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October 31, 2001 - November 06, 2001

11-06-01 Latest News

Another RIOT-E Deal
DarthCaeser @ 10:59 pm EST

Telefónica Móviles and RIOT-E sign exclusive “The Lord of the Rings” deal in Spain

~ Telefónica MoviStar customers given access to entertainment and service content and downloadable logos and images, based on the film ~

Telefónica Móviles España (TME), Grupo Telefónica Móviles’ operator in the Spanish market, and Riot Entertainment (RIOT-E), have signed an agreement giving the cellphone operator exclusive rights to RIOT-E’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ services, in the Spanish market. The services are based on New Line Cinema’s ‘The Lord of The Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring’ movie to be released world-wide on December 19th, 2001.

Initially, RIOT-E, the global leader in mobile entertainment, will be including ‘The Lord of the Rings’ content on e-moción, the access platform to all Telefónica MoviStar content. Information and general updates on the movie will be the first services to be rolled out in the build-up to the launch.

Coinciding with its release date, Telefónica Móviles España will use RIOT-E’s technology to include a wide range of mobile content on e-moción such as games (through SMS and WAP/GPRS) and downloadable ringtones and images. The contract follows last year’s successful launch of the X-Men mobile phone game in Spain, which was also supplied by Telefónica Móviles and RIOT-E.

“The X-men game has already given us a large customer base in Spain and we expect the launch of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ services to expand this considerably,” said Jan Wellmann, CEO at RIOT-E. “The Lord of the Rings promises to be the biggest film of the decade and has a fan base that spans the globe.”

“The Lord of the Rings content includes something for everyone, from logos and picture messages to single and multi-player games. The deal with Telefónica Móviles España will allow RIOT-E to reach over 15 million mobile users with this unique content,” he added.

Pilar Latorre, Business Development Manager at Telefónica Móviles España, said, “Entertainment content is going to allow us to start talking about a new dimension as far as usage is concerned in the world of data and Mobile Internet. Although TME already has a wide range of leisure options on e-moción, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ will mean an important link in the chain that TME is building to link it to the world of content.”


About Riot Entertainment Ltd (www.riot-e.com)

Founded in February 2000, Riot Entertainment immediately established itself as the most innovative publisher, creator and distributor of entertainment in the wireless sector. RIOT-E provides wireless entertainment, communication and commerce to mobile users worldwide. Games created by RIOT-E are promoted and co-branded in parallel with highly visible international media releases such as movies, TV shows and sports events. RIOT-E has successfully launched its Bridget Jones’s Diary and X-Men mobile services with operators in Europe and Asia and has secured exclusive rights to mobile content based on Guinness World Records and New Line Cinema’s The Lord of The Rings film trilogy. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, RIOT-E employs 70 people worldwide.

About Telefónica Móviles España (www.empresa.movistar.com)

Telefónica Móviles España, with 15.6 million active customers in the first nine months of 2001, is a subsidiary of Grupo Telefónica Móviles, one of the world’s top ten operators in the mobile phone sector. With operations in Europe, Latin-America and the Mediterranean Basin the company has a potential market of 434 million inhabitants. The operator, which now has almost 200 content providers on e-moción, has this year created Movilforum, a forum aimed at helping businesses that aim to develop applications and services for the mobile environment.

About New Line Cinema (www.newline.com)
Founded in 1967, New Line Cinema is the entertainment industry's leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical motion pictures. New Line licenses its films to ancillary markets including cable and broadcast television as well as to international venues. The company, which is a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner Inc., operates several divisions including in-house theatrical distribution, marketing, home video, television, acquisitions, production, licensing and merchandising units.

Otto In: 'Live Now'
Xoanon @ 4:19 pm EST

From: Tim

Just to let you know that Miranda Otto (Eowyn) is in the new period drama on the BBC from next Sun,"The Way We Live Now".


Victorian power, passion and corruption combine in this Andrew Davies adaptation of an Anthony Trollope novel for BBC ONE.

Set in the railway boom of the 1870s, yet with remarkable contemporary resonance, "The Way We Live Now" captures the turmoil as the old order is swept aside by the brash new forces of business and finance. Starring David Suchet, Cheryl Campbell, Douglas Hodge, Matthew Macfadyen, Paloma Baeza and Rob Bryden, it is filming in London, East Anglia and the North of England from March and will be seen on BBC ONE in the Autumn.

"The Way We Live Now" contains all the elements that made Trollope the most popular novelist of his day - the excitement and anguish of young love, the intoxication of forbidden passion and the enduring values of honourable men; but also the raw energy and charisma of the most powerful city the world had ever seen, and the greed and corruption that lay just below its glittering surface.

Peopled with a range of characters that only Trollope could create - the towering figure of Augustus Melmotte (David Suchet), the Great Financier, a 19th Century Robert Maxwell; Sir Felix Carbury (Matthew Macfadyen), a young aristocrat so dissolute he would sell his own mother (Cheryl Campbell) to pay his gambling debts and whose simultaneous pursuit of two very different women causes all who know him to despair; his cousin Roger (Douglas Hodge), a man of integrity horrified at the way the world he knew is slipping away, in love with Felix's sister Hetta (Paloma Baeza); who herself is in love with Roger's young protege, the engineer Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy); whose life is complicated by a rash engagement to a glamorous American (Miranda Otto) who, it is rumoured, once shot a man in Oregon and has now followed Paul to England to hold him to his promise...

Pippa Harris, Executive Producer, comments: " 'The Way We Live Now' is first and foremost a fantastic story, which by turns will surprise, move and delight the audience, but above all consistently entertain them." Producer Nigel Stafford-Clark adds: "With central themes of sex and money running through the interweaving stories, this drama about the Victorian world that Trollope inhabited has startling similarities to our life at the beginning of the 21st century."

"The Way We Live Now" is being adapted in four 75 minute episodes by Andrew Davies ( "Pride And Prejudice", "Wives and Daughters", "Take A Girl Like You"). The producer is Nigel Stafford-Clark, ( "Shoot to Kill", "Warriors")and the Director is David Yates (The Sins). Executive producers are Pippa Harris and Jane Tranter. "The Way We Live Now" is a BBC production in association with Deep Indigo and WGBH/Boston.

Colossal Decipher Updates!
Berendir @ 3:08 pm EST

No card image of the day anymore folks, instead Decipher unleashed 142 new card images in celebration of the LOTR TCG release! [More]

International Features Section Debuts Today
Perhaps more than any other literary or film trilogy in history, The Lord of the Rings is a truly international phenomenon. To support and encourage this sense of global community, we have asked TCG players and product champions from around the world to bring you articles and rules translations in your own languages. [More]

Lessons of the Past
It's an interesting time to play new Trading Card Games. Magic: The Gathering has been in production for eight years. Star Trek, Star Wars, Legend of the Five Rings, Pokemon, and who knows what else have been around for two to six years. The field of Trading Card Game strategy is well developed, in part because many of these games have similar mechanics: Draw one card per turn, attack/untap once per turn per character/monster, and so on. In that TCGs have a lot in common, the lessons learned in one game often apply to other games. I'd like to explain how the current pool of TCG knowledge applies to deck design for The Lord of the Rings TCG. [More]

Don't forget to check out the new Celebritory Message Boards over at decipher, marking todays launch of their LOTR TCG.

The Great Hobbit Caper
Xoanon @ 11:09 am EST

A Hobbit standee at an Ontario bookstore comes to life and tries to escape! Sort of..

Under the spell of hype

Thought Sept 11. and the recession had brought naked capitalism to its knees? Think again. As GAYLE MacDONALD reports, the forthcoming Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are unleashing a consumer frenzy more powerful than any wizard could conjure up


Saturday, November 3, 2001 – Print Edition, Page R1

Gabriele Schreiber was frantically working the cash at The Bookshelf Cafe in downtown Guelph, Ont., on Monday evening last week when she saw the strangest thing. Four figures -- hair natty, kind of long, and scruffily clad in what looked like brown potato sacks -- were marching determinedly together toward the exit.

Schreiber nudged her colleague, Kelly Holmes, who immediately leapt out from behind the desk in hot pursuit of the ragtag troupe. "Stop! Thieves!," Holmes shouted.

The hobbits did indeed come to halt. They were part of a four by six-foot cardboard cutout promoting the soon-to-be-released blockbuster film Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. But behind the cutout were three teens, who'd been trying to make off with the booty, and who dropped it, tore out of the store, ran down Quebec Street and disappeared into the night.

Schreiber and Holmes jokingly refer to it as the Great Hobbit Caper. But the hype and frenzied anticipation surrounding the upcoming Lord of the Rings -- and and the equally eagerly awaited fantasy film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone -- is no laughing matter. Cinema chains and bookstores with lifelike floor displays of the stars of these two movies are on high alert, watching for any suspicious characters who might be plotting the next Harry or Hobbit heist.

With only two weeks to go before Harry Potter flies off the printed page and onto the silver screen (it arrives in North American cinemas Nov. 16) -- and a month and a half before Frodo lives in celluloid (Dec. 19) -- it seems everybody wants a piece of the prepubescent conjuror named Harry or the bumbling little Hobbit with a warrior's heart and a taste for honey cakes.

"People are just crazy about both these books, these characters," says Schreiber. "With the films on their way, the demand for anything [to do with] Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings is unprecedented. We have to watch our displays like hawks."

For two years now, Warner Bros. (Harry's film company) and New Line Cinema (the Lord's) have been scripting, shooting and strategizing the release of the two movies, touted as the most ambitious fantasy franchises in cinema history, costing an estimated $230-million (U.S.) to make, and with potential merchandising/promotional spinoffs that could exceed $3-billion the first year. (That's roughly the gross domestic product of, say, the Bahamas.)

And these are only the early days of the branding blitz. Author J. K. Rowling has promised seven books before she's done telling the tale of the mop-top, goggle-eyed Harry (which could mean seven films coming to theatres near you in the next decade). And New Line's already shot the next two Lord of the Rings flicks that make up J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy (to be delivered in 2002 and 2003).

The studios are just now ramping up for the first instalments of the biggest fantasy double bill ever, but already the list of merchandise is staggering: Kindly wizards, gimlet-eyed goblins, terrible trolls, unicorns, hobbits, elves, dwarves and orcs are virtully everywhere -- and on every product.

There's a $1,800 loft bed (complete with turret). There's Harry Potter toothpaste, glow-in-the-dark Harry Potter Band-Aids, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (including horseradish and grass flavour) and a Harry Potter Fluffy Security System (the fluffy component? No clue). And Oprah -- the daytime harbinger of all things trendy -- recently did a little item on the latest Harry Potter eyeglasses, that come in four styles and six colours, and retail for $89 to $119.

