It’s been a while since I bought the Mines of Moria set for the Lord of the Rings game. It’s also been a while since I played these battles, but somehow never found the time to make this report.

Now, this set is aimed at new players. Something I’m most definitely not. The reasons for getting this beyond the obsessive collector syndrome are several. First, you get an amazing plastic Fellowship of the Ring. And to be honest, some of the models are the best representation of the characters so far. I specially like Gandalf, Sam, and Boromir. You also get some amazing scenery. The pillars are the weakest of all, but the rest of the little details plus Balin’s tomb are just amazing. Finally, you get 24 more gobbos. You can never have enough goblins, I tell ya. Oh yeah, you also get the freaking rulebook as well!!

Sadly, the scenarios are pretty lame. They are aimed at complete newbies, and I mean kids. The scenarios from the Battle of Macragge set were pretty cool, even playable solo. They were smart design. These from the Moria set are not. They do teach the rules to some extent, but the playing surface and general objectives are small and boring. There’s no chance in hell that the Fellowship player will lose any of the scenarios. That being said, I still played them all a couple of times. And here we go.

Scenario 1: Into the darkness.

This simple scenario sets the Fellowship against four (yeah, 4!) little goblins. The thing is to teach you how to move and shoot with your figures. The Fellowship has to cross the table and escape through the door. In my games the guys mostly just killed the little bastards and ran to safety, covering the hobbits. Not a chance to win for them really.

Scenario 2: Ambush!

This game sets Aragorn in a scouting round, facing a few goblins, and teaching you the close combat mechanics. Once again, a race towards the gates on the other side of the table. This time however the goblins get to stop Aragorn most of the time (the gaming area is so small) but he just keeps beating and killing them!

Scenario 3: Surrounded!

This time Aragorn is not with the Fellowship, and they’re surrounded by goblins. The objective is to introduce some special rules so the Light player has to seal the trapdoors shut to win the game. The goblins have to kill at least 4 Fellowship members to win (which is nigh impossible). Aragorn may or may not join the fight from the door, depending on a die roll every turn. In my game the goblins did quite well, hurting a few of the stronger characters but killing none sadly. Aragorn made the fight in the end to save the day.

Scenario 4: Balin’s tomb.

This is it! The “big game.” The Fellowship is surrounded and goblins keep coming from the trapdoors and the big gate. They keep coming every turn after you kill them, and there’s the imminent danger of a cave troll! The Fellowship wins if they kill the beast, and the goblins win if they kill 4 Fellowship members. As usual, protect the hobbits and you’ll be fine. In my game the goblins died a lot, but came back, and managed to kill the wizard! Then a double 6 was rolled and the cave troll made his entrance. It took two rounds and a few great rolls from Boromir and Gimli to take him down.

All in all it’s a pretty good starter set. It has the LotR rulebook in pocket format (that’s all you need to play the proper game), a nice Fellowship, some scenery, and a freaking cave troll! Oh yeah, and almost 30 little goblins to fill your horde. Game design wise maybe not the brightest product, but as usual with these plastic starters, well worth your bucks.

Update: I forgot I had some awful clips. Enjoy!