Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game 2 - To the Death: Fellowship vs. Isengard Raiders

This game continues a series of games that I will be playing between the Fellowship and several of my favorite gaming friends. We're going to follow the warband rules in five-500 point games while going through most of the new scenarios for game play and today's game is against my good buddy Glenstorm, who was the first person I shared this game with and helped make this hobby experience a reality. Here are the forces in today's match:

The Oath-Bound: 500 points

Frodo Baggins - 60 points (Army Leader)
Legolas with armor - 95 points
Aragorn - Strider - 175 points
Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Samwise Gamgee - 30 points
Meriadoc Brandybuck - 10 points
Peregrin Took - 10 points
Bill the Pony - 30 points (Bat Swarm standing in, treated as a banner by my hobbits)

8 units, 1 Elf bow + 1 thrown weapon + 4 stones, 8 heroes

The Raiders of Isengard: 500 points

*Vrasku - 60 points (Army Leader)
8 Uruk Scouts with shields - 72 points

Ugluk - 60 points
8 Uruk Scouts with shields - 72 points

Barrow-Wight - 50 points
2 Orc Warriors with spears and shields - 14 points
1 Orc Warrior with banner - 30 points

Barrow-Wight - 50 points
3 Orc Warriors with spears and shields - 21 points

Barrow-Wight - 50 points
3 Orc Warriors with spears and shields - 21 points

30 units, 1 crossbow*, 5 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a To The Death game on a board that is 48" x 48". The scoring system has changed and points are awarded to each player based on certain requirements being met. In this scenario, the game ends when one force is reduced to 25% of its starting size (2 for the Fellowship and 7 for the Raiders). The points are then calculated as follows:
  • 2 points if at least one friendly banner survives and the enemy has none survive, OR
  • 1 point if at least one friendly banner survives.
  • 3 points if the enemy leader is killed, OR
  • 1 point if the enemy leader takes 1+ wounds.
  • 5 points if the enemy army is broken and the friendly army is not broken when the game ends, OR
  • 3 point to the winner if both he and the enemy army are broken.
The map is set up as follows: there was a hill, two ruins, two walls, a small collection of rocks, and a wood (below the shot). The Uruks won the roll off and have chosen to select their board edge (northern edge), ceding priority to the Fellowship for the first turn.
The Fellowship was my first Good army (after getting the Mines of Moria box set) and I've really enjoyed finding ways to field them as a team. Anything less than 750 points will mean that someone sits out, but in this game (after the last game) Gandalf and Boromir are the bench players. Though magic would be great, the general lack of archers in this game means that the Sorcerous Blast would be the greatest contribution that Gandalf lends. The presence of barrow-wights means that Boromir could be UTTERLY useless, and I've seen him get pulled to pieces by Vrasku a few times too many. So, today we're trying out Bill the Pony for the first time...maybe a late-term acquisition if he pays off.

Turn 1: An Ancient Evil (Priority - Fellowship)
Sorry, no pic of the opening Move phase, but essentially, the Uruks charge the Amon Hen structure. Gimli is targeted by two Barrow-Wights who each successfully cast Paralyze on Gimli (#1: 1/5W, #2: 1/5W). Gimli burns both of his Will points to resist these spells: he's successful on the first roll and unsuccessful on the second...not good (2/2W).
Legolas sees the peril of his friend and unleashes arrows into one of the Barrow-Wights who paralyzed his friend. Without spending a Might point, one of the Barrow-Wights (#2) goes down. Unable to see the other terrifying creature, he turns his attention to the band of Uruks charging them and 1 Might point later, an Uruk with shield falls (1/3M). With no other shooting or combat to resolve, Gimli rolls to stand up and he successfully does so (1/3M).
Kill count: Fellowship 2/30, Raiders 0/8.

