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Miniature Board Games Worth the Price of Entry? Journeys in Middle Earth is Fabulous Part 1

A few weeks ago, I approached our website owner and pitched the idea of doing more miniatures boards games on the website. GamesReviews has been covering board games on top of video games for a few years now, and have worked with some fabulous companies including Asmodee, Ravesnburger, Stonemaier Games, and more. One thing we have never covered, however, are miniatures games. That changes this week. It’s time to hop into Journeys in Middle Earth!

journeys in Middle Earth Board

After weeks of research, and digging into various different miniatures games, I finally settled on something I had familiarity with – the Lord of the Rings. There are a TON of Lord of the Rings board games available right now, many of which have cool miniatures. You could argue that the miniatures in Lord of the Rings board games – not tabletop games, we should keep them separate – began with Lord of the Rings Risk, and have only gotten better since then. Journeys in Middle Earth is a fantastic, procedurally generated board game campaign that weaves familiar and unfamiliar characters from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works into a fun and engaging role playing game. The game utilizes an application that walks you through most aspects of the game, including searching areas, laying down terrain, tracking enemies and their damage, and so much more.

To be honest, the idea of an application based board game wasn’t that appealing to me, and I actually watched various reviews and videos on this game numerous times before saying, “That doesn’t look like it’s for me.” And that’s where this journey begins. How do you pick a good miniatures board game? Reviews are always a great start, but none of these games are cheap. I looked at a variety of games, but ultimately settled on picking one of 3 – ISS Vanguard, Wild Assent, and Journeys in Middle Earth. Obviously I picked the last of this list, but there was some thought into why I did.


For the longest time, Wild Assent was the game I really wanted to purchase. The miniatures looked great, and the battleground scenerios were pretty intriguing. The price of entry into this one, with a few expansions to really build out the collection, was about $379.99 USD via GameFound. Not a terrible price, but still pushing almost $500.00 Canadian. Ultimately, this had the coolest figures in my opinion, but the lack of exploration made me think twice about buying.

ISS Vanguard had significantly less miniature to get excited about, but promised a really long campaign. This instantly became a favourite for a few minutes, but after reading some information on Board Game Geek and talking with a few folks, I continued to hear the same thing – ISS Vanguard is a great game, but after a while the scenerios feel very repetitive. So this one fell of the list as well, and I was back to looking at The Lord of the Rings.

Ultimately, I got passed the game relying on an iPad application, and began looking at how the game ran. I was hooked. Not only did it have some familiarity because it was Lord of the Rings, but there was a mixture of everything I was looking for – a ton of really great, detailed miniatures; vast exploration that dropped new exciting opportunities at your feet constantly; and area battles that would allow me to be strategic in my movements while taking down huge foes. So there it was – I took the plunge and went all in on this game. I purchased the starter pack, the two expansions, and a bunch of character packs. I ordered sleeves for the cards, and began 3D printing terrain. And I couldn’t be happier.


This is a first in a long series of articles around Journeys in Middle Earth, and I hope you will follow along with my adventures as we play through the campaign! Look out this week for Part 2 where I discuss the games first three scenerios!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel