Mines of Moria Starter Set

For those of you who want the more standard rating system, this box rates an 8 out of 10.

After the catastrophe that was the One Rulebook (read the review here) I was not really looking forward to this box set... But thankfully, thanks to some help from friends at my local hobby store (to whom I am completely in debt by the way) I managed to get my rulebook exchanged for the box set, which made me very happy.

I have to admit however that I was looking forward to the miniatures in this box. I wanted to see the Fellowship in plastic. After having a look at them, I found they were excellent. Easily as good as the original fellowship box set except for a few minor differences. The primary difference is scale and proportion. The figs are nearly as tall, but much more fine in appearance. Strange indeed, but still quite good. If I had not had a number of fellowship miniatures already, I would say these were the highlight of the box, but since I already have at least two versions of every member of the fellowship, they take second place...

The cave troll, aside from being a little mis-proportioned, is also quite good. Its scale fits with its metal counterparts quite well, except a similar fineness that is also present in the fellowship. Of course the moria orcs are the same ones we had from the original release of the game; good to add numbers to my 72 strong plastic goblin force, and it gives me an oppotunity to paint them up a bit better...

But the most impressive miniatures included in my opinion are the terrain pieces. Firstly I love to see dead figs, even if they are quite old and rotted, they really add to the gaming table. There are a few rotted dwarves that fit perfectly with the movie and the Shadow and Flame supplement material (i.e. Balin's dwarves). Along with this there is Balin's tomb and the well which are excellent replicas of their movie counterparts, and they make me happy about the fact that I haven't gotten around to making any moria scenery yet ;)

So for the miniatures alone I give this three Sam and Frodos. Then there is the rulebook. It has all of the rules in a nice little package and a good majority of the character profiles (and they didn't even forget the army of the dead!). For players who have all the supplements (and perhaps the latest version of the Lord of the Rings files for Army Builder) it suits its purpose better (and for much cheaper) than the main rule book. For this I will give the box another Sam and Frodo. It is a very nice package indeed.

The stinker is really due to two things. The first is the scale of the figs. There is no reason the figs shouldn't match the scale of the metals perfectly (I mean, look at the 40k/WFB stuff afterall). I am convinced that GW fabricates the difference in order to allow people to differentiate between metals and plastics, which sucks in my opinion. The second reason is that the rule book doesn't include everything, but that is not a really big deal ;)

All in all I would recommend this for both experienced gamers who want the rules and some new figs for cheaper than the One Rulebook, as well as for new people who just want to start playing! For those of you who want the more standard rating system, this box rates an 8 out of 10.