Friday, November 28, 2014

To the Death ... LOTR Four player doubles fun...

Last night, four of us gathered for a game of Lord of the Rings... with Bryan, Ste and Roly joining me for some Middle-Earth fun...

We played the game as a 2 vs 2, 500pts per player, with Bryan leading his Rivendell Elves, and Ste bringing his Uruk force. I added Mordor for myself alongside Ste, and put on 500pts of Gondor for Roly to command, alongside Bryan's Elves.

Bryan had Glorfindel and Gildor leading his two warbands on foot.
Ste had Lurtz and an uruk captain leading two blocks of Uruk warriors, with a warg mounted orc captain leading some warg riders.

For Mordor, I had a full power Generic Wraith on horse, Grishnahk and a warg mounted Shaman leading the orc soldiery.
Boromir and Beregong led the Warriors of Minas Tirith on foot, with Damrod leading a small group of rangers, for Roly.

We rolled off for mission and got To the Death, so a straight up fight ensued.

Deployment as below.



We didn't have long to play with it being a weeknight evening, so all deployed forward to get into the scrap quickly...



There was enough terrain to make the game interesting, without it over impeding game play, the ruins providing an object for the warg riders to make a flanking move around, as the rest of the battle lines formed up, with the rangers holding a small wood on the opposite flank.


And thus battle was quickly joined...

The evil force won initial priority and charged headlong in to the fight, with the Warg riders commencing their flanking move. Boromir was lashed by a Sap Will from the wraith and lost 2 of his 3 Will points... Whilst Lurtz found himself targeted by an Immobilize from Gildor, but shrugged it off...

The Orc shaman channelled Fury...

Initial bow fire from the Elves and Rangers was ineffective, and melee commenced...



A steady toll started to wrack up the casualties, though with the shamans fury saved some orcs and Grishnakh.

The combats raged back and forth with holes appearing in the lines. Boromir was the typical combat beast in the centre, blasting through the evil lines...

But with the warg riders threatening to envelope the good guys left flank, the elves and men there started to pull back trying to form a battle line between the ruin and woods...


Grishnahk found himself fighting Glorfindel... not the best place to be, especially when both sides roll a 6 and Glorfindel wins on Fight Skill, but the 2 wounds he received were saved by the Shamans Fury!

Elsewhere Lurtz suffered another immobilse from Gildor, and was slain, though this only seemed to enrage the surrounding uruks who then cut down several elves...

The wraith hit Boromir with a Transfix, on a 6 , but with his last will point Boromir rolled a 6 too to resist it! Shaking his ethereal head in disbelief the wraith then charged a lone WoMT to try and get involved in the fights too...


The rangers closed in, looking to pick off supporting uruk pikemen and managed to drop a couple...

Boromir, having broken right through the evil lines, was thus then surrounded and trapped there by orcs and uruks!

Grishnahk was still looking at the glowing elf lord, and nervously looked sideways to the wraith who obliged with a 4 dice Transfix on Glorfindel, getting a 6, but who then resisted with 3 dice and used a point of might to boost a 5 to a 6 and resist the spell!

By now the warg riders were breaking round the flank and back of the retreating WoMT and Elf line starting to threaten their rear...

With time drawing to a close, the final combats were fought with Grishnakh again surviving the Elves attention to the cost of a Fate point, Fury saves keeping him alive...

Despite being surrounded Boromir triumphed again and slew more orcs for the fun of it...

The wraith charged in against the same WoMT as last turn, and killed the brave warrior.

The remaining melees were resolved and the game concluded.

Final positions...



A quick tally up of VPs, found neither side yet broken, neither commander (Boromir or Wraith) wounded or slain, and both sides each having 1 banner... resulting in a 1 - 1 Draw.

With the game being a draw, we had a fun little fight off between Boromir and the Wraith, with Boromir winning, but failing to wound the wraith...

We only had time for 3 turns. Ste, coming to chez-moi for the first time, got a little lost, with me living a bit out in the wop-wops, and upon arrival enjoyed introductions and chat too, so we didn't get started till 8pm, with a 10pm finish scheduled.

