Friday, September 27, 2013

Battle Report: Grey Company v. Arm of the Angrenost

Dear Reader,

This is Centaur with another battle report!  So, I owe you all an apology: it's been almost two months since my last battle report. :(  I suppose I could blame scheduling craziness on the part of myself and my gaming buddies, but the truth is I've just been woefully lax in putting up battle reports recently.  I hope to change this as we prepare for the Hunters Red October Tournament in four weeks!

In preparation for the THRO Tournament, I decided to playtest my Grey Company list that I'll be using in the tournament, in part so that I can get comfortable with the feel of Grey Company again (as it's been a while since I've played them), and also so that I can showcase some of the terrain and board ideas I'm thinking up for the tournament.  I met up with Zorro last Friday night, in part so that I could test out the new stockpile rules for terrain, but also because he wanted to test one of the armies he is considering bringing to the tournament.  The lists looked like this:

The Grey Company (Grey Company, LOME)
Detachment 1
-Aragorn, Isildur's Heir (Army Leader): 200 points
-1 Dunedain (Rosseloth): 24 points
-3 Rangers of Arnor w/ spears: 27 points
-9 Rangers of Arnor: 72 points

Detachment 2
-2 Rangers of the North (Culang and Dannassel): 50 points
-1 Dunedain w/ spear (Daerdan): 25 points
-1 Ranger of Arnor w/ spear: 9 points
-7 Rangers of Arnor: 56 points

Detachment 3
-2 Rangers of the North (Cadan and Torchirion): 50 points
-1 Dunedain w/ spear (Astiul): 25 points
-1 Ranger of Arnor w/ spear: 9 points
-7 Rangers of Arnor: 56 points

TOTAL: 603 points, 36 units, 10* Might, 36 bows

Arm of the Angrenost (Legion of the White Hand, Isengard Raiders, LOME)
- Vrasku - Army Leader
- 3 Uruk warriors w xbows
- 6 Uruk warriors w shields

Detachment 2

- Uruk Captain w heavy armor & shield
- 6 Uruk warriors w shields
- 4 Uruk warriors w pikes
- 3 Berserkers
- Uruk Drummer

Detachment 3

- Uruk Captain w heavy armor and 2h
- 6 Uruk warriors w shields
- 4 Uruk warriors w pikes
- 3 Berserkers

TOTAL: 603 points, 39 units, 7 Might, 4* xbows

Strategy for Glenstorm: This game I'm going to experiment a bit.  I've deployed my 3 detachments pretty far apart, hoping to draw off some of the uruks from the main body that has formed on his board edge.  Drawing from the tactics post I did in January, I'll be utilizing a Wheel on the far right anchoring off of the tower, and two bullpens in the center and far left.  I'm guessing that Vrasku is going to sit in the tower, so I'll attempt to force him out or take him down from the perch to obtain my oath.

Strategy for Zorro: Strategy...right. Part of the reason you don't see the same strategy posts from me as you do from Tiberius and Glenstorm is that I don't do too much pre-planning or meta-gaming with formations and numbers crunching. I like to field armies that can roll with the punches and adapt on the fly. In this particular matchup, with S4 against D4, I knew I had a decent chance once I closed to melee - assuming I still had an army left at that point. I've been at the mercy of ranger bows before (see THRO12's writeup for that nasty business) and I was hoping not to replicate that. So close the gap quickly, and hope that the Uruks can ply their trade faster than Aragorn can swing his sword!


We will be playing a Lords of Battle scenario, using the following rules:
  • Game ends when one force is reduced to 25% or less of its starting models
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded for each Wound or Fate point spent by your opponent.  Unspent Fate points on a casualty result in scored points.
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded if the enemy force is broken.  3 Victory Points are awarded if the enemy force is broken and your force is not broken at the end of the game.
We used the following terrain from Zorro's collection (as I didn't bring any with me), and placed the four weapons stockpiles about 12" from the corners (more or less).  Before heading into the battle, we dealt out four random stockpiles, then revealed what four weapons were up for grabs.  For this match, the possible stockpiles are 1 barrel of tar, 1 cache of throwing weapons, 1 cache of shields, and 1 cache of 2H weapons.  Once all of the terrain was placed, we rolled off for placement.  I won the roll-off, and as we prepared for Turn 1, the board looked like this:

As a quick note on the pictures going forward: I turned off the flash because I didn't like how it washed out everything after this shot.  In retrospect, this may have thrown off my auto-focus, so a number of the pictures are blurry.  I am SOOOO sorry for some of them - they are really messed up.  So, it's my bad: I don't recommend enlarging some of them, as they'll be an eye-sore.  The pictures get better as it goes along, but for your convenience I'll give you a warning ahead of time for the pictures that are really blurry.

Before going into combat, we also selected our Oaths of Battle for the game.  Aragorn declared that he would out-kill Vrasku, and Vrasku declared that he would end his movement within 3" of the tower near my board edge.

And with that... (For death and glory!) (Aarrrghwaaarsnarl!)

Turn 1 (P: Grey Company)

Both armies advanced, with all of my elements moving up 3", and Zorro's horde marching forward as the Uruk Drummer sounded the advance (and thereby increasing the movement of all of his Uruk-Hai by 3").  One of the crossbows in the top-left corner discovered a barrel of tar in the stockpile near him (wonderful: +1 to wound on a crossbow!  Yikes!) (fairly useless to me, I was just glad it meant it wasn't on your side of the board), and one of the uruks discovered a cache of throwing weapons near the top-right corner.  I quickly realized as we moved to the Shoot Phase that I wasn't going to get very many of these in this game, due to the D6 front line advancing 9" every turn, :P  This will be interesting...

Bad blur: sorry!!!
In the Shoot Phase, the crossbows all moved into position, with Vrasku taking station in the top of the tower.  My archers volleyed into the main body of infantry (because that's what cool GC armies do when they have three volley companies, :) ), and we scored a wound on the Uruk shield and 1 wound on the Uruk Captain (on a 6/4+, which I'm pretty happy about! :).

