Friday, November 7, 2014

THRO 2014: Rounds 2 and 3

So in our last post, we discussed the armies that were in the THRO 2014 tournament and how they did during their first rounds. This post will cover the second and third rounds (as well as the post-game information). Let's jump right in!

Round 2 (Lords of Battle), Table 1: "Optimistic Boromir" vs. "The Host of Rohan"
Pretty much every unit in the Fellowship list has a Elven cloak, so the masonry on this map was a huge boon. Aragorn and Legolas both have bows, and so being able to shoot out from behind masonry at the riders of Rohan without receiving enemy fire drove the riders to need to attack.
The Host of Rohan formed up to perform a valiant charge. While many armies might be concerned about the huge amount of terrain between them and their foes, the riders jumped over fences and maneuvered with ease. If it weren't for the incoming arrows, "coming from nowhere" as it were, the ride would have been quite splendid.
Here you can see Eorl the Young and a Son of Eorl riding ahead of the thundering host. It's moments like this that warm my heart - seeing an atypical army pulling a thematically awesome move.
Gimli was one of the first heroes to be charged - the Sons of Eorl were tough fighters, but the Fight 6 heroes of the Fellowship were up to the challenge.
As a matter of fact, the heroes of the Fellowship were more than a match. While the riders of Rohan were great skirmishers, the fact that none of Rohan's heroes can get to F6 is a great handicap. Aragorn was charged repeatedly by power hero after power hero, but he could not be beaten. With Anduril in hand, he not only could beat the best of Rohan, but he could wound any of them on 4s...ouch.
At the end of this game, the Fellowship had taken two wounds and exhausted 27 wounds/Fate points in reply. The Fellowship received a major victory with this kill ratio alone, but in addition broke the Riders of Rohan, drove them down to 25%, and killed the enemy army leader. The Fellowship also managed to fulfill its oath and received the Slayer of Foes Remarkable Achievement.
Round 2 (Lords of Battle), Table 3: "Isengard's Outriders" vs. "The Halloween Army"

The Halloween Army formed up in the heart of the city, organizing rank upon rank of Orcs and preparing the troll to charge the center. Here's an army you don't want to find late at night...
The Uruks spread out their formation, preparing to rush around the rocky formation and park some crossbows down low and up high. With pikes bristling, they prepared to meet the hosts of Angmar!

The Orcs and trolls race towards the enemy - you can see here also the wealth of colors this horde has...not common in armies showcased on this blog.

As the battles raged, you can see here that both sides tried to anchor their battle lines between terrain pieces. The multiple attacks of the berserkers proved to be very devastating against the lower-Fight-value Orcs.

Elsewhere on the field, the Uruks were spread thin, with the banner of the Orcs plunging through the Uruk ranks.

Unfortunately for one captain, the Paralyze spell of a Barrow Wight proved lethal, and the great army leader of Angmar, the Dwimmerlaik was waiting with his two-handed blade. Ouch...

While the fighting was rough in melee, some of the greatest contributions from the Uruk army came from their crossbows. Claiming one of the trolls, the crossbows would whittle down support troops and cut down flanking squads, making life easier for their pike-supporting brethren.
In the end, the Halloween Army dealt 15 wounds (or spent Fate points), while the Uruk-Hai dealt 32 wounds (or spent Fate points). To further secure a major victory for the Uruks, they broke the enemy and killed the enemy army leader. The Uruk-Hai also completed their oath and received the Valiant Heart and Cowardly Scum Remarkable Achievements.
Round 2 (Lords of Battle), Table 4: "The Terror of Dul Guldor" vs. "Isengard's Foot Cavalry"

The Uruks began in a corner, ready to race ahead to the bridges while the ballista provided cover support. Both players agreed that the effectiveness of the ballista would likely shape how the game would go.
In response to the threat of the ballista, the army of Dol Guldor began hidden behind some hills. Without ranged capabilities, there was no sense staying out in the open from the get-go.

Here's a blurry picture of the battle line and the conversion for Bolg that Zorro has performed. Really neat model - write up with close-ups on the blog in the future perhaps?
As the armies prepared to meet in combat, the Catellans emerged from the wood and the Uruks formed ranks. their pike support would be invaluable during this game, as it would not only bring the number of attacks closer into balance, but these warriors wouldn't have to take a courage test - ain't that nice?
Mauhur and his marauders raced into combat, taking the fight to the Castellan side of the river. Unfortunately for the Uruks, some key charges would be failed, limiting the amount of units that could contribute to the fight.
As the battle waged, the Castellans formed a loose line to engage the Uruks. Eventually, pikemen were fighting for their lives against the unphased wraiths of Mordor. The only thing more frightening than this was what was going on in the middle of the board...

After a long-fought game, the Uruks scored an unfortunate 1 wound against the Terror of Dol Guldor. In return, Bolg and his host scored 38 wounds (or Fate points). In a tremendous major victory or Dol Guldor, the servants of Sauron broke their foe, reduced them to 25%, and killed their army leader. The Terror of Dol Guldor fulfilled its oath, while Saruman's Foot Cavalry received the Valiant Heart Remarkable Achievement (lots of Terror foes will do that for you).
Round 3

Round 3 (HOLD GROUND), Table 2: "The Terror of Dol Guldor" vs. "Isengard's Outriders"

So something happened again with the pictures...sorry about this guys. Basically, this fight involved the Uruks and the Castellans (and Bolg) rushing up the face of Weathertop and fighting in the Seat of Power. The higher Fight value of the Castellans (and multiple attacks) did them well, as they beat back the Uruks. Some crossbowmen attempted to pluck wounds off of the wraiths of Mordor, but when their quarrels hit, they rarely wounded (and even then, the high Will stores of the Castellans proved sufficient to negate damage).

In the end, 2 Uruks were in range of the scoring objective when the game was called, while 9 members of the Terror of Dol Guldor were in range. The Uruks were broken and driven down to 25%, further aiding a major victory for the Terror Dol Guldor (the only team with three major victories at this tournament). Dol Guldor completed its oath, while the Uruks succeeded in receiving the Valiant Heart Remarkable Achievement (as nearly everyone did that fought this army...).

Round 3 (HOLD GROUND), Table 3: "The Host of Rohan" vs. "Isengard's Foot Cavalry"

In a classic battle between Rohan and Isengard, both armies raced towards the center. While the drummer aided the Uruks in racing towards the objective, the Riders of Rohan used their skirmishing capabilities to delay engagement until the Uruks were whittled down a little. As Eorl and his elite bodyguard raced around the board tackling the ballista, they then attacked the rear of the Uruk column, threatening the corps of troops staking out the objective.

At the end, the Uruks had 9 units in scoring range, while Rohan had 6 units in range. Since Rohan was able to break the Uruk force and was not broken itself, the teams pulled a draw. The Uruks were able to complete their oath and neither side scored any remarkable achievements.

Round 3 (HOLD GROUND), Table 4: "The Halloween Army" vs. "Optimistic Boromir"

Glenstorm and Captain Glot had practiced all three scenarios before the tournament, and both knew that if the Fellowship faced the Halloween Army on this particular scenario, things were going to be very, very uphill. With the Halloween army able to concentrate its forces in one place, any army would have been sorely pressed to beat it. As it was, Aragorn was killed in a single round of combat on the center bridge, followed shortly thereafter by Boromir and Gimli. As the hosts of Angmar raced down to catch the hobbit and Elf in the list, they squarely placed a huge block of troops on the objective.

In the final turn of the game, the Fellowship was tabled, leaving 12 Angmar troops solidly on the objective. In the biggest route of the tournament, the Halloween Army killed the enemy army leader (early), broke their foe, and reduced them to 25% (0% really) by the time the game was called. Angmar fulfilled its oath, while the Fellowship claimed the Valiant Heart Remarkable Achievement.

Tournament Recap:

The team that won the tournament was the alliance between the "Terror of Dul Guldor" list and the "Host of Rohan" list. Not only did this team win the tournament, but they were both the highest scoring players at the tournament. Both brought lists that were meant to be fun and they turned out to be quite competitive - and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what THRO tournaments are all about.

The question going into the third round was actually this: which team comes in second? After the last round, the major victoy of the Halloween Army over the Fellowship, combined with a rough last round for Isengard's Outriders and a hard-fought draw between Saruman's Foot Cavalry and Rohan, that decided the final standings. In the end, the scores were as follows:

Individual scores (OFFICIAL):
  1. The Terror of Dol Guldor - 36 pts
  2. The Host of Rohan - 21.5 pts
  3. Saruman's Foot Cavalry - 20.5 pts
  4. Isengard's Outriders - 19.5 pts
  5. Optimistic Boromir - 17 pts
  6. The Halloween Army - 16.5 pts
Team rankings (OFFICIAL):
  1.  Dol Guldor/Rohan - 57.5 pts
  2. Foot Cavalry/Angmar - 37.0 pts
  3. Outriders/Fellowship - 36.75 pts
As tournament director of my second THRO tournament (third tournament in my career), I consider this to be a uniquely successful tournament. The player were very adaptable, but I was pleased to see the teamwork that went on when allies would look at their friendly player's board and give comments and strategic hints. We've never had that before (commentary yes, but never team strategy). For next year's THRO tournament, we'll see if alliances play a more critical element to the game play. With THRO behind us and November here, we're kicking off Dragon month, so watch this space! 

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