Just picked up the Silverline today. Great buy! From now on, we will only play the original edition when we want to use the expansions. Why don't the expansions work with this one? Well, the cards are a different size and have a different design on the back, so if you add in the expansion cards it will be obvious what cards you and your partners are getting before you get them and while you are holding them (if this is a concern for you). The symbols no longer match up (i.e. - sun, ring, heart tokens are nicer and shields are replaced with runes). The boards are different sizes. If you really wanted to, you could make this work with the expansions, but it would be hard to fit all those battlefield tiles on the new boards, a little awkward to switch out Bree and Isengard since they are bigger in Friends and Foes, and you have to keep straight that if one Gandalf card requires shields and one requires runes, they are talking about the same thing.
Back to the good stuff: This version is a wonderful improvement. The new look is thoroughly enjoyable. Everything is smaller, so it fits better on the table. The rulebook is much easier to understand and even it has a better design. The cards are thinner yet sturdier. The game is about 2/3 the price of the original.
Things I miss: The Sauron and Hobbit pieces which are now replaced with cardboard figures in plastic stands (though these do look pretty nice). The original box with all of its convenient and logical storage is replaced with a simple cardboard similar to those found in the expansions with no real compartments for individual pieces.
The only difference I noticed in the rules is that it makes no specific mention of two player games. In the original, when you received Feature cards (now called Legendary Item cards), from Rivendell and Lothlorien, you were instructed to discard four of them to the box if playing with only two players.
List of changes: Shields are now Runes. Feature cards are now green and called Legendary Item cards. Instead of white and gray Hobbit cards, we now have brown and gray Quest cards. The sun, heart, and ring symbols are much fancier than the original "child's drawing" versions. Wooden cones are replaced with green cardboard circles featuring the white tree of Gondor for marking the paths. The wooden cone used for marking the events is replaced by a cardboard hourglass. The sundial symbol on event tiles (now story tiles) is also replaced with an hourglass. The tree symbol used to represent "hiding" is now a shield. Shield tiles are replaced by square tiles with a picture of a rune and a number designator. Six rune tiles are gold, reminding you to set these aside, upside down, as rewards for getting to the end of the main activity lines (like the big shield in the original). The master board has longer spaces to help fit the new Hobbit pieces and has a lidless eye worked into the corrupted end of the line. Rules are much easier to understand, but the game no longer comes with a score sheet to keep track of your successes and/or failures and your scores. A new rule option I don't remember from the original is in playing a competitive alternate, one player can also win if he/she is in possession of three ring token and meets up with Sauron, signifying he has enslaved you and you're now on "his side". In this case, the enslaved player alone scores any points and the game is over.
I'm very happy with the purchase, and as I said before, this is the version we are going to play from now on unless we want to make use of the expansions, which I hope will be coming along in Silverline version as well. Ideally, they'll but all the expansions in one box and sell them that way.