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Not a single army builder for the good guys, which means a battle of five armies failing to feature even one 'good' army, and the build offers little by way of middle earth majesty. I feel no compulsion to pick it up just for a crown headpiece and the lonesome Dain with nobody to lead. If EVER a theme was crying out for a battle pack builder this (and lotr) was it. I just do not understand TLG's strategy on this. It's like they have NO CLUE whatsoever how to cross pollinate two sets to add value to, and increase, all sets desirability.
Example: if there was just one dwarf warrior in one set alone, that one dwarf would immediately increase the value of wanting/owning Dain and vice versa. But with no dwarf warrior for him to be king of, I feel no personal desire to then bother including a Dain fig in my collection. Interest gone, the fig then becomes utterly impotent as the set's key draw.
Completionist collectors will buy the set/figs regardless, but they aren't the mass market. And this is where TLG is failing with these licenses. The mass market looks at playability, and will wonder what to do about soldiers... if kids can't identify any cannon-fodder soldier material, and can't find a builder set to supply it either, then they'll just bail on the idea altogether as it won't offer the mass-battle experience promised by the title. The vast majority of Kids aren't nearly as bothered about hero-in-new-hat syndrome that collectors drool over, they'll want soldiers and lots of them.
This wave should have had at least one set featuring at least one Iron Hills Dwarf Warrior and Mirkwood Elf Soldier (helmeted), either cheap enough to purchase in multiple, or included across several sets. Furthermore, a helmeted elf warrior would also have been snapped up by a LotR crowd desperately trying to find ways to populate the battlements of helms deep.
They screwed up LotR by not making any battlepack sets (Gondor, anyone?) and now they're repeating that mistake. I really wish I could interview the design team/lead strategists for the tolkien themes, just to find out HOW they came to these decisions.
Mind = Boggled.
Then it's like they gave the design job to the cleaners 5 year old. I'm sure they have cost restraints to work to but how could the company who made the amazing Hobbit House in the Unexpected Gathering set come up with such dull sets. £70 gets you a box of dark grey parts, a few figures and a sprinkle of colour, like all they had left was dark grey plastic, then they got a bit of black and bronze last minute.
They are disappointing because the first wave was so good and the 2nd was so bad they had to get major retailers to sell it at half price.