As some of my most faithful readers might remember, Reko had promised to teach me to play Lord of the Rings: Confrontation at the HelCon. Well, he kept his promise and after our game of Die Händler was over, I hooked up with him and we played two games.
The rules were quickly explained — I knew some of it already as I had done my research — and soon we started. In the first game, Reko played the good guys and I played the bad. Even though Reko had more experience with the game, I was eventually able to crush his feeble forces and gain control of the Middle-Earth. Effective use of Orcs helped, as did some good luck too.
After the game was over (it took about 15 minutes), we switched sides and I took the good guys. I had a cunning plan — I stacked Frodo and Sam together, obviously, but not in Shire. I was hoping to confuse Reko a bit. I don’t know how well that worked, but Frodo never got even near Mordor. Actually, he didn’t even cross the mountains. Oops. Another 15 minutes, and Reko had won.
Now I’ve read that both good and bad guys win all the time. With my personal experience, I’d say Sauron’s forces are stronger and easier to play. Good characters are weaker (even though they have very useful special abilities — but so do the bad guys), and require more tactical eye. Perhaps after several plays the correct strategy for good will surface and the tables will be turned.
After two plays, I think Confrontation is a nice filler game. The Stratego mechanic that you only see where your opponents forces are and not who they are adds suspense, but in the other hand, the memory element isn’t too bad — even I can remember who’s where after I’ve seen them. There seems to be potential for different tactics and strategies and that is always a good thing for smaller games like this. I rate it 8 after two plays; I’m interested to play it more.