Friday, April 27, 2012

Amon Hen: The Uruk-Hai vs. The Fellowship

So...after so long without a post, here's what the Uruks looked like as of yesterday...
Dreadful shot, I know. This is actually a shot from a web cam (old camera finally died on me, so we're looking for a new one). In the meantime, later on this weekend, I hope to get some better shots of this army, so we'll see how that works out.
 Slightly better pic, but still not very good. I finished the detail work and washes for my Uruk-Hai and needed to get a game in. Gaius wasn't free today (as he works on Thursday), so I actually played a game with my wife, Elliryana. She doesn't play very often, but her record right now against me is 2-1-1. She's pretty good, actually. :) We try not to be too competitive at home, so we played the Amon Hen scenario from the Free Peoples Sourcebook with a bit of a twist. The points weren't even, but the fight was fairly close:

The Fist of Isengard: 363 points

Lurtz (Captain with shield stand-in) - 60 points [Commanded by Elliryana]
Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields - 90 points
3 Uruk-Hai Warriors with crossbows - 33 points

Uruk Captain with two-handed axe and heavy armor - 60 points [Commanded by Tiberius]
6 Uruk-Hai Warriors with shields - 60 points
6 Uruk-Hai Warriors with pikes - 60 points

26 units, 3 crossbows + 1 Orc bow, 2 heroes

The Fellowship: 695 points

Aragorn with  with Elven cloak and bow - 190 points [Commanded by Elliryana]
Gimli  with Elven cloak - 100 points
Samwise Gamgee  with Elven cloak - 40 points
Peregrin Took with Elven cloak - 20 points

Legolas  with Elven cloak 100 points [Commanded by Tiberius]
Boromir with Elven cloak 115 points
Frodo Baggins  with Elven cloak and mithril mail and Sting 110 points
Meriadoc Brandybuck  with Elven cloak 20 points

8 units, 1 Elf bow + 1 bow + 1 throwing axe + 4 thrown rocks, 8 heroes

The Amon Hen scenario is structured like this: the Amon Hen structure was in the southeast corner, while the rest of the board is littered with forest terrain, rocky ground, and a marsh. The Uruks began with priority, as they were surprising the Fellowship. To win the game, the Fellowship needs to get Frodo and Sam to the ships at the northwest corner (represented in our game). Evil, on the other hand, needs to run off any board edge (except near the area with the boats) with three or more hobbits. Any other scenario is a draw.

So my wife and I didn't take pictures as we went, but I'll try to explain what happened. You may have noticed in the pic up top that I painted Saruman yesterday and I'm really looking forward to using him soon, but right now we're just using a handful of Uruk-Hai. We're following warband rules (and honestly, I would have chosen my army a little differently if the warband rules didn't apply, but whatever) and deploying them appropriately.

Turn 1: The Enemy Appears (Priority - Uruks)

The armies move towards each other and the Fellowship responds to the ambush. Merry and Pippen promptly run away towards a marsh, while Frodo races down the stairs. Boromir hides behind the wall of the structure to avoid detection. Sam waits bravely by a rock cleft near the boats, ready to support Frodo in the final escape. The Uruks advance quickly, hoping to gang up on a few of the heroes and have a few units sweep past and attack the hobbits!

During the Shoot phase, Lurtz fires an arrow into the air and watches as it lands on Aragorn in front of him. Unfortunately for Lurtz, the arrow passes through his cloak and fails to do damage to the great warrior. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas use their ranged weapons against their foes and each succeed in killing one Uruk each during the Shoot phase for Good (Aragorn used his free Might point to hit the target, but each rolled a natural 6 to wound...ouch).

Kill count: Fellowship 3/26, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 2: The Great Charge (P - Uruks)

Merry and Pippen awaited the arrival of the enemy in the marsh (the center of the map), preparing to throw stones at their attackers as they approached. Legolas, in the meantime took up a point position in the woods nearby the hobbits to give some cover fire for both them and Frodo. Boromir was not seen as the Uruks moved (thanks to his Elven cloak and the building he sheltered in), allowing the Uruks to pass around him and charge into a flanking pikeman. Both Gimli and Aragorn charged two Uruks a piece, getting into the action quickly.

Legolas shot down an Uruk with shield and then leveled an arrow at the Uruk with pike behind him (1/3 Might). Feeling very happy, he reaches gracefully for another arrow for next round.

Aragorn won his fight but rolled low on his wound rolls. In order to save Might for later in the game, he judiciously decided not to wound anyone. Gimli lost his fight, but the stout armor of the Dwarf avoided all damage by the foes. Boromir fought with one Uruk with pike. He won his fight but didn't get any high wound rolls (not good).

Kill count: 
Fellowship 5/26, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 3: Surge Ahead! (P - Fellowship)

The Fellowship engaged several guys now, trying to tie down Uruks while giving Frodo the time to get across the board. All the same, some Uruks have broken past the three star melee heroes and prepare to charge the hobbits as they run.

Legolas unleashed three shots against the Uruks charging Merry and Pippen, but failed to wound any of them (could have wounded one, but that would have eaten up both of his remaining Might points). Very disappointing and strategically very, VERY bad.

Aragorn and Gimli were killing machines, engaging two Uruks each and killing them (Aragorn: free Might point, Gimli 1/3 Might). Boromir blew his horn and his enemies again stood firm. He won the fight and succeeded in killing the pikeman he failed to kill last round and wounded the Uruk captain (saved by Fate).

Kill count: 
Fellowship 10/26, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 4: Find the Halflings! (P - Uruks!)

