Quick Look: Scouring Of The Shire, Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game

July 24, 2019 by dracs

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It's time to talk about the most important part of the whole Lord of the Rings saga. No, not Mt. Doom. Not the siege of Minas Tirith. It's the Scouring of the Shire!

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The Scouring of the Shire is the latest sourcebook for Games Workshop's Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game. The four heroic hobbits have returned to their green and pleasant homeland only to find it ravaged by the predations of the mysterious Sharkey and his rogues.

The sourcebook features sixteen scenarios, which can be linked together to form a narrative campaign, taking you from the first arrival of the ruffians to the climactic Battle of the Bywater.

The scenarios are generally of a much smaller scale, with some very fun narrative games to play through. The Scouring of the Shire chapters from the original books don't detail too many clashes, so Games Workshop have had to get creative. For example, the murder of Lotho Sackville-Baggins by Grima Wormtongue is turned into a full fight, as opposed to the more ignominious end he meets in the books.

There are plenty of new characters in this sourcebook, providing Shire players with lots of fun new rules to play with. It does rather feel like GW have given rules to anyone mentioned by name in the books, but this doesn't make their addition any less welcome. Some of them give nice tactical options, such as Robin Smallburrow's A Nose For Shortcuts, while others are more thematic and fun, like Gaffer Gamgee's Leave My Flowers Alone! or Rowan Thistelwood's Burn It Down!

The book also features step-by-step instructions on how to make a hobbit hole, using the facade from Forge World. It's a little frustrating that there are no tips on how to build one from scratch, but the instructions can be easily adapted to give you a starting point.

All in all, this is an addition to the Middle-earth line-up I am very excited to see. The different scenarios provide plenty of fun game ideas, while the wide variety of hero characters will give players new tactical options to make a pure Shire or Ruffian force viable.

Will you venture into the Shire? 

"The four heroic hobbits have returned to their green and pleasant homeland only to find it ravaged by the predations of the mysterious Sharkey and his rogues. "

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