The Lord of the Rings Adventure to Mount Doom is a light roll-and-move game that has some card acquisition and some light strategy. You get to take control of the fellowship of the ring as they journey through the major areas of Middle Earth on a quest to destroy the one ring.
Lord of the Rings Adventure to Mount Doom can accommodate anywhere from 1-4 players and takes about an hour to play.
Adventure to Mount Doom starts with your fellowship in Rivendell that consists of five tokens. On the bottom of the board are the event cards that correspond to the current position of the Frodo and Sam token.
The core mechanic of the game consists of rolling and choosing dice. Each turn, players choose and roll three colored dice corresponding to the fellowship characters, and two black event dice. On the first roll, the active player chooses one color die that matches the character they want to move, and one black die. They then roll a second time. The second roll consists of two color dice of their choice and the last remaining black die. The active player then chooses the result they want from the color dice and the last black die must be taken.
The active player then moves their fellowship tokens the number of spaces equal to the die roll and resolves the event cards in the event slots equal to the black die numbers rolled.
The event cards consist of helpful character modifiers that mostly have a once-per-game use, or enemy battles and events that will hurt the fellowship. The event zone is refreshed as Frodo reaches different areas of the board, resulting in cards being cycled out to fit the events of the story from that zone.
The goal of the game is to ensure Frodo and Sam reach Mount Doom before the ring courage track reaches zero or all nine Nazgul have arrived at Minas Morgul.
I was initially a little worried about how simple the gameplay looked for Adventure to Mount Doom. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we were strategizing trying to find the best ways to move the fellowship around the board.
We played the game with three players, and it started out slow and ramped up as expected. The core mechanic of rolling dice to move takes on a whole new level when you factor in the different aspects of the game. There are spaces that add Nazgul to the board or move your ring token down the courage track. There are also positive aspects to planning your moves, such as healing on the courage track for landing fellowship members on the major location spaces or gaining special Gandalf cards if you can land Frodo on those spaces as well.
One interesting aspect we found ourselves planning around was the battles. There is only one die you roll and if you match any of the symbols representing the fellowship members supporting the ring bearer you win the battle. The tricky part was only those fellowship members in the same stage and on or ahead of the ring bearer could lend support. So we found ourselves wanting to get the ring bearer further but not wanting to outrun our support.
As you get closer and closer to Mount Doom, the spaces start to become filled with more courage drain spaces and more Nazgul, making it more perilous to not plan your dice rolls. Eventually, the game enters a final phase with Frodo and Sam making the last stretch to Mount Doom alone and having to deal with different set events in the event bar at the bottom of the board. We weren’t successful in our couple of play throughs, but it also was a near miss for the win, making the actual experience feel good.
The only criticism I have of the game is that the replay value is lacking as there are only a handful of cards for each section. Another small criticism would be that the board space is not true to the Middle Earth map and it was something that was commented on more than expected.
Overall, the game is a nice light dice roller with some good strategy. If you need a filler game during game night this can fit that spot well. It is easy to learn and explain and we found ourselves pretty invested in our strategizing for movement on each player’s turn. While it can be played solo, I didn’t get a chance to do it, but I would wager it would stand very well as a solo game. Adventure to Mount Doom finds a nice niche as a light game set in Middle Earth that is easy to play and learn with just the right amount of strategy.
Final Score: 4 Stars – A roll to move game with surprising amounts of strategizing.
• Game can feel extra challenging at times
• Replays can feel very repetitive
• Map isn’t correct