Bruce Moffatt
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Title says it all. From browsing the 'net over the last week or so, the outcry over bloated prices and reduced content has been overwhelming. It's a pity that GW are letting what would probably be an otherwise well received update to this game system get swamped by negative customer reaction.

The cons that have been highlighted so far:

d10-1 The price rise. Not just the ridiculous overcharging for Aus/NZ but every market.

d10-2 The mini rulebook included in the starter set contains NO profiles, stats or points. This is a first for the SBG. Every previous rulebook has had a complete profile section, even if the included models were different. GW has not made ANY mention of this change on their website, or in White Dwarf.

d10-3 While the general consensus seems to be approving of the sculpts for the dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf in the box set, the new Goblins are not very popular due in part to the change in design from what we have seen before (out of GWs control) and the rather bland, Nurgle-ish paint jobs and sculpts shown in the advertisements. The White Council set have been singled out as a poor showing, single sculpt figures in Finecast (and ridiculously overpriced).

d10-4 No painting guide included in the box. GW started this with Dark Vengeance. The paint guide is a digital download from the iBookstore, costing $25.99 Aus! The DV guide was buggy and incomplete. This is too much to pay for something that used to be included in the box.

That's just for starters. Discuss...

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Gunther Schmidl
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I'll go one step further and say the sculpts look like utter shit compared to recent efforts like Space Hulk 3rd Edition, Dreadfleet and Dark Vengeance. They remind me of mid-90s Warhammer.

Also, coming right out and going "hey, idiots, here's a LIMITED €600 package that has everything you'll eventually buy anyway". I'm sure it works on people or they wouldn't do it, but my reaction is "nope".

Thanks for the additional detective work: no scenarios and a $26 painting guide are a joke.
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Keith Wilson
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Scrat wrote:
d10-2 The mini rulebook included in the starter set contains NO profiles, stats or points. This is a first for the SBG. Every previous rulebook has had a complete profile section, even if the included models were different. GW has not made ANY mention of this change on their website, or in White Dwarf.

d10-3 While the general consensus seems to be approving of the sculpts for the dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf in the box set, the new Goblins are not very popular due in part to the change in design from what we have seen before (out of GWs control) and the rather bland, Nurgle-ish paint jobs and sculpts shown in the advertisements. The White Council set have been singled out as a poor showing, single sculpt figures in Finecast (and ridiculously overpriced).

d10-4 No painting guide included in the box. GW started this with Dark Vengeance. The paint guide is a digital download from the iBookstore, costing $25.99 Aus! The DV guide was buggy and incomplete. This is too much to pay for something that used to be included in the box.

That's just for starters. Discuss...



2) The mini rulebook has the profiles for all the models you get in the starter set, thus you can play all the scenarios based around the escape from Goblin Town right from the box. It does not however have points values, so you cannot play standard points games with these models. It also does not have rules for the new models that are not in the starter set.

3) The design of the goblins compared to LOTR is down to Peter Jackson, not GW (granted you pointed this out). Paint jobs are something you can control, so instead of complaining about the paint scheme why don't people paint them differently? (I for one am going to stick with the light pale green of LOTR goblins). Again GW will paint these as how they are in the film, so the pale colour is out of their control too.

The White Council contains 4 stunning miniatures. I do not understand where you got a poor showing from, maybe people take one look at the number of miniatures compared to the price and decide the set is poor? I for one think these are some of the best sculpts LOTR has had.

4) There was no painting guide in Mines of Moria for LOTR, so I didn't expect a painting guide for the Hobbit.

I think all the negative customer reaction stems from the price. I started LOTR SBG when I was 14 (10 years ago), TTT had just come out, and so had the DeAgostini magazine. I have since collected almost everything there is from the LOTR range, and have almost 2000 miniatures (think of the cost there). When I started prices were £12 for 24 miniatures. Now it is £15 for 12. I still buy the miniatures, and I will continue to buy the miniatures.

