Otherwise he must move his unit back to his stronghold. Until it has reached home, this unit may not attack, but it still may be attacked. A combat roll might be modified if a good army is accompanied by Gandalf or the Ranger (evil army: Black Rider) or by defending a fortress or the Great Bridge.

Itīs incredible, but this simple game concept really makes fun ! Even some possibilities were added by the authors in order to enable some options from the Lord of the Rings:

  • The Ringbearer and Gandalf can activate the Ents to remove the White Wizard from play.
  • The Ranger has a broken Sword which can be fixed at Rivendell in order to give him enough strength not to be killed by a Black Rider.
  • The good characters can visit the Elf-Woods, where they will be rewarded an extra turn which they can use at any time during the game.
  • The Ringbearer might use the Ring once to avoid being captured or killed, but then it will be much more difficult for him to throw it into the Crack of Fire.
  • The Ent-Woods are dangerous to enter for Orks.
  • Black Riders and Riders of the Mark move faster than normal (+1) because of their horses. Orks move slower (-1).

Surprisingly, this very old game captures the Lord of the Rings quite good. On the one hand, itīs easy playing, but on the other hand, careful planning is necessary since the movement rules are tricky. The game also contains some nice graphics in the Rulesbook and the Map is quite nice to look at (although it doesnīt keep the proportions of original Middle Earth). To give an evaluation, I really think that this is one of the best boardgames ever made on the Lord of the Rings. The authors have changed some of the names in order to avoid copyright problems, but this makes no problems whatsoever, and the game itself plays fluently and, most important, you have the "right feeling" about the game: You feel the same way like opening the book and play it through. And this is more than you normally can await from a boardgame with a low complexity rating. I think the game is a real gem....

G@mebox Special: Additional Game Pieces & Rules

Since coloured glass tokens are not too hard to get, some more characters and armies can be included:

  • The Citadel-Men get an additional army and a character into the safety-area directly west of the Land of Shadow: Faramir and his Ranger Forces. Faramir adds +1 to the Armies of the Citadel Men when in combat (like Gandalf or the Ranger). Faramir cannot possess the Ring.
  • The Riders of the Mark get a token for an additional character: Eowyn. She gives a +1 to the Armies of the Riders of the Mark when in combat and she can, although she cannot possess the Ring, attack a Black Rider (-1 modificator). When she loses against a Black Rider, a die must be rolles: If a "1" is rolled, Eowyn is dead and must be removed from play, otherwise she is considered injured and must be moved towards The Great Citadel, where she has to stay until the Ranger and Faramir visited the City. Then she can leave again, but she cannot fight Black Riders anymore.
  • The Dark Lord and the White Wizard each get an additional army.
  • The Dark Lord receives an additional Black Rider Unit.
  • Multiple Bonuses are allowed in army combat: More than one character can be combined to give an higher bonus and also a defense bonus might be added. Instead of doing the battle seperately, a player can decide to attack or defend with one or more armies simultaneously. For each additional army, a +1 modificator is applied. If a player using multiple armies loses a battle, all his armies involved in this battle must roll the combat results die.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany