The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game
Middle Earth: the Strategy Battle Game, A.K.A. The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, A.K.A. The Hobbit: Strategy Battle Game, AKA Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game is GW's third-biggest game, based on, you guessed it, The Lord of the Rings. It has a skirmish-style character reminiscent of 40k, but turns into one hell of a clusterfuck and slowed down in large scale games if you're not careful.Over 1000 points the game slows down,( remember this is a skirmish game with you making decisions on each individual model at times). It can be played at under 400-500 points for a quick fun game, but playing at around 700 points will let you bring some of the big toys ( such as monsters or wizards), without weakening your main battle line.
Back in 2001 (you may feel old now), the famous kiwi director Peter Jackson (who you might remember from his cult hit Braindead (or Dead Alive, depending on where you live), a flick that greatly pleased Khorne for being one of the bloodiest movies of all time) did what was thought for decades to be impossible: to turn J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books into movies. Ending up as a 10+ hour long behemoth of a trilogy, it made more money than a battle barge filled with Slaaneshi whores. GW, having a keen nose for when someone makes more money than they do, approached New Line Cinema (film studio behind the movies), Italian publisher Deagostini (famous for publishing collector's items and DIY kits, subscription-based and once piece at a time over the span of years), and Tolkien's heirs in one of the biggest crack-conspiracies this side of Snowflame: make that shit into a tabletop strategy game. The principal writer of this game was a certain Matthew Ward, who started out at GW as a writer of LOTR, and would later go on to gain great infamy as a Spiritual Liege in the 40K universe.
So back in the day of 3rd edition and 6th edition, the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game took the world by force. What's surprising is that there's a lot of plastic to go around, and you used to get a shit ton of dudes (20-24 models compared to 40k's 10-16 per basic troop choice) in the boxed set. This has since been cut down to 10-12 per box, and 6 models per infantry box. Yes, there's quite some metal and finecast to go around, but it's surprisingly cheap to make yourself a LotRSBG army.
With the Hobbit movies dragging everyone's fat asses to the cinemas this game looks like it's making a comeback, oddly renamed to "The Hobbit" as a movie tie-in instead of "Middle-Earth" or something more appropriate for a wargame set in several ages of Middle-earth. Unsurprisingly, they fucked it up. Fucktarded pricing, a lack of advertising and the fact that the company seemed to despise it, killed it. It's being withdrawn from stores, half the books are unavailable, it will soon be dead. We will never forgive and never forget. Double the price, half the models, no bitz, unbalanced new models and the lack of adver- look its the fucking HOBBIT. Audiences would lap it up. Its a pity the audience had no idea the game existed isn't it?
As of 2017 any Army from the lord of the Rings era has been discontinued, so you have to settle for the hobbit stuff which is fucking sad (considering they had one of the most unique army lineups in any Lord of the Rings game ever created they gave life to Armies, People's, and cultures we haven't seen in any Adaptations of the books ever before from Umbar to Armor this game *had* it all), back in 2015 they raised the price on the old models, while only selling half the amount of models compared to what they used to be I.E. a box of minas tirith soldiers of 24 (about 20$) back then, became 12 (about 31$) in recent years before they were removed.
IT'S BACK BITCHES! With new rules being published by GW again, and GW and FW both putting out more models as the rumors of a new edition (aptly called "Middle Earth: the Strategy Battle Game") to be released right around the corner, it seem's that GW has finally remembered that there is a 3rd game they still do. If you've been hankering to play any of those cool-ass armies, now's probably a good time to get started.
... really? Fine. It's Lord of the Rings. Everywhere from the Battle of the Last Alliance to the Battle of the Black Gate. That's about it.
Army building in LotRSBG is pretty easy. Start with a hero and give him a retinue of up to twelve warriors. Rinse. Repeat. Certain heroes can't have warbands and are taken as solo models. Each warband is treated as a group for deployment but become individual models after that. Note that you don't have to completely fill out a hero's group before you move on to another. Good armies can take allies from any other good list and evil can take any evil allies, but a hero can only take warriors from his own list. Most lists can only have 1 in 3 models with bows, but several lists have special rules that change this (Easterlings and Haradrim contingents built a certain way have a 1 in 2 ratio while Rohan riders and Rivendell knights don't count towards the limit).