But no matter, we all enjoyed the game none the less, and some spicy snacks from wifeypoos were a nice accompaniment.

The game was left in one of those poised positions, as both sides ponder on what might have befallen next... The evil right flank looked to be doing well against the faltering good left. The Uruks on the flank were pretty much even with the elves there, but the rangers were approaching... and Boromir was still loose in the evil backfield, though now with no Will remaining and at risk of Transfix and being surrounded by the orcs and wraith. If I could get the wraith in too, the wraiths high courage would hopefully have nullified Boromirs Horn of Gondor...

But who knows, we can ponder the ifs, buts and maybes forever...

I always enjoy these sort of doubles games as they are always great light hearted fun... looking forward to another adventure in Middle-Earth.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The City...of Osgiliath... has been reclaimed... for Gondor!

Boromir, Captain of the White Tower , and bearer of the Banner of Minas Tirith!

Boromir was the mightiest warrior of Gondor at the time of the events leading up to the War of the Ring.

There is a lengthy document about him at LOTR wiki:  http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Boromir . Well worth a read for those interested...





This is the model version of Boromir bearing the banner of Minas Tirith, which is inspired by scenes from the Extended Edition of the Two Towers, a wonderfully inspiring scene, that shows Boromir's valorous past.


It contrasts with the option to field him in the game without the banner, that I painted a little while ago...http://scottswargaming.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/boromir-captain-of-white-tower.html


The model now appears to be unavailable from GW, but does still show up on ebay and other tradegroups on the web.

I sourced the model this way, thanks to a great deal from Tom Candlin - Many thanks Tom!

I must admit, whilst I wanted the model for my collection, and for gaming purposes, I was dreading painting it, due to the banner. I have found I can paint most things in terms of miniatures, but free hand artwork, especially at this scale for banner and shields etc., is not my strong suit! Most concerning was the fine black waving lines at the end of the banner tips...

The banner of Minas Tirith

Quite some time ago, a mate of mine Chris, had a go at painting the model and struck on the idea of using a Fine tip technical ink pen. He got it all done, looking good, then applied varnish, and the ink instantly smeared across the banner! In frustration he stripped the model and started again, and I think tried a different varnish or method of applying, but the same thing happened again... a which point I believe he gave up!

So memories of that were in my mind.

But I knew I wouldn't be able to pull off those waving lines free hand with a brush... so a technical pen seemed the only option...

So I put out some queries to the various painting forums on facebook and google+... I was recommended a Zig Millenium 0.2mm black ink pen. I ordered one of these from Amazon.

The figure from Tom was stripped and painting commenced, following the style of the previous Boromir on foot model. Then work on the banner commenced. I tried to copy the painted example from GW as best as I could, and would say I have managed a reasonable representation of the tree and the icons down the side of the flag, adjacent the pole. Then out came the pen for the black wiggly line pattern. It felt a bit like cheating not using a brush, but what the heck, sometimes needs must.

Again it's not a perfect copy, but it gives a recognisable representation, I hope you'll agree!

And of course the banner has two sides so  I had to repeat my efforts on the other side too.

Finally came the time to varnish. I normally varnish my metal models with a DIY Polyurethane Gloss varnish first, then use a brush on Vallejo Matt Acrylic over that. I decided I'd grab an old spare model  and draw two test lines on it and test the two varnishes on that first. The Vallejo acrylic matt immediately dissolved the ink leaving a black smear to be wiped off. Whereas the polyurethane gloss, went straight on with no problem! For some reason I expected the result to be the opposite way around but I am glad it matched my normal procedure.

So varnishing turned out to be no issue thankfully...



The great man once again... For Gondor!


In the game, The Banner counts as a banner normally, giving troops within 3" a reroll to melee combat but also increases their Fight skill by +1, so for WoMT from 3 to 4, and Boromir's from 6 to 7. Nor does he suffer the combat penalty due to the encumberance of the banner. But he may not benefit from a shield, nor a lance if mounted while he carries the banner.

It could well provide a focal point of power in the Gondor line, but at an additional 50pts this has to be considered, as its worth 5 regular Warriors of Minas Tirith...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gorbag and Grishnákh... the two faces of Stephen Ure.

