Monday, January 12, 2015

Why NOW I would start "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings"

So I have advocated heavily against these games in the past. But I may have had a change of heart recently. I think at the same time now though so has GW, unfortunately in reverse of what I would have considered.

So the Lord of the Rings had it success back in the day. The problem was the game was a product of the movies and lost momentum as the movies became older. Additionally, alot of the "cool" aspects of a Wargame in Middle Earth were missing. Hordes of Mordor versus the legions of Gondor or the Tide of Rohan. But the game was a Skirmish Game instead, focusing on the fights between heroes, and only well after the movies were gone did they try to make it a battle game with their War of the Ring Expansion, which seemed to actually bring some interest back to the game.

BUT then they did the Hobbit and went back to their old skirmish model. What is unfortunate in particular this time is the price went up, and this was the source material they had to work with:
It didn't even work in CGI. Let alone this mini:
To be honest, David Bowie as a Goblin King is better than that.
But now that Battle of Five Armies is out, the have a PLETHORA of potential for miniatures. I almost wondered if during the movie if particular certain things were designed with a model in mind. I can tell you that if a Dwarves of the Iron Hills Army was made I WOULD BUY IT AND PAINT IT. If for nothing else than the pleasure of owning that army.
Unfortunately, other than a handful of heroes, all quietly released, I have seen nothing for this game system.

The problem is until BoFA, the Hobbit world didn't support a battle system because the story didn't. No one wanted to play the Escape from Goblin Town game because no one wanted to play the story of the escape from Goblin Town. They wanted to play Balin's battles in Moria, or Pelinor Fields, or the Last Alliance OR THE BATTLE FOR FIVE ARMIES.
If they would pack up Army Sets and just release a core rule book called "Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game" WITH War of the Ring rules in it. This way you can play either Skirmish or Battle. Then make several army sets for the different factions. It will sell. Removing the particular movies from the context (instead of LotR, or Hobbit Unexpected Journey, etc. etc.) opens it up more to new players more as they know they are getting the total Tolkien world, not just an aspect of it. Add in 4-5 faction books (Kingdoms of Men, Shadow of Mordor, Elves, Dwarves, Fallen Realms) and you have it. Go with box sets rather than just clampacks and you would have more interest.
FURTHERMORE with all the rumoured changes to Warhammer Fantasy Battles with 9th edition, you would have a possibly attractive alternative to people that want to jump ship but not go Sci-Fi with 40k. Right now they have Malifaux and the Iron Kingdoms of Warmahordes to run to for that, and if the rumors are true I think many people will.

Alas though, this survivable way forward for the game will fall on deaf years and it will fade away like specialist games and have a core dedicated fan base. I will keep an eye out over the years to see if someone finally does my Iron Hills armies in miniatures. I just can tell GW has lost interest and likely won't.