WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH The first expansion for WOTR 2nd edition was Lords of Middle-Earth :    a small, but attractive pac...

WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH

WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH

WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH

WOTR : WARRIORS OF MIDDLE-EARTH




The first expansion for WOTR 2nd edition was Lords of Middle-Earth:  a small, but attractive package that introduced a slew of additional Characters, with their relevant Character card and attendant plastic figure.   Enjoyable though this was, I felt that to some extent the addition, perhaps like the package itself, was a fairly light-weight affair.

Now this second expansion WOTR: Warriors of Middle-Earth brings a much weightier and more substantial development to the game.  For me this has to be an essential buy simply because it deepens and extends the experience of gaming in the world of Middle-Earth.  the key word is Factions.  Both sides now find themselves with three additional Factions that they can bring to their aid and physically on to the map.

These forces constitute 48 new figures in six groups of eight: for the Fellowship the Dead Men of Dunharrow, the Eagles of the Misty Mountains and the Ents of Fangorn, while the Shadow ranks are swelled by the Corsairs of Umbar, the Hillmen of Dunland and the Broods of Shelob.



The new forces fighting for The Fellowship





Their Shadow opponents

Of these, my favourites have to be the Ents and the Corsairs, just for the sculpts alone.  Compared with the figures in WOTR 2nd edition, the plastic seems just a little harder and the shading of the blue and the red a touch darker and stronger, both these features make them a very good addition indeed.

The accompanying decks of cards are equally impressive matching the original game's cards in every way.  Six cards and three cards respectively for the Fellowship and the Shadow player are replacements for original Event cards, then both get six Call To Battle cards, but overtopping all these are the two new decks of 20 Faction cards, one for each player.

This is no cosmetic addition, but a really substantial development for the existing game.



All the good things before unpacking

Thus, a separate draw is made from the Faction deck each turn, with a player able to hold up to 4 cards from the Faction deck, as well as the normal hand size.  Similarly, when the appropriate conditions occur for a player's first Faction to be available, a special customised die is added to the player's dice pool.  Both of these details mean that the additional features supplement and extend existing game play rather than just including more options for what the existing cards and dice allow.



The new dice


Along with the neat, clearly explained, additional set of rules there are two copies of an equally well laid out Reference Chart which summarises not just the use of all the dice symbols in Warriors of Middle-Earth, but those in the main game and the Lords of Middle-earth expansion too.  I greatly appreciate these little touches that bring everything together for our convenience.


The excellent rules booklet and Reference card

For each Faction there is a large reference card too,  with a mood-setting illustration on the front side and a summary of their relevant rules on the back.




Two of my favourite illustrated Faction reference cards


Obviously with the addition of three Factions on each side, the total effect is approximately a balanced one.  However, from my limited experience so far, I think the edge goes to the Fellowship player.  In particular, the ability of both the Ents and the Dead Men of Dunharrow to sacrifice one of their units to roll dice in an unchallenged combat adds a definite extra bite to the Fellowship's military tactics.  Whether as a way of wearing down a Shadow army prior to a more conventional attack or sniping at smaller Shadow forces. it lends a more aggressive punch.


Added to that, just having Eagles in the game is enough of a boost for me!  With their range of four and ability to swoop to join a battle, it adds a little extra tension and uncertainty to all but the most lopsided of encounters.

For the Shadow player, the Dunlendings and the Spiders both have a little more manoeuvrability and as such seem mainly to provide handy cannon-fodder, while the Corsairs of Umbar are very useful in rapidly transporting other units to their destination [clearly with some limitations on which regions they may travel to].

All-in-all,  this is a fine expansion, well worth acquiring.  It adds greatly to the thematic flavour and immersive folk-lore while playing the game,  while adding genuine tactical and strategic decisions.

[pub. ARES GAMES]

Oh, just one no-no.  On the front of the box is a slim packet containing two cards for [as you can see below] a Promotional Mini-Expansion.  If you choose to include them in your game, then may the wrath of Tolkien descend upon you!!  




The play of either card, if the conditions are right, allow you to win the game outright there and then.  Just don't blame me if your losing opponent [a] smashes you over the head with the map board [b] makes you eat all the plastic figures [c] never speaks to you again.   You have been warned!







































 






























































































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