Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Battle Report: Dunedain v. Isengard Trackers (Revisited)

Dear Reader,

So, as you can likely imagine, Donatello wanted a rematch after the last game ("That's putting it mildy, my good man - that game was stolen from me in the last two rounds." :) ), so we decided to change up a few things to make the game a bit more...even ("I said the match was stolen from me, not that it was uneven.  Just to clarify.") ("Clarification accepted." :) ).  Last night we played a To the Death game ("Goals and objectives are pretty straightforward for this one - I like that.") with 500-pt armies, and I will be switching up my heroes for this match.  Don has also switched up his list a bit:

Dunedain: 499 pts
Warband 1:
-Aragorn, Isildur's Heir (Army Leader): 200 pts
-2 Rangers of the North (Culang and Cadan - Torchirion, I promise I'll use you in my next game!): 50 pts
-3 Rangers of Arnor with spears: 27 pts
-5 Rangers of Arnor (Dannassel and 4 others): 40 pts

Warband 2:
-Halbarad: 65 pts
-2 Dunedain with spears: 50 pts
-3 Rangers of Arnor with spears: 27 pts
-5 Rangers of Arnor: 40 pts

TOTAL: 22 units, 10 Might*
*This does not include Aragorn's free might point each turn

So, all told, the warbands looked like this:

Isengard Trackers: 500 pts
Warband 1:
-Vrasku (Army Leader): 60 pts
-8 Uruk Scouts with bows: 72 pts

Warband 2:
-Ugluk: 60 pts
-10 Uruk Scouts with shields: 90 pts

Warband 3 (Allied Contingent: Angmar):
-3 Barrow Wights: 150 pts
-8 Orc Warriors with shields and spears: 56 pts
-2 Orc Warriors with 2H weapons: 12 pts

TOTAL: 33 units, 6 Might, 3 casters

The Evil warbands looked like this:


For our purposes, we will be running a To the Death Game.  Scoring works like this:

-Game ends when one force meets or drops below 25% (16 casualties for Good, 24 casualties for Evil)
-5 points if you break the enemy army and are not broken when the game ends
-1 point for killing the enemy Army Leader
-3 points if your force is broken when the game ends

The most that a game could be is 6-3 (Major Victory); the closest this game could be is 3-3 (Draw), which should be an incentive toward killing the army leaders (or just not being broken when time is called).  We thought about adding a rule about banners and such, but since 1) Aragorn is the only banner in this fight, and 2) we wanted to keep scoring as simple as possible, this works for us.  We'll see how this goes.

Glenstorm's Strategy: As you might have noticed, I've made some major shifts in how I use this list.  First, I went for a larger unit count (max unit count I can have in this army under Warband rules), and opted for the first time in my life to not take Halbarad with the Banner of the Evenstar - we'll see how this goes.  I'm experimenting in this game: I will have to rely on a bait-and-switch method of archery and close combat rushes in order to pull this off.  I'm expecting to bait with Aragorn's force, sling his force back, pull Halbarad's men toward the center to support them, and then wag my Dunedain and a few warriors to the side to flank.  We'll see how this goes...

Donatello's Strategy: Other than Aragorn, I'm seeing very little in the way of Will Points on the board.  Simple game: keep the major heroes engaged, paralyze them on the ground, and then clean up with all forces (including archers) engaged in close combat.  He'll likely use the middle scenery for cover, so making sure that I can see units (in order to charge them and cast on them) could prove difficult.  So, to call the ball: win the fights, wound on 4s in most cases, keep the big men on the ground so that we can get the army to 25%.


The setting of our engagement is a portion of Osgiliath, traditionally a hub of learning, music, and beauty in the realm of Gondor - and also one of the most amazing urban warfare scenes in history, in this author's opinion.  Thus, this field is also equipped with two Gondorian Warriors (who will basically be "in the way" scenery pieces, and nothing else during the combat - purely cosmetic to the scene):


And two (sorry for the blur)... 

