Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Siege Combat: Mordor vs. Rohan

Glenstorm recently acquired an amazing fort that we want to experiment with in our LOTR SBG games (and quite possibly showing up in next year's THRO tournament). This game will be between Glenstorm's beloved Rohan army and my work-in-progress Mordor army. Here are the forces:

The Helm's Deep Brigade (Rohan, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor: 115 pts (Army Leader)
4 Rohan Royal Guards: 40 pts
4 Rohan Warriors with shields: 28 pts
4 Rohan Outriders: 28 pts
Warband 2
Eowyn with armor and shield: 40 pts
3 Rohan Royal Guards with throwing spears: 36 pts
4 Rohan Warriors with shields: 28 pts
3 Rohan Outriders: 21 pts
Warband 3
Rohan Captain with heavy armor/shield: 60 pts
2 Rohan Royal Guards: 20 pts
2 Rohan Warriors with shields: 14 pts
3 Rohan Outriders: 21 pts
Hidden Forces:
2 Rohan Warriors with shields/throwing spears (Warband 2): 18 pts
1 Rohan Warrior with Banner (Warband 3): 31 pts
Theoden, King of Rohan with heavy armor/shield (Warband 4): 75 pts
4 Warriors of Rohan with shields (Warband 4): 28 pts
Full Total: 603 pts, 40 units, 10 Might
The Host of the Morgul Vale

Warband 1:
The Dark Marshal [Army Leader] - 120 pts
4 Spectres - 60 pts
5 Orc Warriors with spears and shields - 35 pts
Warband 2:
Ringwraith with 1M/8W/1F - 70 pts
4 Orc Warriors with shields - 24 pts
6 Orc Warriors with spears and shields - 42 pts

Warband 3:
Ringwraith with 1M/7W/1F - 65 pts
6 Orc Warriors with Orc bows - 36 pts

Hidden Forces:
Ringwraith with 1M/7W/1F (Warband 4) - 65 pts
3 Orc Warriors with shields (Warband 4) - 18 pts 
4 Orc Warriors with two-handed weapon (Warband 4) - 24 pts
2 Spectres (Warband 1) - 30 pts
1 Orc Warrior with spear and shield (Warband 1) - 7 pts
1 Orc Warrior with shield (Warband 2) - 6 pts
40 units, 602 pts, 6 Orc bows, 5 Might, lots of magic

The scenario we will be playing is a Hold Ground game on a board that is 48" x 48".  The objective will be in the center of the map (and close to the center of the fort), and all units within 6" of the objective (which is just along the interior of the palisade walls for most of the fort) score 1 Victory Point for each team.  Teams also gain 2 Victory Points for killing the enemy army leader, 1 Victory Point for breaking the enemy army, or 3 Victory Points for breaking the enemy army and not being broken yourself.

Mordor won the roll off, I elected to defend, and Glenstorm decided to forego siege equipment in favor of adding his extra 150 points worth of warriors, with Mordor winning priority for the first round.

Thoughts from Tiberius: it took me all of two seconds to realize that I didn't have enough guys to man the walls. I'm a huge fan of siege defense, but how many guys you have is a huge part of whether you win or lose. My heroes should be able to keep his guys (especially Théoden) from doing anything, but we'll see how that goes. The primary goal, though, is to break his guys (don't know how we're going to do that) OR just shield him away from the center objective.

Thoughts from Glenstorm: So, I've played a number of games growing up where my brother defended a castle, and I have to say that if there is one man that I trust to defend a castle it's Tiberius.  Cracking this army is going to be hard: I've got him beat on the model count, but he boasts a number of terror-causing units with a Ringwraith harbinger "cloud" over the entire fortress if he's smart on placement (which he will be) against a predominately Courage 3 (thus effectively Courage 2) army.  The only reliable charging men that I have are Eomer, Theoden (presuming that his 0 Will Points won't be a problem...against a caster army...lol), and the Royal Guards (who are naturally tied to Eomer, as always).  So, to call the ball: push the castle from three sides, use the RoCap and his unit to crack the flank, use Eomer and his unit to storm the gate, use Eowyn's unit to distract fire and keep the enemy penned down on the other side of the fort, and Theoden's unit can just have fun being Transfixed and torn apart, :P

Turn 1: (Priority - Evil)

In the Move phase, the Dark Marshal cast Drain Courage (1/12W) on Eowyn, who blocked the spell (1/2W), not wanting to have difficulty charging on a later turn. One of the spectres moved a Warrior of Rohan away from the fortress wall (one epic Warrior of Rohan passed his test to resist a different spectre). During the Shoot phase, a Warrior of Rohan kills an Orc spearman with his throwing spear, while an outrider kills an Orc archer (and the Orcs do heroically...nothing).

Turn 2: (P - tied, Good)

As the forces of Rohan advance against the walls, two spectres moved their targeted foes away from the castle (the guy who epically passed last time passed yet again) and a Rohan Royal Guard charges so close to the walls that the Dark Marshal comes out to fight him, after failing to cast Drain Courage on Eowyn (2/12W). Eomer is targeted by Drain Courage by Ringwraith #1 (1/7W) and he lets it pass (Courage 3 on the hero while in range of one of my Ringwraiths!). Eowyn is targeted by Drain Courage yet again by the Dark Marshal (2/12W) and she resists this too (1/2M, 2/2W). In the Shoot phase, two Outriders kill another Orc archer and an Orc spearman. During the Fight phase, the Dark Marshal won his fight (on a tie) but doesn't wound his foe (3/12W).
Kill Count: Rohan 4/28, Mordor 0/40.

