Friday, August 31, 2012

Carrying The Weight of the World: The Fellowship's Tactical Units

This is the final tactica post in the series on the Fellowship. I've got a few more games left to play and this post will highlight on the final few members of the Fellowship that I have yet to comment on. This will include a lengthy discussion on Gandalf the Grey, a shorter discussion of Gandalf the White, and an interesting conclusion on Bill the Pony. I'm not going to dedicate a separate section to tactica because doing so would be uneventful, so I'll explain some of the tactical considerations as we explore special rules and abilities.

Gandalf the Grey
Gandalf the Grey is one of the iconic characters from the Lord of the Rings and is many a man's favorite character. In the Strategy Battle Game, there are few spell-casters quite as good as the Grey Pilgrim. Gandalf's stat line is a little better than the standard profile for a wizard (1 Attack at Fight 5 and Strength 5 with Glamdring, 3 Wounds with Defense 5 and 3 rerollable Fate points thanks to his Elven ring, Courage 7, 3 Might points, 6 Will points + 1 free Will point each turn thanks to his staff of power). He also sports more spells than any wizard in the game besides Gandalf the White (more on him in a bit), giving him a lot of options during his Move phase.

Gandalf the Grey's upgrades are mounts: a horse (10 points) or Gandalf's Cart (25 points). The cart is by far the better mount choice, moving at 8" (instead of 10"), but sporting a defensive line of 3 Wounds at Defense 5 (instead of 1 Wound at Defense 4). Against Strength 2 bows, neither Gandalf nor his cart are likely to take much damage (especially if Blinding Light is in play - more on this later) and the damage that is taken should be easily sustained (3 Wounds on mount and rider with 3 re-roll Fate points for the rider). Since the cart would push Gandalf up to 195 points, it is usually best to just take Gandalf without upgrades, but the question of taking the cart should certainly be asked.
Gandalf has six spells at his disposal: three offensive and three defensive. His offensive spells are very straight-forward: Immobilize (3+), Command (4+), and Sorcerous Blast (5+). The Immobilize and Command spells allow Gandalf to make the target have 1 Attack at Fight 1 and not be able to wound his foe, which is great for making a monster (or a low-Will enemy hero) grovel at the feet of virtually any basic warrior. If performed against a killer of the Fellowship (especially Aragorn or Gimli), this can have particularly nasty results. Your enemy will likely know that this is your aim (as it is the most effective way of dealing with an enemy combat hero/monster), but at a point, there may not be anything he can do about it.

Sorcerous Blast is one Gandalf's iconic spell, utilizing raw magical power to rocket away an enemy and wipe out him and a few unlucky companions nearby. This spell will certainly be anticipated by your opponent and is best utilized if Gandalf is able to get around the flank of your foe and knock down a good chunk of his front line. Alternatively, shooting with your Sorcerous Blast at a diagonal (as shown in the picture above) can hit as many targets as a straight line, but will also knock down targets that you may not be able to reach without cavalry. Be mindful to target units without Will points, as this will make the chance of successfully casting the spell more likely.

Gandalf the Grey's three defensive spells are Terrifying Aura (2+, remains in play), Blinding Light (2+, remains in play) and Strengthen Will (4+). Terrifying Aura lives up to its name and gives Gandalf terror so long as he has a Will point left in his store. This spell should be cast early in the game and usually means you're not trying to get into a fight on the first turn. Why choose to cause terror? Since most evil units have low Courage values, this could mean that the dog-pile that usually is sent to deal with expensive spell-casters doesn't work nearly as well as it otherwise might. Blinding Light is perhaps the most valued spell on this blog, as it shields all friendly units within 6" of the caster from enemy archery unless the roll to hit is a 6 (this too remains in pay so long as Gandalf has 1 Will point left in his Will store). This has little effect against Goblins and Orcs with a 5+ Shoot value, but against Uruks or upgraded Haradhrim with a 4+ or 3+ Shoot value respectively, you will see the difference when you play.