Lord of the Rings paraphernalia is skewed to a slightly older crowd but is just as all-encompassing. There's a sound bank (hear haunting screams, hisses and wails of the Ringwraiths as you drop a coin), busts of Frodo Baggins or Gandalf the Grey for your mantle, cast-metal helmets, CD sets, VCRs, pewterware and chess sets. The lists go on. And on.

But whether you opt to wear a "Gandalf for President" T-shirt, Bilbo Baggins boxer shorts or Hedwig Owl hat, manufacturers and retailers alike are anticipating that these two franchises will spawn the children's branding sensations of the decade.

Between the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series, more than 235-million copies of books have been sold in close to 50 languages, from Swahili to Urdu. Lloyd Kelly, vice-president of sales with HarperCollins Canada, says his company has sold over one million Lord of the Rings books in Canada since June. He figures booksellers here purchased enough Rings stock for one in every 20 Canadian to be reading Tolkien at any given time. "We've had movie tie-ins before, with films like Titanic,"says Kelly. "But this is bigger. One year ago, we assembled a Tolkien task force and started having regular meetings about once a month. The frequency increased over the summer to once a week, then to once a day. We've never had so many meetings about one particular series of books."

Kelly adds: "I've never seen anything like this." Worldwide, HarperCollins has seen sales of the books soar by 400 per cent this year.

"Bookstores have been inundated with requests from customers to take the displays home," adds Kelly. "We had these giant cardboard stand-ups of Gandalf the Gray that are six feet tall, and people are begging to take him home."

Christopher Columbus's Harry Potter (he directed Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire)and New Zealander Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy are vying for what's expected to be the biggest box-office gross in history. They hope to squash Titanic and build a brand franchise with the force of George Lucas's Star Wars series (launched in 1977), which is, according to reports, a product worth well over $8-billion.

The stakes are high. Harry Potter -- which stars British-born unknown Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, John Cleese, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris and Alan Rickman -- is estimated to have cost north of $125-million. It's been dubbed into 24 languages, with another 16 countries getting subtitled versions. The Lords trilogy, shot in New Zealand and starring Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Sir Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett, cost about $300-million and has a similar blanket global release.

In the past 18 months, both Rowling and Tolkien's son, Christopher, have made noises indicating they wanted to restrict the amount of merchandise hitting retail shelves. If so, no one has listened. Corporate sponsors have opened their wallets and lined up. Coca-Cola is reportedly spending $150-million on marketing related to the film, roughly the same amount the company is thought to have paid to sponsor the Sydney Olympic Games. (At Rowlings's insistence, though, the beverage maker can't use Harry's face on its bottles and no pop cans will appear in the film on the lunch tables of Hogwarts School of Wizardry).

Time magazine has reported that Warner Bros., just on the strength of an extended trailer, was hawking the TV rights to Harry Potter for an estimated $75-million. (The previous record was $35-million for Titanic). One U.S. network approached by Warner Bros. told Time "it's obscene."

Even school uniforms, once on their way out, are making a popular comeback.

General Mills has teamed up with the Lord of the Rings camp (for an as-yet undisclosed sum) and is delivering sweepstakes-hosting kits to high-school and college-cafeteria operators across the U.S. who order qualifying General Mills products. As you read this, Burger King is monitoring a ship, now crossing the Pacific, loaded with millions of plastic Lord of the Rings interactive toys and goblets that will be sold with kids' meals at its chains.

Closer to home, Alliance Atlantis, HarperCollins and Air Canada have turned Casa Loma in Toronto into a surreal replica of Tolkien's mythical Middle Earth, displaying artifacts, costumes and props from the movie. These same corporate partners -- as well as others such as Chapters, Volkswagen and AOL -- are this week launching an on-line Trivia Quest game whereby lucky Frodo fans can win a Beetle stuffed with Tolkien books or a trip for two to New Zealand.

Despite all the buzz surrounding the pictures, however, media/entertainment pundits still say it's by no means a slamdunk that all this merchandise will fly off the shelves. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the Afghanistan war have cast a pall over the economy and the world mindset. Marketers from both film camps are loath to predict that merchandising tie-ins linked to the two films will be runaway hits.

Despite that uncharacteristically cautious tone from Hollywood, the early signs are that these popular books and the movies to come are exactly the kind of escapist, good-thwarts-evil kind of fare that global consumers are ravenous for.

Web sites for both movies have been inundated with hits from surfers in more than 150 countries seeking access to trailers for the flicks. In England -- where Harry Potter was shot and where the world premiere will be held tomorrow at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square -- thousands recently queued at theatres to book advance tickets to the film. (The UCI Cinema chain sold 10,000 in the first hour.)

England's expecting a boom in tourism. Hoping to revive an industry plagued by foot-and-mouth disease and the Afghan war, the British Tourist Authority plans to publish a Potter Around Britain map. And New Zealand, where the Lord of the Rings cast and crew have been stationed since late 1999, is seeing multimillion-dollar road signs pointing its way. The Evening Post in Wellington last week reported Prime Minister Helen Clark designated a cabinet minister "Lord and Minister of the Rings." Some Auckland travel operators and Tolkien fans recently formed a company, Red Carpet Tours, to cater solely to Rings junkies.

Allan MacDougall, president of Raincoast Books, Harry Potter's Vancouver-based Canadian publisher, says in his three decades in the book business he's never seen anything close to the insatiable demand for all-things Harry. "Just everyone I talk to wants to see the film," says MacDougall, who was rushing out the door Wednesday to catch a plane to London to join the crowd going to Sunday's gala showing.

"It's a classic tale of good triumphing over evil," says MacDougall. "It's Harry against the odds. People have embraced these books from Day One without the hype. It was all word of mouth. And I think the same phenomenon could happen with the films."

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is darker than Harry Potter. It's a labyrinthine fable about a band of happy-go-lucky Hobbits who live in a long-ago mythical Middle Earth, forced to conquer evil or lose their way of life. Some movie executives, critics and fans have wondered whether Tolkien's fantasy, which inspired the dreams of more than 100-million readers, can soothe the nightmares of a nation still traumatized by the shadows of terrorism. Bill Gray, national merchandising and promotions manager at Burger King, is confident it can.

"These books are absolutely uplifting and revelational," says Gray, who read them in the early 1970s, again in the early 1990s, and plans to dust them off for a third go-round. "I think the two films have slightly different target groups. Harry Potter is much younger, a narrower target group whereas Lord of the Rings is for anyone aged 6 to 106."

In fact, Gray's corporate office is so sure of Tolkien's marketability and longevity that it signed a three-year deal with six promotional tie-ins linked to the two sequels and the three video releases.

Despite all the hype and hooplah preceding it, Harry Potter arrives with no Happy Meal. Yes, a Time magazine cover is on the way (he's already been the face of a so-called collector's issue of Vanity Fair) and a barrage of TV commercials is coming. But Warner -- at Rowling's say-so -- cut no deals with fast-food chains or potato-chip makers.

Unfathomable as it may seem given the weight of Pottermania, Business Week says the studio signed only one-third as many merchandise and sponsorship deals for Potter as other recent blockbuster wannabees, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

With the countdown for Harry only two weeks away, parents everywhere are bracing themselves against an avalanche of product aimed at their kids. It's anyone's guess whether Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings merchandise will be the magic antidote to cure the ills of the licensing industry, which soured last year with slumping sales of the once-hot Pokemon and Star Wars merchandise.

USA Today, which prides itself on having its finger on the pulse of America's Everyman, issued a call this week to its readers: "Are you mad about Harry? Are you rah-rah for Rings?"

Talk about a multibillion-dollar question.

Media Watch: Showtime on Foxtel (AU/NZ)
Xoanon @ 9:58 am EST

From: tooms

"Showtime" on Foxtel are showing a segment before the 8:30 movie this week about book to film translations. They talk about Harry Potter and LOTR and how they have been transformed into films and how the fans will make them pay if they stuff it up. The second LOTR trailer is shown in full (with some voice over form the presenter).

The Sideshow/Weta products are out but only at Electronics Boutique stores or assorted collectable stores. However at most of them you need to pay for it then wait a few days whilst they ship it form their local warehouse. The helms go for about $50Aus and the larger figures go for $250Aus.

11-05-01 Latest News

Media Watch NZ's Evening Post
Xoanon @ 10:04 pm EST

John S sends along these 2 scans from the NZ Evening Post.

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 2:33 pm EST

Decipher released not one, but Twelve new card images! Click the above image to find the others.

The Lord of the Rings TCG™ Launches With Message Board Celebration!
To help celebrate the launch of the new The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, many Decipher personalities will be on hand tomorrow, November 6, to answer your questions and have fun! From 9 a.m to 6 p.m. EST tomorrow, come and join the excitement on The Lord of the Rings "gameplay" message board as we talk strategy, rules, and what you got in that first box you bought! [More]

Decipher has also released an FAQ, and copies of the Multi-Scorecard, and Single Scorecard for your viewing pleasure.

MEVault recently had a chance to interview Tim Ellington, Product Manager for the Trading Card Game studio. [More]

Media Watch: Entertainment Weekly
Xoanon @ 1:22 pm EST

Ringer Spy Axel sends along these scans from 'Entertainment Weekly', take a looksee!

11-04-01 Latest News

Games Workshop Review
Berendir @ 11:54 pm EST

From Kevin:

Great site. I've been visiting it daily for the past couple of months, you have some great info.

I just figured I'd give you my ideas and comments on the LOTR:FOTR game by Games Workshop. Being an avid wargamer, I have been into the previous core games of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,00 for almost eight years. I played my first game of LOTR today and was very suprised.

I had previously heard that LOTR was a horrible game, that it was too simple and didn't play well. Nothing could be more wrong. While LOTR is easy to learn, it still requires a large amount of strategy to play well. The Warhammer games work in a standard manner: I do all of my things (move, shoot, etc) then you do all of your things. The LOTR system of everyone doing all of their actions in the same turn really makes you consider effective placement more. Also, the addition of priority makes you have to watch where your opponent could reach you: He might be able to move or shoot before you!