The game plays more like 40k's kill team than like WFB: you have models that can move freely from each other, mounted on the same 25/40mm bases 40k uses. The game has four phases: Priority, Movement, Shooting and Combat.
The turn structure in this game is radically different then either of GW's other 2 big systems in that the players don't take turns, but they instead play phase to phase. This turn determines who goes first: each player rolls a d6, the winner goes first. The guy with priority moves his models first, then the other player moves all of his. This system of alternating phases continues through the shoot phase. The player with Priority also decides which combats happen first and who fights who in the case of multiple models in a single combat. This is rolled again every turn.
Sometimes certain events for the mission/effects on models take place during this phase as well.
Nearly everything moves 6" in this game: Dwarves and Goblins go 5" (explaining why Thorin and co get captured by elves but goblins can't catch them), hobbits go 4", cavalry goes 10", and various monsters and fliers go different speeds. Movement is halved in difficult terrain, certain models are immune to this through a few special rules. Certain kinds of movement (climbing, jumping and so on) require dice rolls: 1 is a failure , 2-5 is regular success and the gap/ledge is crossed but the model can't move any farther that turn, a 6 is a success and the gap/ledge is crossed and the model can continue moving up to its move value.
Charging takes place in this phase as well and uses your regular speed: if you're not charging you are to remain 1" from the enemy. Throwing weapons can be used at 1" from target: if you kill your target you may freely charge another target within your remaining movement.
Most kinds of magic are cast in this phase as well: spend a Will point (more on this later) and roll a d6 against a spell's value: if you equal or pass the number the spell is cast.
If you want to shoot, you get to move up to half of your regular movement, rounded down. With crossbows and rock-throwing you can't move at all. Shooting is against a static number on your profile, which is unmodified by range or cover. If you do move, you suffer a -1 penalty to your to-hit roll. Models fire one by one, determining who wants to shoot, see if the target's in range, roll to hit, roll to wound, target may roll any saves it has (rare in SBG), and continue. Cover isn't abstract in this game. If you're in a wood and you want to be in cover you must be behind a tree. Cover saves work by forcing the shooter to make "In the Way" tests for each object that obstructs the target. Evil models can shoot into combat but the good guys won't risk their own models. Then again they don't bring along meat shields like the baddies do.
Compared to 40k and WFB, shooting is terrible in SBG. Most ranged weapons are only strength 2 or 3, and when you have to roll against a toughness 6 you're not going to do that much damage. In this game, it's all about quantity over quality when it comes to shooting. Still funny when your ballista sends a model flying off the objective just before the game ends in the few scenarios that use objectives.
This is where the game gets nasty. Combat is determined by rolling a d6 for every point of Attack you have. The highest roll wins: draws are determined by the Fight value a model has. If the fight values are the same, roll another d6: on a 1-3 the 'evil' guy wins, on a 4-6 the 'good' guy wins. If a model is beaten in combat it is pushed back 1", if it is not killed it stays there. If you win, you again roll dice equal to your attack: if you meet the To Wound roll (very often a 5+ unless when faced with tough enemies or if your army sucks) the target dies, no overkill.
Now, since wounding your targets requires rather high rolls (5+ and 6+), few models tend to die each turn. Games would take a long time if not for for the Breaking rule: the moment more than 50% of your army is dead, you start rolling for Breaking. 2d6+a model's Courage: if this is equal to or greater than 10, you pass. If not, your squad breaks. If a hero makes his roll, every non-hero within 6" of him can use his Courage, which especially in armies with low Courage can be a game-saver.
Types of Weapons
Much like both versions of Warhammer, the Hobbit: SBG has multiple weapon types to choose from. Typically you use whatever the model is physically armed with, however the big difference is that a "hand weapon" (which most models have) MUST be used as what kind of weapon is modeled. With the release of The Hobbit: SBG regular hand weapons get special strikes depending on what they are. These usually involve a certain trade-off such as increased strength if you win but decreased defense if you fuck up.
Swords/Daggers: You can opt to drop your fight value by d3 (to a minimum of 1), but get to reroll 1's to wound, which can be really useful against tougher enemies, however you want to be supported by a spear in case you draw on your combat rolls.
Axes/Picks: You can opt to use a piercing Strike meaning you reduce your defence by D3 if you lose the fight, but get 1 extra strength of you win, for when you 'accidentally' get charged (or charge) a troll.
Hammers/Maces/Mauls: These let you knock your opponent prone (which applies a whole slew of penalties) if you win, at the cost of not being able to swing at them.
