Lord of the Rings. The Confrontation is a two player, quick, fun, strategy game that’s definitely not co-op.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Reiner Kenisa Lord of the Rings games. I had the first two and the whole co-op thing didn’t light my palantir. This is a different beast. Straight in, Mano et Mano, bare minimum of kissing.
The game sees you as either the fellowship trying to sneak Frodo into Mordor or ‘the lads’ trying to kill Frodo or less likely get three of your dudes into the shire. Both locations are at opposite ends of the map so it’s going to be a struggle
The Trick to this game is the subterfuge. Your characters are only visible to you. The other side of the stand they’re on is opaque, so you spend your time double and triple guessing your opponent. Each character has a special ability. Pippin kills the witch king if they meet in combat. Sean Bean kills both himself and whomever the opponent is in combat. The Nazgul can attack anywhere on the map and so on. It’s pretty balanced. I couldn’t find any massive advantage on either side even though they are a good bit different. The fellowship tend to be a bit weaker in fights but make up for it with their special abilities. The Sauron forces are militarily more powerful but really need to root out Frodo to have a chance.
The map is split into a dozen or so regions massaged to fit the diamond shaped board and every turn without fail you have to march forward on of your units. Most regions can only support two units (one in the mountains) so like checkers it’s a gravitational pull towards the opponents side and just like checkers it’s a one way trip. With some exceptions, units can’t move backwards
Battles kick off when one unit moves into a square containing an enemy piece. Both are revealed, their special ability applied and their combat strengths compared. Secretly players pick attack cards from their small (have to burn through them all first before they recycle) deck of combat cards and the winner stands while the loser exits stage left. It’s fast and brutal.
There’s a few cards like retreat or ignore other players card text so there’s a bit of variety. Card counting is essential
There’s also a nice bit of variety. The game comes with basic rules. Extra rules for magic cards and alternative characters so there’s considerable variety in here.
There’s a real one more go about this game. You’ll get it played it twenty minutes. I played a half dozen games recently against the one opponent, each of them close and each of us demanding a replay having called into question the winners parentage
If you’re looking for a good solid two player and you’re a Lord of the rings fan this will serve admirably.