Two nefarious Orc Captains to add to my growing Mordor Forces, Grobag and Grishnákh.


I have had both these figures lurking in the lead pile for a long time, and it was about time they got some paint. I also decided to upgrade the models by giving them a shield each. Again , these were cast in Milliput from Instant Mold, copies of Morannon orc shields, upgrading them both from D5 to D6, at a point cost of 5pts, well worth it I think.

-----o0o-----

Grishnákh.

From Wiki:
"Is Saruman the master or the Great Eye? We should go back at once to Lugbúrz."
—Grishnákh

Grishnákh was an Orc captain from Barad-dûr in the service of Sauron in the Third Age, who led a host of Mordor Orcs to join Saruman's Uruk-hai soldiers who were taking Merry and Pippin across the plain of Rohan to Isengard, in The Two Towers.

Grishnákh is described in the book as "a short crook-legged creature, very broad and with long arms that hung almost to the ground" and as having a voice that was soft but evil-sounding.

Grishnákh's plans for the two captives, Merry and Pippin, were in conflict with Uglúk's orders to deliver them to Saruman unharmed. Grishnákh wanted to take them northward to the east-bank of the Great River where a Nazgûl atop a Fell beast would take them to Barad-dûr. After Uglúk refused his plan, Grishnákh slipped away while the Orcs and Uruk-hai argued amongst each other. Grishnákh soon returned with other Orcs like himself, Orcs with drooping arms and shields with the red eye painted on them.




Grishnákh was somehow aware of the existence of the One Ring (having been implied to have participated in the torture of Gollum), and suspected the two Hobbits of possessing it. When the Orcs holding the two Hobbits were attacked by the banished Éomer's Rohirrim, Grishnákh used the distraction to search the Hobbits for the Ring. Pippin tried to negotiate with Grishnákh, asking for himself and Merry to be freed in exchange for information about the Ring, but instead Grishnákh tried to carry them away. When it seemed a Rohirrim rider had discovered him, Grishnákh drew his sword to kill the Hobbits lest they be rescued or escape, but before he could act he was shot in the hand by a Rohirrim arrow and dropped the sword, at which point he tried to run but was ridden down and run through with a Rohirrim spear.


The skin tone is not the best match to the movie character, but I went from the painted example on GW site:

GW Grishnahk




In the game Grishnákh has the same profile as a regular orc captain, but has an additional Might point, taking him up to 3.

-----o0o-----

Gorbag.

From Wiki:
Gorbag was an Orc captain of Cirith Ungol, originally from Minas Morgul.

After Shelob paralyzed Frodo Baggins, an Orc patrol led by Gorbag and Shagrat came across his cocooned body, taking him back to Cirith Ungol where they planned to torture him. While sifting through Frodo's belongings, a dispute began between the two captains after Shagrat claimed ownership of Frodo's Mithril vest, which escalated into a vicious fight all over the fortress between Morgul Orcs and Black Uruks. Gorbag survived much of the fight but was eventually killed by Sam.

Tolkien's first ideal name for Gorbag was Yagúl, as told to the History of Middle-Earth: part 4, Sauron Defeated.




In the live-action film, Gorbag and Shagrat have a major role reversal. In the book, Shagrat informs Gorbag of the nature of Shelob's venom and how it functions, whereas Gorbag assumes this role in the film and explains it to his fellows upon finding Frodo. Also, Shagrat is the one to claim the vest for himself, while Gorbag insists it be taken to Sauron. After the fight, Shagrat flees to the Black Gate with the mithril shirt while the wounded Gorbag is left for dead in the tower. He was in fact still alive and was about to torture Frodo when Samwise Gamgee impales him from behind. He was portrayed by Stephen Ure, the same actor who played Grishnákh in the previous film.


Again, in the game Gorbag has the same profile as a regular orc captain, but has an additional Might point, taking him up to 3.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Send me not from your side , my Lord...

Grima Wormtongue... Chief 'Advisor' to King Theoden of Rohan...., and henchman of Saruman!

