After yet another humiliating destruction of my Mordor forces in GW’s War of the Ring, I have reached some harsh conclusions…
Here spews forth some vitriolic rambling frustrations in no particular order…
Lord of the Rings – Story & Movies I love them both. A few bits in the movies I didn’t like, but I can live with…
Lord of the Rings – the miniatures games – Arrgh!
Strategy Battle Game: A fun skirmish game with a few figures, but in scenario play it just seems to be line up the cannon fodder bad guys and let the heroes romp through most of them until they run out Might or Fate. And pray the scenario doesn’t call for hills or the figures just keep falling over.
Outside of this, to me Lord of the Rings should be about huge forces clashing, and the Skirmish game never looks right with too few models on the table.
If you DO put enough models on the table for a big battle it just gets so fiddly and time consuming moving all the single figures, it then takes an absolute age to play…
Which brings us to the War of the Ring game.
I had high hopes for this when it came out.
Huge forces clashing together, yippee!
A beautiful glossy eye-candy rich spectacle, and a rarity for GW – all the armies in one book with the rules. So no need to buy more expensive supplements, and have these suffer the dreaded ‘codex creep’.
The game also seemed simple, and quick to resolve and uncomplicated, with enough subtle twist thrown in to make heroes interesting and add an extra exciting dimension to games.
But after many games the reality has sunk in… If this was a computer game it would be called ‘buggy as hell’.
There have been quite a number of discussions on the online forum boards about the rules regarding terrain. What seemed an easy way to handle rules regarding terrain has turned into a mixed up farce with many house ruled interpretations having to be made. Not good.
After this, we have several charismatic units within the game, that due to its mechanics, are relegated to almost zero use. Here I talk about trolls, and other single company restricted formations that simply cannot keep up with the rest of the army as it moves.
And then we have the Epic Heroes and Spells. I hoped these would add some colour and flare to the game without being over powering or unbalancing, yet again there is endless discussion on the forum boards about game balance.
GW’s other games were often referred to as “HeroHammer”, and I fear that is how War of the Rings is taking shape.
If you freely allow army construction as the rules suggest you can cram in every knarly hero possible, with free use of similar heroes from other allied lists, to create an almighty Might and Spell slugfest, which utterly bogs down the game, or pretty much seems to dump it into the Paper Scissors Rock category of gaming.
Indeed, when I mentioned concerns at not being able to defeat an elven force, with a ‘themed’ Mordor force, I was advised to take several blocks of Morannon orcs with Gothmog, Khamul and any other wraiths I wanted to chip into the mix. ‘The elves would be dead by turn 4…’
The other uber Mordor list seems to be euphemistically known as the ’Mordor Royal Airforce’; named as you take as many mounted Wraiths on Fellbeasts as you can manage.
But this all smacks of Power-gaming and that’s the one thing I have always tried to steer clear from.
A game should be playable and enjoyable for both sides with balanced forces. Not creating uber lists to hopefully crush your opponent on turn 1.
That kind of gaming reminds me too much of earlier ‘Herohammer in space’ games back in the 80’s, where everything deployed in cover, and either the first person to move out got wiped out, or with sufficient special rules and gizmo’s moved and ‘vaped’ their opponent in turn 1. I don’t call that a game, it’s just an exercise in throwing dice. I haven’t played Herohammer or FordyKay since…
Yet singly, mounted wraiths die easily and again I wonder if they are worth taking?
So this led to several house ruled games trying to limit the excesses of Heroes, to One Epic per 1000 points, which seemed to help some of the issues raised, and yet it all then depends which Hero you take, and if they are the Paper Scissors Rock to your opponents force.
Being a Mordor player generally, I have a bunch of Wraiths to try, but singly they are not terribly effective, and against an angry rampaging Boromir, stand little chance. So am I forced to take Gothmog, or ally in Suladan into every game? Not much variation in your games then eh?
Gah! What to do. I feel like giving up on the whole thing, yet I have devoted several years of time collecting and painting these forces and making terrain for them, not to mention the cost spent, and the Lead-and-Plastic-mountain-beastie that still pokes its head out from games room and painting table cupboards…
Do I wait till they re-do the War of the Ring rulebook? Will I feel like shelling out over $100 for another rulebook??? Time will tell...
And yet another dimension to the overall mix, is GWs recent 2 pronged attack to try and kill off gaming: The so-called super duper Finecast resin/plastic range – at an extortionate price, coupled with their decision to try and restrict online sale by discounting independent retailers (God bless Maelstromgames and others) to overseas markets, where prices are so high compared to ‘home’ UK stores, it is just a joke! Even when you consider current currency exchange rates!
The Finecast I have yet to inspect myself, but many figures appear to have a ton of flash and mould lines to remove (at a potential medical dust hazard from inhalation apparently), and issues with bubble holes in the figures that need a fair bit of green-stuff repair. So I don’t get the “improvement”, and certainly not the new price, resin being cheaper than metal, or so I have read.
And generally I don’t see any great difference in quality of the casts between the Finecast and regular metal figures, from what I have seen from online image comparisons…
Perhaps this is simply my time to completely withdraw from the GW world of gaming? I only hung on to their Lord of the Rings game for a love of the ‘setting’, but the games are somewhat lacking as I have described above, so there you or I have it.
The one good thing to come out of the Lord of the Rings gaming stable, is the ‘Legends’ series of skirmish games, based closely on the Lord of the Rings Skirmish Game.
I have a growing fondness for their Legends of the High Seas - a Pirate skirmish game where the setting suits and looks right with a handful of figures, some fun themed games can be had over several scenarios and if things are not taken too seriously I hope a lot of fun can be had. Watch this space for more…