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"Reviving LoTR" Topic

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1,382 hits since 5 Sep 2012
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Comments or corrections?

evilleMonkeigh Inactive Member05 Sep 2012 3:07 a.m. PST

Inspired by cheap minis on ebay, I've recently gone on a LoTR kick and am enjoying myself.

No wonder the game seems to be dying off (like Bloodbowl, Mordhiem, Man O War, Epic etc) – failed games on GW are like failed TV shows on Fox – the better ones are swept under the rug…


and thoughts on the rules here

Chris B Inactive Member05 Sep 2012 6:10 a.m. PST

GW will be reviving the game soon. The Hobbit is coming out in a few months…

Personal logo Thomas Whitten Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2012 6:18 a.m. PST

Except that GW has been actively selling and promoting LoTR for the past almost 11 years and there will be resurgence once the next Jackson trilogy comes out. So I'm not sure it is specialist material yet. That said, I don't understand the lack of interest by the gaming community. (And this pretty much why there are no LoTR games on the shelves locally. Very few of us were buying the game.) GW did their part. Up until this spring, there have been new GW models released regularly.

Still, I'm a big fan of the figures though I only find rules only ok. It is great to see people playing none-the-less.

Thanks for the links.

XRaysVision05 Sep 2012 7:34 a.m. PST

LotR:SBG is a lot fun, plays smoothly, and is well supported…not in the US. The game seems to be a popular in the rest of the world but didn't make it in the US market.

It's a shame, really, it's a good game with good miniatures. I think that one the reasons for lack of success, besides the fickleness of the US market, was that the system was poorly understood initially.

I would like to see it make a come back in the US, but I think too much time has passed and the US just is not the target market for this particular game.

John Leahy05 Sep 2012 7:45 a.m. PST

I agree with Thomas. I really like the figs and own loads. The rules were bland at best. The mechanics were interesting. However, they provided about zero LOTR flavor for anything other than actions involving the Fellowship. You cannot (regardless of what some folks will try and say) fight large battles with the SBG in 3-4 hours. This seems to have been a massive oversight on GW's part. Provide loads of cheap and nice plastics but no rules to use them. They finally did by bringing out the new set. however, it was too little, too late for most fans. That set has never seemed to have caught on.

That is why you don't see it being played much.



CPBelt05 Sep 2012 8:12 a.m. PST

The metals are crazy expensive, even on ebay! Plus the metals can tower over the plastics.

I agree with John. The rules are way too bland (simplistic). Because everyone has a 50/50 chance of hitting in melee, GW has to tack on a bunch of other mechanics and special rules so Aragorn doesn't get taken down in turn 1 by a lowly one-legged Goblin. They stripped down their Mordheim system for the mass market of non-gamers, and it shows IMO. Of course, play it if you like it. Then again, people love Monopoly. Go figure. :-)

evilleMonkeigh Inactive Member05 Sep 2012 1:42 p.m. PST

John. I think trying to fight a massive battle kind of misses the point of LOTR. They are based 1:1 and each figure moves independently; mass battles is what War of the Ring (which I cynically view as being made to sell more figures) is for. Personally I like being able to have a full faction for under $100. USD

I think GW probably would have torpedoed LOTR years ago but for some sort of licencing deal with New Line making it impossible. That said, the joint use of metric throughout suggests a more European focus?

I initially dismissed the rules as very bland and "toss a coin" especially melee but the "better fighter wins ties" is more powerful that I thought given that you only tend to wound on a 5 or 6, meaning there is usually several rounds of combat. It also makes outnumbering (having extra attacks) more powerful and organising how your models will fight more important than having omgBleeped textpwn stats and simply pushing them into the middle of the board.

John Leahy05 Sep 2012 3:50 p.m. PST

Hi EM. the problem is that LOTR IS all about large battles. Yeah, when the Fellowship set came out based on Heroes SBG did a solid job. The problem is that after that the movie and the books are totally focused on large battles which the SBG does not handle. War of the Ring (which I own) is not widely played. It has some editing, clarity and balance issues. I love the scope envisioned with them. You just can't find anyone playing them.

When the difference between an Elf and an Orc is minimal any flavor is zip. That applies throughout the rules. I have long searched for a set that will handle large actions like the books and movies. I have found a few and enjoy Armies of Arcana. It uses individually based figs. i fought a small action with my son and a good friend. We had 300 figs plus on the table which was a small game. It lasted 2-2.5 hours.

Considering the exposure the SBG rules have had from being in so many retail outlets along with the decade plus of play they should be a pretty universal set. The fact that they aren't speaks volumes about them. Maybe given the new movie and loads more support that may change. I doubt it. Don't get me wrong. As a generic set for non-LOTR, they are ok. But for LOTR they don't make the grade.




evilleMonkeigh Inactive Member05 Sep 2012 11:48 p.m. PST

Fair call. I haven't tried WoTR – I don't enjoy painting a zillion identical units.

I think the flavour comment is fair. In a modern game having all humanoids bar the heroes with similar stats… fine – but we kinda expect more radical variety in a fantasy game. Is it because we expect giant lizards and undead tomb kings with radical rules and wildly differing stats?

But is it that unfaithful to the books (and more particularly) the movies on which they are based? What is the main difference between an orc and a man of Minas Tirith? I agree we expect more flavour – but should there be?

I think LOTR is dying but is that because it is marketed to the wrong audience: usual teen GW fanbase want more army-list-uberness + iwin magic + radical WFB beasts etc?

I.e. the same engine as a cowboy or pirate game (Legends of the Old West/High Seas) goes without comment as a different audience is playing it…

I'm far from a GW apologist (this is the first GW game I've played for 5 years) but I think it is a tad underrated compared to its 40k and WFB brethren. Whether it is superior to a TFL game or SAGA etc is another story…

religon Inactive Member06 Sep 2012 5:46 a.m. PST

It is always nice to find an overlooked gem of a game that you enjoy. You seem to have played the rules enough to appreciate some rewarding aspects of combat and resource management that are not readily apparent in a casual reading of the rules. I would not worry about the perception that the game is dying. Perhaps it is off the brick-and-mortar shelves in some regions and countries, however the game is still widely played. The new movies will cause a resurgence of play in game stores for at least 2013 an 2014. Between eBay and your FLGS, there will continue to be more LOTR toys than you have money. You will find willing opponents for years to come.

Locally, LOTR SBG remains one of the most popular miniatures games played at conventions. The most recent miniatures gaming convention featured 7 such games of the roughly 80 games played. To my knowledge, only the WFB tournament and the Warmachine tournament allowed for more opportunity to play a single set of rules, and those could only be participated in through a competitive tournament format. Inquisition was the only other game with more than one scenario game. Inquisition had two sessions with two different scenarios.

Some enjoyable games just seem to continue to be played long after the economic value to the publisher has diminished: DBA, BattleTech, Blood Bowl, Full Thrust and TSATF off the top of my head. Much to the dismay of the nay-sayers, LOTR SBG is in that category. None of the rules to these games are perfect. All could have been exploited more effectively by their publisher. But, gamers find rules they enjoy and continue to play with them. We seem to be clever that way.

John Leahy06 Sep 2012 5:59 a.m. PST

Hey guys. I don't disagree with most of what you said. However, no other set of rules mentioned has EVER received the exposure to gamers that the SBG has. 10's of thousands of gamers got the opportunity to see and try the rules. They also have had over a decade to do so. That makes them unlike any other set. I actually think TSATF that you mention is more popular and widely played. I have no doubt that there are areas where they (SBG) are played. However, I do not believe they are widely played. Used for human on human combat I think they are more appropriate.

I'm sure there will be a bump in their popularity with the Hobbit movies being released (unless they bomb). Long term I see no reason to believe that there will be any real increase in popularity. If the original trio of movies and GW's massive LOTR releases couldn't make the SBG rules popular then what will change now? I remember when they were first released. Everyone was playing them. I played them. Our group played them. But long term everyone dropped them. They just didn't give us what we were looking for in a LOTR set.

Maybe that will change. Based on past results I tend to doubt it.




evilleMonkeigh Inactive Member06 Sep 2012 10:29 p.m. PST

I wouldn't say LOTR even makes my top 5 games tbh; but it is simple, fun, and easy to play and find minis cheaply for. Also, I find it easy to find opponents as they recognise the rule mechanics and minis.

I also see no long term success beyond a bump for the Hobbit movies. My prediction: Specialist Game by 2016. Since it is tied to the Tolkien world, new release factions and "codexes" are a hard sell. The small model count (30-50) for a SBG faction also limits GW's profits.

I guess what interests me is: why DIDN'T they find success? (Compared to 40K and WFB).

I know when first got it I got just the Moria box set, played it a few times, and dismissed it as "coin flipping easymode 40K" whereas now I appreciate it more… but I'm sure others who got deeper into it and abandoned it will have better insight. and different reasons…

Be curious to hear your thoughts.

John Leahy09 Sep 2012 10:40 a.m. PST

The mechanics aren't bad. Given the right genre they can be a good fit. I stand by my assertion that they simply provided no flavor for LOTR. For decades players have used fantasy rules that have treated each race differently. Elves, Orcs and so on all have various advantages or sometimes disadvantages. The SBG doesn't give players that. I was excited about trying the rules. But after doing so I was left unsatisfied. I'm pretty sure that I was not alone in that perception.



Kropotkin30314 Oct 2012 2:06 a.m. PST

I have been playing SBG to fight the Goblin Wars in underground tunnels with the dwarves attempting to destroy the goblins. The rules work well and the fights are very close and exciting. There is an endless spawn option that gives the goblins a good deal of flavour.Added to that you can use a goblin tactic of being able to climb without hinderance(but I don't use that as I don't think it reflects the nature of armoured troops well.)So while the forces can seem to be vanilla initially there are a number of special rules (traits) that can add flavour. I also like the fact that they are skermish rules and the "push back" rule where the loser of initial combat steps back. This can add a lot of disruption to a battle line which is,I think, a good representation of what happens once melee is joined.

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