Everybody knows the story of The Lord of the Rings, whether through J.R.R. Tolkien’s books or Peter Jackson’s seminal film trilogy.
The Lords of the Rings: Rise to War takes the universe created by Tolkien, adds the cast, music, and scenery from the Hollywood movie, and creates its own gripping plotline in which the forces of darkness once again go head to head with the forces of light.
A new One Ring has shown up at the deserted castle of Dol Guldur, triggering a race between the various factions of Middle-earth to reach the ring and bend its power towards their own selfish ends.
You’re in the race, either as a saintly Fellowship or an ugly, grunting Warband. Either way, your goal is the same: to expand across Middle-earth and frustrate your enemies.
Of course, every successful military campaign relies on a solid base of operations, and so you’ll spend a lot of time building up your fortified settlement by levelling up your buildings, training your armies, and recruiting new commanders to lead your troops in battle.
The rest of your time you’ll spend striking out across the vast continent of Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is a tile-based strategy game in which your movement is confined to points on a giant grid.
Each square you take involves a battle, with the most valuable tiles putting up the toughest resistance. It takes time to toughen up.
As you expand, you can head in any direction you like, cutting off your opponents’ marching routes, besieging their cities, or whatever. The only limit to your tactical options is your imagination.
But whatever path you take, you’re in it for the long haul. NetEase Games describes The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War as a “geo-strategic seasonal wargame”, and seasonal is the key word. Building up your army takes time, and the battlefield is a constantly evolving arena in which only the astutest long-term strategies are likely to pay off.