From Wiki:
"Gríma, son of Gálmód, was at first a faithful servant, but he eventually fell in league with Saruman, and from then on worked to weaken Théoden and his kingdom through lies and persuasion.
Tolkien describes him as "a wizened figure of a man, with a pale wise face, and heavy lidded eyes", with a "long pale tongue".
He was widely disliked in Edoras; everyone except Théoden called him "Wormtongue" for his abuse of others. Gandalf repeatedly compares him to a snake:
The wise speak only of what they know, Gríma son of Gálmód. A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.
—Gandalf, The Two Towers
See, Théoden, here is a snake! To slay it would be just. But it was not always as it now is. Once it was a man, and it did you service in its fashion.
—Gandalf, The Two Towers
It is implied that Saruman had promised him Éowyn, the king's niece, as a reward for his services. Her brother Éomer accused him of "watching her under his lids and haunting her steps". His schemes were foiled when Gandalf the White and his companions arrived at Edoras, and convinced the king that he was not as weak as his adviser had made him seem. Upon Théoden's restoration, "many things which men had missed" were found locked in Gríma's trunk, including the king's sword, Herugrim. Théoden decided to go forth to battle at the Fords of Isen, and Gríma was given a choice: prove his loyalty and ride into battle with the king, or ride into exile. Choosing the latter, he went to Saruman at Orthanc. Following the confrontation between Saruman and Gandalf, Gríma mistakenly threw the palantír of Orthanc at the Rohirrim accompanying Gandalf, or possibly at Saruman himself, and so permitted its capture by Pippin.

The Return of the King[edit]

Gríma accompanied Saruman to the Shire, where Saruman sought revenge for his defeat at Orthanc in petty tyranny over the Hobbits. During this time, Saruman shortened his nickname to "Worm". When Saruman was overthrown by a hobbit rebellion and ordered to leave, Frodo Baggins implored Gríma not to follow him, and even offered him food and shelter. Saruman countered by revealing to the Hobbits that Gríma had murdered and possibly eaten Lotho Sackville-Baggins, a kinsman of Frodo; whereupon Gríma killed Saruman and was shot by Hobbit archers.

Unfinished Tales[edit]

Gríma played a major role in the back-story to The Lord of the Rings, prior to his first appearance in The Two Towers. In Unfinished Tales Tolkien writes that on the 20th of September in T.A. 3018 Gríma was captured by theNazgûl in the fields of the Rohirrim, while on his way to Isengard to inform Saruman of Gandalf's arrival at Edoras, and divulged what he knew of Saruman's plans to the Nazgûl, specifically his interest in the Shire, and its location. Gríma was set free, and the Nazgûl set out immediately for the Shire. In another version within the same chapter, this role is given to the squint-eyed southerner that the hobbits encounter at Bree.[4]
In the same book, Tolkien intimates that Gríma may have given Théoden "subtle poisons" that caused him to age at an accelerated pace. This idea is exploited in film versions."

Games Workshop, only ever did a single foot version of the model, yet in the game he can be given a horse...


Given that his use in the game is to follow around the battlefield the good heroes, forcing them to waste more Might points due to his presence, he needs to keep up with them, especially if they are mounted Rohan heroes like Eomer Theoden or Erkenbrand, against whom he most suitably themed.



So Grima, needs a horse, and the obvious choice is a horse from a Rider of Rohan...

I saw this conversion done of the One Ring forum, or Great British Hobbit League, I cant remember which, but either way it inspired me to give it a go.


Grima's 'legs' and lower robes are cut away up to his belt on the foot model, leaving the folded robes to the sides. A Rider of Rohan is then cut in half at the waist and the legs of this piece added to Grima's upper half. It takes a bit of trimming to get the look right, then fill the gaps with greenstuff to blend the joint. Mount the rider on his horse and paint it up...


And there you go... quite a neat little conversion, and it has inspired me to have a go on another similar job, only this time mounting the new plastic Radagast model from the Escape from Goblin town boxed set. Again another conversion I saw done on the forums... resourceful lot these LOTR gamers!


I had already started this model, so couldn't have it count towards the painting challenge, so it needed to be done and cleared away for the start of that, in December. I have a couple of other models too to finish off, on the table, that are also half done so I should have them done and sorted by then.

-----o0o-----

Another little point of interest...

