Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Battle Report: Men of Dunharrow, Quest 1: The Black Dragon Battalion


Hey Reader!

This is Centaur with another battle report!  Thursday night I sent a call out to my gaming buddies, and Donatello had some free time to play, so we met up to play the first Dunharrow game on this blog.  As a quick reminder from the challenge I sent out to the blogosophere, these games will involve armies of up to 402 points, built either in the Warbands scheme under the new sourcebooks or under the LOME format with at least 175 pts dedicated toward heroes.  All possible game styles are available for play, so this should be interesting!  Donatello decided to pick up my Easterling force (which he recently used and enjoyed using), and the armies looked like this:

The Men of Dunharrow (Rohan, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields w/ armored horse (Army Leader): 130 pts
-5 Rohan Royal Guards: 50 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan: 13 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan w/ throwing spears: 15 pts
-2 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields/throwing spears: 18 pts
-2 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 14 pts

Warband 2
-Captain of Rohan w/ hvy armor/shield: 55 pts
-1 Rohan Royal Guard: 10 pts
-3 Rohan Royal Guards w/ throwing spears: 36 pts
-1 Warrior of Rohan w/ banner: 31 pts
-1 Rohan Outrider ("Hawk Eye"): 7 pts
-3 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 21 pts

TOTAL: 22 units, 400 pts, 5 Might

The Black Dragon Battalion (Easterlings, LOME)
Detachment 1
-Dragon Knight (Army Leader): 70 pts
-Easterling War Priest: 60 pts
-6 Black Dragons w/ shields: 60 pts
-6 Easterling Warriors w/ shields/pikes: 54 pts

Detachment 2
-Easterling Captain w/ shield: 50 pts
-7 Black Dragons w/ shields: 70 pts
-4 Easterling Warriors w/ shields/pikes: 36 pts

TOTAL: 26 units, 400 pts, 5* Might, 1 caster

This will be an interesting game, as neither team has invested much in archery, and neither has offensive magic (well, I guess it depends on how you count Bladewrath), meaning that both teams will be gaining their kill count through close combat melee.  Personally, that's how I like to do it (even with Grey Company), so I'm all-in for that.

Strategy for Glenstorm: Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm going to attempt to keep Eomer away from the Drag Knight, as he can sport 5 attacks (five attacks for a 70-pt hero, if you pike support him!!!  Such a boss!!!), ties me on Fight Value, and can avoid being knocked down, which means he's not easy to kill with a horseman.  My plan is to flank and pound into the pike support with my horsemen, and if I can find a way to isolate a minor hero or two without being charged by the Drag Knight, combat res should break his force and end the game.  So, to call the ball: bunker with the RoCap and a solid detachment of warriors around the banner to draw him in, flank with the horsemen and the wing infantry with Eomer, and then surround and break his force, preferably while keeping my banner and core alive.

Strategy for Donatello: I built this list for straight-up melee damage.  Bladewrath on the Drag Knight should allow him to chomp straight through Rohan (as he's wounding standing infantry and Rohan Royal Guards on 4s, Eomer and the Rohan Captain on 5s, and Hawk Eye and the banner on 3s (YES!!!).  Because Rohan does not have spear support, if I can keep pikes supporting my F4 front line, I'll beat a number of his men in combat based off of Fight Value, and I'll force the RRGs to shield in order to keep up against my Black Drags.  After the first few casualties, it should make overwhelming the rest of the warband easier.

Scoring

We're playing a straight-up To the Death game (which I'm down with, as this is my first game using this list, and it will be glorious to test the list without having to think about victory conditions.  As a quick reminder, scoring works as follows:
  • Game ends when one force is reduced to 25% or less of its starting models
  • 2 Victory Points are awarded 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 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.
For this game, we opted for an urban map, as Don wasn't running a deep phalanx, so he wouldn't suffer much in mobility if I structured the map with spear support in mind.  I placed the terrain, we both agreed to the setup, and as we prepared to roll for placement, the board looked like this:


We rolled off for deployment and I deployed first.  Usually this isn't a major problem, but I quickly discovered after placing my first warband that in smaller games placing second is extremely helpful, as it gives you the "reactionary" deployment to place your units against the units you'd prefer to fight.  As it happened, he placed his Drag Knight detachment across from my RoCap (so I was good with that), and his bunker detachment (Shield Captain with a high count of Black Drags and a few pikes) against Eomer's troop, which I was also okay with.  But this is good to remember for future games.

Both of his detachments deployed in the back 6", and both of mine were eligible to deploy in the full 12" zone, so I pulled most of my force pretty far up (and started Hawk Eye up top near an easy perch).  As we prepared for the Priority Roll for Turn 1, the board looked like this:


And with that... (for death and glory!)

Turn 1 (P: Rohan)

The armies move up, nothing too interesting here.  I rushed my riders up so that they were out of sight of the bunker detachment, but would be able to charge when they come out.  Don didn't like that (not one bit - really low for Turn 1, Centaur), and for the first few minutes as we wrapped up deployment I felt extremely exposed, primarily because it's been a long time since I've fought an army that didn't have a strong range threat (either from magic or archery), and to face an army that had no range options at all was just bizarre.  I'll need to think through how to get my horsemen up fast in future games when the enemy uses archery.