So this was not a good turn for Evil to get priority (at least, not from the perspective of Good). Pippen and Frodo were engaged in combat, Legolas was tied down by two Uruks, and Boromir, Aragorn, and Gimli were tagged down by one Uruk each (Boromir fighting the Captain).

Merry and Pippen lost their fight against an Uruk and Pippen avoided being wounded with his Fate point. Frodo lost his fight and burned all 3 Fate points trying to prevent a wound by the Uruk he was facing. Aragorn won his fight and killed his guy. Gimli and Legolas did the same to their guys (Gimli: no Might, Legolas: 2/3 Might). Boromir got under the axe of the great Captain he was fighting and succeeded in dealing two wounds to him (2/6 Might).

Kill count: 
Fellowship 13/26, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 5: Bearing Down Hard (P - Evil)

Evil tied down Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir with one Uruk each to gang up two guys on Frodo. Boromir, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas each killed the guys they were facing, but Frodo lost his fight and was wounded twice (two 6s), knocking him out! Both Merry and Pippen lost their fights but survived (no wounds taken).

Kill count: 
Fellowship 17/26, Uruks 1/8.

Turn 6: Despair Is Kindled (P - Good)

Frodo was picked up by an angry Uruk who was able to rush him off the board edge at half-speed, scoring a point for Evil and making the game at worst a draw for Evil. Pippen lost his fight to an Uruk-Hai and was subsequently knocked out. Legolas attempted to shoot an Uruk in combat with Merry but failed and Merry subsequently lost his fight, but avoided taking a wound with his Fate point. I think Aragorn and Gimli killed guys this round, but I don't really remember.

Kill count: Fellowship 19/26, Uruks 1/8.

Turn 7: The Race Is On (P - Evil)

Pippen was picked up by an Uruk this round and the race is on now to escape off a board edge with him. Lurtz, in the mean time, is racing to overtake Sam, who has retreated towards the boats. Legolas wounds Lurtz with a keen shot, but the wound is saved by Fate. Gimli kills the Uruk he is fighting and looks forward to getting back to the hobbits, instead of being tied down with Uruk-Hai.

Kill count: Fellowship 20/26, Uruks 1/8.

Turn 8: Hedging Defenses (P - Good)

Boromir killed another Uruk warrior and Legolas lost his fight against an Uruk warrior. Fortunately for him, he wasn't wounded. I don't really remember what else happened here, but it wasn't good for Good.

Kill count: Fellowship 22/26, Uruks 1/8.

Turn 9: Closing In For The Kill (P - Evil)

Lurtz successfully charged Sam, won the fight (1/3 Might), and wounded Sam twice - BUT, Sam passed both of his Fate saves, to keep two healthy wounds on himself. Aragorn was wounded (Wounds 1/3), and Boromir killed the guy he was facing.

Kill count: Fellowship 23/26, Uruks 1/8.

Turn 10: The Final Blow (P - Evil)

Lurtz charged Sam and won the fight easily, wounding Sam twice and knocking him out (3/3 Might). Aragorn killed the crossbowman that he was fighting, leaving Lurtz as the lone Uruk-Hai remaining. Boromir ended his Move Phase in base contact with Pippen, reviving him.

Kill count: Fellowship 17/26, Uruks 1/8.

With Lurtz as the only Uruk left, the game will end in a draw. We did round 11 anyway, and Lurtz narrowly escaped off the board edge (Evil won priority, but Lurtz couldn't have been reached even if Good got priority).


Assessment by Tiberius and Elliryana:

The game was fun, but both Elliryana and I noticed a few things we would have done differently. First and foremost, the hobbits are always in the best position if they stay in the center of the map. Second, the Uruks needed, from the beginning, to simply focus on getting past the heroes (as they did in the movies). A prolonged conflict with these guys is really not a good idea. Of all the heroes that could have been killed during this game, Legolas and Boromir would have been the best bets (low Defense and archery from Legolas, no Fate for Boromir). Still, it was a fun game (and draws are rare when the Fellowship is playing).

Stellar unit for the Uruk-Hai: Uruk-Hai Warrior with pike

The Uruks with pikes did some of the better things in the game (and rarely get the recognition they need). Not only did an Uruk with pike support another Uruk with pike to wound Frodo twice, but most of the time that a hobbit was picked up, the guy hauling the load was carrying a pike. They also make for great distractions for the more resilient and main-stay Uruks with shields. All told, they did the best job out of any of the units in this game, potentially because so many of the foes were Strength 4 and therefore took out the defensive bonus of the Uruks with shields.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Gimli

When we play games with the Fellowship, it's hard for one unit to really stand out (in this game, four heroes had 4+ kills, which is unheard of in most games (though I'll admit, four heroes in general is unheard of in most games). Gimli is one of the most consistent heroes (whether fighting with the rest of the Fellowship or with his bearded fellows) and is always a favorite of mine. In this game, he not only remained unwounded, but also managed to kill more units than all the other guys (including one kill with a throwing axe with no Might expended). He was also one of two units to come close to paying for himself (Boromir being the other, but he got a Captain under his belt, which really inflated his score).

Oh...sneak peak into something new I've been working on...


  1. Well played, guys! I think you *could* run the hobbits nearer to the edge (they don't need to be near the center), but you'd have to bank on having priority and a number of heroic combats to win in that scenario.

    Excellent scenario, though -- is there a way to reconfigure it in case a player did not want to use the Fellowship? Using only heroes from, say, the Elves for example? Dunedain?


    1. Yes, Glenstorm, you could use different armies. You would need to identify four units to count as the hobbits and make clear also which two the Fellowship needs to protect until they reach the boats. Besides that, you can do a points match or have an unfair slant, like we had.

      Happy hobbying!