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Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game – Battle of Osgiliath Unboxing and Review

Osgiliath, known in Sindarin tongue as the Citadel of the Host of Stars was a strategic city during the War of the Ring as it was built upon the river Anduin and formed an important crossing point between Gondor and Mordor. The city was valiantly defended by the men of Gondor, however a pivotal moment in the War of the Ring was the surprise night attack of the city in what would come to be known as the Battle of Osgiliath…

Battle of Osgiliath, up for pre order today, is the new Lord of the Rings starter box for the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game containing a whole host of goodies including everything you need to get started learning to play the game. In this unboxing and review we will be taking a look at the contents of the box, checking out the miniatures and taking a look at all the campaign and rules material!

We’ll also be taking a look at how to paint the Osgiliath ruins with our full painting guide

Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a free review copy of Battle of Osgiliath to take a look at for this article! If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of Battle of Osgiliath through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself 20% too?

We have also filmed a full unboxing which you can see below or over on YouTube

So gather up your most heroic warriors, as today we get ready for the Battle of Osgiliath!

Battle of Osgiliath Unboxing and Review

Believe it or not, but its been 4 years since the release of the new edition of the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game and the awesome Pelannor Fields boxed game! After a long period of quiet for the game following the Hobbit movies and releases, Games Workshop went back to the drawing board and put together an outstanding release that gave us a brand new edition of the game, supplements containing all the profiles and a great value box to get someone into the game!

Before I go any further I just want to put some minds at ease and share that Battle of Osgiliath isn’t a brand new edition of the game, if you currently play the game now then you will still play it the same way after this box – armies are not changing, core mechanics are not being scrapped and the fundamentals of how it plays are still exactly the same.

Battle of Osgiliath is instead a refresh of the starter box containing different miniatures, a rulebook that has been updated with FAQs, an intro campaign for newcomers and some excellent new terrain. Let’s take a look!

First of all let’s take a look at the miniatures in the box – for the Forces of Good we get a sprue of Warriors of Minas Tirith (12 models) and one of Rangers of Middle-Earth (12 models), these are both older kits and it’s a shame they have not been updated, but the main attraction in the Good half of the box is the sprue containing new plastic models for Faramir, Damrod and Madril.

These are simply jaw dropping models with some excellent detail! I’ve started painting these and will get the above images updated once they are finished, but you can see they are gorgeous and will make great additions to your force and will be great fun to paint up!

For the Forces of Evil we get 2 sprues of Morannon Orcs (24 models) and a Mordor Troll – again these are old models but still stand up well in an army – especially with the orcs being numerous! But again the star attraction is the new model for Gothmog! It’s safe to say that the current resin incarnation of him was perhaps not the greatest sculpt, but the new plastic one blows it out of the water! You get two models here to represent him on foot or mounted on his Warg, and in a really great touch the mounted version has pre drilled magnet holes so that you can remove him from his Warg mid-battle! This fact isn’t actually mentioned in the instructions – so make sure you stick the magnet in the pre drilled hole inside the Warg before you glue it shut!

Again, I’ll be working on him in the coming weeks – so stay tuned to the site for updated photos!

Andy has been furiously painting up the Evil side of the box as we hope to share some battle reports soon!

The most exciting thing for me in the box is the brand new fully modular Osgiliath ruins scenery! As a bit of a terrain nerd, this is very very cool – Now fair warning this will take a while to build and can be a little fiddly, but it is well worth the effort! Essentially each individual section of wall is a separate piece meaning that the only limit is your imagination on how this goes together. Once these kits are available separately I can see some people putting together some impressive multi-level scenery, and with some scratch built roofing you could even create intact buildings too! Thankfully for newcomers the instructions show how to make 4 specific ruins, which will teach you how the kits can be used so that in future you can try and make something even cooler!

I managed to get one painted up so thought I would share how I got it done – this was very quick with a lot of the work done through drybrushing – I also used the same scheme for the rocks on

Undercoat – Black

Base coat – Dryad Bark (An airbrush makes this stage quicker, but a big brush also works fine)

The next few steps are all done with drybrushing – get the biggest drybrush you have, load it up with paint and worth it into the bristles before removing as much of it as you can with some kitchen paper – then quickly flick the brush back and forth allowing the pigment to build up on the raised areas

Heavy Drybrush of Steel Legion Drab (By “Heavy” Drybrush I mean leave more paint on the brush than you usually would)

Heavy Drybrush of Karak Stone

Drybrush of Rakarth Flesh

If you look at the box art you can see some bricks are different colours than others – to do this thin down some Morghast Bone and block in some of the blocks you want lighter, and take some Athonian Camoshade to the blocks you want darker.

