Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game: Battle Of Pelennor Fields – Review

Back in 2001, Games Workshop released the hugely popular ‘The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game‘ which took the miniature industry by storm with its unique gaming mechanics, theme accurate content and stunning miniature ranges to suit. This was the game that brought Peter Jackson’s version of the The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien to life on the table top. Fast forward to 2018 and we were graced once again with a brand new starter set from Games Workshop, this time, set around the epic Battle of Pelennor Fields.

First impressions, what a huge box of hobby! Not only does the artwork look really impressive, but the sheer amount of items inside is not to be disappointed about. Retailing at £90, Pelennor Fields does initially seem to be an expensive starter pack compared to other starter sets across the industry, but if we break this down a step, we soon see that this is great value for money and perfectly balanced for adding too any existing armies, creating new ones or for anyone starting their table top adventures.

Looking at the back of the box, we are greeted with a full run down of the items inside, such as, a brief instruction booklet featuring four specific scenarios to the set, numerous different units from Mordor, Rohan and Army Of The Dead, 84 miniatures in total! As well as this, Games Workshop have managed to include a beautifully detailed, hardback 200-page rule book, which contains all the rules you need to take your gaming to the next level. Finally, we are greeted with a new plastic sculpt of the Theoden, King Of Rohan as he’s reforming the Rohan lines ready to charge the Mumakil’s.

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To begin, as a pure value cash-in, the collection of miniatures and text based items from this set will save you well over £100 compared to buying these items individually. Something which now makes you not feel so bad about the £90 purchase price. The 84 highly detailed miniatures breaks down as this:

Good:
1) Theoden, King Of Rohan (Both mounted and on foot)
2) 12 x Riders of Rohan
3) 12 x Warriors Of Rohan
4) 20 x Warriors of the Dead

Evil:
1) The Witch-King Of Angmar On Fell Beast (Two poses to build)
2) A Mordor troll (with several poses possible to build)
3) 36 x Morannon Orcs (half and half with swords, spears and shields)

If collecting and painting miniatures is your thing, you would do no wrong with investing in a set like this if only for the sheer value for money and hobby painting time it will present you. However, if you’re looking to start and continue adding to your hobby collection, then Pelennor Fields represents the ideal option for growing your Middle-Earth armies.

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As we open the lid of this box, you are greeted with what seems like an endless amount of plastic sprue’s. Showing you again just how much is contained in this set. Beginning to empty to contents we can start to look at the miniatures in more detail. One thing that needs a mention here, is to not be put off that some miniatures inside are back from 2002/2003 in support of the final two instalments of the Lord Of The Rings films. The sculpts have easily stood up to the test of time within the miniature gaming industry are are all highly collectable to this day.

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The Good Contents:
To begin with, we are greeted with the Rohan section of the box. Finding everything we need to build or 12 Riders Of Rohan and 12 Warriors Of Rohan. The first thing you might notice here is how simple these miniatures look to build. Simply snip them of their plastic frame, slot them into the bases provided and you’re done, which is refreshing to see compared to other gaming systems. The 12 Warriors of Rohan can be used as either warriors within your games, or rather, what would seem to be the intention, to be used as dismounts for the Riders Of Rohan if there horses get shot.

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Moving on and what better person to lead your Rohan warriors to battle then the king of Rohan himself, Theoden. For me, when I think of this starter set, I always think of this new sculpt. Beautifully detailed with a pose fitting the charge against the Hardarim. Having followed Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game for many years, its nice to see that a resurface of this game system has increased so much to warrant Games Workshop to release new miniatures for its ranges. As Battle Of Pelennor Fields has been released for a few years now, its fantastic to see the continuing product range coming out of Games Workshop since this starter sets release two years ago.



Finally, to round of the good side of the box, we have 20 Warriors Of The Dead. Not only are these miniatures beautifully detailed to look at and paint up, but they also present you to start playing and using one of the most deadliest armies that dwell in Middle-Earth. Being hard to kill themselves but able to kill the evil side of this box more easier then their Rohan allies, they are certainly an army to be feared. They also present you, the collector a great opportunity to build and add to this army by getting yourself the ‘King Of The Dead & Heralds‘ and / or ‘The Three Hunters‘, allowing you to take Aragorn to lead them. A very powerful army to face in any game of Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game.

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The Evil Contents:
Starting off with the evil contingent of this set and we have 3 sprue’s of Morannon Orcs, 36 in total, all with a mix of weapons, swords, spears & shields. These Orcs make for a great foundation to any Mordor army. Being Strength 4 & Defence 6 (with shields) these troops are slightly better then your standard Orc warrior. More capable or taking a hit, but equally being able to dish out some killing power in their own right. All while the Mordor Troll & The Witch-King Of Angmar deal with the opposing enemy heroes.

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Here we come to one of the two monsters in this set. The Mordor Troll. In game, the Mordor Troll really packs a punch and is really a fearsome unit to face for any opposing player. Although pricey in points, it brings a much needed high fight, strength, defence and attacks capable to take on any hero that comes in his way. One thing I really like about this set in particular is the variety of options you have to make. Mordor Troll with a sword or hammer, Mordor Troll drummer, rallying your troops on the table to match harder, or for those Isengard players out there, an Isengard Troll armed with shield, sword or spear.