Strengthen Will, the final defensive spell, is Gandalf's way of assisting his teammates (specifically a fellow hero). Strengthen Will allows a hero within 12" of Gandalf to EITHER regain a Will point spent earlier in the battle OR gain a Will point if they started with 0 Will at the start of the game. This cannot be used on warriors (banner-bearers, elite troops, etc.), but can greatly assist heroes who lack sufficient spell-caster protection (Boromir of Gondor, Legolas, or Gimli, Son of Gloin as key examples). You should weigh the cost of Gandalf's magical damage or capabilities during a turn you consider using Strengthen Will, as the need to preserve a power hitter as opposed to a wizard is certainly an important question.
Courtesy of http://poussefigs.canalblog.com/images/aragorn_gandalf1.jpg.   Gandalf the Grey is a great hero to take for protecting the Fellowship from damage, but in the past few games, I've found it's better to take Aragorn and deploy close to the enemy. Gandalf is a great ally to protect your warriors from archery or killers/monsters, but having a hero who can cut through the enemy easily and quickly is much to be desired. That being said, an army that was primarily built on Warriors of Rohan or Warriors of Minas Tirith (or otherwise cheap core units) and used captain-type heroes to keep the cost down could field a 39-unit contingent from their main force (426 for a 39-unit Rohan force featuring 50 point captains, or 410 for a 36-unit Minas Tirith army with two 55 point captains and a 25 point Beregond) and include Gandalf the Grey as an ally in a 600 point force. With a few modifications, these armies could also field Gandalf's Cart, which is perfect for allowing him to keep away from enemy infantry and remain relatively safe from enemy archery.
Gandalf the White
The discussion of Gandalf the White will not be nearly as extensive as the discussion on Gandalf the Grey because the differences between them are few. Their stat lines, starting wargear, and special rules are not different at all - the only difference is found in the equipment they can take and the spells they can cast (and the dice score required to cast said spells).
Gandalf the White cannot take the great cart or a horse as listed on Gandalf the Grey's profile. Instead, he can take an Elven cloak (10 points) or Shadowfax (15 points). The Elven cloak would be useful if you wanted to keep the White Wizard safe from archery, cavalry charges, or magic from a distance of greater than 6". Since you've already invested 220 points in this hero, I can see spending 10 points more to keep him from harm (like I normally do for Boromir of Gondor).

While the Elven cloak provides a defensive boost to Gandalf the White, Shadowfax provides a boost to his offensive capabilities and a slight boost to his defensive capabilities. On the offense, you have a 12" movement which allows you to get your wizard into position to deal the maximum possible damage with his Sorcerous Blast spell (more on that in a moment). Since you paid 235 points for this hero, he needs to kill more than 20 units in order to pay for him (unless you get a hero or two in that count), so Sorcerous Blast is going to be where it's at. Shadowfax also allows Gandalf to charge the enemy from a great distance (with a second attack), which is also nice. Defensively, Shadowfax gives Gandalf a permanent in-the-way roll because he's a mount, which should direct a few shots towards the D5 horse instead of the rider. For 10 points less than the cart, Shadowfax is an excellent purchase, trading 2 wounds for an extra 4" of movement and an additional unit to assist the White Wizard.

Gandalf the White also has access to the six spells that Gandalf the Grey has and adds "Your Staff Is Broken!", which can take away the benefit of a wizard's staff of power (free will point and two-handed weapon). Though not an often-used spell, it certainly provides an incentive to not take Saruman (as if we needed a reason in most cases, right?). The other benefit that Gandalf the White has is that four of the six spells cast by Gandalf the Grey are cast more easily by Gandalf the White. Terrifying Aura and Blinding Light are still cast on a 2+, but all of the other spells improved by one step, making Immobilize cast on a 2+, Command and Strengthen Will cast on a 3+, and Sorcerous Blast cast on a 4+. This opens up a lot of options, which I will detail briefly below.
Courtesy of  http://www.goggin.co.uk/images/lotr/Gandalf2.jpg .  I play a lot with Saruman with my Uruk-Hai and it's very nice when you know you can all-but guarantee that you will cast Transfix (evil version of Immobilize), but it's also very useful to be able to cast Compel (evil version of Command) on a 3+ (also, passed in most cases easily). When cast against a banner-bearer, a melee hero who has little or no remaining Will points, or a monster, you can neutralize the effectiveness of your enemy's army pretty quickly. Gandalf the White, therefore, gets to decide whether or not it is beneficial to move his foe, rather than whether he wants to move his foe. Since both immobilizing or commanding his target is relatively easy, the choice becomes much simpler.   
Strengthen Will and Sorcerous Blast are tactical offensive and defensive spells: Strengthen Will being cast on a 3+ means that you can aid a friend who is under attack from a spell-caster or bolster the courage of a nearby hero who began without magical protection (like Theoden). Though this has obvious implications if you are fighting a spell-caster, it also helps if you need to pass Courage tests (either after your force is broken or because you are facing an army with lots of terror and maybe a Ringwraith or two). Sorcerous Blast is Gandalf's chief offensive capability and (besides Blinding Light) his greatest contribution. Since the spell is cast on a 4+, it is best employed against a warrior with no Will points. Shadowfax should ensure that you get this look if you want it, but keep in mind that the goal with this hero is just to cast the spell correctly. Doing damage will be great, but placing the enemy on the ground and then charging them (or retreating while firing) can kill just as easily.
In my assessment, as great as Gandalf the White is, he was one of the units that suffered most from the new sourcebooks. Under the Legions of Middle-Earth rules, he could be fielded in the Tower of Ecthelion list and if this were true under the warband rules of the new sourcebooks, he would likely find a place alongside the armies of Gondor. But as it is now, you will need to pay additional points to get the heroes you need to field a warband and then ally in the White Wizard. Unless you are fielding captains and basic troops for most armies (7-8 points a piece), you are not likely to see more than 2.5 warbands with this hero added. On a side note, Gandalf the White used to have a 12" stand Fast, which he lost as well (in my opinion, that's the greatest blow he took).
On the whole, I would stay away from taking him for two reasons. First, you can field Gandalf and 3-5 other warriors (depending on whether you take the cart or not) to protect him while he casts his spells. The only loss that Gandalf the Grey suffers from his future self is the ease in which he casts his spells. As a frequent user of Gandalf when I started the hobby, I'll say from experience that with the exception of Sorcerous Blast, the other spells are cast relatively easily or are rarely needed. when I fielded Gandalf the Grey with my Wood Elves, I relied on him to 1) protect my low-defense Elves from enemy archery, and 2) immobilize monsters or enemy heroes. The occasional Sorcerous Blast helped to be sure, but his place in the army wasn't so much to be a killer as it was to enable my other units to kill. With the addition of the cart, you're talking about taking a great spell-caster with a mount that protects him from a lot of archery. I'd say that's a better deal than Gandalf the White.

