The Tolkien Urge

A variety of orc wolf-riders from various makers.

I think every wargamer has those influential books that guided their interest in a game or an era. I always think of John Keegan’s chapter on Agincourt in The Face of Battle that spurred my interest in the Hundred Years War or Bruce Catton’s Army of the Potomac series that gave me an interest in the Civil War.

My passel of orcs-blue bin-and Rohirrim. The former includes 15mm orcs from Black Raven Foundry, Demonworld and somebody else. The Rohan figures are Dark Ages horsemen and Dark Age Infantry from Essex. They have been painted for a long time. I’ve done a lot of remounting, but very little painting.

But one of my great unrequited loves is the Lord of the Rings and all the ancillary Tolkien goodness that goes with it. The older I get, and the deeper into Middle Earth I delve, the more I am captured by the idea of doing something with Tolkien.

Black Raven Foundry orcs top image. Demonworld orc bottom. Yes, the latter are clearly behemoth sized, and they will be my Uruk-Hai.

Tolkien inspired pallets of paper devoted to rules derived more or less from his stories. From Chainmail to the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings and all of its various expansions (gotta do something to pay those licensing fees,) whether directly or indirectly the Oxford professor has, and continues to inspire the industry of fantasy miniature gaming.

To be truthful, I’ve had a load of 15mm miniatures for Middle Earth painted for some time. Some of them were once historical miniatures–I built an Ostrogothic army for DBM a long time ago. I’ve had many orcs and crafted a few what iffish Middle Erth armies for DBA back in the DBA days. I spent a lot of time gazing wistfully at Luke Ueda-Sarson’s work with DB Middle Earth, but because I loved neither DBM or DBA, I admired his efforts from afar. No, if I was gonna do something on my own it was going to be mechanically direct, and, hopefully fun.

Dunland chieftain and mounted troops. Yes, they are just Gallic/British horse by Old Glory 15’s.

But lots of other projects intervened. It wasn’t until I started actually sorting through my figures, and discovered how many painted figures I had that the bug really bit me. I made the decision to do some serious remounting and began pondering what rules could look like.

As I suggested in an earlier post, I’m very enamored of the command-driven games I’ve been playing recently, including, but not limited to, SAGA, 1914, and Altar of Freedom. I’m also interested in playing with units. The unit sizes and base sizes will all be the same, except for over sized critters like trolls and mumaks. Archery, magic and heroes all fit into my plans, but that’s not where I’m going to start.

Theodred assembles his supporters and they ride to destiny at the Fords of Isen.

No, I’ve always loved the riders of Rohan, with their Gothic heavy cavalry. My test scenarios will begin with their border war with Isengard. I’ve scheduled a playtest based on the Battle of the Ford of Isen for December 14th with some friends. I’ll keep you posted on preparations and perhaps some rules updates as time goes on.

One comment on “The Tolkien Urge

  1. Pete S/ SP says:

    Great collection there.



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