Friday, October 24, 2014

Hold Ground - LOTR/Hobbit Battle report.

Once again Ste journeyed up from Wellington for an arranged game; Rohan vs Isengard. Ste has been steadily building an Isengard force, and was keen to try it out, and I have a slowly expanding Rohan force I was interested to see how it would do against its 'traditional' foe...

I arrived at club first and set up a themed battle field, depicting a Rohan village, to one side with a more open area to the other side.

We played 550pts forces. Rather than pick a mission we rolled off on the chart and got Hold Ground. This is a bit of a bugger of a mission as whatever plan you had for deployment, just went out the window, with the very random deployment of troops in the mission - your typical 'Maelstrom of Battle', with your forces coming on from the sides, where you may or may not want them, depending on the roll of die...

The game then becomes a race to get to and hold the centre ground, shown by an objective marker.... with a victory point for each model within 6" of it at the end of the game.

Ste won initial Priority and started rolling for and putting down his forces... Mine then turned up next... I think to be fair I got the sh*t end of the stick in deployment, but them's the breaks and we played on...

See below for deployments...

Deployment

Ste basically had the jump on me with respect to getting to the objective first... I either had his troops in front of me, or a greater amount of terrain in the way... this was going to be tough...

Below Ste's Uruk enter the village ... my Warriors have to cross the fence, then wade through the cornfield (difficult ground - half pace we decided)...


The game simply devolved into Ste's march towards the objective, and my attempts to harass and shoot him up with bows and spears on his way there.


The orcs and warg riders were the obvious choice as they had the lowest Defence so would make for the easier kills... The game progressed for several turns this way with orcs and wargs steadily dropping from the spears and arrows of Rohan. Theodred dispatched an orc early on whose warg had been shot from under him... and a couple of orc bowmen who stood their ground to shoot were riden down...


With game time running low, I had not suffered a single casualty, and many orcs and wargs lay slain about the field... but the telling issue of the objective eluded me...

Finally the orc captain on warg turned at bay and put up a fight with a small group of orcs. Since time was running out and although the harassing archery was working, it was all happening too slowly for Rohan... so it became a what-the-heck situation, and Theodred charged in... As his stat line suggests, fate is not with him and it certainly wasn't in my dice throwing either! Despite being previously wounded, the orc captain won the fight and struck Theodred from his horse, after two rounds of fighting!

Theodred vs the Orc captain - sorry for blurry pic

By now the Uruks were at the village boundry objective in numbers and were dug in like a tick behind the hedge... My horsemen approached to at least get some numbers near the objective, so Lurtz decided to lead what was left of his orcs out against them, in another what-the- heck, lets try and kill some stuff move...


This move played out well for the orcs who managed to charge the seemingly somewhat stunned riders, and hacked a few from their saddles. The Riders recovered from this shock and charged down most of the orcs but Lurtz stubbornly refused to go down easily...

With time expired we surveyed the scene, and the orcs were still several models from breaking. Rohan was no where near break point, but the issue of the objective marker became all important... the massed uruks behind the hedge clearly held sway, with just over 20 models within 6" of the object and only 3 Riders near it... it was a clear victory to Isengard! Roughly 21-3 to Isengard.

I had just got my Warriors led by Hama coming up behind the uruks, via the cornfield and into spear range but it was too little too late.

Had the game played on indefinitely I could have kept my distance and kept sniping the orcs and uruks until they broke, but time was indeed a factor and I couldn't kill them fast enough...

The end positions below...



It was an enjoyable game none the less and it really showed the contrast in these forces... The brute solidity of Isengard against the harassing forces of Rohan...

I had hoped to trial some mounted Royal Guard in this game but I still only have them half done. Once they, and Eomer are done I wouldnt mind another go at Ste's Isengard forces...


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Back in Cyberspace - and back to Middle-Earth!

Five days seemed a long time to be sans-computer, but thankfully I am now back; 'hard-wired' once again :-).
Having a very tech-savvy neighbor come and help out at short notice, who didn't 'know me from Adam', saved my bacon, and lets just say, I owe him a few beers for a job well done... Big thanks to Ben :-)

-----o0o-----

Back to Middle-Earth and a catch up seems in order...

Last weekend saw my son Chris and I, take a road trip down to Wellington for some LOTR action as part of the Great Wellington Hobbit League.

This was my first game in the 'League' which is being run a simple mapped campaign setting. I took my Angmar force along led by Buhrdur, and played Matt who had brought a Gondor force led by Boromir on horseback and Faramir on foot.

I won't go into a full battle report, but here's a few pictures of the game with a little commentary...

The force deploy for a 'To the Death' engagement...


The two forces approach each other...


After a few turns and carnage is evident... the trolls in the centre have battered and pummeled the Gondor line, and Buhrdur pulled Faramir apart! The cavalry charge led by Boromir was not as effective as Matt hoped for. Boromir was able to take down the troll on that flank , but the rest of the orcs there contained the horsemen and steadily reduced their numbers... hacking brave men from their mounts...


Near the end, and Boromir finds himself completely surrounded, his Horn of Gondor has no effect due to the Barrow Wight easily passing courage, but with no might remaining he manages to roll high enough to survive despite only rolling 3 dice against 9!

Boromir surrounded!
Final positions, and its a rough day for Gondor, their force battered and reduced to 8 models at the end...


We didn't tot up VP's at the time, not that they were important at the the time for the campaign, but I think the game would have been scored 7-0 in Angmar's favour....

Matt was a very pleasant chap to play against, and I look forward to my next encounter with him.

-----o0o-----

On the adjacent table, my son Chris played Eli. Chris was using another Gondor force with infantry led by Boromir on foot and an allied mounted Rohan contingent lead by Theodred. Eli was using a late Second -Age /Early Third-Age force based on the prologue to The Fellowship movie; using Gil-Galad, Isildur and Elrond, with a handful of supporting elves and Numenoreans.

Eli thus found himself somewhat outnumbered, choosing to field several high powered heroes....

They made a good account of themselves but were finally taken down by Boromir and the remnants of his alliance. Both sides had been broken and were surviving on courage tests each turn towards the end... a nerve biting finale... and the whoops of joy from Chris as Gil-Galad finally fell, surrounded, were fun to behold!

The Bowman's thus headed back north with 2 victories under their belts and smiles on their faces :-)
Thanks to our opponents for some very enjoyable gaming, to Michail at Warlords for hosting us and Andrew for organising :-)

-----o0o-----

Back to the painting front and over the last couple of weeks I have been building up my basic orc forces including core troops and captains... Here's a 'warband' I finished recently with bows backed by spears...


It wasn't designed this way, I was just wanting to get a load more spears done as they are very useful troops now that they can support just about ANY model in the game. I also wanted to get some more archers done so I could field a full warband of orc archers, led by an orc 'hero' with a bow... Now I know orcs can't hit a barn door at point blank range , but a whole warband together might hit something! Perhaps might be able to take the sting out of a cavalry charge if can take out a few horses?

Metal orc archer models... now discontinued... the central orc will make a distinctive hero to lead them...


And some spears... the ones on the left I like to call my 'Hawaii-5-0' mob as they always remind me of the guys paddling the canoes at the beginning credits of that TV show ! ;-) Its an odd pose - they're either trying to take you out at the ankles, or perhaps skewer a prone warrior? The two on the right are again old metal models, again discontinued...


And a pair of Orc Captains to lead my orc forces. Metal figures again, which I believe are once again discontinued. I managed to pick these up from a facebook trade recently... great models - very 'orcy'...

Orc Captains

... and their backs too showing embossed Eye of Sauron on their shields...


And finally there's that now completed orc archer warband...

Orc Archers

I also found time to paint up some of the little pre-made terrain pieces... they may do to embellish the battlefield or act as objective markers...


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



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