In the Shoot Phase, my Rider of Rohan threw his spear and missed (eh, was worth a try), and as the riders had moved their full distance, that ended firing on the far right.


On the left, Hawk Eye landed a hit on an Easterling Pike (with the Black Dragon in the way), passed the in the way roll, and wounded him on a 6 (Good way to start the game, buddy!).  With no combats this round, we moved to Turn 2.

Turn 2 (P: Easterlings)

Don moved up his bunker force, and because he could only charge my cav with a single Black Drag, he formed his men up around the well so as to minimize my charge (well played; well played) (eh, it's okay: there are ways around it...).  He used the pillars to screen most of his Drag Knight force pikemen, and hid his War Priest from fire (which is a pity, as I wanted to knock his Fate point out before getting to close combat).  I responded by charging with horsemen as possible (throwing weapon failed), and formed up a battle line near the well and along the wall to meet the enemy detachments.


In the Shoot Phase, one of the Warriors of Rohan wounded a Black Dragon with his throwing weapon; other than that, nothing happened.  As we headed into the Fight Phase, both Eomer and the Easterling Captain called Heroic Combats.  Don's plan in calling the Heroic Combat was 1) killing the Rider of Rohan (which he probably would have succeeded at rolling 4A with the higher FV), and 2) it gave him a chance to gang and kill off the other rider, freeing up warriors to fight against Eomer next turn.  After rolling off, Eomer's combat was resolved first, followed by the Easterling Captain (oh well; we tried, :) ).


To start the Fight Phase, Eomer won his combat, easily wounded the pikeman on 5s, and engaged the Easterling Captain.  That fight resolved next...


The Captain lost (not surprisingly), was knocked over, and on 8 dice wounding on 5s and 4 dice wounding on 6s, Eomer only landed one wound (very surprising).  Eomer paid another Might point (2/3M) to promote another 4 to a 5, creating two wounds.  The Easterling Captain passed his Fate save by expending his final Might point (1/1F, 2/2M).  The other Rider of Rohan was fended off by the Black Dragon, so we head into Turn 3.

Turn 3 (P: Rohan) (NOOOO!!!)

Don's Strategy: So, that was actually really damaging: I don't have Might points on that side of the board, which means 1) I can't stop the horsemen from charging this turn, but also 2) my Cap is basically forfeit at this point.  Glenstorm can send Eomer off, and just engage me with infantry to beat down and kill on 6s.  I need to get my Drag Knight and co. into melee combat and break his other force really soon, or my phalanx will get rolled, because this flank won't hold for long.



Don was right - and it got worse.  Much worse.  Like a good Rohan player, I charged with my throwing weapons first, and two of my warriors took out a Black Dragon and a pike on the charge.


The main body of Easterlings moved up to engage the wall, and Don just braced his force on the far side.  The War Priest cast Bladewrath on the Black Dragon in the center on a 3 (1/3W), so he will be hitting my guys with S6 on 3A (yay for pikes against Rohan).  This also means he will be wounding my RRG and my Warrior of Rohan on 4s, which is pretty awesome.

In the Shoot Phase, my five throwing weapons in the RoCap detachment opened fire, only one hit, and he didn't wound (what do I pay you guys for?!!?!).  Hawk Eye took aim at the secondary pikeman in the center combat (with the front pikeman in the way), and...


He landed the hit, failed the "in the way" (so hitting the first pikeman), and wounded on a 6 (yeah, baby!).  In retrospect, this was actually really damaging for Don, because it basically ensured that I would hold the center (since even with 1 attack at S6, he couldn't kill both of my men this turn, which means that the phalanx and the bunker detachment will not be able to help each other anytime soon.  With almost half of the army wrapped up in this force, his army would likely be broken around the time that his other detachment engages my men in the center.


In the Fight Phase, the pike-supported Black Dragon successfully beat the Rider of Rohan and Warrior of Rohan on Fight Value, and then wounded both the rider and the warrior.  The two RRGs beat the shielding Captain, and they get the roll of 6 required to finish him off.  The pikeman wins against the Warden on a roll off and fails to wound, and the two Black Dragons in the ruins win against the RRG but fail to wound him.


On the far left, the Bladewrathed Black Drag wins the fight (and down on dice, too!), and rolls to wound...


...Yeah, that didn't work... (humpf, :-/ )


To finish off the Fight Phase, the other Black Drag near him wins and successfully wounds the Warrior of Rohan on a 5.  With that, we enter Turn 4.

Casualty Count: Rohan 3/22 (8 from break), Easterlings 8/26 (5 from break)

Turn 4 (P: Rohan)

At the beginning of the Move Phase, the now unhorsemaned palomino (hey: if a rider off his horse is called "unhorsed," a horse who lost his rider would be "unhorsemaned," right? :) ) failed his courage test, so he runs off the board.  The rest of my Rohan forces begin to overwhelm the bunker, and the middle men held down the remaining men at the center.


I brought the battle line at the wall into more of a crescent for a pinch effect against his phalanx.  Don slammed his men into the defenders, with the War Priest casting Bladewrath on the Drag Knight.  Don then did something I didn't expect - he was able to climb up and prepared to charge Hawk Eye.  This...isn't good, because he's up on FV and will only be wounded on 6s while wounding me on 5s.  Not a good match up.  In the Shoot Phase, Hawk Eye missed the Black Dragon (not good...), and the three unengaged RRGs threw their spears and all missed (*Exasperated* "Guys - what do I pay you for?!?!").  And with that, we begin the Fight Phase.


The Dragon Knight called a Heroic Combat against the RRG, handily won the combat, easily wounded him on 4s, and then did something I didn't think he could do: he saw and was in range to charge my banner.  I was totally not thinking he would be able to get through and tag him, and I was kicking myself for not defending him better (as there goes my easy way to hit Major Victory) (5" of movement on him - you left him in range, and I'm wounding him on 3s, :) ).


In the rest of the Fight Phase, Eomer wins his fight on 4 6s (wow, that guy's really hitting them hard), and wounds both.  The Black Dragon shields successfully against the two RRGs, and the Warden loses to the Black Drag who fails to wound.  The pikeman loses to the RRG but is not wounded, and the other poor pikeman loses to the Rider of Rohan and the RRG, is knocked over, and is summarily wounded by both the guard and rider.  Next door the Black Drag loses to the Warrior of Rohan and the RRG, but escapes with no wounds.


At the wall, two Black Drags win their fights, pass the "in the way" roll for the wall, and kill the defenders, taking their places on the other side of the wall.  Another Black Drag also won, but failed to wound the Warrior of Rohan, so he held his ground on his side of the wall.


The bannerman beat the Drag Knight (wow...just wow...) (totally did not see that happening!), but the bannerman failed to wound him.

Casualty count: Rohan 6/22 (5 from break), Easterlings 11/26 (2 from break)

Turn 5 (P: Easterlings)

Per the fact that this is a To the Death match, we were both in very good position to break each other this round, so movements became important.  The Easterlings slammed into the wall detachment, with the War Priest successfully casting Bladewrath on the Dragon Knight (3/3W) (I seriously considered casting Fury to keep my army from running away if I'm broken this round, but I thought, "Eh, I need to kill things to break his force, and the Drag Knight is the only reliable way to do that at this point," so I went ahead and cast it).  The Black Dragon up top charged the Rider of Rohan (so that he would not charge this turn), and Rohan charged with what remained.  There was no shooting this round, so we moved directly into combat.


In the Fight Phase, both Eomer (3/3M) and the Dragon Knight (2/2M) called Heroic Combats, with the Dragon Knight's fight resolved first.  The Drag Knight wins against the bannerman, easily finishes him off, and then engaged the RRG near the end of the battle line (my thinking here is that I wound D6 and D5 infantry on the same roll, 4s, so I'd prefer to take out the RRG who will automatically pass courage tests now rather than later, in the hopes of splintering his army.  Since I'd be up on FV anyway, there's no reason not to go after the big guys right now if we can take them out) (very fair assessment; I'd likely have done the same thing).  Eomer and co. face off against the pikeman, and...


...We choke, :P (My first lucky break all game!  YEAH!!!)  The pikeman shields us off, and I just lost my last Might point with my heavy hitter.  Oh well, :)


The Rider of Rohan wins against the charging Black Dragon but fails to wound him, and the 3 RRGs handily beat and finished off the trapped Black Dragon.


On the other side, the War Priest pays 1 Might (1/1M) to win against the trapped Warrior of Rohan, and they finish him off (this flank is falling apart now...).  The two Black Dragons are shielded off by the RRG (wow - totally thought I'd have that fight...), and the Drag Knight (not surprisingly) finishes off the RRG with ease.  The pikeman shields off the RRG, and Hawk Eye fends off the Black Dragon but fails to wound him (YAY!!!  He survived!!! :) ).


To finish off the Fight Phase, the RoCap faced off against the Black Dragon with two supporting pikemen, paid 2 Might to win the fight (2/2M) (I usually don't do this, but I was like, "You know: we need to break this army now, so if I can kill him this round, it may be worth it," so I went out of my comfort zone and burned all of my Might here), and got the required 5+, breaking the Easterling force.  With that, we head into Turn 6.

Casualty count: Rohan 9/22 (2 from break), 13/26 (broken, 6 from game)

Turn 6 (P: Rohan)

I led off by charging his heroes, and when charging the War Priest with my RRG w/ throwing spear, my man successfully dealt a wound to the War Priest, who then subsequently failed his Fate save on a 1 (1/1F, 1/2H).  I then opted to let most of his army courage test, in the hopes that his C3 and C4 warriors would run.  This was a risk for me, as it meant he could also pick two models to overwhelm to break my force, but with the odds being what they are, I was open to the chance.  I did opt, though, to move Hawk Eye as far away from the Black Drag as possible, as he was now out of reach of being engaged this match (and is the easiest guy in my force to kill at present).  Don started testing, and only two pikemen failed (4 from game).  The rest of his men jumped into combat, aiming for the two kills necessary to break my army: one involving the Drag Knight, one involving Black Drags and the War Priest.  With nothing in the Shoot Phase, we headed into the Fight Phase, with me hoping to kill 4 Easterlings, and Don hoping to kill of 2+ Rohan.


Up top, the pikeman and the Black Drag put up a good fight, but both of them were overwhelmed, trapped, and slain (2 from game).  In the center, the Warrior of Rohan and the RRG beat, trap, and finally kill of the Black Drag they've been fighting for three turns, and the shielding pikeman successfully fended off the RRG, requiring me to kill off one of the warriors in the fight against the phalanx.


