Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brawl: Rohan + Lothlorien vs. Harad + Moria


Recently I met to play a mega-game with Zorro, Centaur, and our mutual friend Kel'tac. Centaur brought out his Rohan army, anxious to try out his new Eomer model (hitherto unpainted, but has a much better stat-line than his previous Eomer). Kel'tac decided to take my Elves for a spin because of their ability to shoot into the enemy with most of its troops (and it possesses a mage of unequaled power). Zorro brought back out his Haradhrim Serpent Horde (which you might recall from my last humongous fight, written about here), and I wanted to try out my Goblin force that is finally large enough to fight well. Here are the forces we played with:

The Defenders of Rohan: 499 points

Eomer, Marshall of the Riddermark with armored horse - 130 points
2 Riders of Rohan with throwing spears - 30 points
6 Rohan Royal Guards with throwing spears - 72 points
6 Warriors of Rohan with shields - 42 points
6 Warriors of Rohan with shields and throwing spears - 54 points
1 Warrior of Rohan with banner - 31 points
5 Warriors of Rohan with bows - 35 points
Ally: Boromir of Gondor - 105 points

28 units, 7 bows + 12 thrown weapons, 2 heroes

The Defenders of Lothlorien: 501 points

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 130 points
8 Wood Elf Warriors with throwing daggers and Elven blades - 80 points
12 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf spears - 96 points
4 Wood Elf Warriors with Elf bows and Elven blades - 40 points
6 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows - 60 points
Ally: Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood with armor - 95 points

32 units, 11 Elf bows + 8 thrown weapons, 2 heroes

The Serpent Horde: 501 points

The Golden King of Abrakhan - 115 points
8 Abrakhan Guards - 64 points
22 Haradhrim Warriors with spears - 132 points
15 Haradhrim Warriors with bows - 90 points
Ally: Dalamyr, Fleetmaster of Umbar - 100 points

47 units, 15 bows + 1 thrown weapon, 2 heroes

The Denizens of Moria: 500 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Goblin Shaman - 45 points
1 Cave Troll with Troll Chain - 85 points
16 Goblin Warriors with shields - 80 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears - 80 points
14 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 70 points
Ally: The Witch King of Angmar with 2M/10W/0F - 80 points

50 units, 14 Orc bows + 1 Troll Chain, 3 heroes

We played a "brawl" game on a table that we later found to have a gap of more than 60" between armies. This meant that we didn't get into the action for a bit. As such, I'm going to begin relaying the events of the battle starting on Turn 5. In the rounds before this, the Haradhrim archers killed one Rohan archer and one Galadhrim archer (which is why we skipped these turns).

The map had a few woods, rocks, and two towers for the teams to use if they wish. At the center of the map was a set of ruins which would facilitate combat later in the battle.



Turn 5: The Armies Close On Each Other (Priority - Evil)

Here you can see the armies beginning to close on each other. As the evil forces have the only volley teams left in the game (Elves lost theirs on the second turn), the forces of evil have crossed the field with impunity. Technically, I suppose, we could have sat back and fired all day, but the Goblins are firm believers in not having a strategy. There is a huge melee block of Elves to the bottom right and several moderate contingents of Rohan Warriors on the rest of the field. The woods near the center-right of the picture hold a group of Elven archers (no surprise, right?). The forces of Moria (bottom) and Harad (left) approach a ruin in the middle, hoping to get some quick fighting in.
As is the case with most volley rounds, this Shoot phase was fairly uneventful. Two Rohan Warriors died, but that was about it.
Kill count: Evil 4/60, Good 0/97.



Turn 6: The Prowess Of The Elves (P - Good)

Here we are at another move phase. The Goblins have charged into the ruins and are seeking cover behind the walls. The Troll, who arrived first to the ruins, is looking for cover behind the building from Legolas' keen bow (he's perched in a tower on the opposing side). None of the other armies are really opposing the Goblins right now, which makes me happy.
The one thing about not having priority is you get to see your units killed first. The Galadhrim archers fired into the ruins and slew two Goblins, scoring the first kills for their side.
Legolas and one of his companion Wood Elves would not be beaten in this contest and each scored another kill, bringing the total kills for the forces of Good to four. Not pictured here, the forces of evil killed four Elven spearmen (two killed by Goblins, two killed by Haradhrim). 
Kill count: Evil 8/60, Good 4/97.



