Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To Kill a King: Uruk-Hai vs. Goblins

This will be the close-out game of Uruk-Hai Month and it is a battle of epically Evil proportions. Today my Uruks will face my worthy friend Gaius, who will be controlling my Goblin force. Before we begin though, update on the scenery challenge:
You can see here the beginnings of the inside arrangements: a furnace/fire place for the metal work. I'm hoping to get some of that refinished before the paint goes on...and to get something to patch up that triangle of open space under the roof on the left of the photo. So we'll see when that happens. Anyway, here are the forces for today:
Fist of Isengard: 260 points

Uruk Captain with crossbow and heavy armor - 60 points
12 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields - 120 points
8 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes - 80 points

21 units, 1 crossbow, 1 hero

The Denizens of Moria: 260 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
7 Goblin Warriors with Orc Bows - 35 points
8 Goblin Warriors with spears - 40 points
8 Goblin Warriors with shields - 40 points
1 Cave Troll with troll chain - 85 points

25 units, 7 bows + troll chain, 1 hero

The scenario we will be playing is a To Kill a King game. The armies will set up their units within 6" of a corner of the board and will fight until the opposing leader (the hero of each force) is slain. The winner will receive a major victory if their force is not broken when the enemy leader is slain, while a minor victory will be awarded if the force is broken. If both leaders are slain in the same turn, the game is a draw.
The board has been given the following features: a (new!) hill and a building (the smithy) with 1 fence piece in the north quadrants and one hill and a bunch of rocks in the southern quadrants. To determine placement, the Goblins have won the roll and will select the northeast corner and have given the Uruk-Hai priority on the first round.

Turn 1: Taking Ground (Priority - Uruks)
The entire turn was spent moving towards one another...nothing interesting.

Turn 2: The Heat of the Moment (P - Goblins)
The armies charge towards each other and prepare for a bloody slaughter during the next round. During the Shoot phase, three Goblins and the Uruk Captain fired and none hit their marks...next turn.

Turn 3: Crash! (P - Uruks)
The battle is now raging and the Uruks have claimed critical ground, bringing the fight right to the Goblin defenses. The Troll stooped to pick up a rock and will be firing it during his turn (as the two Uruks who tried to charge him were rooted on the spot). 
Pardon the blurry shot. During the Shoot phase, the Uruk Captain killed a Goblin spearman, but nothing else happened (the Troll missed, btw).
During the Fight phase, the Uruks dominate by killing 4 Goblins and not losing a single warrior (only losing 2 fights).
Kill count: Uruks 5/25, Goblins 0/21.

Turn 4: Between a Rock and a Hard Place(P - Uruk-Hai)
The Uruks have again received the advantage of picking the fights and have attacked most of the Goblins. While they press their advantage on the hill from last turn, they also have engaged the archers at the wall, hoping to displace them.
In the Shoot phase, the Uruk Captain nails a Goblin archer, but his Goblin friends sends an angry arrow back at the Uruk Captain and rolls the required 6 to wound (saved by his Fate point). Gaius is constantly telling me he counts on the lucky shots of the Goblins...and after playing him this long, I'm not surprised at all.
In the Fight phase, the Uruks again dominated, though they lost two units to the Troll and an angry Goblin. The other fights they won (but failed to wound the Goblin behind the wall, thanks to the barrier) and killed a total of 6 Goblins.
Kill count: Uruks 12/25, Goblins 2/21. The Goblin force is going to need to bank on the tactical advantages of the Goblin King...and the strength of the troll.

Turn 5: Storming Forward (P - Uruk-Hai!)
The weight of the battle is heavily slanted against the Goblins, who are again faced with Uruk-Hai priority. The Uruks have now raced behind the Goblin ranks and even managed to engage the Cave Troll, keeping him from wrecking their ranks. Only time will see if the Goblins are utterly routed in this match.

During the Fight phase, the Uruk who charged the Troll managed to beat him (shielding on the charge). On that side of the fights, that's the only thing that went well for the Uruks, as the lone pikeman was killed by the two angry Goblins and the men assaulting the fence were beaten back. In the other fights, the battle clearly went to the Uruks, as they add 3 more Goblins to their kills.

Kill count: Uruks 15/25, Goblins 3/21. The Goblins are broken now.

Turn 6: A Slow Recovery (P - GOBLINS!)
The Goblin King easily passes his Courage test and rallies his remaining followers (all of which can see him and are definitely in range of his Stand Fast!). They engage a few critical junctures and the Cave Troll comes down heavily on an Uruk pikeman's head with his troll chain. The Uruks engage what units they can, in the hopes of crushing the small resistance force. Their captain remains out of charge range of the troll, hoping to bring him down with strength of arms.
In the Fight phase, Durburz paid a Might point to win the fight, but failed to wound his opponents. The other fights divided pretty evenly between Uruks and Goblins, but the Uruks managed to kill 3 Goblins, while the Goblins killed 1 Uruk. Bummer for the Goblins...major bummer.
Kill Count: Uruks 18/25, Goblins 5/21.