You mention price in 3 out of your 4 points. If people think these products are overpriced and not good value, then they shouldn't buy them. If they don't want to pay £45 for 4 White Council models then they shouldn't. I want the 4 White Council models and therefore will pay the money for them.

People need to realise that GW are trying to make money. They also own 100% of the market for these miniatures. No other company makes this game. If people are buying these products (and I personally know over 100 people that are from being a LOTR tournament player), then GW will continue to make them and charge money for them. If people want the products then they have no alternative but to pay the money GW are asking for.
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Keith Wilson
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gschmidl wrote:
I'll go one step further and say the sculpts look like utter shit compared to recent efforts like Space Hulk 3rd Edition, Dreadfleet and Dark Vengeance. They remind me of mid-90s Warhammer.

Also, coming right out and going "hey, idiots, here's a LIMITED €600 package that has everything you'll eventually buy anyway". I'm sure it works on people or they wouldn't do it, but my reaction is "nope".

Thanks for the additional detective work: no scenarios and a $26 painting guide are a joke.


I don't think it is fair to compare to 40K sculpts. LOTR miniatures are completely different in style to 40K or Fantasy. People should be comparing these sculpts to the LOTR miniatures.

Look at the plastic Fellowship from Mines of Moria, then look at Thorin's company from Escape from Goblin town and no one can deny they look 110% better.

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Gunther Schmidl
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kjpw_88 wrote:

I don't think it is fair to compare to 40K sculpts. LOTR miniatures are completely different in style to 40K or Fantasy. People should be comparing these sculpts to the LOTR miniatures.

Look at the plastic Fellowship from Mines of Moria, then look at Thorin's company from Escape from Goblin town and no one can deny they look 110% better.


I own a ton of the LotR miniatures and I'll say it again: all of them look, to me, vastly better than these new sculpts. It's not objective because how could it be, but I can't stand the look of the Hobbit minis.

(I haven't seen the Mines of Moria miniatures)
 
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Bruce Moffatt
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kjpw_88 wrote:
2) The mini rulebook has the profiles for all the models you get in the starter set, thus you can play all the scenarios based around the escape from Goblin Town right from the box. It does not however have points values, so you cannot play standard points games with these models. It also does not have rules for the new models that are not in the starter set.

Actually, the 'Your Journey begins here' 48 page book has the stats (not points) for the models included in the box. The mini rulebook has no stats in it, as I stated.

kjpw_88 wrote:
3) The design of the goblins compared to LOTR is down to Peter Jackson, not GW (granted you pointed this out). Paint jobs are something you can control, so instead of complaining about the paint scheme why don't people paint them differently? (I for one am going to stick with the light pale green of LOTR goblins). Again GW will paint these as how they are in the film, so the pale colour is out of their control too.

My point, and the point of many others that I have read in forums on the 'net (I can quote sources if you really need me to, but a quick search with Google will be just as telling) is that in the past there has been obvious effort invested in the paint jobs on the models used by GW for their advertising. That seems to be absent in this release. Another case in point is the Trolls Box set. Notice the lack of any attempt to hide the seam at the wrist where interchangeable hands can be used.

kjpw_88 wrote:
The White Council contains 4 stunning miniatures. I do not understand where you got a poor showing from, maybe people take one look at the number of miniatures compared to the price and decide the set is poor? I for one think these are some of the best sculpts LOTR has had.

Again, Google is your friend... I think they look OK, personally, but I will not purchase Finecast until the production problems are resolved.

kjpw_88 wrote:
4) There was no painting guide in Mines of Moria for LOTR, so I didn't expect a painting guide for the Hobbit.