What I really liked about LOTR is how Heroes are truly heroic! In the in-store scenario it pitted four Elves and two Men of Gondor against 16 Moria goblins. This was fairly even, I played with the forces of good and lost, while I watched others win. What amazed me was when I first saw the employees pit Aragorn against these 16 goblins. They were utterly slaughtered. With the addition of things like Might, Will and Fate points they can be stronger, tougher and utterly anihilliate any opponents. I watched Aragorn and Boromir used, and tried Gandalf myself. His "Sorcerous Blast" was awesome, I used it to blast goblins off of cliffs, into one another and off of the table! Great fun. Overall, the Heroes are truly powerful, and they really convey how they feel in the book (and I guess the movie).

I really have to say that I'll enjoy this game. I was doubtful at first, but after playing it and getting better look at the minis I'm sure I'll want to play it often. I'll give it two thumbs up ;).

On another note, I also won the painting competition for my Elven Warrior. Pics will appear in White Dwarf soon, I'll try to scan the pages for your webpage.

Media Watch: In Style Magazine (AKA Sexy Blanchett Pics!)
Xoanon @ 11:20 pm EST

Cleo sends along these great scans of our lovely Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) from 'In Style' Magazine. Check them out!

Media Watch: Columbus Dispatch
Xoanon @ 10:52 pm EST

Dozens of editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are available in hardcover and paperback, according to the Lord of the Rings home page. [More]

The Dec. 19 release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first of three films encompassing the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy, offers an opportunity to reassess his literary legacy. [More]

Media Watch: Spain's 'ABC' Newspaper
Xoanon @ 10:47 pm EST

Oxford Don Pans Tolkien
Xoanon @ 9:58 pm EST

London Nov 4 (Reuter) -- An Oxford don has sensationally panned last century's most popular work, branding JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings 'an error-ridden pot-boiler' it emerged today. Oxford professor emeritus of humanities, David J Hickling, launched into the searing critique on one of his own univeristy's most prominent former dons, just as Tolkien's hobbit heroes are set to do box-office battle with JK Rowling's young wizard Harry Potter. 'I know his work has given many readers a lot of pleasure over the years, but it simply doesn't stand up to the critical spotlight,' said Hickling. 'For a start, this supposedly 'other world' uses the Roman calender to measure time. I don't recall the legionaries ever having to defend a place called Middle Earth,' he sneered. 'Even if we judge the text in terms of its own context, it still falls apart. The logical errors are endless. For example, the plot hinges on the destruction of 'the one ring'. It is a task entrusted to the vulnerable hobbit heroes, who must endure the familiar travails before their heroic task is completed and evil vanquished. 'Yet, creatures who inhabit this world include friendly giant eagles, who can carry people on their backs! 'Tolkien could have saved his 'good' creatures a lot of time and bother by simply delivering the ring, via eagle post, to its destruction in Mt Doom.' Prof Hickling was speaking on the eve of the UK release of the Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which also came under attack. 'JK Rowling is very limited. I would let my five-year-old daughter read her books, but I would expect her to have outgrown them by the time she was seven.' Post-production work is completed on the first film of Tolkien's trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring, whic is set down for a December 19 UK release. Critics are expecting a close battle between the two fantasy titans for the lion's share of the lucrative Christmas box office spoils.

Middle Earth Looks Astonishing
Xoanon @ 12:02 pm EST

From: Joel K

I found this article in today's (Saturday) issue of the Chronicle Herald newpaper here in Halifax NS.

11-03-01 Latest News

Games Workshop Reviews
DarthCaeser @ 7:59 pm EST

"The world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and those who are going to read them" The Sunday Times.

December 2001 sees the first Lord of the Rings film hit the silver screen and, in conjunction with new Line Cinema, Games workshop is proud to be releasing the first of its battle games for these awesome films.

Games Workshop has finaly released it's LOTR tabletop miniatures game.

Games Workshop was kind enough to send me quite a few LOTR miniatures, I can't seem to find any miniature gamers to do a review with, but I'll start giving my impressions on the products.

First off, "The Lord of the Rings Strategy Game". This is the Starter set. It comes with a very cool 128 page rulebook (read Tookish's review of it here), 48 miniatures, some scenery and 4 dice. The whole set will cost you $40. Now for a breakdown of the various stuff in the set.

The Box

The Rule Book:
The rule book is just awesome. 128 pages filled with figures, strategies, rules, tips and pics from the movies. I got to take a look at the book at DragonCon and that was what had me most excited about the set. The book is just that awesome, take a look at Tookish's review for more in-depth info.

The Miniatures:
The set comes with 48 plastic miniatures. 24 Moria Goblins: 8 Archers, 8 Spearmen and 8 Swordsmen, 16 High Elves: 8 Archers and 8 Swordsmen with those funky looking swords of theirs, and 8 Men of Gondor: All Swordsmen. The miniatures are pretty detailed for tiny little things. I'm clueless when it comes to painting, so I'm leaving that part alone for now. The men of Gondor and Moria Goblin swordsmen come with detachable Shields too, how cool is that.

The Scenery:
It's a ruined building, well, a couple of broken walls, nothing spectacular.

The biggest disappointment about the set was the Dice. They're just your average six-sided, run-of-the-mill black on white dice. They could have done something with them to spruce them up a little, different colors or a ring representing the one or something. They are just so... plain.

So in conclusion, this set is pretty cool, the Rule Book especially just blew me away.

Next, the "Attack at Weathertop" boxed set. This set comes with the four Hobbits, Aragorn, five Ringwraiths and scenery.


The Miniatures:
The set comes with 10 metal miniatures, Aragorn with drawn sword and a torch, the four Hobbits; Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin with drawn swords, the Witchking, drawing his sword from it's scabbard, and 4 Ringwraiths with drawn swords. Aragorn looks ready for action, the Ringwraiths look big, scary and deadly. The Hobbits look... small.

The Scenery:
A camp fire... Not very useful, but it looks kinda cool.

In Conclusion:
A good set if your a Nazgul or camp fire fan :) Aragorn and the Hobbits you can get in the Fellowship of the Ring boxed set.

I got a bunch of Blister packs too. First off, there's Saruman. He comes with his Staff in one hand and the Palantir in the other. Pretty cool looking.


Then there's the Cave Troll. No pic unfortunately, but rest assured, he looks mean. You can see him in the latest trailer, trying to smash Sam into goo. He's the biggest miniature of all the Games Workshop stuff I have (except for Gwaihir). He has his wicked looking club in one hand, and his chains in the other, not to mention a really mean looking face. He comes in six pieces because he is so large (either that or he didn't handle the trip from the UK to the States too well), I haven't been able to glue him together yet. even so he is one of my favorite miniatures from the LOTR collection.

That's it for this series of Reviews, look for more in near future, including a gameplay review, if I can find someone to play the game with. Check out our collection of Games Workshop images here.

LOTR Bookmarks
Xoanon @ 1:45 pm EST

From: Alisha

I was at school yesterday and a friend showed me a LotR bookmark that her sister had gotten in her English class and given her. I don't know why this teacher had all these, but we went down to her room after school and she let us have some. The pictures are ones we've seen before (there's a picture on each side of the four bookmarks), but still very very cool.

Casa Loma Booklet Scans
Xoanon @ 1:11 pm EST

Take a gander at the cool Casa Loma Booklet handed out during the exhibit.

Media Watch: Cinescape Magazine
Xoanon @ 12:38 pm EST

Marwën sends along these scans from the latest issue of 'Cinescape Magazine' (one of my personal favs -Xo). Take a look at 'A Tale of Two Hobbits'.

11-02-01 Latest News

Lord of the Rings on Cheerios
Strider @ 7:31 pm EST

Jacko was good enough to send in these scans from Cheerios packets in the UK, showing what exactly you get for your two tokens. The poster looks good, but the calendar just looks extremely cool.

Wenham's 'Bank' Tours Regus London FF
Xoanon @ 5:33 pm EST

From: Huttson

The Bank, starring David Wenham (Faramir) and Anthony LaPaglia, is touring the UK as part of the Regus London Film Festival On Tour, coming to:

Manchester (thefilmworks) 24th November 4pm/8pm
Newcastle (Tyneside Cinema) 26th November 8.30pm
Bradford (Pictureville) 29th November (time tba)
Cardiff (Chapter) 1st December 8pm
Glasgow (GFT) 3rd December 6.45pm
Bristol (Watershed) 6th December 6.15pm

Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 5:27 pm EST

Check out the latest pics from Empire Magazine.

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 1:30 pm EST

A haunting look at a Moria orc. I would not want to awaken to those ghastly eyes.

The Lord of the Rings™ TCG Release Parties
Many retail game stores worldwide have been selected to host The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game premiere parties on Tuesday November 6th. Just like The One Ring, these stores were chosen. Chosen to host these special events. These stores will help kick off the release of The Lord of the Rings TCG with demos, raffles, and unsanctioned tournaments. Kits have been sent to these stores which include tournament guide information, posters, oversized The Lord of the Rings TCG cards, and raffle prizes which include an exclusive Lord of the Rings TCG shirt. [More]

Check out one of the first Fellowship pictures released with a Decipher flare. [More]

11-01-01 Latest News

Two Articles From The NZ Evening Post
Xoanon @ 11:28 pm EST

John sends along these two clips from The NZ Evening Post.

Casa Loma Pics Round 3
Xoanon @ 10:43 pm EST

Check out these pics from The Other Chris, take a look at all these goodies!

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 3:04 pm EST

Seeking More Product Champions
As many of you may know, Decipher currently has more than 220 Product Champion volunteers for The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, and that number is rising by the week! These volunteers have been selectively chosen to help Decipher promote The Lord of the Rings TCG. Decipher Product Champions help by running demonstrations, tournaments, and special events at local stores, conventions, and other venues where Orcs & Hobbits are welcome! [More]

Article Translation
Xoanon @ 1:47 pm EST

1. Can you tell us about the 6 tracks?

The first piece, ‘May it Be’ written and sung by Enya. With the knowledge that theme songs for movies such as Céline Dion’s for ‘Titanic’, Lara Fabian’s for ‘Final Fantasy’ were very successful, I knew I wanted to do it, but I wanted something very special from Enya, something that has that these other artists do not have: Reserve!

Enya is a beautiful melancholic person and what a voice! She gives me shivers! The second piece The Council of Elrond is a mixture between Enya’s song ‘Aniron’, the theme of Aragorn and Arwen, and the music of Howard Shore. The vocals work very carefully to force some of the instrumental theme to come through which closes the piece. That it is good.

The third piece ‘The Breaking of the Fellowship’ lasts 7mins 20seconds, and as always does Edward Ross write a mixture of the music of Shore at the beginning then a song ‘In Dreams’ towards the end. It is a theme that is often heard and returns to titillate the ears. Some Celtic notes (a flute). The voice of Edward Ross, with the same stamp of Enya, is splendid and is accompanied by chorus. More shivers.