Bill the Pony
So, to make sure that a Fellowship-only army has multiple warbands, Bill the Pony finally has received rules for the Strategy Battle Game. Bill the Pony comes in at 30 points and has a rather unimpressive profile for a hero but a great profile for a pony. With 2 Wounds (at Defense 4), a Will and Fate point, and 1 Attack (at Fight 1 and Strength 3), Bill is above average but not far above. In order to field him, you need to field Sam, so you are committing to 60 points worth of no-killing machines. Why buy the pony then?
A few reasons: first and foremost, Bill maximizes the potential of hobbits because they treat him like a banner. This means, of course, that he is most effective if the other hobbits (or at least a chunk of them) are taken. This could be a lump total of 80 points then for the Bill-Sam-Merry-Pippin contingent, but that's 4 units for less than 100 points in a 500 or 600 point battle, which isn't that bad. I have learned from experience, though, that this banner bonus doesn't matter much if you're fighting Fight 4 villains, so beware of Uruk-Hai and sometimes Haradhrim. In exchange for the banner bonus to hobbits, Bill can use the Stand Fast of a friendly hobbit, which allows him to bypass his rating of Courage 2.

The second reason that Bill is valuable is because of the potential for greater killing capability, magical resistance, or survivability for your killing heroes. One hero from the Fellowship may be in base contact with Bill at the end of his Move phase and roll a dice: on the roll of a 6, the unit regains 1 Might, Will, or Fate point that he spent earlier in the battle. If Legolas were shooting from behind Bill (or Aragorn fighting in front of Bill), you could potentially get a lot back from Bill. Though I have not focused very much on utilizing these rules in the games I've played to date, the potential for these benefits still exists.

I've also learned that it helps to have Gandalf around if you use Bill. Keeping Bill safe from archery is nearly impossible, so making sure he doesn't get shot is a nice boon. Alternatively, starting near your enemy might complicate the shots of the enemy, but nothing quite beats Gandalf's Blinding Light spell. This is especially dangerous when Bill is within 6" of Gandalf (with Blinding Light active) and Legolas is shooting from behind the two of them: in this way, Legolas could regain a Might point that he used previously and has a clear in-the-way roll from the horse. A similar strategy could protect Boromir of Gondor with his Elven cloak from being shot - all for 30 points.

Closure

I hope this has been helpful and that together with the other two posts, you'll have some greater understanding for the uses of each Fellowship member. I really like the army list and find them fun to use (though each game is a struggle). If you have a Fellowship army and have combos that you like, please feel free to share in comments or link to a battle report/tactica article location. If you have sample army lists that can sport Gandalf the Grey or Gandalf the White, I'd also like to see those in comments. Happy hobbying!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Game 5 - Domination: The Fellowship vs. Moria

This is the final game for the Fellowship as we face a new foe each game for five games and five different (new) scenarios. Like last game, this one is set to be really, REALLY tough. This is a warband game of 500 points and today we have a little twist: I will be controlling my army from Moria against my wife, Ellyriana and my son Tamwyn who will be controlling the Fellowship. 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

The Denizens of Moria: 500 points

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria - 60 points
Moria Goblin Shaman - 45 points
Moria Goblin Captain with shield - 40 points
Moria Goblin Captain with shield - 40 points
1 Cave Troll - 80 points
1 Bat Swarm - 35 points
14 Moria Goblin Warriors with shield - 70 points
15 Moria Goblin Warriors with spear - 75 points
11 Moria Goblin Warriors with Orc bow - 55 points

46 units, 11 Orc bows, 4 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" x 48". In this scenario, the game ends when one force is broken (1 for the Fellowship and 11 for the Goblins). The points are then calculated as follows:
  • 3 points for each objective with 1 or more friendly models and no enemy models within 3", OR
  • 1 point for each objective with more friendly models than enemy models within 3".
  • 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 he and the enemy army are broken.
The map is set up as follows: we have several ruins scattered across the map and several other pockets of woodland terrain. We alternated placing objectives, indicated by the markers on the table (red, yellow, blue, green, and shiny). The Goblins won priority for the first turn and placed their warbands second.
So with the Fellowship being 2-2-0 in this round of games, I'm interested in seeing how life is facing an all-hero army. I'm putting together a White Council list (another all-hero army), so now I get to view what I want/need in an army from an adversarial stand point. Int his game, I know that if Durburz and the Goblin Shaman can stay alive, I can probably hold three objectives by the time my army is broken and reduced to 25% (as I'm pretty sure they will, seeing as I'm facing the four best heroes the Fellowship list has to offer). If I can keep two objectives from being contested (hopefully both held by Durburz) and another contested somewhere else (with the Shaman) and break the Fellowship (read, kill Legolas and the hobbits), then I can win this game. Any other objectives I can claim will help too, but in any other case, I could lose this game because of the 25% ending point.



