After a few minutes checking out the awesome pre-tournament hobbying projects, the tournament started off with...
Saruman, ever determined to scour the shire, rallies his uruks and prepares to march on the halflings. Much to his surprise, the little folk are joined by a squadron of valiant dwarves who lead the shirelings. Balin swore he would push the uruks back behind their lines, and Saruman placed a bounty on Balin's head. Although the magic of the Istari would cause chaos among the halfling ranks, it could do little to stop the shower of stones that rained down on the fighting uruk-hai. Balin personally led the charge to force the denizens of Isengard from the field [Shire Oath kept, Uruk Oath failed].
As the dust settled, the uruks were thoroughly beaten with less than a quarter of their force remaining to limp off the field with 2 damaged standards as the Eriadorians held their banner aloft in victory, having accomplished their secret objective..
Final Score: 11-0 major victory for The Defenders of Eriador
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Round 1, Board B: The Host of Rohan vs. Harrowers of the Riddermark
After a long day's march, the vanguard of Isengard slips into the shire unnoticed. The bulk of the halflings' fighting force has departed to face Saruman and the main force. However the luck of the uruks would not be great as first thought, as the thundering of hooves announced the arrival of the Riders of the Westfold who have hunted them the whole day. Eomer declared he would live through the day, and Vrasku claimed that Eorl the Young would pursue them no more. The uruks ran hard through the streets of hobbiton, but could not quite keep pace with the trusty steeds of the Rohirrim - who's speed and agility kept their masters safe [Rohan oath kept, Uruk oath failed].
|Rider and Uruk both try to claim the objective|
|Rohan cav claims an objective|
|Riders harass uruks for an objective, but the uruks have a slight edge|
|Skirmish in the middle leads to a draw|
|Uruk drummer makes a run for the objective - but is a turn too late|
The battlefield was hotly contested, but as the sun set, the riders of the westfold held one obective, and the uruks held majority over a second. Two of the remaining were sharply divided between the armies, and though the uruks were closing fast on the final objective, it was left unclaimed in the night. Both armies had completed their secret objective, and parted ways in the shadows.
Final Score: 3-1 major victory for The Host of Rohan
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Round 1, Board C: The Glory of Erebor vs. Dead Men Walking
Among the haunted ruins of Angmar, the threat of ambush is constant, and one must be quick on the draw when danger is near. So with the sudden arrival of dwarves in the mist, Eomer spurred his men into action, attempting to strike down the dwarven shieldbearer and his troops at the outset. Not one to let his brothers fall needlessly, Dwalin's crew sprang their ambush, sandwiching Eomer's band between them. Not to be outdone, Grimbold and his helmingas jumped from ambush of their own, causing a mighty scrum at the edges of the field, the center objective all but forgotten. From the far side of the field, Balin claimed he could outslay the haughty man of the Mark, who in turn claimed he would survive the day as he charged into the dwarven lines.
|Post-game shot. Most of the game happened on the eastern board edge|
|Dwalin and co clean up after (finally) dispatching Eomer|
|Erkendbrand stands alone against the dwarven onslaught|
At the battle's end, the Rohan forces were broken, and Eomer fell beneath Dwalin's mighty blows [Rohan oath failed]. Erkenbrand fought valiantly alone in the center as the dwarves surged into the center led by Balin hewing everything down before him [Dwarf oath kept]. As the remnants of the Rohan forces departed into the mist, the dwarven forces celebrated the success of their hidden objective.
Final Score: 17-1 major victory for The Glory of Erebor
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Unlike past TMAT tournaments, we did not have a running score total after each round. We just kept on fighting through and totaled it up at the end (this turned out to keep things flowing a bit better). So after a quick break for lunch and regrouping, the armies jumped back in with Round 2...
Round 2, Board A: Dead Men Walking vs. Harrowers of the Riddermark
As day broke, the uruk vangard - having just survived a brush with the Rohan horsemen, found themselves running into their footmen. Vrasku claimed he would not fall by the hand of man, and Eomer declared his sword would fell more than the crossbow of the foul uruk. Determined to redeem their failures of the day prior, both forces threw themselves into the fray - running hard for the enemy's battle standards, and hewing down any who stood in the way.
By the end of the skirmish, Eomer carved a swathe through the uruk lines but could not count Vrasku among the dead [Both oaths kept]. In turn, the uruks wrought havoc among the Rohan standards, hewing down two of them and damaging a third while completing their secret objective. Rohan managed to wound one of the Uruk standards, and held their banner high in defiance.
Final Score: 7-3 major victory for Harrowers of the Riddermark
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Round 2, Board B: The Glory of Erebor vs. The Defenders of Eriador
Fresh off their sound defeat of Saruman, and believing the shire to be safe from scouring, the halflings are surprised to find themselves in an alternate universe where their town is full of dwarves geared for battle. "For home and hearth!" they cry and charge in to reclaim their village. Balin predicted that Merry would foolhardedly perish before the battle was through, and his doppleganger swore that he would survive. Although the leaders of both forces hesitated at first, finding themselves staring into a mirror across the riverbank, they were soon jarred from their stupor as Bullroarer charged down the flank, bellowing "Fire! Foes! Awake!"
|For the Shire!|
|Bullroarer causing mayhem. Like the great Goblin, this poor khazad would have his head knocked clean off|
|Maggot's dogs harass the dwarf at the corner objective|
|Dwalin leads the shireling charge across the Eastern ford|
|as Balin tries to make headway at the western ford|
|Balins pass each other at the ford|
|Dwalin claims the center objective for the dwarves - having run over from the corner|
|Dwarves cleaned up over here, but not enough time to go help elsewhere!|
|Merry and co defend an objective|
|Farmer Maggot holds the objective for the Shire|
As the sounds of battle faded, both Merry and Balin's doppleganger remained [Shire oath kept, Dwarf oath failed], but at great cost in halfling blood. Although broken, the halflings held two objectives, and the dwarves also held two objectives. Although ultimately fatal, Bullroarer's ride caused such a stir among the dwarves they abandoned the final objective in their pursuit, so his passing was not in vain. In true mirror form, both armies managed to accomplish their secret objective.
Final Score: 9-6 minor victory for The Glory of Erebor
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Round 2, Board C: The Host of Rohan vs. Isengard Unleashed
Yet again the armies of Rohan and Isengard found themselves at odds, as they searched through the mists to find a strategic holdpoint. Eomer claimed his sword arm was more powerful that the sorcery of the wizard, and Saruman claimed it was yet not enough to fell an Istari. The screams of horses and the clash of steel echoed through the rocks and crags as both armies fought to gain control of the field. And though the magic of Saruman proved costly to the riders and cost them several mounts, the uruks quickly learned that the hail of spears was far deadlier than the stones experienced the day prior.
|One warband of uruks tries to hold the bulk of the Rohan cav at bay. Although they were eventually cut down, considering they managed to block them up against woodland terrain the uruks did a decent job of it|
|Lurtz (bottom left) pushes his troops towards the center|
|Saruman likewise has a clear shot to the middle - for now|
|Eomer's band finally breaks free of the uruks and runs for the center|
Eomer proved his strength, yet the voice of Curunir remained to keep the broken fragments of the Isengard army together [both oaths kept]. Although the remaining uruks managed to challenge the objective, it was solidly held by the riders of the westfold. Neither army succeeded in their hidden agenda.
Final Score: 20-8 major victory for The Host of Rohan
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Just a trio of games left to tell... watch this space for recap of Round 3 and some closing thoughts.