Turn 2: A Strong Barrage (P - Uruks)
The Uruks charge Gimli and begin to work their way around the structure. Aragorn leads the charge against the Uruks and comes crashing into Ugluk and another scout. Frodo puts on the Ring (indicated with the shiny token) and is followed by Sam, while Merry and Pippin reach for stones to throw. Gimli is targeted by the remaining two Barrow-Wights, who fail to cast Paralyze on him (#1: 2/5W, #3: 3/5W). Legolas has mounted the stairs on the structure to put some distance between him and the other Uruks (and to gain visibility to the other Barrow-Wight nearby).
The hobbits kill no one with their rocks (no surprise), but Legolas bends his bow and takes down another Barrow-Wight (no Might used) and successfully kills 2 more Uruk Scouts with shields (2/3M). After two rounds of archery, the famed Elf archer has scored 5 kills totaling 127 points, paying for himself with a little to spare. I love this guy...
Sorry, no picture of the Fight phase, but Aragorn pays 3 Might points (free + 2/3M) to win his fight against Ugluk and successfully wounds the Uruk captain. At the last moment, though, the great Uruk Captain dodges the sword of the hero and encourages his companions to charge him (fate save, 1/1F). Gimli wins his fight, but fails to wound his opponents.

Kill count: Fellowship 5/30, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 3: Like Water On Rock (P - Uruk-Hai!)
So the field is now sufficiently full of melee fights. Usually, I'm excited about this, but you'll see why this is no celebration in a moment. Frodo took the Ring off so that he could take the spear-support off of Sam and make the fight a bit closer. In hind sight, it might have been better to engage the Uruk with Sam, but I like fighting against a foe with the same Fight value (3 for the Orc) instead of one who's Fight value is higher (4 for the Uruk). Merry and Pippin continue to reach for stones, hoping beyond hope to score a wound on the upcoming Orcs soon.
The final Barrow-Wight successfully Paralyzes Gimli (4/5W) and the Dwarf is promptly charged by two Uruks supported by two spearmen. I had a pretty good idea that this wound happen, so my back-up plan kicked in: Legolas used his auto-hit rule to target one of the Uruks hovering over Gimli's body and sent an arrow into his chest, killing him.
During the Fight phase, Aragorn wins his fight against a sea of Uruk-Hai and  successfully slays one of them. Tell you the truth, I was kind of afraid of that fight, as I was up against 8 attack dice with a banner supporting them. Very not fun. Gimli receives no wounds from his foes, who back up a little after the fight (auto-losing fights because you're paralyzed is officially not fun).
In the other two fights, Sam and Frodo fail to win their fights: Sam takes no wounds and the orc who was fighting Frodo landed a wounding blow on him. At the last minute, Frodo blinked and the blow was deflected (fate save, 1/3F). With all the fights being resolved, Gimli rolled to see if he gets up...and manages to roll a natural 6!
Kill count: Fellowship 7/30, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 4: The Hobbits! (P - U.R.U.K.S.!)
So things are getting desperate: most of my Fellowship has been engaged again, including Pippin this time. Merry stoops for a stone while the rest prepare for a rough round of battle. As you can see through the opening in the roof, Gimli is on the ground again, victim to the last Will point of the Barrow-Wight (#3: 5/5W). Though I'm relieved that the spell-casting is done for the game, I'm not pleased with how many Uruks are surrounding Gimli.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas kills an Uruk who engaged Gimli at the foot of the stairs and killed him (no Might). Merry, of course, failed to wound the Uruk he targeted. In the Fight phase, both Pippin and Sam lost their fights and while Sam suffered one wound from his foes (1/2H), Pippin managed to escape unscathed. In the other fights, Gimli sustained no wounds, while Aragorn and Frodo win their fights but fail to wound anyone. We roll to see if Gimli shakes off his paralysis and much to the joy of Glenstorm, he does not.
Kill count: Fellowship 8/30, Uruks 0/8.

Turn 5: Chaos Rises, Hopes Fall (P - Uruks many turns in a row can this happen?)
The fun never stops and Aragorn is again pinned to the wall by troops. All four of the hobbits and the Dwarf are engaged in fights this round, which makes me nervous. I believe all of them are within banner range of Bill, which could be a real blessing. In the Shoot phase, Legolas again auto-hits and kills an Uruk hovering over Gimli (3/3M).
Gimli sustained no wounds this round, but Aragorn was on fire: he succeeded in killing two of his Uruk attackers, and now reduced the fight to a more manageable load.
The other fights did not go over nearly as well: Merry and Sam fell to their attackers, each failing a Fate save and suffering a wound. Frodo and Pippin win their fights, but fails to get the needed 6 to wound. As the combats drew to a close, Gimli still could not get up.
Kill count: Fellowship 11/30, Uruks 2/8.

