I will admit, I was quite skeptical when I heard Cubicle 7 had obtained the license to produce a Lord of the Rings RPG. After all, between the sheer weight of canon associated with Middle Earth and the possibility of it just being another fantasy heart-breaker, it’s a tough game to do well. I’m happy to report that the results are very nice with an attractive pair of books (the Loremaster’s Book for GMs and the Adventurer’s Book for players), filled with lots of beautiful art, a couple of poster maps, and a set of dice. Best yet, the rules are well thought out and designed to invoke the setting rather than simply trying to bolt-on Middle Earth to an existing ruleset. The game is set after the events of The Hobbit, in the region of northern Mirkwood, leaving groups plenty of room to explore and adventure without running up against the impending War of the Ring and environs, with future releases expanding the scope of the setting to encompass more of Middle-earth as the era moves closer to the looming War of the Ring.link
There were two things that finally sold me. First, it was the art. This is a very nice looking book. The grandeur that goes along with the Middle Earth setting deserves this kind of art. John Howe is already famous for some iconic artwork of Middle Earth. That was one major reason. An added note about the art, I'm very glad the art stayed away from photos from the films. I never cared for that look in the previous series. Original and classic looking was a great decision. This book looks so nice!
The other reason was actually a negative point in some other review, but I found it a positive. It was observed that the rules were written for a beginner. I don't consider myself a beginner with RPGs at all. As I said above, still trying to get the hang of these rules so the level of assumed experience is actually appreciated. But the main reason I like this is I do have very young kids who are new to gaming and this was a big selling point for their sakes.
This is my first Middle Earth RPG and I've heard a lot about the previous ones. I can say that this is a very nice game.