Turn 3: (P - Good)

With Rohan winning yet another priority roll, Ringwraith #1 (near the gate) called a Heroic Move (1/1M). One of the spectres at the gate successfully sent a Warrior of Rohan backwards, but besides that, everyone just formed up to protect the gate (two just outside the gate, shield with spear support inside the gateway, and shield and spear support coming up just beyond the gate). After Rohan moved, Ringwraith #2 cast Compel on Théoden (1/1M, 2/8W), keeping the hero from approaching the walls. On the other side of the board, a spectre moved the Rohan banner-bearer away from the walls, taking the banner bonus from those assaulting the palisades this turn.

In the Fight phase, the RoCap called a Heroic Combat (1/2M), won, and killed his foe (bringing himself and an ally over the walls). Nearby, an Orc archer was killed, allowing yet another warrior to cross over the wall. Near the gate, a Rohan Royal Guard lost to the spectre and was killed (wound on 4s, baby!) (spectres: one of my new favorite units, :) ) and three Warriors of Rohan were killed as they attempted to breach the wall nearby. Finally, the Orc warrior with a shield who beat Eowyn and her Royal Guard last turn won for a second time, keeping the hero and elite bodyguard from breaching the far wall.

Kill Count: Rohan 6/28, Mordor 4/40.

Turn 4: (P - Good)

At this point in the game, Rohan has overrun the wall at the top of the picture and is pressing hard against the palisade on the right side. Eomer is sitting in the gateway and if Théoden can ever charge, he'll be pressing from the south end of the supporting palisade. The forces of good moved and then it was Evil's turn for a magical barrage. Ringwraith #1 has come down from the wall and cast Drain Courage on the RoCap (2/7W), but the spell only barely went off and so was resisted (1/1W). Ringwraith #2 casts Compel on Théoden, moving him away from the walls (4/8W - can't keep this up much longer).
In the Fight phase, Rohan called two heroic combats: Eomer attempted to beat a spectre and lost his fight (1/3M) and Eowyn attempted kill the Orc she's been fighting for several turns (2/2M). She lost as well. Elsewhere on the field, the Dark Marshal killed the Royal Guard he's been fighting (5/12W). Besides that, there was a lot of shielding...

Kill Count: Rohan 6/28, Mordor 5/40.

Turn 5: (P - Evil)
At this point, Rohan has solid control of one of the walls and is pressing two others. With priority finally going to Evil, it was time for some serious magic casting. The results were...mixed. Ringwraith #2 failed to Transfix Theoden (5/8W), but Ringwraith #1 transfixed the RoCap (3/7W).
In the Fight phase, Eomer called a Heroic Combat and killed a spectre and then an Orc Warrior with shield. The warrior of Rohan who epically resisted two spectre magical barrages helped a team of guys kill the spectre on the wall and prepared to charge the tower. Besides that, the Orcs on the palisade with the Dark Marshal shield off the forces of Rohan, though the Dark Marshal himself can't land any wounds (6/12W).

Turn 6-7: (P - Evil both times)

I'm just going to let you catch the drift from these pictures. Pay attention to how many guys are on the gate wall...
Yeah, things not going well. The Dark marshal squared off against an Outrider in a Heroic Combat and killed him, moved on to another outrider and killed him too! Besides that, Orcs fell left and right and I didn't have the guys to do anything about it. You will notice, however, that Eowyn STILL hasn't killed the Orc she's been trying to kill for the entire game...that's a bit encouraging (That guy deserves a medal).
I don't remember what all the counts were, but we ended with a major victory for Rohan (break and not broken, more guys within 6" of the objective).


Assessment by Tiberius: I'd have to say that I was impressed by three things: first, the Dark Marshal is great at keeping a battle line together (shielding + 6" banner radius = awesome). Second, spectres are great for dealing with units who have average/low courage OR wounding high defense units who have average Courage (Glenstorm taught me this with his Halloween army, but there's nothing like seeing it work for yourself). Finally, the fortress was not too hard to storm. I've played several games (not on this blog) where a fortress built for siege defense couldn't be taken by a force twice the size. This one gave the defenders enough protection to be valuable, but was stressing at the same time. The only revision I would make (as I told Glenstorm after the game) would be to have burning oil/tar to pour down from the gatehouse. Besides that, I just needed to have more guys...

Assessment by Glenstorm: Wow, that was a close one.  There was a lot of orc and ringwraith victories in combat that (thankfully) didn't result in damage, and the RoCap actually broke through the lines on his side (which was more of a hope than a strategy).  Theoden did virtually nothing all game, but we expected that, so it's alright.  I am disappointed with Eowyn and company: I was testing her for the first time and I hadn't factored on how only having 1 Attack can be a serious problem (like being shielded all game by an orc that cost 6 points to field).  On the whole though, not bad Rohan: good to be playing with you guys again, :)

Stellar unit for Tiberius: Orc Warriors with shields and spears. Glenstorm convinced me a few weeks ago to go the shield and spear route if I wanted a more reliable meat-shield between my Ringwraiths and enemy attackers. That extra defense pip and the ability to shield saved my team on this mission. At the gatehouse, being able to spear-support and then shield was great.

Stellar unit for Glenstorm: The Royal Guards for sure.  I don't think we would have lived as long as we did if that one Royal Guard in Eowyn's unit hadn't held down the Dark Marshal for forever (even if he did die near the end), nor would we have been able to charge the spectres at the gate.  These guys usually take the brunt of my assaults, and I'm very grateful for how they kept us in the game in this scenario, :)

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