There WAS a basic paint guide included in the box, and a more comprehensive guide was available, for free on the GW website up until they revised the paint range and took down all the articles.

kjpw_88 wrote:
I think all the negative customer reaction stems from the price. I started LOTR SBG when I was 14 (10 years ago), TTT had just come out, and so had the DeAgostini magazine. I have since collected almost everything there is from the LOTR range, and have almost 2000 miniatures (think of the cost there). When I started prices were £12 for 24 miniatures. Now it is £15 for 12. I still buy the miniatures, and I will continue to buy the miniatures.

I'm very glad to hear that you can afford to continue to purchase the miniatures as the prices continue to skyrocket. Some of us can't, and that is frustrating when the price rise does not reflect anything tangible, other than GW trying to gouge their customers for as much as they can, while giving as little as possible. You very aptly pointed this out in your statement about the prices changing since you started buying the miniatures.

kjpw_88 wrote:
You mention price in 3 out of your 4 points. If people think these products are overpriced and not good value, then they shouldn't buy them. If they don't want to pay £45 for 4 White Council models then they shouldn't. I want the 4 White Council models and therefore will pay the money for them.

I mentioned price in my original comments where it was relevant. I am entitled to do that...

kjpw_88 wrote:
People need to realise that GW are trying to make money. They also own 100% of the market for these miniatures. No other company makes this game. If people are buying these products (and I personally know over 100 people that are from being a LOTR tournament player), then GW will continue to make them and charge money for them. If people want the products then they have no alternative but to pay the money GW are asking for.


What about trying to make GW see the sense in volume sales over maximizing profits. They would encourage more new players into the hobby that way, and those of us with a smaller gaming budget might be able to continue to buy and play a game that we love.

Or, failing that, people can vote with their wallet and get into a different gaming system from a company that sells for realistic prices.

If enough loyal customers (and I have been one since the mid 1980s) say 'no' to the unrealistic prices, maybe (and I do realise how slim this chance is) GW will have to explore alternative business strategies that still make them their profit, while delivering the value that people came to expect from them back in the day, and is sadly lacking now. IMHO, of course.

If people just roll over and take price rise after price rise without objection, GW will have no reason to change, will they?
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There is a definite change in the quality of the miniatures. I personally like the character miniature designs from the box set (particularly Gandalf and Radagast). My only criticism of the dwarves is that the 'plump' dwarves have been thinned down a bit. Bombur's comical paunch has definitely been reduced to a more humanly realistic girth. The beards are also less 'fluffy'. They don't stand out as much as they do on the characters in the images from the film that we have seen so far. That may be asking a lot of a sculptor though.

It is difficult to compare the LotR miniatures to WHF and WH40K as the LotR miniatures are sculpted in 'human' scale, while the WH minis are done in 'heroic' scale. (This may account for some of the problem with the dwarves' beards) The paint jobs on many of the figures are certainly not up to normal 'Eavy Metal quality, and that can colour (pardon the pun) ones perception of a model.

I can see Gunther's point, but I don't think it applies to all the miniatures in the release. I'm not sure how many of the new range were Sculpted by the Perry Bros. but I'd guess not too much.

We may find that our opinions towards the figures change on actually seeing the film.
 
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Anders Pedersen
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Heh!
I went to the main page after reading this post.
I wanted to look at some of the pictures...

Had totally forgotten the purge...
Oh well, that's one less game to worry about.
 
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Keith Wilson
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I and many of the people I know who play the game continue to buy the models because we still want them and enjoy the game.

People who can't afford to buy the models have to make a decision based on their own finances, you either buy them and struggle with money, or don't buy them but have to live without the models you want.

It shouldn't be down to GW to bring prices down until everyone is happy with them. They are a business after all; because they have a monopoly on this range they can charge what they want and will, because people still want them and will buy them.
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Jim Patching
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The goblin miniatures in this would actually work quite well as mutants for the Warhammer RPG.

I'm getting the boxed set because I think that's a decent price for what you get in it. Some of the other models I'm not so sure about. I think the new wargs look great. The White Council models are nice but too expensive. I like the look of the set with the 3 trolls, but again it's rather pricey.
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Derek Anderson
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I really wanted to, but the "less product for more" thing has really gotten to me. I've been building up my Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle stuff from ebay, I've been getting most products at half price or less, including the books.

I think I'll do the same for The Hobbit stuff, just wait and get it in a year on ebay for less. I can not justify the money that GW wants for this stuff... I've been buying GW products for over 15 years, and it just gets worse every year. I quit 40k a few years back and it looks like I'm doing the same here now.
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Greg S
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A few initial observations (and I mean initial, since I've only just started looking at the GW site for this):

1. I find the sculpting of the miniatures to be just fine - I don't really see a decrease in quality.

2. If anyone thinks GW prices are going to be in the "bargain town" category, then they need to wake up.

3. I won't pass final judgement until I get to see some of this stuff in the flesh.

Purchase what you want, and leave the rest out, or wait until you can get it cheaper on the secondary market.

I look forward to seeing some of this stuff up close.
 
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Bruce Moffatt
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I agree the hunter Orcs and the Fell Wargs look cool. The Troll set would make for a nice display piece, and I'd certainly pick it up if it were cheaper.

I picked up the Mantic Kings of War hardcover PDF version for about $15.00 Aus when they had the release special at the Wargame Vault. Although I've not had a chance to go through the rules completely yet, I'm wondering if the system would lend itself to LotR with some tweaks. I've got a fairly substantial collection of LotR minis that I've been collecting over the last 10 years, so I've no shortage of troops.
 
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1. The quality and detail of the plastic sculpts is way above anything GW have produced before, including DV. The level of detail is stunning for plastic and shows that you don't need finecast at all.

2. For my personal taste the sculpts themselves are of very mixed quality:
- The goblins are more like zombies from the crypt and I wouldn't buy for lotr gaming. I have a good collection of moria goblins and will substitute these in. Agree paint job is lame also
- Gandalf looks cool but no better than metal ones I already own, so no sale either
- Radagast looks more like a smurf crossed with a D&D gnome; my metal one with the hawk is much better. What's he supposed to do with the hedghog, throw it?!
- Goblin King, more like fat boy troll, not for me...
- Dwarves, mixed bag. I like the sculpts but as someone said too skinny and many are too tall; I think Thorin is Gandalf's height; when did that happen!?
White Council - What's with Saruman's neck; has he been on the rack?!
- Others to come - Dwarves and noldor elves could be worth a look (subject to price).

3. New rules look interesting and will add a dynamic dimension to games. I think should reduce size of games as having 20+ models in a skirmish game all with unique rules is pretty unwieldy. I can see it working with smaller numbers though.

4. Price - wow!!!! are you kidding me. Since when is it reasonable to have 15-20% compound inflation in a recessionary global economy?! Personally I will continue to buy occasionally through my FLGS which offers some discount and via ebay for bits and bobs to fill gaps or substitute alternate figures (e.g. just picked up a nice giant eagle for £4, rather than £20+ GW price)

I think GW are milking it and reducing their market share in pursuit of profit and maybe an equity exit. Unfortunately this is a pretty short term strategy and may permanently damage the hobby. Some of us will continue to enjoy the spirit of the hobby at the prices we can offered and maybe it will just become a rich kids hobby for others?
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Richard Linnell
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I think GW has made a business decision that works for them, although it is frustrating for geek hobbyists. They're releasing the Hobbit series now, in conjunction with the movie, because it will sell and will sell to people who ordinarily wouldn't buy a GW product at all. But that market is a short-lived market - average consumer will buy a set, struggle to clip and glue it, give up and stick it in the attic or onto ebay. The Hobbit game line has a very limited future, so GW is trying to get as much money as they can up front. The next hope is that those few that pick up the game as their entry into the hobby and actually stick with it will transition to their much more lucrative Warhammer and WH40K lines.

(Note: This is all speculation, but having watched the market for a while seems to be the pattern that GW follows.)
 
