As I teased at the end of my post last week, my copy of War of the Ring (second edition) Anniversary Release from Ares Games arrived. I finally got a chance to check it out and it is, in a word, glorious.
With a foot print of nearly 16″ x 20″ and over 6″ tall, this box is massive. The only box that comes to mind that might be bigger is the OGRE Kickstarter.
The box itself has some nice features. The art is classic and well done and the sides and bottom are all done in black fabric.
Underneath the sturdy top box lies a full fabric wrapped case with magnetic latches and metallic lettering and art. As a little side note, the fabric wrapped boxes removes the silly “box fart” that most larger board game boxes encounter. This box can swing in event the most sophisticated parties.
Opening the inner case reveals layered trays to hold all the components. Each tray is divided by a thick art piece that features some great John Howe art and, on the reverse, a guide to putting all the miniatures back in their tray.
Speaking of miniatures, the main draw for this anniversary release was the pre-painted miniatures. These miniatures turned out pretty good for pre-painted but not near the quality of Rackham’s AT-43/Confrontation line or Fantasy Flight’s X-wing. Even the venerable Heroscape might be better in the pre-painted department. I think it the lack of a good wash and the painting attempt was emphasizing multiple painting steps and color options over letting a good wash bring out those details. (click on any of the above images for more detail)
You can see from these close ups of some of the random samplings of figures that, in general, the painting is fine. Some models are easier to paint or lend themselves to this style while others are a little harder to pull of or show what can happen with an assembly line-style painting process. Poor Gimli lost half his face up there with a paint mishap.
After the minis, we get to the print material of the set. Namely, the player cheat sheets, the opaque bag, the slipcase of the rulebook and companion book and the massive playing board. That board takes up almost my entire 3.5′ x 4.5′ game table. The hardback rule and companion books are very well done and bound stylishly as well. I will likely keep these out of the case for casual reading.
A nice little touch to the game board is the foil stamping of the Mount Doom area. It’s hard to see in the image but in person, it stands out.
And of course, the whole thing comes with an authenticity letter claiming my copy is 1 of 2000 printed. Actually number 87 according to the sheet.
I wouldn’t be a game pimper if I didn’t try to pimp even the most pre-pimped game in my collection. I made this alternative bag for the “hunt tiles” a while ago for my original second edition. While the Anniversary Release’s bag is nice, I will probably keep using my original bag.
Last but not least, I also picked up a hand-made, painted custom mount doom for my original version some years ago. It’s nice see that it fits well on this large game board as well.