The RoCap won his fight against the Black Dragon and slew him, signalling the end of the game at the end of the Fight Phase.  Don had two fights left, involving the Drag Knight and the War Priest.  The Drag Knight easily finished off the RRG, and as we entered into the fight with the War Priest, I decided to take the chance and just fight it out instead of shielding (shocker, I know: this is way out of character for me), as I was likely going to die anyway, and so I might as well go for a chance to kill the War Priest instead of dying from an unsuccessful shielding attempt.  And then, wouldn't you know...


He won combat!  He failed to wound the War Priest (which was fine), but he survived the bout, resulting in my force not being broken at the end of the game.  Final count:

Casualty count: Rohan 10/22 (1 from break), Easterlings 19/26 (game)

Summary

Assessment by Glenstorm: Wow, that was close - had Hawk Eye lost his fight and been wounded, the game would have been a draw.  And had a host of other things happened or not happened, the game would have also ended as a draw or worse for me.  I love fast-paced, close games where we're not sure who will win up until the very end, and I'm so grateful that I had the chance to square up against a solid Easterling force.  I will likely begin to regret my lack of archer support very soon, but in this game it seemed to work better having a solid amount of melee defense.  I only landed 3 wounds (2 kills) with throwing weapons, which I generally don't put too much stock in anyway, but I think it will be nice to have that option as an 8" ranged threat in future games. We'll see what the next game holds.

Assessment by Donatello: Wow - I really thought I'd be able to crush that wall warband and fend off the horsemen through pike support in a restricted area.  I knew it would be close trying to fend off Eomer with a small detachment of men, but I didn't think it would be that tough.  There were a number of lucky rolls that swung the tide of war toward Rohan, but I'd definitely be up for a grudge match in the future.  I was comfortable with this force, and would love to see it back in action again!

Stellar Unit for Glenstorm: Hawk Eye.  Enough said.  The man killed about 30 pts worth of units, or about four times his point cost, and at critical times that likely saved the lives of my men in combat.  I love this archer, as he's been consistent for me in various games, and I'm pleased that he came out from the shadows again to help me bring in a win.  Thank you for your steadfastness, Hawk Eye!

Stellar Unit for Donatello: Dragon Knight.  I know, we try not to highlight heroes, but this guy racked up the most kills, consistently brought in the kills for me when no one else was wounding, and presented a credible threat to a bunkered force.  I respect that as a general.  I'm trying to get Glenstorm to buy an Amdur so that his Easterlings can field a F6 hero with Dragon Knight-style special rules, but will also count as a banner (saving his team a few points), but we'll see.  Glenstorm is really set on that War Priest (and I can understand why), so we'll see if he actually does it (True assessment, :) ).

This weekend, after the Thanksgiving holiday, I am planning on getting together with Tiberius for Quest 2, which will likely be a Lords of Battle match on a Wold map against an Isengard detachment, so stay tuned for more action next week with the Men of Dunharrow!  Until then, may your Thanksgiving be blessed, and may we always remember, as Josh Groban reminds us, that "even though this world needs so much more / There's so much to be thankful for."

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

"Will they follow me?" ~ High King Peter
"To the death." ~ Oreius

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Rohan - All Month Long!

Good evening readers,

I've been swamped with school the last few months - 30 pages in 3 weeks + time with family takes a LOT of time. But, I'd like to talk a little bit about some projects that are going on here at TMAT.

Glenstorm is going to be doing an in-depth look at the Rohan army list, and the focus of my efforts here at TMAT are going to be similar. I recently got my hands on a half-dozen Riders of Rohan and an Eomer model that I'm converting into an Eorl the Young model - way better than the original Eomer and maybe the best hero in the Rohan list (yes, Glenstorm, I'm picking a fight, ;) ). I've got another half-dozen on the way and look at talking a bit about skirmish cavalry tactics (once I get a few games in).

In other Rohan news, be on the lookout for a winter fun tournament, similar to the Hunter's Red October tournament but will probably feature small armies (either small point limit or small unit limit) and focusing on getting FIVE games in a single day - yes, it will be interesting.

Finally, there are some incredibly detail-painted Rohan models (and other models, including some that are no longer being made) from chefofwar.blogspot.com - see the link in the sidebar. The models look great and the Chef of War is trying to get some of his stock cleared out. Visit his site and email him at wyrdhobbyservices@gmail.com for more information.

Hopefully I'll get a projects update up this weekend, but until then, happy hobbying!

Tiberius

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Army Update: Rohan

Dear Reader,

As promised, this is a weekend update on my Rohan army, as I'll be focusing on Rohan - my first army ever! - in the month of November.  We're halfway through the month already, and I'm putting final touches on some new models and preparing for some conversions before getting in a few battle reports.

1.  New models!


As you will remember, I did a project this summer involving the creation of two mounted Rangers of the North for my Arnor forces.  From that project, I created two more Warriors of Rohan on foot (which are showcased in the picture above), and four more Riders of Rohan (also above).  One of them (the dude with the spear) will be converted over the next week or so into a Rider of Rohan with banner, as I'm preparing for a fully mounted Rohan force.