Turn 7: The End Approaches (P - Goblins)
The Goblin King keeps his men in check for another turn and leads his men to engage critical Uruks. The enemy are too thick though, and Durburz soon has 4 Uruks fighting him. Hopefully his strength will hold...(or so Gaius hopes...I must confess, my hopes are a bit different).
In the Fight phase, the two Uruks fighting the Troll win their fight and manage to wound the Troll once - wow! The other fights flow in favor of the Uruks, winning every fight except one and sustaining now casualties. The Goblins lost 3 units and Durburz lost his fight on a roll-off, sustaining 1 wound after both Fate saves (1 successful).
Kill Count: Uruks 21/25, Goblins 5/21.

Turn 8: Utterly Overwhelmed (P - tied, Uruk-Hai!)
This is the beginning of the end of the Goblins, I think. With their leader having a single wound remaining, he faces 8 Uruk-Hai and he is most definitely trapped. You will also notice that the Troll is no longer on the board...he failed his Courage test by 1 point, which is a bummer.
In the Fight phase, there were three fights: in one fight, the angry Goblin shielded off two Uruks. In the other two fights, the Goblins were mercilessly slaughtered. Without checking to see if the archer was trapped, the three Uruks landed 3 wounds on the wretch. The Goblin King would have lost his fight by 2 points if he used his 2 Might points...and every Uruk hit him once. Ouch...major victory for the Uruk-Hai!

Assessment by Gaius:

The Goblins basically hit self-destruct this game: by only slightly outnumbering the Uruk-Hai, they lost their typical advantage: numbers. I also tried to send the Troll on to fight Uruk Captain at first and probably should have stuck with that plan...instead, my troll got caught in a protracted war (eventually fleeing) against the aggressors, while leaving their commander free to pot-shot my own men. Oh well...next time, things will be different.

Assessment by Tiberius:

The Uruks finally won a fight by a respectable lead - yaye! I've reached the decision that an Uruk-Hai force like mine needs to fight foes with a lower Fight value (and preferably not Strength 3 bows). That's not much good for my own armies, but against some of my friends, it may work just fine. We'll see what happens as they improve. I noticed today that Warg Riders are not actually in the "Legions of the White Hand" tech tree, so I'll need to ally them in via Sharku...so should I get the riders, you'll see a conversion attempt at Sharku. In the mean time, I've now considered adding to the ranks of these Uruks the Shadow Lord at the suggestion of one of my viewers, but since the monetary cost between these units currently slants in favor of the Wargs, I'm thinking about that one as the primary idea - no decisions made until I can play-test Warg Riders.

Stellar unit for Goblins: Goblin Warrior with shield

Though these guys didn't do much in today's fight, they did more than the other warriors. One Goblin with shield managed to kill 2 Uruks and tied down several others during the latter turns of the game (not to mention, these were the only basic Goblin troops to not be wounded on a 4+ by the Uruks). Not much glory or anything to speak of, but still a valuable unit. The archers ran a tight race by ticking off the Fate point of the Uruk Captain, but that was all they did...

Stellar unit for Uruk-Hai: Uruk-Hai Warrior with shield

These guys, as always, amaze me. They can hold their ground well against Strength 3 troops and provide a strong fight when outnumbered via shielding. They're great for pushing through arrow fire and even managed to wound the Cave Troll in today's game. I love these guys...


  1. The troll single-handedly lost that fight for the goblins. Any game where the goblins barely outnumber their opponents is a bad sign, but the troll had an open window to pummel the Uruk captain for an early victory, and for some inexplicable reason balked at the chance. The goblin warriors could have easily held off the uruks for the 1-2 rounds it would have taken for the troll to swat the uruk captain down.

  2. I agree -- I see why Gaius made the decision to send the troll to help with defense, but the lone captain with virtually no support would have been too tempting for me. From a guy who routinely plays with low fight value/low strength units, though, I also understand the concern.

  3. Gaius told me that one of his concerns with sending the Troll out too far was that he routinely runs away from the fight (based on what happened today, no one should be surprised). Though I don't think the game would have ended any quicker without the Troll nearby, it's not a good idea to have the Troll chasing an Uruk captain when he's only got a 3 Courage...but he also told me that from now on his ideas are going to be different when it comes to this scenario.