Turn 1: The Charge (Priority - Goblins)

So, pictures are sparse on this post. Camera was a bit finicky and decided to quit on us entirely after a few turns. The Shaman, to no surprise, cast Fury and enraged his comrades nearby (1/3W). In the Shoot phase, Legolas leveled a hailstorm of arrows against the Bat Swarm and succeeded in wounding it once (1/4H).



Turn 2: Combat Begins (P - Fellowship)
The Goblins advance...that's about it. Aragorn has charged early, but nothing else of interest happens.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas kills a Goblin spearman on the left flank, far from the rage of the shaman. And so it begins...
In the Fight phase, Aragorn kills 2 Goblins and begins checking the advance (no Fury saves, Aragorn: free + 1/3M). Notice how close he is to the shaman...
Kill count: Fellowship 3/46, Goblins 0/6.



Turn 3: Mighty Heroes (P - Goblins)
The armies are now in all-out war, with even Legolas charging into a nearby set of Goblins. My Bat Swarm has sought refuge from the arrows and can now swoop into almost any fight. My Troll, though, really needs to free my Shaman up, so that will take some time. Nothing happened in the Shoot phase.
In the Fight phase, Boromir calls a Heroic Combat and kills a Goblin with shield. Much to pity, he wasn't saved by his Fury roll.
Boromir goes on to beat and wound both of the Goblins with spears that he fought, but one shrugged off the wound he suffered (fury save, Boromir: 2/6M). Aragorn kills 2 Goblins with shields (no Fury saves), while Legolas kills 1 Goblin shield. Thankfully, Gimli lost his fight, but took no wounds, while a Goblin spear and shield team killed Pippin (Fate save fail, 1/1F, 1/1H).
Kill count: Fellowship 8/46, Goblins 1/6. It was at this moment that I noticed (as you can see in the picture above) that the Shaman is open and exposed...and not far from Aragorn...oops.



Turn 4: Consolidation (P - Fellowship)
So, of course, the last picture the camera took before it promptly died (why do I never have enough batteries around?!?!) is sideways. The Fellowship has priority and promptly charged a great many units (though Legolas went back to Plan A and faded into the trees). Gimli, for his part, killed a Goblin archer with his throwing axe and promptly charged two others. My other Goblins nearby are racing towards the objectives and counting on, perhaps, being broken and outnumbering.
In the Shoot phase, Legolas killed 2 Goblins with spears, making life a bit better for Merry this round. In the subsequent Fight phase, Aragorn dedicated his efforts towards killing the Goblin Shaman, who failed his Fate save (rolled a 2!!!) and suffered 2 wounds (2/2H, 1/1F; Aragorn: free M). Boromir killed a single Goblin spearman after blowing his horn and winning the fight automatically and Gimli killed both the archers he was fighting. Though the loss of the shaman is a HUGE blow to my army, the Goblin spearmen and Bat Swarm managed to wound Merry twice, making his Fate save irrelevant.

Kill count: 
Fellowship 15/46, Goblins 2/6. Um, we're 4 turns in, and I've lost 15 guys (including my shaman)...need to get some kills coming now!



Turn 5: The Might of Gondor (P - tied, Goblins)

Nothing of importance happened in the Move phase, besides the fact that I couldn't get my Troll and my Bats in the same fight (stupid Goblins). As such, they split forces and I sent the Bats to fight Boromir, despite the fact that they really do nothing there, while the Troll went lolloping over to Aragorn to make that fight a bit less fair. Nothing happened in the Shoot phase either, despite the fact that Legolas was shooting. In the Fight phase, Boromir blows his horn, wins automatically, and promptly kills the Bat Swarm without spending Might. Ouch. On a completely unrelated note (besides the fact that it puts my team down some more), Gimli killed yet another Goblin archer, further depleting the force I have down at the lower right objective (still got a Captain and and a few more archers though).

In Aragorn's fight, Aragorn loses to the Troll and Goblins and takes *drum roll*...1 wound...from the Goblins. My wonderful Troll managed to roll two 1s and a 3...I am so mad at him. Aragorn rolled for his first Fate point and failed it and my gracious opponent decided to just take the wound. I imagine this is out of pity for my team, but it did score me a point (which I reminded her about and she was okay with that). Yaye team...

Kill count: 
Fellowship 17/46, Goblins 2/6. The Goblins are 6 away from breaking, while the Fellowship is 1 away from breaking...oh, Cave Troll?!?!?!? At least we got a point already, so we're kind of winning...



