Tabletop games of the 21st Century inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien

— David Means

Paper given 13 February 2021 at Tolkien Society 2021 Winter Seminar

Humans have been playing board games for at least 5,000 years. Boards and playing pieces have been excavated from tombs in Mesopotamia and Egypt, some dating back to 3000 BC or earlier. This demonstrates that game-playing is not a modern development. In 1995 Klaus Teuber released The Settlers of Catan (now just Catan), which was the first German game to catch on outside Europe, and really took off in the US. The popularity of Catan and other designer’ board games sparked a revival in board game design in the U.S., and much of it was focused on games with inter-generational appeal. This surge of interest in board games started just before the surge of popularity in Tolkien’s works caused by the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. 

Board game players and fans of J.R.R. Tolkien have something in common: a rich imagination, and the ability to suspend disbelief while they are playing/​reading. At some point it was inevitable that these two fandom streams’ would cross. Each new game that is created can be considered an adaptation (some more successful, some less) of Tolkien’s work, bringing new perspectives to the way we view Prof Tolkien and his legendarium.

Authoritative information may be found here.

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source URL 🌐David Means - ‘The Board Games of J.R.R. Tolkien’ - YouTube
date recorded 📅2022-01-24
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