Sunday, December 4, 2011

Meeting Engagement: The Fellowship vs. The Uruk-Hai

Today we have the second game between the Fellowship and the Uruk-Hai of Isengard. Today's mission is going to be...different. We're still playing to the bitter end, but today we're only going to play until the destruction of 3/4 of an army. After a heavy beating the other day, the Fellowship is out for vengeance against the minions of Saruman. Here are the forces for today's game...

Fellowship of the Ring: 500 points

Aragorn/Strider with bow - 180 points
Boromir of Gondor with Elven cloak - 115 points
Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood with armor - 95 points
Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Meriadoc Brandybuck - 10 points
Peregrin Took - 10 points

6 units, 2 bows + 1 thrown weapon, 6 heroes

The Fist of Isengard: 501 points

Uruk-Hai Captain with heavy armor and shield - 60 points
Vrasku - 60 points (ally: Isengard Raiders)
18 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields - 180 points
14 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes - 140 points
2 Uruk-Hai Warriors with crossbows - 22 points
1 Uruk-Hai Warrior with banner - 39 points

37 units, 2 crossbows + Vrasku, 2 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a "Meeting Engagement" game on a board that is 48" x 48". Each army places their troops within 18" of their corner and will fight until one side is reduced to 25% of its starting size. The side that reduces the enemy to 1/4 strength wins a major victory if at least 1 hero is still alive, while a minor victory is won if no hero is alive. None of the terrain has been placed within 12" of the center of the board.

For the purposes of this game, Merry and Pippen will not count as heroes. The rules of the game are a double-edge sword against the Fellowship: with only 6 units, the loss of 5 units will end the game (which could come quickly, as the last game showed), whereas if the Fellowship wins the game with more than just Merry and Pippen, they win a major victory. The only reason why this would matter is for the points scored next to each army record on the right sidebar.

The map is set up as follows (again, following the terrain of the Fellowship of the Ring Amon Hen sequence): there is the Amon Hen structure, three woods, a rocky outcrop (difficult terrain), a river with a ford, and three hills. The Fellowship won the roll off and have chosen to select their corner (the southwest corner), ceding priority to the Uruk-Hai for the first turn. After the last game, I need to be more careful with my army, but thankfully my army starts together this game, so I can come up with a strategy before I am attacked (and Merry and Pippen can duck out of the fight from the get-go).

Turn 1: Undaunted Will (Priority - Uruk-Hai)

The Uruks advance towards the Fellowship at top-speed. Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli casually advance into range of the on-coming Uruk army. Both Legolas and Aragorn prepare their bows to fire at the enemy, while Boromir heads over to join them. The hobbits remembered the last game and keep their heads down, hiding behind a rock.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas fires three arrows at the Uruk-Hai Captain, two of which hit their mark. After paying 1 Might point, Legolas wounded the Captain. The Captain snapped the shaft, let out a great howl, and all the Uruks around him prepared to surge forward (Fate save).
Kill count: Fellowship 0/37, Uruks 0/6.

Turn 2: Fly True (P - tied, Fellowship)

The Fellowship begins its retreat but prepares to fire again. The Uruks continue their slow advance, with the Phalanx on one end and the crossbow team on the other. I'm a bit concerned, to tell the truth - and look at that advancing Phalanx!
In the Shoot phase, Legolas paid another Might point (2/3 M) to wound the Captain yet again, bringing him one wound from death. Aragorn fumbled with his bow a bit this round, but otherwise nothing happened.
Kill count: Fellowship 0/37, Uruks 0/6.

Turn 3: To The River! (P - Fellowship)

Both armies continue to dance with the Fellowship baiting the Uruk-Hai and taking pot-shots as they retreat. The Uruk Captain has moved to the back rank of his formation, so it will be interesting to see what role he plays today. Minor objective of taking the enemy melee hero out of commission complete. No kills in the Shoot phase.
Kill count: Fellowship 0/37, Uruks 0/6. No kills so far in the game...this might be an all-time low.

Turn 4: The Dunedain Strikes True (P - tied, Uruk-Hai)

The Uruks have now forced my Fellowship to the river (which is exactly where I wanted them in the first place). My formation is set at the ford, with the hobbits ready to cover one flank if needed. The Uruks continue to press and their pike-banner combination is likely to make a real difference should my luck be the same as last game.
In the Shoot phase, Aragorn uses his free Might point to kill an Uruk-Hai with shield, making the banner-carrying Uruk a fair target for Legolas. Unfortunately, Legolas is unable to wound the banner-carrier, even though he loosed all three arrows against him. Tough nut to crack...
Kill count: Fellowship 1/37, Uruks 0/6.

