Monday, October 20, 2014

A Blogger Interrupted!


Due to unforeseen technical difficulties; my hard drive died in my PC, my blogging output will be somewhat reduced until I get it sorted...

New hard drive has been ordered and delivered, and a new disk for Win7 sourced, to finally update my XP...

And whilst I have got the hard drive hooked up, and it appears to be working, I can't get Win7 to load, so will have to wait till a friendly tech-savvy IT neighbor pops round when he has a free moment, to assist...

Many years ago I once tried to show my father how to program the VHS video recorder... after many attempts I gave up... His reply to my frustration at the time was that, unless he could 'adjust it with a shovel', he wasn't interested...

Many years on I now find I am in the same boat, when it comes to all the tech stuff we have now, computers, Ipods , Ipads and smartfones... etc etc, all leave me bemused!

So hopefully I'll be back up and running in the not too distant future!

In the meantime I'll continue to adjust things with my paintbrush!

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Vengeance of Mordor"

Andrew and I got to play a variation on the scenario; 'Vengeance of the Nazgul' from the old Mordor book.

 That scenario revolves around the 'behind the scenes' events where a Dark Emissary is sent to the Dwarven King Dain, whereupon he issued demands that Dain reveal any information concerning the whereabouts of the One Ring, or of any information about Hobbits...

Although Dain dismissed the Emissary, sensing his evil nature,  he left leaving dire threats ringing in Dains ears...

In this scenario, the Emissary makes good on those threats... The scenario would find Dain and his Bodyguard ambushed on the road by the Nazgul... with reinforcements rushing to his aid. Can Dain Survive the ambush!?

Now we took this idea, and tweaked the setting and forces...

In our setting, instead of Dain, the Dark Emissary had visited The Prince of Dol Amroth... and so for our game it is the Prince who finds himself and his bodyguard of knights ambushed on the road... Rather than an all Nazgul force, we used a Mordor force that could not include cavalry and I chose not to include monsters either, my thinking being its hard to be a sneaking ambushing force with a large beastie that's hard to hide behind a tree!

The forces were roughly 600 points each, plus each being led by the named heroes, in this case the Prince of Dol Amroth, and the WitchKing wearing the Crown of Morgul. (Although not explicit in the scenario description, we assumed the WitchKing would be at full power for Might, Will and Fate)

So we took our forces long to the KWC for a game on club night.

Deployment

The Princes vanguard is deployed on the board; The Prince and his Bodyguard deploy on the road within 3" of centre of the board, and a patrol of rangers lead the way and also cover his rear on the road.

Mordor then sets up its whole force anywhere on board, further than 12" from any good model.

The balance of the good forces, would arrive as reinforcements as the game progresses.

Now the scenario suggested that these reinforcements would arrive on any turn that the priority roll is tied... This to our minds was a little too random... and there is a fair chance they'd never show up... I have worked with this mechanism before in a FotR scenario; the Hounds of Sauron, where the Fellowship must hold out in the game until a tied a priority roll is met... In our game back then the Fellowship died long before that roll eventuated - we kept rolling to see just when it might have occurred... 33 rolls later! Not good!

So in this scenario we borrowed the reinforcements arrival rule from Flames of War... from turn 3 onward, roll a dice, on a 5+ reinforcements arrive. Each subsequent turn roll a further dice. Each 5+ bringing on a warband that turn.


Game on!
And in this scenario Evil automatically gets first turn Priority. That makes a nice change!


The Prince is ambushed!
Can the Prince of Dol Amroth survive? He's a pretty tough cookie! Also, a scenario stipulation - The Prince must be humiliated by being killed in melee. He may not be targeted by a Black Dart spell either!

The Prince of Dol Amroth on the road  (custom made by Andrew) with his BodyGuard

As its the school holidays, my son Chris had his mate Jacob round for a play-date for the day. They had played LOTR together all day, and still had a huge game going on set up in the games room when I got home from work. Typical over enthusiastic kids - get just about every model they can on the board! ;-) They wanted to come down to the club with me too, so I reined in their excesses a little and gave them each a 350point force to have a quick Gondor vs Mordor skirmish at the club, before being picked up by mum in time to get Jacob back home before he turned into a pumpkin! ;-)

Jacob and Chris enjoy a skirmish at the club too
They had great fun, and drew attention from some of the younger club members. Gondor emerged the victor!

