Games Workshop is mostly known for Warhammer 40.000 and I’m well known for whining about it. However, GW also produces a Lord of the Rings miniature wargame. It had been languishing for the longest time, beset by questionable business practices and Tom Kirby’s disdain. The new management is a little more pro-active about maintaining the property. Forgeworld is releasing miniatures from the Hobbit movie in expensive resin. Warhammer Community publishes articles around it.
More pertinently for me, Battle Companies – the individual-miniature skirmish game – has been released. It’s called Middle-earth Battle Companies, but good luck finding anyone outside GW call it that.
Battle Companies is probably the cheapest and easiest way to get into any of GWs product. The battle companies in the game start out between 5 and 12 models strong, and usually go up to 15 in a campaign. Some trashier companies (hobbits, goblins) can be even bigger!
For me, this presented the excuse I needed to buy some of those sexy-ass Easterlings. I have a friend who also likes the LoTR miniature game and even bought miniatures long before Battle Companies, so I’m totally justified!
You have already seen my company, The Takavaran, in full. Time to meet them up close!
Paiman is the Bashi – ‘head’ or lieutenant – of this group. An accomplished swordsman, his is near unbreakable on the battlefield due to the combination of his skill, heavy armor and shield.
Arash has been declared the salar – sergeant – of any archers that join the company. He will command them and direct them to thin the enemy ranks before their reach the wall of shields and blades.
Bahram is a master swordsman, but he doesn’t feel cut out of for command. He is more than likely to cut down enemies instead.
Jaganhir is has left his place in the well-drilled phalanxes of Easterling armies to hold the flank of Takavaran. Like the other members of his military class, he can use both the pike and the shield at the same time.
Firuz is the other archer of the company, but he knows more will join them as they claim fame fighting and killing exotic foes in the West.
Mirza has a pike and is willing to hold the other flank. However, he’s a lot more impetuous, which isn’t a character trait that’s celebrated in the phalanx.
Overall Impression of Easterlings In Battle Companies
I’ve only played one game so far, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Overall, Easterlings are one of the elite companies, as their numbers would attest. Unfortunately, it makes it hard to use their pikes – which allow two models to assist a friend instead of one – without getting swamped with bodies. Hell, it’s impossible to do that with goblins, when there’s 12 of them. And my friend has only assembled his goblins at this point…
Other than that, defense 6 is really hard to take down for most enemies. Unfortunately, their relatively high fight stat doesn’t matter in LOTR, since it’s only used to break ties. Then again, you can also use “Feint” with swordsmen with relative impunity, since the reduction to your fight score doesn’t matter that much.
The archers are the clear losers here. Shooting isn’t really powerful in LotR. My dudes would be hitting on 4+ in ideal conditions (that is, if they haven’t moved). Even if they hit (don’t forget to roll for every piece of cover in the way), strength 2 bows aren’t great at taking down anyone, not even the goblins.
Good thing my next team is going to be Haradarim, with 50% archer allowance giving 4 archers to begin with, and said archers re-rolling 1’s to wound.
On the other hand, Easterlings like amazingly good and I love them!