Saturday, August 11, 2012

Game 4 - Hold Ground: The Fellowship vs. Isengard

This post continues the series of games featuring the Fellowship against various armies. This is a warband game of 500 points and today we are facing a long time friend, The Black Prince, who opted to use my Isengard army. This will be the third time I've faced an army of Uruk-Hai and my record against these Uruk-Hai in this mission set is 0-1. Here are the forces in today's match:
Amon Hen: 500 points

Legolas with armor - 95 points
Aragorn/Strider with bow - 180 points
Gimli, Son of Gloin - 90 points
Boromir of Gondor with Elven cloak - 115 points
Meriadoc Brandybuck - 10 points
Peregrin Took - 10 points

6 units, 1 Elf bow + 1 bow + 1 thrown weapon + 2 stones, 6 heroes, 1 warband

The Fist of Isengard: 498 points

Vrasku - 60 points

6 Uruk Warriors with shields - 180 points
2 Uruk Warriors with pikes - 110 points
3 Uruk Warriors with crossbows - 33 points


Uruk Captain with two-handed weapon and heavy armor - 60 points (Army Leader)

7 Uruk Warriors with shields - 180 points
5 Uruk Warriors with pikes - 110 points


Uruk Captain with shield - 55 points
5 Uruk Warriors with shields - 180 points
2 Uruk Warriors with pikes - 110 points

35 units, 3 crossbows, 3 heroes, 3 warbands

The scenario we will be playing is a Hold Ground game on a board that is 48" x 36".  In this scenario, the game ends when one force is broken (4 for the Fellowship and 18 for the Uruk-Hai) and a roll of a 1-2 is rolled during the End phase (after the Fight phase and before the next round's priority). The points are then calculated as follows:
  • 1 point for each unit within 6" of the objective marker.
  • 3 points if the enemy leader is killed, OR
  • 1 point if the enemy leader takes 1+ wounds.
  • 3 points if the enemy army is broken and the friendly army is not broken when the game ends, OR
  • 1 point to the winner if both armies are broken.
Because The Black Prince had only played a few games before this one, we played with almost no terrain: we had a small "hill" of sorts (more like a little elevation out of the monotony, does nothing for movement rules) and a small pile of rocks serving as our objective. Since the mission has our units entering the board on random edges, we didn't select a starting board edge. The Uruks won the roll for priority and take the first turn.

I'm going into this game with the knowledge that my only hope of winning is going to come from the game continuing on after one force is broken. Legolas has been a dependable army-stopper before, but in this particular case, he's going to need some help. The hobbits will be useless once the fighting begins, but hopefully they'll make sure Boromir doesn't get shot up before combat. Aragorn and Gimli will need to hack through the Uruks like they normally do, so we'll see what happens.



Turn 1: Arrival (Priority - Uruk-Hai)
The Fellowship and one of the Uruk-Hai warbands enter the field. Besides that, nothing happens. 
Kill count: Fellowship 0/35, Uruk-Hai 0/6.



Turn 2: Fire on the Run (P - Uruk-Hai)
The other Uruk-Hai warbands arrive and between the three Uruk warbands and the Fellowship, every corner was used.  The Fellowship advances 3" so Legolas can shoot (I forgot Aragorn had a bow, by the way) and the other Uruks charge forward to get their crossbows well in range of the Fellowship.
Legolas comes out strong from the blocks in this game, using 1 Might to slay two Uruks with shields from the "scouting" warband (1/3M).
Kill count: Fellowship 2/35, Uruk-Hai 0/6.



Turn 3: The Charge Continues (P - Fellowship)
The armies keep moving and begin shooting at each other. No wounds from archery, though all the Uruks hit their marks.
Kill count: Fellowship 2/35, Uruk-Hai 0/6.