Turn 7: The Charge And A Barrage (P - Evil)

I didn't get a map picture for this turn, but the Riders of Rohan did something unexpected. They charged head-long towards the archers of Harad. Eomer led them in a column formation, blocking most of the archers from seeing his men behind him. At this close range, the archers leveled their bows, took aim, and loosed a barrage. All of the horses and riders survived the hailstorm, which led Centaur to be rather happy with his maneuver and give it the thumbs-up that you can see at the top of the picture. You will see why this maneuver paid off in full next turn.
While the Haradhrim were busy doing nothing against the riders, the Goblins were making up for lost time. They scored four or five volley hits against the center formation of Rohan Warriors and succeeded in killing two Galadhrim archers and two Rohan Warriors. I was very pleased with my volley team, as 14 Goblins can manage to deal a lot of damage if given the chance. Added to their two other kills, the Goblins have killed a grand total of six units and a combined 50 points (which almost pays for the volley team itself)! I think during this turn, the Witch King attempted to cast "Sap Will" on Galadriel. He rolled a 1 on the one dice he used and didn't feel like using both of his Might points  (1/10 Will).
Kill count: Evil 12/60, Good 4/97.



Turn 8: The Arrows Fly From All Sides (P - Evil)

So, two turns in a row I've forgotten to take a map picture (can you blame me, I was enjoying the game!). The Goblins, as you can see, made it to the ruins and began to reinforce their position. Eomer and his cavalry are now safe from Haradhrim archery and approach the ruins. The Elves, however, pour arrows into the Goblins, landing one wound on Durburz. Legolas uses his keen archery skills and nails the Troll, dealing him his first wound (1/3 Might used). Elsewhere on the field, the Haradhrim killed one Rohan Royal Guard.
Kill count: Evil 13/60, Good 4/97.



Turn 9: The Keen Archer (P - Good)

The forces of Good are charging and we have our first melee fights (it's about time...time passes so quickly on these blogs). The Witch King targeted Eomer with a "Transfix" spell, which he spent two Will casting (3/10).
The Elves score two kills with their throwing daggers, nailing a few Goblins before the fighting begins. The archers from Rohan killed a Haradhrim archer, as did one Galadhrim archer.
Legolas shot into the combat with the Troll and wounded the Troll again (2/3 wounds, no Might used). Eomer called a heroic combat but lost it (1/3 Might), as the Goblin fighting with the Troll rolled a 6 and the Troll had a higher fight value. It is interesting to note here that if the Goblin had been killed by Legolas instead of racking up another wound on the Troll, Eomer would have won the fight...and possibly killed the Troll. Good Goblin. The result was that the Troll killed Eomer's horse and dealt two wounds to the famed hero. Eomer took one of them and saved another with a Fate point (1/3 Fate). In the nearby fight, you can see that the Rider of Rohan killed the Goblin he was fighting. This fight was a no-contest in every respect.
Kill count: Evil 13/60, Good 9/97.



Turn 10: The Attack Closes In (P - Good)

My Goblins are attempting to build a strategy for fighting these Elves and so we pull back just a little. The Troll and a few Goblins are stuck in the ruins (a very tight spot), but besides that,t he fights are looking rather good. Galadriel immobilized the Troll (didn't see that one coming), using her Free Will point and one from her store (1/6 Will). I should also mention that she has her "Cast Blinding Light" spell on, cast in the first turn as normal.
The Haradhrim archers take aim at the Rohan Warriors and slay two of them. The archers of Rohan claim another Haradhrim archer and two Galadhrim archers and a Wood Elf archer kill three more Haradhrim. Ouch...
...But even that round of archery was not the worst toll of the round ont he armies of Evil. The throwing weapons of the Elves slew four of the front-line Goblin Warriors, doubling their kills for this round. I'm really not happy right now...
In the Fight phase, the Rohan Rider kills one of his foes, which is unexpected. The Troll, however, rolls a 6 on his dice to win the fight and none of his foes roll a 6 (or care to spend the Might to win it). I've never seen an immobilized unit defeat 5 dice on the attack before...that's really neat.


Kill count: Evil 15/60, Good 12/97. The forces of Good are 15 units from breaking, while the forces of Evil are 37 units away...this could be really good.



Turn 11: A Flurry Of Steel (P - Good)

Here is where the game gets interesting. The Good forces won the priority this round and charged my Goblins (in a way, that's what I wanted). They slew three Goblins with their throwing daggers, racking up a few extra kills before the Fight phase. Galadriel immobilized the Troll again (2/6 Will + free one) and I'm expecting my Troll to fall in tatters. One of the Rohan Riders dismounts from his horse and Eomer attempts to mount it. On the roll of a 6, Eomer may move the rest of his move distance towards the Troll. As he prepares to charge it, he notices just how large his opponent is and hesitates (failed his Terror test). I'm saved...except for the Rohan Royal Guard I still need to fight (bodyguard rule is very neat).
In the Shoot phase, Legolas killed a Haradhrim archer, as did one of the Galadhrim archers. One of the Rohan archers killed an Abrakhan Guard and one of the Haradhrim archers peered through a window at Legolas and loosed an arrow straight and true. At the last minute Legolas blinked (or something) and the arrow missed him (Fate save). In the Fight phase, the Elves had a bitter clash against the Goblins, slaying one spearman and losing one spearmen and two swordsmen. Elsewhere on the field, the Rohan Rider was brought down and killed by the Goblins he was fighting.
Kill count:  Evil 19/60, Good 19/97. Good has now tied Evil in kills, but the forces of darkness are still 30 units from breaking the armies of Evil and only have a cushion of 11 units before they break.



Turn 12: The Crash And A Cry (P - Good)

The armies continue to clash at the bottom of the frame and the armies of Harad are finally getting into the action (just as I'm falling to pieces). Nothing of interest happens in the Move phase, besides the fact that Eomer is now on my side of the battlefield instead of the Haradhrim side...because all I need right now is another powerful hero killing my troops. In the Shoot phase, two Haradhrim archers are killed by Elven archers and another is killed by a Rohan archer. The Haradhrim respond by wounding Legolas up in his tower (no Fate Save). But one other...infinitely more important thing happened in the Shoot phase...
Oh bugger...yes, this was by the keen blonde archer in the tower, who paid his second Might point to kill him. Things are officially pretty bad for the forces of Evil. You can see in this picture, though, that Haradhrim Warriors have begun to reinforce my flank. Yaye.
Pardon the blurriness. Eomer called a heroic combat with one helping Rohan Warrior and he successfully kills him (3/3 Might points used). After five deadly slashes, Eomer and his Rohan companion charged to other fights.
Eomer and his Rohan supporter, as you can see, evened out fights against the Elves on this flank. The lone Goblin archer that you see was "Commanded" by Galadriel...so he's kind of out doing his own thing now.
In the fights that ensued, Eomer killed the Goblin spearman who was supporting the archer killed earlier. The Elves killed two Goblins while the Goblins returned the favor and killed three Elves. Two other Goblins were wounded in this fight, but the fury of their Shaman caused them to ignore their wounds (6+ Fate Save for the win). Two Rohan royal guards killed yet another Goblin, further increasing the death count in favor of the forces of Good.
Kill count: Evil 22/60, Good 28/97. The forces of Evil are 22 units away from breaking, while the forces of Good are 8 units away.



Turn 13: The War Wages (P - Good)

So, I feel terrible about this, but I completely forgot to take pictures of this round. Sorry. Here's a basic re-cap of what happened.

In the Move phase, Durburz called a Heroic Move and as there were no other heroes nearby with Might points to oppose him, he and his posse of Goblins charged towards the enemy (and a few nearby Haradhrim charged too). The Witch King peeped around the corner, cast Transfix on Eomer (6/10 Will), and Eomer failed to resist the spell. Galadriel cast "Command" on the Goblin archer again and moved him further from the battlefield...that Lady of Light annoys me sometimes.

Legolas shot a Goblin archer while one of his Galadhrim comrades killed a Haradhrim archer. One of the Rohan archers shot the Goblin archer who had been commanded by Galadriel, which was a bit anti-climactic for the archer. In the Fights that ensued, one Elf spearman was killed by a Goblin archer, two Goblins were killed by an Elf and a Rohan Royal Guard, and an Abrakhan Guard killed a Rohan Royal Guard.

Kill count: Evil 24/60, Good 33/97. In what appears to be a come-from-behind move, the forces of Good are keeping close in the kill-count, as they need to kill 17 units before they lose 6.



Turn 14: The Champions Emerge (P - Evil)

Here we are again, now closing on the fifth hour of combat (like I said, this game was LOOOONG). The Witch King immobilized Eomer again (7/10 Will) and the Lady of Light has engaged a foe in close-combat. Not much else happened in the Move phase, but in the Shoot phase, Legolas killed an Abrakhan Guard, which should help a bit in the ensuing fights.
Three heroic combats were called in the Fight phase: Boromir performed his first (1/6 Might), then Dalamyr (1/1 Might), then Galadriel (1/3 Might). Galadriel killed a Goblin archer with the help of her bodyguards. These men then rushed to other fights, as you will see.
On the other side of the field, Boromir killed a Haradhrim spearman (he needed to pay 4/6 Might to do it) and Dalamyr moved past a Rohan Royal Guard (killed with a thrown dagger) and he killed the banner bearer standing in this shot. He then moved on to attack one of the Rohan warriors further in line (see below). The fights here are fairly evenly spread though, so we were anxious to see how the battles fared.
Boromir killed his foe and Dalamyr killed his. Besides that, one Rohan Royal Guard was killed. The rest of the Rohan remained steadfast and avoided being killed, which is typical of Centaur's troops.
As you can see here, one Rohan Warrior was killed, as was one Goblin Warrior. Not much happened in the center.
The Elves fought hard against the Goblins. They killed two of them (Galadriel scoring a second kill) and suffered only one loss in return.
Kill count: Evil 29/60, Good 40/97. We played through one more round and on that round a lot of Goblins fell, as did a few more Good models. With both sides broken, we saw what state the heroes were in because of the presence of the Goblin King. Boromir was forced to flee (costing a few Will points) and without a power player on that side of the field, we decided to call the game. With all of the forces of Evil within Stand Fast! range of Durburz, the Witch King, or the Golden King (each with at least 2 points to boost their scores), the chance of evil units fleeing the field was small. With both sides being broken, this was a minor victory for the forces of evil.



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

The game was very, very long. Since most of us are tactical players, having such a large space between armies made the slug-fest delayed for nearly three hours of game play (during a 5 hour game). This wasn't very conducive to having a good game, as caution came with the cost of time. My rush towards the center eventually got me pummeled by the hammer arm of both enemy armies and left my army tattered. To be honest, the only thing I would have done differently in this game was start my Shaman near my front lines. It didn't strike me until late in the game that my archers were not going to be shot at (only one volley team on the enemy side and that was broken early in the game). With this comes the need to always be aware of my Fury-infused 6+ Fate Saves for my Goblins, which ended up saving 3 of my men, but would have saved another if I had remembered.

By far the best part of the game was seeing Eomer and his two accompanying riders charge towards the Haradhrim archers and come out alive, kicking, and around my flank. Pretty gutsy, clever move on Centaur's part. My least favorite part of the game was counting up the dead at the end and realizing I had lost 35 units out of my initial 50 (three of which were heroes that aren't very combat-oriented).

Stellar unit for Good: Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood with armor

Elf archers are absolutely amazing. Besides being able to kill units with D4 or D5 on 5s, they also hit their targets more often than many other archers (especially those that were used in this game). Legolas is of course the most beastly archer of the bunch, shooting up to three times each round and being able to shoot into friendly combats if he uses a single precise arrow. In this game, he not only dealt three wounds to the Cave Troll, but also sniped Goblins and Haradhrim. By far, he was the most effective hero in the game, killing more units than anyone else. Boromir and Dalamyr were more active near the end and Galadriel and Eomer were certainly active in breaking the Goblin front, but Legolas' effectiveness was invaluable to the offensive efforts of the forces of Good. Legolas also killed more than his points worth of units, slaying a solid 97 points worth of units by the time the fight was over.

Stellar unit for Evil: Haradhrim Warrior with Bow

Shooting made up a good portion of this game because of the size of the field we chose. The archers of Harad did a great job of shooting throughout the game and though they failed to take down the Rohan riders, their effectiveness against the Elves was much better. In total, the 15 archers killed 9 units, totaling 75 points and wounded Legolas once (and burned 1 Fate point from the famed archer). If it weren't for the general feeling of being rolled on the right flank by the Elves, I'd give the title to the Goblin archers because of their effectiveness in volley fire, but alas, they don't get that title this time. Still, the Goblins did kill more than their points worth of units and as a division in the game killed more than any other piece of the Evil army. Go gobbies!

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