Turn 2 (P: Uruk-Hai)

Sorry - forgot to take a picture of the Move Phase.  To describe it, the armies continue to advance toward each other at an amazing rate (wow, those uruks are booking it!!!), and my forces on the far right formed up around the tower for extra flank defense.  The far left detachment, realizing that the entire Uruk force was heading East, split off with most of the force making their way to reinforce their comrades on the far side.

A bit of blur - sorry!
In the Shoot Phase, Vrasku did 1 wound to Gwonil (a Dunedain ranger), who failed her Fate save (1/1F, 1/1H), and got no supporting kills from the other crossbowmen.

Bad blur - sorry!
The Dunedain responded in kind - and added a bit of interest.  There are rounds every now and then where the Grey Company surprise me in terms of how much damage they can do through archery, and this was one of them.  My archers did no less than 7 wounds (and, as a reminder, all wounding on 6s!) through archery, 6 on swordsmen, and 1 on Vrasku, who fails his Fate save (1/1F, 1/2H).  As a note to the non-Grey Company players out there, this is highly uncommon; I've only seen more than 4 wounds done in one round of archery twice, and this is one of them (yeah, the other time was against one of my D6 armies too =P).  So, be ye warned: this is not normative, :)  Zorro's force was itching for blood as we headed into Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Uruk-Hai)

The armies are almost in melee range as we start Turn 3.  The drummer's rule does not allow you to charge when you gain increased movement, so Zorro's force moved up within 1-2" of my battle line on the right (off-screen; couldn't fit it all - sorry!), and then prepared to meet Aragorn and his relief force.  Vrasku decided to step down from the tower (I keep forgetting how little cover that thing actually gives), and started to move toward the eastern part of the map to get in position to complete his oath.  Aragorn's men discovered a set of 2H weapons near them (I really needed the shields to be in this stockpile!), and one of Culang's rangers discovered a set of shields at the bottom-left.

In the Shoot Phase, one of the berserkers killed one of the rangers with his throwing weapon (4+ Shoot value with a S4 attack against D4 guys?  So not cool...) (says the guy who has been hurling 36 ranged attacks at me per turn at a 3+) (...whiiiich wound on 6s, ;) ), and the rangers responded with one kill of their own.  The lines were drawing up for the inevitable melee that is always Turn 4...

Turn 4 (P: Uruk-Hai)

...And we have melee combats! :)  The uruks slammed into my forces, leaving no options for Aragorn in terms of charging this round (well played, Zorro - well played, :) ) (if you can't beat 'em... stay away from them!).  The drummer hung back to keep Vrasku within his drumming radius, and the uruks who could not get into charging range moved up to reinforce near the tower.  Aragorn and a company of rangers moved around the flank, while the other rangers prepared a perimeter in an attempt to rescue their comrades who were now vastly outnumbered behind the tower.

In the Shoot Phase, two of the Berserkers each killed a ranger, and Aragorn took down one of the shields with archery.

In the Fight Phase, Zorro killed off Astiul and two rangers in close combat (I was expecting worse - what a relief!) (I was expecting worse too. shape up guys!), and one of the berserkers was downed by my force.  As we headed into Turn 5, I decided to call an audible with Aragorn, in the hopes of catching Zorro by surprise...

Turn 5 (P: Grey Company)

Zorro called a Heroic Move with his shield captain (1/2M), as did Aragorn (Free/3M), and the uruk captain won.  Not surprisingly, he swung pikemen at my rangers to block Aragorn out of the small gap to get to the pikes supporting his berserkers.  I was okay with that, as I was already planning on slinging him and a stronger force below the tower to stunt the attack, leaving behind Daerdan and a few of the other rangers to hold the top and put pressure on the pikes.  One of the reasons that I love Aragorn is that even if he cannot get into combat (which Zorro is good to watch for), he still provides a 3" banner radius for your force, so he can do a lot of good even if he's not engaged in combat.  One of the berserkers killed a ranger with his throwing weapon, nothing of significance happened in the Shoot Phase, one of the crossbows downed my archer in the tower, and we prepared for melee combat.

In the Fight Phase, his captain called a Heroic Combat (2/2M), killed the aged retainer on the north side of the tower, and both Cadan and Torchirion (two of my Rangers of the North), and two of my rangers fell on the south side of the tower (which is not good - I'm not doing nearly enough damage in close-combat to keep this game close) ("We are the servants of Saruman the Wise, The White Hand: The Hand that gives us man's-flesh to eat!").  Current casualty count comes to...

Casualty Count: 16/36 Grey Company (20 points for Lords of Battle, 2 from break point), 11/39 Uruk-Hai (14 points for Lords of Battle, 9 from breaking).

Turn 6 (P: Grey Company)

Sorry - forgot to get pics here, :)  I was swept away by the game in the heat of combat, :P  Zorro's Uruk 2H Captain called a Heroic Move (1/2M), and I chose not to contest it (as I was going to get the moves I wanted with Aragorn, and he couldn't threaten my hero corps).  The rangers moved up, and Aragorn sees his first round of combat!  In the Shoot Phase, Vrasku aims at Culang (one of the Rangers of the North), who was engaged in combat with an Uruk Shield.  He got off both shots, one was on-target, and it wounded Culang, who saved it with Fate (1/1F).  The other shot was off-target, with Vrasku mighting it to kill the Uruk shield (preventing me from getting a heroic combat in with four of my warriors).

In the Fight Phase, Aragorn called a Heroic Combat (Free/3M), won his fight, wounds the uruk (1/3M), and engages the pike that was supporting (who he also kills).  The two rangers up top lose their fights, are trapped, and both die in a very gory mess.

Behind the tower, the Uruk Captain won his combat using pike support, and brought down both of the rangers in his fight.  The casualty count now looks like this:

Casualty Count: 20/36 Grey Company (25 points in Lords of Battle for Zorro, broken), 13/39 Uruk-Hai (16 points in Lords of Battle for Glenstorm, 7 from break point)

Turn 7 (P: Grey Company)

Time ran out as we went through the Move Phase, so the game would end at the end of this round.  The 2H Captain called another Heroic Move (2/2M), charged into Aragorn, and brought a lot of uruks with him.  Two of the rangers fell to throwing weapons on the berserkers (note to self: throwing weapons in the hands of berserkers is just brutal...avoid at all costs, :P ) (the rest of the uruks would have been just as deadly with them. Berserkers just look cooler doing it).  The Heroic Move also allowed Vrasku to move within 3" of the tower, completing his oath.

After my move, the uruks are swarming me up top, and Dannassel (who was not engaged below the tower), swung around the pull off pike support against Culang.  As you can also see, two of the rangers failed their Courage tests, so they ran off the board (to choruses of "bawk bawk" in urukese).  Nothing of import happened in the Shoot Phase, so we move into the final Fight Phase.

Down below, I lost both of the rangers of Arnor, and Aragorn finished off the Uruk Captain in his fight, using up all of his Might points.

Up top, Daerdan (one of my Dunedain) lost his fight, suffered 1 wound, and saved it with Fate (1/1F).  Two more rangers died near the rocks.

So, final score: 35 points from casualties/Fate for Zorro + 3 points for breaking my force without being broken = 38 points for Zorro; 22 points from casualties/Fate for Glenstorm, resulting in a 38-22 Minor Win for the Angrenost.  Both teams also completed their Oaths of Battle.


Glenstorm's Thoughts: Wow, that game was brutal.  Keeping my elements divided didn't work well, I think in part because Zorro wanted to both stay away from Aragorn (which he succeeded at), and he wanted everyone in range of the drummer (which he also succeeded at).  Having never faced a drummer before, I've got some good thoughts now on how to keep at bay an army of fast-moving Uruk-Hai.  On the whole, I'm really glad I got this feedback before the tournament, and will have a healthy fear of this force should Zorro choose to field it in the THRO Tournament.  Well played, mate.

Zorro's Thoughts: We survived!!! I thought things were going to go really badly there for a bit - especially when Glenstorm downed 20% of my force in a single round of archery. I know Glenstorm thinks I cut over to avoid Aragorn, but really, it was the thought of crossing into that huge open area into the teeth of 36 bows that pushed me to the outside (where there was cover!). I got lucky with a couple key blocks to keep Aragorn out of the fray for an extra round or two, and that really helped. Some say that Uruks are a one-trick pony, but you know... it's a dang good trick. I'm really looking forward to *not* fighting GC in the tournament with whatever list I end up with. It's a good army you've got there Glenstorm.

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: Rangers of the North.  Hands down.  Cadan and Torchirion held the line and tied up a lot of pikes, captains, and berserkers for over half of the melee combats.  In a game where I got most of my kills through archery it's hard to see a clear best unit, but their ability to hold a flank until reinforcements arrive is something that I prize.  I'm very grateful for their contributions in this game.

Stellar Unit for Zorro: I would have to say that the most influential uruk unit was the drummer. Vrasku got himself shot up pretty early on and had to duck for cover, but he did get off a key shot that prevented Glenstorm from catapulting reinforcements into my flank. The berserkers with throwing weapons were pretty epic (in retrospect it probably wasn't such a great move to give the upgrades to units that the enemy is already going to target first), but they didn't come close to earning their points back. The drummer cut out a turn of archery, aided a badly-wounded Vrasku to bolt across the field to meet his oath and was a great asset for re-positioning troops, allowing models not able to get in combat to run from one flank to the other to setup for the next round. Not sure it is tournament-worthy, but really came in handy in this game.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be playing at least three more games, each using a different scenario for the THRO Tournament (so that I can practice with the rules).  I may not be using my Grey Company list for all of them, as it may depend on what my opponent wants to play against or with.  I'm planning to meet up with Donatello later this week, and if you haven't seen his most recent battle report, Tiberius may meet up with me to test his White Council list (or his actual army list for the tournament, which is pretty epic!) some more, so for those of you who have waited patiently during my stint on Shire tactics, consider this a promise that there will be more exciting content on this space for the next few weeks, :)  Until then, you'll find me,

Watching the stars,


"(Your teacher) is a human...and is therefore blinkered and fettered by the limitations of your kind." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Domination: The White Council vs. The Defenders of Eriador

After a very long break (I've been really busy), I'm back with another post. Glenstorm and I recently got together to battle again, in part to test out his Hobbit army after Operation Tookburough, and also because I'm looking at buying an Erestor model and wanted to get him tested. This game will be between my fun-filled White Council army and Glenstorm's Shire list. Here are the forces:

The Muster of Rivendell: 600 points

Gandalf the Grey - 170 points
Celeborn with heavy armor, Elven blade, and shield - 150 points
Glorfindel with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points
Erestor (proxied by Wood Elf Warrior) - 80 points
Arwen Evenstar - 60 points

5 units, 1 thrown weapon, 5 heroes, 11 Might

Defenders of Eriador: 603 points

Aragorn/Strider with bow, armor, and Anduril - 260 points
5 Dunedain - 120 points
Meriadoc, Captain of the Shire with shield - 35 points
Peregrin, Captain of the Shire - 30 points
Farmer Maggot with Grip, Fang, and Wolf - 50 points
12 Hobbit Shirrifs - 48 points
5 Battlin' Brandybucks (one proxied by Meriadoc Brandybuck) - 20 points
8 Tookish Hunters - 40 points

37 units, 14 bows + 28 thrown rocks, 9 heroes, 11 Might

The scenario we will be playing is a Domination game on a board that is 48" x 48". The rules are as follows:
  • Game ends at the end of a turn when one side reaches 25% or less of its starting number of models.
  • 3 Victory Points are awarded for each objective marker that has at least one of your models, and no enemy models within 3".
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded for each objective marker that has both friendly and enemy models, but more friendly than enemy models, within 3".
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded for killing the enemy Army Leader.
  • 1 Victory Point is awarded if the enemy force is broken at the end of the game.  If the enemy force is broken and your force is unbroken, you instead score 3 Victory Points.
The map is set up as follows: the Brandywine Bridge is in the middle of the map, with a river running to the east between the fences (no water to display, sorry). In the northeast corner is a marketplace, while the other corners have Hobbit smials or a Dunadan camp. The White Council won the roll off and have chosen to select their corner (the southwest corner). The Shire won priority for the first turn.
Pre-game thoughts by Tiberius: I'm excited about this fight - I've got three D7 heroes who can deal a lot of damage, I've got Gandalf to protect me from enemy archery, and I've got a few key magic users to mitigate the impact of Aragorn. I know that if I can kill off Farmer Maggot, the Dunedain, and of course Aragorn, the rest of the hobbits are likely to flee the field - hopefully to include those guarding objectives. If you want to see a Domination game won with this strategy, see one of the games I did during Fellowship month.

