'War of the Ring' and 'One Ring' Designer on the Problems of Adapting Tolkien to Tabletop

10 years ago, what is widely considered one of the finest games of last decade was released. The One Ring released to a slew of industry awards and robust sales for a young company called Cubicle 7 (now publishing Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay’s fourth edition) and it was a joy to play. Designer Francesco Nepitello came from board games, where he’d designed the equally well-regarded War of the Ring, a sprawling attempt to model the entire war. He applied his boardgame chops to the RPG sphere, creating an elegant take on Middle-earth which, in actual play, resembles the ticking of an intricate watch as its various mechanics link up around a specific Tolkien-esque form of fiction. It’s a game where travel is the most important thing you do, where friendship is a power all its own, and the danger of the Shadow isn’t just that you’ll be ambushed by spiders but that your inner voice will drive you to become grasping and jealous of those same friends, until you wander off into the mountains alone, just as Gollum did.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/dy8qkk/interview-war-of-the-ring-one-ring-designer-francesco-nepitello