War of the Ring

On Wednesday 4th the Games Workshop team of Dave and Rob came along to the club and ran a participation game of the soon to be released War of the Ring.  This is the new massed combat rules for Lord of the Rings and allows players to take command of the large armies of Middle Earth.

The game was approximately 1000 points – which I’m told is suitable for a standard evening play. The two sides were Roahn with Numenorian allies against an evil horde from Mordor.

My vague memory of the armies was as follows 

The Mordor force

3 trolls (individual monster units)

2 units of 48 Orcs (each had 6 companies)

1 unit of wargs (3 companies)

1 unit of Knights (3 companies)

The Forces of Rohan

1 unit 32 Numenorian Warriors (4 companies)

1 unit 16 Numenorian archers (2 companies)

1 unit 6 Gondor Knights (3 companies)

2 units 10 Rohan Cavalry (5 companies)

2 units 12 Rohan Cavalry (6 companies)  

The Rohan force had Theoden and Aeowin as special characters whilst the Mordor force was led by Gothmog.

The table was a standard 6 foot by 4 foot table with limited terrain.  A walled city was situated in one corner as a backdrop.

The game is completely different to the skirmish game, but is also very different to Warhammer Fantasy.  The movement of the forces reminded me of Warmaster though the combat is something new.

A brief set of ‘getting started rules’ are available from the GW website


Despite everyone being new to the game Dave and Rob managed to drag us fairly successfully through the full 8 turns of the game to a fairly tight conclusion with Mordor just taking the win.

The game uses the GW Lord of the Rings figures but requires the figures to be based into companies of 2 figures for cavalry and 8 for infantry.  Monsters such as trolls are in individual units.  Whilst GW do sell special trays to mount the troops as companies many of the troops which we were using were simply on card company bases.

The game uses a different turn mechanism to the traditional GW mass games.  The turn sequence is started with an initiative roll called the Priority Phase.  This determines who can go first in each of the phases.  Whilst this is an ‘I-go-you-go’ game, each phase is played in turn by both players, so in movement, both players move all of their forces before the next phase for shooting, where both players complete all of their firing before moving onto the Charging Phase.  Winning this roll is critical as it determines who controls the movement and subsequent charging.

Firing and combat does involve lots of dice, so if that’s your thing you will be quite at home.  I do love picking up handfuls of dice.

I enjoyed this first game, and do intend to finish off my Rohan force in the next few months to play the game once the rules are available in early April.  The rule book itself is a monster of a manual being a large A4 hardbound book thicker than most of the core rules currently available.  The book has all of the rules as expected, as well as the standard GW modelling and army collection notes and pictures.  On top of this though the rules do seem to have an extensive set of army lists to cover most conceivable army requirments for the Third Age (unsure about earlier).  There are also a large set of scenarios of ‘historic’ battles from the books which should keep most people amused.  Overall the production quality does look impressive, and you do seem to get a lot in the book, though it does carry a £35 price tag.

GW are currently taking pre-orders for the book, with a prize of ‘Sting’ (Bilbos/Frodos sword).  I’ve got a selection of pre-order cards if required.  Alternatively your normal on-line suppliers such as Hobby Box http://thehobbybox.biz/ will no doubt have them shortly afterwards.  The unit bases are now available from GW, as are pre-textured resin bases from TSS. 


A new selection of plastic box sets seem to be on the horizon, so making the game more accessible for those on a budget.




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