Well Met and Welcome to Tactical Middle-Earth!

This site is designed to provide me with a dynamic and easily updated platform for recording and sharing my thoughts, experiences and efforts in the hobby of gaming, specifically in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.  For now most of this will revolve around the Lord of the Rings (LotR) games produced by Games Workshop.  This includes the Strategy Battle Game (SBG) for small scale matches and the War of the Rings (WotR) for representing massive battles.

Across the bottom you'll see several categories of articles and entries.  Many of them are places for me to share my work in painting and building armies as well as a section for me to share my thoughts and experiences with the game play, rule systems and tactics and provide some battle reports from games I've played. There is also a section dedicated to aspects of Sun Tzu's Art of War and how I have looked to adopt some of those principles to my game play.

Again, most of this will be from the perspective of GW's Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game or Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring systems, but I'm a wargame / role playing game player going back about 30 years and so there may be some "historical" information as well as future expansions here from my interests in other game systems.

For those that followed Tactical Middle Earth back when I was running on TWiki you will see I'm still in the process of porting over the older content.  Additionally the layout has changed as I've moved from a wiki format to a CMS platform ( /geekspeak off ).

Spider Queen, References

Spider Queen of Dol Guldur


I've been making progress on my Spider Queen for the September painting challenge on One Ring.


Creepy Warning:  The following post has a number of pics of real spiders that I'm am drawing on for inspiration and some may find them a bit too "close for comfort"...you've been warned.


My concept for this Spider Queen is that she is a direct descendant of Ungoliant, and therefore a sister of Shelob, or perhaps one of Shelob's greatest spawn.  It is doubtful that Men or Elf will ever know for sure.  But what is known is that she is among the greatest terrors dwelling in the darkest parts of Mirkwood.  The lesser Spider Queens living there are her brood and the countless Giant Spiders that haunt the woods descend from them.   It is believed her first home was in the Mountains of Mirkwood, but after the coming of the Necromancer to Dol Guldur she was drawn by his evil to dwell in the thickest and darkest parts of the woods near the Hill of Dark Sorcery.  But it is as likely that she uses the woods or a network of caves below them to move about as there have been reports of her still in the mountains.


To help have her look "real" as possible while keeping to the menacing fantasy that Peter Jackson gave us in the Return of the King, I am drawing on both the film and real life in her paint scheme.  Shelob, as shown in the films, large, fast, grotesque and terrible.  Her face is covered with old growth and scar tissue, her body bloated and her colors dark.  As the front half of the model I have made uses the Shelob model from GW I will naturally be painting these same features.




However, I want to be sure mine stands out and doesn't look like Shelob.  So even though my first instinct was to make my model black I feared it would fall short by doing so.  Where we live we have a lot of spider varieties.  Funnel Web spiders are very common in our shed and rock walls (and even the garage and basement if you don't keep up with them).  And we have a very healthy population of Wolf spiders in our fields and woods, our wood piles and sometimes in the house.  When we go slow in the field or forest in the early summer we often see the females with the egg sacks, and have even been lucky enough to see them loaded up carrying their young a couple times.


As the Spider Queen model and game concept includes her transporting young on her back and these spiders are supposed to be dwelling in the deep woods of Mirkwood, I decided I'm going to base mine mostly one the Hunstman and Wolf spiders we see locally.  The following are pics I've collected from the web (hah!) that really capture these amazing creatures well.  I haven't had a chance to try to get any pictures locally this good but these will be my inspiration.



Featured Armies

Lord of the Rings - Strategy Battle Game

To compliment my War of the Ring force, and provide some contrast in armies between the two game systems, here is a 500 point army of Mirkwood Elves that I have played often in SBG.


SBG - First White Council - 500pts

Lord of the Rings - War of the Ring

First up will be one of my forces of Wood Elves from Thranduil's Halls in dark Mirkwood.


WotR - First While Council - 1500pts

Featured News

Battle Report!

Dain's Last Stand


In June we had a fantastic, fun, large scale game at Elite Hobbies in Dover.  We played the scenario Dain's Last Stand from GW's War of the Ring rule set, featuring five players, about 3000 points per side, and a couple hundred models.

Dains Last Stand - 18Jun11