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Sell me on LOTR SBG (or similar) for my kid's first gaming project.  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in gb
Stealthy Grot Snipa

Northern Ireland

Hi folks, I'm a long time GW gamer and have a pretty big collection but never really got into LOTR games.
I've been a life long LOTR fan and now I'm reading it to my son and he's been interested in getting into tabletop gaming so I'm looking at a possible LOTR SBG project to get him collecting his own little force.

Can anyone give me some ideas of the best way to do quite small and quick skirmish battles? The boys only 7 so his attention and grasp of complicated rules won't be up to the bigger stuff. Come to think of it, neither will my skills running a game in a new system I've never played before.

Sell me on this, I'm a bit lost in the dark. And thanks in advance.

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Implacable Skitarii

North-East UK

If your looking for skirmish gaming the Battle Companies expansion is perfect. The big books you'll need is the book mentioned, the rulebook and either the LOTR or Hobbit book for which ever faction you play.

The Battle Companies are all pre-made so you won't get bogged down in list creation, just get straight to playing the game.

Models are usually dirt cheap too so you can just grab a few boxes, and if you're only sticking to Skirmish, will last a lifetime and are one off purchases. Literally only outside the books the only thing that could be expensive if you don't have fantasy terrain, is the terrain.

The System itself is really geared towards a skirmish experience too, especially when it comes to close combat. All great cinematic fun.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/22 03:29:46

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Executing Exarch

Maybe just get the fellowship together and pit them against bunch of goblins to reflect a fight in moria?

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AngryAngel80 wrote:
I don't know, when I see awesome rules, I'm like " Baby, your rules looking so fine. Maybe I gotta add you to my first strike battalion eh ? "
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Speedy Swiftclaw Biker

Glasgow, Scotland

Middle-earth SBG scales incredibly well, in my opinion, to larger and smaller fights.

I'd suggest putting together a couple hero-heavy forces if you want a really small mini count - but it depends on if you want to deal with Might/Will/Fate/etc from the get go.

Personally, I don't think you can go far wrong just taking a set of opposing forces from the movie and putting together an event points match of about 100pts or so for the first couple games. I wouldn't bother with Battle Companies as that further complicates the rules.

e.g. Warriors of the Last Alliance and Mordor Orcs, Riders of Rohan and Uruk-Hai, Minas Tirith and Morannan Orcs. In any of these cases, just get a box of each and play with about 100pts - that's roughly about 10 models a piece.

Another alternative is to pick up the Battle of Pellanor Fields boxed set. It's got a good selection of miniatures, it's relatively low cost with the rulebook inclusive, and it has several small mini count scenarios for getting started.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/22 10:17:36

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Fresh-Faced New User

there ae a couple of points really around your sons age . My son started at about 10 yrs of age , and he was able to pick up the full rules, well enough to play in tourneys. I've also seen other kids about that age start. Perhaps all you should really be aiming for to begin with is just having a bit of fun pushing minis around and rolling dice.

we started with the goblin town set and painted up the minis, as required by the scenarios. Goblin town (along with army of the dead )are prob the easiest armies to paint up. So getting them to paint the goblins is a good confidence builder. He then practiced painting armour , cloth and metal, by painting some old Warhammer fantasy figures that my gw shop manager had lying around.

The other way would be to pic which faction they like and start pushing around minis.I would just stick to the basics to begin with. The rules are not complex and its the extra features that the current rules have, that could affect their interest level. So If yo have the older rules try using them to begin with. No special strikes, no limited might burning heroic actions (and limits to what they can do). No special army rules etc.

As for battle companies yes the model count is low, but they do add a layer of complexity, more than you may want (or infact need for a 7 yr old to have fun).

The current rules are really good, and you should aim perhaps to get there in the future, but don't start there.
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If you can get the old Mines of Moria boxed set it is a great place to start. Yes, the rules are not the most current, but:

You get the fellowship, and some moria goblins and a troll.
You get some cool and easy to paint terrain.
You get a series of tutorial scenarios designed to introduce you to the game a bit at a time.

