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LOTR Trivia Game

- Sophisticated Games, Germany – Kosmos

Designed by Christian T. Peterson, Artwork by Ted Nasmith


2 – 4 Players or teams, Ages 12 and up


The review is down below.  Pictures are to follow when I get a chance to take some.


Here is an excerpt about the game along with a picture from Gametrade #28 April 2003 issue:

"With innovative game design by Christian T. Petersen, questions created by the U.K. Tolkien Society, and illustrations by renowed Tolkien artist Ted
Naismith, The Lord of the Rings Trivia Game is destined to become your
finest tool! More than a simple trivia platform, Players/Teams each take the role of Frodo Baggins and must race to be the first to reach Mt. Doom and destroy the One Ring by moving through 17 detailed areas of Middle Earth, and face challenges in the shape of Trivia questions. All the 1200+ questions are multiple choice and special rules allow for Tolkien experts and Tolkien Novices alike to compete in this excited game. Scheduled to ship in June 2003"

Here is some more info:

With innovative game design by Christian T.Petersen, questions creted by the U.K. Tolkien Society, and illustrations by renowned Tolkein artist Ted naismith, The Lord of the Rings Trvia game is destined to become your finest tool! More than a simple trivia platform, layers/teams each take the role of Frodo Baggins and must race to be the first to reach Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring by moving through 17 detailed areas of Middle Earth, and face challenges in the shape of Trivia questions. All the 1200+ questions are multiple choice and special rules allow for Tolkein Experts and Tolkein Novices alike to compete in this exciting game.

I now have a review of the game, or at least how to play the game.


Review by Dave Watry


Here is the new (at least for 2003) game of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trivia Game.  There are two games in one, according to the rule books.  One game is a more involved board/trivia game, similar to Trivial Pursuit.  The other is a shorter trivia game, mostly just to answer the trivia questions.  WARNING:  For those who have not read the books and are just relying on the movie, this game is not for you.  There are a lot of questions that are very detailed trivia from the books.  For instance, while the third movie (Return of the King) has not come out yet, one of the questions will probably not be answered, “How is Sam able to understand the language of the Orcs”?  I won’t give the answer, but I couldn’t remember that one myself.  Once I read the answer, as with most riddles, I remembered.  The correct answer is written in bold letters.  Overall, the questions are not too hard, especially since they give you the answer.  You just have to pick it out of three or four answers.  That gives you 25 to 33 percent probability of getting it right.  The back of the card has indicators of hobbits, rings, and swords with numbers associated with each symbol, these are called Resource symbols used for Movement Costs.  These are used in the longer game version.  The artwork is by Ted Nesmith, who is one of the world’s proficienato Tolkien artists and is beautifully done.


First of all, the contents of the game.  There are 400 cards with a total 1200 questions with four multiple-choice answers (three questions per card).  That is the most important part of the game, of course.  For the rest of the game, there is a long foldout board.  4 Hobbit figures (mine came with 6 Hobbits), 48 Special Area Tiles (8 each for 6 areas), 11 event tiles, 113 Resource Counters, 25 Ring, 44 Sword, 44 Traveling, 1 Resource Dice (white), 1 Trivia Card Holder.  Then there are two rulebooks.  One is a standard sheet  (8.5x11 in) Short Game Rule sheet.  The other is a much bigger (11x11 in) six-page fold out long rule booklet.


The short game is very easy (to play, not necessarily easy to answer the questions).  The Objective is for the players (Hobbits) to travel across the game board from Bag End to Mordor to destroy the One Ring.  On the way, they must answer questions.  The winner is the player who reaches Mount doom first and then correctly answers the final Trivia question.  For this game, use the 400 cards, card box, game board, and the 4 Hobbit figures.  There are 14 locations on the board.  Shuffle the 400 cards.  Pick a Hobbit and place on Bag End.  The first player moves one square.  The player to the left of the moving player, pulls out a card and asks the question.  If the first player answers it correctly, he may stay in the new square.  If not, then he must return to the previous square.  Next the first player may stay there and end his turn, or move to the next square and try and answer the next question.  If answered correctly, he may stay or move to the next square.  If he answers wrong, he must return to the original square from where he started his turn.  This goes on until someone makes it to the end.


To help even out the game, the cards can be read in several different ways.  For experts in Tolkien trivia, give all four multiple-choice answers.  One of the four answers is in brackets, so for novices, only read the three non-bracketed answers.  For the particularly good Tolkien buffs, it is suggested to only ask the question, and not give any answers.  I like this last one the best (hee – hee).  Overall, the questions aren’t too hard, but if you read the books a long time ago, once, remembering the details may strain the old gray matter.


