More on the Upcoming LOTR Board Game - Questions Answered
A hobbit "star card" used as a joker in the hobbit deck.
Firstly on the publication side, the games will all be produced to a similar standard, with identical graphics pieces etc. The text will be in a different language though.
I am really pleased about this, as often in the European games world there is a long delay between the original German and subsequent English (and other language editions). This is understandable, but frustrating. Often we end up playing a German language geme with a paper translation, which at least has allowed non-German speakers like me to play some excellent games. However I think we retain a lot of flavour and atmosphere with the text laid out on the board as you play. For instance as you are playing in Moria you see on the adventure board in large text 'A Balrog is come!', and scan down the events on the board seeing that if we don't act soon the orcs will storm the gates.
...About the time in production. It was around two years ago that I had a call from Reiner Knizia saying that he had been aked to do a board game on LOTR. Conceptual work started straight away, and I guess it was around a year until it was handed over to the producer. Development didn't stop then though, as we carried on testing and tuning for some months after that. I run a couple of services here at a Local Authority, and I think many people wondered, but did not like to ask, what this guy was doing in the canteen every lunch time with a bunch of others hunched over a table talking about giant spiders and hairy feet. Anyone who came over to check would not have been much the wiser as, great designer Reiner might be but his clip art ability does not match John Howe's artistic flair. I must be one of the few people who has a picture of Frodo Baggins in lederhosen.
He also let me know that those of us in the US can expect a November release for the game, distributed by Wizards of the Coast.
The more I hear about this game, the more I look forward to it--it sounds like an engaging experience, and a new way to experience Middle-earth in a more active fashion.