Turn 6: Cutting Down to Size (P - Fellowship)

In the Move phase, the Fellowship brawlers in the center of the map readjust to compensate for a few mismatches, having Boromir charge the Troll and Aragorn charging a Goblin Captain. Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase, as Legolas is once again in combat.

In the Fight phase, Boromir blows his horn, the Troll passes his Courage test, and no one on my side rolls higher than a 4...so of course, Boromir wins and promptly kills the Troll (3/3H, Boromir: 4/6M). Could things get any worse? Oh right...Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli managed to kill one Goblin each, further ringing up their kill total (Aragorn: free + 2/3M).

Kill count: 
Fellowship 21/46, Goblins 2/6. Two away from breaking and I've lost my killing units. Time to get down to 25% and hold three objectives...yeah, that's the plan...it'll work.



Turn 7: The Slaughter Continues (P - Goblins)

I sent a few Goblins over towards the objective that Gimli is camped out at and hope to pile on the numbers before he can kill them all. The other heroes in the center of the map, I'm just trying to outnumber - there is no other strategy. Legolas is engaged yet again with a lot of Goblins near his base, so there is nothing happening in the Shoot phase.

In the Fight phase, Gimli calls a heroic combat, wins his fight, and promptly kills 2 Goblin spearmen (2/3M). He then charges the other guys at his objective and loses (but of course, is not wounded). Aragorn, Boromir, and Legolas keep up their streak of killing one Goblin each to make sure my army is really, really small.

Kill count: 
Fellowship 26/46, Goblins 2/6. Goblins are broken (at least 1 point for the Fellowship), so we'll see what happens now...thankfully, two completely uncontested objectives will be held in place by Durburz thanks to his 12" Stand Fast! Yaye, at least we have something...and that's not counting the three other objectives that I outnumber the Fellowship on (but not by much, so that could change).



Turn 8: The Rally Cry (P - Fellowship)

In the Move phase, the Fellowship ties down both of my Goblin Captains to force me to pass Courage tests with my warriors. Legolas charges someone, but lets the other Goblins see how happy they are. Durburz passes Courage test after rolling a sum of 3 (2/2W, 1/3M), and keeps two of my objectives happy (four Goblins on those objectives and another Goblin at the center objective). 5 Goblins failed their Courage tests and run from the field. Once again, there is nothing going on in the Shoot phase.

In the Fight phase, Aragorn calls a heroic combat, kills a Goblin spear, charges another spear and kills him easily. Ouch. Boromir wins his fight against the Goblin Captain he charged, but does not manage to wound him. Gimli kills the Goblin archer he's fighting, making the fight down to him on the other Goblin Captain) and Legolas loses his fight but suffers no wounds (because, of course, my Goblins can't roll 5s).

Kill count: Fellowship 34/46, Goblins 2/6. With 12 Goblins left, I last for one more round...but likely only one more, as I just need to lose 2 guys to be down to 25%.



Turn 9: The Cry Falls (P - Fellowship)

Spoiler: the entire game goes down the drain in the Move phase. As a statistics nerd, I can tell you that there is a 1/12 chance of rolling a sum of 3 on two dice for two consecutive Courage tests. Apparently I've already played 11 games, because Durburz rolls another sum of 3 for Courage test and cannot pass it. He subsequently flees and is followed by five other Goblins including three archers who were holding one of my uncontested objectives. That gives the Fellowship 3 points for killing Durburz (effectively) and takes away 3 points I would have had for holding the objective uncontested. Also, my force is now down to below 25%, so the game will end after this round.

To add insult to injury, Gimli wounds the Goblin Captain with his throwing axe, rolling the required 6 to wound (1/2H, failed Fate save, 1/1F). Nothing happened in the Shoot phase, but Gimli manages in the Fight phase to wound the Captain again and kill him, clearing out all of the Goblins on his objective. Legolas killed the Goblin with shield he was fighting and Boromir beat his Captain but failed to wound him. He did, though, keep my Captain out of scoring range (he and Aragorn together made a good screen to prevent me from running in range of the objective).

Kill count: Fellowship 42/46, Goblins 2/6. With four Goblins left, the game ends and we count up the scores of each army (counting objectives, then status of army leaders, then breaking the foe)...

Objectives:

#1 (center): Fellowship holds uncontested with Aragorn and Boromir.
#2 (top left): Goblins hold uncontested with one Moria Goblin Warrior with Orc bow (who thankfully passed his Courage test after Durburz fled).
#3 (bottom left): Goblins hold contested with 2 Moria Goblin Warriors against Legolas.
#4 (top right): Unattended - no points scored.
#5 (bottom right): Fellowship holds uncontested with Gimli.

Score: Fellowship 6, Goblins 4.

Army Leaders:

Fellowship scores 3 points for Durburz fleeing the field.
Goblins score 1 point for wounding Aragorn.

Score: Fellowship 9, Goblins 5.

Breaking The Foe:

Fellowship scores 3 points for breaking the enemy and not being broken.
Goblins score 0 points for failing to break the enemy.

Score: Fellowship 12, Goblins 5. Major victory for the Fellowship!