Pre-game thoughts by Glenstorm: This is going to be a hard fight for me.  I have him soundly beaten on the numbers, and physically I can control more objectives than him by sheer model count, but with most of my force testing at C3, if I hit 50% and don't have a Dunedain or Maggot in the mix to hold them in place, I risk losing objectives and being unable to reinforce them (because most of my army only moves 4").  Add onto that the fact that he boasts the higher Fight Value and most of my army wounds most of his army on 6/4+, and I'm going to have trouble breaking his army unless he rolls poorly.  My plan is to use Maggot's dogs to take one objective (and hold it at Maggot's Courage 5), keep Maggot alive, and then quickly drop to 25% against him to end the game while still sporting a lot of heroes.  He'll gain points for bringing me down to 25%, but I'll (hopefully) be able to hold more objectives come the end of the game.

Turn 1-3: (P - WC)
On the first two turns, not much happened - models began moving as you see in the picture above, with Gandalf casting Blinding Light and failing to cast Terrifying Aura, each time using his free Will point. Both armies are converging on each other. Gandalf successfully casts Terrifying Aura ("silly staff - WORK! Ah...") (free + 0/6W). The Shire is fanning out towards each of the external objectives and Arwen lay down behind the tent (for archery protection).

Turn 4: (P - Shire)
A few dogs have moved up to the northwest smial to head off Celeborn with the help of Aragorn. A Dunedain trained an arrow on Glorfindel through the blinding light, let the arrow loose, and though he was on target, the arrow hit the wall of the bridge. Aragorn shot at Celeborn and...failed to hit.

Turn 5: (P - Shire)
At the start of the Move phase, Gandalf targeted a Dunedain with Sorcerous Blast (free + 1/6W). He successfully cast the spell (5 high) and the Dunedain failed to resist the spell (1/1W). The blast bowled the Dunedain and two Tookish Hunters over and wounded them all. The Dunedain, much to his dismay, failed his Fate roll and died (1/1F) ("Thaaat...hurt...").
Everyone else moved as follows: no fights yet, thanks to the slow movement of the Shire list. A few dogs have rushed around the side of the northwest smial - see the next picture for a close-up. Arwen stands up behind the tent.
In the Shoot phase, Aragorn successfully wounds Celeborn, who decides to simply take the wound instead of trying to resist it.
Kill count: WC 3/37, Shire 0/5.

Turn 6: (P - WC)
At the start of the Move phase, Gandalf cast Sorcerous Blast on a Hobbit Shirriff (free + 2/6W, 5 high), but thanks to the Resistance to Magic rule, the Shirriff resisted the spell (6 high). Celeborn charged one of the dogs (couldn't tag both) and successfully got out of the LOS of Aragorn (yaye!). In the Shoot phase, 5 hobbits and a Dunedain attempted to hit Glorfindel and Gandalf with their ranged weapons, but none hit, thanks to the blinding light.
In the Fight phase, Celeborn called a Heroic Combat (1/3M). He won the tie against Grip and slew him and moved over to challenge his friend, Fang. Again, Celeborn won the tie and killed him too (strategically, I know that Aragorn has the advantage against Celeborn with his free Might point and Anduril - so I need to get rid of his supporting units to keep the number of dice being rolled under control).
In the Fight phase, Erestor won his fight against multiple foes and unfortunately failed to wound anyone (really lucky break there for me, as he wounds all my men in this fight on 4s).
Kill count: WC 5/37, Shire 0/5.

Turn 7: (P - WC)
With the White Council getting priority yet again, a Dunedain and Gandalf both called Heroic Moves: Gandalf won the roll-off and cast Sorcerous Blast on another Hobbit Shirriff (free + 3/6W, 5 high), but yet again, the Shirriff resisted the spell thanks to his Resistance to Magic rule (rolled a 6) ("Go team!!!" :) ). Celeborn cast Immobilize on Aragorn (2/3W, 4 high) and Aragorn resisted it (1/3W, 5 high).
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel won his fight (1/3M) and Erestor won his, and both proceeded to kill a Shirriff each. Gandalf lost his fight and took 4 wounds, but thankfully saved 3 of them (2/3M, 3/3F, 1/3H). Not shown here, Celeborn won an escalated roll-off with Aragorn (Celeborn: 3/3M, Aragorn free + 1/3M), but failed to deal any wounds (note: any time you can wound Aragorn, you NEED to wound him...).
Kill count: WC 7/37, Shire 0/5.

Turn 8: (P - Shire)
You can see that the hobbits are running across the map right now - the White Council is tied down in the center of the map, but the number of units on that side of the map are falling.
In the Fight phase, Celeborn botches his roll and Aragorn wins handily. In a deadly arch, Aragorn dealt two wounds with Anduril and despite needing 6s to wound, Wolf the dog successfully wounded Celeborn. All three wounds, thankfully, were saved by Fate (3/3F). Unfortunately, this means that Celeborn is two wounds away from death and Aragorn is untouched...
Elsewhere, Gandalf botched his roll and was killed by Merry and a Shirriff ("Meriadoc Brandybuck...I might have known..."). Glorfindel lost his fight, but due to the thickness of his armor suffered no wounds from the clubs of the bounders. Erestor, though, won his fight (1/1M) and killed a Shirriff.
Kill count: WC 8/37, Shire 1/5.

