The Lord of the Rings (Tabletop)

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Lord of the Rings
Game data
publishing company Games workshop
Publishing year since 2001
Art Tabletop
Teammates 2+
Duration 60 minutes
Age from 12 years

The Lord of the Rings , the Middle-Earth tabletop strategy game since 2018 (2012-2018 The Hobbit Tabletop Strategy Game ) is a tabletop game by Games Workshop , which is based on the film adaptation of JRR Tolkien's books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit . Scenes from the films can either be reenacted with certain characters or independent battles can be waged in relation to the books.

After the success of the tabletop games Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000, Games Workshop built up a third pillar of the company with The Lord of the Rings . The game is still being expanded, for example the third edition is now available, and the number of races has been increased from two to twelve. The game is now considered established and is on an equal footing with the other two main game systems from Games Workshop.

After acquiring the license, New Line Cinema placed strict requirements on Games Workshop, which have since been relaxed. In the beginning, the game had to be placed in stores exactly separated from the other systems and the “mixing” of Lord of the Rings miniatures and figures from other games was officially prohibited. In addition, every actor, after whose appearance a model was made, had to give his consent. Except for Liv Tyler , who only approved the third draft, there were no problems.

The game


Each player chooses one of the playable groups or races and puts together an army with the help of the races-specific rules. The troops are represented by appropriate tin , plastic or resin miniatures and placed on the gaming table according to certain rules.

The game runs in phases, one player moves his miniatures, then the other, then the first player shoots his ranged troops, after him again the opponent, and finally the close combat is resolved simultaneously. The outcome of most events is determined by rolling the dice.

Game system

Similar to Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000, the game uses a points system with which the army strengths of the parties involved are to be divided fairly. Each unit has a point value that varies according to the strength of the figure. A point limit is set before the game.

There are the following ways to play:

  • scenario
In the scenario, an event from the books or films is re-enacted, whereby the characters are determined and special rules are used.
  • Point game
In this game method, two armies of roughly equal strength fight against each other. The characters can be selected by the player himself, the players determine the point limit themselves (often 500, 600, 700 points).
  • Warbands
Up to 25 miniatures.

The models

The models are in 28 mm scale , which corresponds approximately to the scale 1:60. This means that they are on average smaller than Warhammer miniatures, but are largely true to scale with one another. Some large models have been shrunk a bit for reasons of cost and playability, but this is not a real drawback, as the figures themselves only represent abstract markers on the playing field.

There are both pewter and plastic models, with Games Workshop having tended to use plastic in remakes of previous pewter figures for some time. In 2011 a new material called Finecast was introduced. Finecast is a so-called hybrid resin, a resin synthetic resin with material properties that should correspond to the mechanical properties of the polyethylene plastic normally used . In fact, it is a simple resin ( i.e. a two-component synthetic resin) which has already been used in a similar form by Privateer Press (for Hordes and hot machines ) or Alchemy Miniatures . Finecast, often incorrectly referred to as Plasteresin in the gaming community, has been highly controversial since its market launch.

The figure kits are mostly multi-part and they are usually painted and assembled by the players themselves. In addition to characters that appear in the films and thus provided a role model, Games Workshop also designed models for characters that are only mentioned in the original book (e.g. Tom Bombadil , Arathorn). There are also characters invented by Games Workshop, especially on the evil side. These include characters of the Haradrim and corsairs (e.g. The Golden King of Abrakhân, Dalamyr of Umbar), personalities for the seven Nazgûl, who remained anonymous with Tolkien, or the demon Gûlavhar from Angmar.


The supplementary books contain further scenarios to replay, background information and any special rules, army lists and profiles of units.

  • Shadow and Flame (To the rulebook The Two Towers )
  • The Siege of Gondor (To the rulebook The Return of the King )
  • The Battle of Pelennor Fields (To the rulebook The Return of the King )
  • The Liberation of the Shire (To the Rulebook The Return of the King )
  • The fellows
  • The shadow in the east
  • The fall of the necromancer
  • The two Towers
  • Legions of Middle-earth (book with almost all units and their point costs, scenarios for armies)
  • The fall of Arnor
  • Khazad-dûm
  • the return of the King
  • Gondor on fire
  • Harad
  • Mordor
  • the war of the ring (not a supplementary book in the strict sense)

Rules and supplements for The Hobbit

In 2012 a new edition of the rules appeared in the course of the Hobbit films. In advance, five so-called source books were published, in which all profiles published for The Lord of the Rings were listed. For the second film, the expansion booklet Smaug's Desolation was published which contained the profiles of the models published for this film and narrative scenarios for the journey of Thorin's followers through the Mirkwood. For the third film, Games Workshop only published a booklet that contained profiles and two scenarios. In 2016 the book "There And Back Again" was published. This included all profiles for the 2nd and 3rd Hobbit film, as well as revised and new scenarios.

  • The Hobbit Rulebook (with the profiles for the 1st Hobbit film)
  • Smaug's wasteland
  • There And Back Again (expansion book for the 2nd and 3rd Hobbit films, available in English only)

The source books contain the current profiles of the armies from The Lord of the Rings .

  • The kingdoms of men
  • The Free Peoples
  • The Fallen Empires
  • Mordor
  • Moria and Angmar

Current regulations

In 2018, Games Workshop reissued the game under the name "Middle-Earth Tabletop Strategy Game". In the course of this, a new rule book, professional collections for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well as new supplementary books with profiles and scenarios have been published.

  • Middle-Earth rulebook
  • Armies from The Lord of the Rings
  • Armies from The Hobbit
  • Gondor at War (English Only)
  • The Scouring of the Shire (English Only)

Strategy games in Middle-earth

Strategy Games in Middle-earth was a series of booklets published by DeAgostini , in which the Lord of the Rings tabletop game was explained. Outdated rules from the Games Workshop rulebooks mentioned above were used, and Games Workshop miniatures were also used, which were often cheaper with the booklets than if you bought them straight from the store. But the miniatures were the same. The booklets were divided into

  • "Adventure Middle-earth": Tabletop players who do not know the Lord of the Rings are introduced to the background of the book / film.
  • "Rules of the game & tips" explains the rules of the game or gives advice on strategies etc.
  • “Scenario”: this section introduces a scenario with special rules, victory conditions, etc. for replay.
  • “Painting workshop”: This explains how to bring the enclosed unpainted figures to life.
  • “Model building workshop”: Step-by-step instructions show how to build your own parts of the terrain (e.g. hedges, hills, houses, ruins, streams, etc.).


The costs for the figures are very different, depending on the size, tin figure packages are from 12.50 euros (1 character model on foot, such as the King of the Dead; 2 units, such as the tunnel fighters) over 12.50 euros ( 3 models) up to 20.00 euros (2 character models or mounted units), while large special units (e.g. war mûmak from Harad) cost up to 70 euros. Plastic warrior boxes cost 19.50 euros and contain 12 warriors each. The army boxes for 80 euros each and the larger armed forces boxes, which cost more than 200 euros, are no longer available.

Playgroups and leagues

In Germany and other countries, Games Workshop has not organized its own Lord of the Rings (tabletop) tournaments and events since the beginning of 2014 . For this reason, groups and leagues have formed in a wide variety of social media. These groups network the Lord of the Rings (tabletop) hobbyists in order to find like-minded playing partners and to organize events (such as tournaments).

Groups and Leagues on Facebook

  • HTL World (formerly Hobbit Tabletop League)
  • Great British Hobbit League
  • Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit - Tabletop
  • Tabletop Lord of the Rings Bremen and the surrounding area
  • Hobbit tabletop
  • Alpenbund Austria

Groups and Leagues on YouTube

  • HTL World (formerly Hobbit Tabletop League)
  • Great British Hobbit League
  • The Order of the Dice

Playable armies

Web links