Turn 4: Answering The Foe (P - Fellowship)
The Fellowship begins to split its force and prepares for an imminent attack by the Uruk-Hai. Legolas draws his bow and prepares to send another deadly set of shots into the scouting group (I really want to have one flank taken down or greatly diminished before I get into combat).
The targets are kinda blurry, but Legolas turned out pretty well. If you compare this picture to the last one, he shot and killed two Uruk pikes who were standing in the second rank, successfully passing the in-the-way rolls needed to slay them. Alright - 40 points down, 50 to go to pay for the famed archer!
In response, the Uruk-Hai manage to wound Aragorn with their archery. Given my usual strategy during the last few games with Frodo as my army leader, I decided to just take the wound on Aragorn (1/3H). Only later did I realize that this scored a point for the Black Prince, since Aragorn is now my army leader...oops.
Kill count: Fellowship 4/35, Uruk-Hai 0/6.



Turn 5: The Heroes of Men Unleashed (P - Uruks)
We have fights! It's weird to not have fights on the first or second turn under the new rules, but I still get excited when the fights are drawn up. The Uruks have attempted to focus on the hobbits while holding off the major heroes with the bulk of their battle lines.
Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase, but the Fight phase saw two Heroic Combats: one by Aragorn and one by Boromir (free Might, 1/6M). Boromir went first and killed both of his foes, spending another Might point to beat them down (2/6M). He moves on to save Merry, just like in the movie.
Aragorn's victims are below the shot (unfortunately), but he did slay both of his foes as well, charging into the mass of pikes behind them to even out the odds later in the game.
Here's the aftermath of the turn: Aragorn killed the two pikes he was facing off against, while Boromir failed to wound the Uruk in his fight (decided to save his Might). Pippin lost his fight, but avoided taking a wound with his Fate point (1/1F). Gimli succeeded in killing an Uruk with shield and may have regretted not calling a Heroic Combat (but I need at least one hero with a strong Might store at the end of the game, right?).
Kill count: Fellowship 11/35, Uruk-Hai 0/6.



Turn 6: The First Great Demise (P - Fellowship)
Gimli begins the round by killing an Uruk pikeman with his throwing axe. Legolas moves up near the body of the dead to stave off the charging Uruk-Hai...hope that's not a mistake.
The other units moved as follows: Aragorn and Boromir are taking on the Uruk-Hai on the left, while Legolas and Gimli try to hold off the Uruks in the other fights. A single Uruk-Hai fights Merry and Pippin, giving me the advantage in a normal fight or immunity to wounding this turn - WOOT! We moved a few of the Uruk-Hai after this shot was taken, as you will see three Uruks with shields standing near the Uruk Captain in the next shot...
Ok, so moving Legolas where I did was a bad idea after all. The Uruks came around the Elf and with the 10 Attacks from the Uruk-Hai Warriors and the 4 Attacks by the Captain, they succeeded in getting exactly 5 Wounds on the famed archer, which killed him outright (though he did pass all 3 of his Fate saves, 3/3F). The real bummer was that I had 2 Might left, but I rolled a 3 high and he got a 6, so I couldn't save myself...oh well...happens.
The other fights showed the anger of the Fellowship over the loss of their comrade. The hobbits won their fight, but their lack of discipline got the best of them and they hacked at the shield (no wound). Aragorn killed the pikeman he was fighting and wounded the Uruk army leader (failed Fate save, 1/1F). Boromir his foe and Gimli added another kill to their total, ringing up a high toll on the Uruks. 
Kill count: Fellowship 16/35, Uruk-Hai 1/6. Both armies are two units away from breaking, and that's not good for me because if the game ends after one of us is broken, I am vastly outscored by the number of Uruks near that objective. At this point, I'm just happy I've evened out the point I gave by wounding the army leader.



