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 Post subject: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:05 am 
Craftsman
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I wanted to start a conversation about what people think we will get in the upcoming Middle Earth: SBG rule book this fall. I know fanciful speculation is pointless in itself but given how small the overall SBG community and GW’s team for it are now perhaps some open debate about what we would like to see and why might prove useful in directing this next addition. What sort of stuff are you interested in or anticipate seeing? Will we lose the old Dwarves along with old Thranduil? What will happen to the Lorien and Mirkwood list? Will Mirkwood sentinels get chopped or perhaps just renamed?
What I am chiefly interested in discussing is how the new army lists will be organized. Looking at what we got in the two Hobbit books it seems like we might be returning to the Legion manner of doing things again with army lists representing both a specific realm and time period. Erebor Reclaimed, Azog’s Legion, and The Survivors of Laketown are defiantly like that is some respects. But do you all think that it would really be beneficial to redivide Gondor and Mordor in to four or five geographically oriented smaller army lists with hero selection providing the major distinction between them?
If that was the case it would open up more room for interesting army specific special rules. But it would also present problems with lists like the Woses and Dunharrow what would not be able to function independently under the warband system but also don’t have any geographical lists to confederate with. That might be workable if we had them in event specific lists like Erebor Reclaimed so that Rohan and the Three Hunters could lead Woses or the Dead respectively. That could actually sort out a lot of the trouble with the Fiefs and Minis Tirith if you split Angbor and the clansmen off with the passing of the Grey Company and everyone else, plus the clansmen, went to a Siege of Minis Tirith list. That split might have its own problems as well but what do you guys think?

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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:33 am 
Loremaster
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I would love to see army bonuses for all factions, more warrior options (not profile but options within profiles), anduril recosted, and profile expansions for Arnor, Easterlings, Numenor and some elite warriors for Gondor. Heck, I'd be happy if osgiliath vets were straight up F4 without the boromir/faramir condition. Oh and magic needs an overhaul. I feel that the game has evolved, the players too, and what was viewed as limitations before (ie will points) are no longer limitations. We know what spells to cast and how to cast them to ensure success. So I'd like to see magic harder to cast or see it become easier to resist.
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:33 am 
Elven Warrior
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It's worth keeping in mind that not all future lists will necessarily follow the warband structure - creepy crawlies of Mirkwood don't, and it has been said that the same could well occur for Woses and Army of the Dead.

A return to a Legions-esque structure is a given, and I'm looking forward to seeing Mirkwood and Lothlórien as seperate entities again. Maybe there will be a LotR-era Mirkwood list, losing an option from the Hobbit version or so and including Sentinels - or just combine all in one. Could easily see Rohan in three lists - one centred on Eorl (banner effect for pure list, or his special rule on e.g. a 3+), one on the kingdom (infantry bonus perhaps, for Fords of Isen and Hornburg) and one for Pelennor (focussing on Théoden). The Erebor Reclaimed and Iron Hills lists show that fairly similar lists can coexist, still presenting interesting choices to the player mostly due to the army special rules (something I rather like, as you get a fairly different army using the same figures, just swapping a hero or two).

Additionally, the team has mentioned there will not only be pure army and thematic alliance bonuses, but also penalties for forces that really shouldn't fight alongside each other (no outright bans, but just making it a less attractive option). I assume the alliance bonuses will only cover the famous ones in Middle-earth's history, but it will be interesting to see to what extent the penalties apply to what-if scenarios. Discouraging people from fielding Elendil alongside Boromir and Aragorn is fine by me, but how about Third Age characters in the same force as Gil-galad? A definite no because he died, or allowed because he could otherwise certainly have been alive during the War of the Ring?
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:01 pm 
Wayfarer
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Coenus Scaldingus wrote:
A return to a Legions-esque structure is a given...


What makes you say that? Has the dev team said the warband system is being abandoned?
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:10 pm 
Craftsman
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So how might an alliance system work? It could be like the 40k system were the armies have a tiered alliance structure of armies they can be full allies with, begrudging allies, allies of convenience and so on until they just won't fight together under any circumstances. That would give use generic buffs to keep things simpler and it would allow for the easy excuse of adding restricting debuffs and also reinforce the restriction on good not teaming up with evil. Or it could also be that every army would have one or two allies that it could take that would form a battlehost like entity with each one having specific special rules and bonuses. It might be nice if a player was restricted to having only one ally with exceptions like the Wizards or Denizens of Mirkwood being able to join anyone.

I had not considered that the warbands system would be disregarded in some cases. That could certainly work for the dead since they are so expensive anyway. But the thought of unlimited Wose spam after the fashion of Fell Wargs is a bit unnerving. Still it might open the way to restoring the Grey Company's old 4 warrior's a Dunedian rule, I was always very found of that myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:33 pm 
Elven Warrior
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Tar-Minastir wrote:
Coenus Scaldingus wrote:
A return to a Legions-esque structure is a given...


What makes you say that? Has the dev team said the warband system is being abandoned?

I meant in the sense of having armylists restricted by geographical and chronological boundaries, rather than the very broad lists in the current sourcebooks. Beyond the mentioned examples, I see no developments towards the abandonment of the warband structure.



I agree that the Army of the Dead will likely do just fine if the King can lead unlimited warriors (as he will in essence). I would expect some other restriction on the Woses, for obvious reasons. In a similar fashion, I suppose a way to bring an army of Hobbits with Bandobras, without resorting to Paladin and the four Fellowship Hobbits, would be welcome, another issue fraught with difficulties (the very fact that the Halflings can only be led by a select number of named heroes currently helps restrict them to semi-sensible levels).

As for the alliances, I think those deserving of special rules will be the exception rather than the rule, each specifically mentioned and designed - i.e. no generic alliance special rules. Non-thematic alliances could be equally rare or perhaps more widely implemented - I could imagine simple rules such as the inability to use Stand Fast! and heroic moves from non-thematic allies as a generic penalty, and a generic penalty makes more sense than specific penalties for particularly 'wrong' alliances, although each would be spelled out (still the exception rather than the rule).
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:19 am 
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The only thing I really hope for is that they keep it simple and don't fall into the trap of ramping the "special specialness" of everything up and ending up in a 40Kish arms race.

LotR holds players due to its simplicity and depth within that simple framework.
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 8:39 pm 
Kinsman
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Kitsune 666 wrote:
The only thing I really hope for is that they keep it simple and don't fall into the trap of ramping the "special specialness" of everything up and ending up in a 40Kish arms race.

LotR holds players due to its simplicity and depth within that simple framework.


i totally agree there - I still love the earliest versions of the game, where unridden mounts didn't automatically get removed & models failing their 'broken' tests could regain their courage in a later turn & fight on. No doubt there have been improvements over the years but would hate to see this game go the way of so many others with unnecessary rules 'improvements' as opposed to new models / scenarios. Not to be negative, but do we really need a new 'core' rulebook so soon? The main rules work near perfectly for both the Hobbit & LOTR.

One thing I enjoyed personally with the older releases was the journeybooks / sourcebooks series ; new scenarios, scenery modelling projects; painting guides etc. all within a single volume. Now if there were a revamp or new additions to these being released I would be waiting with baited breath. I still have my version of Amon Sul & Helm's Deep that I made following the guides & miss this aspect of the hobby supported in the books / releases.

Regarding unnecessary rules editions & additions, the best example I can think of is BloodBowl (which I also love) - from '88-'91 it became so much of a "rules for every eventuality" game that it was almost unplayable ; a couple of years later with a good overhaul & simplification (mainly by listening to the advice of the players) and the 'core' rules to come out of that have now remained largely unchanged for almost 24 years??

I definitely think GW should learn from that example and to use a cliche: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" :)
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:16 pm 
Elven Warrior
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Don't think there's much of a risk that any core mechanics in the game are to see a radical overhaul - some have remained identical for the past 15 years, and proven as perfect as they could be expected to. Main differences are likely to be found in the (some would say unnecessary) changes that first appeared in the last edition; mainly referring to the special strikes of course. If any part of the game is currently broken, that's it, and they'll certainly be altered on various levels.
Other than that, there has never been a team working on the game so aware of what the community likes and dislikes - updates to the game will be with the aim to improve it, not change things for the sake of changing things. Although of course, where different opinions exist, it will be impossible to please everyone.
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 Post subject: Re: Middle Earth: SBG Book Debate
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 9:57 pm 
Kinsman
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Coenus Scaldingus wrote:
Main differences are likely to be found in the (some would say unnecessary) changes that first appeared in the last edition; mainly referring to the special strikes of course.

Although of course, where different opinions exist, it will be impossible to please everyone.


Very true & couldn't agree more! I suppose the point I was trying to make is that my personal preference was/is for the earliest versions of the game ; what appealed to me most was the lack of 'special rules' for troops etc, the focus of that aspect was very much on the characters ; I found it much more true to the spirit of middle-earth. I find that to many 'special rules' or bonuses for warbands etc start edging the game towards warhammer-style territory, which is something that doesn't appeal. I also enjoyed being able to have scenery projects to use alongside the books I was using at the time

However, I will say that I am still looking forward to the new releases, books or otherwise. It would be foolish not to take this renewed opportunity to help support GW / FW and keep this game alive :D

and....

there's always 'house rules' for any bits we don't like 8)
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