I also went in at this point with Athonian Camoshade do tint some of the broken areas and shadowed sections

Drybrush Pallid Wych Flesh

Drybrush White Scar

minus dying time for the washes this will probably all take around 30 mins tops per building! nice and quick and looks really effective on the battlefield too!

Also included in the box is a measuring ruler, a bag of dice and a sheet of tokens – this is nice as means that if someone gets this box with no prior miniature games experience then all they will need other than plastic glue to assemble the models, making it an excellent box for people new to the hobby.

The tokens will also be useful to experiences MESBG fans as there’s markers here to show heroic actions, charges and negative status effects.

Moving onto the paper contents, we get a really nice introduction to the hobby in the form of the Battle of Osgiliath Scenarios book

This book takes the players through 4 scenarios that gradually introduce different unit types and rules in order to help new players gradually learn how to play the game. While these may be a little simple for veteran players, this is an excellent way to teach someone new how to play and the missions make great use of all the contents of the box – it’s also very forgiving to however you want to play – just have a dining room table to play on? That’s fine just use whatever area you have – if you enjoy the game you could always invest in a board, battlemat or permanent setup to play your games on – this is all about getting comfortable with the game and learning the basics. Starting with a small skirmish all the way up to a battle using the entire contents of the box, this is exactly the kind of thing I would want to have to ease me into the game as a new player.

The book also shows the profiles for the models in the box, though it doesn’t show any points costs, so players looking to expand on the contents of this box will most likely want to pick up the Armies of The Lord of the Rings supplement in order to have access to those. Again using just the contents of the box though things are balanced in that the evil side is advised to not use shields on their models in order to keep the forces at similar sizes.

Speaking of taking next steps, the book also details which models and supplements that players may want to pick up which is a nice touch for those looking to expand their army.

Finally the book also has a full gameplay summary on the back page acting as a “cheat sheet” to have on the table next to you with a breakdown of the turn structure, the to wound chart and quick profiles for all the miniatures in the box – again this is very helpful for new players.

Finally in the box we have the full Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game Rules Manual – as mentioned in the intro this isn’t a new edition with things changed, this is very much the same book that we had previously, but updated with any FAQs and Errata that have been changed since the game was first released – this includes things such as a full alliance matrix including all the factions that have been released since the original book was published, and things being rephrased to make them clearer – rest assured, if you currently play the game then this is just a revised rules manual rather than you having to learn the entire game again.

And this is a really good thing – people had feared that we might see a new edition with things altered, but at it’s core the SBG is an excellent game that still works well – a new edition was not needed, nor was it wanted by a majority of the community. Now, I do wonder if we will get updated Armies books soon, as a lot of stuff has been published in supplements and errata since then – but currently we have no word on if that will be the case.

Summary

So what do I think of the new Battle of Osgiliath box and is it worth it for both new comers and established fans?

Well even though this box does have a lot of older models in it, I still think it has decent value in it – the Evil side works out as around £81, the good side £53.50 and the Scenery approx £45 based on the Ruins of Dol Guldor – this works out as just shy of £180 of miniatures plus the full rulebook which costs £37.50 giving you a grand total of £217 of goodies for £125 (Or £100 from Element) – combined with the dice and intro scenario book I feel this is a great price point for someone wanting to get into the hobby.

For existing players it really depends on what you want from the box – if you are looking for the new models, scenery and updated rulebook then you still get a discount on buying the box over those separate parts, and you have a stack of models for free on top of the entry cost!

While this has less models than Pelannor Fields, I do think this is a better set because of the addition of scenery, something that was not present in the previous box and really is something that is needed to really learn how the game plays. Battles over a stack of awesome terrain are always so much more fun than an empty table!

Ironically, it’s building the scenery that might give newcomers the biggest headache, but it is well worth the effort for another excellent addition to the Middle-Earth SBG scenery range

I can see a lot of people who perhaps started their hobby adventure with the partwork series 20 years ago perhaps picking up this box and reigniting their love of the game – and due to that I expect to see this box under many Christmas trees this year!

Lord of the Rings Battle of Osgiliath is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 17th December – though is ready to be dispatched today from Element Games!

Games Workshop provided Sprues and Brews with a free copy for review purposes.

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