The fourth ‘Lotlorien’ piece has some haunting vocals and themes, this time Elizabeth Frazer is the vocalist, the end of the piece is perfect, the voice of the singer slips and seems to deplore. I find this piece to be almost religious in its tone.

The fifth piece ‘One ring to rule them all’ has many the voices present accompanying and bringing a more significant dimension to the piece. Sad and somber, it is superb and powerful lyrically and musical flights to make you shiver.

Sixth ‘Concerning Hobbits’ is the main musical theme in which all the other pieces return to, and of course this is the topic of the hobbits! The merriest piece while preserving small moments of sadness that l perceived with Violins, flutes, and piano, Celtic throughout.

4 words to describe this score. Melancholic, complex, surprising and intimate.

2. Which pieces do you find really represents the entire theme?

Piece 2 (The Council of Elrond), which really marks the score, the voice of Enya!

3.Which piece would you be most tempted to listen to repeatedly?

All of them! But my preferred is, I repeat myself, number 2 (The Council of Elrond).

4. Which is according to you the most daring piece?

Most daring without any doubt 4 Lothlorien which surprises by its borrowing from the religious themes.

5. With the sight of the trailers, photographs, and of course of the novel, will the music marry well with its subject?

Difficult to say, I hope yes but I’ll wait to see film. Not very courageous is it?

6. Which other score could you bring closer this one?

Curiously, I rather thought it of a mixture of several scores, a bit of ‘Titanic’ with some tastes of ‘Se7en’, and of course my own creation

7. Enya’s participation in the Score? Big or Small?

Enya brings much to the score; she has the voice of an elf, which would sing songs composed by Elrond himself, perhaps she is one!

Red Carpet For Rings
Xoanon @ 10:43 am EST

John sends along this scan of 2 articles from the NZ Evening Post, one about a street party for Rings and another about the quest for a red carpet.

10-31-01 Latest News

Bloom's 'Hawk' Opens For Oscar
Xoanon @ 10:08 pm EST

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Based on stellar early screenings, Sony has opted to open ``Black Hawk Down'' for a limited Oscar qualifying run Dec. 28.

The Ridley Scott-directed military actioner will open in two theaters in both L.A. and New York before expanding to 2,500 screens on Jan. 18. It initially was penciled in for fall, but then got bumped to March and again to January. One challenge in scheduling the picture has been its subject matter, which was sticky even before Sept. 11.

The picture, which stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Eric Bana, details the disastrous U.S. military mission in Somalia that resulted in the deaths of 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis. It's based on a book by Mark Bowden.

The schedule shift restores some punch to a December slate that has seen the exit of Martin Scorsese's ``Gangs of New York'' and an opt-out by ``The Road to Perdition,'' starring Tom Hanks. Universal's ``A Beautiful Mind,'' starring Russell Crowe, also moved to a limited bow before widening in January.

Sony's Will Smith vehicle ``Ali,'' which just slid back to Christmas Day, remains the most awaited wide launch in December's final week.

Lord of the Rings Archive Set for London Auction
Xoanon @ 7:37 pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) - An archive showing the development of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy ``The Lord of the Rings'' is expected to fetch up to 35,000 pounds ($50,940) when it goes under the hammer next month.

The archive, which was compiled by Tolkien's friend George Sayer and includes proof copies, first editions and letters by the author, will be shown for the first time on Thursday, auction house Christie's said in a statement.

``The Lord of the Rings'' about Hobbits, trolls, elves and wizards has sold an estimated 100 million copies worldwide. It was first published in three parts in 1954-55.

The first film in the $300 million trilogy, ``The Fellowship of the Ring,'' starring Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Christopher Lee, is set to open in December and critics predict it will be a blockbuster.

Decipher Updates
Berendir @ 5:51 pm EST

If you've seen this in the trailers, you know this scene promises to be one of the coolest in FOTR - doesn't make for a bad card image either!

Decipher Message Boards
Decipher launched a host of new message boards on all the topics concering their TCG and more.

Join the lively discussion on our Decipher.com message boards! Whether you want to talk about gameplay, ask rules questions, trade cards, work on deck designs, or create text-based dream cards, there's a message board for you. Before posting to our message boards, please read the Rules of Usage and Code of Conduct that govern all of our online communications. [More]

Decipher Contest #9:
This test, the ninth and final one, is simple, yet out of your control. Simply send in your entry and wait to see what path Faith will choose for you. [More]

The Decipher contests keep getting more simple! Don't miss a chance to win this one - it's on luck alone!

Register as a Lord of the Rings TCG Tournament Director.
Complete this easy "no wait" online application, send, and we'll respond immediately with your permanent director ID. After the sanctioned Lord of the Rings TCG tournament program begins, this ID will allow you to post events, edit and delete them, and manage and review your own personal data. Handle your ID with care, and don't share it. Welcome to our Tournaments team! [More]

Decipher has updated its store with none other than Lord of the Rings merchandise! [More]

Games Trade Magazine Contest
Berendir @ 1:34 pm EST

From Games Trade Magazine:

Game Trade Magazine is giving away a complete set of Lord of the Rings boardgames. That's right, you are all welcome to enter to win a copy of the following board games: Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings
Expansion: Friends & Foes, and The Hobbit. These prizes have been generously donated by Fantasy Flight Games.

The winner will be determined by random drawing from all entries received before November 30th, 2001. Only one entry is allowed per person. To enter just follow the link and click on the Game Trade Giveaway Logo at the top of the page. [More]

Bree Manor House
Berendir @ 1:24 pm EST

according to my "daily-updates" theory, here you have a brand new Bree building : that's an old manor house that will replace the Mesoamerican Blacksmith ( that house is also based in the pics of the FOTR film that will be released in December 19! )

So, we can expect a new pic everyday? : D Sounds good to me! Click on the above picture to link to our own scrapbook of Josef Bugman's work on his Age of Kings LOTR Mod.

USA Today's Ultimate Poll
leo @ 10:26 am EST

Ringer Spy Noah sends in word about yet another LOTR-Harry Potter poll. Well.. sort of poll anyway..

On the cover page of USA Today's Life section there's a small box in the lower left corner that reads as follows:

Calling all 'Potter' and 'Rings' fans
Are you mad about Harry? Are you rah-rah for Rings? Movie versions of two literary phenoms, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Lord of the Rings, are about to premiere in theaters this year. Which film fantasy are you most looking forward to and why? Which do you think will have more pull at the box office?

Send your responses, along with your name, age, city and daytime phone number, to:PotterRings@usatoday.com.

Well, I guess they asked for it...

Meeting Billy Boyd
Calisuri @ 1:53 am EST

The White Lady of Rohan, a Barliman regular, had a unique chance to met up with Billy Boyd after seeing the Traverse production of THE BALLAD OF CRAZY PAOLA, playing in the Tron theatre in Glasgow.

She sends in this report:


Billy Boyd as you may know plays the character Pippin in the up coming movie Fellowship Of The Ring. He is a highly accomplished actor projecting the depth and spirit of character thoroughly. When he strides across that stage his ownership of the part becomes clear as he delivers his lines. You believe him. You believe he is the character by his mannerism, tone of voice, and stance.

Yet who is he off stage. Well, my friend Alice and I were sitting in the bar when who should walk in but Billy Boyd. We were struck by how down to earth and real he seemed. Some people approached, asked for his autograph and he graciously signed for everyone. Unlike some actors who try to distance themselves, he seemed very warm and agreeable to those who approached.

Me and BillyI sent my friend Alice over to get my toy and postcards signed. Alice, I must admit, was a very good sport. Before our trip to Scotland she had no idea who Billy Boyd was, let alone who the character Pippin was in the book Lord of the Rings, nor why I would travel across nearly the entire country to see a play. I'm sure she has heardenough of my babbling by now to be able to recite the entire book herself! After Billy struggled for several minutes to get the pen to work, he signed everything for us.

When I went over, I mentioned how before the show I wasn't sure how good he would be in the role of Pippin since I had only seen him in Urban Ghost Story in which he played a loan shark. I told him that now that I saw him in the play, TBOCP, there were no doubts in my mind. Even though the character he plays was totally opposite to the character Pippin, he was brilliant and I was now absolutely sure he would be great in the movie FOTR. He thanked me and mentioned that I had only seen him in projects in which he portrayed nasty characters. He later said that one of the reasons he took the role in the play was that he had spent eighteen months being nice as Pippin.

We talked about a few things, and I did remember to tell him that Stewart, the administrator on his official web site at www.bilyboyd,co.uk said to say hello. He said oh yes, Stewart had mentioned that I might see the show and we spoke briefly about his web page. If you get a chance you must take a look and do listen to his interviews, they are precious. Alice asked for a photo and he let us take one.

Naturally I had to ask him about his tattoo and had to ask to see it! He said he couldn't show it because it was a secret. I said it wasn't really a secret because I knew what it was and where it was! He laughed and asked me where and what it was. And when he heard my answer (I was right of course) went "oh!" Then he said, "oh well, seen as you came from Northampton," and promptly showed us the tattoo! It is very cool! I then rather enjoyed showing him mine (the ring inscription around my arm)

He had to step away to talk to some other people that he knew but came back about ten minutes later and brought Stewart over to meet us. Stewart stayed with us as Billy went off to chat with some of his friends for awhile. When he came back, he offered us a drink, which was impressive.

We were just about to get kicked out of the bar for closing time, when I realised I had completely forgotten who was playing Theoden. I had been trying to explain all the characters and the actors who portray them to Alice but had forgotten who played him. I asked Billy and he stood there and said, "erm. Theoden, hmmm, yes it was . . ." At this point I started teasing that he didn't know which character I was referring to and his reply was "yes, I do. It was a very talented actor called . . ." After thinking for a minute or two he went, "erm . . . Which ones Theoden again?" I couldn't help but laugh! After I explained which one was Theoden, he laughed and said, "oh yes, it was Bernard Hill." It took him a while to remember but bless him he did.

We had to leave as it was closing time so we said our farewells. He headed for his taxi and we headed back to our hotel very happy. I had met an incredible person who was gracious, kind and warm-hearted and was now goinghome with my signed toy and postcards. I will treasure my memories of this trip for a long time (who cares about the bank balance). Thank you Billy!


Thanks for the report White Lady of Rohan! I had the chance to met Billy at Cannes this year, and you are right on the mark. He is one of the most down to earth people to get to know.

Go back to Special Reports Archives