Since I was buying Rohan units, I also broke down and bought 3 more Rohan Royal Guards.  I love these guys, and they will form the crux of my updated Rohan Tactics Post in a few weeks.  I'm really excited about the ability to front a strong F4 D6 front line, as I think it will help to increase my sustainability and viability in combat.

2.  Current Army
Currently, my army looks like this:


There are also four more Riders of Rohan who are off-screen; they're still being finished (but shown in the first picture).  I run three detachments in my force: Westfold (left, in brown and tan), Edoras (center, in green and grey), and Dunharrow (right, in blue and black).  The total unit breakdown for all three detachments is:

(Heroes)
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields (foot and mounted)
-Rohan Captain
-King's Huntsman

(Warriors)
-6 Rohan Royal Guards
-3 Rohan Royal Guards w/ throwing spears
-10 Riders of Rohan (one will become a bannerman)
-2 Riders of Rohan w/ throwing spears
-1 Warrior of Rohan w/ banner
-17 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields
-18 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields/throwing spears
-16 Warriors of Rohan w/ bows (who will be transformed into Rohan Outriders - more on that in a future post)

The army as-is comes out to about 940 points as I would run it, so almost 1000 points.  With the potential of allying in Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, or Boromir (all of whom I would consider adding to a Rohan army, and often have in the past), I'm at the point now where I've got a solid core for games of 1000 points, allowing me to have some choices of selection for games of that size.  Future additions (so that I can run a 600-pt mounted force + RRGs) will include a few Sons of Eorl, an Eowyn, and a few Mounted Rohan Royal Guards, which altogether will push the army well over 1000 points without allies.  So we'll see how that goes, :)

3.  Plans for November: The Quests of the Men of Dunharrow!

My plan for November is to play a series of games (probably bleeding into December) using my Dunharrow army.  Since painting it, these warriors (I can't explain why) have been the most resilient part of my army, fending off enemies even when the stats say they shouldn't.  I'm hoping to put this army to the test, pitting them against challengers as they come.  Here are the rules for the battles, and the breakdown of my army:

-Armies will consist of up to 400 points (with a .5% grace limit, for a total of 402 pts), either in the Warbands scheme, or dedicating at least 175 pts to heroes
-Scenarios may include any scenario used in a tournament at TMAT, as well as any other scenario agreed upon by the players before the game (which is to say, I don't have a preference, but no making up scenarios with odd special rules purely for the purpose of your game against my list! :D )
-Up to two games may be played against the same army list, and all games against the same list must use different scenario rules unless a "grudge match" is declared.  A "grudge match" will mimic the first game in all scenario rules, terrain deployment, and army lists, but army placement and turn order will be determined normally.

With no further ado, the Men of Dunharrow!

The Men of Dunharrow (Rohan, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor Fields (Army Leader): 130 points
-5 Rohan Royal Guards: 50 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan: 13 pts
-1 Rider of Rohan w/ throwing spears: 15 pts
-2 Warriors or Rohan w/ shields/throwing spears: 18 pts
-2 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 14 pts

Warband 2
-Captain of Rohan w/ hvy armor/shield: 55 pts
-1 Rohan Royal Guard: 10 pts
-3 Rohan Royal Guards w/ throwing spears: 36 pts
-1 Warrior of Rohan w/ banner: 31 pts
-1 Rohan Outrider ("Hawk Eye"): 7 pts
-3 Warriors of Rohan w/ shields: 21 pts

TOTAL: 22 units, 400 pts, 5 Might

I don't think this is the most "competitive"build for a Rohan force, but it's how I've painted up this force to date, and I look forward to testing it!  It's been so long since I've sat down to play with Rohan, it feels good to just be in the saddle again with this force.  I'm hoping to get in a game this upcoming weekend (if not sooner), so I'll see you when I post next.  Happy hobbying!

Watching the stars,

Glenstorm

"We are not all like the traitor Firenze, human girl!  Perhaps you thought us pretty talking horses?  We are an ancient people who will not stand wizard invasions and insults!" ~ Magorian, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, November 14, 2013

THRO Tournament Review, Part IV of IV: Round 3 and Final Summary

Dear Reader,

Hope your pre-Friday is going well!  Today we wrap up the final round of the TMAT THRO Tournament 2013, as well as the final standings and placement of all of our competitors.  As a quick reminder from my previous post, the only true competitors still in the running for first place are Captain Glot (with two Major Victories) and Tavros and Zorro (tied with a Major Victory and a Draw, not calculating points for oaths).  Because none of them were facing each other, the endgame conclusions would be decided by each game.  They'll be reviewed here in table order: Tavros, Zorro, and then Glot.

1.  Table One: Tavros v. Duke of Milan - Domination


This was a fun game to watch intermittently during my game, primarily because I quickly began to realize that Tavros, at heart, is a teacher - he was giving a number of helpful strategic pointers and tips to the Duke, who is new to our gaming group (and Warhammer generally).  Their fight was pretty intense, with a solid line of Easterlings meeting the horde of Angmoria.  The fight spanned three objectives in a never-ending stream of units - it was incredible.