I have often bemoaned GW in recent years for various reasons; their pricing and supply issues causing me the most concerns... but one thing I can't take away from them, is good customer service...

As part of my trimming and prep-ing work for the challenge, I was working on a box of Riders of Rohan, that I have had sitting in my 'stash' for many years... To be honest I can't remember where or when I bought them now, and of course a receipt was long since lost...

...typically enough, I clip the last horse of six from the sprue to be trimmed and notice one side of it is miscast; no front hoof and slightly melted looking mouth... curses what to do. I tried fixing the problem myself using Instant Mold to copy the hoof and head from another horse. I got the hoof done OK but couldn't get the head right ... so I decided to try my luck with GW - I sent them a picture of the miscast piece, explained the situation; had it for ages and no receipt, but could they send me a replacement piece, I just needed half a horse... they may have one lying round in a bits box or something?

Mis-cast horse

I am pleased to say they were straight onto it, and no, they didn't send me half a horse, they sent me a whole new box of 6 Riders of Rohan!

Lets just say that made my day, so thanks to GW for great Customer Service!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's that time of year again...

... and summer is just around the corner here, so that means its Curt's Annual Analogue Hobbies Winter Painting Challenge!

I must admit, this year I feel rather pumped for it, and feel I have my painting mojo well and truly back :)

Since the switch back to LOTR as my primary gaming interest, my paintbrushes haven't stopped working. And of course the current Hobbit movies are enthusing my interest in the period even more...

I have had a massive sell off this year, and continue to do so... getting rid of models and rules that I am no longer interested in playing or pursuing any further... these funds have liberated LOTR figures to fill gaps in my collections and further add to my LOTR forces...

Unlike most games where you decide, OK I'll play that game and I'll collect that army for it... LOTR has me well and truly by the short and curlies and that means I want everything for it! And its a fairly pricey product range to boot, thanks to GW pricing, hence the sell off! My favorite UK based suppliers have been helping out with supplies alongside and in addition to a friendly network or 'spies, agents and collaborators'! You know who you are and have my heart felt thanks, with Facebook tradegroups often coming to the rescue for those hard to find discontinued models...

So with good ol' Curt continuing to widen the allowed figures for the painting challenge, I'm raring to go to get a load more LOTR stuff painted, much of which has sat trimmed and undercoated for some years now, from back when I was going to build armies for WOTR, and try out the rules with these prep'd and based figures...

So these have been pulled out of the 'lead pile' and placed alongside more recently trimmed and prep'd figures...


Trimmed , Prep'd and undercoated


So I have, ready to go 24 Corsairs, 24 Morannon Orcs, 24 Dwarf Warriors, 12 Riders of Rohan, 6 Knights of Gondor and 22 Army of the dead inc. Banner and King!
Corsairs, Morannons and Dwarfs

If I get this lot done in the allotted time I'll impress myself! This is probably beyond my abilities in the time available but I'll give it a red hot shot, and see how far I get.

Army of the Dead

Riders of Rohan

Knights of Gondor
So raring to go here and I wish to extend the best of luck to my fellow competitiors!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Rohan Royal Guard...

.... Charge!



Well it took me a little while to get these guys completely finished, but here they finally are. Six hard charging Rohan Royal Guard with Throwing Spears.


I have used my mounted Rohan force a few times in small skirmishes against their traditional Uruk foes, but they have often come off second best. The reality gradually dawned on me that the Riders of Rohan are not hard charging knights, they are more like light horse - the give away is they're all bow equipped...

So don't be fooled by the 'Red Dawn - Death' charge in RotK, these troops really need to be using light cavalry tactics to survive, that means shooting and using movement and maneuver.... to weaken the foe before charging in...

So if you're a Rohan player and you really want to get stuck in, especially protecting your Lord, The Royal Guard are the way to go. F4 and D6 are a significant improvement over the regular Riders, and a throwing spear , whilst somewhat nerfed in the new Hobbit rules due to move and shoot penalty, is still an extra string to their bow, so to speak. You just need one spear to hit home solidly on the charge and there may then be a gap in the enemy line your charges can exploit...

