This weekend I went to U-Con to geek out and play The Lord of The Rings Strategy Battle Game with Talbot of Landroval (who has a blog post up concerning the event that you should read as well). And I have to say that it was a ton of fun! I felt badly about leaving Goldenstar alone with the baby, but she got a lot done around the house without me there to clutter things up. I have to say that the scenery was just amazing. Please note that all the scenery was created from the vision of Talbot; only a few small pieces on each set are actually purchased items; the rest he made and painted by hand. All the figures were painted by Talbot as well. He has some really good shots and some shots of the building process on his site. In fact most people in attendance were so enamored with his sets that they drew quite a crowd as the convention went on. He will be running these scenarios again at Wintercon on Saturday December 5th, 2009 and I seriously suggest that no matter what your experience level is that you sign up if you have even a little bit of interest. Eventually he plans to add 2 more scenarios including The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm.
Now I went into this game a complete newbie. I have played a miniature game before back in High School (BattleTech) but it’s been years since I’ve played any miniature game whatsoever. I had no ideas what the rules were or what we were going to do other than we were going to play out scenarios for The Watcher in the Water and Balin’s Tomb. However, Talbot anticipated the game having people who had no experience playing miniature games being involved, so he had things set up to make things easy including cards with character stats and abilities for the players to use and a whiteboard with all the important statistics for everyone to see and keep track. And even though when I first took a look at this board and went “oh man, I’m in trouble” he was able to quickly explain all the stats before each game and by the second game most of us knew what was going on. It also helped that a couple of players were pretty experienced at miniature games and helped out explaining things to those of us who were new. At no time did I feel lost or in over my head as Talbot was on-the-ball about how to calculate everything. However, I think that anyone who sits down with the game is going to have a favorable experience, because it’s a lot of fun.
I was also nervous about the time requirement as well. The first game lasted 2 hours (although we ended a bit early) and the second game lasted 3 hours (which we finished right on time). But I have to say that the game is pretty action packed even having 9 players the second time around. There were some times where it dragged on, but that’s because the goblins were so vast in the second game that the two players needed a bit of time to move and coordinate between themselves. Still, there is definite excitement and an ominous feeling having a bunch of goblins surround a hero (at one time Gimli was completely surrounded) or having your cave troll go toe-to-toe with Aragorn.
I also want to give credit to Talbot for plugging LOTRO while he was there by wearing his awesome shirt. I plan on seeing you soon, Talbot! I think I’m going to pick up the Moria set for myself soon to see if I can convince Goldenstar just how awesome the game is! I’ll also have to see if I can get the Baby Hobbit interested in these once she’s old enough to handle the little pieces. I don’t know if I’ll have luck with either, but a guy can try can’t he?