Turn 6: Kill Bill (P - Fellowship Finally!)

Without a bodyguard of hobbits, Bill and Frodo do what they can to stay alive (Bill so that I don't give up points for losing my banner and Frodo so that he takes no wounds). As a result, Gimli, Pippin, and Aragorn are in serious trouble.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas fires three arrows at a spearman supporting an Uruk attacking Gimli, but misses all of his shots. Vrasku, on the other hand, fires at Bill the Pony and scores one wound (1/2H). One more hit and a failed Fate point later, and my banner is gone - flee horse!
The Fight phase had mixed results for both armies. Pippin died and Gimli suffered two wounds with one successful save (2/2F, 1/2H). One more wound and he's finished. Aragorn, for his part, killed an Uruk Scout and Ugluk this round, spending the last of his Might (free + 3/3M). As the fights came to a close, the situation got slightly better as Gimli successfully rose from the ground, angry as ever (2/3M).
Kill count: Fellowship 13/30, Uruks 3/8.

Turn 7: Kill Bill 2 (P - Fellowship again!)
This turn was interesting. Frodo moved under Evil's control (failing to fight the control of the Ring) and  the rest of the Fellowship moved towards more advantageous positions. Gimli slew an Uruk Scout with a throwing axe as he got up and proceeded to charge an Orc on the stairs, getting ready to repay Legolas for the protection he was afforded throughout the game.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas nailed an Uruk at the top of the stairs and unleashed a few more (unsuccessful) shots at the Orc spearman nearby. Outside this shot, Vrasku fired at Bill again and failed to hit him - stay alive pal!
The Fight phase went as expected with two fights: Gimli and Aragorn both won their fights and killed an Uruk and Orc each, further raising the kill count for the Fellowship!
Kill count: Fellowship 19/30, Uruks 3/8. The Fellowship is unbroken (with Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Frodo, and Bill still alive) while the Uruks are now broken and have two heroes to keep their team together (Barrow-Wight #3 and Vrasku).

Turn 8: The Tide Turns (P - Uruk-Hai...yeah, it was time again)

Sorry, no picture this round, but here's a quick synopsis. 1 Orc flees the battlefield in despair, but the other warriors remain in the field (likely afraid of the Barrow-Wight nearby). Most of the Fellowship members are charged (except Frodo, who wisely keeps the Ring on).

Vrasku hits his own warriors who are fighting Gimli on the stairs, but fails to wound them. In the Fight phase, Aragorn kills the Orc carrying the banner, but a spearman in base-contact with the banner-bearer raises the standard from his friend's hands. In the other fights, both Gimli and Legolas lose their fights (Gimli to two shielding warriors and Legolas to two Orcs who fail to wound him).

Kill count: Fellowship 21/30, Uruks 3/8. 

Turn 9: The Final Blow (P - Fellowship!)
Again, no picture until the wrap-up, sorry. One Uruk (I think?) fled the field, but the rest stayed to fight. Bill, as you can see, slogged through the difficult terrain of the forest at 2" each round to put some cover between him and Vrasku. Legolas continued to fight up top but was not wounded by his foes. Gimli and Aragorn stormed the final three Orcs and Barrow-Wight down on the ground and slew all the Orcs (failing to wound the Barrow-Wight was a pity for Gimli, who really wanted pay-back for the time he spent paralyzed). 
Kill count: Fellowship 25/30, Uruks 3/8. The Uruks had 5 units left, which brought their team under 25%. With the game ended, we tallied the points for each side: 
  • Fellowship scored 2 points for having a banner alive while the foe had none (Uruks score 0);
  • Fellowship scored 5 points for breaking the enemy without being broken themselves (Uruks score 0);
  • Fellowship scored 0 points for wounding/killing the enemy leader (Uruks score 0).

