The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review

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Lord of the Rings - Battle in Balin's Tomb Review - Featured

Relive one of the many epic battles from the Lord of the Rings saga with the new Battle in Balin’s Tomb set. Take control of the Fellowship of the Ring as they make their desperate stand against the heinous denizens of Moria deep within the shadowy bowls of the ancient Dwarven kingdom.

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LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Summary

Whilst the Battle in Balin’s Tomb boxed game offers players a chance to re-live – and re-write – one of the most thrilling scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring movie, collectors of modern miniatures looking to pick up some classic models to paint may feel a little let down by some of this, at times, thrown-together set.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Introduction

I was seven years old when Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in cinemas. Even at that age I was an avid reader of fantasy fiction and had read The Hobbit and all three Lord of the Rings books. When my parents refused to take me to see the film at one of its premier showing at the cinema, citing that I was in fact too young and the film wasn’t appropriate for someone my age, I learned the first true taste of betrayal.

I bet they don’t even know that the knife thrown by Lawrence Makoare at Viggo Mortensen during the battle at Amon Hen, that Mortensen deflected with his sword, was real.

Or that he broke his toe kicking an Uruk-Hai helmet during the filming of-…

Anyway.

Announced mid-November, Battle in Balin’s Tomb – a recreation of the iconic showdown between the Fellowship of the Ring and the murderous squatters that had taken over the ruins of the ancient Dwarf kingdom of Khazad-dûm – is a release celebrating the twentieth birthday of the release of the first film.

In the years since The Fellowship of the ring first hit the silver screen, the now-legendary movies have solidified their place within culture as some of the (if not, arguably, the undisputed) greatest cinematic fantasy releases of all time. Their success has spawned every kind of merchandising product: from replica weapons and armour used throughout the trilogy to chess sets and, of course, GW’s own Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game.

Personally, I was brought a Lord of the Rings breakfast set a few years ago when I left a job. I’ve still got it, and use it.

Whilst GW’s focus has remained firmly on its Warhammer Age of Sigmar and 40,000 releases and their own tie-ins and spin-offs for the last few years, there have been a smattering of releases for the Middle-Earth SBG range. This, though, is the first major one for a while.

You can bet I’ll be watching the first film as I put these figures together.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Unboxing

We all know how these work by now.

Here’s the box.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 1

…Is that all the plastic?

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 2

Seriously, is that it? Three sprues?

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 3

Alright, moving on: a divider to keep the scratchy parts of the sprues away from your cards and other paper goods.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 4

Except there’s a twist! The divider is the assembly guide!

Thrilling.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 5

Beneath the divider lies everything else: bases, dice, cards, tokens, and the fold-out gaming board.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Unboxing 6

And that’s that. Let’s have a closer look at everything up close.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Contents

There’s a reasonable amount of stuff in this box.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review All

To break it down, then:

This board game set contains:

  • 22 Citadel miniatures:
    • Gandalf the Grey
    • Aragorn
    • Legolas
    • Gimli
    • Boromir
    • Frodo
    • Sam
    • Merry
    • Pippin
    • 12 x Moria Goblins
    • A Cave Troll
  • An 8-page rules booklet
  • Balin’s Tomb gaming board
  • 13 Character cards
  • 20-card Goblin Deck
  • Tokens, dice, and a turn counter

That’s a decent amount of stuff for a surprisingly small box. Let’s take a closer look at everything.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Literature

There’s only one book – or rather booklet – in Battle in Balin’s Tomb, and that’s the Rules Booklet.

Rules Booklet

At a delightfully brief eight pages, the Rules Booklet makes a welcome change from the usual tomes of rules and regulations that come with a lot of GW releases.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Rules Guide

The book walks you through each part of the game: from setting it up to how the game runs from turn to turn. It’s pretty simple, and there are plenty of images to help you on your way.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Rules Guide Inside

The game is designed to be picked up and played quickly, with only a few rules and steps to each turn for simplicity and brevity. This helps make the game very accessible – you won’t need to be a Board Games veteran in order to play Battle in Balin’s Tomb.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Wargear

The Battle in Balin’s Tomb box comes with a few bits and pieces to augment your playing. These are the gaming board, the 13 character cards and the 20-card Goblin Deck, as well as some tokens, dice and a turn counter.

