Posted 01/03/2018

The Hobbit™ Grand Tournament 2018 Review

Adam Troke: Last weekend, I had the pleasure of serving as the Chief Referee in Warhammer World as our hallowed halls were invaded by 86 Strategy Battle Gamers ready to fight it out for the coveted title of 2018 Grand Tournament Champion! As events involving The Middle-earth™ Strategy Battle Game community always are, this weekend was a glorious festival of friendly competition, camaraderie and fun.

To find our winner, players battled it out across six games and, after a truly nail-biting finish, tournament veteran Ed Ball claimed first place, with Jake Tetley hot on his heels in second – our only two undefeated players across the course of the event! Third prize went to Dan Huckvale, whose tournament score was bolstered by bonus points awarded by his opponents for sportsmanship and the quality of the armies he used on the tabletop.

Having had a couple of days to recover from the epic weekend, I wanted to take a moment or two to go over some of the highlights for those of you who couldn’t attend:

The Pageantry of War

One of the greatest perks of volunteering as Chief Ref is an unrivalled view of all of the armies doing battle over the weekend. With 86 players, each bringing both a Good and an Evil army to the event, there was lots to see. No fewer than five Smaug™ miniatures graced the tabletops, a model so mighty that it could be considered a one-model army in its own right! Then there were offerings as many and varied as armies from The Shire, Gondor, Rohan, Mordor and more. Some of my favourites were those which evoked a particular scene from The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit™: Sam McGuinness modelled a scenic base for his armies to display Smaug desolating the city of Dale, which was especially gratifying. Likewise, there were armies present based on scenes such as the ambush at Amon Hen (complete with scratch-built Seeing Seat surrounded by Scouting Uruk-hai) and the Bridge of Khazad-dûm.

Below you can see some of the great forces in use throughout the weekend… We’ll be sure to feature more of these here on Warhammer Community in the near future.

At these events, there is always an award for Best Painted Army, and this year the competition was as hot as ever! The winner, as voted for by the players in attendance, was Andy Hamblin, who claimed the prize with his spectacular Galadhrim and Angmar armies – featuring bold and striking colour palettes and lots of lovely conversions, especially in his Evil army.

Sportsmanship and Knightly Honours

If you’ve never been to an event that hosts our wonderful community, you might not know what to expect – but everyone present can attest to what a warm and inclusive bunch the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game crowd are. Even on the highest tables, as the battle for first place was underway, an air of friendship and fun pervaded the proceedings. It was delightful therefore to see that two of our community this weekend were awarded the highest honour at a Warhammer World event – The Knight of the Inner Circle. This title is bestowed only upon those whose sportsmanship and demeanour is universally acclaimed by their opponents, and whose armies embody the highest of standards for painting and modelling. It was my pleasure to personally hand out the plaques celebrating this accomplishment to Phil Beale and Sam McGuinness.

Boisterous Mirth and a Glimpse of the Future

At Middle-earth events here at Warhammer World, it has become something of a tradition to host a presentation on the Saturday night where we show off a few tidbits from the near-future, and then have a little Q&A. Attendees will also know that we like to enjoy a Tolkien-themed pub quiz too… and this year was no different.

In the presentation I showed a few models soon to be released, which you can now see below:

The Nazgûl of Dol Guldur Set 3 was first to be shown, although this was perhaps no surprise to attendees, who had been able to purchase the set earlier in the day as a special event pre-release.

Hilda-Bianca and Percy are heroes for Lake-town. First spied nearly a year ago as unfinished works in progress, at last their release is soon to be upon us.

Goblin Mercenaries are much desired by those loyal to Gundabad and the armies of Azog the Defiler – since the inclusion of their unit entry in The Hobbit™ Motion Picture Trilogy There and Back Again, our ears have rung to the question of when they will be released. This kit, including a Captain and 12 Goblin Mercenaries, is coming soon!

We also showcased the first new release for The Lord of the Rings™ in years – The Mûmak War Leader. Including a mighty Haradrim warchief to lead the all-powerful Mûmakil into battle, this resin and plastic kit includes the War Leader (both riding on the Mûmak and on foot) along with upgrade parts for his Mûmak, such as:

The Nail-biting Finish

It wouldn’t be right to talk about this event without mentioning the amazing conclusion to the weekend’s games, with the four players on our top two tables jostling for victory. The top players were so close in scores that the ultimate result of the weekend’s gaming wasn’t settled until time was called in the final game… the only thing that made the cracking finish to the tournament even more enjoyable was the obvious sportsmanship on display. As a referee, who was barely called upon to resolve any questions over the weekend and had absolutely no disputes to settle at all, it was a delight!

Here’s to another great Warhammer World event in the future!

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