Turn 9: (P - WC)
Nothing interesting happened in the Move or Shoot phase. Celeborn tried to Immobilize Aragorn with his final Will point, but failed to cast it (bummer). Both Glorfindel and Erestor won their fights, but Erestor didn't wound anyone (when you wound everyone on 4s, this is really sad). Glorfindel, though, killed one Shirriff (which really isn't enough, man). Not show here, Celeborn got lucky and beat Aragorn and successfully dealt 2 wounds, only one of which was saved (3/3F, 1/3H) (And just like that: the fight over there is even again at 2 health remaining, :)  Gotta love it when two combat heroes duke it out!).
Kill count: WC 9/37, Shire 1/5.

Turn 10: (P - Shire)

No pictures of the move phase because nothing of interest happened. However, on the south side of the map during the Shoot phase, a Dunedain took a shot at Arwen. He hit on a 6, passed the in-the-way for the tent on a 6, rolled a 6 to wound, and Arwen saved the wound with her Fate point on a 6. (Pretty awesome rolling all around that turn, :) )

In the Fight phase, Aragorn won a roll-off against Celeborn: Wolf again did the unlikely and successfully wounded Celeborn and Aragorn finished the Elf leader (3/3H).
Elsewhere on the field, Erestor won his fight and wounded one of the Dunedain near him, but the wound was avoided with a Fate point (1/1F). Glorfindel won his fight handily and killed a Militia unit. It's important to note here that Glorfindel has gotten 3 kills in 4 rounds, scoring a whopping total of 12 points...yeah, not enough killing going on.
Kill count: WC 10/37, Shire 2/5.

Turn 11: (P - WC)
The move phase is not that interesting: Aragorn is heading over to the other battles, having been out on the outskirts of the battle fighting Celeborn. I got a little bored, so the next few pictures will show off other parts of the board we haven't seen much to showcase the terrain that Glenstorm provided.
On the far side, Arwen's position has become perilous, and the hobbits know that they are in danger of getting bowled over, so they have taken on the famous scatter formation not seen much on this blog. (The joy of not having to care about spear support, :) )
On the southeast side of the map, Pippin guards a smial. You can see some of the detail on both the model and on the smial.
On the northwest side, a smial is being guarded by a Hunter and the triumphant dog, Wolf.
On the northeast side, the marketplace is empty, featuring a few hunters and a bounder. Nothing of interest happened in the Shoot phase.
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel won his fight (2/3M) and killed another Shirriff. Erestor lost his fight and was wounded once by Farmer Maggot (1/1M) and once by a Dunedain (1/1M). Erestor proceeded to fail two of his Fate saves (3/3F, 1/2H).
Kill count: WC 11/37, Shire 2/5.

Turn 12: (P - WC)
Aragorn joins the melee and the battles rage.
Arwen prepared to charge some of the hobbits and unleashed Nature's Wrath with 3 dice (I figured I'd only get one shot) (3/3W, 4 high). For the third time this game, the Hobbit Shirriff who resisted the spell, nicknamed "feather-dandy," resisted the spell with his Resistance to Magic rule on a 6. (*Happy dance*)
The Hobbits surrounded Arwen after the spell was resisted and everyone swarmed. The Dunedain nearby raced to the camp to claim the objective.
In the Fight phase, Erestor lost a roll-off to Aragorn and was killed (free + 1/3M). In the other fight, Glorfindel killed a Shirriff and a Militia.
Arwen lost her fight and took 1 wound (1/2H).
Kill count: WC 13/37, Shire 3/5. The White Council is broken and the Shire is 6 away from breaking.

Turn 13: (P - tied, Shire)

No pictures of this round - it went quickly. In the Fight phase, Arwen was killed by a big band of hobbits. Glorfindel lost his fight (high 2...why???), was trapped, and despite rolling 6 dice, Aragorn wounds ONCE ( about an epic Aragorn fail...), while Farmer Maggot wounded Glorfindel twice. Glorfindel proceeded to save 2 of the wounds with Fate (3/3F, 1/3H). 

Kill count: WC 13/37, Shire 4/5. The game is over, so we calculate points:

  • Shire holds 4 unchallenged objectives for 3 points each.
  • One objective is unclaimed (no points).
  • The Shire broke the White Council and was not broken for 3 points.
  • Neither army leader was killed (no points).
Final score: Shire 15, White Council 0. Major victory for the Shire!


Assessment by Tiberius:

I liked this game a lot - I was using a team that I've written before is purely for fun (all-hero teams can be hard to be competitive) and I was playing against a team that was built to be fun. Yes, the Resistance to Magic rule ruined my magical dominance during the game, but that's an oddity of the game and it's fun. I was pleased that my D7 heroes I invested in were almost exclusively wounded by Anduril or needed to be trapped by 4+ units. I've been bouncing around whether I want to take this army to the upcoming Hunter's Red October tournament, but it was good to test the list out and see if it'll work.

Assessment by Glenstorm:

The more I see the White Council list, the more I'm impressed with how much it can sustain.  Surround them with men, and they'll hold out for 10 rounds of close combat, even with low rolls and failed Fate rolls.  Because I was able to bottleneck all of the heroes away from the objectives, my aim to hold them down worked well, which carried the day for us.  And props to the halflings for stopping some pretty deadly magic at critical points!

Stellar unit for Tiberius: Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin

It's hard to pick a "best player" for this game. Gandalf and Arwen were nerfed in that they couldn't get their magic off (and I left Arwen at the back, so she didn't have a chance to do anything really). Gandalf did kill a Dunedain and 2 hunters (for a total of 34 points) and blocked archery early in the game from doing anything - not that much would have happened. Notable mentions need to be made for both Glorfindel and Erestor, as Erestor successfully killed 2 units though he was always charged by the most units (not causing terror does that for you) and stayed alive to speed-bump against Aragorn, while Celeborn successfully kept Aragorn out of the fight for most of the game and bought an extra turn of inaction after he died. Glorfindel killed 5 units (highest total) and is the most dependable hero you'll find out there. It is quite likely that if he didn't botch his final roll, Glorfindel could have killed even the mighty Aragorn because of his Fight 7.