Balin’s Tomb Gaming Board

The Balin’s Tomb gaming board is really rather lovely.

Set out exactly as Balin’s Tomb is in the Fellowship of the Ring, each character even has their own designated starting space that aligns with where they stand in the film the moment the first Goblins breach the doors.

As ever, it’s good quality card and a nice-quality print – nothing short of what you’d expect from GW.

Cards

The cards, much like the board before them, are made of decent-quality card. The character cards – one for each member of the Fellowship and once for each type of foe – have information displayed clearly and succinctly. Some of the text is a little on the small side, so that’s something to be aware of.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Cards

The Goblin Deck – seen at the bottom of the picture below – is used by whoever is controlling the Goblins and allows the player to add, for example, additional Goblins to the board depending on what card is drawn. Again, as with the other cards, the information is clear and easy to follow.

Tokens

There are only a few tokens in the Battle in Balin’s Tomb set – wound counters for the Fellowship and the Cave Troll. Goblins only have a single wound each, so when they’re hit, they die immediately.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Tokens

They’re pretty standard for GW – thick card with good-quality print. They aren’t the most exciting pieces of card in the world, but they get the job done.

Dice

The dice, aside from being colours and emblazoned with Lord of the Ring-specific icons, are fairly standard fare.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Dice

They’re slightly larger than usual dice, but aren’t anything special. They’re functional, not for show, though the colours do relate to the figures they are used with by the colour of their plastic. The blue dice are for the Fellowship, the red dice for the Goblins, and the grey dice for the Cave Troll.

When and how many dice can be rolled for a model is dictated on each character’s Character Card.

Turn Counter

The turn counter is none other than a ring.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Turn Counter

It could be any old ring, though. There’s nothing on it to mark it out as the One Ring – no engraving anywhere on it. A nice touch, I guess, but still feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Models

The Battle in Balin’s Tomb box comes with 22 Citadel miniatures that will set any fan of the Lord of the Rings movies all a-tremble.

Complete with some classic figures depicting the entire Fellowship, as well as a host of Goblins and the iconic chain-swinging Cave Troll, whether you have any intention of playing the game or not, these figures are worth a look.

The Fellowship

As I said I would, I set myself up with the Fellowship playing on the TV, and settled myself in for a long afternoon of putting figures together.

However, the Fellowship models were so easy to assemble that they were all ready to go and on their bases before Gandalf had taken his first sip of tea at Bag End.

The miniatures are made up of a maximum of two components. Aragon, Boromir and Gandalf all had weapon arms that needed attaching, but everyone else came off their sprue in a single piece.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Aragon, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir

It’s a bit of a shame to say, then, that the models aren’t quite up to the usual GW standard that one may have come to expect in recent years.

Forr the few models that had multiple components, it was almost necessary to cut off entire pegs from components, just so they would line up correctly.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Hobbits and Gandalf

But these are old figures. I was fairly sure I recognised these from my first visit to a then-named Games Workshop circa 2004-2005ish – and as I sat down to write this article. I later discovered why, but more on that in a moment.

Since the mid-noughties, modeling has come on exponentially, and it’s a little saddening to see that this classic set hasn’t aged so well.

To note, this is the exact sprue found in the Fellowship of the Ring set.

The Denizens of Moria

By the time the final Goblin was placed on his base, the Nazgûl had only just left Minas Morgul chasing the words “Shire, Baggins”, uttered by Gollum under torture.

Much like the Fellowship, whilst the Goblins are extremely easy to get onto their bases, they lack a great deal of the sculpted detail we have come to expect of GW products in recent years.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Moria Goblins

Again, this is likely because of how old the kit is. This is the exact sprue found in the Moria Goblins set, which, as with the Fellowship set, I’m, fairly certain is almost as old as the movie from which they hail.

When I came to the Cave Troll, however, everything suddenly fell into place.

When writing up this review, I tried to find like-for-like sprues for all the figures in the set on the Games Workshop webstore. The Moria Goblins and the Fellowship were easy enough to come across, but I could find neither hide nor hair of the Cave Troll

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring Battle in Balin's Tomb Review Cave Troll
nasty gaps and join lines galore – this is clearly a model from a former era.

I widened my search to the whole of the internet, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find an individual listing of the Cave Troll that comes in Battle in Balin’s Tomb anywhere on the internet.

However, a fair scroll into a Google image search, I noticed an image of a painted Cave Troll that matched the one in this set on an independent, long-since abandoned blog from 2005.

This led me to the The Lord of the Rings: The Mines of Moria set, which came out in the same year.

The Battle in Balin’s Tomb set is a near-carbon copy of the 2005 set, including all the same sprues aside from the terrain, which you can still buy. The literature is different, and there are cards, tokens and dice in this one, but as far as the miniatures go, it is the The Mines of Moria set.

The Cave Troll itself isn’t a great miniature. It’s covered in gaps between its components, and getting the hammer-holding hand to actually fit onto the wrist was strangely difficult. But now we know he’s from 2005, we know why. He’s seventeen years old!

How to Play LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb

Battle in Balin’s Tomb is an extremely easy game to pick up and play. We’ll go through an entire game now to give readers the opportunity to see just how straightforward the game is.

The game is designed to be played quickly across 12 turns. Each turn begins with the Goblin player drawing a specified number of cards from the Goblin Deck and then moving and then activating each of their models in turn. Once the Goblin player is done, the Fellowship get the chance to fight back. And that’s it.

The aim is simple: for the Fellowship, it is to survive; for the Goblins, it is to eradicate the trespassers who have wandered into the fallen Dwarven kingdom. The detailed victory conditions are as follows:

  • The Fellowship win if by the end of turn 12 there are three or more members of the Fellowship, including Frodo Baggins, undefeated.
  • If by the end of turn 12, there are three or more members of the Fellowship alive, but Frodo Baggins has been removed from the board, the game is a draw.
  • The Goblin player wins if there are less than three members of the Fellowship remaining at the end of turn 12.

Set Up

The game is very easy to set up. First, all the Fellowship pieces need to be placed on set positions on the board – exactly where the figures would be standing in the film.

Then, the Goblin player places any nine Goblins of their choice on any of the red-coloured squares on the Board.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 1

The Goblin Player must then remove the They Have a Cave Troll card from the Goblin Deck and shuffle it. Once the Goblin Deck has been shuffled, draw 6 cards from it and place them face-down. They must then place the They Have a Cave Troll card into the undrawn pile and shuffle it again before placing this pile face-down on top of the other pile. This is now the deck from which the Goblin player will draw a specified number of cards at the start of each turn.

With that done, the game is ready to begin.

Turn 1

“Kilmin malur ni zaram kalil ra narag. Kheled-zâram… Balin tazlifi.”

Gimli upon discovering Balin’s tomb, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

The goblins began their turn aggressively, those with melee weapons closing the gap on the three heavy-hitters at the front of the group whilst the archers rained arrows down on them from the sides. Although Boromir was the target of many arrows, he successfully blocked all would-be attacks.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 5

A single Goblin, however, leapt from the shadows and attacked Frodo, scoring an early wound on the unsuspecting Hobbit and reducing him to a single wound. Not a good start for the Fellowship.

Fellowship

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the four heavy-hitters of the Fellowship (Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Boromir) decimated the weaker Goblins at the front of the Board, whilst Sam killed the Goblin that had attacked Frodo.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 7

The rest of the Hobbits and Gandalf then formed a phalanx around Frodo to try and protect him further.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 9

Turn 1 ended with significantly fewer Goblins on the board than there had been, but the Ringbearer down to his final wound.

Turn 2

“‘They have taken the bridge… and the second hall.'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

Drawing from the Goblin deck, the Goblins were able to place two more units on the board who immediately moved to attack Gimli and Aragorn, though neither were successful.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 10

The archers at the edges of the board were ineffective and failed to find their targets.

Fellowship

Aragon and Gimli failed to kill their attackers, whilst Boromir made for the stairs to try and cut off the archers on one side of the map.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 11

Legolas turned his attention to trying to thin the ranks of Goblin archers around the edge of the Board, but missed his shot.

Turn 3

“We must move on, we cannot linger!”

Legolas to Aragorn, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

Drawing the They Are Coming card from the Goblin Deck saw three more of the horrible little blighters pop up in the tomb – though a singularly uninspiring series of attacks saw no further wounds inflicted on the Fellowship – and one Goblin in a tussle with a group of Hobbits and a wizard.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 13

Not a great start to a new turn!

Fellowship

The Fellowship capitalised on the Goblin’s poor turn: Boromir and Gimili slew their foes and Legolas killed one of the archers.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 14

Pippin killed the Goblin that had made for the pack of Hobbits after Merry’s attack was blocked – the Ringbearer was safe again, for now.

Turn 4

“‘We have barred the gates… but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes.'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

The Goblin Deck saw two more Goblins appear at the entrance to the Tomb, and whilst almost every attack with a bow was aimed at Gimli, not a single one connected.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 17

One Goblin moved to intercept Boromir as he made his way to the archers, but his attack was also unsuccessful.

Fellowship

The Hobbits began hurling stones at one of the Goblins creeping up on them, though they failed to do any damage.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 15

Legolas, meanwhile, managed to kill two Goblin archers thanks to his special ability that allows him to make another attack on any non-adjacent enemy unit should he roll a The One Ring symbol whilst making an attack.

Turn 4 ended with almost all the Goblins wiped off the board.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 16

Things were not looking good for the Goblins.

Turn 5

“‘Drums… drums… in the deep.'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

With three more Goblins on the map, the one placed by the well made immediately for Frodo but failed to hit his attack.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 17

On the other side of the tomb, one of the Goblins managed to do a single wound to Boromir.

Fellowship

The Hobbits, armed with rocks, pelted the Goblin making for Frodo to death whilst on the other side of the tomb, the heavy-hitters continued to thin the never-ending horde.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 18

Gimli gave chase to the lone archer trying to sneak around the upper mezzanines of the tomb, but was unable to catch up.

Turn 6

“‘We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark.'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

With Turn 6, the Goblin player can now draw two cards from the Goblin Deck instead of one.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 19

The Goblins began to swarm Boromir and Aragorn, who had strayed too close to the entrance to the tomb, but failed to wound either hero.

Fellowship

In spite of rolling three attack dice, Aragon failed to kill any of his attackers. Boromir, meanwhile, had the Heir of Isildur’s back and killed one of the attacking Goblins.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 20

Once again making the most of his special ability, Legolas killed two of the archers in the eaves of the tomb, whilst Gandalf and the Hobbits made for a more central position, hoping to put more distance between themselves and any would-be-attackers.

Turn 7

“‘We cannot get out…'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

The Goblins came swarming through the entrance to the tomb and thoroughly surrounded Boromir and Aragorn, though none of the four new attackers landed any attacks successfully.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 22

The lone Goblin archer remaining also failed to hit anything. Serious, who trains these guys?

Fellowship

Seeing the swarm of Goblins at the mouth of the tomb forced the Fellowship to move up.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 23

Under a hail of Hobbit-thrown rocks, arrows and swords, the Goblins were slowly driven back.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 24

With the Fellowship regained a modicum of control of the board at the end of Turn 7, the Goblins were on the back foot again.

Turn 8

“‘They are coming!'”

Gandalf reading from the Book of Mazarbul, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

Three Goblin archers appeared on the board and each made shots for poor Frodo. Luckily, the halfling saved against the one shot that would have killed him.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 25

Meanwhile, by the entrance to the tomb, the Goblins managed to strike another wound on Boromir, reducing him to one.

Fellowship

Under another hail of Hobbit-rocks and sword-strikes, the Goblins at the mouth of the tomb were defeated and the Fellowship were able to move away and put some space between themselves and the major spawn-point.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 26

You can attack and then move, or move and then attack in Battle in Balin’s Tomb, which help keep the game fast-paced and the pieces mobile.

Turn 9

“Get back! You stay close to Gandalf!”

Aragorn to the Hobbits, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

The Goblins began to strike some major blows against the Fellowship in Turn 9.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 27

The first, Gandalf was wounded twice by Goblin arrows.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 28

The second, Boromir also fell to a Goblin arrow and was removed from the Board – the first proper kill for the Goblins!

