I am back with an article that ties in the last two posts to the RGH. This is Part one of three.
Hobbit/LOTR and Value
The goal is to write out my thoughts and impressions of the new Hobbit release and LOTR in general and whether or not it is worth the increased cost. This is not a bash on Hobbit/LOTR (I feel the system is better than almost any other GW offering) merely a stream of thought weighing the good and bad for the new edition and whether or not it's worth getting into both as a veteran or a new player. Let’s get started.
I will start with the cons as this is like shooting fish in a barrel.
High Price buy in
Here we go. The Hobbit SBG (I feel insulted calling it “The Hobbit, an unexpected journey strategy battle game.” It’s like saying “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” every time you reference the movie. Just stupid.) is currently the most expensive game system GW has. Both the box set and Rule Book cost more than their 40K and Fantasy equivalents. I spoke of this in an earlier post so will not go into it again. What I do want to know is: Who is this game aimed at? The system is easy to learn and game play is quick so it looks like the standard GW target market of 12+ is about right. On the other hand the Price of 205.00 US just to get started (more on this below) seems to point at an older crowd with disposable income. As if anyone in this economy really has disposable income. If you were a part of the previous incarnation (LOTR-SBG) then the costs are not so bad as you just need the main rule book and whatever “Forces” Books you have figures for (at 28.00 a pop even this can get pricey.) But if you are just starting out that is a lot of outlay for a new game as most companies will sell you enough to play the complete game for around half of that. A great example of this is Warmachine and Hordes that have two player starter boxes with a Mini Rule book and full stat cards (With point values) for all the figures included for under 100.00 US. If looking at cost alone I would have to say the game fails at this level.
Need both sets to get point costs of figures from box set
I want to take a look at some of the follies GW made with this release. First and foremost the decision to not include profiles in the small rulebook but include them in the full size one. I know the profiles for the box set are at the back of the starter book, but no point values are given. For this you have to purchase the 85.00 full size rule book as the contents of the starter box are new and not found in any of the forces books. This really feels like extortion as GW holds the ability to play point match games (The most common type) hostage till I pony up the cash for the big book. Normally this would not be such a problem in a GW product as point values are not normally found in starter sets (or even the full sized rulebooks), but as the president was set with all previous editions since 2001 (there were 4 if keeping count) not including the point values for units in the starter set is quite noticeable.
The fact that the point values are found in the full size book supports the idea that GW is a company controlled by greed. There is a definite “Scheme” feeling going on here. More than likely GW will put out a new forces book that will cover all of this (And make that section of the MRB obsolete) so that folks that stuck it out without buying the big book can get the stats. This book will almost certainly include a bunch of new stuff that will encourage folks that did buy the Big book also want this one as well (there is that Scheme feeling again)
Straight and to the point: what happens when the last movie is done? At best the game is looking at 3 years of any real support before it is back to what LOTR was before December 2012. More than likely the game will get support in fits and starts with the occasional figure release and every once in a while a new book, but if GW follows previous tactics it may be years between books once the Movies are done. The Mordor Book (Summer 2008) was the last LOTR SBG book to come out until the Forces books (January 2012) came out. A time frame of over 40 months. They released WOTR or “War of the ring” (Why?) in 2009 but it is a different game not an upgrade of the SBG. Since this system is constantly teetering on the edge of oblivion sustainability must be considered a factor of value.
Bad Track record for Product support
Well at this point my fingers are getting tire so I will stop. Next time I will look at the positive aspects of the new product line to see if they even out...
Till next time