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

So, I'm conflicted. I really like my Fellowship list and all, but winning like they did in this game was just embarrassing. I mean, this was the second game where they were not broken and the second game they ran the table as far as scoring points. It's nice to see them win and all (especially when it's my wife winning), but it doesn't keep a crowd around. So...rather sad way to end it, but a good game in some respects.

Stellar unit for the Goblins: Moria Goblin Warrior with Spear

The thing about fighting an all-hero army, is that unless you kill one of the prominent heroes, you wonder who you give the title of "stellar unit" to. I can't give it to the Troll because he lost one fight and couldn't win the other. I can't give it to Durburz, since he didn't fight and still failed two Courage tests (effectively). I can't really give it to the Shaman, who saved one guy before he died. I can't give it to my archers, who failed to wound in the first round with their volley and otherwise failed to halt Gimli. So my options are: Goblins with shields and Goblins with spears. Since 3 of the 5 units responsible for killing the two Hobbits were Goblins with spears, I give them the gold star today. A really unimpressive game for the Goblins, but hopefully they'll get a better game soon.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Boromir of Gondor

The Fellowship always has one of its four mega-heroes who doesn't kill enough and two or three who do a great load of work. In this game, Legolas really didn't get a chance to come out of the woodwork and only scored 44 points worth of kills (if you add the 1 Wound he did on the Bat Swarm). Gimli scored 80 points (nearly his cost) and Aragorn scored 85 (a good respectable amount). Boromir though, thanks to the Troll he killed solo, scored 126 points and comes out ahead of his cost (in this game, 115). If you give the three melee heroes credit for the units that fled because they broke the enemy, their points rise even higher. On the whole, though, the heroes killed the same number of units, so that's not a huge boon to anyone. But, slaying the Troll and the Bat Swarm in one round each gives Boromir the glory title today.

So, with a final record of 3-2-0, the Fellowship is victorious. I'm rather happy and psyched about these all-hero armies. So here's what we're doing for the next hobby month: we're going down to Goblin Town in anticipation of the new Hobbit movie and I'm going to be writing up posts on the White Council list that I'm putting together. I'm also hoping to focus a bit on the terrain that I've been working on and get some of those projects done. So, watch this space!

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.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Game 3 - The High Ground: The Fellowship vs. The Serpent Horde

This is the third game that I'm playing with the Fellowship and it looks to be one of the hardest missions I'll have to perform with them (Domination will probably be harder). This is a warband game of 500 points and today we are facing fellow TMAT contributor Zorro and his famed Haradhrim. 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
Bill the Pony - 30 points (substitute: Rohan Horse)
Meriadoc Brandybuck - 10 points
Peregrin Took - 10 points

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

The Serpent Horde: 499 points

Suladan with bow - 95 points
4 Haradhrim Warriors with spears - 28 points
8 Abrakhan Merchant Guards - 64 points

Haradhrim chieftain with bow - 50 points
5 Haradhrim Warriors with spears - 35 points
5 Haradhrim Warriors with bows - 35 points

Hasharin - 90 points
6 Haradhrim Warriors with spears - 42 points
6 Corsair Arbalesters - 60 points

37 units, 7 bows + 6 crossbows + 1 blowgun, 3 heroes

The scenario we will be playing is a High Ground game on a board that is 48" x 48". In this scenario, the game ends when one force is broken (4 for the Fellowship and 19 for the Haradhrim) and a roll of a 1-2 is rolled during the End phase (after the Fight phase and before the next round's priority. If a priority roll results in a tie, there is no Shoot phase during that round. The points are then calculated as follows:
  • 1 point for each unit "on the high ground." This is defined as touching the High Ground - standing on it, touching its base, climbing its edge, etc.
  • 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 he and the enemy army are broken.
The map is set up as follows: we have the high ground in the center of the map with a few rock formations surrounding it. The Haradhrim won the roll off and alternate placing warbands with the Fellowship. They subsequently also win the roll for priority. This game is going to be tough for me not because my army is so small, but because I need to score with all of my units to have a chance (or most of them). Legolas has been a dependable army-stopper before, but in this particular case, he's going to need some help. Against an army of Harad, I'll lose any shooting war I get into and my hobbits could be easily decimated by any of the units in this army. Also, Zorro's Haradhrim have a record that is something to the tune of 20-1-1, which makes them easily the most notorious army featured here on TMAT.


Turn 1: The Day Is Dark (Priority - Harad)
The Fellowship attempts to consolidate its position on the High Ground. Pippin lies down, Bill races towards the ruined tower, and Merry fails a climb test to get to better cover. Many of the Haradhrim advance, staying close to the hill and out of visibility of Legolas.
In the Shoot phase, a Haradhrim bowmen scores 1 wound on Sam (1/2H). The Haradhrim chieftain adds another wound to Sam, who saves it with both of his Fate points (2/2F). A final bowman scores a wound on Sam, killing him. This is not a good start...
The crossbows then level their arrows at Legolas, who lost his front-cover from Sam. Though two of the Corsairs hit their marks, Legolas emerges unscathed from the barrage. In return, Legolas slays one Haradhrim spearman.

Kill count: Fellowship 1/37, Haradhrim 1/8.



Turn 2: A Second Barrage (P - Harad)
Not much happened this round. Harad continues to sneak around the high ground, while I discover that units cannot fight down a height, but may fight up it...so Gimli will be throwing an axe this round and Aragorn is a sitting duck.
The Shoot phase was also mostly uneventful. A Haradhrim archer wounded Aragorn (1/3H), while Legolas failed to wound any Corsairs (his only visible targets).
Kill count: Fellowship 1/37, Haradhrim 1/8.



Turn 3: Elendil! (P - Harad)
Frodo was under Evil control this turn and was moved so that he would begin to walk off the high ground (not in a way that would harm him, of course). Besides that, Aragorn jumped down (we allowed him to do that) so that he could get into the action and do something. Pippin decided to stand up so that he could keep Haradhrim from climbing up.
In the Shoot phase, Pippin was wounded by a Haradhrim archer and failed his Fate save. Maybe he should have stayed down, :-P. In other news, a Corsair arbalester wounded an Abrakhan Guard, while trying to kill Aragorn...that kinda makes up for losing Pippin. Legolas, for his part, auto-hit an Abrakhan Guard at the base of the high ground (who we decided had an in-the-way roll, but I wasn't convinced) and killed him.
Kill count: Fellowship 3/37, Haradhrim 2/8.



Turn 4: The Fury of Axe and Sword (P - Harad)
Gimli and Aragorn now are in full-combat, hoping to even out the score and kill some of the melee units on the hill. Gimli engages two units while Aragorn engages a loner.
In the Shoot phase, Bill is shot and saves the wound with his Fate point - yaye! At this point, I know I have no way to save him, as I don't think I can make him lie down and I can't give him cover. Unfortunately for me, a few more arrows nail the poor horse and he dies. :( From this picture, you can see a close-up of the Rohan stead I borrowed from my good buddy Glenstorm. Legolas trains his arrow on the Abrakhan Guard fighting Merry, but fails to wound.
In the Fight phase, both Aragorn and Gimli call heroic combats: Aragorn wins his without an issue (free + 0/3M) and Gimli slays his foe (2/3M). As they charge into more units, Gimli kills two more spearmen while Aragorn takes down an Abrakhan Guard.

On the other side of the field, Merry loses his fight in front of Legolas, is wounded, but saves the wound with his Fate point. YAYE! Another turn with a buffer between Legolas and nasty guys.

Kill count: Fellowship 8/37, Haradhrim 2/8.



Turn 5: The Might of Dunedan (P - Harad)
Frodo is under the control of Evil this round and he again tries to get off the high ground. Legolas places his bow on his back, draws his daggers, and engages an Abrakhan Guard to make things a bit more even on the hill. Gimli, unfortunately, will be spending the rest of this turn getting ready for the next attack and just throwing his axes this round.
In the Shoot phase, a Haradhrim bowman wounds Aragorn (taken as a wound, 2/3H), and a blowdart and crossbow quarrel also wound the famed hero. Aragorn spends 2 Fate points to avoid taking his final wound and passes both of them (2/3F). Hurrah!

Aragorn calls a heroic combat, kills the spearman he's fighting and jumps down, ready for more action. Legolas kills the Abrakhan he's fighting with ease. Unfortunately, Merry died this round trying to defend Legolas. Aragorn succeeded in killing the unit he was facing in a Heroic Combat, jumped down the ledge, and killed a Harad spearman.

Kill count: Fellowship 12/37, Haradhrim 3/8.



Turn 6: The Two Kings (P - Fellowship)
With priority finally in my grasp, I jump both of my melee heroes on Suladan. In order to do so, I need to call a heroic move with Aragorn, as Suladan is determined to move before I do. Aragorn wins the roll-off and moves first. A few of the warriors nearby try to draw Aragorn away from Suladan...this should be interesting.
In the Shoot phase, the Haradhrim chieftain fires at Legolas and hits his own spearman instead, spending a Might point to kill him - the spearman that is. Why I wondered? Then I heard six crossbows caulk and watched them be raised to shoulder. Thankfully for me, only a few hit and none wounded. Whew!

Aragorn called a heroic combat (1/3M), won easily, and slew his opponent and charged into the fight with Suladan. Between him and Gimli, they defeated the great hero and killed him (Aragorn 3/3M, Gimli 3/3M). Though I just spent all my Might store for my two power heroes on this one kill, I just earned three victory points for slaying the leader. Yaye for me...

Kill count: Fellowship 15/37, Haradhrim 3/8. The Fellowship is broken and we rolled to see if the game continued and to my relief, it did.



