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Beginning Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game

middle earth strategy battle game

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game is enjoying a rapid rise in popularity. Fans are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and enjoying the brand new Rings of Power series. So, now is prime time to pick up the tabletop game and join in the fight for the fate of Middle-Earth. Here, I’ll be introducing you to the 3 most important books to buy to help you get started with MESBG.

Rules Manual

You would expect a game based off of Tolkien’s epic novels to be rich and rewarding, and this rule book will certainly further your fancy into fantasy!

The contents of the book outlines all essential and advanced rules for games involving the GW and Forgeworld miniatures. The rules are arranged and delivered sympathetically and build on each other throughout the book. The 4 basic stages of a turn - Priority, Movement, Shooting and Combat phase - are introduced using pictorial examples and are made simple to learn. From here, you can develop your understanding further as and when you wish, and as your miniature collection grows!

Special movement rules such as climbing and jumping are carefully explained. The use of cavalry models, flying creatures and siege weapons can be learned at leisure. The use of magic spells, character buffs and weapon types will give you an edge over your opponent. And of course, unique to MESBG, the quite literally game-changing use of Might, Will and Fate points are certainly worth mastering.

Incoming spoiler: towards the end of the rulebook you learn how to pick your Heroes and assign infantry for informal or Matched games, along with various scenarios to try. This hardback book will never fail you, and will accompany you heartily into any foray you find yourself in. It serves as an essential reference book. If you prefer a lighter version, the e-book counterpart can be downloaded with your purchase. This allows you to quickly key in words to look up rules without keeping your opponent wait…unless that’s your tactic!

The depth of the rules means there can be a lot to learn, but the skills and techniques are a pleasure to apply in game. Luckily for you, I have already found the best way to enjoy picking up the rules in this book. I remember it well…it was over a lazy rainy weekend… sat in the warm…cup of hot tea in hand. I was casually studying the book whilst a few cake crumbs tumble to the page creases, never to be found again, and more importantly never needing to be hoovered up… Ah bliss….

Armies Of The Hobbit/ Armies Of The Lord Of The Rings

Along with the Rules Manual, picking up either of the Armies books is essential. These books detail the stats and special rules of your chosen Heroes and warriors. This includes bonuses for organising your armies with likely characters and alliances based on the movie and book representations.

Your choice of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game book depends on whether you intend to collect miniatures from either the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings saga. Indeed, it is worth picking up both as some characters and factions stretch across the Tolkien legendarium, allying with friends to pack an extra punch.

Armies of The Lord of the Rings details 27 army lists, with the Armies of The Hobbit detailing 20. Most armies include around a dozen or more character profiles. These profiles demonstrate the amazing variety of models and therefore potential gameplay.

Much like the Rules Manual, these two books are adorned with artwork and imagery of beautifully painted models, as well as carefully presented information such as stats and special rules. These books can be enjoyed very leisurely indeed.

Turn the pages in any order you fancy to discover the magical powers of: Gandalf the Grey, the cunning of the hordes of Mordor, the keen skill of Bard the Bowman, and even the mighty power beheld by the Balrog. Each flick of the page is a pure treat as you discover new units, the tricks your opponent might attempt to use against you, and the perfect counter-attack to perform with your Heroes and allies. Some might say they are the sauciest of sourcebooks!

Where Next

Armed with your Rules Manual and at least one of the Armies sourcebooks, you are ready to face battle, prepared for anything! Grab some friends, practise the rules or join your local gaming group. Play to practise. The great thing about having the books is that you needn’t remember every rule; the books are there when you need them.

Battle Companies

Once you are more comfortable with the rules and conquered a few battles, as I’m sure you will, you can look at getting addition supplement books from the range to expand the game.

I have some recommendations if you are interested in the battles that took place in Gondor. This includes the Fall of Osgiliath/the Battle of Pelennor Fields, in which case I would recommend the Gondor at War supplement. The adventures and trials of Frodo and Sam in the movies may have captivated you, in which case you could go for The Quest of the Ring Bearer supplement. The fate of your next purchase is yours, but I would recommend to you Battle Companies.

Battle Companies gives you the opportunity to develop a force from the ground up. It puts a small starting group of 5-7 miniatures in various random gaming scenarios, the results of which benefit your models individually. Wins can be used to purchase upgrades for your models.

This is a much more personal affair. Player’s name their warriors and limited model numbers. This means each individual move, shot and fight bares great consequence. After the all-out battles of the main game, involving anything from 50 to 100 models on the table, this small, closer version of the game really puts your skills to the test. This is also great to play between many friends.

The games are generally quicker, yet the gaming day enjoys a nice flow. Whilst two opponents make battle, others can resolve matches, tally scores, develop warriors toward Hero status, and use points to influence reinforcement rolls. This supplement is a must for any avid MESBG gamer eager to test and develop their skill, and any player serious about having fun.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. All the above Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game books can be found easily on the Zatu website. I wish you a good game!