Why I love The Hobbit Strategy Game

Posted: May 22, 2014 in Gaming
Tags: , ,

As I’ve mentioned a few times, my hobby these last 18 months or so has been focused on The Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit strategy game.

I’ve always been a massive Tolkien fan. But when I first played the game, back when I was on White Dwarf, I wasn’t very impressed, it seemed the key to winning was rolling a lot of sixes − not very tactical. I had to paint a force up to go in the magazine, and nothing robs the joy from painting toy soldiers faster than having to do it. On top of that, I was still on my infamous losing streak. 21 defeats in a row, at every game I tried. Ten years later it still gets brought up. I amassed a small collection of select models, and left it at that.

Fast forward to last year, and I was going through my models, thinking about streamlining my collection via eBay (never go round to it). I was about to box up my LOTR figures when I thought, actually, these are really beautiful models. Completely coincidentally, the guys at my gaming club decided to start a LOTR campaign that very week. I got hooked. I’ve re-read the books again, taking those as the guide for my games rather than the films.

So why do I love it? Having discovered the strategic wrinkles in the game, I now believe it to be one of the finest rules systems I’ve ever played. Simple, elegant, with just enough depth to provide real challenge. I enjoy the focus on single models, and the ability to combine them how I wish in an army.

Then there are the models themselves, obviously the prime motivator in any toy soldiering, which are just gorgeous. Something about the more realistic scaling of them really appeals to me. I love the heroic stylings of GW’s other models (more or that later), but I like variety, and the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings range is especially pleasing. I’d go so far as to say among them are some of the best models they’ve ever made. Being less heavily adorned with skulls, scrolls, bottles, insignia etc, they’re quicker to paint too. Important to me, as painting is the key part of my hobby and I lavish equal attention on every model, so it takes me a long time to finish an army.

I’ve been enjoying a few skirmish games recently (including Dark Ages game Saga, which I finally got round to playing a year after I bought the rules). As with all small-scale rules-sets, you don’t need many models to make a game-worthy force in LOTR. Paradoxically, this has made me spend loads more money than usual, as I keep getting new warbands. A big bonus was that I could carry a couple of armies and themed scenery up the hill to the village no problem. We were gaming in the pub, and I like beer with my war so refused to drive. I could manage one of my smaller 40k armies, but my massive Warhammer Night Goblin army was nearly out of the question.

As I’ve been writing so much 40k over the last year, I suppose Warhammer 40,000 became a bit of a busman’s holiday. I needed a rest from it, resulting in too few games to keep up with the proliferating special rules coming out with the new generation of codexes, and was getting routinely spanked every time I had a battle. Being a sore loser undoubtably played a part.

Lastly, there’s that collector’s urge. This is an important part of wargaming, but with LOTR it’s especially pronounced. GW have produced a lot of models for LOTR, many for a very short period of time. I getting the real geek sweats when I track down rare models on eBay.

So, last year I bought and painted a lot of LOTR models. However, I’m very excited about the new 40k, and have started a new army from scratch, the plan being to paint each purchase before getting more. No bulk buying! I’ll talk about this in a future post. Hopefully, there’ll be pictures as I want to get a proper photography rig set up in my new house.

No, I haven’t moved yet.

  1. Stuart says:

    How much a change is The Hobbit from LOTR, mechanically? I like LOTR (especially in its Legends of the Old West form) but the cost is a bit much to go in blind if t’s not much of a change.

  2. redfox4242 says:

    I love Tolkien as well. It is such a fascinating and rich fantasy setting. I could see myself get totally immersed in the Hobbit Strategy Game. Glad to hear you are enjoying it. 🙂

  3. Gav Thorpe says:

    LOTR has been the GW ruleset I’ve probably used the most in the last few years, getting in a few games of normans vs saxons using the rules for Gondorians and Rohirrim. Easier to set up and finish a game than with WH and 40K at the moment.

    • guyhaley says:

      Funnily enough, I used LOTR to play some Dark Age games too – Saxons versus Vikings. The heroic stuff works quite well for that kind of small-scale, champion led combat.

      If you’re doing Dark Ages gaming, I can’t recommend Saga enough. A great game. When I’m back up North, we’ll have to give it a go.

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