Action Token War of the Ring is a simple variant for Nexus' War of the Ring. It adjusts game balance to help the Free People. Usually, it is not played with the official expansion.
The nine Action Tokens shown above allow certain actions, and are spent during the main phase of the turn when one would normally be able to spend an action die.
- The Free player may spend an action token only when the Shadow has a greater number of action dice.
- The Shadow may spend an action token only when the Free player has a greater or equal number of action dice.
Note: Action Tokens are not action dice, and therefore can't be the target of effects requiring action dice, such as elven rings.
Like action dice, action tokens are returned to the dice pool at the start of every turn.
There are two subtypes of action tokens: Companion Action Tokens (CATs) and National Action Tokens (NATs).
The Companion Action Token
The Companion Action Token represents the initiative of the Companions once they leave the fellowship.
The CAT becomes available to the Free People on the turn after Mordor goes to war.
It may be spent to perform one of these actions:
- Separate a group of companions from the Fellowship
- Move all companions
- Use Take Them Alive!, Merry & Pippin's escape ability
The National Action Tokens
National Action Tokens represent the initiative of the kingdoms of Middle Earth.
The Shadow starts the game with three National Action Tokens available, one for each of his nations: Mordor, Isengard, and S&E.
The Free People start the game with the Elven National Action Token available. Thereafter, National Action Tokens for the Dwarves, North, Rohan, and Gondor become available the turn after those nations are activated.
A NAT may be spent to perform any of the following actions:
- Move an army containing units of this nation
- Roll a die: on a 4+ advance the nation one step on the political track
- Recruit a regular, leader, or Nazgul
- Play a card concerning the nation, e.g. Faramir's Rangers could be played by the Gondor action token. (For details on which cards, exactly, concern a nation, consult the 3 & 4 player section of the War of the Ring FAQ. Cards playable by "both" players are not playable by NATs.)
Note: political restrictions still apply to these actions, so a nation not yet at war could not use a NAT to muster an army or move into another nation's territory.
Print these tokens:
Another good option is to use the political track markers for the NATs, and use a Gandalf counter for the CAT.
Benefits over official War of the Ring
- Rolling a Will of the West for promotion of Gandalf or Aragorn is no longer necessary for the Free People to win.
- Fewer games are lost to the Shadow rolling unlucky, eye-intensive die rolls.
- Activation matters!
- The Witch King probably shouldn't reveal himself immediately.
- Companions separate more, hike around the map, and take part in more battles.
- Hobbits matter!
- Gandalf the Grey as guide is an excellent strategy.
- Aggressive Free play is rewarded.
- The game balance for expert players is closer to 50-50 than 80-20 Sauron.