Fellowship

The Fellowship struck back hard, wiping all but three of the Goblin Archers off the Board under a hail of very successful attacks.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 30

With the game entering its closing stages, it looked to be going well for the Fellowship…

Turn 10

“They have a cave troll.”

Boromir, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

And then the Cave Troll appeared.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 31

Every archer and the Cave Troll made for Gandalf in Turn 10, though not one managed to hit the wily wizard.

Fellowship

The Fellowship moved in on the Cave Troll, with every remaining member attacking (aside from Legolas, who picked off one of the Goblins still kicking about).

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 32

In spite of some impressive rolling, the Cave Troll’s hefty defence prevented him from taking a single wound.

Turn 11

“Argh! Let them come! There is one dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!”

Gimli, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

Things began to unravel for the Fellowship in Turn 11.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 35

Whilst the Cave Troll and the Goblin’s melee attacks failed to do any wounds, the remaining archers knocked both Gandalf and Sam out of play.

Fellowship

The Fellowship’s attempts to strike back were fruitless in Turn 11.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 36

With Aragon scraping one wound off the Cave Troll and Merry managing to knock one Goblin out with a rock, they needed only to hold on through whatever waited in Turn 12 to try and secure victory.

Turn12

“I think I’m getting the hang of this!”

Samwise Gamgee, Balin’s Tomb, Third Age 3018

Goblins

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Goblins in Turn 12.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 37

Arrows fell like rain – not only were Merry and Pippin both removed from the board, but the Ringbearer also fell – meaning the Fellowship could no longer win the game.

Fellowship

With just Aragon, Legolas and Gimli remaining, the Fellowship did what they could to fight back – but it was ultimately futile.

Battle in Balin's Tomb Playesting 39

The game ended as a draw.

How to Play LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb – Result

The game is actually really good fun. That players can move then attack or attack then move, which makes the turns progress quickly and sets a really frantic pace to the game. Players are zipping across the board, trying to either lock down the Goblins that keep popping up, or trying to keep out of melee range of the hardest hitting members of the Fellowship.

Stat-wise, the Fellowship’s Big Three (Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli) are more or less untouchable. Aragon, with three attack and defence dice, was more or less impossible to wound and slew a Goblin just about every time his dice were rolled. Whilst Legolas has fewer attack and defence dice, his ability to essentially chain-shoot as long as one of his attack dice rolls a The One Ring symbol makes him lethal, and Gimli’s ability to just flat-out ignore wounds makes him a real powerhouse tank.

By comparison, the Hobbits are extremely fragile. With all of them only sporting one or two wounds a piece, once the Goblins started hitting them with attacks, they were more or less doomed.

That said, though, the Goblin attacks actually had to connect. For the majority of the game, the Goblin player will only be rolling one attack die for each Goblin, so the chance of them actually hitting anything is low. The Goblin player can only win if they keep the board swarming with Goblins – and hope that the Cave Troll shows up nice and early.

The Fellowship just have to keep ensuring everything is locked down: Goblins need to die as soon as they appear, even if this means shunting the weaker Hobbits into play. Three Hobbits tossing rocks at a long Goblin archer is far more likely to do damage – and kill the offending foe – than one Goblin shooting at them is.

In all, though, the game is incredibly quick to pick up and easy to understand. The rules are very simple and straightforward, and the simplicity of the game means that by the end of round two or three any and all players will fully understand what needs to be done from turn to turn.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Price and Availability

No matter how you look at it, Battle in Balin’s Tomb is a veritable steal at £45/$75USD/€60. Originally, the Fellowship of the Ring minis alone would’ve cost £30/$50USD/€40, the Moria Goblins a £26/$42USD/€34, and the Cave Troll £18.50/$29.75USD/€23.50.

There are some decent savings to be had here. Here’s the info in a table – we know you guys love a good table.

ProductPrice GBPPrice USDPrice EUR
The Fellowship of the Ring£30.00$50.00€40.00
Moria Goblins£26.00$42.00€34.00
Cave Troll£18.50 $29.75 €23.50
TOTAL PRICE£74.50$121.75€97.50
Battle in Balin’s Tomb-£45.00-$75.00-€60.00
SAVINGS£29.50$46.75€27.50

Considering you’ll likely be able to find a copy of Battle in Balin’s Tomb in your local independent gaming store or from an online retailer for even less, the savings here are looking pretty good.