The longer game is a little more complex, but basically it comes down to answering the trivia questions.  Sequence of play:  Decide randomly which player (or team) goes first.  Once the first player’s turn is over, play proceeds clockwise around the table until a player has won the game.  A player begins their turn by choosing to a) move forward, or b) rest.  Each player receives 1 Ring Resource Counter, 1 Traveling Resource Counter, and 1 Sword resource Counter.  Resource Counters are placed in front of each player for all to see.  Place the remaining resources tokens in a resource pool.  The players start the game at Bag End.  The Resource Counters are required to pay the Movement Costs to enter the next square.


On the board, there are fourteen squares with Resource Icons between each square.  In order to move up to the next square, you must have earned enough Resource Counters to pass (there may be more than one Resource type and number required to move up in levels).  If you answer the trivia question wrong, you have to go back to your original square and you do not get the Resource Counters back once spent.  Each square you move up to has either a Green (easy), Blue (medium), or Red (hard) Eye of Sauron.  This relates to the difficulty of the question.  For an easy level, there are three questions on the back of each card with four answers, one of which is in parentheses.  For the easy level, only the three non-parentheses multiple-choice answers are given.  For medium questions, all four answers are given.  The question that is chosen is based on the other side of the card which lists three numbers, one for each of the Resources.  So the active player can chose what Resource he needs and answer the question relating to that Resource.  If he guesses the right answer, he receives the number of Resources indicated on the front of the card (ie., if question 2 has three sword icons, the player would receive 3 Sword Resource Tiles if answered correctly).  For the Hard level questions.  The person who is reading the questions gets to pick any of the three questions for the active person to answer.  If the active person answers correctly, they receive the corresponding Resources on the front of the card.  If a player is limited on how many Resources they have, they have several options.  One is to Rest and roll the Resource die twice.  Whatever icon comes up, the player receives those Resources (ie, a Sword and a Ring, or two Swords, and so on).  The other option is any 5 Resources may be used as 1 Resource of a different kind.  For instance, 5 Sword Resources may be used as 1 Traveling Resource.  The last option is that the Ring Resource tiles are “wild” and can be used in place of one other Resource.  The problem there is that there are fewer Ring Resources and are needed later in the game, so it is best to use them sparingly. 


Several squares are designated as Havens (Rivendell, etc).  Once you reach these Havens, you cannot be sent back any further.  Now to the next complication and that are the Special Areas.  There are six of them: Weathertop; Rivendell; Moria; Lothlorian; Cirith Ungol; and Mount Doom.  Each of these sites contains a Special Area Tile and the challenges are resolved differently than the normal areas.  The player may pay the Movement Cost to enter the area.  The Special Areas do not have a Challenge symbol.  Instead, the player must draw from the Special Area Tiles.  There are two different Special Area Tiles.  One is a Challenge Tile; the other is a Gift Tile.  A regular Challenge Tile is used in the same way as the Eye of Sauron (green, blue, or red).   The big challenge comes when there is a Red Cross symbol.  There is no reward in answering the question other than answering the next Challenge Tile question, which you must answer.  If they answer incorrectly to any of the questions, then the player must move back to the square from which they started, or the last Haven.  The Gift tiles when drawn have a special symbol that counteracts Challenge questions.  A chart on the board (and in the rules) tells what the gift symbols are good for such as the Fellowship symbol (Gandolf’s hat) will allow the player to use the card so as not to have to answer any Blue or Green level questions.  However, you do not receive any rewards for this.  The last Challenge symbol that may come up is a fire symbol with a Resource symbol (like a Sword) on it.  If you get this, you must discard the Resource symbol from your stack.  There are some other special icons that do different functions, but you get the general idea.


The game is professionally packaged and has magnificent artwork, as I mentioned.  The questions are fair, if you have read the book, and aren't too hard to answer given the fact that you have multiple-choice answers.  Hopefully, that will trigger something.  There are a lot of great trivia questions.  Someone did some great research.  Although, all they really had to do is to read the book and jot down the questions.  Getting good multiple-choice answers takes a little more thought.  The only problem I had with the game, and it is not a problem with game play, I wish the the multiple-choice questions were designated with a), b) etc, designations and have the correct answer at the bottom of the card.  That way, if you are not playing the game, you could look at the question and see the multiple-choice answers and not know the answer right away.  As it is, the bold answer sticks out and your eyes are drawn to it.  Like I said, it doesn't affect game play and it makes it easy to determine the right answer.  It just doesn't allow for solitare trivia unless you cover up the multiple-choice answers, but for the tough questions, it would be nice to have a choice.  Overall, I would say this is a really fun game to play for fans of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.


As I mentioned before, this game is not for the light hearted Lord of the Rings movie buff.  These are questions from the book.  So if you don’t know who Tom Bombadil is or the Barrow-Wights are, then you are in trouble.  As I have always contended, if you haven’t read the books, then you don’t know what you are missing, but I do.

LOTR Trivia Box