Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wrong Turn: The Fellowship vs. Goblins

This game will be the first game between the Fellowship and my Goblin army. This game is not going to be an even points battle because of the way the scenario is set up. The Fellowship will have the equipment they had during the traditional fight in Moria. Before we see what the scenario is, let's look at the forces in this battle.

Fellowship of the Ring: 785 points

Aragorn/Strider with bow - 180 points
Gandalf the Grey - 170 points
Boromir of Gondor - 105 points
Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood - 90 points
Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Frodo Baggins with Sting and mithril mail - 100 points
Samwise Gamgee - 30 points
Meriadoc Brandybuck - 10 points
Peregrin Took - 10 points

9 units, 2 bows + 1 thrown weapon, 9 heroes

The Denizens of Moria: 235 points

Cave Troll with troll chain - 85 points
10 Goblin Warriors with shields - 50 points
10 Goblin Warriors with spears - 50 points
10 Goblin Warrior with Orc bows- 50 points

31 units, 10 Orc bows + 1 thrown weapon, 0 heroes

The scenario we will be playing the "Wrong Turn" scenario on a board that is 48" x 48". The Fellowship is set up within 4" of the center of the southern board edge. No evil models are placed on the board, but there are four zones that the board is divided into. Zone 1 is the northern board edge. Zones 2 and 3 are the East and West board edges, respectively. Zone 4 is the southern board edge. After the Fellowship has set up, the Goblin player rolls a dice: on the roll of a 1-4, up to 10 units are placed in Zone 1. On a 5, up to 10 units may be placed in either Zone 2 or Zone 3. On the roll of a 6, up to 10 units may be placed in Zone 4. These units may move, shoot, and charge as normal when they arrive.

At the beginning of each Goblin Move phase, roll a dice as laid out above, but on a 1-3, up to 10 units may be placed in Zone 1. On a 4, up to 10 units are placed in Zone 2. On a 5, up to 10 units are placed in Zone 3, and on a 6, up to 10 units are placed in Zone 4. Starting on Turn 4, units who have been slain in combat may be brought back to represent the tide of Goblins in Moria. During Turn 3, however, only 1 unit will be placed.

The map is set up with a lot of walls, field boundaries, rocks, and mineworkings. The walls have been set up to clearly identify a line that shows what is 12" south of the northern board edge. The Fellowship must have three heroes cross this line and have five heroes escape off the southern board edge. If five of the Fellowship are killed (or if Frodo is killed), the Goblin player wins. For the purposes of this game, Frodo is too afraid of Sauron to put on the One Ring. 
You will also notice in the First turn picture that Gaius rolled a 6 to place his starting units and placed 10 archers in Zone 4 (my starting zone). Since these units are usually placed in the center of the board edge and this would quickly lead to a slaughter fest that would be truly one-sided, I allowed Gaius to place his units anywhere within 4" of the southern board edge, as I had done. This will be interesting...

Turn 1: Ambushed! (Priority - Goblins)
As you can see, Gaius got his 10 additional units this round in my base, so I haven't gone very far. Well, this is shaping up well, don't you think? Gandalf cast Blinding Light, so his archers at least won't be doing much. As expected, nothing of importance happened in the Shoot phase.
Gimli and Aragorn called heroic combats during the Fight phase (Gimli 1/3, Aragorn free): both of them kill their targets with the aid of their friends and they break apart across the battlefield. Gimli and Boromir head off to scout ahead, while Aragorn takes on the Goblin archers and Legolas bails Gandalf and Pippen out of trouble.
In the other fights, Gandalf uses Glamdring the Foe Hammer to slay a Goblin easily, while Legolas takes out his supporting Goblin with spear. Frodo loses his fight but is not wounded and Sam and Merry both win their fights, but neither is strong enough to break through the tough armor of the Goblins.
Fellowship members slain: 0/9

Turn 2: A New Tide (P - tied, Fellowship)

