Archive for the Battle Report Category

Battle Report: GitD Game 1 – Storm the Camp

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Dwarves, Gathering in the Desert, The Unexpected Party, Tournament on February 24, 2010 by BrentS

Game 1
Scenario:  Storm the Camp
Opponent:  John Long – Army of the Dead

John is a good friend that I’ve had a chance to play before.  It was both a favorable and also unfavorable match-up for my army.  It was favorable as his army was also “expensive” meaning that he could only field 33 models – I was quite pleased to only be outnumbered 2-1.  It was a bit of a challenge in that two of my armies best defensive weapons my army brings is blinding light and high defense.  Well the army of the dead doesn’t have any archery or shooting weapons so there’s nothing to blind and worse they don’t try to wound against your models defense but their courage instead – so my D6 army now becomes a paltry D4.  The primary advantage I have a higher FV across the army and I have 11 Might in my army compared to his 0!

John starts off by splitting his force into two groups – he leaves the King of Dead and 14 Warriors of the Dead to protect his home territory.  The other 18 models formed an attack force to assault my camp.  He had a few Riders of the Dead that sprinted out to each flank and the rest of the warriors started the slow walk across the board.  I split my force into two groups but neither was separate by more than 6-8 inches.  I knew I was just going to have to try and weather the assault as it came.

Gandalf started the game by casting blinding light… why?  Well as I told John, only because he could.  I’ve never played with Gandalf and not used it so I didn’t want to jinx myself.  A followed that up with Terrifying Aura and I waited for John to get to me.  He managed to spring one Rider of the Dead around the flank to my camp.  I had Bilbo guarding the camp behind some terrain and promptly used Gandalf to Command the Rider right back out of the camp.  Gandalf charged finished him off.

Thorin and his mates battled the army of the dead for many turns, my consistently higher fight value, extra might, and more one-on-one attacks allowed me to win most fights.  I had a number of dwarves (Ori, Dori, and Nori in particular) seemed to fail many of their courage checks so there were many times that I needed to rely on John to charge me to get into combat.  However, eventually I managed to eliminate all 18 of the attackers.  I think I probably only lost 1 or 2 dwarves in the process.  So with about 45 minutes to play, John was broken but with the King of the Dead holding firm, it wasn’t like his defenders were going anywhere.  John and I both entered this scenario thinking that a Draw would be a great outcome but at this time, I needed to get a bit more aggressive and try for a major win.

I started the slow slog of dwarves crossing the board.  I kept a couple of dwarves a but in reserve just in case John thought about trying to break through with a model or two.  While I had grand intentions of trying to march into John’s camp, he played quite defensive and I never really had an opportunity to make a decisive charge into his camp without risking him slipping a few models by me.  I tried to dink in a bit with Gandlaf and Shadowfax but ultimately lost a fight and Shadowfax was killed.  As time was called, I never did get a chance to penetrate John’s camp.

Outcome:  Draw, worth 10 battlepoints.

Going into the tournament, I said I needed to find a way to survive the first two scenarios without getting a major defeats.  So while I firmly believe that I had the superior army, given the scenario and the very high courage of the Army of the Dead, I ended up “settling” for a Draw.  However, against many other armies, I could have easily been overwhelmed by shear numbers so I’ll take the Draw for sure.

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Battle Report: The Unexpected Party Travels to the Desert

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Dwarves, Gathering in the Desert, The Unexpected Party, Tournament on February 23, 2010 by BrentS

“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.

War of the Ring DEMO Game

Posted in Battle Report, LOTR:WotR News, Rohan on March 7, 2009 by BrentS

I finally got a chance to get to my local Games Workshop and try a demo game for War of the Ring.  Dave ran me through their standard demo game featuring Rohan vs Mordor with a couple allies for each army.  I chose to play Rohan (woohoo!) – My army was:

Three Companies of Riders of Rohan (6 Models), Two Companies of Oathsworn Militia (16 Warriors of Rohan), One Company of Oathsworn Militia w/bows (8 Warriors of Rohan), Two Companies of Army of the Dead (16 Models), and 1 Ent.  I was facing a similar army comprised of a Mordor Troll, 6 Haradrim Raiders, 24 Mordor Orcs with Hand weapons and 8 Mordor Orcs w/ Bows.  Comparing across the stat-lines, I’m pretty sure the Good Models had a huge advantage.  However, it didn’t really matter as it was just a Demo Game.

The mechanics of the game were pretty easy to pick-up.  It will take some time to get used to separate Moving and “Charge” Phases of the turn.  It will also take some time to get used to the new statlines for some of the models (especially the Rohirrim).  I like the rules allowing the winner of the Priority Phase to chose whether they want priority or want to defer. 

The rules for using archery were interesting in that depending on how far you were from your target, the strength of your weapon decreases.  Makes sense I guess.  Absent it seems were rules for volley fire.  I made the mistake of trapping my archery formation behind my lines and had no line of site for the first turn.  On the flip side, I lost a Rider of Rohan to archery from the lowly orcs.

The fun (for me) was the Charge phase.  Your charging range is based on a random die roll + a static number based on your model type.  So for instance, the cavalry can move up to 10 inches during the move phase and then they can charge D6+6 inches in charge phase.  In addition, if you roll a 6 on your charge, you can get an “Unstoppable Charge” which gives some addition bonuses.  Conversely, rolling a 1 means that your charge falls apart and you can’t move at all.  Sigh.  This happened a few times to me.  I felt like I was rolling my friend Jeremy’s dice!.  Anyway, back on topic… when I did get my first Cavalry charge into the Mordor Orc Formation, I was rolling 36 dice to wound – needing only 4s to cause the wounds.  Needless to say, it was a bloody mess for the Orcs.  The lost a bunch of models and then failed their courage test and became disorganized (never again to find organization).  As I hope to ultimately have a Cavalry formations into the 40-50 model range, I think I’m going to have to invest in many, many, many more dice.

Wounding is slightly different in that your model has a “resiliency” statistic that must be overcome with wounds before it is removed from play.  Resiliency isn’t cumulative through a turn either.  Most infantry models are resiliency of 1 but cavalry is 2.  That means that even though 3 wounds were caused, only 1 model was removed.  In addition, that “extra” resiliency doesn’t carry over to the next phase or next turn.  The wound is just wasted. 

Combat with the monsters was very interesting.  We got to a phase of the game where the Mordor Troll was facing off against the Ent.  Although I had a superior stat line, I ended up whiffing on 4 rolls to wound (only needing 3s mind you!) while the Troll wounded me all four times.  Monsters don’t have “wounds” per se.  They are only wounded through rolls on the “Hard to Kill” or “Very Hard to Kill” table.  That means every time you cause two wounds (corresponding to two resiliency) then you roll 1 dice on the Hard to Wound Table.  Adding wound counters are some of the results that could occur on these tables.  For every wound counter you have, you add one to your die roll on the Hard to Kill table.  Eventually, you’ll net out the “6” that is required to kill him.  So, back to my game… The troll managed cause two wounds and rolled on the Hard to Kill table.  He rolled a “6” and instantly killed my Ent.  Sheesh.  Just for fun, I charged two Cavalry into the Troll and managed to secure 4 wounds.  Two rolls on the Resiliency Table yielded 2 wound counters for him. 

Our game ended after three turns.  I’d eliminated all his orcs while he’d killed all my Warriors of Rohan on Foot, my Army of the Dead, and my Ent.  All he had left was the Troll. 

Obviously, we played a very simplified game.  However, I can see how this would be fun.  Having never really played a game based on “movement trays”, I was unsure how maneuverable the models would be.  I wasn’t sure how much tactical knowledge would be useful.  I can say, that I think there will still be a lot of tactical maneuvering in full fledge games.  As LOTR players, we’ll need to get used to playing on 4×6 boards however!!  I think adding in Heroes and Magic will make the game a lot more tactically challenging. 

I’m very much looking forward to expanding my own Rohirrim to a full-fledge WotR army!  I’ll also be expanding my Haradrim to represent an WotR army.  Definitely two major projects for the summer!

Download Available 

For what its worth, Games Workshop has provided some downloads for Quick Start Rules.  Check them out here: QuickStart Rules Downloads

Gathering in the Desert

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Gathering in the Desert, Harad, Rohan, Tournament on March 4, 2009 by BrentS

Post Tournament Wrap-Up


So that was it, the Gathering in the Desert had come and gone. My final count was 3-2-0 with 2 Major Victories, 1 Minor Victory, and 2 Minor Losses. All in all I was quite happy with my performance. I’d made some crucial mistakes in each of the last three games I played. However, for the first time in a major tournament, I’d managed to avoid the dreaded Major Loss and kept earning points, even in the scenarios where I was losing ground.
When the final results were tallied, I ended up third overall in battle points, second overall in appearance judging, and in the top cluster of sportsmanship scores. All this netted out as a Best Overall award! Now, Anthony still finished with the highest point total buoyed by going a staggering 5-0. However, as I described before since he hadn’t painted his army, he wasn’t going to be eligible for the Best Overall award.

The Prize Support was great, for Best Overall, I won a Rohan War of the Ring Battlehost Set – the equivalent of 48 Warriors of Rohan, 18 Riders of Rohan, and King Theoden.  For those that have followed my blog, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Rohan armies (even if they aren’t competely competitive) and this was a great prize for me.  I had every intention of building up my Rohirrim to 1500-2000 point force ready for War of the Ring.
Finally, I have to reiterate again,  I really think the Gathering of the Desert was probably the most fun gaming weekend I’ve ever had. Tim and Dean did a great job running the event and I absolutely loved the venue. Being able to spend time with so many of my hobby friends was just the icing on the cake. We had group dinners each night and Jeremy, Tim, and I (along with John and Keith on Saturday) stayed up late just shooting the breeze each night. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend!! 

Thanks again to Tim and Dean for running the event.  Thanks to Kyle for hosting the event as his great store.  Thanks to all the sponsors for their generous support and finally thanks to all the great players who made this a great event.

 

 

Gathering in the Desert, Game 5

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Gathering in the Desert, Harad, Tournament on March 4, 2009 by BrentS

Game 5 – The Last Alliance vs Jeremy’s Serpent Horde Cavalry

After three years of tournament play, Jeremy and I finally got a chance to play against each other. I think we were both looking forward to the opportunity. However, we knew that matching up in Game 5 meant that we both knew we still had a shot at Best Overall (especially depending on how Chris and Sean’s game would come out).

Our scenario was a To the Death variation with the outcome actually judged by Victory Point differential. The other interesting twist was that if at the end of the game, you had any models left within 12″ of your deployment edge, then you could finish no better than a draw.

Jeremy’s army was all mounted Haradrim. He had Suladan, a Haradrim Chieftan with a bow, 8 Serpent Riders, and the rest were Haradrim Raiders (mixed with war spears and bow). He deployed his entire army in the center of his deployment zone with the archers to my right and the Raiders and Serpent Riders towards the left. His archers pushed forward towards the right. His non-archers split into two groups, one small and one larger one. The larger group turned towards the left to sweep around a large ruined tower in the center of the battlefield. The smaller group was pulling to support the Raiders with bows.

Deployment of Jeremy's Raiders

Deployment of Jeremy's Raiders

I deployed in a tight box style formation hoping to be able to defend both a northern and western flank with lines of Mahud warriors. I left a very small contingent on the far right side to protect a flank that was around area of difficult terrain (wooded forest).

During my forward advance, I used a formation consisting of a Haradrim warrior blocking two Mahud warriors. I knew the Haradrim had lower defense but I could afford to lose a few of them in order to get into combat. Jeremy took several shots with multiple in the ways to try and get at some of my stronger models (Half-Troll and a Mahud Raider). I advanced my archers towards the ruined tower in the center. I knew that if I could get there, I’d have a nice archery platform and be protected from the advancing cavalry models. Nothing significant came from our archer attacks.

We continued this general approach for the next few turns with a few causalities on each side. I lost a few Haradrim spearmen and Jeremy lost two Raiders. I made one huge mistake during this phase of the game. At one point, I left my Mahud Tribesmaster exposed to the Haradrim Raider archers. Jeremy had 14 shots without any in-the-way rolls. He scored 5 hits and I was really worried. Luck was with me on this turn as not a single wound was scored (a consistent theme throughout the match). Whew, disaster averted.

As the game proceeded, Jeremy left his archers outside of his charge range, content to let them try and dink and dunk some shots. Around this same time, Suladan and his escort were circling around the ruined fort and eyeing up a charge. I had formed up my lines on both the north and western flanks. I also moved my Haradrim Cavalry towards the southern side of my army in order to prepare for a counter charge. I purposefully left my Mahud line within the Haradrim charging range (although Jeremy only had about 3 Cavalry in full range). Jeremy took my bait and charged in towards the Mahud warriors he could reach. I withstood the charge winning the fights and managing the kill 3 Serpent Riders (and also dismounting another one with my archery).

It was a critical moment in the game and Jeremy decided to go for it on the successive turns to charge into lines. Unfortunately the second turn was much like the first, with the Mahud winning most of the fights. He was able to break through and kill some of my army on the northern flank and Suladan was doing a good job winning his fights and killing his opponents. However, on average, I was killing a lot more than he was able too. Of particular note was the Mahud Raiders who managed to kill an enemy each and every time they charged into combat thanks to their impaler rules. The Half-Troll and Mahud Tribesmaster were hacking their way through Raiders making a lot of kills. The game was starting to draw towards a close and Jeremy’s army was close to breaking.

In the late stages of the game, I kept feeding Suladan a single Haradrim warrior while the rest of my army was trying to break him. I was determined to my best to kill him all on the battlefield and not rely on victory points. However, Suladan was a mighty foe indeed. A quick model count showed that Jeremy was within 1 kill of breaking my force. He won the priorty roll and managed to charge into two Haradrim Raiders. I could have counter-charged with my Haradrim Chieftan but since I was so close to breaking, I didn’t want to risk the potentially valuable victory points. I managed to kill the rest of his army on that turn but Suladan won his combat and killed both of his foes. I was broken and my Mahud Tribesmaster would have to take that dreaded courage test on the next turn.

On the following turn, I won priorty and picked up a pair of dice. I needed that same 7 again and this time the dice smiled at me rolling an 8. I was able to charge the Tribesmaster into Suladan and then completely surround him with other models. On that last turn, Jeremy failed to roll a six and I won the combat and managed to inflict 11 wounds on the trapped Haradrim King. His army was completely wiped out. However, since I was broken, the scenario rules dictated that the best result I could achieve was a Minor Victory.

Eleven Wounds!!

Eleven Wounds!!

This game was very enjoyable for me, especially since my plan worked out almost perfectly. I avoided a near fatal brain cramp with the exposed Tribesmaster, but otherwise things went almost perfectly. One thing I really failed to remark on in this report was how brutal Jeremy’s dice were. Even on the combats where I didn’t roll a 6 to win, Jeremy couldn’t seem to roll higher than 3 with most results being 1. It became a running joke as he would toss each crappy die to one side after it failed him. Although I don’t know it to be true, I’m fairly certain he’s melted those dice into a heap of plastic. They really did deserve it.

Gathering in the Desert, Game 4

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Gathering in the Desert, Rohan, Tournament on March 4, 2009 by BrentS
Game 4 – The Artifact vs Chris’s Gondor + Gandalf
Well, as part of the post Day 1 obsessive-compulsive discussions of the battle points, it was clear that Chris and I were going to be matched up for Game 4. This would prove to by my second tournament match-up with Chris – we faced on a very one-sided game of Sieze the Prize at the 2008 Las Vegas GT. I jokingly told Chris that this was my chance for revenge and it figures we’d be playing a Sieze the Prize variant. The primary difference in this scenario was that the “Artifact” had to be carried off your opponents deployment edge.