Turn 5: The Volleys Are Answered (P - Uruks)

The armies continue to avoid each other, though Gimli has brought the Uruks into throwing-axe range. The crossbows prepare to fire for the first turn this round, so we'll see if they do much damage.
In the Shoot phase, Aragorn takes 1 wound from Vrasku (no Fate used), while the other crossbows fail to wound their targets (Aragorn and Gimli). Legolas shoots past the Uruk front line and nails an Uruk with pike in the second rank. Aragorn used his free Might point to hit an Uruk with shield, but failed to wound. Gimli fumbled for his axe and could not hit his target this round.
Kill count: Fellowship 2/37, Uruks 0/6.

Turn 6: The Deep Breath Before... (P - Uruk-Hai)

Boromir calls a heroic move to get Gimli and himself back towards the ford. The Uruks have closed the gap between the armies but still leave room for their crossbows to shoot this round. There will be melee blood next round...
In the Shoot phase, the Uruks leveled four shots at Aragorn. Two hit their target, but none wounded him. Silent Hallelujah right there. Though every unit except Boromir fired this round, only Legolas killed a unit and even he took down only one pikeman.
Kill count: Fellowship 3/37, Uruks 0/6.

Turn 7: A Clash of Arms (P - Uruk-Hai)

The Uruks have charged me, but I have met them at the ford. Swimming works as follows: the first time a model enters a river or lake, they move as if it were difficult terrain (half of movement for infantry). After that, a dice is rolled in each Move phase to see if the unit continues to treat it as difficult terrain, if it is treated as open ground, or to see if the unit drowns under the weight of his gear. A penalty of -1 is suffered if the unit wears heavy armor or Dwarf heavy armor (Uruk-Hai and Gimli have that standard) or if the unit bears a shield. This does not need to be rolled if the unit is at the ford. Uruks with shields drown on the roll of a 1-3, all others drown on the roll of a 1-2, as does Boromir and Gimli. Legolas has armor and so will drown on the roll of a 1, and Aragorn/Merry/Pippen cannot drown because they are unarmored.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas paid his last Might point to kill a pikeman supporting one of Boromir's attackers. Boromir now faces 4 attack dice instead of 6...yaye.
In the Fight phase, Aragorn called a heroic combat with his free Might point. He pays 1 Might to win the fight (1/3 M) and subsequently killed the Uruk he was fighting. He then advanced to engage one of the Uruks with shields fighting Gimli and an Uruk pikemen supporting his newly-conquered foe.
The rest of the fights went as expected: one of the Uruks fighting Boromir failed his courage test and Boromir went on to smote both of their heads from their shoulders (with one of the Uruks being trapped). Gimli handily won his fight with his two hand axes and promptly leveled the Uruk he was fighting. Aragorn won his fight easily enough, but failed to come remotely close to killing either of his opponents. Merry and Pippen, though valiant in their attempt to save Aragorn (and they really did free him up) promptly were shoved away by the Uruks and died (failing their Fate saves).
Kill count: Fellowship 8/37, Uruks 2/6.

Turn 8: Flurry of Blades and Futile Flailing (P - tied, Fellowship)

The Fellowship charges in a flurry of motion. Gimli seizes one of his throwing axes and with the aid of a Might point (1/3 M), slays the Uruk with shield he intended to charge. The Uruk who killed Merry and Pippen last turn and his first supporting pikemen both needed to take swimming tests, unfortunately, and each rolled a roll sufficient to drown (the end result on their dice would have been exactly 0 for each, so that's a shame but quite a feat). In the Shoot phase, Legolas let an arrow rip at a pikeman that Aragorn was fighting and unfortunately didn't roll high enough to wound him. With the crossbows moved this round, there was nothing else in the Shoot phase.
In the fights that ensued, Boromir paid a Might point (2/6) to win his fight after the Uruks successfully contested him in close-combat and slew one of his attackers. I could have killed another, but I would have had to pay 2 Might to do that and after last game, I need my Might to stay alive. Gimli wins his fight easily and promptly levels both of his foes. Aragorn pays his free Might point and one of his others (2/3 M) to win the fight and slays two of his foes. All told, the epic heroes this round killed 5 units...that's what I'm talking about!
Kill count: Fellowship 16/37, Uruks 2/6. The Uruks are 3 units away from breaking and 12 away from defeat. The Fellowship is 1 away from breaking and 3 away from defeat. On paper, it's still anyone's game...

Turn 9: The River Runs Red (P - Fellowship)

In their hour of great need, the Uruk Captain rallied his troops for a heroic move. The Fellowship heroes, knowing that Might is precious, decide to let the Uruks have their fun and cede the first move to them. The Uruks charged thusly. Boromir is trapped with the Captain in the same fight, while Gimli is ganged up on by six Uruk attack dice and no trapped units and Aragorn is stunted with 3 Uruk attack dice and only one killable unit. Oh, and the crossbows are cranking up for the Fight phase...and none of my units can move, since an Uruk with shield passed his swim test and the subsequent climbing test and engaged Legolas...great.
In the Shoot phase, the crossbows are the only units to act and Vrasku lands a wound on the embattled Legolas (1/3 Might used). Legolas saved it with a Fate point (1/3). The two guards of Vrasku with crossbows leveled their weapons to follow their captain's example. Both hit their targets (Aragorn and Legolas), but then needed to roll for in-the-way for their companions. The bolt intended for Aragorn hit him, but passed through his cloak harmlessly (failed to wound). The bolt leveled against Legolas went straight for his head, except at the last moment, the Uruk fighting Legolas moved into the path of the bolt and promptly crumpled to the ground. Besides the fact that this guy died, the only pity to it is that the Fellowship Shoot phase is over and Legolas can't fire this round now that he's freed up...grrr.
In the Fight phase, Boromir pays a Might point (3/6) to win his fight and fails to wound his opponents. Gimli also pays 1 Might to win his fight and fails to take down any of them too. Aragorn wins his fight easily and kills his opponent without using his free Might point. Perhaps a heroic combat would have been good right about now...oh well...
Kill count: Fellowship 18/37, Uruks 2/6. The Uruks are 1 unit away from breaking. Aragorn has 5 kills, Gimli has 4 kills, and Legolas and Boromir have 3 kills. 3 Uruks have been killed by the river or friendly fire. The only scoring unit on the other team is a single Uruk-Hai Warrior who drowned after shoving the hobbits underwater with his broad sword.

Turn 10: Broken (P - Fellowship)

The Fellowship heroes have scattered the ranks of the Uruk phalanx and are now taking apart the last of their forward strength. Legolas is free from melee fights for this turn, but he cannot escape the vision of the Uruk crossbows while still being able to fire this round (or risk being charged by Uruks across the ford).
In the Shoot phase, Legolas nails a pikeman who had trapped Boromir. He then turned to see Vrasku and his cronies fire their bolts at him. Two hit and wounded the great hero whose last 2 Might points both failed. Though the Uruks are broken now, the Fellowship lost its great archer and is also broken.
In the fights that subsequently raged, Aragorn killed two pikemen and Boromir killed the Captain. Gimli won his fight but failed to wound anyone. Still, he is alive and well and the world is looking good for the forces of Good as Turn 10 comes to a close...though neither side has won yet.
Kill count: Fellowship 22/37, Uruks 3/6. With both sides broken, we need to test and see how many units stay. It all depends on who gets priority now...

Here's what the battle looked like at the beginning of Turn 11 after an Uruk-Hai priority round: four Uruks fled the field and if each of the heroes kills one unit this round, the Uruks will lose the game. Due to the lateness of the hour, the fact that each hero at at least 1 Might point left, and the general discomfort of Gaius with how the melee fights were set, we called it a game as a major victory for the Fellowship.


Assessment by Gaius:

Well, we tried. The first terrain pieces placed were the river and forests and I placed terrain places I didn't want the battle to go to (really out of the way). I was banking on getting to choose my location first, but that didn't happen. Oh well. I tried crossing the river and it worked for one Uruk (not so good with the trapping units who fought Aragorn and ran into two angry hobbits though. Next fight we'll do better...though the next set is Goblin games, so we'll see how that goes.

Assessment by Tiberius:

Ah, when the heroes work, they're amazing. Case settled. No fights lost in close-combat means no getting pummeled to death mercilessly like we did last game. Makes the game so much more enjoyable. Though I love playing with all these heroes, the fact that they need to share kills really hurts their performance. Seven kills for Aragorn is still really good, but 4 for all the other heroes? That's an under-performance, especially for a game that fights on until 25% of one force is left. Still, an enjoyable game and one of the few to actually incorporate combat with water!

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Aragorn/Strider with bow

Gimli and Legolas both scored 4 kills, culminating in 40 points each. Boromir technically had the highest amount of points scored because of the Captain (who Legolas wounded twice), scoring a grand total of 90 points, which would be less if we gave 40 of the Captain's 60 points to Legolas because of the wounds he dealt. Aragorn, however, came out with 7 kills (most on the team) and single-handedly took warriors from the other player's plates and endured two showers of crossbow bolts (until Legolas was a likely candidate). It's so much fun to play with Aragorn, as his free Might point never ceases to do wonders for his survive-ability. Though all four heroes are amazing in their own right, I need to give this laurel to Aragorn.

Stellar unit for the Uruk-Hai: Vrasku

I try not to give it to heroes, but since we gave it to Aragorn above, we should go completely off merit. Merit works as follows: one Uruk killed Merry and Pippen. Another Uruk wounded Legolas and burned two of his Fate points. Vrasku wounded Aragorn and killed Legolas. Hmmm...hard choice. Vrasku also handily passed his Courage test to keep the other units in the game and always scored a hit each round. Sometimes the core units are disappointing...and when that happens, we may just have to pick a hero to give the award to.

1 comment:

  1. Well-played, gents -- I won't say that I was the only reason that you like Vrasku, Gaius, but I'm glad to see he's working for you like he works for me, :)

    As you experiment with him further, you will quickly discover that he pays for himself faster against units, though he is also a very effective hero-killer.