Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Little Lightweight For Me, But The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit Is Still Worthwhile!

The Good: Great layout and graphics, Player tokens are MUCH easier than the originals, Inexpensive (now!)
The Bad: A lot of the questions are a bit too easy.
The Basics: Despite some questions that are a little easy for geeks and cinephiles who have watched The Lord Of The Rings a lot, this Trivial Pursuit is a great game!

For those who might not follow my many, many reviews, I have a great love of the Peter Jackson cinematic adaptations of The Lord Of The Rings (reviewed here!) and I quite love games. That is probably why, a few years back, I fell in love with The Lord Of The Rings RISK (reviewed here!). So when a friend of mine insisted that every real adult has a Trivial Pursuit board, I decided if I was going to succumb to such a banal form of peer pressure, I would at least make it fit my style. So, when I came across The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit Movie Trilogy Collector's Edition, I knew this was the right game for me!

Having played The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit several times now, I suspect that there are two ways to view the game, as a normal person and as a geek. I'm not a normal person: I am a geek, proud and sure. As one of the people who watches things like The Lord Of The Rings over and over again, with all of the different commentary tracks, I'm versed in it. If it appeared in the movies, odds are I know it because, well, I'm a geek. I suspect that a review of this product would be germane from a non-geek perspective as well, but as they say, you've got to dance with the Hobbit who brought you!


Trivial Pursuit is a ridiculously popular game from Parker Brothers where players answer questions in six different categories in an attempt to illustrate mastery of knowledge in a variety of subjects. Moving around a board with a wagon wheel design, players advance to spaces based upon the roll of a die which compels them to answer a question based upon the color of the space they choose to land on (the average role of the die allows players to move in one of three directions: forward or backward on the wheel or up one of the "spokes" through the center). At the base of each "spoke" is a larger space with a pie-wedge symbol in one of the six colors of the question categories. Answering the question correctly on that spot earns the player a scoring wedge.

The goal of Trivial Pursuit is to collect one of each scoring wedges on the player's token, then return to the center of the board and answer a final question of the opponent's choosing. Success at that wins the game. Trivial Pursuit is intended for two to four players or teams and it generally works best with adults. The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit is marked as intended for adults, but one supposes the younger geeks could get into it, too.

The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit is differentiated from standard Trivial Pursuit by the board, playing pawns, and questions. The game board is essentially the same as the standard board save that the coloring is given a more classic, firelit quality, so it looks like it was made on a parchment of some sort. As well, the iconography reflects the sensibilities of Middle Earth, with things like trees, harps, and leaves instead of bicycles and the likes on the standard Trivial Pursuit board.

The questions in The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit are broken down into categories appropriate for Middle Earth and The Lord Of The Rings. As a result, the categories in this edition of Trivial Pursuit include: Good (green), Evil (blue), Things (orange), Places & History (red), Warfare (yellow) and Behind-the-Scenes (brown). So, for example, when one lands on a blue space, they might have to answer the question "How many Wargs survive the battle and flee after their attack on the Rohan refugees?" Or, landing on a brown space might yield the question "What animal's sounds were used to create the groan for the lake beast outside Moria?" (Both of those were from card 145, by the way). This is basically the test for the geeks when they get together (for something other than watching DVDs).


The "pawns" as they are called in The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit are made of pewter for this edition. There are four different pewter pawns (Frodo, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn) and the sculpts are different enough to allow for easy differentiation of the players. The clever thing about these pawns is how the gimmick improves the playability. One of the pains in the butt for Trivial Pursuit players has always been how the scoring wedges fit into the playing pawn. In The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit, the pewter pawns are attached to plastic bases. This necessitated a different shape scoring wedge and these wedges slide into the plastic base with ease and have a tab that makes them easier to remove at the end of the game.

In addition to the four pewter pawns, there is a Ringwraith pawn that can be added for a side game, which I've never bothered to play. There is also a replica of the One Ring that is far too small for any adult's finger. The game also comes with the die needed to play.


Trivial Pursuit is remarkably easy to play and The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit is no exception to that. Everything needed for the game comes right in the box, the rulebook is exceptionally easy to understand and the box of questions comes with a deck of three hundred different cards, so this is a game one may return to again and again for quite some time before they truly get sick of it. In this case, it is fun and geeky and that is pretty wonderful.


The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit has mild collectible value to fans of the films and the The Lord Of The Rings books. At the time, it appeared that this was overproduced in such a way that it went from its inflated initial price down to clearance racks everywhere. Now, in the secondary market, interest is growing again and one suspects that when The Hobbit is released, this might be a collectible people want to hunt down. Until then, geeks just tend to enjoy playing it, not collecting it.


The Lord Of The Rings Trivial Pursuit tends to be fun, but as a real geek, the questions are often a bit too easy for me. I like playing it, but the first time I played it, I played against a friend who I had stomped pretty mercilessly in The Lord Of The Rings RISK (I make no apologies, I'm the Alpha there!) and equally terrifically in Pirates Of The Caribbean Monopoly (twice, in a row, after she bragged about never losing Monopoly and me giving her the board as a gift). She got to roll the die three times before I won the game. This is not ideal for a kind game when you're trying to play nice with a friend. Unless you want to play dumb.

But then, that's not what Trivial Pursuit is for.

For other The Lord Of The Rings products, please check out my reviews of:
The Lord Of The Rings Novel Trilogy
The Fellowship Of The Ring Trading Card Game
The Lord Of The Rings pinball


For other toy and game reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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