Gandalf casts Terrifying Aura and now instills fear in the Goblins. 10 more Goblins arrive to the right of my army and I'm hoping Boromir, Gimli, and later Aragorn can sneak past the Goblins.
Legolas nails two Goblins in the Shoot phase and evades one wound from six Goblin arrows with a Fate save (1/3). Legolas' arrows rarely fail to pay-off and being able to nail two Goblins when I'm overwhelmed by opponents from the start is a huge help.
Aragorn calls a heroic combat (free) and slays the two Goblins he is fighting (1/3 Might). Here you can see the other three Goblin archers who shot at Legolas. Aragorn then proceeded to run north towards Boromir and Gimli. As a side note, I LOVE having Aragorn in my armies because of his free Might point. I've considered building a Rohan army just so I have cheap units to put him with, but we'll see if that ever gets off the ground.
In the other fights, Gandalf loses to the two Goblins he is fighting and avoids taking a hit with a Fate point (1/3 - rerolled). Merry and Pippen win their fight and trap their opponent, but unfortunately the shield of their foe gave him the advantage and they failed to wound him (needing to roll 6s to wound against D5 units with the three lesser hobbits is a real pain). Sam and Frodo both lose their fights: Sam's foe shielded and so did no wound and Frodo escaped unscathed.
Fellowship members slain: 0/9

Turn 3: The Ground Shakes (P - Goblins)

AHHH! The Troll arrived on the roll of a 6, which means he's in my zone...Gandalf called a heroic move to make sure that Troll didn't go anywhere.Gandalf used 2 Will points (free, 1/6) to ensure that the Troll was immobilized. Whew, that was close. I made the decision that I was going to try to kill the Troll while he was immobilized instead of trying to command him away for several turns or try to evade him (that could eat up my Might points pretty quickly, and I get the feeling I'm going to need them).
The other moves were a bit predictable: Gandalf and Legolas charged the Troll, hoping to slay him as he is trapped on the rock. Merry and Pippen charged a spearman (who was later aided by a friendly spearman to break up the fight) and Sam charged headlong into two Goblins with shields. Their spear support later wrapped around Sam, trapping him. The only error I made was that Gandalf called the heroic move and not Legolas: Frodo was outside of Gandalf's range and so was engaged by 3 Goblin archers. If this had been done differently (or if Gandalf would have backed up towards Frodo), Sam wouldn't be trapped and the archers wouldn't have reached the combat. Oh well...
Nothing happened in the Shoot phase. The Fights broke out like this: Frodo paid a Might point to win his fight and paid another (2/2) to slay a Goblin archer. Sam flew his pan around and scored the needed 6 on his dice to win the fight and slew a Goblin spearman (also on the roll of a 6). Merry beats the Goblin he is fighting, but Pippen loses the fight narrowly, is successfully wounded, and fails his Fate save. The Goblins have claimed their first kill against the Fellowship. Gandalf uses his staff, but Legolas is the one to win the fight and slay the Troll due to him being trapped on the rock. Best part of all - no might used. I'm pretty stoked.
Fellowship members slain: 1/9

Turn 4: Clearing The Camp (P - Goblins)

The Goblins engage everyone except Gandalf at the Fellowship base and begin to close in on the other heroes racing towards the northern board edge. Gandalf immobilizes one of the archers fighting Frodo and frees Sam up from fighting two enemies. Again, nothing happened in the Shoot phase.
In the Fights that ensued, Legolas beat the spearman he was fighting and paid a Might point to kill him (1/3). Frodo loses his fight, but the one Goblin who can wound him is unable to score a blow. Gandalf unleashes Glamdring on another Goblin and slays him easily. Merry is angry over the death of his cousin and wins his fight, but is unable to control his anger and score a blow. Beyond all this, it is Sam who steals the limelight and wields his pan in another flurry against a single Goblin foe. Though he does not score a 6 to win the fight, he wins nonetheless and scores another 6 to wound, this time killing a shield-bearing Goblin. "I think I'm getting the hang of this!"
Fellowship members slain: 1/9

Turn 5: The Trap Closes (P - Goblins)

As this turn began, we technically had 10 minutes left, so we were racing the clock. Five more Goblins arrived in Zone 1 at the top of the board and the Goblins continue to close in on Aragorn, Boromir, and Gimli (some are drawing arrows to shoot this round). Gandalf "commands" one of the Goblins nearing the south side backwards to delay the foes a bit, while assisting Merry in his fight. The other fights appear to be manageable. NOTE: we realized just after taking this picture that I hadn't moved Aragorn, Boromir, and Gimli, so I moved them up towards the enemy, since technically the next phase hadn't started.
In the Shoot phase, three arrows are loosed and all three clatter harmlessly to the floor. Yaye! In the Fight phase, Legolas does his job and wounds the Goblin he is fighting. Gandalf and Merry fail to wound their Goblin, which is pathetic. Frodo and Sam lose their fight which might be even more pathetic.
Fellowship members slain: 1/9