Stellar unit for Glenstorm: Aragorn, Strider with armor, bow, and Anduril, Flame of the West

You've got to hand it to him: he's the reason you play with this list, :)  Winning fights with F6, wounding anyone on a 4+ or better regardless of defense, and a free Might point each turn?  It makes beating him in combat very difficult, which makes him a redeeming quality to an otherwise squishy list.  You'll see more of him in future posts on the Shire, especially leading up to the TMAT Grand Tournament in March, :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Announcing the 2013 Hunters Red October Tournament!

Dear Reader,

It is my privilege to announce the second annual Hunters Red October Tournament!  The tournament will be held on Saturday, 10/19, from 10:00 am - about 5:00 pm in Purcellville, VA.  Like the tournaments we have hosted in the past here at TMAT, the tournament will consist of three randomly paired matches, subject to the following rules:

I.  Army Building
Army Size: Armies may field units up to 600 points with a .5% grace limit (603 points maximum), with at least 200 points invested in heroes, one of which must be designated as the Army General.  No army may exceed 60 units.
Structure: Armies may be built to either conform to the LOME or Warbands formats, with the appropriate rules for allied contingents applied.
WYSIWYG: All models will be assumed to have the equipment shown on the model (though additional embellishments/cosmetic add-ons will be allowed, without changing the stat line on the model).  Proxy models will be allowed, so long as 1) the proxy model represents only one unit for the purpose of the tournament (e.g., no switching what the model represents, including what equipment it is armed with), and 2) is clearly marked as a proxied model in the army list submission.

II.  Gameplay
Time Limit: Games will run for 90 minutes, with 15 minutes in between rounds to move to new tables, deploy your armies (if the scenario does not have special deployment rules), and for the tournament director to re-adjust the stockpile terrain templates mentioned in Section IV below.  There will also be a 60-minute break for lunch at 1:15 pm.  If a game is still going when time is called and victory conditions have not been met, the players will finish the current round and score accordingly.  The schedule for the day will be as follows:

        -10:00 - 11:30 am: Round I
        -11:45 am - 1:15 pm: Round II
        -1:15 - 2:15 pm: Lunch
        -2:30 - 4:00 pm: Round III
        -4:15 pm: Final Awards/Standings

The tournament will likely end before the posted ending time of 5:00 pm; the posted ending time accommodates for unforeseen delays and rules disputes (if any) during the tournament.
Rules/Regulations: The official ORB shall be used to govern the rules of gameplay for the tournament, caveated with the rules we use here at TMAT in the "House Rules" on this site.  In addition, all scenarios will end when one force reaches 25% (Ill Met by Moonlight being the big change).  If players have a disagreement about the rules, a red flag will be thrown, time will be stopped, and the other players will weigh in on the dispute, with the tournament director having the final word.
Affiliation: Like the TMAT GT, there will be no Good v. Evil restrictions for games.  Players will be randomly assigned a number, which will then be added to a matrix to determine which opponents the player faces in a given round.
Board Assignment: Unlike some tournaments, there is no "winner's table" at this tournament.  Players will be randomly assigned one of up to four boards for their three games.  This also means that players may not play all possible scenarios, which will be described in further detail in Section III below.
Scenario Scoring: Individual scenarios will be scored according to the rules present in the ORB and the sourcebooks, with the caveats granted in the "House Rules" section on this site.
Campaign Scoring: Scoring for the tournament will follow this scheme: Major Victory: 10 Campaign points, Minor Victory: 8 Campaign points, Draw: 6 Campaign points, Minor Loss: 4 Campaign points, Major Loss: 2 Campaign points.  Additional Campaign points may be earned through the Kudos points and Oaths of Battle mentioned in Section IV below.

III.  Scenarios
Matches: The number of matches per round will be determined by the number of players competing, with a minimum of three boards.
Scenario Selections: Scenarios will be selected in the following order:
A.  Domination: Scenario setup and rules follow those in the Warbands Sourcebooks and the ORB Rulebook, with the following exception: armies are deployed 18" from opposite corners, rather than along a board edge.  Both players agree to the corners in which they deploy (no pre-set deployment corners).
       A.1. Scoring: 3 Victory points for each objective an army completely controls, 1 Victory point for the army that has majority control over a contested objective, 2 Victory points for killing the enemy Army Leader, 1 Victory point is awarded if an army breaks the enemy army, and three points are awarded if an army breaks the enemy army without itself being broken at the end of the game.
B.  Arkenstone: Back by popular demand from the TMAT GT II, this scenario is played like a To the Death scenario, with a few tweaks.  1) Once terrain is placed, a marker is placed at the center of the board to represent the Arkenstone.  The Arkenstone grants a 6" banner radius to the army that has the most models within 3" of it, and a 3" banner radius to the army with the fewest models within the 3" radius.  2) Warbands and divisions are deployed 6" from the table edge on a 1-3, and 12" from the board edge on a 4-6, instead of 12-24" according to the new Sourcebooks.
        B.1. Scoring: 2 Victory points for killing the enemy Army Leader, 2 Victory points are awarded if a team has a banner remaining at the end of the game (the Arkenstone adds 0 Victory points to either team, regardless to whether or not one force dominates the Arkenstone), 1 Victory point is awarded if an army breaks the enemy army, and three points are awarded if an army breaks the enemy army without itself being broken at the end of the game.
C.  Ill Met by Moonlight: Scenario is played as it is found in the LOME Sourcebooks, but with the following changes: 1) Game ends when one force reaches 25% of its starting force, and 2) it is scored like a To the Death Scenario.
        C.1. Scoring: 2 Victory points for killing the enemy Army Leader, 2 Victory points are awarded if a team has a banner remaining at the end of the game, 1 Victory point is awarded if an army breaks the enemy army, and three points are awarded if an army breaks the enemy army without itself being broken at the end of the game.
D.  Lords of Battle: Scenario setup and scoring follows the rules laid out in the Warbands Sourcebooks and the ORB Rulebook, including the special rule that if a hero is killed in a fight, one of the heroes involved in that fight regains a Might point spent earlier in the battle.
        D.1. Scoring: 1 Victory point for each Wound dealt and Fate point spent by your opponent, 1 Victory point is awarded if an army breaks the enemy army, and three points are awarded if an army breaks the enemy army without itself being broken at the end of the game.