Turn 7: A Heavy Blow (P - Harad)
The Move phase was a mixture of me trying to consolidate my units in scoring positions and finding units to kill. Aragorn climbed back on the high ground to save the top from being overwhelmed, while Gimli moved to assist on the ground level. Legolas trained his bow for unleashing a torrent against the Haradhrim archers.
In the Shoot phase, Aragorn was wounded by an arrow and failed his Fate save. Thus ended the tale of our great hero... :(. BUT, in vengeance, Legolas trained his bow against three Harad archers, and watched all three fall to the ground dead (3/3M).
Kill count: Fellowship 18/37, Haradhrim 5/8. We rolled again, and the game continues to press forward. I'm going to need a few more turns (namely, like 6 turns) if I want to win. On the plus side, if I can kill 2 more units, the Haradhrim are broken, which could mean that the guys on the hill run in terror of my warriors.



Turn 8: The Tide Begins To Turn (P - Fellowship)

By this time, both Zorro and I were ready for the game to be over, so I became sparse with the pictures. Sorry. Not much happened this round, except that Legolas killed 2 archers with his bow, breaking Harad.

Kill count: Fellowship 19/37, Haradhrim 5/8. We roll again and the game goes on. I finally have a chance to win it. My team, though, is Gimli, Legolas, and Frodo, so I'm going to need to get into fights pretty quick if I want to win.



Turn 9: The Wind Howls (P - tied, Harad)

In the Move phase, the Haradhrim Chieftain (one of two heroes left) fails his Courage test, and is joined in his flight by 1 Abrakhan Guard and 3 Haradhrim spearmen. With no Shoot phase and no fights, this round was over pretty quick (and we also saw the first movement of the Corsair pirates).

Kill count: Fellowship 24/37, Haradhrim 5/8. Thirteen to three, hardly seems fair. If this were a game of kill-to-the-death, I'd give them a chance to surrender, but since it's not, I'm kinda working hard to stay alive. We roll a dice and yet again, the game continues. :)



Turn 10: Hopes Fall (P - Fellowship I think?)
Not much happened this round, except that Gimli killed a Corsair. As you can see, I'm going to need to kill a lot of guys if I intend to out-score Zorro.
Kill count: Fellowship 25/37, Haradhrim 5/8. We rolled a dice and the game ended on the roll of a 1. The points were scored as follows:

Harad: 11 scoring units, 1 point for breaking the enemy
Fellowship: 2 scoring units, 3 points for killing leader, 1 point for breaking the enemy

Final score: Harad 12, Fellowship 6. Major victory for Harad...not unexpected.



Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

So I knew that this was going to be an up-hill battle, but I didn't know I'd start on the hill and have only a down-hill game. :-P Ok, lame jokes out of the way, the game was fun and challenging. We learned after the game that the Evil player, if in control of Frodo, can try to have him take off the Ring (which might have been nice while he was next to an Abrakhan Guard like he was). With this change, I probably would opt for having Frodo stay on the ground in future games and wait to put on the Ring until he's set to be hurt. Also, I'm only planning on using his Might to make sure that I keep control of him. But all told, I really enjoyed the game (since using the Fellowship is just fun). :)

Assessment by Zorro:


That was faaaar closer of a game than it ought to have been. When your plan for a give-away scenario devolves down to "try to out outrun legolas and pray the dice favor you before everyone runs away" you know you are in trouble.
Unfortunately for Tiberius, this was a scenario that heavily favored me from the beginning. Unlike the old scenario, this one merely requires one to touch the hill, rather than be on the hill. So all I needed to do was plunk 3 Hobbits and the pony and have a reasonable number of Haradhrim at the base of the hill - out of legolas' view. As soon as I realized that the new deployment rules meant that the fellowship was likely to start on the hill, any plan of actually mounting the hill went out the window - but a diversionary assault of abrakhans did a good job of pulling aragorn out of hiding and into crossbow range.
There were a number of really epic moments in the match - such as Gimli's flying leap (tumble?) down the cliff after spending most of the game with his foes frustratingly out of reach, or Legolas attempting to use hobbits as a meat shields against the Abrakhans mounting the stairs. Although I think my favorite was the chieftain burning a might  point to kill off his own warrior to open shots for the crossbows. Sometimes being evil is sooo much fun.

Stellar unit for the Fellowship: Gimli, Son of Gloin

Ok, so half of my team contributed to the points we got: Legolas killed 8 units for 58 points, Aragorn killed 4.5 units for 76, and Gimli killed 5.5 units for 83 points (the half points were for Suladan). If you credit these heroes with the points from the units who fled, another 79 points can be claimed (roughly 25 more points each). Frodo, for his part, kept my team from running away (not that my C6 heroes are likely to do that), but he also was able to stand on the high ground with relative impunity until nearly the end of the game. By kills, Legolas takes the cake, but Gimli slew almost his weight in warriors before the battle was over (more than his weight if you count the units who fled from him and his fellow Hunters). The only things that kept him from doing more this game was his speed, which will always be his shortcoming, and the inability to charge units while on the hill.

Stellar unit for Harad: Corsair Arbalester

Definitively going to have to go with the corsair arbalesters on this one. Although Suladan did his part to draw Gimli and Aragorn off the hill and force them to burn some might, I was hoping he'd be a bit more effective with that bow. The corsair crossbows did almost all of the damage in this game, and their D6 at range did wonders to prevent a potentially devastating kill-streak by Legolas - not to mention that they scored nearly half of my points at the end of the game.