View Full Version : Getting started with Lotr

28-11-2015, 11:29
I want to play some games of Lotr with my friends, specifically scenarios out of the Lotr movie trilogy with a focus on the fellowship like the moria encounters and the attack at Amon Hen. Now I know absolutely nothing about the different Lotr game systems so I could use some help getting started. Should I look at getting the Mines of Moria box and if so where do I go from there? Any help appreciated, thorough advice extra apprecited ;)

28-11-2015, 11:46
The Mines of Moria box is certainly a good place to begin as it was intended as a starter set, with two sides and a rulebook. If you are especially interested in gaming scenarios from the movies you might also consider picking up the three rulebook that came with the three movie tie in box sets. They have scenarios from each movie you could play out.

From a Galaxy far, far away...

28-11-2015, 18:32
Could I buy the Moria box and from there expand with the balrog and uruk-hai? Would I have the rules required? Maybe nazgul for Weathertop scenario?

28-11-2015, 21:47
The game us broadly divided into "good" and "evil" and then subdivided into sub-lists like "Moria" and "Isenguard" (goblins and Balrog are in the former while Uruk-hai are in the latter). You could mix Warriors from two "evil" sub-lists as long as you have a hero from the same list for every 12 warriors.

For example:
12 x Goblins + Goblin Captain.
12 x Uruk-hai + Uruk-hai Captain

Is a legal list. The hero can be any generic or named character in the sub-list.

I'll have to check my copy of the rulebook from MoM to see what lists and stats are in there.

From a Galaxy far, far away...

29-11-2015, 01:43
I just checked the small rulebook that comes with the MoM box set. It does include the point costs and stats for the Balrog and the Uruk-hai, along with a lot of other heroes and Warriors.

From a Galaxy far, far away...

29-11-2015, 07:58
Hello sir - and welcome to the scene,

Where to start? Well I guess at the start!


For your best bet you REALLY want to get your hands on the most up to date ruleset - which is from The Hobbit. Now these rules are mostly compatible with the previous rules from Mines of Moria but with enough changes that:

1) Make the old game not as fun to play
2) Monsters are MUCH more effective in the current rule set, where in the past they were a joke!
3) The ability to harm and damage other models thanks to the new set of 'special strikes' they introduced - based on the type of weapon a model wields
4) The introduction of new scenarios to make normal games a lot more balanced and fun

Based on all of the above I urge you to get the newer rules set!


The old Fellowship and Moria Goblins may have been nice models many, many moons ago - but really haven't aged as gracefully as they could have done! I'd suggest that you get the newer casts of the Fellowship, if still available, vs the starter set models.

Another alternate is to look to see what other epic scenes caught the fancy - like the Urk-hai Scouts closing in on the Fellowship.

Other considerations

My personal suggestion would be:

1) Purchase "Escape from Goblin Town"
- Comes with new rule book
- AMAZING set of miniatures
- Fun 4-5 game scenarios to play the Escape from Goblin Town
- Comes with enough Goblin Town to play out the games
- In most GWs you get access to the Battle Brothers program that basically awards you and a buddy $20 each for picking up a core set!
- FANTASTIC models

Not to mention that the Goblin Town force clocks in at almost 400pts - a formidle force in it's own right that's great for gaming

29-11-2015, 08:40
I would have to agree with Jind Singh, the plastic miniatures in the Goblin town starter are much better than the old plastics in the MoM box. It comes down to what army you want to play, though. If you want to play games with the Fellowship in Moria, then Thorin's dwarfs won't do you much good. ;)

As far as the rules go, personally I'm undecided. I've played for years using the old "One Ring" rulebook (the large, hardcover version of the smaller MoM rulebook) and enjoyed them. There is a mini rulebook in the EfGT box set, too, but it's much more limited than the one in the MoM box and only contains stats for the goblins and Thorin's dwarfs, so you'd still probably want to get the big Hobbit rulebook before too long.

From a Galaxy far, far away...

29-11-2015, 17:17
Ah but don't forget!

ALL the profiles and points for all the units in the big book are available FOR FREE from GW!

Go to GW website, rules errata, The Hobbit - and it's called Heroes & villains of Middle Earth!

So now you get a rule book, rules for all the Hobbit models, and amazing models!

Whitwort Stormbringer
29-11-2015, 19:38
I disagree about buying the Hobbit starter. If interested primarily in playing scenarios from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, not The Hobbit trilogy (the OP hasn't stated any interest in The Hobbit), then neither the Goblin Town starter nor the Hobbit hardback rulebook will be of particularly good value to you. The hardcover rule book in particular is quite pricey, and if you don't want to play The Hobbit then it basically amounts to a handful of advanced rules for LOTR. For LOTR, the One Rule Book is really the way to go, in terms of completeness (and you can use those faction source books if you want, although I think for playing out the main narrative scenarios they're unnecessary). The models from the Goblin Town set are nicer, no doubt about it, but that hardly matters if they're not the characters that you want.

Mines of Moria is a good place to start, but I agree that the models are only so-so in comparison to recent stuff. If you're already a hobbyist, and sculpt detail is a high priority, then you might consider replacing the plastic Fellowship from Mines of Moria with metal (or resin) models. If you're just looking to get started, then these plastics are perfectly serviceable.

In order to play the movie scenarios, you could go with the rule books that came with the movie-specific boxed sets (and heck, if you can get your hands on said boxed sets, you'll have most of the models that you'd need), or you could go with the movie-themed source books that GW published some years back. I don't believe any of those are in print anymore, but several are readily available second-hand.

30-11-2015, 22:19
Thank you guys for responding.

