It is a time of growing darkness and despair. Sauron the Great, the Dark Lord of Mordor, has returned to his ancient fastness of Barad-dûr. From there, his evil and corruption has spread across the lands once more. Alas, in the West, there is little strength left. The Elves have all but abandoned Middle-earth, and the blood of Númenór has run thin; that which remains now dwells in Minas Tirith, or with the lonely rangers that haunt the ruins and wild country of Arnor.
Yet, there is still hope. Gandalf the Grey has learned that the One Ring, the master–ring which Sauron desires and fears above all, is with the hobbit Frodo in the Shire. And there are heroes! Heroes to aid Gandalf in his hunt for the creature Gollum, and in his quest for the lost knowledge of Isildur’s Bane. Heroes, whose strong arms guard the Shire from the enemy. Heroes, who venture into the forests of Ithilien, or even into the Land of Shadow itself, there to disrupt the schemes of Sauron, wherever they may be found.
The events of MIddle-earth Quest are set in the lands described in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novel The Lord of the Rings. The game takes place during a time-span of 17 years. The years from when Bilbo celebrates his 111th birthday (and Frodo’s 33rd) to days just prior to Frodo’s leaving the Shire. These are years of high adventure and mounting darkness.
Will you take the mantle of a hero, helping Gandalf and the White Council in their struggle against the shadow? Or, will you take the role of Sauron himself, seeking the Domination, corruption, and enslavement of all that is free and kind?
The fate of Middle-earth is in your hands.
Up to three players will take the role of heroes working together as a team to prevent the Dark Lord from conquering the world of Middle-earth. Seek favor, training, and knowledge from famous characters from Middle-earth such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Denethor and many more. Each of the five heroes included in Middle Earth Quest ("MEQ") must not only seek to thwart Sauron's plans, but has a unique quest path of his/her own. Each quest provide heroes with valuable knowledge and skills in the fight against the Shadow. If the heroes are successful, Gandalf will acquire the knowledge he seeks, and move to set in motion the events which will eventually lead to Sauron's defeat and the destruction of the One Ring (as described in The Lord of the Rings.)
One player will take the mantle of Sauron himself, seeking to corrupt the lands and leaders of Middle-Earth, to summon an unstoppable army of darkness, and to use the fearsome minions of Mordor in locating the One Ring. In the dreadful chance that Sauron be succesful, his great shadow will fall across a helpless Middle-earth. The lands covered in a darkness that no light will ever pierce.
"The mountain passes had become dangerous. Strangers were more frequently seen on the roads, and not all well-intentioned. There was talk of a new power in the East. A dire name, almost forgotten, was again on the whispering lips of common folk. “Mordor.”
Never before has a board game enabled you to influence the events leading up to the war of the ring. MEQ places you in the thick of the action.
Before the creation of the Fellowship of the Ring, before Frodo’s epic journey to destroy the One Ring in the fires Mount Doom, before Gandalf uncovered Gollum's secret, the peoples of Middle-earth had to resist the forces of Sauron. In MEQ, players must shape the lands for the coming war. A group of heroes embark on perilous quests to prevent the influence of Sauron from spreading across the West. Sauron must gather his forces and send his minions out to plant the seeds of his ascension. Both sides are unrelenting in their dedication.
The heroes of MEQ have risen to the task of thwarting Sauron’s carefully laid schemes and plots. Five faces, fresh to the fight, can be selected by hero players. Eometh, the gallant horseman from Rohan, can move great distances to accomplish his goals. Agile and cunning, Argalad of the Woodland Elves is an accomplished archer and wise in the way of the Eldar. As deadly as she is beautiful, the noble-born Eleanor of Gondor seeks to turn the peoples of Middle-earth to Gondor's cause. Stalwart and tough, the Dwarf Thálin is a powerful warrior. Beravor, a Ranger of the North, is firmly dedicated to the remnants of Arnor, and has travelled far and wide across Middle-Earth.
Sauron has many foul ways of advancing his goals, represented by his three markers on the "Story Track" (which is located on the game board). The “Ring” story marker indicates how close Sauron minions are to locating and recapturing the One Ring, the “Conquest” story marker indicates how close Sauron is to mustering his military forces to sufficient strength, and the “Corruption” story marker represents Sauron’s success in corrupting the leaders and heroes of the West. These markers are advanced by Plot cards which Sauron must seek to protect from the invasive hero players. Sauron wins the game by advancing these story markers to their conclusion on the Story Track.
“The Dark Lord will seek to reclaim those lands that were once his. You must make sure the terrors of Angmar are not rekindled.”
Since Sauron moves ever closer to victory for each Plot card he has in play, the heroes are in a deadly race. To foil Sauron’s plots, the heroes must travel to locations affected by the plots, and here use hard-earned favor, or face dangerous enemies, to disrupt them.
Each hero has a unique deck of cards, filled with attacks, defenses, and special maneuvers. The hero cards serve as a way to travel, a means of combat, and to signify the hero's health. Traveling on the game board will exact a cost in cards. Travel too far and a hero will find him/herself dangerously low on options should one of Sauron's minions, monsters, or events find him/her in the wild.
"Many companions had died during the first onslaught of the Orcs. Now the enemy was coming again. Their cruel drums deafening, cascading against the rock sides of the narrow canyon. The passage had offered a sliver of hope for the survivors, then dashed it again on that final unscalable wall of snow-kissed rock. The enemy was coming, and they could not get out."
Combat is innovative, fast, and fierce. Using hero cards and special minion combat cards (wielded by the Sauron player), combatants will over a series of fast rounds simultaneously reveal cards from their hand, compare/resolve effects, and deal damage.
Certain combatants may have skills (i.e cards) for ranged combat – striking early and fast – while other combatants may be heavily armored and deal copious amounts of damage. The Elven archer, Argalad, for example, is able to strike without warning using his superior bow skills. Many of the cards found in his combat deck, and others gained through training or quests, can further augment his wicked proficiency in the art of dealing death from afar. For Sauron, the powerful Witch-King has devastating close combat attacks, capable of felling even the most powerful warrior.
With the forces arrayed against them, the heroes will need to use cunning, wisdom, and bravery to stay one step ahead of Sauron. From the proper use of Eometh’s horse, to Thálin’s ability to to keep moving even if he suffers defeat, it will be critical to mount a fast and dedicated response to Sauron's plans.
"The journey had been so long and the terrain so cruel, it felt as if the will to move forward had faded away. But the task was not done, and the path could not be abandoned."
The Dark Lord has many tools at his disposal to keep his plots alive. From the hidden presence of his creatures and agents, the strength of his Minions, wicked Shadow events, to the ever expanding influence that is spreading from Mordor. Although mighty and powerful, his strength almost beyond containment, Sauron would be wise to not underestimate the powers of determined heroes, or the machinations of Gandalf the Grey.
Will you decide the fate of Middle-earth? Do you have either the will to dominate all things, or the heart to resist an unstoppable darkness?
"The sunlight faded across the rolling hills of the West. But there would be no rest tonight. The journey was far from over."
|13+||2 - 4||3 - 4 hrs|
The copyrightable portions of Middle-Earth Quest are © 2009 Sophisticated Games, Ltd. Lord of the Rings, Middle-Earth, The Hobbit and the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-Earth Enterprises and are used under license by Sophisticated Games, Ltd. and their respective licensees. Fantasy Flight Supply is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.