Burduhr declared that he would outkill Amdur, and after wading through the middle of the Easterling ranks, he managed to kill far more warriors than Amdur did.  The Duke declared that one of the shamans would die, and the shaman survived (oath failed).  In the final assessment, the Easterlings stubbornly held onto two objectives, and the greenskins successfully pushed the Easterlings away from three objectives.  Both army leaders survived the fight, resulting in a 9-6 Minor Victory for Angmoria.

2.  Table Two: Zorro v. Glenstorm - Arkenstone

There were no pictures from this fight, but there wasn't much to see tactically from this fight, either.  Zorro declared that Rosseloth, one of my Dunedain, would die (yeah...no one has any imagination against my army, :-/  Choose a place on the map to reach?  Nah.  Choose to outkill Aragorn?  Nope.  Fight in combat and survive?  No way - let's all just elect a Dunedain to kill!), and I declared that the Drummer would die (and later learned that I wasn't all that original with this idea, either).

I played a game against a similar army a few weeks before the tournament, and we got our sorry Numenorian carcasses handed to us.  This game was the first game where I got to use the advantage of range, and it came out in spades.  By the time we entered melee in Turn 4, the uruk force was five models away from breaking.  After a few rounds of heavy melee combat, the uruks were broken, the Grey Company was broken a few rounds later, and Rosseloth was slain by an uruk captain (oath fulfilled for Zorro).  After using all of his Might points to stay in the field, Vrasku managed to pass his Courage test, and held the remnant of the uruks in the field, with the Drummer beating (literally) a hasty retreat into one of the buildings to avoid being sniped by archer fire.  The following turn (and the last round of the tournament for both of us), Vrasku failed his Courage test again and was unable to promote his roll, so he was removed from the field.  The result was a 3-1 Major Victory for the Grey Company.

3.  Table Three: Tiberius v. Glot - Ill Met by Moonlight


The Nazgul played their final game against a heavily mounted force, making the classic game of bait-and-switch a bit harder than normal.  What is more, because the Rohan force sported Erkenbrand, Rohan was running an army of C5 - C7 (in the case of Eomer - such a boss!) models, making charging terror units much more manageable, even within the shadow of the ringwraiths.  The Undying declared that he would outkill Eomer (which, when you've only got five eligible targets for Eomer to kill, is a pretty safe bet), and Eomer declared a line in the sand in the Ringrwaith deployment zone.


Both aims were achieved, as the Undying felled two of the strawheads, and Eomer only finished off one of the ringwraiths.  Eomer did manage to reach his end objective, and the game devolved into a massive game of "keep away" for Erkenbrand as he attempted to keep the Rohan army in the field with a high Courage rating (resulting in, from what I gather, an interesting strategy of dropping to the ground and staying on random sides of the rock pictured above).  In the endgame, the Ringwraiths were broken, Rohan was not, neither team took a banner, and both army generals survived, resulting in a 3-0 Major Victory for Rohan.

Summary

Like the TMAT GT II this past March, we allowed players to declare an oath at the start of the game, and the completion of the oath allowed the competitor to gain Campaign Points that contribute to their total campaign score instead of a battle score.  Additionally, if a competitor completes all three oaths, he gains an additional 3 points.  We also allowed players to award kudo points for things accomplished during the fight, worth 0.5 points each.  Before calculating points scored for oaths, here are the standings:

1.  Captain Glot (30.5)
2.  Tavros (25)
3.  Zorro (20)
4.  Glenstorm (18.5)
5.  Duke of Milan (12.5)
6.  Tiberius (7)

After tallying completed oaths, only two players successfully completed all of their oaths (Glot and Zorro), so the final tally including the additional bonus points for Glot and Zorro was:

1.  Captain Glot (38.5)
2.  Tavros (28)
3.  Zorro (28)
4.  Glenstorm (19.5)
5.  Duke of Milan (13.5)
6.  Tiberius (8)

And that wrapped up the tournament for us!  We had a lot of fun playing, testing out lists we had never run before, and enjoying six hours of fun and fellowship together.  As we head into November, I'll be following up with a post over the weekend about what I'll be doing with my Rohan force over November - I'm really excited!

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"Whose forest is it now, human?" ~ Bane, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

THRO Tournament Review, Part III of IV: Round 2

Dear Reader,

Happy Wednesday!  As we crest over the top of Hump Day, I hope you find this report exciting and energizing for your day.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the tournament was tied at the end of Round 1 with 2 Major Victories, 2 Draws, and 2 Major Losses, meaning that the tournament was still anyone's game.  As we headed into Round 2, things got more interesting, as surprises came out and strategies were forced to change.  Of all of the pairings, this set had the most frustration, as each team faced something it was not well-prepared to play against.  In Round 2, the pairings were:

-Rohan v. Grey Company on Domination
-Angmoria v. Ringwraiths on Arkenstone
-Isengard v. Easterlings on Ill Met by Moonlight

Each team faced something it preferred not to fight.  On Table One, the Grey Company started in the cornered section of the Domination map, keeping me from volleying for the first few turns.  Rohan had restricted deployment which made maneuvering horsemen difficult.

On Table Two, Tiberius's army of five models was up against one of the largest armies in the tournament, and since the only points available for both teams required breaking an enemy army or killing the army leader, this was a lot of weight for the nazgul.  On the other hand, the primarily Courage 2 army of Angmoria was facing an entire army of terror-causing casters - perfect for sniping shamans that cause a low-courage army to stay in the field.

