The Hobbit - Musings

I'm not sure how good a barometer the pool of websites that I read is of the general gaming mood. Certainly at times they seem to speak with one voice (the Dark Angels launch, and the Chaos Warrior leak being the most obvious recent examples), and I like to think I know what's in the wind to a degree. So, assuming the above isn't totally off base (if there's a site you think I should be following then say so in the comments, you ought to be able to see those I am already following below on the right) it would seem there is very little talk of the Hobbit. I can think of two, maybe three posts I've seen about it recently, and they were mainly painting focused. No one seems to be discussing the rules and the like, or building a new force. I think I've seen more posts on Sedition Wars, which is drawing from the fairly small pool of Kickstarter buyers.

Pulling an example out of a broader gaming world, the front page of Dakka Dakka hasn't seen a LotR model appear on it for a while, that I've seen, even stolen for part of a conversion.

I'm aware I'm stepping around the specific LotR/Hobbit gaming pages, but that is part of the point.
Moving away from the virtual, I was in the Games Workshop on Oxford Street, and while there was a table with the Hobbit/LotR  models set out (interestingly on a split board, one assumes to take up less space in store), and it was getting absolutely no attention.

The point I'm slowly making is that for all that the game has only been out slightly longer than two months, it already seems to have disappeared. I've yet to see February's White Dwarf, but January's edition lacked any stand alone articles for the Hobbit, despite the new releases. The Escape From Goblin Town boxed set is still available as a Limited Edition from the online store, unlike the 40K boxed set, and LE Codices, that disappeared very quickly. The Warriors of Chaos release was very much prioritised over the Hobbit releases, despite the Advance Orders going live on the same day.

It's going to be interesting to watch the rise and fall of the game's marketing and the communities take up over the next two odd years, because at the moment I say it's in a slump, and likely to stay that way until the next film at the very least. I wonder if we'll see an article in the middle of the year with a run down of the interaction between the Hobbit rules and the old LotR books.

And to throw it open to the comments, what Hobbit/LotR gaming have you seen? Has it already flatlined?


  1. I think the biggest screw up was not making LotR 28mm scale.

    The second biggest was GW not allowing model cross over in their stores

    Who wouldnt want a high elf army using LotR's models? or a Dwarf army Made from the Dwarfs of the Lonely Mountain?

    A huge wasted opportunity IMO

    Those things combined with the huge investment in time to learn new rules and paint figures and money to purchase said figures means i'm just not interested.

    1. As far as I'm aware, both things you point to are due to stipulations in the licence GW has for the Hobbit, not allowing them to make the range cross compatible. I can also see it diluting the Fantasy IP a little, but it'd be nice to have the range of parts to draw upon.

  2. I don't think the LotR miniatures have been nice looking since some of the early stuff from the first game or so. Back when it started up, they had some really talented people working on it (Brian Nelson sculpted the original Fellowship). For years, the Perry twins have made just about everything, and since they have been forced to do it all, the quality has suffered. There has not been a LotR model I have wanted to purchase in a long time.

    I think the Escape from Goblin Town models look like the nicest stuff they have released for LotR in years. However, I think the monster design in the Hobbit was a little uninspired (I didn't like the look of the goblins, or their king). As such, even though the new goblin models were well sculpted, I don't like the design of them, so I would not want them.

    It also hurts that the rulebook is somewhere around $80 (US) for what I imagine to be the same basic rules that I already have, with a few changes and some new scenarios. I certainly will not be buying the stuff. If I decide I want to play, I will just bust out my old goblin army.

    I have not seen much about it online either, so I imagine people aren't really playing it.

    1. I think when the game started going beyond the films the quality started to drop, if not before then, covering the diverse forces in RotR. The LotR range also seemed to suffer from a different style of painting used by the 'Eavy Metal team. Thinking back there are only a handful of LotR models I'm really keen on.

      The Escape From Goblin Town set is nice, but the releases around it seem to be expanding things very little. Hopefully as we move to the third film, if not the second, we'll see things expand markedly. It'll be interesting to see what GW do with Smaug.

      On top of the cost of the rulebook is the expectation that it'll be replaced with a new edition in 2013 and 2014. I don't see the point of buying it until we get to the last version. I think if White Dwarf had gone out of the way to point out what had changed existing LotR owners might have been more bothered.

    2. I wish they just produced a book called something like "Battles of Middle-Earth" that included materials from both the LotR trilogy and the Hobbit stuff. Perhaps they will release something like that after all 3 of the Hobbit films are released (but not before they release a new book for each film).

      As for the 'Eavy Metal team, for a long while now I have not been overly impressed with the paintjobs (better than I could do, so I guess I should not complain). But I think there have been many times were the paintjobs have made the models look worse than they actually are.

    3. As you say a collated book is a long way off if we see it at all. I suppose it depends if they see any mileage in, and have the licence to, develop any more of Tolkien's work.

      The 'Eavy Metal team seem less evident in the pages of White Dwarf, instead we get the Hobby Team with a lower level of painting. There are many models I'd approach differently from either group, though I'm still envious more often than not.

  3. The game seems to have died a death at my local club (Clapham Wargamers) with a few people picking up the boxed set, but thats about it.

    The expectation of £50 per rulebook, three rulebooks being released may have something to do with it. Maybe after the last film and batch of models comes out, it'll pick up slightly as people can see what they need to get?

    1. I think the anticipation is probably part of it, as well as the first film not giving a huge amount to work with, and no revitalisation of the current LotR range. It's probably a mistake for GW to have pulled the Mines Of Moria kit rather than simply update it to the Hobbit rules, as people will have been re-watching the original film trilogy, and they've not really cashed in on that.

      GW do seem to be aware that at this point interest isn't high, but I expect we'll see a bigger push at the release of the second and especially the third film, as it'll be their last certain chance to really sell the game.


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