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Finally, it wouldn’t be the Battle of Pelennor Fields without the one who would lead Mordor’s army in war, The Witch-King Of Angmar On Fell Beast. Similar to the Mordor Troll above, you can build this set in multiple ways. Witch-King on Fell Beats, either armoured or not. Or, you can build a standard Nazgul on Fell Beast to represent any of the nine in your evil armies. Whats a nice touch here is the that this model comes with a sculpted base which is attached to the sprue. The last thing to mention is the detail in this set, the winds of the Fell Beast look brilliant and the Witch-King with his flaming sword looks epic. Perfectly suited for breaking the white wizard.

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With all the miniatures now out the way and looked at, we’re gifted with a wealth of items hiding at the bottom of box. We are presented with all the bases we need for all miniatures, a handy building guide, range rulers (One for each player), push out tokens to use during game, 12 dice (6 red and 6 green) a quick-guide / scenario paper-booklet and a MSEBG 200-page Rules Manual. Everything any good starter set needs to inspire you play game of Middle-Earth.

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Putting the main rules manual to one side for a moment, lets open up and look at the quick play guide / scenario paper-booklet. This is a fully coloured help to play guide which guides you through your journey in Middle-Earth by playing four detailed scenario’s all focused around epic Battle Of Pelennor Fields. These four scenarios really help to throw you into the fantasy world of J.R.R Tolkien by recreating some of the epic scenes from that battle, such as Theoden’s last stand and the big final battle itself.

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Finally, we come to it at last. MSEBG Rules Manual. Its really refreshing to see a starter set that comes with a hardback rule book. I always prefer hardback rule books. Show a lot of intention and passion behind the product someone is creating when they go ‘the extra mile’ so to speak. Equally, with a miniature game as big as this one, a hardback rulebook is probably the most appropriate way to go due to sheer number of rules this game requires. The overall look of the rulebook is brilliant as well, the high gloss finish and the cloth book mark just help to cement the high end content of this starter set.

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Inside this rules manual, we are taken step-by-step through the process of playing Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game. This brilliantly detailed manual is very well structured and separated into each stage of the game in the process from beginning to end. The rules manual isn’t as thick as you would expect. Personally, I think this in intentional by Games Workshop and the Middle-Earth design team. There isn’t much need to pack loads of fluff content into this book as everyone is fairly familiar with the books or films, leaving much necessary room for exactly what the rules manual should be all about. The rules.

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The further we go through the book, the more detailed the rules become. After learning the basics around movement, shooting, combat, we start reading more of the extra details of the game around special strikes, magical powers and monster rules. To round this book of, we have a fully detailed selection of 10 scenarios for you to expand on on playing with the models from your set. The next thing to set you on your path by adding to your armies is to add a hero option for both your good and evil forces. If I was to recommend anything, it would be:
1) King Of The Dead & Heralds – Perfectly suited to lead the Warriors Of The Dead in battle. This one booster expansion would also give you a nice starting army thats around 500 points.
2) Gothmog™ (Foot & Mounted) – Naturally the foot lieutenant of Mordor we see in the films, Gothmog also brings some really cool special rules which will help to make those Morannon Orcs fight just that little bit harder. “The Time Of The Orc Has Come” special rule, is a particular favourite of mine.

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Conclusion:
Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game – Battle Of Pelennor Fields, presents not only great value for your money, but a brilliant source of hobbying for months to come. If you’re simply wanting a single set to collect and paint up, these 84 miniatures will give you however long you need to full-fill that for you. If you’re looking to refresh or collection, add to your collection or simply want to find the best way to start playing this game, then look no further. Being a lover of everything Middle-Earth, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this set and add these armies to my now growing collection.

Finally! In order to play the main game from a points matched level, you will need to grab yourself ‘Armies Of The Lord Of The Rings.’ This book contains all the profiles, the points, special character rules you will need in order to play with extra minis, build your points matched army and to begin entering tournaments.

If you like anything what you’ve read here, I’ll throw a few links below for you all to check out. Don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself!

1) Starter Set, The Battle Of Pelennor FieldsCLICK HERE
2) Theoden, King Of Rohan CLICK HERE
3) Riders Of Rohan – CLICK HERE
4) Warriors Of Rohan – CLICK HERE
5) Warriors Of The Dead – CLICK HERE
6) The Witch-King Of Angmar On Fell Beast – CLICK HERE
7) Mordor Troll – CLICK HERE
8) Morannon Orcs – CLICK HERE

Extra Hero Options:
1) King Of The Dead & Heralds – CLICK HERE
2) Gothmog (Foot & Mounted) – CLICK HERE
3) The Three Hunters – CLICK HERE


Element Games - Wargaming Webstore
Element Games - Wargaming Webstore

One thought on “Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game: Battle Of Pelennor Fields – Review

  1. This is a great review of the game for anyone that is new to lord of the rings gaming and even for those that are playing but what to expand with this kit.
    Looking forward in reading other reviews of the minis and some painting guides would be a great touch for this starter set.

    Like

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