On Table Three, Zorro's uruk-hai were up against a solid phalanx of F4 D6 warriors who could sustain a beating at the hands of an uruk force, and the Duke of Milan was squaring up against S4 crossbows with a +1 to wound, coupled with the fastest moving team in the tournament.  Frustration was present everywhere in this round, and from it only a strategist could emerge.

I usually like saving my battles for last, but in the name of going by table order, I'll begin with the fight with the Grey Company.

1.  Table One: Captain Glot v. Glenstorm - Domination


Unfortunately there weren't too many pictures from this fight, as it was a very interesting one to play.  Eomer declared that Astiul, one of my Dunedain, would die (yeah, everyone seems to be favoring that one today), and Aragorn declared that he would outkill Eomer.

Rohan had the drop on my force by a few models, and with the terrain-based restriction on volley firing, I knew that most of the kills would have to come through melee combat (which, when you're facing a primarily S4 force that wounds most of your models on 4s, is an interesting undertaking, :P ).  Turns out I was right - the majority of wounds done with archery in the whole game were on the part of the Rohan Outriders, who effectively covered the middle objective with suppressing fire.

The Rohan cav accompanied Eomer to one of the objectives for an early lead, and then stunted my relief force from taking command of the objective.  On the other end (and pictured above), Aragorn's detachment slammed into the men led by Erkenbrand and Grimbold, and effectively forced the two heroes toward the center and away from the corner objective.  Eomer then led a charge into the "keep" section of the map (my starting position), and after courage tests removed a few of my defenders, Rohan stood in command of the keep.

Both army leaders were alive at the end, Rohan stood in total control of 3 objectives, in majority control of 1 objective, and was unbroken, resulting in a 13-3 Major Victory over the Grey Company.  Additionally, Eomer succeeded in killing Astiul, and while Aragorn racked up 5 kills in two turns of melee combat, Eomer landed 7 kills in four rounds of combat, keeping Aragorn from fulfilling his oath.

2.  Table Two: Tavros v. Tiberius - Arkenstone


Okay - of all the games in the tournament, I wish I could have watched this one, as there was a lot of noise coming from this table, :)  Buhrdur declared that he would fight the Undying in combat and survive, and the Undying declared that he would survive the battle to fight another day.  From the get-go, the Ringwraiths proved elusive, relying on 6" infantry playing magic-shooting "keep away" from the goblin horde, and the riders charging in at weak points in the line (as you can see above).


These kills were all due to magic - and yes, that included Buhrdur, the Wild Warg Chieftain, and a shaman (top-right goblin).  Unfortunately for Tiberius, he was unable to break the army before he hit 25%, so the game ended as a 5-2 Major Victory for Angmoria due to two dead army leaders (which also meant that both army leaders failed their oaths) and one army being unbroken.  That being said, it is worth noting that between five casters the Ringrwaiths managed to kill a total of 20 units, including the three aforementioned heroes - not bad for five models!

3.  Table Three: Zorro v. Duke of Milan - Ill Met by Moonlight


This was an interesting match-up - it only went for five turns, so it is speculation as to who would have "won" the battle (though my money is on Isengard from personal experience).  Because Ill Met by Moonlight shortens all archery to 12", there were very few casualties before the ranks charged into each other, and by the end of the game, very few models had been removed.  Both army leaders declared that they would live to see another day, and since both army leaders survived, both oaths were fulfilled.  The result, though, was that since neither army fielded a banner and neither army was broken, the game ended as a 0-0 Draw.

Summary

At the end of Round 2, Captain Glot was in the lead with two Major Victories (a first for him - go buddy!), followed closely by Tavros and Zorro (who sported a Major Vicrtory and a Draw).  In order to take the lead from Captain Glot, either Tavros or Zorro needed to win a Major Victory and complete their oaths without allowing their opponents to complete their oaths, and they required Glot to get a Major Loss against his opponent.  To see how it turned out - tune back in on Thursday, as we wrap up the THRO Tournament 2013!  Until then, you'll find me,

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"Sybil Trelawney may have Seen, I do not know...but she wastes her time, in the main, on the self-flattering nonsense human beings call fortune-telling.  I, however, am here to explain the wisdom of centaurs, which is impersonal and impartial." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

THRO Tournament Review, Part II of IV: Round 1

Dear Reader,

Happy Tuesday!  As we began Round 1 of the tournament, I was looking at the match-ups, and I was relieved to see that I was not playing against Tiberius and his ringwraith army.  For my draw, I was paired against Tavros' Angmoria army for Round 1 on the Ill Met by Moonlight map.  This meant that my archery was limited to 12" in range, but that I'd be wounding everyone with a +1 to-wound.  This is handy when facing trolls that are D6 and Wild Warg Chieftains that are D5, so of all of the teams I could have hit on this map, I was okay with going against the Monster Mash that was the army of Tavros.  The pairings for Round 1 were:

-Ringwraiths v. Isengard on Domination
-Rohan v. Easterlings on Arkenstone
-Grey Company v. Angmoria on Ill Met by Moonlight

Before diving into the battle summaries, I want to give a special shout out and thanks to Tiberius for taking pictures - he's amazing, :)

1.  Table One: Tiberius v. Zorro - Domination


For this battle, Tiberius declared that the Uruk Drummer would die (Oath #1).  Zorro declared a Line in the Sand with Vrasku, and the battle began!