These troops have had their first outting already and I am pleased to say they acquitted themselves rather well, and did not become struck down by the curse of the newly painted figure!

Looking forward to getting them on the table again and more orcs trampled under their hooves!


Friday, November 07, 2014

The Wrath of Rohan!

"We're going no further, till we've had a breather!"

"Get a fire going!"

And so the mixed company of orcs and uruks, pause in their forced march back to Isengard with their prize of two hobbits for Saruman.

But the smell of man-flesh fills their nostrils, as the Riders of Rohan close in, keen to remove this vile orc desecration from the lands of the Riddermark...

-----o0o-----

Last night Ste and I met up at the KWC , with a plan to play out the scenario; The Wrath of Rohan. There are a few versions of this, but we went with the version from the Two Towers Journey book.

We didn't quite have the exact model requirement so went with a points match version as close as we could manage on the night, with models available.

Deployment 
The scenario is played on a 48" x 48" board, with one heavily forested board edge representing the edge for Fangorn Forest. The evil forces are arrayed within 12" of a central campfire, with the captured hobbits Merry and Pippin within 6" of it. 

The Riders of Rohan must split their force in half and come on from both opposing board edges, perpendicular to the forested edge, and are deployed within 6" of their board edges. 

Victory conditions
For the good side to win they must get the hobbits into Fangorn forest, and kill ALL the orcs and uruks.
The evil side must try and maintain 'control' of the hobbits and reduce the riders to 25% of their starting strength, thus routing them...
If neither side achieves their goals, the game is a draw.

Special Rule
The orcs cannot 'kill' the Hobbits, only capture them, thus 'controlling' them. The exception to this is Grishnahk who may kill the hobbits in melee, as he doesn't mind taking dead hobbits back to Isengard!

Troops
Ste had 24 asst. uruk scouts, 10 asst. orcs and 8 uruk warriors with shield led by Ugluk and Grishnahk.
I had 6 Rohan Royal Guard and 18 Riders of Rohan, led by Eomer ( the only unpainted model on the board - and held together with blu-tac - oh the shame!) and a Rohan captain (proxied by Theodred).

Technically I shouldn't really have had the Royal Guard, as at this point in the story Eomer is a bit of a loose cannon, and the Guard would have been at Meduseld guarding Theoden in his torpor. But I have been furiously painting these guys over the last couple of weeks and just finished them the night before the game (barring varnish and basing), so wanted to try them out... this was balanced by Ste taking a few uruk 'tanks' with heavy armour and shield...

-----o0o-----

To War!

Ste set up a wide circular perimeter, with his Uruks not sure where exactly I would come on. I decided to set the hobbits up naturally as close to the forest as possible and then placed the Riders close to the woods on both sides, hoping to bust through to the hobbits and assist their break out...

I had thought about deploying further away and keeping the evil forces at arms length doing the shoot and scoot tactic, whittling down their numbers before engaging, but this takes a while to bring results and we didn't have all night to play, so a hard in your face battle was going to be the order of the day - lets get stuck in and kill stuff!


Deployment
Eomer led his Eored with the Guard in towards Grishnahk, throwing spears flying as the orcs rushed forward to engage... I was a little relieved to see Grishnahk deployed far away from the hobbits, if I could deal with him, they would be 'safe'...The Rohan captain and his riders stayed still hoping for an effective volley to kill the uruk scouts with bows blocking the hobbits path to freedom. But the orcs under Ugluk here advanced quickly forcing some hard decisions for the captains Eored.

After a couple of turns it was all on, blood and chaos flying! Might points were burned by both sides early trying to get the jump on the other side - the Riders obviously wanting to move to get their charge bonuses, the orcs hoping to shut these down at close range.

The early fighting...

The early fights saw the Riders target the more squishy uruk scouts and orcs, hoping to kill these lower defense foes, then try and bring numbers to bear on the tough uruk 'tanks' later on... and this tactic seemed to pay off as the game progressed.

Lets make a break for it!
Ste wasted no time though in getting Grishnahk and Ugluk into the fights early, and Ugluk gave the Rohan captain a real wake up call almost cleaning him up in one round of fighting. However he was able to survive this attack and break off, link up with another rider against a scout, call a heroic fight and kill this orc thus being able to move on and charge back into Ugluk, who was now trapped by the swirling combat around him...

Over there into Fangorn!

Grishnakh was looking to cause trouble as well, but Eomer managed to shut him down fairly early on and again the large surrounding bases of the cavalry, put a cramp on his style, trapping him too...

Charge! Arrgh! 'Neigh', snarl, growl, arrgh!!!

The weaker defense evil forces steadily fell to the charging horsemen... throwing spears from the guard flew through the air but rarely found their mark... the bows of the Riders also rendered useless as they were all quickly engaged in melee, round after round...


Yar! Kill them all, don't let any escape!

But the horsemen didn't have it all their own way, and riders were hacked by the crude weapons of the orcs, from their mounts...

Eomer traps Grishnahk

But steadily and surely the orc numbers were reduced, allowing the greater numbers of riders to then isolate and close down the uruk 'tanks'... bringing these down in turn...

Orc archers try and restrain the escaping hobbits...

By now Ste was trying that classic orc tactic of shooting into combats! The first volley, shot the mount from under a rider, but also killed the orc he was engaged with. Two more volleys succeeded in only killing the orcs in the fights where the arrows found a mark...

Dealing with the uruk 'tanks'
Crucially, the rampant horsemen had also cut down both Ugluk and Grishnahk by this point, and with the evil force below 50%, they were going to have to start to take courage tests to see if they broke and ran, and with no orc heroes left alive with a standfast... the evil forces were likely to collapse like a house of cards...

But the riders were closing in with the remaining orcs in charge range, leaving the centrally positioned orc archers nervously looking over their shoulders, to both sides... predictably many of these legged it...

To add to the orc archers misery, when two orc archers chased after the escaping hobbits, they killed one of the orcs and pushed back the other!

Run for it Pip, we're nearly there!
Towards the end it quickly became a mop up exercise for the horsemen, though Ste still had an eye on the slowly mounting Rohan casualties, and how many more he needed to get me to break point and thus be subject to courage tests myself...

Mopping up

Though in the end Ste just didn't have the numbers anymore to really contest the fight and was looking for a bit of luck, hanging on to the hope of a higher Fight skill uruk rolling high enough to win a fight against surrounding horsemen and strike one down with his high strength, before he was mullered....

Final positions - the hobbits exit stage right...

But Rohan kept it's nerve and their greater numbers won out, with the last of the uruks surrounded and cut down... and the hobbits had sneaked away in the gloom, into the forest of Fangorn... soon now to start the next phase of their adventure with Treebeard!

We've made it Pip!
In the end a clear victory to Rohan, with both victory conditions met.

-----o0o-----

This was a very enjoyable game, and after a nervous start for me, things settled down and steadily seemed to go Rohan's way...

I was very concerned at the early combats, as the Uruks can quickly spoil Rohans day due to the uruks usually better Fight Skill and decent strength.  But the Uruks dispersed deployment meant they couldn't get all their numbers to bear early on. This allowed the Horsemen to hit the initial uruks more or less one for one, and with a cavalry charge giving me double dice, Rohan started to win the combats, with the resulting knock downs and quadruple strikes... Still I fluffed several rolls, with 4 dice needing any 5 and failing... but as orcs or uruks dropped each turn it freed up more horsemen to start trapping and ganging up on the remaining orcs in the line....

My only disappointment was the fairly useless throwing spears, even when used by the Guard... all game they only managed to kill one uruk with a thrown spear... Oh to have lances instead, but that wasn't the way Rohan fought...

My thanks again to Ste for venturing up early from Wellington on a week night for a game, much appreciated. And we managed to play at a fairly rapid rate to get a definite result bang on closing time at the club... and home before I turned into a pumpkin!

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As an aside, my son has been learning about differing mythologies recently at school, and most recently has been studying Norse mythology and the battle of Ragnarok. I loved this at school too, and for similar reasons to him, as its so intertwined with and similar to Tolkien's mythology... He is now suitably enthused and wanting to play a titanic battle of our own - predictably requiring every model we have in a huge weekend long battle! Wish me luck! ;-)
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