Have you seen pics from Cubicle 7 of the new Lord of the Rings role-playing game, The One Ring?
Well, take a look.
I'm a sucker for nice presentations, and the pics alone make me want to add this to the collection. The dice in the next-to-last picture are nice, though I think I would rather use Q Workshop "Elven" dice. The maps look nice, and I guess that's to be expected. You just can't have a Tolkien game and not have gorgeous cartography.
It reminds me of their Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space boxed set, which included some equipment cards, blue dice, and a sheet of "story points." I enjoy boxed sets with props and extra bits (anyone seen my small collection of 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay?). I can see myself getting The One Ring just for the cool bits.
Am I interested in playing in a Middle-Earth setting? The usual argument about playing in a setting like that is that all the cool stuff has already been done. I never quite got into LoTR gaming, but I blame the people who introduced me to LoTR gaming...rabid fanboys who forced their own love of the setting on the players, and punished any deviation from their image. I've had the same problem with Dragonlance, Star Wars, Serenity, Star Trek, Forgotten Realms, Call of Cthulhu...same as most gamers, I imagine.
If you love a piece of literature or fiction like that, enough to want to run a game in that setting, then you are going to want to spread that love to the rest of the layers. You want them to be as rabid about the things you love about the setting as you are. But then, you get folks who want to play quick-drawing space pirates in a Starfleet-based Star Trek game, or are playing Forgotten Realms just to kill Elminster*. Things just don't work, and you declare that they just don't get your artistic vision or some such thing.
I ran a Star Wars game for a few years. The players played it like they were CIA agents in the early 1980's. They spent a great deal of their time destabilizing planetary governments, making propaganda videos, assassinating heads of state, organizing military coups...nothing at all very Star Wars like. There were no heroic Jedi Knights fighting to restore the glory of the Old Republic. This was the kind of story we wanted to build together. And we spent a lot of time sitting, talking about what we all wanted to do with the story. And we built it all together. If I were more of a rabid Star Wars fanboy, I'd be upset. But they wanted to do what they wanted to do with the setting, and I had to be cool with that.**
So I hope that people have fun with The One Ring, and make their stories their own. Best way to make it succeed.
*And can you blame them?
** As said during one LARP: "The rest of us are playing Call of Cthulhu, and Tony's playing Kult."