This game was an uphill battle for Tiberius, as he was down for the count by a substantial margin on models, and the scenario requires you to hold objectives at the end.  The only way a Ringrwaith team to conquer on this map would be to break the Isengard army, cause the army to fail Courage tests within their 12" -1 Courage radius, and then hold more objectives than the remaining uruks.


The battle was fierce - a number of spells went off (as uruk captain magic defense is not very strong), and the Undying racked up kills with his Black Darts.  The ringwraiths were quickly outnumbered, though, and one by one they began to fall.


I wish I was able to see this part happen (as I was engaged in some pretty serious combat at the time and could not get away from my table - you'll see why in a little bit), but apparently this Uruk Captain charged Khamul, threw a throwing weapon at him (yay for weapon caches), hit the target, hit Khamul, wounded him on a 6, and Khamul failed both Fate saves, leading to his death.  That...only happens so many times in our lifetimes...

At the end of the match, the Ringwraiths were overwhelmed, the Uruks had complete control of all five objectives, they were not broken, and they defeated the enemy army leader, resulting in a 20-0 Major Victory for the Reapers.  Vrasku fulfilled his oath, and the drummer survived, so Tiberius did not accomplish his oath, resulting in 2 Campaign Points for Zorro.

2.  Table Two: Captain Glot v. Duke of Milan - Arkenstone


Captain Glot's Rohan force presented a strong battle line to the Easterlings, and as deployment ended, both armies swarmed the center to take command of the Arkenstone.  Glot declared that Eomer would outkill Amdur, and Amdur declared the same oath (gotta love it when both players gun for the most kills for a hero!).  The battlefield quickly became very messy as hordes or Rohan cav and infantry hit the solid block of Easterlings headed up by Amdur (who is pictured in the top right portion of the photo, looking ominous with his falchion - nice paint job on that model by the way, Zorro).


Eomer racked up kills quickly, working his way around the flank.  Amdur was bogged down in the middle, and was unable to keep up with the Knight of Pelennor.  On the final turn, the Easterlings were broken and the Rohan forces were not, both army leaders were still alive, and neither brought a banner to combat, resulting in a 3-0 Major Victory for Rohan.

3.  Table Three: Glenstorm v. Tavros - Ill Met by Moonlight


Okay, I usually fight Tavros every tournament (don't know how that works - I just always do), and I enjoy it every time.  We are two of the most laid back gamers I've ever seen, and we enjoy a good ole' battle to test lists we both enjoy using.  Of all of the missions I wanted to hit Tavros on, Ill Met by Moonlight was the toss-up for me, as it limited my archery at the start in the hopes of getting greater volume of damage in once he closed to within 12" of my lines.  I was also unsettled (to say the least) at the thought of 12 Moria Goblin Archers hitting my men on 5s and wounding on 4s.  My plan was to take down the cave troll and bat swarm when they came in for close combat, kill the shamans, and then break the army, just counting on slowing down Burduhr through combat and keeping him out of the thick of it.


Burduhr declared that Daerdan, one of my Dunedain, would die, and I declared that Aragorn would live to fight another day.  Burduhr went tearing through to the far side where Daerdan was camping out, and I basically said, "Yeah, short of pulling Aragorn over here, we're not stopping that guy," so my hope was to just hold him down long enough to break his army.  Daerdan and his small band of rangers ended up dying to the man (which I expected), and took down a cave troll and about a half-dozen goblins with them (couldn't get to the shaman, unfortunately).  The important role that these nine rangers played was holding this detachment of the Angmoria force on the far side of the map, away from Aragorn and the rest of the Company.  As you'll notice above, I found two sets of shields in the caches on my side, so I got to rock with D6 Rangers of the North and D5 Rangers of Arnor when we went to close combat - that was fun, :)


On the other side, Aragorn and the gang slammed into the goblins, and the Wild Warg Chieftain was fended off to the flank for most of the battle.  Aragorn racked up 5 kills in 2 turns, which I was pretty happy about.  He pushed almost all the way to the shaman in the back, but was unable to catch him.  The result was very few Fury saves (so those didn't hurt me that much), but it also meant that when I broke his army, his army still stuck around because the shamans passed their courage tests and kept their men in a state of fury.


The game would have looked extremely strong for the Grey Company had the Wild Warg Chieftain not gotten around my flank.  Per the fact that the WWC is a monster (and not just a cav model), he did two pretty devastating flinging attacks with the new monster rules from the Hobbit Sourcebook (which is one of the new rules we added from the new books).  I actually didn't take a ton of casualties from these flings - the result, though, was that I had so many guys on the ground that I couldn't assist Aragorn in getting to the critical heroes.  Both forces were broken at the end of the battle, both teams fulfilled their oaths, and since both army leaders were still alive and neither team fielded a banner, the game ended as a 1-1 Draw.

At the end of Round 1, we had a tie for first, a tie for second, and a tie for third - really close heading into Round 2!  More on that on Wednesday. :)  Stay tuned!

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"Trivial hurts, tiny human accidents," said Firenze, as his hooves thudded over the mossy floor.  "These are no more significant than the scurrying of ants to the wide universe, and are unaffected by planetary movements." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix