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Michael Barnes
August 18, 2022
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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August 04, 2022
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Scout Board Game Review

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July 28, 2022
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The Split - Review

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July 21, 2022
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Let's Talk The Hobbit: Strategy Battle Game

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16 Mar 2017 14:43 #245260 by metalface13
The Saturday before last, I met up with a guy I met through Facebook for him to show me the ropes of LOTR/Hobbit. We played and chatted for probably 2-3 hours. The store we met up at is about 35 mins away but has lots of tables and lots of terrain. That part was super awesome. The guy, Kevin, already has a bunch of LOTR minis, most of them painted up. We didn't set up a real battle or anything, we just set up a couple of fights with our guys maybe 12 inches apart and gradually added a few new rules in each time. We played basic Orcs vs. Gondor. Kevin said Gondor is pretty jack-of-all trades, not really bad at anything, not really great at anything, but overall pretty good and capable of a little bit of everything. Sounds about right for vanilla humans in any fantasy setting.

Each turn players roll for priority, on a tie priority goes to the player who didn't have it last. Priority determines who moves first and gets to determine which order fights take place. LOTR is not a rank-and-file wargame like classic Warhammer, it's more like Mordheim, your guys don't have to be within a certain range of each other or anything, they can go anywhere, do whatever they want. That doesn't mean positioning doesn't mean anything. Movement and positioning are actually really impotant. Each miniature fields an imaginary 1-inch radius are control that enemies can't move through or move into unless they mean to attack that model. Spacing is important then to create screens that the enemy can't move through. Yeah, you can't move through enemy models, you also can't move through friendly models.

After the movement phase is the shooting phase. Pretty basic stuff, line of sight is necessary to shoot. Cover is kind of interesting. If you can see part of the model's body you can shoot at it, if it's partially behind cover after your to-hit roll, you roll to see if you hit the obstruction, I think it's 50% chance. Good guys cannot fire into melees. Bad guys can, they don't care if they hit one of their own. Shooting isn't the most effective way to cause casualties as the bows don't have a very high Strength value.

After shooting is the melee phase. In a fight each model rolls dice equal to it's attack. Highest roll wins. Tie-breaker goes to whoever has the highest Fight value. I thought this was interesting because other games I've played either add the fight value to the roll or give you some other bonus. Ditto for charging now that I think of it, but not in LOTR. You don't get a bonus for initiating combat ... unless you're cavalry. Anyways, back to the basic fight, if you win then you roll the number of attack dice in a standard Strength vs. Defense chart. The loser of the combat has to move away 1 inch, regardless if took a wound or not. If it cannot move 1 inch away. then it faces double wound rolls. Back to cavalry, they get a +1 Attack for charging, and if they win they knock your model over and do double wounds to it. Pretty nasty.

There's so more cool stuff to combat, units with spears can support a combat by being in base contact with a friendly model. This adds their number of attacks to the fight. Warriors with shields can shield for a combat and roll two dice, but if they win they don't wound the enemy they have just fended them off. Axes can make a piercing attack, if they win they get to add +D3 to their Strength, if they lose they get -D3 to their Defense. There are also some rules for lances, maces and feints too. We didn't get into those.

Then we played around with Boromir and a Mordor Troll. That introduced Might and Fate to the mix. Heroes have Might, Will and Fate. Will is just for spells and spell effects so we didn't go into that. Fate gives you a reroll when you get wounded. Might means you can add +1 to any die roll for 1 pt of Might. Once you have used all your might up it's gone for the game. I also think you can use more than 1 point on a roll, so if you can really pump your rolls up if you want. Boromir was also carrying a banner which somehow benefited my Gondor warriors but I don't remember how. Boromir is really good at fighting lots of guys at once. When he does, he blows on his horn and the enemies have to take a courage test to attack him.

The Mordor Troll is a beast. It can do cool things like if it wins an attack it can pick up a model and through it at other models, anything in the path of the thrown model takes hits too. It can also do a barge where it throws off everyone surrounding it and then charge into another model and just do straight damage. Also it causes terror and my Gondor guys have to make Courage tests to attack it.

All in all, I thought it was pretty cool. Different enough from other systems I've played. Things like rolling all your attacks for the to-wound roll kept throwing me off. I can see how positioning and movement are really important. Kevin described it as a chess match, which I can see. He said that he really likes LOTR because unlike 40k, any army is viable and it's more about your tactics than just list-building. We talked about playing Battle Companies and he said he's got 2 other guys who are willing to play. He said he's roommates from one of the guys who moved here from DC and was part of the DC Hobbit League groups and he helped write the updated Battle Companies rules. I'm really excited for that.

Of course I'm getting interested in a game that GW barely supports these days, but any F:ATties been fans of the LOTR/Hobbit game?
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16 Mar 2017 17:40 #245267 by southernman
Sounds quite similar to the LotR Combat Hex game from 10+ years ago apart from this uses the tabletop distance mechanic and the other was on a hex map. Initiative, Movement, Shooting, Melee (LotR hex had a cool 'chaining' melee mechanic) with lots of character special abilities (and Cave Trolls !), I enjoyed it as it went quickly and didn't involve learning volumes of rules books - so this sounds a neat way into some tabletop stuff.

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16 Mar 2017 21:49 - 16 Mar 2017 21:50 #245268 by Michael Barnes
I just have the Escape from Goblin Town starter but it has the full rules. It is a really neat system, and it is very versatile. It can handle heavily story-driven games with just a few characters or big army battles. It definitely plays differently than WHFB or AoS.

I really like the rule that only bad guys will shoot into melee...that's a fun detail. The roll-offs are good. I especially like how combat causes displacement too- this is particularly significant in Goblin Town where you are fighting on wooden bridges and can push folks off.

The models are very nice, and very different from other GW stuff. They are true scale, and they have very characterful detail. Bilbo really looks like Martin Freeman. I've painted most of the dwarves and they are just really pleasant to work with.

I would maybe like to get into it more, but interest around me is zero and most of the line isn't available anymore.

Goblin Town is a really good standalone game though.
Last edit: 16 Mar 2017 21:50 by Michael Barnes.
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17 Mar 2017 09:53 #245287 by metalface13
Yeah, I really like how the loser backs off in combat, it seems a bit fiddly at first, but it really makes the combat feel like a whirling melee rather than models standing in the same place while you roll dice back and forth. It also gives the opportunity to move guys around to engage with different units or pull units off another unit etc, without incurring a penalty for breaking combat. How you place your guys and move your guys really does feel more tactical compared to other minis games I've played (granted that's pretty much summed up by 40k 2nd Edition, Necromunda and Mordheim).

I also like how the different weapons have different strategic purposes rather than just different stat profiles. You can parry with a shield giving you 2 dice in combat but if you win you don't roll to wound, you've just ensured your survival. Axes can do piercing strike, which if you choose to do gives you a d3 strength bonus to wound if you win the combat but is a negative d3 to your defense if you lose the fight. Spears and pikes for supporting units, etc. Cool stuff.

The models are really nice, especially the new Hobbit ones, although more expensive. I do think prefer heroic-scale weapons though as I think they read better on the tabletop.
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