Clubs/Staffs: Instead of killing you guy you're fighting, you can beat the shit out of him and reduce his combat stats through his next combat phase.
Flails/Scourges/Whips: Flails are an odd case. You drop your fight value to 1, but you get to smack everyone in base contact with you if you manage to win the roll-off.
Spears: let models support an ally while they are in base contact with one another, typically giving them an extra attack, as well as letting you use whichever fight value is higher in the case of a draw
Pikes: do the same as spears, but can support a guy who's already supporting an ally.
Lances: A model with a lance adds 1 to it's wound roll on the turn it charged on, unless it charged on difficult terrain. If the unit is dismounted they loose the lance.
Two-Handed Weapons: 2-handed weapons are special for 2 reasons: first is that you get to benefit from all the special attacks that one handed weapons have unlike spears/pikes. Their big deal is they give you a +1 to your "wound" roll at the cost of -1 to your duel roll. Much like using the sword's special attack the increased damage is really nice, but you will have a much harder time getting to utilize said damage.
Hand-And-A-Half Weapons: These give you the option to use them as a 2-handed weapon or a 1-handed weapon while fighting.
Elven Made Weapons: When the duel is a draw these tip the balance in your favour, for good forces, instead of a 4-6 win on a roll of you're now getting a 3-6 win. For evil it goes from a 1-3 to 1-4 to win. If both models in a duel are using eleven weapons then neither of them reiceves the bonus.
Master Forged Weapons: If you're using one of these then there's no -1 penalty to the duel roll for using a two handed weapon.
Shields: Shields allow you to use the "shielding" rule (no surprise there) which let you double your attacks at the cost of not being able to swing at your opponent if you win.
Bows: You got a lot of different bows that are specific to each army list, each one with different ranges to hit and Strength to hit with. Elf Bows are relatively popular as they are the most widely available bow for Elf armies (and a few amies of men) that have good range and strength.
Crossbows: Bows with an extra kick, the downside is if they moved at all they can't fire as well.
Throwing Weapons: This includes spears, they have the shortest range but make up for it with strength 3 and the ability to throw it even if they moved half their movement. Throwing weapons can be also be used when charging a unit, a good way to soften up a unit before getting in a fight.
Blowpipe: first thing to take a note of, although they are short range, plowpipes do not count towards the armies bow limit. This can give you the options of building a very shooty army. All plowpipes benefit from the poisoned weapons special rule and use the same movement and firing rules as bows.
Slingshot: The weakest missile weapon on the list, you can fire with it twice if you haven't moved, other than that it follows the bow rules regarding moving and shooting. I really wouldn't bother with this.
Banners: You should always take at least one of these. Any duel within 3" of a banner gives you one D6 to re-roll, this can be done before or after you opponent has rolled his dice to see who wins the duel. Re-rolls must be done before using any might points. Banners cannot be taken into affect if the model is prone so try to keep him safe with a few other units, if at any time your banner carrier is slain, you can use one friendly model that is the same unit type (and not in a fight) and have them pick up the banner by swapping the model for the banner carrier that was just slain.
War Drum: These give your troops the extra push into getting them into combat or securing objectives just that little bit faster. As long as they have the same keywords and are within 12" of a drummer, infantry move an additional 3" and cavalry (or flying units) move an extra 5". However, any unit that has been affected by a war drum cannot charge in that turn.
War Horns: If you choose to equip one or more of you units with a war horn, all of your models get +1 to their Courage. Though it may not seem much of difference you will quickly notice how much they can help when you start failing your courage checks by 1.
Elven Cloaks: Your units get the Stalk Unseen rule, if your model is partially concealed by a piece of terrain then they cannot be seen, denying your enemy from targeting them with shooting, using Magic and special rules if they are more than 6" away from your equipped model.
Your heroes possess special stats, namely Might, Will and Fate. These start with fixed numbers and cannot be regained during battle, aside from a few special rules.
- Might can increase any roll related to a hero by one point or call heroic actions, be it in the movement, shooting or combat phase. Aragorn is notable for having a free point every turn, allowing him to curb stomp pretty much anything thrown at him, especially if he's armed with Andúril. Heroic actions fuck with priority and are useful if you decide your hero needs to be balls out awesome that turn.
- Will is used to cast and resist spells and to modify courage tests. You can use as many as you like to try and cast a spell, though one good roll suffices to cast. Most powerful wizards (Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel) can use a free point of will per turn. The Ring wraiths are special in that they start with a LOT of Will (7 in their weakest form, up to 20 for the Witch King and the Undying at full power) but lose a point every time they fight in combat and simply disappear if they run out to represent their ethereal, wraith-like nature.
- Fate are one-use saves against killing blows: on a 4+ you ignore a wound that would otherwise put a model out of action. Sauron equipped with the One Ring has a 2+ save, as if killing him wasn't difficult enough already.
Games of TLotRSBG always take place between two armies: good and evil. No exceptions. There is, luckily enough, more than enough flavor to go between divided between the forces, and some very loose rules for allies within each side. For clarification: If both armies are good or evil, you just decide who wins ties on 1-3, and who wins on 4-6. The new edition has changed up some of the army lists to more specific time periods-
Forces of Good
- Arnor: the last defenders of the northern kingdom. very reliant on their heroes and army bonus and a pretty limited selection of models, but nonetheless some VERY strong combinations and sturdy basic troops.
- The Shire:. Hobbits! Hobbits everywhere! The closest thing the good guys will ever have to meatshields, Hobbits are slow and barely strong enough to hurt each other, let alone the enemy. They have some amusing heroes (Frodo's post-dropping-the-Ring-into-Mount-Doom form makes for some hilarious trolling) and are surprisingly accurate with their pebble toss attack. At first glance they are a completely retarded choice unless you're in it for fluff, but Lotr sbg is a game where numbers REALLY count as combats are done on a model by model basis and having multiple guys in a fight can swing it against even the best in the business, not to mention the fact that they are a really nice filler for other factions: allied to another list (such as elves) or with certain characters added (malbeth the seer for maximum cheese) they can be tournament winners, let alone competitive. However, you could buy Apple for less than a full army of these guys as they're just so few points, even their most expensive (read: the least cheap) heroes cost less than goblin heroes.
- The Fellowship: A good source of powerful heroes, but they shouldn't all be taken at once if you want to keep friends or play a reasonably point-priced game.
- Rivendell: The High Elves will fuck your shit up. Highly skilled warriors, some of the deadliest heroes in the game, and Cavalry that makes you roll for Anal Circumference. Their obvious downside is their high cost.
- Lothlorien: Though not as tough as their High Elven cousins, the Wood Elves will fuck you up from range. The deadliest archers on the side of good, they are just as deadly in combat as their High Elven cousins, at the cost of less access to insane rape-fueled heroes.
- The Rangers: Dangerous folk they are, until they actually hit the tabletop that is. It's a cool army list, featuring dunedain, rangers of the north, Aragorn, and some important characters in his upbringing, it's an interesting take at an all hero army. While a full list of bow-wielding 2A hunters seems neat, they lack the killing power- and more importantly the durability- other hero-based forces bring.
- Rohan: Anglo-Saxon Cavalry. If you play Rohan and you don't field your entire army on horseback, you're doing it wrong. You NEED theoden to make this army work, but when it does man oh man can they cause some pain.
- Minas Tirith: one of the largest armies in the game in terms of options, with highly competitive options laced throughout. tough, reliable troops with fantastic heroes, their only downside is some lower fight values than other good armies, though there's a multitude of ways to get around that.
- Fiefdoms: A bunch of filthy rural hillmen and badass knights from various small territories who come to Gondor's aid in the third book. Peter Jackson cut all of them out of the third film, save for the Warriors of the Dead. Strangely similar play style to Eldar, with tons of very specialized warriors that could easily win you the game if you can keep them alive and stabbing the right targets. Fieldoms have some of the best good heroes (Imrahil, Forlong) for competitively low points costs. Tend to fall apart quickly if their heroes die. They would probably be one of the most played armies if most of their models weren't expensive metal blister packs or OoP.
Thanks GW for your continued support and updating of your game system.And now they are! New dismounted Swan Knights from Forge world are just the tip of the iceberg for more new stuff to come.
- The Kingdom of Khazad-Dum: The Dwarves in LotR are tough. Nearly impossible to wound with ranged weapons and only killable in combat with lucky hits, prepare for long drawn-out battles against Durin's Folk. Costed somewhere in between the Gondorians and the High Elves, Dwarves have the ability to outlast most of your enemies due to their insane toughness. Fun to note is that though they have become the arch-blueprint of what it means to be a Dwarf, they themselves use swords and bows.
- Numenor Basically one type of warrior and a few heroes. For some reason you can field Aragorn, Frodo, and even Bilbo alongside Isildur.
- The Wanderers in the Wild: These are the heroes not fitting in with the other armies, including a few Dwarves and Tom Bombadil & Goldberry.
- Fangorn: The good guys source of giant walking monsters, Treebeard and the other Ents are here to smash and stomp their way through anything in front of them. Pray you don't have to fight an army of these.
- Thorin's Company: Like the Fellowship, but with the adventuring party from The Hobbit instead. Can field a truly large amount of powerful but cheap heroes. Also Bilbo. He gets all the perks of the One Ring (invisibility) with none of the downsides. Make him your general, have him put on the ring and watch your opponent try to kill him.
- Radagast's Alliance: More Eagles. Now in plastic.
- Army of Thror: The Kingdom of Khazad-Dum, but this time the Warriors can take spears. They also have one of the Best Dwarf units in the game both in rules and design.
- Garrison of Dale: Pretty good archers with Elf bows, and they have access to a windlance.
- The White Council: All of the wizards. Crazy amounts of magic. Also Galadriel. Holy shit Galadriel.
- Thranduil's Hall: Counter's the Elves main weakness by being absolute trolls against horde armies. Thranduil dominates everyone.
- Army of Laketown: Let's be honest, the only reason you'd buy these is Bard the Bowman and STEPHEN FRY (now in resin).
- Survivors of Laketown: Your army of angry fisherman, now Bard is the Leader of his people and you get Gandalf too.
- Iron Hills Dwarves: Lead by Dain Ironfoot, these Dwarves ride goats & boars into battle, they bring very high defence infantry, crossbows and siege engines that fire "The old twirly whirlys". Quite possibly the most OP faction in the game.
- Erebor Reclaimed: You have all the dwarves from Thorin's company (No Gandalf or Bilbo) but now they've got all the best armour and weapons Erebor's armoury has to offer.
Forces of Evil
- Moria: Your prime source for Goblins: though not very tough, brave or strong, you will drown your enemies in a green(ish) tide. Don't forget to open up a can or two of trollolo on your enemies: they're not very expensive if you use a few. Remember: heroes can be as cheap as 35 points. Use this. Also includes the Balrog and Dragons, both of whom are incredibly powerful and hard to kill.
- Isengard: Where Hobbits are taken to. The Uruk-Hai are a force to be reckoned with: with Strength 4 they can punch lesser men to death with ease. Their crossbows make them the shootiest force on the evil team, capable of outshooting Elven armies in a straight fight, although the Elves still have the advantage of greater range and manoeuvrability. They also have a ton of pikes.
- Mordor: While not impractically weak like the Moria goblins, Orcs are still weaker than most good warriors and rely on numbers to win the day. Unless you start to use the different breeds of Orcs of course: the Morannon Orcs who are stronger and better armored: the Mordor Uruk-Hai who are as strong and bold as their Isengard cousins, and the dreaded Black Guard of Barad-Dûr, who can slay lesser heroes with ease. Not to be overlooked are the Black Men of Númenór, who are a fear-causing and disciplined, albeit pricey, choice. This list has some brilliant heroes, including Sauron himself, the Mouth of Sauron (who got butchered in the extended run of Return of the King), Gothmog (he lead the siege on Minas Tirith), Shagrat of Minas Morgul (who with his blonde hair, meat cleaver sword and bad attitude is pretty much channeling Viral from the Gurren Lagaan anime) and the Nazgûl.
- The Eastern Kingdoms: You might remember these as the guys from the second movie who didn't do all that much. They are tough, disciplined and have some pretty strong characters, including the Dragon Knights and War Priests who use their outlandish weapons and styles to overcome their enemies. The others, the men of Khand, are basically Mongols.
- Harad: There are more than a few reasons to take these lists. One: they have Suladân and the Serpent Horde, light-armored warriors with poisoned bows, horses and a lot of friends (exactly the opposite of you once you play a fully competitive Harad list). Two: The most cheesy of the cheesy lists possible with this very competitive list is the Watcher of Karna (possibly the most underpriced model in SBG) and Serpent Guard spam. Three: the War-Mumak of Harad (war elephants), who was for a long time the biggest non-terrain model GW has ever made outside of Forge World. This force is oft to be seen gracing the top tables at tournaments and has some notoriously underpriced warriors.