I think Whitwort is closer to what I'm really looking for which is to play out specific scenarios from the Lotr movie trilogy namely ambush at amon hen, weathertop, balins tomb, bridge of khazad dum etc. I have no interest in the 'hobbit' part of the game. I also dont want to play "battleline" battles of X points a la WHFB.

I think the quality of models in MoM is acceptable and it comes with a few pieces of terrain to get started and as I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong) the rules included will allow me to expand my collection with nazgul, uruk-hai, balrog etc to play the scenarios mentioned above... Am I right? :)

01-12-2015, 13:11
I think the quality of models in MoM is acceptable and it comes with a few pieces of terrain to get started and as I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong) the rules included will allow me to expand my collection with nazgul, uruk-hai, balrog etc to play the scenarios mentioned above... Am I right? :)
While the quality of the Escape set plastics is arguably better than the older Moria set plastics, the old plastics are by no means bad. Plus, for your stayed purposes the Moria set and rulebook should make a great starting point.

From a Galaxy far, far away...

01-12-2015, 17:00
Nice to see interest in LOTR sbg, one of the good systems out there, sadly gone out of sight by most. Simple, effective, highly cinematic.

If you're interested in LOTR and not really the Hobbit, then you're in the same boat as i am. I have bought the old hard back (Blue) rulebook for Lotr...it's the last version of a rulebook for the SBG game aimed at Lords of the Rings. I've also grabbed the 5 army-booklets that are more recent.

The new rules in the Hobbit bring some new twists, and we actually do use some...but not many of them and sometimes changed them to suit our needs. For example, we included some monsters abilities, not all of them...and house-ruled to avoid the massive degrading effect of the -1 on the move to archery, giving crossbows a huge advantage in a cost comparison.

I prefer to keep the new/detailed things to a minimum in order to keep the awesome simplicity that the sbg had. Rules for weapons just complicate and delay things where there was no need for it (imho). It's nice to have them, though, in case you want to make a small scaled scenario with very few models. Look around to see exactly what changed, because if you only buy the Hobbit book, you may not see what is new and what is old. Personally, the One Ring book is the best for a start...but i am biased.

Lastly, i dislike the model range of the hobbit to represent armies of lotr. While they are of higher detail and quality, the theme is really different from lotr...so for example i much prefer the old armored goblins of the moria, as they look far more "serious" when on the tabletop when painted. I am not saying that the goblins from the hobbit are wrong, just that i find them a bit too goofy and cartoony for my tastes for an army that actually wiped dwarves out of a stronghold (okay...with a balrog, but still!).

In any case, by now this game is what you make of it...there's no right or wrong. Pick what you like, drop what you don't :)

02-12-2015, 04:29
I would say though Oakwolf that the new rule set did a lot to open up the game - and the very rules you don't like are the ones I love the most:

1) -1 to shoot if you move and fire, and no more volley fire. Puts an end to the ridiculous power of bow armed armies in previous rule sets, chief being the Elves, but even basic troops who hit on a 4+ - there was no tactical downside to moving and shooting when in reality moving and firing on the go would always be a harder shot to make.

2) Monsters - Love them, they were just inferior beyond belief before! Now they have the brutal power attacks to make their name, monster, meaningful and turns even a lowly Cave Troll into something that needs to be respected! Especially for scenario play - imagine how much better the Mines of Moria games become with the addition of brutal power attacks

3) Special Strikes - while not all the strikes make sense (why is feint, something that superior swordsmen rightly have, only work best for the poor fight models?!), they do add a lot to the game. The moment your strength is 3 or more lower than the enemy's defence value you're wounding on a 6+ ! Doesn't matter how many times you win a fight, wounding on 6's all day long is a rough affair.

But now you can add D3 to your strength, or re-roll 1's to wound, or stun an opponent to trap them - the special strikes can really open up the game as you can now take out models - and to be honest once played a few times they really don't add any time or complexity to the game so I would recommend trying it out a few more times to get the feel for it.

We use "unless I say otherwise, assume I'm always special striking" to avoid any game confusion

03-12-2015, 13:52
I suppose this proves that the game is now whatever we want to make of it. That's also likely because our games can vary incredibly from one gaming circle to another (from character-based scenarios to huge massed battles). I've no issue at all with people using full hobbit rules, they are fine, but for us it wasn't what we wanted.

As for the archery change, we agreed that it was too powerful initially, but we wanted to keep volleys for larger battles, and we only apply the -1 to groups who moved half their movement or more, and mounted rohirim and kandish horse archers don't get it.

06-12-2015, 17:06
I was watching a video of the old scenerios and old rules work great for them

Check out the GBHL YouTube channel, a lot of great content

07-12-2015, 04:10
Out of interest...

The large Hobbit Rule book contains:

The Last Alliance
The attack at weather top
Balins Tomb
The bridge of Khazad-Dum
Ambush at Amon Hen
The siege of Helms Deep
The battle of Pelennor Fields
The Black Gate opens

With an example scenario called:

The grand alliance

Which provides tips and hints on how to make your own scenarios

09-12-2015, 21:40
I was watching a video of the old scenerios and old rules work great for them

Check out the GBHL YouTube channel, a lot of great content

Agreed, excellent channel.

I have ordered the MoM box and a balrog to get started. I want a new PVC mat that goes well with setting up Moria scenery... any ideas? I've been looking around and I think I can build sufficient pieces for balins tomb and bridge of khazad dum.

11-12-2015, 07:29
In all honesty the old modular movement tray sets from GW were amazing for LOTR - I'd use the entire sheet as it had the squares etched on one side, perfect floor tiles!

I would cut them up and glue them down on a normal board - and add some small details - they looked great!