Final score: 7-0, victory for the Fellowship! Campaign total: 1-1-0.


Assessment by Tiberius:

So, after the last game, I'm very, VERY happy I took Aragorn. It was clear that without Aragorn, the Uruks would have run through my army very quickly and overwhelmed me. Having another melee hero to cut through the enemy while Gimli was lying on the ground was a huge boon (and as I've mentioned before, Aragorn is always a nice asset to have when you're facing Uruk-Hai). Though very expensive, if your army can include Aragorn (even with no upgrades, as was the case in this game), you get a solid warrior and a bona fide fighter to the bitter end. Aragorn's exploits can't be praised, though, without giving credit to both Legolas and Gimli: without Legolas, much of the rest of the army would have been over-run, keeping Aragorn facing unnumbered foes. Another roll like the first round (with essentially killed my Might use for the game) would have been the death of Aragorn for sure, but Legolas' keen bow kept Uruk-Hai flowing towards Gimli to finish him off. For Gimli's part, his stout armor kept off the aggressive blows of the Uruk-Hai for four turns (though he almost died on that fourth one), serving as a serious drain on the might of the Uruk-Hai. Though the hobbits didn't score a single kill, their distraction from the main heroes was definitely worth it. I was saddened that I didn't use Bill's "Second Breakfast" rule, which allows a hero from the Fellowship to regain a M/W/F point on the roll of a 6, but we'll look into that in another game.

Assessment by Glenstorm:

Wow, there was a long train of poor planning in that game.  I banked on getting Vrasku around the flank, and held him back from engaging in close-combat so that he neither scored hits on heroes nor got engaged in combat (which was the whole idea of fielding him in the army).  I should have paralyzed both Legolas and Gimli instead of just focusing on Gimli, and I probably should have attacked Bill instead of just focusing on Aragorn on that flank.  There were some things in that game that could not be changed (Did I seriously lose two Barrow Wights and 9 will points in the first two rounds of archery?  And how many 6s did Aragorn roll to keep my Uruk-Hai from wounding him?), but the game could have been much cleaner on my part.  Tiberius played his cards very well, and maintained the upper hand the entire game.  Well fought.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Legolas with armor

Legolas was amazing today, though he rarely disappoints. Like many heroes, this hero over time really cuts into the effectiveness of an offensive force. Not only did he kill two Barrow-Wights (saving me from 6 Will points of paralyzing pain), but he also killed 7 Uruk Scouts, totaling a final score of 163 points (almost half of the total 367 points of units killed by the Fellowship as a whole). I do give credit to Aragorn for keeping no less than six units tied down for four turns and award him a runner-up second place for his work.

Stellar unit for Uruk-Hai: Barrow-Wights

 It was hard giving a favorite unit, since the only people that got kills in the match were my Uruk-Hai,but they badly disappointed me in how little they hit when it counted (Gimli should have been dead...).  The Barrow Wights didn't live for very long, but to their credit they prolonged the game for me by 1) limiting Gimli's kills early in the game, and 2) distracting fire away from the main body of the army to keep the enemy at bay.  I've been tinkering around with them as party of my army, and will likely use them again if a Warband-style game is requested.  Having spellcasters was a ton of fun (I think I can now see why Tiberius uses them so much!), and I'd look forward to using them again!


  1. Great game. I was rather surprised to see not one, but three barrow wights fielded. That was pretty awesome. Now I understand your sudden "conversion" to spellcasting, and I think you got the better end of the deal. One immobolize a turn is annoying - 3 paralyzes a turn is downright frightful!

    Although I probably would have focused on Aragorn and Legolas with the spells instead of attempting to crack the heavy dwarven armor - take out the ranged weapons and then go for the one you can kill on 5s instead of 6s.

  2. The idea was to take on Legolas, but on Turn 1 I didn't have a look at him. The guy that was supposed to tag Legolas got shot, and the other one was up top with Aragorn, who never had a clear look, either, :-/

    I will definitely be fielding them again, though - I miss having 49 units (higher break point), but the ability to paralyze is well worth that trade, :)