Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reconnoitre: Dwarves vs. Wood Elves that Fellowship season is over, we're going to take a new turn and play two catch-up games with some of the other armies (controlling Dwarves against the Wood Elves), getting everyone (except the Fellowship of course) to 14 games under their belts. I'm also training for the tournament I have coming up next month, where I will be taking my Dwarves against several different armies of evil. It will be after these games, that the priorities for these armies will be finally settled, based on the weaknesses of each army. Here are the forces in today's game:
Army of Erebor: 501 points

Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Balin, Son of Fundin - 75 points
8 Dwarf Warriors with shields - 72 points
10 Dwarf Warriors with Dwarf bows - 90 points
3 Dwarf Rangers with thrown weapons - 30 points
3 Dwarf Rangers with throwing weapons and two-handed weapons - 30 points
4 Dwarf Rangers with two-handed weapons - 28 points
2 Dwarf Ranger with Dwarf longbows - 20 points
3 Khazad Guards (Gimli) - 33 points
3 Khazad Guards (Balin) - 33 points

38 units, 12 bows + 8 thrown weapons, 2 heroes

The Defenders of Lothlorien: 501 points

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien - 130 points
Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood with armor - 95 points (ally: Fellowship of the Ring)
8 Wood Elf Warriors with Elven blades and thrown daggers - 80 points
12 Wood Elf Warriors with Wood Elf spears - 96 points
4 Wood Elf Warriors with Elven blades and Elf bows - 40 points
6 Galadhrim Warriors with Elf bows - 60 points

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

The scenario we will be playing is a Reconnoitre game on a board that is 48" x 48". The concept of the game is that the armies are trying to get scouts behind the enemy lines and the battle is merely a distraction for a few units to get across. The players place the terrain pieces one at a time, with none being closer than 6" to any board edge. The players then determine who will stake their side first (placing units within 6" of their board edge), while the other gets priority on the first turn. The game ends when one side is reduced to 25% of their starting force - killed, fled, or successfully scouted. Once this happens, tally up the number of units each side had cross over the enemy's board edge. The side with the most successful scouts wins (major victory scored if the opponent didn't have any units exit the board).

The map is set up as follows: there are three woods, two rocky terrain pieces, two cairns, a marsh, and newly constructed Dwarf Mine. The Dwarves won the roll off and have chosen to select their board edge (north edge), ceding priority to the Elves for the first turn. The game will end when there are 9 Dwarves or 8 Wood Elves remaining. The last time the Dwarves played this mission, they focused too much on cutting up the Uruk-Hai that they didn't get anyone across the Uruk board edge. I intend to not let that happen this game. Instead, with 2 heroes and 6 Might points means that there is the potential for some good Heroic Moves or Heroic Combats, both of which provide opportunities to score with units and have the heroes bludgeoning through the enemy ranks.
In this game, my Dwarves need to rely on two things: keeping my Rangers safe from Elven arrow fire and also utilizing rocky terrain to put some distance between my troops and the Elven warriors. I know from previous games that despite the Dwarf army's high defense rating, the accuracy of the Elven throwing weapons (and their large numbers and excellent melee abilities) makes terrain a must for this game.

Turn 1: Approaching The Foes (Priority - Elves)
Both armies advance and volley. Only Legolas hit anyone during the Shoot phase and failed to wound Balin with his arrow. The newest version of the marsh is at the bottom right and the mine is at the top right.
Kill count: Elves 0/38, Dwarves 0/32.

Turn 2: First Blood (P - Dwarves)
Both armies continue to press towards the center, with the Elves getting nearly to the half-way mark with a large portion of their army and the Dwarves bunkering down near one of the rocky terrain spots. I don't like having to wait for my troops in this game, but my rangers need protection...the slowness is really costing me though, since I'm probably going to have to run past the Elven archers.
The Dwarves volleyed and scored one hit, killing a Galadhrim archer. The Elves weren't happy with this, but the Dwarves were excited about drawing first blood.
In the Elven response (now shooting directly instead of with a volley), only half of the Elves hit their targets. Legolas paid 1 Might point to score not one but two kills, taking down a Dwarf Warrior with shield and a Khazad Guard. Ouch...
Kill count: Elves 2/38, Dwarves 1/32.

Turn 3: The Lady of Light (P - Dwarves)

The Elves sweep up to the center of the board with the Dwarves preparing for their assault. At this point, I'm actually wondering if I can catch them all, and with archery being tough to score kills, things are not looking good. Galadriel attempted to cast Command against Balin (who was barely within 12" of her), but failed (free Will point).
My Dwarves manage to score two volley hits and kill one Elf. Galadriel was assigned the first hit and avoided taking a wound with a Fate point (1/3, rerolled). You can see in this shot one of my Elves with spears who is being converted (far left, second rank). A better shot of both Elves who are getting spear conversions will show up later.
The Elven archers were unlucky again, except for Legolas, who scored two kills: a Khazad Guard and a ranger behind him (Bofur, no Might used this turn by Legolas). Gimli looks at his fallen friends and morns them.
Kill count: Elves 4/38, Dwarves 2/32.

Turn 4: A Lethal Barrage (P - Elves)

The Elves push to the left side of the board with most of their army, hoping to escape with a good chunk of their army and end the game quickly. The other Elves sit back with Legolas and continue to bombard the Dwarves with their bows. The Dwarves split forces and brace for the upcoming Shoot phase.
Despite their best attempts to brace for it, the Elves pummel the Dwarves. Two Galadhrim archers kill two Dwarves with shields, scoring the first kills for a non-hero Elf in the game. One of the Wood Elf archers then shoots Bombur (ranger with throwing axes and two-handed axe) from behind and Legolas shoots down two others (Oin and Dwalin). It's hard to see in this shot, but one of the Elves with throwing daggers on the far side killed Fili (ranger with longbow)...six dead Dwarves in one round.
The Dwarves respond by taking off another Fate point from Galadriel (2/3 Fate, rerolled) and killing an Elf swordsman in the Fight phase...not enough to counter the damage suffered last turn, but at least it was something.
Kill count: Elves 10/38, Dwarves 3/32. The Dwarves are 9 away from breaking, while the Elves are 13 away...and they outnumber the Dwarves.

Turn 5: Slinking Past (P - tied, Dwarves)

Pardon the glare from the sun. Things are not working out for my Dwarves but at last, I get priority in a round that matters. I've moved my throwing axes towards the Elven lines and try to get some of my heavier troops down to the exit...we'll see how those archers do against me.
Glare gone - movie magic! In the Shoot phase, Legolas stands out again, scoring two kills (1 Might, 2/3 total used): a Dwarf with shield and another Khazad Guard. Most of the Elves could only shoot at Gimli because of the rocks that hide my bearded fellows, and six of them scored 5 hits, three of which bounced off a rock, and the other two clattered at his damage done. The Dwarves responded with Balin throwing an axe directly in to the chest of a swordsman and a keen archer (not pictured here) shooting a spearman.
In the Fight phase, it was all Elves domination. Two of the Elven bladesmen wielded their weapons like two-handed weapons and came crashing down on their foes. Two Dwarves with shields died and one Khazad Guard escaped. I mentioned earlier that there were two spearmen in process of being converted...the one with the yellow twist-tie is the second of them (picture still to follow of the first guy we saw).
Kill count: Elves 14/38, Dwarves 5/32. The Dwarves are 5 away from breaking and 15 away from the game ending. The Elves are...not that close to losing (11 from breaking, 19 from ending the game).

Turn 6: The Chase Is On (P - Elves)
The board is fairly empty now, but both sides have units rushing for the exit. Statistically speaking, I shouldn't kill any of his Elves with my bows, and his Elves shouldn't kill more than 1 or 2 of my any rate, the odds aren't favoring me at all. Galadriel cast Immobilize on Balin, but he evaded the spell by using 2 Will points (2/3 Will).
Legolas' Elves take down three of the Dwarves seeking to escape off the board edge and it is Legolas who fails to kill anyone this round (not that he hasn't already done his fair share). Not pictured here, an Elven bladesman with throwing dagger killed Bifur (ranger with two-handed weapon). Who did the Dwarves kill at range? Why no one of course...
Both Gimli and Balin call heroic combats. Gimli wins his fight easily and charges towards the other fights near the rocks. Balin and his two companions (Thorin and Nori) fail to roll higher than a 4 and the Elf with sword rolls by himself a 6...Balin pays his last 2 Might points (knowing the game is nearing its end - GROAN) to win the fight and then kills him easily. He and his companions then charge towards the escaping Elves and their queen. Thankfully, the trapped status of the Elven swordsman allowed Balin and his friends to move an extra inch towards the attackers and thereby get the range they needed to charge (YAYE!!!).
In the other fights, the Dwarves dominated, winning most of the fights and killing 4 Elves. Balin and Thorin on the far right won their fights (despite being outnumbered) but neither of them managed to wound their foes. Kili (ranger with longbow) was trapped when he lost his fight but managed to not be wounded...yeah. :) By the way, this is the shot with the first converted spearman in it (right side next to the swordsman).
Kill count: Elves 18/38, Dwarves 11/32. The Dwarves are 1 away from breaking and 11 away from ending the game, while the Elves are 5 from breaking and 13 from ending the game.

