New 'Lord of the Rings' Co-Op Board Game Announced

Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new cooperative campaign game based set in the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings.

The popular board game maker announced The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, a fully cooperative app-supported board game that blends exploration and combat for one to five players. Over the course of the game, a Fellowship of heroes will explore the wilds of Middle-earth in a 14 chapter campaign. A smartphone/tablet app serves as a Dungeon Master of sorts, controlling the monsters and guiding the narrative along at key intervals.

The new game is modelled after previous Fantasy Flight games like Descent, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, and Mansions of Madness, but with a few key differences. Play is split between two boards - an expansive "Journey Map" that players gradually explore and a battle map, a small board that contains terrain and represents specific encounters. A player might stumble on an Orcish encampment on the journey map that requires switch over to a battle map to resolve, or they might end up not using a battle map at all during the encounter.

Instead of rolling die to determine skill checks, Journeys in Middle-earth relies on a skill deck. Whenever a player makes a skill check to overcome some sort of obstacle, they draw cards from their skill deck equal to one of their character's five stats. Players can also use cards from their skill deck to boost certain abilities, but at the cost of removing them from their deck. Over the course of the campaign, players will build their skill deck, swap out cards, or replace cards depending on what role they take during a specific adventure.

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So far, Fantasy Flight has revealed that Bilbo Baggins and Gimli will be playable characters. A look at the other miniatures hint that the players can also pick a female warrior, an elf archer (Legolas, perhaps?), and two unknown male characters. Between the six characters and fourteen potential chapters, it looks like Journeys in Middle-earth will have lots of replay value.

A specific release date has not been announced, but the game will come out sometime in the second quarter of 2019. Lord of the Rings: Journey in Middle-earth will cost $100.