Friday, September 28, 2012

To The Death: Goblins vs. Dunedain

So, with Goblin month upon us, I'm planning on getting a few games in with them while focusing my efforts on terrain and basing. Today's game (actually played a few weeks ago) is with Glenstorm and his defenders of Arnor. Here are the forces:

The Denizens of Moria: 600 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Goblin Shaman - 45 points
2 Goblin Captains with shields - 80 points
14 Goblin Warriors with shields - 70 points
16 Goblin Warriors with spears - 80 points
14 Goblin Warriors with Orc bows - 70 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points
Ally: The Witch King of Angmar with 1M/10W/1F - 80 points

51 units, 14 Orc bows, 5 heroes

The Guards of the North: 598 points

Aragorn, Isildur's Heir - 200 points
Elladan and Elrohir with Elf bows and heavy armor - 160 points
2 Rangers of the North - 50 points
2 Dunedain with spears - 50 points
6 Rangers of Arnor with spears - 54 points
9 Rangers of Arnor - 72 points
3 Hobbit Archers - 12 points

25 units, 23 bows + 2 Elf bows, 3+4 heroes

I'm realizing looking at the army list now, that the Rangers might be over their bow limit with their hobbits, but we didn't care about that when we played (and it's 3 more hobbits, right?). The scenario we will be playing is a To The Death game on a board that is roughly 24" x 48". The game is played until one side is reduced to 25% of its starting size. At the end of that turn, the points are scored as follows:
  • 3 point for breaking the enemy OR 5 points if the enemy is broken and your force is not;
  • 1 point for wounding the enemy army leader OR 3 points if the enemy army leader is killed;
  • 1 point if you have a banner at the end of the game OR 2 points if you have a banner and your opponent does not (only applies to Aragorn, Isildur's Heir this game).
The map is set up as follows: we had a few ruins in the center of the map, a few woods (for the benefit of Isildur's Heir) and several other buildings for cover. The warbands were deployed beginning with the Goblins, with both of the Ranger squads deployed in the front half of their deployment zone and most of the Goblins deployed at the utmost point of their own deployment zone.

Turn 1: Battle Is Joined (Priority - Goblins)

I'm surprised, but on Turn 1, we will have melee fights! Yaye! I was really concerned I'd need to chase down the enemy and after weathering a few turns of archery, I'd be slammed with a solid line of heroes and Fight 4 rangers. My Shaman, though, rolled a 2 on his Fury roll, so I decided that, instead of risking a turn of melee with no protection to pay my Might point to make it work (1/1M, 1/3W). The Witch King attempted to cast Transfix on Aragorn with a single dice, but rolled a 1, fizzling his magic out this turn. Rats (1/10W). Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase - thank goodness.
I should probably mention that there are only three combats this round, and each involved an epic hero from the Rangers. Oh, and each became a Heroic Combat. Aragorn and a Ranger of the North killed my Goblin Captain (free Might) on the right side (oh man...) while Elrohir (I think) killed a Goblin with shield and promptly moved on to another one (1/3M). Elladan (so I'm going to call him until he gets his name painted on his base) failed to wound his foe and merely pushed him backwards (1/3M). Go team! I failed my Fury rolls, by the way.
The resulting fights worked out as expected: Aragorn and Elrohir won their fights, and two more Goblins bit the dust (Elrohir: 2/3M). At least one of the twins is running out of Might points...
Kill count: Rangers 3/51, Goblins 0/25.

Turn 2: A Furious Charge (P - Goblins)

Forgot to take a shot of the map, but everyone's fighting now. The Witch King rolled another dice to cast Transfix on Aragorn and scored a 5 (2/10W)! Aragorn rolled a dice in return and also rolled a 5 (1/3W). Grrr... In the Shoot phase, one of the rangers (pretty sure it was a Ranger of Arnor) killed a Goblin spearman with his bow. Elsewhere on the field, a courageous Ranger of Arnor wounded the Cave Troll (1/3H). All of the other supporting shots failed. Yaye me.
The fights were very messy, with two more heroic combats wrecking the field: Elladan killed his guy this time (2/3M) and Aragorn pummeled through 2 Goblin spearman, leaving his supporting Ranger behind him (free M). He then pulled a spearman out of a perfectly good fight and prepares to ravage on towards the Witch King.
The fights were...interesting this round. As you can see on the map, 5 Goblins were wounded on the left side of the screen, but 1 was saved by Fury.  On the other side, two Goblins bit the dust and one Ranger of Arnor was killed. Small benefit, but not great odds. The Bat Swarm lost and was wounded once only, which was amazing...but not as amazing as a lone Goblin spearman winning a fight against Aragorn and then promptly scoring a wound against the enemy army leader! He saved it on his first Fate point, but it was still pretty epic (1/3F).
Kill count: Rangers 9/51, Goblins 1/25. The Goblins are 17 units from breaking, while the Rangers are 12 units away...still anyone's game once the Troll arrives.

Turn 3: The Fury's Fervor (P - Rangers)

So, again, forgot to take a pic of the map, but the Witch King cast Transfix with a single dice again and this time rolled a 6 (3/10W). Aragorn cast a single dice fate would have it...he also rolled a 6 (2/3W). This is really not good. Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase. In the fights that ensued, 2 more Rangers of Arnor died (one by the Troll's hammer and the other by the Bat's blinding and lots and lots of Goblins), while three Goblins died. No Fury saves.
On the other side of the field, the battle is getting rough: two Goblins died and no Rangers fell, and the Goblin Shaman was hard pressed by I think? Anyway, he suffered 3 wounds from the famed warrior, failed his Fate save, but then I remembered his Fury save...and guess what? He rolled two 6s. With a shaky laugh, the shaman prepared to inspire fury again... (1/1F, 1/2H).
Kill count: Rangers 14/51, Goblins 3/25. The Goblins are 12 units from breaking, while the Rangers are 10 units away...still anyone's game once the Troll arrives.

Turn 4: Collapsing Tide (P - Goblins)

So, here's a map shot: I've got the battles rolling now and lots of archers are coming in to protect the Witch King. The Witch King casts Transfix on Aragorn and rolls a 3, barely making it. Aragorn paid his last Will point and matched it, resisting the spell - come on (4/10W, 3/3W)! The rangers have pressed inside and prepare for some close-quarter combat with a large host of warriors on the right and a rapidly dwindling force on the left.
In the Shoot phase, a single Goblin archer was killed and no return archery was sustained.
After the fighting, the side with all the people still contains a lot of people: Aragorn killed the Goblin Captain he was fighting, who promptly failed his Fate save with a roll of a 1 and died horribly (1/1F, 2/2W) - but just barely. The rangers killed 1 other Goblin, while my Troll and flanking squad killed two Hobbit archers and a Ranger. So with this turn at an end, I decided to call the game in favor of the Rangers. Why would I call it when I've got a mostly-healthy troll romping through on this side?
...because besides the Bat Swarm and my Shaman (both of whom are squaring off against Elven heroes), I've got nothing left on the far side and both of the Ranger warbands are mostly intact...that's why. I might have been able to pull something out, but it would have been risky and tough (and would definitely depend on the troll mashing through the three major heroes of the enemy).
Kill count: Rangers 18/51, Goblins 6/25. The Goblins are 8 units from breaking, so we weren't broken when the game was called. Here's how the points flowed:

0 points for failing to break the enemy;
0 points for failing to wound/kill the enemy army leader;
0 points for not starting with a banner.

0 points for failing to break the enemy;
0 points for failing to wound/kill the enemy army leader;
2 points for having a banner (Aragorn) alive and no banners on the enemy side.

Final score: 2-0 Rangers, which ironically is a major victory for the Grey Company...huh...


Assessment by Tiberius:

First lesson I learned this game is that archers are swordsmen - especially Goblin archers. They would have done a much better job standing directly in front of the warbands and charging on the right flank (where Elladan and Elrohir were), instead of reinforcing the center and attempting to volley. Besides that, I was surprised how poorly I rolled - you'd think I could have killed a few more than I did. I'm also thinking about trying out three shamans instead of one shaman and two captains, taking the hit in Might points for a chance to save any of my Goblins on the field (though I've read in an FAQ that multiple Fury spells don't stack). Well fought, sir, well fought.

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Goblin Shaman

I don't think there was any "stellar" unit, but the best event in the game was when the Shaman rolled double-6s to save himself via Fury from a cruel death by Elladan (or was it Elrohir?). I'll overlook the fact that he failed over 20 Fury saves, but he got that one. Oh well...


  1. Assessment by Glenstorm: That game was really close, and I was only able to keep the contingent of rangers that much intact because of some fluke rolling (since when does the Witchking not work as an effective mage when casting on rolls of 5 and 6?). Had Aragorn been transfixed, he would not have dealt out the wounds that forced the hand of Tiberius to pull back to defend his caster, and there would have been way more goblins than my rangers could manage in that arena. Also, the lack of fury passes saved me a lot of chomping on the left flank.

    I will also mention in passing that Durburz was neglected throughout the game (pow-wowing on the far side of the map behind the building). Had he been active in play, that would have changed a lot too, and I would have likely been rolled on the far side. All in all, though, my boys did what they needed to do, and the forces of Good won out this day!

    Stellar Unit for the Rangers: Rangers of the North

    You know: for being a minor hero that costs 25 points, these guys bring a lot to the table. At D5, they require 6s from archery (which, if you're up against Goblin archers, means "good luck hitting me, greenskin!"), and in close combat that 1 might, will, and fate point can come in really handy, :) These guys do the grunt work of holding the line where Aragorn or the twins are not, and I really appreciate their bladework in matches like this. Between the two of them (one on each flank), they racked up at least 1 kill each round, and were instrumental in keeping the pressure up while Aragorn and the twins slogged through the ranks. I don't go anywhere without these guys.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence in Durburz, Glenstorm, but the truth is, against Fight 4 (or 6) foes, Durburz's best contribution is fighting alongside a Bat Swarm or absorbing archery. The biggest hit was, in fact, the lack of Fury saves.