Turn 7: Hopes Rise and Fall (P - Elves)
The Elves press hard towards the board edge, but a few of the Dwarves have closed in. My last hope is that I can kill enough Elves that the game ends (or lose enough Dwarves) and have no units cross over the enemy board edge. This will give me a draw and not a loss...which isn't very consoling. Galadriel attempted to Immobilize Balin, but with his final Will point, he successfully evaded the spell. He promptly charged the Elf queen while Thorin and Gloin charged the battle line of Elves.
In the Shoot phase, Thorin was cut down by a throwing dagger from one of the Elven bladesmen. The Dwarf archers returned the favor by scoring 5 hits (6s because of Galadriel, remember) and scoring 3 kills. Yes, that felt good. What didn't feel as good (not pictured here) were the 9 Elf archer shots at my lone Dwarf running for the objective, the 7 hits he received, and the two fatal wounds that killed him. Legolas, on the other hand, shot at a Khazad Guard with a keen arrow and didn't wound his target...again.
In the fights that ensued, one Elf was killed by Kili and Nori was killed by an Elf spearman. Both Gimli and Balin managed to lose their fights (Balin on a roll-off with Galadriel), but neither sustained damage. I'm a bit embarrassed about that though.
Kill count: Elves 21/38, Dwarves 15/32. The Dwarves are broken and are 8 away from the game ending. The Elves are 1 unit away from breaking and 9 away from ending the game, but at least two of their units are close to scoring. The nearest Dwarf is...not close.

Turn 8: Last Hope (P - Dwarves)

The Dwarves refuse to be beaten. Gimli and Balin both pass their courage tests and charge into nearby Elves. Balin happens to be able to move around Galadriel and successfully nails an Elf with a throwing axe (6 to hit, 6 to wound). He then charges the other Elf nearby. Gloin sees Balin's noble attempt to keep them in the game and charges towards Galadriel, overcoming his fear of the aura radiating from the Elf enchantress. Five Dwarf archers despair over the state of the field and flee, while the other five rush towards Gimli and hold on to hope. Dori killed another Elf with this throwing weapon and then watch as the Elves need to take courage tests. Legolas passes his easily as do the Elves around him. Six of them rush towards the opposite board edge, while the other three prepare to fire at the Dwarf archers moving towards the center.
In the Shoot phase, the Elves managed to kill a Dwarf archer and Legolas again failed to kill the Khazad Guard on the hill. Kili failed to kill an Elf archer (barely). You can see here the two Elves who were killed with throwing axes.
In the Fight phase, only one Elf died (killed by Gimli, 3/3 Might points used). All of the other Dwarves lost their fights (including Balin).
Kill count: Elves 22+5 fled/38, Dwarves 18/32. At the beginning of the next turn, the Dwarves won priority, but Galadriel tapped into her first Might point to call a heroic move. The action allowed one of the Elves to score and Galadriel was within one turn of scoring herself. With none of the Dwarves past the half-way mark, 6 Elf archers approaching the end of the board, and the Dwarves being 2 units away from reaching 25%, we called the game. Major victory for the Elves.


Assessment by Gaius:

The slowness of the Dwarves really hurt them this game (added to the damage the Elves caused from a distance). The Elves, for their part, beat the Dwarf heroes in several fights, keeping the Elves from breaking and the Dwarf heroes from being effective. I was bummed that Galadriel didn't cast any spells successfully on Balin once his Will ran out, but she definitely made up for that by beating him in close combat and keeping the Dwarf archers from cutting up my troops early in the game. And LEGOLAS - definitely worth the investment (and killing 8 units for a total of 75 points)...yes, I'm sad to leave him home for the tournament.

Assessment by Tiberius:

So the first game on this blog with my Dwarf Rangers was kind of rough...and the next game we have planned, a Meeting Engagement" may not go so well either. In that one, we are again playing until we reach 25% strength, but we're not trying to rush anyone off the board edge, which means that the Elves might bunker down and skirmish with me, but I won't be throwing heavy troops away trying to outrun Elven archers. All told, I thought most of the game was disappointing (once the melee started, things got better).

Stellar unit for the Elves: Galadhrim Warrior with Elf bow

It's hard to determine which shots are awarded to Wood Elf archers and Galadhrim archers, but I try to keep them sorted. Most of the kills this game (on both sides) were done with archery, and the Galadhrim bowmen killed 5 Dwarves. This just about pays for the squad and they very rarely go home without paying for themselves. In truth, I kind of need to give the award to Legolas, since the 8 kills for 75 points is quite impressive for any hero.

Stellar unit for the Dwarves: Dwarf Warrior with Dwarf bow

I don't know that anyone deserves this award, but the Dwarf archers killed more units than any other class. The 10 bearded fellows managed to kill a half-dozen Elves, with the heroes and rangers making up most of the other kills. Killing three of the Elves who approached the board edge was quite good, though the fact that three of these guys fled was not a good sign. This game was not a typical Dwarf game with the need to race across the field and all, so we'll see how the next game goes.


  1. Tiberius, if that's the Dwarf army you're using in the tournament, I look forward to seeing it in combat -- well fought. As Gaius mentioned, I think that since the game required distance to be covered in addition to the norms of war, I think it was an uphill battle to start with. Well done.

    At some point I look forward to playing Gaius and his Elves....Perhaps you could help to arrange it?

    1. Gaius is going to be out of town for the weekend, but since he uses _my_ Elves, we might be able to set something up. :)