Readers of these Ramblings will recall from my very first post Early Beginnings that it was reading "The Lord of the Rings" that really got me into the whole fantasy wargaming doo dah and obviously since then Book has remained very much my favourite book of all time.
When the films by Peter Jackson came out, I was pretty pleased with them. Okay, yes they had to cut big chunks out (will Tom Bombadil ever make his screen debut?) and also added bits in, which I thought were unnecessary (Aragorn falling off the cliff - what was that all about??) but at the end of the day it was just pretty damn good to see a decent attempt to put the book onto the big screen and exorcise the nightmare that was Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version.
Frodo - "If I put on the Ring I can disappear out of this dreadful film!"
And it was, I guess, no surprise to most people when it was announced that GW obtained the licence to produce a range of figures depicting the various characters and races from the films which then, of course, led to their The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (SBG)and more recently, War of the Ring (WotR). And again, give GW their due, they have produced a damned good range of figures.
All of the main characters are, of course, represented, some in multiple versions (remember Dear Reader Three Lives of Gandalf the Grey? ) and GW have also used their licence to bring out models, which in their interpretation could form part of the world of Middle Earth, for example, The Castellans of Dol Guldur. But it has also meant that some of the characters who are only briefly mentioned in the Book have now appeared in figure form.
If you have only seen the original screen version of "The Two Towers", if you blinked you will probably have missed the scene between Wormtongue and Eowyn in the room where the Heir to the Throne of Rohan, Theodred, son of Theoden has passed away in his sleep after being wounded at the Battle of the Fords of Isen (but we all know it was really Wormtongue who finished him off don't we? - OOOPS!!! Did I just spoil that for someone?!!). The extended version puts a bit more into the story and shows the aftermath of the Battle with Eomer finding Theodred and bringing him back to Edoras.
But in SBG and WotR, Theodred gets his own model and can play a major ass-kicking role for the Free Peoples player.
In SBG Theodred, points wise, is on a par with Faramir, Captain of Gondor at 70 points for the base model (by the way Theodred's stats are in The Two Towers Journeybook) although Faramir has the advantage of having 2 Fate points to Theodred's 0 (representing the fact the Theodred cops it in the book, whereas Faramir, lives happily everafter with Eowyn - sorry was that another spoiler?). But Theodred is a good solid choice for a Rohirrim force in SBG.
But in WotR, Theodred really starts to rock. Weighing in at a weighty 125 points Theodred, Prince of Rohan has a stat line slightly inferior to Eomer who only costs 90 points, but Theodred has a couple of key abilities which help pay for that points difference. Firstly, Epic Intevention - if an enemy Hero within 12" of Theodred calls an Epic Action then Theodred counts as immediately calling an Epic Action of his own of the same type as the enemy Hero.
Secondly, he has the ability "Hero of Legend" which allows to him roll a D6 each time he expends a Might Point (he starts with 3). On a roll of 4+ Theodred immediately regains that Might Point. Any ability that gives you a chance to get Might points back is Gold in WotR. Okay, you can fail 50% of the time, that is still a 50% better chance than most Heroes can do.
Also, in WotR, instead of taking Theodred, Prince of Rohan, you can opt to bring to the table the Legendary Formation "Theodred's Knights" at 135 Points plus 45 per company. Whilst this will include a banner bearer and increases the base fight value of the Knight from 4/4+ to 5/4+, I'm not so sure whether this outweighs the advantages of having Theodred, Prince of Rohan as an Epic Hero in his own right.
What are your thoughts Dear Reader, on choosing between Theodred, Prince of Rohan, or Theodred's Knights? Please let's hear your thoughts on the choice in the comments box below.