The Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game: Base Game
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Prior to playing this game, I had never had any interest in miniatures. The main problem is that as a gamer first, I had never played a miniatures system that was interesting enough to keep my attention as a game, never mind convince me to spend the money and energy to paint the figures.
The Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game (why do most LotR games have such unwieldy names? :) scores on both of these counts. Firstly, the game itself is simple enough to be easily grasped after one play, and yet has enough subtelty (especially with the advanced rules, which add a lot) to keep the experienced gamer engaged. Once you start to involve the Ringwraiths and the various heros, there is actually quite a bit to the game, although it is not all that complex. This is always a sign of a winner for me.
Secondly, by using plastic for the basic figures rather than the traditional pewter, you can get into the game much, much more cheaply and easily than the standard miniatures games. Instead of paying $3+ per figure, the plastic is less than 50 cents, but remains remarkably detailed (all the figures in this line, plastic and metal, are very impressive). Equally importantly (especially for miniatures newbies like me), the rulebook contains an excellent figure painting and basing tutorial. So you can check it out, sample the game and see if you enjoy the painting aspect, without spending any more than you would spend on a board game. I should also say that the painting is not hard. Given my lack of artistic talent I was surprised at how easy it was with patience, a little practice, and a lot of help from the tutorial and the content on Games Workshop's web site, to produce nicely-painted figures. I have not been at all embarassed to use any of the figures I've painted.
To really enjoy the game requires a fair amount of effort - you'll need to paint the figures and create some terrain to make it really shine - but I found the effort to be quite worthwhile. The game itself is straightforward yet challenging, the figures are beautiful, and the overall effect is quite visually impressive and fun to play.