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Jake Rose
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Quote:
. The Hobbit game line has a very limited future, so GW is trying to get as much money as they can up front.


I have to assume GW also paid a hefty license fee and has some restrictions in the license they must abide by. That fee is going to translate into cost to consumers. Having no clue about the license I am going to make some guesses that they (as folks have said) must sculpt to match the films, must paint to match the films, and there may even be restrictions on what images they are or are not allowed to post to the web which may affect online content for the game at this point.

Since The Hobbit is being stretched over three movies and three years, GW has several years to try to make money from the franchise. There will be releases over the course of the film releases and probably coinciding with DVD/BluRay releases too.

I got the boxed game. I'm going to paint the goblins ot match my Mines of Moria set. Though the styles are different, I think they will work as goblin militia type troops to go along with the better armed Moria critters. I picked up the set during the Warstores Black Friday sale and am pretty happy with what I got for what I paid. Allegedly the stats from previous books/releases are compatible with this, so using my Moria rule book gives me the stats and points for what I need for the most part. As a result at this point I do not plan to get the hard cover book.

Jake
 
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I'll make this comment very simple. The way GW has upped their prices, no way am I going to bother with their Hobbit stuff, just as I haven't bought anything new for the Lord of the Rings in years. For my taste, the SBG rules require a lot of tweaks and changes, and the War of the Ring has little to nothing to even make it worth house ruling. For those who are interested, enjoy it if you can afford it. For my part, the prices would demand that I give my gaming budget exclusively to GW for the next year, and the product just doesn't have the creative or thematic strength to convince me its worth what they're asking. I don't like the cost, so I won't be giving GW my money.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I got it on my Christmas list, more so because of how excited I am/was for The Hobbit. If my wife doesn't pick it up, I'll probably grab it anyways. My 14 year old son is into it, so would be fun playing with him.

I am a bit disappointed that I'll have to buy the big rulebook AND the boxset, but that will be after we've played a lot of Goblin Town first

-shnar
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Stephen Foulk
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Well I do like the way the 'Strategy Battle' games play and I also think that the Tolkien-franchised minis have been of a high standard over the years (mainly Perry twins I think - but not sure about that).

However I think the 'Hobbit' range might actually be a gouge too far for me; I was looking at the White Council boxed set and even after years of double takes over GW pricing I couldn't quite grasp that they were really, truly charging over £10 per figure for 25mm models.

And then I discovered the books in the boxed set are only A5 sized and only contain enough information to use the figures in the box and that I'd have to shell out another £50 for the full rule book...

Well most of us who've danced to the GW tune in the past have that familiar sinking feeling that we've somehow been taken advantage of... it's always been our own fault because our Mums had warned us about this sort of thing but we'd told ourselves that the figures were lovely and that the company really did love us for our minds and our skills at painting.

So despite the fact I've been a huge Tolkien fan since the early 1970s, despite the fact that I actually think the rules are some of the best heroic-stykle skirmish rules I've played and despite my geeky OCD nature this time I'm giving it a miss.

At some point I'll pick up a second-hand copy of the hardback rulebook but I won't be using it with these latest GW figures and I, for one, will not be clambering aboard the bandwagon.

p.s. Anyone like to hazard a guess why GW chose to do the whole Tolkien range at the smaller 25mm scale than the standard 28-30mm fantasy scale. Answers on a postcard to the "We cannot risk people buying other ranges to mix in and play the game with competition"

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Bruce Moffatt
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It seems like many people are finding the prices just too hard to swallow. I agree completely. It was only because I found an online seller that will ship to Australia at UK retail plus actual shipping cost that I decided to buy the box set. You can contact me for details if you are 'down under' and don't want to pay embargo retail.

*edit* I've been in touch with Rob, and he is happy to have his website listed here: http://ozhammer.webs.com/ He is not constrained by the geographical embargo.

I will post a review of the box set shortly. I have been adding some photos to the creative gallery as I finish them.
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