On another table, Ste had come up again from Wellington. With his shipping container now having arrived from the UK, and been unpacked, he could find his hobby goodies. He brought along terrain and figures to run the BuckleBerry ferry scenario. David at the club, joined in the fun with Ste.

Ste sets up the FotR scenario; The Buckleberry Ferry 

Back to the Prince, and the evil forces close in...

The Prince might not be able to be targetted by a Black Dart, but that didn't stop other fell sorceries targetting him...The Mouth the Sauron (The Dark Emissary?) striking the Prince with a Sap Will. The WitchKing also tried but failed his casting roll with snake eyes... The Prince resisted but it drained him of 2 Will to do so...

Other malign influences filled the air, as Spectres started luring some of the Princes BodyGuard towards them, where they could be surrounded and struck down...


Spectres lure brave knights to their doom!


David and Ste continue their fun on the Brandywine...

David gives Ste's Ringwraiths their dancing orders!

Poor Ste couldn't win a priority roll to save his life, so that left David moving the Ringwraiths, who were governed by the Sentries rules, round in circles to the bemusement of Ste, while Davids hobbits legged it, well as quickly as hobbits can leg it when they only move 4", towards the ferry.

By all accounts the hobbits made it safely except Merry who managed to fall in and drown, and being the hobbit who grew up on the banks of the river you'd think he'd have done better!

A few desultory spells were flung at the departing hobbits across the river but it was all too little too late for Ste!.

Lots of fun none the less...

Back once again to the Prince and having felt his mental faculties take a battering, seen some of his bodyguard depart in all directions, and sensing his doom at hand, discretion began to play the better part to valor! He ordered a Heroic March! This got his troops away from the closing jaws of the trap...

But the warband lead by Shagrat was still close enough to make its presence felt... and melee started, the knights keeping the orcs at bay for now...


Shagrat's warband engages the Princes knights

With the fighting beginning to get close, the Prince really needed to get away, but was then suddenly struck down by a stupor and then wandered off the road away from his knights ( A further Sap Will from The Mouth, and then a Compel from the WitchKing).

Sensing their chance was at hand, the forces of evil closed in around the Prince and it seemed his fate may well be sealed. His knights rushed to hold back the oncoming evil creatures and pull as many of the foul orcs from their Prince as they could...

The Prince is half surrounded...

Would he be able to hold out against this dreadful pressure...


Shagrat had crashed in against the Prince, his Shield of Cirith Ungol leading the way... The WitchKing also closed in looking to seal the deal.

The WitckKing called Heroic Fight, hoping to slay the knight he was fighting and move on closer to the Prince, but the knight resisted all attempts to kill him...thus keeping the WitchKing from advancing further this turn...

Eventually the fateful combat was enacted. The Prince, still in his torpor was not fighting at his best, and realising this, he opted to defend, just to try and stay alive. But the weight of attacks against him were simply too much to resist. Both sides having managed a 6, the Princes lowered F meant he lost the fight and was bowled over by the Shield of Shagrat, leaving him trapped prone on the floor...


The blows fell on the prone Prince, and despite a valiant resistance to their injurous effects, fate could not quite intervene. The Prince suffered 5 wounds. He had 3 on his profile and 3 fate points. Two out of the three fate points came up good, but that last failure meant three wounds got through, sealing the fate of the Prince...

Mordor has its vengeance this day!

Epilogue

Great fun, tense game.

It only lasted three turns and Dol Amroth's reinforcements didn't not show up in that time. In fact we only had made one roll for them... and they would have still been a move away to intervene had they arrived.

The Rangers shooting, I think, killed one or two orcs over the three turns. Perhaps they might have been better moving at quick time to get to the Prince, rather than stand back shooting?

I think this is a tough scenario for the Defender to win as they are surrounded and out numbered from the start.

But to return the favour, next time we'll play it with the good guys ambushing evil and see how that works out!

Good to see three tables of LOTR going on at the club :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ruins of Middle-Earth

Having recently got some Gondorian soldiery ready to play with in the game, I felt it was high time I got some suitable scenery made...

The classic battle ground to be fought over for Good and Evil is the once mighty Capital city of Osgiliath, which at the time of the War of the Ring finds itself in ruins... a no-mans land almost, between the forces of Gondor and Mordor as each sides vies for supremacy...  each occupying it for a time as they seize it from the hands of their foe...

So I had a rummage in the off-cuts box of Styrofoam I had, with bits left over from the Durins Causeway build, and set to with the hot wire cutter...

The Stryfoam sheet was 25mm thick, too thick really for basic building walls at this scale , so the off cuts I sliced in half to make approx 12mm thick sheet pieces... These I then scored on a brick pattern 10mm x 20mm, with a black biro...




Made a nice piece with some arches and added a blasa wood floor level... some coarse sand glued on for rubble effects...


Then painted up with craft paints. Grey base coat then white to pick out the bricks... Very simple and inexpensive...


I consciously decided not to base them as I get frustrated when base edges of terrain cause models to topple over...


Some Gondorians defend the ruins above...

A decent start - I've got lots of ideas to elaborate on these first simple designs...


Sunday, October 05, 2014

There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world...

...Dweller in the Dark...

As mentioned in a prior post, I was going to try out a Dweller in a previous game, but didn't get the model assembled in time...

However with the kids holidays in full swing here for 2 weeks, I took a week off work for child minding duties at home - rather than send them to grandparents for the week. Wifeypoos gets the duties next week. Some walks and bikes rides in the improving spring weather, but when the weather closed in, an excuse to break out the paints and get this guy finished off...

It's also why I have been quiet on the blogging scene for the last week...


Now this is a purely GW incarnation, but one that I do like and admit, it rides a lot on Gandalf's above quote in the post title... it hints at so much that is yet unknown, and undefined...

I think its a great model and Finecast issues aside (I'm slowly getting used to the quirks of this material - and with this one didn't manage to cut my thumb off as I did with the the Watcher...), it went together well. A bit of heating and cooling of the legs (boiling water followed by cold water) to get them to go where I wanted, and the tip of the tail to get it uncurled... and we were just about ready for paint.... I also found an old roll of emery paper in the garage and that works very well at sanding this material down...


Now there's no hiding the fact this beasty's nick name is the 'Baby-Balrog'... and its easy to see why, and admittedly the paint job for both is very similar... think small fire demon and you get the idea... its internal thermal dynamics breaking the skin surface in rivulets here and there...



In the game it provides an interesting alternative to the basic Cave-troll. Only 5 points different in cost, a decent rack of statistics and some interesting special rules... I look forward to giving it a whirl in a game soon, and it will compliment my growing Moria terrain collection...


To give an idea of scale, here it is with Gimli..."Come on if you think you're hard enough!"... you can decide who's the one saying it!


And to further add to the scale question, with the Balrog... so you can see why its called the Baby-Balrog!


The cool thing about this wee beastie, is that it will get used... compared to the Balrog which, whilst a mighty beastie indeed is invariably overkill in smaller, more commonly played, games... and thus rarely gets used in a game... you can probably see the dust on his wings, poor chap! At least the Dweller will get the chance to hit the gaming table and tear a few good guys limb from limb!



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lord of the Rings / Hobbit gaming at the Kapiti Wargames Club

Tonight Andrew and I co-hosted a demo try out session of Lord of the Rings / Hobbit SBG gaming at the Kapiti Wargames Club.

Andrew had proposed the idea of us bringing down some forces and terrain and letting those interested give it a go, a couple of weeks ago...  We managed to get 5 of the club interested to have a go and the club saw a new prospective member come all the way from Upper Hutt to join in and have a game with us too.

Andrew and I set up 4 adjacent tables with playing areas of about 42'' x 48", taped off and set up the terrain and each of us had brought two paired adversaries.

We kept the points and format small, 450 points armies and minimal spellcasters and monsters, concentrating on infantry and cavalry - to allow the new players to get the hang of the core rules and tactics...

Andrew brought Easterlings vs Dol Amroth, and Goblins vs Dwarves

I brought Goblins vs Galadhrim Elves, and Mordor orcs vs Gondor...  though in the end Pete came over from Upper Hutt and brought his Wood Elves with him so I played my Orcs against him, and put Gondor back in the box...



Then all up and ready, and after a quick briefing were all into it. From L to R... Pete ( from Upper Hutt), Rex, Arnold, Ethan, Andrew, Jayden and David...

We kept the scenario simple too, a straight up, 'To the Death'... just kill each other!


Pete's Wood Elves against my Mordor Orcs above.

Rex commands the Galadhrim against the Goblins led by David, below...


Arnold commands the forces of Dol Amroth against the Easterlings commanded by Jayden, below...


I think Andrew commanded the dwarves against the Goblins commanded by Ethan, I believe, but others might have joined in replacing Andrew? - I am not sure, it was all fast and furious stuff, and we had several interested onlookers too!


The games played well and everyone enjoyed them... with comments afterwards of " I'm going to get Uruks" , and "I'm going to get Easterlings" etc etc...

What topped the evening off was a kind donation timed wonderfully by the local GW manager, Nathan Smith of Wellington GW, who donated to the club today some Gondorian soldiers.  The Gondorians grabbed a lot of peoples interest, including those who were enjoying playing in the demo and onlookers too... Those interested got some models, with the deal being - paint those up and bring them back to show us, and you can have some more!

So with that we already have a bunch of people grabbing Gondorians eager to get some paint on them, and get some games in with them... this may of course lead to a huge Gondorian civil war breaking out at the club! Great thing is this gets folks interested in the game and giving it a go, and once you collect one army you're bound to want to expand on it... so that all bodes well...

So a big shout out to the Kapiti Wargame Club for hosting us and allowing us to demo the game again to them, and to Nathan Smith for his very generous donation, and to Pete for making the journey over from the Hutt, and Andrew for making the journey up from Wellington and helping run the show, and of course to the players who were keen to give it a go on the night!

As Andrew put it afterwards, I dont think we've had that many people playing LOTR together at once in the Wello region for many years! I think that speaks for itself!

Hopefully we'll have more games in the future to report on, with a growing pool of local LOTR enthusiasts!

Update:
Some great pics on Jayden's blog here at The Imperial Patrol



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isengard Uruk-Hai Scout Command

With the Causeway piece completed, I'll be turning my terrain building activity back to Balin's Tomb, I think... but looking forward again, to model requirements for the ongoing Fellowship Campaign and on to the Two Towers I have recently completed more Uruk-Hai scouts and command figures to lead them...

These figures will be required for the Amon Hen scenario, and on through the Isengard versus Rohan scenarios of the Two Towers, where they will feature in the Battles of the Fords of Isen, the Burning of the WestFold and of course Helms Deep...


All metal figures this time... but they will compliment the plastic set of Uruk-Hai scouts I completed a couple of months back now...


Scout banner above and drummer below... these came out as a twin pack some time ago, probably as part of the required releases for the WOTR game. The banner I can certainly use but the drummer no longer has specific stats in the current SBG game.

There is an orc drummer in the Mordor list, who is a character hero so perhaps I could borrow his stats and abilities as an 'ally' and proxy this figure into the force that way? Would need a bit of a houserule players agreement to pull off... otherwise it can simply be a regular Uruk scout just to use the cool figure... love the thigh bone as a drum stick!


Next up is Mauhur... Mauhur wasn't in the movies but does feature in the book, although more as reference by Ugluk, when he talks of other scout warbands in the area...

If you take Mauhur, you can upgrade your scouts to 'marauders', increasing their move from 6" to 8".

Mauhur

Another uruk leader is Vrasku, with his famed crossbow. Vrasku didnt make it into the monies but he is creditted in the books as being the one to shoot down Theodred at the First Battle of the Fords of Isen. He was later killed by Erkenbrand, at the Second battle at the Ford...

Vrasku
Lurtz, needs no introduction!A well know Uruk Leader from the movies, but not one from the book! Never the less he is a very useful commander of the Uruks, and is clearly required for the Amon Hen scenario!

Lurtz
More metal Uruks with shields, to bolster the numbers of troops I need at Amon Hen...

Uruk Scouts

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hold Ground skirmish - Galadhrim Elves vs Goblins of Moria Battle Report

Had a chance for a quick game with mate Brett.

Brett was wanting to try the game at a relatively small points level; 400 points, just to see how quickly the game could be played and without going into all the Uber characters and beasties... in other words trying to 'keep it simple'...

Brett was going to bring his Galadhrim, and I decided to bring some goblins down out of Moria...

Now my past record of Goblins vs Elves has not been the best... I have usually taken a few goblin warbands led by a few heroes and thrown a cave troll in for good measure... but one cave troll was invariable 'nerfed', either being turned into a pin cushion by elven archery or immobilised and cut down whilst in a 'stupor'... Once the cave troll was dealt with the rest of the goblins were usually either avoided, shot up, or mopped up by the rampant elves...

However having had some success with my Angmar force fielding multiple trolls, I wondered how many I could squeeze into 400 points and still have enough heroes to lead them and have enough goblins to back them up, and be a viable force...

So I took Durburz with a cave troll and 11 goblins,... and a Captain , with a cave troll, 10 goblins and a Bat Swarm.

[I did think about trialing a Dweller, instead of a troll, and swapping out the captain for a shaman, but despite a furious last minute effort I didn't quite get the dweller made in time]

Brett brought a force comprising a Captain, with Galadhrim spear and sword infantry... another captain with bow, with Galadhrim archers and spears, ... and a small warband of a captain, with a sentinel and a spear support.

 After chatting through the missions we decide to try Hold Ground.

This mission is basically to fight for and hold the centre of the board, marked by an objective marker. But you start the game with no troops on the board. Warbands come on each turn from a variable random board edge position, and have to make their way to the centre where they will no doubt engage the enemy....

We didn't take many pictures of the game but here's a selection...

The elves get their two main warbands coming on pretty much together from the Eastern board edge, archers to the right...



Whilst the small warband with the sentinel, finds itself coming on from the northwest corner...



Both goblin warbands come on from the south west corner...


The main elven warband headed towards the centre whilst the archer warband took up firing position behind a crumbling wall... from here they shot several volleys at the approaching goblins, dropping a few of them on their way to the centre of the board. The goblins also tried to get a little cover from the broken wall, from the elven shooting... I also peeled off one of the trolls, screened by the bat swarm to go after the archers and try to flush them out, making them move and reduce their shooting effectiveness...

The picture below shows the Cave troll and bats engaging the elven archers at the wall as the main goblin horde pushes on for the centre...


As the game progressed the power of the trolls became rather self evident and Brett struggled to deal with them...His archery had targetted the goblins, not the trolls, and he had no spell casters in range to affect them either...

The centre goblin formation, split with some heading south to deal with the archers and aid the troll and bat swarm there, as the other goblins led by Durburz, the captain and second troll pushed on through the centre and forced the elves back...


The elven archer captain was knocked about by the rampant troll and eventually slain, trapped against the crumbling wall... the bat swarm had done it's job, shielding the approach of the troll and getting in the way once melee with it commenced... The elven centre started to collapse, but the fight had by now drifted away from the central position where Brett still had his main captain and the remnants of his centre warband...

However after a brutal turn for the elves, they were broken and the dice thrown by Brett afterwards, summed up his dice for the game... a 1 to end it...

A final tally for VPs saw the goblins edge it 8-7... Brett had more elves left near the objective than the goblins did at games end, but the elves were broken and the goblins were not. Neither leader was injured either.

-----o0o-----

We discussed the game afterwards as is usual, and Brett was concerned at the viability of his compact force. He had expected elven archery to have a strong effect in the game, but that had not eventuated and without any magic to deal with the trolls, and once engaged with the greater numbers of goblins, had struggled hold them off...

Perhaps the two cave trolls were too much for this small simple game? But then I would have had another captain and an extra full warband of goblins and other beasties to make up the points, so the elves may then have been swamped by numbers???

So it appears a basic elven force of infantry and captains just does not cut the mustard, by itself... there clearly is a need for some elven sorcery to help tip the balance. Or perhaps some cavalry?

Perhaps the mission and random deployments had not favoured the elves in this scenario either?

Any thoughts on a 400 point Galadhrim force... comments below please...
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