Saturday, October 22, 2011

Domination: Uruks vs. Goblins

In the final game before the grand tournament, we have a fight between my Goblins and my Uruk-Hai. This is the first battle report where the Uruks are dawning their new armor touch-ups (which I'm really excited about). Here are the forces:

The Denizens of Moria: 400 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with shields - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears - 80 points
13 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 65 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points

48 units, 13 bows, 1 hero

The Fist of Isengard: 401 points

Uruk-Hai Captain with shield and heavy armor - 60 points
17 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields - 170 points
16 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes - 160 points
1 Uruk-Hai Warrior with crossbow - 11 points

35 units, 1 crossbow, 1 hero

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 24" long by 24" wide. The armies will pick their corners and may deploy their units anywhere within 8" of their corner. There will be 4 objectives on the board and the goal is to hold three of these objectives (have more units than the other player) before one side is broken. If both sides have two objectives, the game is a draw. Since draws are a huge possibility, both teams must press for three objectives during this game.

The map is set up as follows: On the north there is a rocky ridge (hill with a climb test required on all sides) and a ruin (on a wooded ground, difficult terrain), while in the south there is a cairn (climb test required) and a piece of scrubland (rocky ground, difficult terrain). These four points will be our objectives. In the center is a marsh which we have decided is going to be impassable terrain. The Uruk-Hai won the roll off and have chosen to select their corner (the northeast), ceding priority to the Goblins for the first turn.
As opposed to the domination game I played against the Wood Elves recently, this game has the opposite problem: my opponent doesn't use a lot of ranged weapons (one crossbow) and instead is focused on crushing my forces as they charge. In the only other bout between Uruks and Goblins that Gaius and I have played, the Goblins got their pitiful skins handed to them - even the Troll did! So in this game, I need to use a bit of cunning to keep the Uruks from walking up and down my soldiers.

In this game, though, I have the advantage of using the Bat Swarm. Just as the Elves in the last fight were reduced to the same Fight value as my Goblins, so also in this fight will the Uruks fight on the same level when a Bat Swarm attacks them. Also, I don't have to be as careful in this fight, as the Uruks don't have any ranged weapons (YAYE!), so instead, I just need to watch out for where I strike and who can gang up on me (because they will if given the chance).



Turn 1: (Priority - Goblins)

Both armies advance towards each other. The Goblin archers are able to volley though and so they do: they hit only once and that arrow glances off the armor of an Uruk-Hai Warrior with pike.

Kill count: Goblins 0/35, Uruk-Hai 0/48.



Turn 2: (P - Goblins)

Both armies advance further, with both sides pressing the hitherto unclaimed objectives. The Bat Swarm, with its 12" movement, makes it to the cairn and claims it for the Goblins. It isn't planning on staying to hold it, of course, but if the game were to suddenly end, the Goblins would have more objectives (though not enough to win the game, much to pity). The Goblins volley and only score one hit (which failed to wound). The Uruk crossbowman also shoots, but fails to wound the Goblin he targeted.

Kill count: Goblins 0/35, Uruk-Hai 0/48.



Turn 3: (P - Uruk-Hai)
Both armies near each other and the Uruk-Hai have seized the ridge. My Goblins have spread out their forces fairly evenly, pressuring the Uruk-Hai from leaving their home base unprotected.
In the Shoot phase, the Goblin volley team targeted the forces attacking the south and hit one unit, successfully wounding him.
The Uruk Crossbowman took aim and nailed a Goblin spearman clean through the chest, felling him before he knew what was happening.

Kill count: Goblins 1/35, Uruk-Hai 1/48.



Turn 4: (P - Uruk-Hai again)

FIRST COMBATS! At this point, Gaius has priority. He is ready to charge into my units and tactically deploy on the hill. This is going to be tough. Thankfully, one of his Uruks failed to charge my Troll and with such knowledge, he merely sets up to defend the small crossing beside the swamp. a battle has ensued for the southeast objective and the northwest objective, so things should be interesting this round.
In the Shoot phase, the Uruk with crossbow failed to wound one of my spearmen. My volley team moved as swiftly as they could in my objective to take up better archery points, but one of my three loan archers shoots and kills an Uruk with shield (shot in the face after rolling a 6 to hit and a 6 to wound)! Two of the three archers are now paid for...one more kill at least...
In the Fight phase, the Uruk at the southeast objective loses the fight after shielding but is not slain by the Goblins he faced. The Troll fared much better in his fight and slew the Uruk he was fighting. At the northwest objective, the two Uruk Warriors shielded and won their fights, forcing the Goblins off of the low cliff-face.
Kill count: Goblins 3/35, Uruk-Hai 1/48.



