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Hail Friend, and Well Met!

Tactics In Miniature will be ramping up again!

Ok...maybe this is more exciting for some ( me! ) than most of the world, but I hope my increased activity here will help me tap into others with like interests.  After all, this isn't just about broadcasting in the blind.  I will be trying to engage with others through FB and Twitter through this as well.


Most of what will be found here will focus on miniature wargamming.  Most of my love in this area is in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, space battles in the universes of Star Wars, Star Trek and Babylon 5, or with one of several historical backdrops...World War II, American War of Independence, U.S. Civil War and the Age of Sail, Midevil and Anchient warfare.  Yep...I'm diverse.  :-)  It's great for never getting bored, but not so much for keeping focus.  


From the late 1970s through the early 1990s I played an evolving range of games both RPG and board games.  My start in miniature wargames was Battletech, but almost all of my armies were the original cardboard figures.  Minis were almost always metal and were always expensive for a high school student.  When I joined the USAF my gaming dropped significantly but while on alert a few of us found time for some Risk or Axis & Alies or even the occassional RPG session.  After I got out in the late 90s though I was completely out of the game world for many years.  My wife encouraged me to get involved with the Babylon 5 CCG which I loved and was even running some local demos and tourneys before long.  Then around 2003 one of my new co-workers introduced me to the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game by Games Workshop.


The Middle Earth content was initially drawn from my previous site, Tactical Middle Earth (tac-me.net), which was focused almost entirely on games in Tolkien's world (a world I have loved for more than three decades now).  But since 2011 I have been involved in Flames of War, a miniature game system which captures the flavor of infantry and armor battles of World War II.  Through 2013 I discovered the Star Wars XWing miniature game and Warlord Game's Black Powder system.  There are also a number of 'classic' board games I enjoy and may include diversions down those paths from time to time as well.  As the scope of my hobby was expanding I  thought it was appropriate to move to a more generalized site.


Please enjoy your visit.

Featured Pictures

LotR - Forces of Good

Wood Elf Warriors

Wood Elf Warriors


When I had a nice size and variety to my first SBG army, Uruk-Hai, orcs and others in the service of the White Hand of Saruman, I began to consider and look for a Good army to do next.  I loved Tolkien's Elves but at the time the High Elves of Rivendell were really the only option.  We already had a couple local players that used them as their primary Good force and I was coming down off of a high Fight/Defense army already ( the Uruk-Hai ) and did not want to get into another that played so similar.  I had a few Rohan models and absolutely loved Rohan from both the books and films, but was intimidated getting into a primarily cavalry force at that stage.  We had one other Rohan player that used the army to great effect and was also an amazing painter (John H., I'm talking about you if you ever read this!) and he set the bar for both aspects higher than I was ready to tackle for an army I had a lot of love of.  

Luckily for me, right around this time GW released the Fall of the Necromancer sourcebook and models.  Mirkwood, Dol Guldur and the halls of the wood Elves had been my favorite "side stories" in Lord of the Rings ever since I started discovering all the collected information through the texts and appendices.  And now we had an official supplement and new models to really build on this.I immediately dove into the new forces.  Over time I picked up a few boxes of the plastic Wood Elf Warriors ( 24 models for $24 ... I miss those days ), a couple commands and the White Council set.

One of my first challenges was a paint theme.  I wanted to be sure that the force looked "unified" without looking "uniform".  Armies such as Gondor, High Elves and even Saruman's fighting Uruk-Hai all look pretty uniform in basically the same armor.  But for forces such as Rangers, Rohan, Haradrim and of course the Wood Elves it's more of a collection of individuals fighting together than a formal uniform army.  What I settled on was a pallet of specific shades of green, brown and gray which I would then mix in different ways on the various layers of the model.

As you can see, the models in the image above and below are the exact same pose.  The primary difference is in how the basic color combos were intermixed and the final details (trim, weapons, etc.) were completed.

Regardless if you have just one or two warbands from SBG, or dozens of models for a large WotR force this has brought some variety to the army and sanity to the painting process.

 Wood Elves in the Hobbit Strategy Battle Game

I have found my Wood Elves to be one of the most fun forces I've played in the Strategy Battle Game. My first couple games suffered some heavy losses but after that I became very proficient with them.  They earned a reputation of being my "Trixie Elves" on the table for all the various challenges they could deal to my opponents.  I also took a force of them to Games Workshop's Games Day in Baltimore, MD back in 2011.  I scored second on Victory Points but, sadly, GW was barely supporting LotR any more at that point and only recognized first place for any of their categories for the game.

I believe the flexibility of the Wood Elves is one of their greatest advantages.  This starts with a solid profile and is enhanced by their wargear options.

One of their most interesting and unique options are the Wood Elf Spears

This is an amazingly versatile weapon.  First, like most Spears, it allows you to support another friendly model.  This simply means if you move a model equipped with a spear into base contact with another friendly model that is part of a combat, the spear model can add one attack (at it's own Fight and Strength) without actually joining the fight.  This can even be done when supporting a model using a Two-Handed attack (more on this later). 

