The Hobbit: An Unexpected Abbreviation

//The Hobbit: An Unexpected Abbreviation

In a few days we will get to see just what games Workshop has in store (pun fully intended) for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game re-boot. Or as it is now known round here TH:aUJSBG (The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey Strategy Battle Game). If ever there was an award for the most ridiculously long name, then I would guess this would take it. I am about to enter into a full on nerd-rage, so if you are of a sensitive nature, well adjusted, or just came here for posts on Epic you may want to go and check on the cat/children/significant other until I am done.

Still here eh?

I fully understand Games Workshop’s desire to fully leverage their use of the film licence, really I do. And it makes obvious sense to market the game as “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” Strategy Battle Game … or TH:aUJ SBG for short. Or even TH: SBG. Ok, I expect I am never going to make this abbreviation work.  However, as all indications seem to suggest this is a re-branded updated edition of the existing Strategy Battle Game, the name doesn’t make an awful lot of sense really. Delve into even the most shallow history of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and it is clear that certain events in “The Hobbit” play a small, but admittedly important part in the overall scheme of the war of the rings epic. To try to shoehorn the existing Lord of the Rings miniature range and scenario’s under the banner of “The Hobbit” just seems darned weird to me. I can only imagine the conversations along the lines of:

Tom: “Shall we have a game of THaUJSBG tonight” (it’s really not working is it?)

Bert: “Sure, I’ll bring the Fellowship and we could re-fight Balin’s Tomb”

Tom: “eh?”

Bert: “oh, ok, um. What about ‘At the Black Gates’?”

Tom: “I was thinking more ‘Bilbo fools the Trolls’ myself”

Bert: “Again?”

Yes, I know it is me being pedantic over the title and I cannot really see what else they could have called it without diluting the impact of having the licence. Just seems wrong somehow.

Anyway, that aside I am rather looking forward to seeing what they do with it. Other than Epic, which is pretty much written into my DNA, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle is the only Games Workshop system I still actively enjoy gaming. I love the miniatures range, especially those done by the Perry’s. It ‘used‘ to be reasonably good value up until the last price increase when they halved the contents in the plastic sets. Good job I stocked up. But above all, I really found the game to be dynamic and entertaining. Sure it had a big element of randomness to it where the dice were concerned by comparison with a more competitive game like 40K. But that was smoothed out with the ‘hero’ mechanics of Might, Will and Fate. Overall I love it and it would be a great shame if they completely re-wrote the entire design for The Hobbit. I am somewhat hopeful that it won’t be the case and the fairly recent re-launch of the Lord of the Rings Army Books and continued availability hints strongly at polishing and tweaking rather than wholesale re-writing.

If that is the case, it should almost certainly give the Middle Earth range a much needed boost in the arm. If they wreck it with another ill-judged abomination like “War of the Ring” then I shall just pick up some new shiny Dwarves and carry on about my business with Lord of the Rings and not have to worry about that dreadful abbreviation at all.

We shall soon know when all is revealed on Saturday my precious.

Until then, nerd-rant over and back to painting Epic.


By | 2017-09-13T13:24:04+00:00 November 21st, 2012|News|3 Comments


  1. Iain November 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    This post needs more Epic! :~)
    I agree with you over the title generally, but I guess that GW are trying desperately to hold on to this as a continuation of their previous games, and not yet another game/rules set. By marketting this as a clear successor to the LotR games, they appear to be trying to entice the previous players back. If they marketted this as a brand new game, they might lose that player base that has already been built up.
    I have never played LotR, although I have heard great things about it and I own the hard backed rule book (but I just bought this to play a Samurai variant… which I also have not got around yet to throwing a die in anger in… There is a pattern here).

  2. Carl Woodrow November 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Can’t argue with the analysis; agree 100% and don’t see what else they could have called it. It just irritates the ‘inner nerd’ in me (unashamed Tolkien fanboy since I was knee-high to a Dwarf).

    And yes, I do see a pattern emerging. You should give it a go one day, it is surprisingly engaging. But then I would say that wouldn’t I?

    Epic normality shall be resumed shortly, with added Vindicator.

    • Iain November 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      The trouble is, I think that the title may be a problem in the future. I can’t see the Hobbit game being a mass combat game, as there were not really any ‘battles’ from what I can remember. But, this is where the original LotR games were heading, so anyone coming back may actually be confronted by a totally different game and scale, and those who would like the more skirmish game aspect probably would ignore it due to it building on LotR. To me, its the same problem that Epic third edition had following on from second – Third edition is a good game, but the people who tried it, did so because they liked second edition.

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