IV.  Special Conditions/Add-Ons
1.  Oaths of Battle: Carrying over from the TMAT GT II, players will be able to select one oath from the following list for reach battle.  No oath may be taken more than once during the course of the tournament.  Before each game, declare your oath to your opponent.  If both players fulfill their oath, they each gain 1 Campaign point.  If only one player fulfills his oath, he gains 2 Campaign points.  If a player successfully completes all three oaths over the course of the tournament, he gains an additional 3 Campaign points.  Players may choose from the following list:
Blood-Sworn Enemy: Choose an enemy hero - he is your arch enemy and must die before the end of the match.
Future King: Your army leader must survive the battle - he must not be slain or in other way depart the field before the end of the match.
Chivalry in Battle: Your army leader must fight the enemy army leader in combat for at least one round and survive.  Your army leader may not use the shielding rule to accomplish this.
Line in the Sand: Nominate a piece of terrain within 12" of your opponent's board edge (or corner, in the case of a Domination game).  Your leader must end its move within 3" of it at least once during the game.
Battle Prowess: Your army leader must kill more models than your opponent's army leader.

2.  Kudos: Carrying over from the TMAT GT II, at any point during the game, a player may be awarded up to three of the following kudos categories, worth 0.5 Campaign points each.  Your opponent is not obligated to award kudos points during the game, though players should know that it is more likely that players will award points if you recognize their efforts as well.  Kudos are designed to represent points for rare occurrences, and thus, if the awarding of such points is rare, that is understandable in the tournament.
Hope rises: A non-named model acts in a way that both players agree was awesome
Lead by Example: A named hero acts in a way that both players agree was awesome
Master Plan: Perform a maneuver that causes your opponent to be impressed (for good or ill) by the strategy
Fortune's Favor: Experience a very lucky streak of dice rolling that is acknowledge by both players
The Dice are Trying to Kill me: Experience a very unlucky streak of dice rolling that is acknowledged by both players.

3.  Battlefield Stockpiles: On each map, there will be four tiles (distributed evenly across the board) that start face-down.  When a model comes into base contact with the tile, flip it face-up, and place the appropriate weapons stockpile on the tile.  The following are possible stockpile caches for the tournament, along with the maximum number of tiles that will be present in the tournament:
5 Hand Weapons (swords): A model who is unarmed may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up one of the swords, and is no longer considered unarmed.  Any other model on a 2+ may pick up one of the swords to increase his Attacks characteristic by 1 (to a maximum of 2), though he must drop any shield, banner, or 2H that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the sword, and the sword breaks (is discarded).  Once all five swords are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 3.
5 Bows: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a bow and quiver (S2 at 24"), though he must drop any shield, other bow, or 2H that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the bow, and the bow breaks (is discarded).  Once all five bows are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 1.
5 Throwing Weapons: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a set of throwing axes (base Strength at 6").  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the axes, and the axes break (is discarded).  Once all five throwing weapons are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 1.
4 Spears: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a spear, though he must drop any banner or 2H that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the spear, and the spear breaks (is discarded).  Once all four spears are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 2.
2 2H weapons: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a two-handed axe (2H weapon), though he must drop any shield or banner that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the axe, and the axe breaks (is discarded).  Once both axes are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 2.
2 crossbows: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a crossbow, though he must drop any shield, other bow, 2H, or banner that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the crossbow, and the crossbow breaks (is discarded).  Once both crossbows are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 1.
5 Shields: A model may roll a dice: on a 2+, the model picks up a shield, though he must drop any bow, banner, or 2H that he is carrying (the weapon is discarded).  On the roll of a 1, the model mishandles the shield, and the shield breaks (is discarded).  Once all five shields are used/discarded, the stockpile is empty.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 2.
1 Barrel of Tar: Any model within 2" of a Barrel of Tar may opt to light its arrows.  The archer's shot is treated like a 2H weapon, with a -1 modifier to their to-hit roll, and a +1 modifier to their to-wound roll (For example, an elf archer would pass a to-hit roll on a 4+, an would wound a D5 unit on 4s; a Moria Goblin troop would volley on a 6/4+, and would hit D6 targets on 5s).  In order to volley with fire arrows, at least 10 archers in base contact must have their arrows lit.  In the highly unlikely event that a Barrel of Tar is targeted by a fire arrow, the barrel is treated as having a D5 characteristic.  If the barrel is successfully wounded, it will cause a S4 hit to all models within 2" of the barrel.  Any deaths caused by the barrel are attributed for scoring purposes to the archer that shot the barrel.  Number of stockpiles available in the tournament: 4.

At the end of every match, the players will collect the tiles on their board, shuffle them face-down, and replace them on the board.  Any tiles not revealed during the match are included in the shuffle.  Locations for the placement of the tiles will be marked with tape before the beginning of the tournament for ease of placement.

V.  Registration
List Registration: To register for the tournament, post your list in the comments below, noting your army leader, whether you are running a Warbands/LOME scheme, any army alliances, and the total number of units in your army.  Warband armies should be arranged and divided into their separate warbands, and LOME forces should be divided into at least three detachments, each with at least one hero (if possible).
Deadline: All submissions must be uploaded at least 48 hours before the tournament (9:59:59 a.m. +1 second on Thursday, 10/17).  Any army lists entered after the stated deadline will be considered as having been ambushed by a large wandering hoard of cave trolls, and will not be allowed to participate in the tournament due to dismemberment, bereavement, and our general disdain for the grotesque in front of small children (there's humor for you, ;)  All that to say: please get your lists in before the deadline, :) ).
Written in Steel: "Do not trust anything not written in steel," as Sanderson puts it, and we follow the same rule at this tournament.  Once the submission is in, it may not be edited, rescinded, or in any other way modified, except by the tournament director in the event that a list does not conform to the rules set forth in Section I above.
Day-Of Procedures: All competitors should arrive 20-30 minutes in advance of the first round, prepared to give the following items to the tournament director: 1) A complete army list organized by detachment or warband (based on scheme), 2) The complete profile stats for all models in your force, and 3) The total unit count, break point, and 25% number for your army (all fractions should be rounded down: an army with 37 models has a break point of 19 models and reaches 25% at 9 models).  Players who fail to meet these three requirements will not be considered eligible to compete in the tournament until the list is provided.  If the submission causes a delay in the completion of a game, the match will be credited as a Major Loss to the competitor delaying the tournament, and his opponent will be awarded a Major Victory.

We look forward to a great day of fun and fellowship with you all, and wish the best to all competitors!


"I set myself against what is lurking in this forest, Bane - yes, with humans alongside me if I must." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scenery Projects: Operation Tuckborough

Hey Reader!

Greetings again from the Forge!  Before jumping fully into the army I'll be using for the Hunters Red October Tournament (more details in a future post!), I wanted to update you all on the progress I've made on Operation Tuckborough.  Below, you'll find all of the scenery I've worked on to date for that project, which I'm excited to say is now completed!  Here's a walkthrough of my little hobbit town. *Cues "Concerning Hobbits" soundtrack*

1.  The Town Center

As you'll remember, I envisioned a few trade stands, as well as a pipeweed house for the barreling and marketing of the famous export of the Shire.  Add a bit of colorful string from a wedding invitation from a friend of mine, and viola!  A more festive environment to throw into stark relief the presence of a battle, :)

For the pipeweed house, as mentioned in the last scenery update, I used coffee stirrers for shingles, and then painted over everything with a Mournfang Brown.  I covered the sides of the building with cardboard from Pop-Tarts boxes, scored the cardboard, and then added the texturing and color to the rest of the structure.

Add a few coffee stirrer shards for the door frame, and this guy's ready to go!  Finished product in the scenario battlefield shot at the end.

2.  Brandywine Bridge

As you will recall, Brandywine bridge was constructed in the last scenery post.  To finish the project, I used strips of painter's masking tape (super cheap, very easy to use, and very forgiving if you lay it incorrectly on the structure) to give a cobblestone look to the bridge once the painting begins.  Some people prefer to use spray paints for their larger terrain pieces; I painted Brandywine Bridge by hand, because I wanted to have more control over how it covered the surface.  With spray paints, you'll get a flat finish: this isn't bad, but I wanted a bit more spice/control over mine.  After painting the bridge, it looked like this:

I used a Citadel Mechanicus Grey paint, primarily because 1) it's a base paint as opposed to a layer, so it comes down a bit thicker, and 2) because I needed a darker gray for the bridge.  I then painted up the sides:

And that's the (more or less) finished product.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to do moss on the sides or not; we'll see.  Painting by hand took a long time to do (be ye warned), but I'm really glad with how it turned out, because it allowed me to add a bit more paint/texturing to different sections, giving it a bit more of a weathered look.

Final specs (for those who want to know): 6" wide by 14" long (16" from the beginning of one ramp to the end of the other), with two caverns underneath that are 2" tall and 4" wide at their widest points.  Both caverns can accommodate some cave trolls, most cavalry (don't send any under with spears pointing up!), and all infantry.  The piece is built so that it could be used over a massive river (up to 10" wide), two rivers (in case one wasn't enough jumping for poor infantry that don't want to take the highway), or an urban fight for use as an aqueduct.

And now, to introduce you to the secret project I've been working on for the far corner of the board...

3.  Dunedain Camp

It just wouldn't be the Shire if grey-eyed men with fell faces and great hearts weren't hanging around, so we'll need a place for them to hang out, :)  The pieces are also from Gripping Beast; they have a lot of options for tents, but I went with the Ridge Tents set, as 1) it gave me everything, including two sleeping cots and a firepit, and 2) the style is what I would expect for Dunedain.  I had some fun with painting, choosing to do two in browns and one in green (as they would blend in well with the landscape for better hiding), and one in white (because it can be a test of workmanship to make a white terrain piece starting with dark gray plastic.  Plus it looks good).  One of the other advantages of these pieces are that they are highly module - you can use them on basically any board.  I could even conceive of ways to fit them into an underground battle - they are very multi-purpose.

Conclusion: Scenario Battlefield Layout
So, for the final shot (on a 3' x 4' tabletop):

The barrels next to the trade stands and pipeweed house are from Gripping Beast, which sells a lot of feudal/dark age-related miniatures, and has some good terrain pieces and scene "fillers."  Gripping Beast also provided the fences that you see around the hobbit smials, and leading into the Town Center.  I like these fences because 1) they are highly module, with six 6" pieces and one 3" piece, but 2) they come in such a way that you can glue them together as multiples of 3" strips.  I like 6" because it's a good distance, providing adequate protection for a decent number of models, and not being so long as to be unwieldy for storage.  On this map, they also bar off parts of the "river" (which I'll likely either borrow from Tavros, or create my own; still thinking about that one), so that the entire river is not jumpable.  Since hobbits are generally fearful of rivers and lakes (having had instances of drowning), it also fits the theme to have precautions around the river, while still allowing gaps in the fences for fishing and the like.

On a 4' x 4' board, you'll have more space (4' on this board goes up to the salt and pepper shakers and the napkin holder), which means you can push the Dunedain camp back a bit more, and you'll have more space on the northern side of the bridge for maneuvering.  All told, I'm really excited about this board!

That's all for now - I'll be running a Grey Company list for the HRO tournament, and when I post next, I will be announcing the final date, format, and other important info for the tournament!  Can't wait!

Watching the stars,

"Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix