I won't get too involved with the rules. The link I provided will take you to these. I'll just give the key differences. The move and shoot phases are combined. Priority is replaced with an activation phase that is determined by randomly drawn cards. There's no heroic actions and the use of might is determined by making a might roll. Otherwise, all other LotR rules apply. There's a lot to cover; so let's get started.
I picked two forces I own but have never played and used 175 pts for the size. I rolled up a Legions of Middle Earth game. Seize the Artifact was the scenario. I set up a 2'x2' board and gave myself a 3" deployment rather than the standard 6" zone. The evil side was a Barad-dur force of Morranon and garden variety Orcs, a horrifying visage of unpainted plastic. The good side was Rivendell Elves, fully painted and wearing freshly starched capes. The artifact went to the middle of the board: a pot of Tin Bitz paint. The Orcs coveted its pigment, and the Elves could not abide color falling into the clutches of evil. It was going to be a tough fight.
The rules don't say anything about how to select table sides. I just rolled for the elves and gave the orcs the other side. I set up, divided into groups, and dealt activation cards. Groups with a hero get red cards, which mean these groups go first. Other groups get black cards and go after the red. Suits determine order and so does Ace thru King. Groups can be single models up to ten models. They just have to be within 4" of each other to start. I split my groups up into archer versus non archer units. Here's what my magnificent game board looked like at the start.
You can see from the cards in the picture above that the Elf Captain and his swordsman go first, followed by the Orc Captain and his wild bunch. Finally Elves shoot and Orcs shoot. On turn one, the Elves pick off one of the two orcs on the hill. The remaining Orc archer misses his return fire. The other forces simply move forward to the artifact. The orcs realize it's a metallic paint and simply go nuts for it.
|2 Handed weapons are great for removing stubborn paint caps.|
The orcs go first and the Orc Captain and his warriors lock down all the Elven swordsmen and Captain. The lone orc with his artifact starts to run. Since the orcs had the edge, I should've had two orcs escort the artifact. But I wasn't thinking about that. The Elf warriors go next but are locked down, so now the archers come up and shoot. The Orc artifact bearer dies and drops the artifact about 7" from the table edge. The archers shoot out another spear support. The close combats are a repeat from before, but at least they kill one orc. I used Elven blades to crack the D6. The orc archer again achieves nothing. Now the orcs are one away from 50% break point and the Elves are untouched.
Turns Six & Seven
The Elves have the edge, so I make the best decisions for them. The orcs could still reach the artifact bearer if they pass courage checks. It only takes the captain to pass and everyone else will stand fast. So I re-engage all the orcs while the lone elf picks up the artifact. The Elf archers join the fight and trap the Orc captain. During that fight, the Orc captain shields and the wins the fight, rolling a six to the elves' five. I make a might check for the Elf Captain. He passes and bumps his roll to a six, and now wins base on his fight value. At last the orc captain is vanquished. All but one orc is killed. On the following turn, the Elves move to 1" of the table edge with the artifact. The last orc actually rolls a 12 for his courage check! It's useless at this point and just runs from the Elves. I call it here, since there's nothing left to do.
Major Victory to the Elves! Here they are with their prize.
Overall I thought it was a fun game. The concept of the edge made sure I wasn't always favoring one side. I also got to learn some things about my force. I didn't think three bows would be "all that" but for this points level they were very good. I was surprised how tough the Elves were to crack, but very unimpressed with their ability to kill. Elves won almost every fight, but were pressed to hurt anything. I was surprised to see that for Elf bows being S3 it didn't make any difference for rolling to wound. The bows may as well have been S2. For Orcs, I realized regular Orc bows are pitiful in range and accuracy. They are only useful for creating a nuisance, but probably shouldn't be given important objectives.
So will I play Isildur's Bane again? I'm certain I will. This 175 pt match on a small table only took one hour from busting out the figures to cleaning up when done. It took me longer to write this post! I guess I wished there was more unpredictability in the game. But the "edge" concept did compensate for knowing both sides' strategies. Overall, I think this is a great rules set and would recommend it to anyone wanting to brush up on rules, scenarios, or just try something different.