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The Lord of the Rings:

The Fellowship of the Ring, A Strategy Battle Game

Reviewed by D. Andrew Ferguson ©2002

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

Overview:

The Fellowship of the Ring boxed set contains 48 miniatures (detailed below), 4 dice, a 128 page rulebook, a set of plastic ruins, an offer for a free Bilbo Baggins miniature, and a contest form to win a set of expertly painted miniatures of the Fellowship. 

The Miniatures:

The 48 plastic 25mm miniatures that come in the boxed game consist of 24 Good warriors (8 Men of Gondor with swords and shields, 8 High Elves with two-handed weapons, and 8 High Elves with bows), and 24 Evil warriors (8 Moria Goblins with swords and shields, 8 Moria Goblins with spears, and 8 Moria Goblins with bows).  

The quality and detail of these plastic miniatures is great, and most are on par with the best work that Games Workshop (GW) has done.  I, however, had the unfortunate experience of having two goblins on one of my sprues being slightly malformed; this was corrected by a quick call to GW who then sent me a whole new sprue of goblins.  One of the other things that I found a bit weird was that the plastic miniatures with shields also had rather large areas built up where the shields plugged into the miniature. 

Available in a separate boxed set, The Fellowship contains 9 metal miniatures (of slightly bigger scale than the plastic ones) covering all of the characters in the movie (no matter how short their on-screen time).   The game can be played with the contents of the boxed set, or with any combination of Lord of The Rings miniatures (all plastic, all metal, or a mix).

 The Rules:

The rules of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, A Strategy Battle Game, are very simple and easy to learn, especially for those experienced in any of the GW games.  Warriors have six statistics, while Heroes also have three heroic traits, they are: 

General Statistics:

Fighting: This is a measure of how well a warrior can use their weapons.  This stat has two values, one for melee weapons, and one for bows.

Strength: This stat determines how strong a warrior is and how easily they can wound an enemy model.

Defence: This is a measure of how well protected the warrior is; it takes many things into account such as training and armor.  Experienced GW fans will recognize this as a combination of Toughness, and Armor Save.

Attacks: This indicates how many attacks a model can make in a turn and therefore how many wounds it can inflict on an enemy.

Wounds: This is a measure of how tough a warrior is and how many times they can be wounded before succumbing.

Courage: This is used to determine how brave a warrior is when faced with danger.  

Heroic Traits:

Might: Might allows heroes to do Heroic actions such as moving before other models, shooting first, or resolving combat first. 

Will: This allows the hero to use any magical powers that they have (if they have any) or to resist magical powers.

Fate: This helps to protect a hero from harm.  Anytime that a hero is wounded they can spend a point of fate and roll a die to see if they recover the wound.  

Melee Combat

Most combats are between two combatants; there can be two or more fighting a single model, but the rules state that they should be broken up into the smallest possible combats.  When working out combat each warrior rolls a d6 for each attack (most warriors only have one attack, and in a multiple combat each combatant can roll a die) the side with the highest single number wins that combat.  So in a combat between an Elf and a Goblin the one who has the highest die roll wins, in cases of a tie, the combatant with the highest fight score wins.  Once the winner is determined it is time to resolve the combat.  At this stage the winner has a chance to wound or kill the opponent.  In this case the winner refers to a chart that references strength to toughness and sees what number they must roll on a d6 to wound.  If they roll that number or higher they inflict a wound and if the model has no more wounds it dies. 

Ranged Combat:

When firing a bow the model refers to the second value of its fight score and must roll that number or higher to hit when firing a bow.  For example, Legolas has a Fight score of 6/3+ meaning that he would have to roll a 3 or higher (on a d6) to hit. 

There are also rules for movement, terrain, and various other things that one would expect to be included in a miniature battle game. 

Game Play:

There are several ways that this game can be played.  Like other GW games the players can set point totals to "purchase" models for their army, or the players can use the scenarios that are in the book.  For example, the rulebook contains scenario rules for re-enacting the battle in Balin's Tomb, the Battle of Amon Hen, or any of the battles that took place in the movie.  Once a scenario is chosen the opponents set up the battle board according to the scenario rules and then fight using the scenario specific rules.  One of the common rules when using The Fellowship is that the evil side wins if Frodo dies.  This helps to maintain the power balance, as the members of the Fellowship are very expensive points-wise (without any additional equipment Aragorn costs 175 points, while a Moria Goblin costs a mere 4 points). 

Expandability:

This game is highly expandable because there is a large range of miniatures and scenarios, and players can also create their own scenarios.  As the next two movies are released, Games Workshop will release other miniatures and updated versions of the game that will cover the new characters and scenarios.  Another great thing about the game is that the miniatures can also be used for roleplaying. 

Conclusion:

This game is fun and exciting and any Lord of The Rings fan will appreciate how much work went into tailoring the game. It is a vast improvement over Games Workshop's other skirmish games; the rules are easier, game play is quicker, and the miniatures are wonderfully crafted. The Lord of the Rings miniature game and line are a much better value for price than other Games Workshop games.  The boxed game is $59 Canadian ($39.99 USD), and the Fellowship boxed set is $64 Canadian ($39.99 USD). 

 

Editor's Note: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, A Strategy Battle Game is produced by Games Workshop. More information on the game can be found at the Games Workshop  Lord of the Rings website:   http://www.games-workshop.com/lotr/lotr.us

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