Turn 7: Breaking Company (P - Fellowship)
The fights this round are not looking good, as the Uruks who slew Legolas promptly turned on the hobbits, after tying down Gimli with two Uruks with shields (who are about to shield, if the Black Prince speaks true). Aragorn is alone in his fight, so I'm hoping to free the hobbits up a bit with him. In the Shoot phase, Vrasku wounded Aragorn with his crossbow, but Aragorn saved the wound with a Fate point (1/3F).
What I did not foresee was another hero calling a Heroic Combat. The Uruk Captain with shield (who the Black Prince called "Lurtz 2") called a Heroic Combat (1/2M) and beat Aragorn in the roll-off. He and his men promptly slew Pippin several times over and charged off: one into Aragorn, one into Merry, and one into Boromir (the Black Prince didn't want Gimli killing any more guys than he had).
I couldn't remember if Aragorn's Heroic Combat was cancelled by the arrival of another Uruk, but for the sake of moving the game along, we said it was stopped. After looking at the rules since then, we made the wrong call, but that's okay - can't complain about spending a free Might point, right? Boromir won his fight despite being desperately outnumbered (oh, and I haven't been mentioning this, but thus far, the Uruks haven't failed any Courage tests...so no benefits from the Horn of Gondor). Boromir fails to wound anyone (he still has a lot of Might, but I'm hesitant to spend them up with this many Uruks). Merry was killed by his oppressors, but Aragorn succeeded in killing both of the Uruks he was facing. Gimli lost to the two shielding Uruks, much to the happiness of the Black Prince.
Kill count: Fellowship 18/35, Uruk-Hai 3/6. Both armies are broken, so we roll to see if the game ends and it keeps going!



Turn 8: Even The Mighty Fall (P - Uruks)
With the Uruks getting priority, my guys are charged and almost completely overwhelmed. All of the Uruk Captains passed their Courage tests without impedance, so we're slugging it out for another round. The Uruk crossbows, noticing that they were not in scoring position, promptly mounted the hill and prepared to support their brethren in the event of a heroic break-through.
Aragorn and the Uruk Captain with shield call Heroic Combats this round (free, 2/2M) - the Captain called it because it would be epic (however unlikely) if the mass of Uruks could kill Boromir this turn. Unfortunately for him, Boromir won the fight (3/6M) and slew the army leader of the Uruks (4/6M). Aragorn then won his fight and easily killed the Uruk he was fighting. He then charged into some of the pikes nearby.
Gimli succeeded in killing two Uruks in his fight (1/3M) and Aragorn killed another.
Kill count: Fellowship 23/35, Uruk-Hai 3/6. If the game keeps going, I'm doing pretty well (up 4-2 if you don't count all the guys near the objective. The problem with being broken (though I knew it was coming) is that I can't out-score my enemy in that category...one of the problems with needing hobbits in this army. We rolled to see if the game continued and behold, it did! With 12 Uruks between me and victory, I'm feeling pretty good. I just need to kill 8 of them to win...in probably a single round...or something close to that...hmmm.



Turn 9: Reducing The Foe (P - Uruks)
Losing priority again really hurts, as I got tied up in the back field and will need to work my way into scoring range with Boromir. The Captain with shield failed his Courage test by 1, but summoned up the will to stay and fight (1/1W). The Uruk crossbows riddled Gimli with shots and Vrasku landed a wound on the great hero. Gimli took the wound in stride and shouted as he became enraged against his foe (1/2H).
The Fellowship won their fights and slew their foes accordingly: one kill each. Aragorn needed to spent 2 Might points to slay his foe, though (free + 2/3M).
Kill count: Fellowship 26/35, Uruk-Hai 3/6. With 9 units left, the Uruk-Hai can still win by the game ending, but as luck would have it, the game continued. At this point, Aragorn has spent 2/3M, Boromir has spent 5/6M, Gimli has spent 1/3M...kind of running out of Might here.



Turn 10-12: Pushing To The End (P - Fellowship, Uruks, Uruks)
So at this point, we decided we were going to roll two dice to see if the game ended because it was getting late and we wanted to move on with our lives. Turn 10 resulted in the Fellowship charging into the remaining melee Uruks and the Uruk Captain joining the fight against Aragorn. In the Shoot phase the Uruk crossbows land 2 wounds on their own troops while trying to shoot Aragorn and wound the shield captain twice (fate save, 1/1F, 1/2H) and the Uruk with shield. OUCH!
Boromir spends the last of his Might points to kill the two pikemen he's fighting and Gimli slays his foe too. The Uruk Captain shielded against Aragorn and Aragorn could have spent the last of his Might to win the fight, but since wounding wasn't a concern, Aragorn chose to lose the fight and back away. After rolling two dice (and rerolling one I think), the game still went on. At this point, the Uruks can only tie the game...wow.
Turn 11 didn't have anything interesting happen: the crossbows backed away to avoid being hacked. Aragorn fired his bow but didn't do anything (free Might to hit, though). Gimli also threw his axe and didn't do anything either.
This turn saw Vrasku flee the field, after rolling a 2 on his Courage and just barely not passing after paying 2 Might and 1 Will point...that's a real bummer. Boromir is lying down behind the rock (not dead) so as to benefit from his Elven cloak and not be shot up, while the crossbows fire at Aragorn (1 wound, fate save, 2/3F). At the end of this turn, the game ended and we tallied up the points as shown below.
Uruk-Hai:
-4 points for 4 units within 6" of the objective;
-1 point for wounding the enemy leader (Aragorn);
-1 point for breaking the enemy.

Fellowship:
-3 points for 3 units within 6" of the objective;
-3 points for killing the enemy leader;
-1 point for breaking the enemy.

Final score: Uruk-Hai 6, Fellowship 7. Minor victory for the Fellowship.



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

So, this was a tight game, and I was rather surprised that the game continued for 5 turns after one of the armies was broken (both actually). Like the High Ground game, it was the prolonging of the game that allowed me to catch up for not having as many units as the enemy (and in this game, I nearly matched my foe in units by the end of the game). I made the mistake of wounding Aragorn before spending all his Fate points, but that's a mistake I won't make in the future. The game was fun and if the game had ended on any turn before it did, I would have lost (or tied during Turns 11 and 12). The Black Prince indicated that he'd like to try an army of men sometime, since his only exposure has been with Elves and Uruk-Hai, so I'll need to put him in touch with some of the other gamers here to see what we can do.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Boromir of Gondor with Elven cloak

Aragorn is really cool and did a great job today: being able to either call a free Heroic Combat each turn or have a 70% chance of winning your fight is amazing - especially when you have a small army. The advantage that this provides, however, is not much good if the rest of your army isn't killing things too. With Boromir of Gondor, though, you can take out a LOT of warriors. If he can stay protected (and he did today), there's almost no limit to what Boromir can do once he's in combat. In today's game, he killed the enemy army leader (with help from Aragorn) and 6 Uruk-Hai (20% of the enemy force). Aragorn killed 10 Uruks and wounded the enemy leader, but for 65 points more than Boromir, today's award goes to the great Captain of Gondor. Honorable mention to Gimli, who not only kept Might points to the end of the game in case we needed them, but also took down 7 Uruks without heroic combats (also slaying 20% of the enemy force).

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

The shields always take the beating in these games, but they are invaluable to this Uruk army. Unlike most of the games now, this one requires trudging across the field - not great for the Uruk-Hai. Still, the Uruks with shields did negate an entire archery round for Legolas (two I think) and managed to hold off Gimli for a round as well. If the game hadn't been as drawn out as it was, I imagine that these chaps would have lived to see the end and revel in their victory.

2 comments:

  1. I see you finally listened about taking Boromir over the hobbits. 6 might points > +1 to break point any day. ;)

    Kudos to the Black Prince. I know all to well how frustrating it is to have all your plans go down the drain because the stupid dice won't just end the game. Uruks can be a hard civ to run when you are not up against an army of men or dwarves. Well played.

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  2. Major fan of the Legolas trap - as an Isengard Raider runner, that's not easy to do. Big fan, :)

    Well fought, Tiberius - your boys pulled out a close one there, :) If The Black Prince wants to test a Rohan force or Grey Company force, let me know, :)

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