Thanks to Green Books staff member Ostadan for sending this along:

A recent USENET article from one of Knizia’s leading playtesters.

The release date is Essen this year (so end of October), always has been to my knowledge. I suspect that Fantasy Flight will release the American edition about the same time.

With this expansion you will be able to play a number of different formats.
Basic + F&F [Friends and Foes]
Basic + Sauron
Basic + F&F + Sauron
You can now double the combinations as you can play with or without the Dark Events option (evil laugh….) on all four of the above. There should also be the Dark Gate (name may change) option to use with the F&F as well.

Then there is the Extreme version (start Sauron on 10 and game is lost if *any* Hobbit is eliminated plus Ring needs to be dunked in Mt Doom). Just a little more difficult 🙂 Dark Gate will make the military victory a little harder to achieve with the F&F expansion.

Please note that the above is based on the last playtest sessions, the final release may be different. We will have to wait until the official release announcements are made before we know for sure.