To start our game, the prize was tucked just inside a piece of difficult terrain (trees). I deployed with 4 Raiders up front making no beef that my intent was to race to the prize. The problem was (and for what its worth, I knew this was going to a problem) the 14 Rangers of Gondor lining up their 3+ machine guns. The rest of my army was deployed with my archers and other cavalry to my left and my Mahûd and Haradrim lined up in the center.

 

Deployment of Chris's Army

Deployment of Chris's Army

 

 

After turn 1, the machine guns worked like a charm against me – I lost two raiders outright and the other two had their horses cut down beneath them. Ouch. In the following two turns, I was still able to get one model on the prize and a second one just off the prize. I moved a good portion of my army towards my right side and envisioned a strong wall of Mahûd escorting the prize across Chris’s undefended portion of the board.
What I failed to recognize was the trap that Chris laid for me. Gandalf stepped up and threw a 3 dice command spell at one of my Haradrim near the prize. He proceeded to encircle this poor fellow with Etchilion, his other hero, and 4 Guards of the Fountain Court. My Haradrim was Heroic Combat bait and he could slingshot into my other Haradrim with the prize. Dang Wizards. I was so concerned about a sorcerers blast that I’d spaced my models to prevent minimal damage. I never even considered command. Well played Chris.

 

Preparing to take the Prize

Preparing to take the Prize

 

 


However, all hope was not lost. I had twelve archers that could volley fire into that group combat and since I’m evil I can target someone within 6″ of my own model. I was going for a “knitemare” (inside joke) and trying to plunk my own guy and hope to spoil the ensuing heroic combat. Picking up the 12 dice, I knew I needed 2 “6’s” to have a shot at this plan – I rolled only one. Although my counter maneuver didn’t work, it was certainly an exciting moment in the game.
After the I predictably lost the Heroic Combat, he was in line to take out my other Haradrim warrior and he was able to dig up the prize on his first try.

Out next turn was the next critical juncture. I decided against calling a Heroic Combat with my Mahûd Tribesmaster. I thought long an hard about calling it. However, I felt like even I called it, I would have been burning a critical might point. I really was confident that even if he had the prize, I could kill him before he could get it off the board. So I let him go and he again showed me the flaw in my reasoning… after winnign the combat the next turn he was able to hand off the light object such that it moved almost 12″ away from my pack of warriors. To make matters worse, I was now out of position as I had over-committed my warriors to the right side of the board.

The next few turns saw the prize moving towards my left corner of the board. I used my archery to move back to defend and moved as many of my free warriors towards that position as possible. The combats in the middle of the board were thick and highly congested. Although I was winning fights and killing many of his models, I couldn’t make significant headway in getting closer to the prize. To make matters worse, he had some very stubborn WoMT that just wouldn’t die even when heavily outnumbered by Mahûd and their spear carrying friends. For at least two turns, Gandalf failed to immobilize the Mahûd Tribesmaster, which meant that I could use the Warrior Pride rule to engage Gandalf with Mahûd Warriors. Throughout the course of the battle, I was able to put a wound on Gandalf after forcing him to burn through all three fate (and those darn re-rolls). Up to that point, it was the first official wound Gandalf had taken all weekend.

While those fights were interesting and important towards the overall numbers, the real game was seeing if Chris could get the prize off the table. I had my archers set up in a “prevent” defense staggered with gaps creating control zones that would have to be avoided. I was moving guys diagonally as fast as possible to try and reinforce the lines. With about 10 minutes to go in the game, Chris was now less than 6″ from the edge of a board (as an eagle would fly) but he was facing two deep Haradrim ranks. I finally had caused enough casualties that he was broken. As with my last game, the ultimate outcome hinged on a single die roll. We rolled for Priority and Chris won (Dang!). He was able to use Stand Fast with Ecthilion and keep all his WoMT near the prize on the table. If I had managed to win that priority, I would have tied up Ecthilion and let the WoMT tempt fate as I fully reinforced the battleline. However, once again, the die went against me. Through a very careful set of tying up control zones, he managed to find a sliver of an opening that he could pass the prize carrying model into contact with another model which he handed off and walked the prize off the table. Bah! I thought I’d tied up all the loose ends but I left a bit too much of a gap. It really came down to the difference of about 1/4 of an inch on the table.

Chris earned a Minor Victory (minor for being broken). This was probably one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. It was quite tense but our personalities kept the game very enjoyable. We were constantly ribbing each other and joking around. We both got serious when we needed too and those last few turns were very tense indeed! However, despite the loss it was a fun game. I think Chris may have played a tactically perfect game. I made a few major mistakes and left some openings. As all great generals do, he capitalized on those mistakes and made me pay for them. Kudos!

After that round, I was in 3rd place in battle points behind Anthony (another minor win) and Chris. Sean was 1 point behind me while Jeremy was right behind him. Since Anthony had already run the gauntlet of generals (playing Jeremy, Chris, myself, and Sean) he would draw someone down the list. Chris and Sean hadn’t played so they would be at Table 2 and Jeremy and I and would be at Table 3.

 

Gathering in the Desert, Game 3

Posted in Armies, Battle Report, Gathering in the Desert, Harad, Tournament on March 4, 2009 by BrentS

Game 3 – Look to the East vs Anthony’s White Hand of Isengard

Entering the last game of the day 1, Anthony and I were tied for first in battle points. Anthony is a great general (as he showed throughout the tournament arguably playing the most difficult gauntlet of opponents) who does a good job on playing his Uruk-Hai army list.

I’ve played Uruk-Hai once before using a list consisting of a fighting core of Mahûd Warriors. However, last time this happened, I was allied with Orcs including a decent group of heavy armored Morannon Orcs to absorb some of the blows from the Uruk-Hai. I was a bit unsure of how the Haradrim contingent would do but felt confident none-the-less. Our armies were very similar in terms of pure fighting ability. Anthony’s big advantage was heavy armor across the line and crossbows whereas my advantage was slightly higher model count (8 I believe) and the presence of a small cavalry contingent. Our direct fighting lines could go toe-to-toe with equivalent FV, equivalent Str (wounding on 5+), and equal number of attacks (3 for him with pikes and 3 for me with spears).

The scenario was our third Meeting engagement variation of the day. We had edge deployment with the twist that only half our army was deployed at the start of the game. The remaining half could enter play starting on Turn 2 depending on the outcome of a random die roll that got progressively easier as the game went on. The reinforcements would “come from the east” which in game terms meant come from your right edge. Since directions technically don’t change, we jokingly called this scenario “Look the Right” – however, I applaud the organizers for using the obvious LOTR references for the scenario names.

To start the game, I deployed all my archers and about half my Mahûd, Tribesmaster, a Half-Troll and a handful of Haradrim Spears. My reserves were all cavalry, the rest of the Mahûd , a Half-Troll and a few Haradrim Spears. I deployed all my models close to the “East” edge of the board to try and maintain the fighting near my reinforcements. Anthony deployed all of his Crossbows on the right half of my board. He also had around a dozen Uruk-Hai with Shields or Pikes alongside a captain. His reserves were another Captain and 21 Uruk-Hai with Shields or Pikes.

The game started with two rounds of relatively weak volleyfire while he advanced the line to try and get the crossbows into range. On his second turn he rolled the necessary 5+ to bring his reinforcements to the table and started the long trek towards me. I advanced cautiously trying to be prepared to dive into some terrain to avoid getting some direct fire from his crossbows when he was in position.

