If you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time, you’ll have noticed I’ve been working on a Rivendell army for the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game for about 3 years. I was a bit of a late comer to The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game as it was called back then. Though I’ve been a life-long Tolkien fan ever since I first saw The Hobbit cartoon by Rankin Bass. My mind was further blown open when I discovered the sequel The Return of the King. Eventually I read the books and loved the films when they came out. That time period was the Dark Age of Gaming for me, when I wasn’t playing anything. Shortly after The Return of the King came out I got back into board games and I remember seeing the Games Workshop minis in game stores. I kind of rolled my eyes at the time, a licensed version of Warhammer Fantasy, seriously?
Many years and several moves later, my wife and I moved our young family to Pittsburgh, where my wife is from. Having left my WSTZ buddies behind in Austin, I was looking for new people to push minis around with. I wasn’t interested in trying more mainstream games like Warhammer 40,000 or Age of Sigmar at the time, so when I saw a guy offering to run demos of the LotR game, I got in contact. I have long been fascinated by the old Games Workshop Historical game Legends of the Old West, and when I learned it was based on the LotR rules, I got even more interested.
After a quick learning game pitting some warriors of Minas Tirith against some Moria goblins, I knew I liked what I was seeing from this game. A focus on in-game tactics and the Might/Will/Fate resource mechanics produced some interesting decisions to be made while playing. But the most important choice was what army would I play?
As a kid, I was all about the dwarves. I kind of thought the dwarves as presented in The Hobbit were a bunch of whiny babies, making Bilbo do all the work until the gold had been secured. The character Gimli in The Fellowship of the Ring changed all that, though. He was tough, rugged and a strong fighter. He also learns to put aside his biases as he forms a friendship with Legolas, prince of Mirkwood and travels together to the woodland realm of Lothlorien. Then I would devour The Silmarillion pages that had anything to do with the history of the dwarves. From their creation to wars with the dragons and orcs, I was obsessed. As I’ve gotten older though, and reread The Silmarillion I’ve grown to appreciate the elves’s dark and troubled history, especial the house of Noldor and their quest to reclaim the silmarils.
The choice seemed obvious then, Rivendell! I bought a large lot of Rivendell and other misc Lord of the Rings minis off eBay. It had almost all of the heroes and troops I would need for my army, including doubles I could sell off or use for conversions. It’s been a long road for me to get this project done. It’s the first time I’ve ever completed a miniatures painting project of this size. It has given me the chance to do some conversions for heroes and my own converted warband for Battle Companies.