I figured I'd start a new thread since the new books are out.
Looks like the first 15 pages in each book are the same. How to make an army / battles.
For Heroes that come in 2's. Murin and Drar, the Twins, Sharky and Worm (is that it?) You buy them and the other hero takes a spot of one of the 12 warriors in the warband. So you can't split them up.
There are rules for "Independant Heroes", which are heroes that can't lead wariors. Some of the choices make sense, but other not really. The Castellans are Independant Heroes, and so are Cave Drakes... but the Dragon is ok to lead troops... kind of weird. Shelob can't lead, but the Gulavhar can.
I read through Moria & Angmar. Have to say Groblog / Goblin Shaman combo is now in the MUST HAVE category for Moria. The Cave Drake went up by the same points as 5 goblins with shield. The Warg marauder is interesting. It gets the cav bonus. It is more expensive than the sum of it's parts - 3 goblins, and 1 warg, but it's rules are decent. The Dweller is the cost of a cave troll minus 1 goblin with shield. D is lower than I'd like, but once it got into melee it should be ok.
Fallen Realms, I didn't notice much different. 2 things I did notice were there are no more khandish mercenarys. Just normal Khandish warriors, and I thought the Easterling captain didn't have a shield option before. If not he does now. I also noticed that Black Numenorians are in with the Harad guys, but with being able to ally with any one you want it really doesn't matter now.
Mordor is pretty much the same. The Wraiths are in the Mordor book, but also other books. Khamul could lead Easterlings or Black Guard Uruks for example, depending on what army you wanted him from. The Mordor catapult as the option for BNs as crew, but not the BN catapult special ammo rule.
Onto Kingdoms of Men.. fir thing hits me..... Peregrin Guard of the Citadel is an Independant hero...
Ohwell guess I can't have him lead my GotFC into battle any more! This is interesting... the Rider of the Dead is listed as (Spirit, Cavalry) and under Wargear has horse listed as one of the items. Also Warrior of the Dead now has Options of Banner, Shield, and Spear. The Dead "D" was high enough already IMHO.
I think Erkenbrand's horn is different, but don't have the old books to check. BUT... the new rule is nice, if it is new. Like having 2 horns and they add up. Outriders are NO LONGER HEROES. No M/W/F stats, but have a cool Standfast rule. King's Huntsman is an Independant Hero with an Elf bow, and has an "in the way" rule that's cool.
Dunedain / Ranger of the North are Independant heroes... so they ain't leading anyone anywhere. It has listed rules for Grey Company, with the 1 Dunedain per 4 Ranger of Arnor, but I guess you'd have to use a regular Captain to lead them.. I guess...
The Free Peoples. Elves look the same. Gildor Inglorion has an upgrade elves rule. It effects movement. Celeborn can upgrade his elves, and that one effects Courage.... because we all know what low courage elves have.
Thranduil can upgrade wood elves.. and it's just nasty. It involves Shoot value. So I expect to see plenty of these armies in my future.
Durin can upgrade Dwarf warriors to basically the "bodyguard" rule. Murin and Drar can upgrade Warriors and Rangers in the strength area.
The Shire... Peregrin, Captain of the Shire can upgrade Hobbit Archers Fight. Meriadoc Captain of the Shire can upgrade Hobbit Militia's Strength.
The Fellowship has some special rules. Got to say I'm liking Bill the Pony! His rule has possibilities, if you can roll well enough.
The White Council could be fun, but expensive points wise to play. Nothing really special. There's a list of other Heroes able to be part of the council, and a rule about assisting with magic.
I just skimmed the books for a few hours, so I'm sure i've missed stuff here and there. I hope I didn't say too much in terms of rules etc. I tried to be vague about certain things.