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 ).

WotR - First While Council - 1500pts

The First White Council, 1500 points

War of the Ring Army - Elvish Kingodms

 

This army represents one of the large combat forces that may have been present during the White Council's first assault on Dol Guldur around TA 2063, while the events of the Hobbit were taking place not far away.  This is a favorite theme for my Elvish forces because I can leverage my large collection of Wood Elves, draw on forces from Lothlorien and Rivendell, and include some of the most potent Elf and Wizard characters from the stories, all pitted against a mighty strongold of the Dark Lord while remaining themed and true to the core work of Tolkien.

 

 

The force is typical of a 1500 point Wood Elf army for me, though I will have some variation in details depending on my mood or opponent.

 

Through play I have found that the simultaneous application of hits in WotR melee combat means Defense 3 Wood Elves don't last long against most forces in a stand up fight. This was a paradigm shift for me because I'd happily put Thranduil's best toe-to-toe with Uruk Hai from Isengard or Morannon Orc from Mordor in SBG.  In  Strategy Battle Game you dice off to see who "wins the Fight", and a tie goes to the model with the higher Fight skill.  I consider myself very good at SBG tactics and can usually set myself up with 2-dice for such rolls (especially leveraging the WE Spear), and with their high Fight value this means that I can be comfortable that I'll win the Fight roll for most engagements unless I was totally out maneuvered that turn.  Even if I couldn't wound my opponent at least I wasn't taking losses myself.   When I tried my first WotR game I charged head long at my opponent and saw a four-company Formation of Elves, including two major Heroes, practically vanish in one turn against a block of Uruk Hai warrors.  I had more dice but against their front shields caused only about a Company's worth of wounds.  When they rolled in return there seemed no end of 4+ which is all they needed to Wound me.

 

Now I play my Wood Elves in smaller groups, usually 3 Companies in size, so they can still deal some damage while remaining maneuverable and more likely to be able take advantage of defensible terrain (4-Company large terrain doesn't show up as much).  Elves have a higher rate of movement than any other Infantry, nearly equal to Cavalry, and are able to move through difficult terrain as if it was normal thanks to being Master Pathfinders.  These give a lot of tactical flexibility.  Though some players look down on normal Captains in WotR, I find their ability to At The Double, combined with the already superior movement of the Elves, really helps.   Yes, if you are facing an Epic Strike opponent the Captain's Fight 6 (which is otherwise really good) puts them at a disadvantage but that is only a major issue in the more cheezy loophole-maximizing forces and in most local games we don't see that.  You may have one or two ES models per side and they generally reserve their Might to use against other Heroes.  It's often not worth the two Might ( 1 to Duel, 1 to call Epic Stric)  to go against a Captain of 3 Companies of Defense 3 models.  So the ES is avoided by nature of it just not being cost effective.

 

I usually play a 100% bow-armed force with my Wood Elves.  Ranged fire in WotR is not as effective as it could be in SBG, but when you're rolling 80+ dice per turn you're going to do some damage.  This is another reason I like the Captains in the mix.  They allow me to At The Double the Formations into favorable positions then call an Heroic Shoot and unload 40 - 60 shots into an enemy Formation's flank.  Even at Strength 2 you can often get a full Company or more.  If close enough I may use the Throwing Daggers instead.  It reduces the number of shots but the extra Strength is sometimes worth it. Also, if I need to charge after then the Throwing Daggers are the way to go.

 

This army is not fully tuned because I am still working on a few options but I've been getting more and more successful with it.  What you see here is pretty "pure".  It includes a small force from Lothlorien partly for theme reasons and partly because I need the extra models.  Wink The army is lead by Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood Elves.  Thranduil is heading four Companies of Wood Elf Warriors with bows (I goofed and only positioned three for the picture Embarassed).  Included in his Formation is a Banner (partly for show though the ability to reroll a stalled or short charge is important).

 

The second Formation consists of three companies of Wood Elf Sentinels lead by Legolas, Prince of the Mirkwood Elves.  The Sentinels special rule means that at least a few times during a game you can leave your foe striking you back with a Strength 1, which is pretty important when your Defense is only 3.  But more important is Legolas's Swift Strike special rule that allows his Formation to deal its damage as if it were Cavalry, thereby weakening the enemy Formation before it even rolls in return.  I often place Galadriel in this Formation as well since her Epic Rage and Fight 10, combined with Legolas's Swift Strike can really help nail a foe, and since Sentinels and Wood Elves are already Defense 3 the Epic Rage does little "damage" in return.  She is also very potent as a Dueler with her naturally high Fight value so she may even be able to do more damage prior to the Fight.

 

For this army I show Galadriel, Protectress of Lothlorien in the formation of Galadrim Warriors with Bows (two Companies).  As noted above though she is usually played with Thranduil or Legolas.  The Galadrim are here mostly due to the fact that I am still working on enough models specific to Thranduil's Halls but also to add flavor when including the Lady of the Galadrim.  At different point levels this Formation either grows, is joined by another Formation of it's kin, or goes away completely.  In play they are used much like the Wood Elves.  The one extra point of Defense is usually not enough to make a significant difference, though it does help at some times and it is nice when you get into a Defensible Terrain Feature.

 

Two more 3-Company Formations of Wood Elf Warriors with Bow are present, one with a Wood Elf Captain to allow for At The Double movement and Heroic Shots if needed.

 

Although I forgot to include it in the above picture (I'll try to get an update done soon), this army is strengthened with a Wizard.  I usually use Gandalf the Gray but Saruman the White will replace him about 25% of the time.  Both are perfectly themed for this force and each are potent additions, but usually Gandalf's special Blinding Light (reducing the enemy's Fight value gives high-Fight Elves a lot of extra dice) spell, his ability to heal his Formation and call a free Epic Defense each turn or restore Might to another Hero all go a long way to supporting the army.  I will often place him with Thranduil and place Galadriel with Legolas.

 

The remaining points can either add an additional Banner to the army or purchase a small Fortune.

 

Again, this is not an uber-competative-Tournament-stomping army.  This is a well themed, fun force that can hold its own and come out victorious in many friendly games.  It is Hero heavy but most of my Good armies are (just as most stories are).  But the Heroes are all logical members of the force and work well together within the bounds of the White Council's assault on Dol Guldur.

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