This week I had the joy of traveling to Seattle, WA, to learn about a very exciting new Tradeable Miniatures Game based in Tolkien’s Middle-earth that’s slated to hit stores shortly before Return of the King. What is a Tradeable Miniature Game? Well, unlike the existing Strategy Battle Game from Games Workshop, a Tradeable Miniatures Game will feature pre-painted miniatures that you buy in Booster Packs and Starter Sets similar to your favorite card games. The Game is being developed by our new friends at Sabertooth Games, and has been designed by Ryan Miller, who’s work you can see on their Warhammer Collectible Card Game: WarCry. The first expansion set will contain about 120 40mm miniatures including Frodo, Aragorn, and the rest of the Fellowship, and fan favorites like Eowyn, Arwen, Saruman, and many more. I asked about Haldir and Gamling, and it looks like they’re being held for the second expansion.

So how does it work? If you’re familiar with grid games like HeroClix and Mage Knight, you should take to The Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game (TMG) quickly, but even if you’re new to this genre the easy to understand design will have you involved in no time. Unlike HeroClix or MageKnight, the LOTR TMG is played on a Hexagonal Grid, and to go along with this each figure is attached to a Hexagonal Base that fits on the grid perfectly. Each base describes the attributes of the character, and each character is given a points value based on their usefulness in battle. Aragorn, being the tank that he is, costs more than say, a Gondorian Soldier. The attributes tell anything from the number of attacks the character has, to the number of spaces he can move in a turn. The Game is played on a fold-out grid that comes with your starter box. When you lay out this grid along side a friend’s grid, it creates one massive Hexagonal Grid to deploy your miniatures on.

The Game itself will come in booster-pack form, featuring 1 Rare, 1 Uncommon, and 2 Common miniatures, and a specially designed Starter Set will include a set of miniatures that you won’t find in the boosters. Sabertooth, in their dedication to the players, wanted to make sure you didn’t end up with more copies of a miniature than you wanted, so they chose good starting miniatures to go into the Starter Set, with a rarity separate from the Rare, Uncommon, Common scheme you’ll find in the boosters. The exception to this is Minions, which will remain the same in both the starter and the booster packs, while starter packs will contain special heroes and main characters that are not available in the booster packs. The Heroes in the starter deck have a special colored slider that indicates whether they came from the Starter Set, but minions like Easterlings and Rohan Soliders will be colored normally, which makes sense since you will definitely want to find as many of them as you can to field against your friends.

While magic plays a roll in the LOTR TMG, the emphasis is on Combat and the fateful acts of the heroes on both sides. For example, Gimli being very well armored has a defense of 6, meaning that in combat the only way your opponent can wound Gimli is to roll numerous sixes to wear him down. One version of Gimli even has the ability to attack in a 360 Degree arc via a Berserk Attack that can hit adjacent models without him facing them. Archers and Ranged Combatants play a heavy roll in the game, as well as Spearmen who don’t need to be adjacent to an enemy to strike, and can add 1 attack to a friendly model it’s adjacent to that is engaged in combat. A Standard game of the Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game takes about an hour, or longer depending on how many points you wish to deploy.

The Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game is planned to hit stores in November, and we’ll have all the details for you as we get closer to the release date. If you have any specific questions, or even just comments that you’d like us to hear, then shoot an e-mail to and you just might find it posted in our Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game Mini-Site!