Turn 6: The Waves Hit (P - Fellowship)

The Fellowship has manuevered a bit to try to get a better position and Legolas prepares to fire into the new Goblins who have arrived. Gandalf fails to immobilize one of the Goblin archers who charges towards the Fellowship and one new Goblin arrived in Zone 4 to distract Sam and split up the fight. Boromir and Gimli charge the Troll to the north, but Boromir is separated from the fight by two Goblins. Legolas hit two of the Goblins in the Shoot phase, but failed to wound them.
Gimli and the Troll roll off after a close fight and the Troll wins. He fails to wound Gimli though, and the tough armor of the Dwarf stays strong. Boromir pays a Might point (1/6) to win his fight and slays the Goblin he is facing easily.
Frodo and Sam both win their fights (Sam with another 6), but neither wounds their opponents. Bummer, as more Goblins arrive. Gandalf pays a Might point (2/3) to wound the Goblin he and Merry are fighting and uses his staff to kill him.
Fellowship members slain: 1/9

Turn 7: Flee! (P - tied, Fellowship)

With this won priority, the Fellowship wins: the three heroes out front cross the line, indicated by the terrain pieces...
The three hobbits escape and Gandalf uses 4 Will points (free, 4/6) to ensure that a Goblin archer is commanded away from Legolas and he is free to escape. Gandalf escapes himself and that makes five Fellowship heroes cross the board edge to end the game. I'm sure the Fellowship heroes on the other side of the board would have done well in their fights (with perhaps Boromir dying if the Troll won the roll), but we didn't see a point in finishing the round as the Fellowship already won.
Fellowship members slain: 1/9. The game ended after 70 minutes of game play, so not too long after a draw was in order. As only one hero was slain, we are awarding a major victory to the Fellowship.


Assessment by Gaius:

Well, that was close. The three archers on the left should probably have charged into Gandalf and Merry instead of pursuing the heroes with their bows, but I wasn't getting any use out of the archers and I wanted a shot at that (pun DEFINITELY intended). Besides that, it would have been better to have gotten some units approaching from the left board edge, but that just didn't happen. I had a chance to kill Sam and I didn't get it and I had several chances to kill Merry (which also didn't happen). If these had opened up as opportunities, the additional Goblins could probably have killed either Legolas or Gandalf, ending the game with a Goblin victory. My hat off to Sam and Merry for staying alive and saving their team.

Assessment by Tiberius:

I really enjoyed that game. I didn't get the typical game play that I get with Gimli, Boromir, and Aragorn (after Turn 2 at any rate), but it was still fun. Gandalf and Legolas are great anchors for keeping a team alive if you can limit the number of attackers they have and so I was pleased that they aided in keeping the hobbits alive. By far the best moment was seeing the 6 on the dice when the Troll arrived, though closely followed by seeing Sam roll a 6 to beat the four Goblins he fought (then rolling a 6 to wound one of them). Great game overall and I'm psyched about the next game against the Goblins.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood

I don't give Legolas the credit he deserves very much, but Legolas truly is a stellar hero. For under 100 points (unless he has an Elven cloak), he is a superb archer and a skilled fighter. When he is not trapped by enemies, he can be very deadly and wounds everyone with Defense 6 or less on a 5+, ensuring that in a close fight one of his foes is going to fall. Today, he dealt the blows needed to win the fight against the Troll and deal 3 wounds, as well as killing 5 Goblins, two at range. An honorable mention goes to Sam who nearly killed his weight in points of units and succeeded in winning three fights on the roll of a 6, including one against 4 opponents (the worst fight of the day). We pay you the homage you're due, Samwise Gamgee.

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Goblin Warrior with Spear

Spearmen in these games don't get awards very often because they tend to support their friends and often aren't as tough as their comrades (mostly because we don't want to pay the points to make them as tough). Their usefulness against the Fellowship cannot go unstated though (or against any great hero). Since the spear unit cannot be killed in the melee battle, he is able to contribute to the fight without risking his neck against a stellar hero. This is particularly useful when fighting a hero like Boromir, who benefits from being outnumbered  by his foes: two attack dice without needing to roll for a courage test is very, very nice. In this case, a Goblin with spear not only scored the only kill of the game for the Goblins, but also survived for two more rounds against Merry and Gandalf. Pretty good, guy, pretty good.

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