But the special advantage of Wood Elf Spears is that they can also be used defensively by allowing the model to use the Shielding special rule.  Doing this means you can roll two dice to try to win the duel but if you win you cannot deal any strikes...you are focusing on simply blocking your enemy's attacks. With the Wood Elf's high Fight value of 5, simply casting two dice gives you a great chance of winning the dual against nearly all enemy warriors and even many Evil heroes.  Sure, you won't be striking to wound but you also won't be getting hit yourself.  And with only a 3 Defense that's a BIG deal.

To my knowledge this is the only wargear in the game that has this dual role of acting as both a spear or a shield depending on your needs.  I have found this so useful that I typically equip up to half of my melee troops with these.  I have had multiple situations in nearly every game I've played with this force where a Wood Elf on his own has been able to deny an objective, block a route or simply delay part of an enemy advance just by spending a few turns shielding.  In time friends may arrive and allow him to take up the offense again. 

The Elven Blade is another favorite of mine, especially with some of the changes introduced in the updated Hobbit Strategy Battle Game.  It may be used as either a 1-Handed (no modifiers) or 2-Handed weapon ( -1 on your dual roll, but +1 to Wound ), but now it also gives an advantage when doing a roll-off for a tied dual.  Typically a tie is decided by a single die, 1-3 Evil wins, 4-6 Good wins.  If you are armed with an Elven Blade this becomes 1-2 Evil, 3-6 Good.  All this helps contribute to your force winning the Fight which is how you win games.  And this bonus to the roll-off does not change if you decide to use the weapon 2-Handed.  This makes it a little less risky to choose to fight 2-Handed...you may suffer a -1 but if you did tie at least you still have an advantage in the roll-off.

And of course...the Elven Bow.  If ever there was a single image of Elvish combat abilities it would probably be their bow.  With a 24" range the Elf Bow can shoot as long as a crossbow, allowing you to engage your enemy often before they can shoot you.  And of course the Elves have some of the best Shoot values in the game increasing your chance to hit.  Their Strength 3 attack is just as likely to cause a wound as they are in melee.  In the earlier days of SBG this was actually pretty effective though ongoing profile-creep has increased the Defense of many foe where 6s are needed to wound now.  Even still, with their accuracy you can usually deliver enough hits to have good odds of getting some Wounds. 

The Throwing Daggers are the last option that I often include to some degree in my force.  There is no reason to give them to any armed with a bow of course, and I rarely equip spear-armed models with daggers since they often fill a second-line role.  But for the models armed with Elven Blades, the daggers can be effective, allowing you the potential to score a wound on charge or serve as a short-ranged attack if you are still a little back from your foe.

Under the updated Hobbit SBG system, they have added even more options.  There is now a list for Thranduil's Halls that includes Wood Elves with armor (one point more, of course) and adds a new weapon option, the Elvish Glaive.  I have not tried this in a game yet but it appears to combine the Elvish Blade and Wood Elf Spear into a single weapon.  This gives you amazing flexibility on the table.  If you have the tactical advantage you can fight one or two handed...if you are at risk you can shield. 

 Wood Elves in the War of the Ring

To be added



LotR - Forces of Evil

The Mouth of Sauron


The Mouth of Sauron


 "A tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse… The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man ... his name is remembered in no tale, for he himself had forgotten it."

In the film version of Return of the King, the Mouth of Sauron is a pretty impressive character, even if only for a short time.  In the books a little more is revealed about him though his full details, like those of the Nazgul, are shadowed.  He was a Black Numenorean, and may have been in the service of Sauron for a hundred or even for thousands of years, possibly since the First Age.  We learn that he is the Lieutenant of the Dark Tower and commander of the vast Orc armies of Gorgoroth.  Had evil triumphed in the War of the Ring, it even seems likely that the Mouth of Sauron was to be given control of Isengard.

 The Mouth of Sauron in the Hobbit Strategy Battle Game

In the Strategy Battle Game, the Mouth of Sauron is actually a cost effective, fun model to play.   He costs little more than an Orc Shaman or Orc Captain and can fill the role of both...and with more style! 

With a successful Terrifying Aura cast early in the game (maybe even using his Might to channel it) you can limit the risk of being charged by many enemy forces. Should he be engaged in combat, 2 Attacks and a Fight 4 give him a reasonable chance of success.  If you equip him on his armored horse he becomes even more potent. 

Among his magic abilities he can cast Transfix relatively easily which can give him or an ally a significant advantage in combat. 

Only his 1 Might could be considered his greatest drawback.  Most generic captains have 2 typically so this puts him at a slight disadvantage from that perspective, but for only 60 points ( 75 with his armored horse) he's still a good bargain to bring in a mixed combat/magic Hero.

 The Mouth of Sauron in the War of the Ring

To be added