Turn 5: (P - Uruk-Hai, three times running)

The armies have now met in a deadlock, brawling where they may. Three objectives are being pressed by the Uruk-Hai with no units very close to their starting objective. To tell the truth, I'm a bit worried, as my archers are wounded on a 4+ by the Uruk Warriors (with any weapons). In the Shoot phase, nothing of importance happened (a bunch of shooting, two Goblin archers hit someone, but no one was killed).
In the Fight phase, the Uruks dominated at the northwest objective. My Goblins successfully killed one Uruk, but I lost three Goblins and was shielded away from the objective in both fights.

Near the other objective, one of the Uruks was killed (no Goblins killed) and another was forced off of an objective, lost his footing, and fell to the ground (not high enough to be hurt though). He also wasn't wounded by the Goblins, so he'll start on the ground next turn.

In the center of the map, things are not good. My Goblins didn't wound the pikes they were facing and my Troll had a bit of a bad day. He rolled two 3s and a 1 to win the fight and the Uruks rolled a 6, a 4, and a 2. With their Strength 4 statistic, only three 5+ dice will wound him...and three dice they had. They rolled a 6 and two 5s. So...they felled a Troll more than double their points in one round. Elsewhere in the center, the Goblins and Uruks exchanged blows evenly, slaying one on each side. The game could be over now.

Kill count: Goblins 6/35, Uruk-Hai 6/48.



Turn 6: (P - G.O.B.L.I.N.S!)

Things are tough now without a Troll. I will wound most of his units on 6s (pikemen in close combat being the exception) and he has stopped my attack against his home objective. Rats, that's not good.
In the Shoot phase, my Goblins did nothing, but the Uruk crossbowman (from his perch on high) successfully sent a quarrel into the Goblin spearman he'd been trying to nail for the last few turns.

In the Fight phase, both the Uruk Captain and Durburz call heroic combats. Durburz goes first (roll-off winner) and both heroes kill their respective units (Uruk Captain needed to pay his other Might point to kill the Goblin, though).
Near my home objective, things were also fairly even - not good, actually. As you can see, two Goblins and two Uruks fell, which point-wise is good for me, but I'm killing off the few units that are easy for me to wound...not the hard ones.
At the southeast objective, the fights went back-and-forth pretty evenly, with only one Goblin dying (unfortunately, that was in my forward attack squad). The Uruk who was on the ground this turn shielded his way to victory, which is disappointing.

At the northwest objective, only a Goblin archer was slain by the Uruk Captain. Everyone else just rattled at each other.

Kill count: Goblins 9/35, Uruks 12/48. Both sides are half way to breaking, but I need to kill 9 Uruk-Hai and Gaius needs to kill 12 Goblins. I wonder who's going to have an easier time with that...



Turn 7: (P - Goblins)

My Goblins charge as many units as they can, but I'm starting to have only a limited number of units at my disposal. The Uruks do a good job of preventing units from being trapped and trapping some of mine.
In the Shoot phase, my great scheme backfired (pardon the pun). With the unengaged Uruk pikemen hidden from view, I took a chance, shooting into friendly combats with my archers (shooting only where shield Goblins are fighting, requiring me to roll a 6 to wound). Unfortunately, I nail two of my own units this round and wound NO Uruk-Hai in return. Oh, that looks bad. The Uruk crossbowman also fells one of the bats (rolling a 6 to hit, a 6 for in-the-way, and a 6 to wound).
In the Fight phase, Durburz calls a heroic combat to help me raise my Uruk kill count and make some of the fights more one-sided. Though Durburz won the fight, it is the back-stabbing Goblin who manages to kill the Uruk they are fighting.

In the other fights up north, Durburz pays his last Might point to win a fight against the Uruk-Hai he is facing and wounds both of them. In the other fights, two Goblins were killed, including one on the objective. One Uruk-Hai Warrior was killed closer to my home base, but my Goblins on the objective are having a rough day (and the Uruk Captain has cut through my marauding archers).
On the outskirts of my objective, we've already mentioned one Uruk-Hai was killed (see previous picture). Here, you can see the Uruk-Hai have managed to kill another Goblin and fail to lose any more men. If it weren't for the fact that my objective is composed of difficult terrain (which will probably no longer be the case after this mission), I'd be really scared right now.
On the other side of the map, the Goblins are holding their own against the Uruk-Hai, with only one Uruk dying near here. Everyone else fails to do anything interesting. The death is attributed to the Bat Swarm, who you can see has a green marker on his base, indicating he has taken a wound.



Kill count: Goblins 14/35, Uruks 17/48.The Uruks are two units away from breaking, while my forces have 7 units to go...not bad, all things considered.



Turn 8: (P - Tied, Uruk-Hai)

As dawn rose, Gaius succeeded in getting my units cornered in most places, but I still have more units than him. As you can see from the overhead view, I'm having a rough day at the southeast objective, but everywhere else things are going just fine. Nothing happened in the Shoot phase.
In the Fight phase, as you can see, a lot happened. The Uruk-Hai Captain lost his fight and suffered one wound from his attackers (Fate save failed), while one other Uruk-Hai Warrior was killed (by Durburz). The fighters on the hill have decided that no matter how hard they try, no one is going to die up there right now...so none did.
At the southeast objective, two Goblins and one Uruk-Hai with pike were slain, making my chances of holding this objective almost impossible. Four Goblins against nearly twice that many Uruk-Hai is never good odds...especially when only half of my Goblins have shields.
At the southwest objective (my home base), the Goblins put up a solid fight, but the Uruk-Hai are unrelenting. Still, two Goblins fall to Uruk weapons, while two Uruk-Hai fall to the cruel blades of the Goblins. My objective is still strongly in my grasp. Let's hope the others remain so.

Kill count: Goblins 18/35, Uruks 21/48. The Uruks were broken, but after rolling a 3, the game continues. My army is 3 units away from breaking, which could be really bad, as I only have one unit above Courage 2 (and he - Durburz - only has a Courage 4).



Turn 9: (P - Goblins)

Priority is MINE! I charge the forces that matter and let the Uruks do what they will. Unfortunately, all of the Uruks passed their courage tests (though most only managed to gain the necessary 10 to pass...what I wouldn't do for a Nazgul in this kind of situation). Most of my archers have now charged, leaving 5 units solidly within my home base, but considering there are now only three Uruk-Hai attacking it, I'm feeling pretty good.
Nothing happened in the Shoot phase, but we had an interesting battle field change in the northeast: my Bat Swarm charged the Uruk on the battlements! The pikeman lost his fight, was trapped, and died to the attacks of the bats - WOOHOO! 12" movement really paid off this time.
On the other northern objective, my Goblins (with the help of Durburz) plunge the Uruk-Hai army deeper into trouble, killing two warriors and sustaining no casualties. The Uruk-Hai Captain lost his fight again, but didn't suffer any wounds.
Near my home base, one Uruk-Hai Warrior (who killed someone last turn) slew another Goblin, but no other casualties were suffered. I'm still feeling pretty good about this objective...
At the southeast objective, the Uruk-Hai have a solid holding, killing yet another Goblin warrior and leaving me with only three units (fighting five). Life is hard right now here.
 Kill count: Goblins 22/35, Uruks 23/48. We rolled a dice and we rolled a 1, ending the game. After counting up the objectives, the Goblins hold three, while the Uruk-Hai hold one. This gives a minor victory to the Goblins - WOW!

Conclusion:
Assessment by Gaius:

I know that the Uruk-Hai Captain tends to have a rough couple of rounds near the middle of the game, but I was really disappointed in him at the end. With Durburz cutting through troops, my Captain needed to do more than kill three or four Goblins...not good enough, pal. The other warriors did pretty well - especially the three Uruk-Hai who killed the troll. These same Uruks went on to kill several Goblins at the southeast objective, securing it for my side (the only objective). If this had turned out differently, I have a feeling that the Goblins would have scored a major victory - possibly a turn earlier.

Assessment by Tiberius:

Wow. I thought the game was over after the fourth turn. Still, the Goblin army specializes in having a lot of warriors - something incredibly valuable in a game like this, where the number of units on an objective determines who wins it - not the value of the units present. By either standard, I won this game, but in other games, this makes the Goblin force quite formidable. I did regret having to travel so slowly across the field (and through difficult terrain), but we can't have everything.

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

Not only was it technically this unit that slew the Cave Troll, but the ability to shield and survive a torrent of Goblins (especially when trapped) helped the Uruk-Hai last longer against the superior numbers of the Goblins. I love these units and they typically are rewarded for their efforts with this award. Good work, troops!

Stellar unit for Goblins: Bat Swarm

The Goblins have very few good units - and as a group, the Goblin archers probably did the best job. At the core, though, the Bat Swarm really made the difference today. A three-man team of units (Goblin with shield, Goblin with spear, and Bat Swarm) defeated three Uruk-Hai and the reason for their success was due not only to the superb maneuverability of the Bat Swarm, but also to its special rule which puts Goblins and Uruk-Hai on the same Fight value level. With 4 wounds, it's hard to take this unit down with a single crossbow if he has help from a Goblin.

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