As well as a number of barrels spread throughout (courtesy of our friends, the Space Wolves), and an ammo cache (because Osgiliath is an amazing place, and I'm sure they had ammo caches, :) ).

Anyway, both of us agreed to the placement of the scenery, as there is both sufficient cover from crossbows, hordes of archers, and magic all around the place, and thus was conducive to both civs being played.

The armies will enter on the East and West sides (like the last match), as the board is again 3' x 4' in size.  Rules for deployment follow Warband rules, with die rolls determining which sector a unit arrives in.

We rolled to see who would play first, and since Donatello won, this was the order that the warbands were deployed: Vrasku, Aragorn, Ugluk, Halbarad, Barrow Wights

The setup looked like this:

And now...TO WAR!!!

Round 1 (P: Good)

As you can see, not much has happened in the Move Phase, other than that 1) Vrasku is loading ("This is not a good sign...") and my Dunedain, true to my usual strategy early up, are advancing against the enemy ("Getting a bit self-conscious there, Elven civs? ;-P ).  Since the wights are out of casting range, there is no magic this round.

In the Shoot Phase, Halbarad nails one of the uruk archers, as does one of the Rangers of Arnor with him.  On the other side, two of Aragorn's Rangers of Arnor killed an uruk archer apiece, reducing his archery from 8 orc bows and a crossbow initially to 4 orc bows and a crossbow by the end of the Shoot Phase ("Hey!  I think I saw archery nailing evil minions like this in a movie once...")

Vrasku stepped back and killed one of Halbarad's Rangers of Arnor with his crossbow ("Because the Dunedain Forchon was out or sight...Grrr...").  All four of the uruk archers missed (Keep tally: kills are at 0 for them right now).  Since there were no fights, this concluded the round.

Round 2 (P: Tied, goes to Evil)

In the Move Phase, the Dunedain elect to not engage the uruks that have come into their attack radius, though Aragorn chooses to engage two of his enemies for the first combat of the round!

During the Shoot Phase, the Dunedain were...well...pathetic.  The only thing worth mentioning from this Shoot Phase is that I was able to get a good pic of Dannassel next to her original model - you can see some of the differences between the models here (especially the smaller waist and the slimmer build).

Vrasku, on the other hand...

("Went to TOWN!!!") ("Yeah, pretty much....The man doing what I bought him to do...")

Anyway: the uruk archers all missed, and Aragorn called a heroic combat against the uruks he was fighting using his free might point.  He won the fight, and then had four shots to wound 2 guys on 5s.  He rolled:

(*Blink* *Blank Stare* *Blink Blink*) ("You want to might it?" ;-P ) (*Evil glare*)  So, needless to say, Aragorn failed to wound the enemies in his fight, and thus the heroic combat came to an inglorious end ("At least it was a free might point").  This brings us to Round 3.

Round 3 (P: Good)

(Strategy: Okay - if we rush in right now, we are going to get roasted by overwhelming spear support and casters.  This is where the bait part comes in - we're pulling a tactical withdrawal to draw them into a more favorable landscape for us, closer to Halbarad's force)

I opt to pull my forces back, and Don's men fall in right behind us.  Barrow Wight #3 (bottom right) attempts to cast Paralyze (4+ at 6") (1/5W) on Culang, but rolls a "1," and fails to cast it.  Barrow Wight #1 successfully casts Paralyze on Cadan (6) (1/5W), but Cadan resists it on a "6" (1/1W). ("Way to go, team!  Hold 'em!")

In the Shoot Phase, Dannassel kills one of the orc spearmen, and Daerdan kills one of the Uruk scouts that is approaching Cadan and Aragorn's force.  Other than that, everything (including Vrasku) is silent, as there is no Fight Phase.

...But not for long - as you will notice, Aragorn and Ugluk are within three inches of each other.  The next few rounds will be the slugfest we have all been waiting for....

Round 4 (P: Good)

As you can see, by the end of the Move Phase, the armies have collided ("again...") ("...Much better," :) ), and all is to war!

Barrow Wight #2 casts Paralyze (1/5W) on Halbarad (5), who successfully resists it (1/2W, 1/3M).  The other Wights attempt to cast Paralyze, and both fail (2/5W, 2/5W).  In the Shoot Phase, one of Halbarad's rangers on the flank wounds Vrasku (1/1F, 1/3M fate save).  The two uruk archers miss (Are you still keeping tally?  I'll give you a hint: they haven't shot anyone yet.  Just wait: it gets better...), and Vrasku then returns in kind, and uses another might point (2/3M) to land both shots on the two rangers.  I was really worried (as he wounds my men on 4s), until I saw this:

(Aragorn: "You know, I think tonight is just an off night, man.")  (Vrasku: "Yeah....This is starting to get embarrassing...")  Result: no casualties for Good in the Shoot Phase.  In the Fight Phase, there were a lot of Heroic Combats (HCs) called, so after the roll off (Good leads off), the HCs were resolved in this order:

-Cadan (1/1M) called the heroic combat, and with Forchon they won the fight against the uruk scout (1/1M from Forchon), trapped him, and killed him.  They then tagged an orc spearman.
-Ugluk (1/3M) won his fight against the Ranger of Arnor, kills him ("Handily, I might add"), and moves on to engage Forchon, breaking him off of the fight with Cadan.  The other two uruks in the fight with Ugluk engaged one of the Rangers of Arnor involved in Halbarad's combat, and the spearman who was supporting Forchon in the first heroic combat.
-Aragorn (*/3M) won his fight, killed the 2 uruk scouts in the fight (2/3M...Grrr...not enjoying him this game!!!), and moves on to engage the uruk that engaged Forchon's spearman (which is also a more ideal place for banner support for the other fights).
-Halbarad wins his fight, kills the uruk, and rushes through the melee to engage Barrow Wight #2 (Courage: 13). (Wow: I did not see that coming!)  With that, we move to the Fight Phase!

In the fight involving Culang and co. at the lower end of the map, the shielding uruk forces the fight to a roll off, and he wins the fight, forcing his aggressors back from the door of the fortification.  Aragorn wins his fight against the uruk (3/3M - I cannot believe this!), and kills him.  Halbarad wins his fight against the Barrow Wight (only rolled 6s - good work, man!), and kills the Barrow Wight (3/3M).  Ugluk wins the fight (two 6s for my boy!) ("You rolled a 6, Forchon: well done...because, trust me: you're done...), and (sure enough) the uruk scout in the fight wounds him (1/1F fate save), and Ugluk finishes him (Forchon: "Honor upheld").  Cadan won his fight against the orc spearman, but failed to wound him.  Other than that, nothing exciting happens.

Casualties: 5/22 for Good (6 to broken), 14/33 for Evil (3 to break point)

Round 5 (P: Good) ("I can haz a turn again at going first, plzplz?")

Sorry - no pic for the start of this round, apparently ("Was that your job?"), but here's the low-down of what happened.  Aragorn bit the bullet and engaged Ugluk with spear support behind him, and the rangers begin the arduous task of engaging all of the Uruk-Hai in sight, in hopes of killing enough of them to break the enemy army.  Vrasku opted to engage Halbarad (breaking off a very uneven fight against a poor uruk archer), and both of the remaining Barrow Wights attempted to cast Paralyze (one on Cadan, one on Culang) using 1 Will Point each (3/5W, 3/5W).  Both failed ("Again...Grrr...").

In the Shoot Phase, one of the Rangers of Arnor that is providing spear support shoots the orc spearman supporting the uruk in Cadan's fight (which brings my force 2 units away from breaking).  Other than that, nothing interesting happens.  In the Fight Phase, only Culang calls a Heroic Combat (1/1M) against the spear-supported uruk.  Culang and Co. force the fight to a roll off (which favors Good), and their kill the uruk scout.  Culang and his men then swung far right to assist Dannassel in holding the far flank from the invaders.  With that, the Fight Phase proper began!

In the Fight Phase, Aragorn wins his fight against Ugluk, and deals 1 wound (1/1F, 2/3M fate save).  On the far side, Culang and Co. kill the orc spearman that they engaged (leaving only an orc spearman, an orc 2H, and an uruk scout on the far end to assist the Barrow Wight and orc spearman who have been attempting to get through the door.  Vrasku and the orc spearman win the fight against Halbarad, and Vrasku deals 2 wounds (1/1F fate save, 1/2H).  Other than that, there is an orc 2H on the far left of the map who has been valiantly fight alone, and has not died yet (though he doesn't seem to want to wound any of these rangers, either...).

Casualties: 5/22 for Good (no casualties that round - that might have just cost me the game...), and 18/33 for Evil (force broken)

Round 6 (P: Evil) (FINALLY!!!)

So, just when Donatello starts thinking that he gets to pick the battles, Aragorn comes out of nowhere and calls a heroic move with his free might point (And, when only Ugluk still has a remaining might point for my force, now is not the time to spend it).  Aragorn engaged Ugluk, and Halbarad engaged with Vrasku, with only a few other units being engaged by the rangers ("Defensive positions, boys - let's force the orcs and uruks to test this round.").  With no Stand Fasts coming from their heroes, Donatello began testing.

The Move Phase ended up looking like this:

...And there was much rejoicing that the pictures were finally back!  There was much less rejoicing that Barrow Wight #3 ended up engaging a lone Ranger of Arnor near the bottom right, but considering that he had to use his final will points to pass the courage test (5/5W, Courage: 10), I was okay with it.  Only two orc spearmen ended up running, resulting in some very unfair battles up top (most especially against the aged Ranger of Arnor at the very top).  In the Shoot Phase, nothing interesting happens.

In the Fight Phase, Daerdan calls a Heroic Combat (1/1M), and he and his two associates kill the 2H orc that has been holding out on the far left.  Daerdan and the spearmen then engaged the orc spearman involved in the fight against the Aged Retainer, and the other Ranger of Arnor assisted the Rangers of Arnor engaged in the fight against the other orc spearman.  The uruk archers killed the Aged Retainer ("Man, these guys didn't miss a beat - 6s across the board to win the fight, and lots of hits after they trapped him..."), and on the far side of the map, the 2H orc kills the Ranger of Arnor with the shield on that flank.

The hero fights were very unimpressive for Good this round.  Cadan won his fight against Barrow Wight #1 and failed to wound him, just as the Ranger of Arnor near the bottom won his fight against Barrow Wight #3 and failed to wound him ("I just paid 2 Will Points to keep you in the fight!  Come on, man: convert!").  Culang and Co. win the fight against the uruk, and, even though they dramatically outnumbered him, they failed to wound him ("Good work, buddy!").  Ugluk won the fight against Aragorn, and dealt him 3 wounds (the uruk missed), with 2 being saved by Fate (3/3F, 2 convert for fate saves, 1/3H).  Vrasku wins against Halbarad, and gives him his final wound.

Casualties: 8/22 for Good (3 from break point), 22/33 (2 from the end of the game)

Round 7 (Priority: Good) ("It's over...")

As the board begins to clear, my rangers swamp the 11 remaining orcs and uruks, with only a few being left to test.  One of the orcs (the spear support for Ugluk) ran away, as did one of the uruk archers that slew the Aged Retainer last round, meaning that the game will end at the end of this round (and Glenstorm will likely win, unless I can kill Aragorn this round and break his army).  Barrow Wight #1 attempted to cast Paralyze on Aragorn for this round with his last two dice (5/5W), and would you believe it...

("He. Missed." *Blink Blink*)

Nothing happened in the archery phase, and the Fight Phase was brutal:

On the far side, Culang opted to take on the Barrow Wight alone, and left the spear support to Dannassel.  While Culang failed to wound the Wight, Dannassel slew the orc spearman in her fight, and the 2H orc failed to wound the ranger in his fight after winning the combat.  On the other side, the dice were brutal for the final moments of the game:

Daerdan and his spear support slew the uruk archer up top, and the 3 Rangers of the North that engaged Vrasku dealt him 3 wounds after winning the fight ("...The problem with having no Might or Fate points this late in the game...").  Aragorn won his fight against Ugluk, and dealt 3 wounds.

End Total for Casualties: 8/22 (3 from break point) for Good, and 26/33 (under 25%) for Evil.

End Total for Points: 5 (break enemy without being broken) + 1 (kill Army Leader) = 6 for Good, and 3 (army broken at the end of the game) for Evil

Major Victory for the Dunedain

Post-Game Assessment by Glenstorm: There are three things I rely on in fights with these guys: archery, winning fights off of my fight value, and straight luck.  In this case, the archery did its work at critical points, the F4 value allowed me to roll off against his stronger units and beat spearmen and 2H orc warriors at critical points (not to mention Aragorn's overriding F6), and there were some rounds where my boys just refused to die, and were able to capitalize on low rolls by my opponent.  This was a unique game, and will be making changes to this list for future 500-pt army battles.

Post -Game Assessment by Donatello: Simple answer to the question of, "What happened out there?"  I paid 150 points in a 500-pt game to get one thing: units that could keep heroes on the ground and impotent, so that I could rake the army.  Over the course of the game, the Wights paralyzed...how many units? *Looks back through the post*  Oh yeah: none.  The answer is simple: I banked on a new strategy, and the die rolls were not with me on it.  It would have likely worked, but until the next battle, we'll never know.  Oh well, :)

Stellar Unit (Good): Rangers of the North, hands down.  These guys took the brunt of the Barrow Wight attacks, held the line long enough for Halbarad and Co. to get in position to support, and, thanks to Culang and his work on the far flank, both held the enemy from engaging my spear support and caused enough casualties to break the enemy army.  Major props to the Dunedain, though (Forchon and Daerdan), for Forchon's work in holding the center, and Daerdan's mop-up work near the end (ended with four kills).

Stellar Unit (Evil): Hm...um, let's see...I only killed 8 units, and 4 of those belonged to Vrasku, and 2 of those belonged to Ugluk.  Apart from them, a 2H orc killed a ranger (which did not dramatically improve the game for me), and a team of uruk archers killed an aged ranger.  The only units that contributed tonight were Vrasku and Ugluk, and that with the dice not working for me at all.  I will tip my hat to the uruk scouts that kept the pressure up, and forced his heroes to spread out and take it slow, which was handy.  In future games, I am always going to include a banner, though, to avoid what I saw tonight.  Being able to re-roll low rolls can be integral to breaking portions of the enemy battle line.

In the next Battle Report, my army will be changing again to accommodate a very unique opponent.  Until then, you know where to find me:

Watching the stars,


"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch." ~ Glenstorm


  1. I'm becoming more and more impressed with this GC force. Numbers-wise, they really should not be performing this well against Uruk Scouts, but somehow they are 2-0 against them.

    as a side note, feel free to keep your elven jabs aimed at the wood elves alone. The Vanguard of Rivendell advances just as promptly as your GC. Oh wait, that's right... your GC retreated in the face of the opponent. That makes my elves _more_ aggressive than your GC. =P

  2. Hehe, yes, my Wood Elves are the only army that happily accepts its fate of backing away from the enemy. But you'll notice that I've given up having a wood in each quadrant, so we've become a bit more respectable, right? Great job, both of you, looking forward to the other posts of the Grey Company this month!

  3. Impressive.
    One win could be accredited to luck. Twice?
    These rangers are more formidable then, I think, most of us thought. Nice job.

    Valiant effort, Donatello.

  4. @Zorro: Good point on the Vanguard of Rivendell. I have wondered what would happen in a GC v. Rivendell game... :)

    Thanks Tavros and Tiberius - I will say I was really worried about D4 gents with no shields when I invested in them, but so far (and from how they performed in the TMAT Tournament), I think they'll do me proud, even if they fail to win any fights from hereon out, :)