The Lord of the Rings Recall Game Milton Bradley

The Lord of the Rings Recall Game from Milton Bradley (1978)

Company: Milton Bradley | Release date: 1978 | Ages: 4-10 | Where to buy: eBay

Released in 1978 from Milton Bradley, the Lord of the Rings Recall Game used characters and objects from J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels to strengthen recognition skills and memory recall.


The goal of the game was to be the player to match the most pairs of illustrated cards. Characters represented included Frodo, Gandalf, Treebeard, Legolas, Gollum, Nazgul, Saruman, Bilbo, Pippin, Boromir, Merry, and others. The illustrations were inspired by the 1978 animated Ralph Bakshi-directed film version of the tale.

To play, the cards were removed from the storage tray and placed on a table, face down, in 12 rows with nine cards in each row.

Players took turns turning over two cards at a time in hopes of getting a match. The cards were to be fully turned over so all players could see the illustrations.

If a match was made, the player took the matching pair out of the game, laid them in front of them, and continued to play until they failed to make a match. When no match was made, the unmatched cards were returned face down and the player to the left began their turn. The game continued in this pattern until all cards were paired.

The player with the most matched pairs won the game. Winning came down to careful attention and precise recall. To make the game friendlier to younger players, a fewer number of cards could be played during a game, making recall a little easier.


A complete game included a plastic storage tray divided into four columns and three rows, and 108 illustrated cards. Instructions were printed on the inside of the box.


The delicate nature of a vintage game created mostly from cardboard, and the sheer number of illustrated cards, make finding a complete game in mint condition a tall order. For those who just want to play the game, substitute cards are easy enough to create at home but collectors may need to compile a complete game from multiple editions.

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