By the third turn, I had priority and rolled the necessary result to bring my reinforcements on the board. I made the first huge mistake of the game as I was so focused on getting into position I totally forgot about the fact that he still had to move (duh!). I lined up a row of Mahûd and the Half-Troll right in front of his crossbows so that I could be ready to jump him on the next turn. Well, duh, he didn’t have to move them and he shot 12 crossbows right into me and killed 4 Mahûd warriors. Ouch, but as bad as it was, it could have been worse. I was going to deploy my cavalry behind his lines and try to crunch his crossbows from both sides but the difficult terrain made it impossible for me to get my Cavalry into the position that I needed to be in to pull off this maneuver. As a result of my brain gaff, I was now reeling a little bit trying to figure out how to survive that part of the battlefield.

On the middle part of the battlefield, Anthony was advancing his 22 model reinforcements towards me. I formed up my ranks and prepared for the inevitable assault. I hoped that my decimated lines up to my north could hold those models at bay long enough for me to get the upperhand. My archers moved into a postion to get several turns of direct fire at his advancing Uruks. I had a bit more luck with direct fire taking out a couple bezerkers.

Once our lines clashed it was a bloody scrum. We just bludgeoned each other basically trading casualty for casualty. I was starting to lose ground in my fight around the Crossbow Uruks (now also supported by his other half of his original deployment group) but I was making headway on this reinforcements. Most of his kills were coming from Haradrim spearmen but my Mahûd were standing firm. The Half-Troll and Tribesmaster were monsters on that flank.

In the northern flank, my Young Suladan fell to the hands of the Uruk-Hai Captain. He was avenged when the Captain eventually was swamped with some remaining Mahûd. The battle got very tight as we were both within a small handful of models of breaking and we’d each lost one of our heroes.

In the central battle, I was finally able to wear down his remaining Uruk-Hai Captain as the Tribesmaster and Half-Troll brought him to his knees. However, elsewhere, my other Half-Troll was surrounded and trapped by Uruk Hai and died. We counted the bodies remaining and found that I was broken (by 1) and he was 1 model from breaking. He had lost both of his heroes and I still have the Mahûd Tribesmaster on the board.

Priority was rolled and he won. Knowing the warrior pride rule, he pulled back and engaged no one. It was time for me to roll for courage checks. I started with the Tribesmaster (of course). I needed to roll at least a 7 (Courage 2 + 1 Will). The dice fell… 4… 2. I was one pip short of passing the test as my Tribesmaster ran away. Predictably my army fell apart running away. One brave Mahûd warrior managed to pass his courage test (rolled a 10) and charged an Uruk-Hai warrior. A few Haradrim spearmen survived their courage checks and lended support. I won that combat and killed the Uruk-Hai, successfully breaking his army. However, the damage was done, the courage checks caused my army to fall below 25% and the game ended. Anthony earned a hard fought victory.

The Battle Lines Clash

The Battle Lines Clash

We were both exhausted after this game. It was probably the tensest game I’ve ever played individually. He was held to a minor victory as he had no surviving heroes. Anthony played his army very well and I thoroughly enjoyed the knock-down throw down match that ensued.

In the aftermath of the game, I realized my two fatal flaws. The first was the obvious bad deployment of my reinforcements. The second goes back to a conversation I had with Chris Langland-Shula on Adeptus Arizona. He advised that he really thought I should bring a Mahûd King instead of the Tribesmaster as those extra two courage points could be all the difference when I get broken. My over-confidence in the army didn’t allow me to think that I’d be broken easily enough to make a difference and I rationalized that I the two models I would have lost would be more valuable than the Hero upgrade. I’m pretty confident now that if nothing else would have changed in my game, having a King would have meant that I won the game. Oh well, lesson learned after a tough battle.

So Day 1 ended with me still 2nd overall in battle points behind Anthony. Sean was one point behind me followed by Chris.

An interesting sidebar to this game was that I learned that Anthony would not be eligible for Best Overall as he had not painted his own army (a stipulation by the organizers, and all GW GT events, that you wouldn’t be eligible for best overall or best appearance). So despite the outcome of our match and the huge points difference in battle, the Best Overall award was still very much up for grabs.

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