This is probably the best price we’re going to see on any of these kits for quite some time, so if you’re interested in having the Fellowship or a bunch of Moria Goblins and their Cave Troll this is likely a good buy for you.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Where to Next?

The Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game has never had quite the same popularity as Games Workshop’s other ranges, which is a bit sad really.

They could do with an up-scale from 28mm to 32mm in order to be on par with the current crop of GW figures. But that would mean a whole relaunch. With no movie in the works to springboard sales from. It’s clear why GW doesn’t seem to have such a plan even rumoured. Maybe the upcoming TV show could encourage these happenings?

There’s a huge amount of stuff available for Lord of the Rings fans across the range, including the Rohan Stronghold bundle which was announced at the same time as Battle in Balin’s Tomb.

Of course, there are characters and figures from across the Tolkienian mythos, including all the iconic heroes and villains from the movies. If you’re tempted by Battle in Balin’s Tomb and are looking to expand your collection of Lord of the Rings models, have a look through the webstore to see if there’s anything else that takes your fancy.

Just be aware that many of the models are resin cast or metal. This may come as a bit of a shock for anyone used to only working with plastic.

LOTR: Battle in Balin’s Tomb Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Good value
Classic and easy-to-build miniatures
Easy to pick up and play
Miniatures have not aged well
Bits of the box feel a little cobbled together

As I’ve said in this review already, I watched the Fellowship of the Ring whilst building this set (and also as I build Dungeon Bowl which arrived on the same day – that took up the rest of the movie). The movie, whilst now a little dated and worn around the edges, still feels very iconic. Sure, some of the CGI is now very obviously CGI (the Nazgûl leaving Minas Morgul and several points in Moria), but you forgive the film because, in spite of the terrific advances in computer technology in the two decades since, the story, the acting, and the vast majority of the screenplay is phenomenal.

Battle in Balin’s Tomb struggles to hold on to that same energy – and it’s not entirely the fault of the dated miniatures. Sure, if Citadel were to produce a new (larger scale) Fellowship sprue, I have no doubt it’d be phenomenal, and whilst the Fellowship, the Moria Goblins and the Cave Troll are of an era past, they’re still quite exciting and nice to own. It’s actually the rest of the box that lets it down.

The cards, the tokens, the guide and the dice all feel very run-of-the mill, a bit thrown together and chucked loosely in a box. just a bit rushed. There’s as sense that not much care has gone into the box. It’s as if, in a boardroom somewhere, in between endless conversations about new Stormcast Dragons and Primaris Space Marine releases, someone mentioned The Fellowship of the Ring’s twentieth birthday and everyone remembered that GW owns the IP to a host of LotR stuff. The result was a chucked-together Battle for Balin’s Tomb box because, well, someone felt obligated to. So, for the well initiated GW-enthusiast, It does feel like a bit of a token offering.

But three things save Battle in Balin’s Tomb from being a completely missable release.

The first thing is that it’s straightforward. Just as FauxHammer said in his Heroquest review, GW lacks games that can just be picked up and played by anyone and everyone. but Battle in Balin’s Tomb is a game that in theory could quite easily be set up on a family dining table on a Sunday evening: Mum and Dad can reminisce about the films when they first came out, and the kids can kill pretend Goblins.

So, whilst shallow, It is an accessible, amusing little game.

The second is that it’s actually quite good fun. This makes it an appropriate gateway product for anyone who may be wanting to get into TTRPGs or other wargames.

The third is the price. It’s really really super cheap.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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Author

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Battle in Balin's Tomb
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
Product Name
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Battle in Balin's Tomb
About VoltorRWH 87 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

1 Comment

  1. You were deploying the goblins incorrectly in your play-through. The area where they can be deployed is a 3-square by 4-square rectangle, which includes the Troll deployment space, all lined in pale red. You were deploying them in impassable spaces that are also lined in red, but represent columns. Basically, all the goblins come through the front door, except for those that appear at the trap doors and the well when you draw those cards.

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