Battle Report: The Unexpected Party Travels to the Desert

“We are met to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy, and devices.  We shall soon before the break of day start on our long journey, a journey from which some of us, or perhaps all of us (except our friend and counsellor, the ingenious wizard Gandalf) may never return.  It is a solelmn moment.  Our object is, I take it, well know to us all.  To the estimable Mr. Baggins, and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves,the exact situation at the moment may require a little brief explanation…”
    — Thorin Oakenshield.
    “The Unexpected Party”,
Chapter One of The Hobbit

Over the next few days I will be chronicling my games at the Gathering in the Desert Indy GT for the Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game.  This is easily one of the best gaming weekends I’ve ever experienced.  There are great players, great painters, and a great venue with beautiful terrain.  Almost all of my LOTR community friends were there so it was nearly perfect.  Now on to the details…

Pre-tournament thoughts

For almost 18 months I’ve been thinking about making an army based on the Hobbit.  I’ve debated army lists on the forums for a while, planed out a few different versions of potential armies and finally last summer settled in on concentrating on making this army happen.  I started with a play-test game at the Chicago Games Day event.  My army build was a bit different than the final configuration and I got trounced.  I set to tweaking my army list a bit and then took a crack at a local tournament.  I ended up with 2 Major Losses and 1 Major Win.  I was definitely worried that the army would continue to post a losing record but each time I played them I learned a bit more about how they performed.  When Tim Kulinski announced the tournament scenarios, I looked them and realized that I had a chance to be at least competitive in many games.  If I could survive the first two rounds which featured scenarios that definitely didn’t favor an army of only 15 models, then I had three scenarios that I felt like I had a shot at winning.  At the end of playtesting, I had played a total of 9 games with the current army build and posted a 5-4 record.  I felt as confident as I could going into the tournament.

While I played more games play-testing this army than any other, the real time was spent pouring into the appearance.  I set out a goal to make sure each and every model was converted.  I wanted to as faithful the color details as I could from the Hobbit (primarily with beard and cloak covers).  I also had plans of building a tehmeatic display board that featured the three Trolls – Bert, Tom, and William that the Unexpected Party encountered on the way to the Lonely Mountain.

All the preparation was complete… all that was left was to play the games. 

The Army

Gandalf the Grey (Gandalf the Grey Profile), Shadowfax
Bilbo (proxied by the Pippin Profile)
Thorin Oakenshield (proxied by the Gimli Profile)
Balin (Balin Profile)
Gloin (proxied by the Dwarf Captain Profile), Throwing Axes
Oin (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Fili (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Kili (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Dori (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Nori (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Ori (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Dwalin (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Bofur (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Bifur (proxied by the Iron Guard Profile)
Bombur(proxied by the Dwarf Warrior Profile) , Banner
598 pts. 15 Models. 11 Might.

The Scenarios

Game 1, Storm the Camp – This strategic ground has been contested for many years, with two rival encampments each vying for control. Now the time has come to decide the dominant power in this land once and for all by sezing the enemy’s foothold and scattering it’s defenders.
Game 2, Domination – The battlefield must be held! The army that controls this area will be at a distinct advantage in days to come. Dominance here can only be achived by driving the enemy back from several key points, failure is not an option.
Game 3, Bilbo’s Treasure – Bilbo is ready to return home, he needs to find his treasure chest of gold and return back to Hobbiton.
Game 4, Contest of Champions – It is the turning point in the war, and the leaders of both sides know that they must inspire their followers to great deeds. With a rousing speech they lead their armies onto the field of battle, striving against the foe with all their might…
Game 5, The Artifact – An Ancient and powerful item has been discovered in the wilds of Middle-earth, a token mighty enough to swing the tide of war. Within hours of it’s discovery, two armies redirect their march to it’s location, seeking to claim it for their own cause.


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