- Far-Harad: Camel cavalry, half-trolls and blowpipes a plenty for these guys, don't worry they still get to bring mumakil.
- Umbar: The pirates of Middle-Earth, the corsairs of umbar are your range specialists, they can outshoot most other armies with their long range and high damage weapons, they aren't that bad close up either since they include the dreaded Corsair Reaver, with elven F5 but 2 attacks rather than one.
- Angmar: Gets all kinds of undead but for some reason no regular ghosts. Mixes these in to make your opponent's warriors die, but are going to get the tables turned on them without support. Enter cave trolls and the gloriously cheap and expendable orcs. Contains the Shade. Fucking Shades. Prepare your anus if you go up against a properly done Shade-Spear Orc-Reaver list.
- Sharkey's Rogues: Saruman and Wormtongue with a gang of ruffians and slavers, not many options but fun if you ever wanted to recreate the scouring of the shire.
- The Nazgul of Dol Guldur: The Necromancer and all his ringwraiths in armoured spirit form. you also get the keeper of the dungeons who has the ability to steal rings of power from heroes.
- Azog's Hunters: Orcs, but with twice the attacks and ten times the awesome. Also has the ability to bring the most bows any orc force could bring.
- Azog's Legion: Fancy running an army of Orcs who have a bone to pick with Elves and Dwarves? well this is the army for you, not only will you have heavy Orc infantry but also access to goblin mercenaries, Bats, Ogres, Trolls and Trolls with catapults to really ruin the good guys day.
- Goblin Town: Compared to the Moria goblins they trade armor for free spears (but only if they're supporting goblins from the same hood). The hilarious goblin scribe effectively gives you an infinite supply of goblins, which is handy when you have the Goblin King using them as ammo.
- The Trolls: The three idiots who got themselves turned to stone. However, they are fun to play with in some scenarios and have a few tricks to easily win most fights without even killing the enemy.
- Smaug: Kiss your money, possessions and kidneys goodbye. In model form he's the size of a small dog and almost costs as much. But he's awesome, so most of this should be forgiven. 700 fucking points.
Taking Allies can be a good thing if your army lacks something that another is more specialised in, but you need to be careful with who you take because you could lose that very strong army bonus for not only your army but also your allies. Unless of course that doesn't remotely bother you then feel free to go nuts.
Historical Allies: This allows your allied forces to keep their army bonuses and have heroic actions affect all units in both armies.
Convenient Allies: Your army and allies both lose their army bonuses. However, you can still call heroic actions for either force.
Impossible Allies: No army bonuses and no heroic actions that affect your army and the one you have allied with It will now only affect the units under that heroes army list.
Here's the tactics pages that we have so far:
Forces of Good
- Minas Tirith
- The Dead of Dunharrow
- The Kingdom of Khazad-Dum
- The Fellowship
- The Fiefdoms
- The Shire
- The Misty Mountains
- The Wanderers in the Wild
- Thorin's Company
- Radagast's Alliance
- Army of Thror
- Garrison of Dale
- The White Council
- Thranduil's Hall
- Army of Laketown
- Survivors of Laketown
- Iron Hills Dwarves
- Erebor Reclaimed
Forces of Evil
- The Serpent Horde
- Far Harad
- Corsairs of Umbar
- Sharkey's Rogues
- Variags of Khand
- The Eastern Kingdoms
- The Nazgul of Dol Guldur
- Dark Denizens of Mirkwood
- Azog's Hunters
- Azog's Legion
- Goblin Town
- The Trolls
The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game has its own charm over 40k and WFB, mainly due to its setting and smaller scale. Games can turn into mobs pretty fast though, but using standard scenarios included in the rules (such as hold ground, or seize the prize) go a long way to prevent that with their specific victory conditions. The game also has narrative scenarios, which allow you to recreate parts of the books/ movies, such as Balin's Tomb or Weathertop. The new starter set has scenarios to recreate the charge of the rohirrim outside Minas Tirith and Theoden's fight with the witchking. (only play games of 1k+ points if you like the idea of eating rotten meat in a fit of RAGE). The way the turns are played can be off-putting at first to some, but the game can be a lot of fun espicially if you have Howard Shore blasting in the background.