My daughter and I had a blast with the set when it first came, she was about your son's age at the time.

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Stealthy Grot Snipa

Northern Ireland

Well I had a look in the garage and pulled out my box of old publications, and like Gandalf in the vaults of Minas Tirith I discovered some mighty tomes of ancient lore!

These were penned by Isildur himself in 2005!

This was in a great job lot of stuff I got back in the day but no miniatures. I must've hung onto it just because it's a beautiful hardback just to look at. Never did use it for a game.

So what am I looking at here? What Edition is this? What is it compatible with?

The boy has had a look and picked Minas Tirith for his force of choice. Nice pick! I'll prob grab some orcs and goblins and wargs and such just to give him something to swing a sword at. Not too excited by the Khazad Dum book. Some nice minis but I'm not looking to collect a Dwarf force.

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Storm Trooper with Maglight

United Kingdom

Those books are outdated by the current rules release, but there's always good hobby articles in them so worth hanging onto. Especially the sourcebooks. If you're not planning on dwarves or goblins then the Khazad Dum book might not be worth your time I suppose. The sourcebooks back in the day were my favourite thing. Usually came with new model releases, they had hobby articles and terrain stuff too as well as new rules for said models and tons of scenarios.

As for getting him playing, you can always disregard certain rules. I got into LOTR SBG as a young kid when it first launched. I didn't understand half the rules back then, especially when it came to special characters etc. You can just start with basics and as his confidence grows you can add in others over time. A row of Gondorian infantry against a row of orc/goblin warriors is a good basic battle to learn the basic ropes before you have to worry about the added considerations heroes bring. Special rules again can be ignored until he's confident. Basically - don't feel you have to throw everything at him at once.

Minas Tirith also happens to be an exceptionally easy force to get on the tabletop. Has he tried painting yet? Prime them black, paint the skin a flesh tone and wash it, paint sword hilts gold and the armour a bright silver then wash with black and boom - tabletop, or 'battle ready' as GW now call it, models in no time! They look strikingly effective with the cloth kept matt black, I find. You can then obviously progress to highlights or whatever on those cloth sections - or when/if he adds Rangers and other less-ornate models.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/24 00:29:32

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Ghost of Greed and Contempt

Engaged in Villainy

Although the Big Blue book is out-of-date, you can definitely still use it to play games with - the basic rules haven't changed a huge deal, so if you ever do decide to get into the more up-to-date versions, it'll be quite an easy step to go from one to the other.

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Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator


My son (9 years old) and I play some LOTR SBG, he still isn't interested in playing with the actual rules, but likes using his imagination to play out the games - with him being the winner natch. He will occasionally want to roll some dice, so I'll make up some target numbers to hit or wound, etc. so he can roll, but its nowhere near as complicated as the actual rules (which aren't that).

We did play one actual battle using the rules, which he did well with, and of course he wanted the entire collection on the table, so it took awhile, but it showed me it could be done.

Patience, and being able to make up fairly simple "rules" on the fly to keep your son's interest would be the way to go.

I still keep waiting for him to ask me to show him how to play the games (40k, AoS, Gothic, Mordheim, Necromunda, X-wing) using the actual rules. :-)

Oh, and we use the blue book you have pictured above, the rules are same enough for us.

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Fresh-Faced New User

To OP great find. That One Book has all the basic rules. When it was printed it had all the profiles for then range at that time. Overtime books like that Kazad Dum one were released, giving profiles for new minis and scenarios to use them in. The current rules are basically the same, and everything in that book is enough for you and your son to begin with rules wise. I do thing the current rules are in a good place having been fine tuned, as well as new tactical options and concerns introduced. But that something to consider moving on to.
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Fresh-Faced New User

Ive been saving and buying up all sorts of Lord of the rings content to hopefully share with my kids when they get older. Its a fantastic game and you won't regret it!
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