Games Workshop subsidiary Sabertooth Games, publisher of the Warhammer 40,000 Collectible Trading Card Game, has announced the Christmas 2003 release of its Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game.  The game will feature pre-painted, three-dimensional versions of characters from Peter Jackson's film version of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Like the collectible miniature games (CMGs) created by WizKids, the company that originated the category, Sabertooth's LOTR game will combine the strategy of traditional war games with the business model of collectible card games, which means that the pre-painted plastic miniatures will be sold in starter sets and in randomly-packed boosters.  However instead of WizKids' patented 'combat dials,' players of the Sabretooth LOTR game will use a 'Combat-Hex' rules system as they attempt to recreate the battles of Moria, Helm's Deep, and The Pelenoor Fields.  The Sabretooth LOTR game will be released in time for the 2003 holiday season around the time that New Line Cinema will debut The Return of the King, the final chapter in Peter Jackson's LOTR epic.  No details on price or packaging are available at this time.


With the second installment of Peter Jackson's trilogy doing even better than the first, this appears to be an excellent time to release a game featuring such popular characters as Gandalf, Frodo, Aragorn, and Legolas.  Movie attendance and Internet searches for Lord of the Rings are all up in 2002, and video releases should keep the property smoking well into 2004.