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.

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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...

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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...

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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! ;-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Beregond and Damrod, Heroes of Gondor.

Perhaps not as powerful or valiant as the likes of Boromir or Faramir, these two heroes of Gondor are none the less potent symbols of Gondors resistance against the Dark Lord and his foul minions...

Beregond and Damrod...


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Beregond...From LOTR/Wiki:- Beregond, son of Baranor, was the first Captain of the White Company, the guard of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and previously, a Guard of the Citadel in Minas Tirith. He is best known for rescuing Faramir from the madness of Denethor during the Siege of Gondor.


He had two sons, Bergil and Borlas, with an unnamed wife.

Beregond

In the game Beregond is a low to mid range hero, who will ably lead my recently acquired Citadel Guard. At 25pts he's a cheap and easy way of leading another warband of Gondor soldiery on the field. And a good way of getting another Might point on the table, a 3+ shoot with a longbow (that counts as an elf bow), and being a hero, doesn't count towards bow limit. He also has the Bodyguard rule, so immune to courage tests as long as his nominated Hero is still alive.

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Damrod... From LOTR/Wiki:- Damrod was one of the Rangers of Ithilien and one of the most trusted of Faramir's men and companion of Mablung.

Damrod led the night patrol that captured Gollum in the Forbidden Pool. Damrod also fought in the battle for Osgiliath. Damrod retreated to Minas Tirith with all the surviving defenders. A few days later, Damrod was sent with Faramir and his 100 men to reclaim Osgiliath from the enemy. Damrod was among the dead; it is said his body was never recovered due to the overwhelming orc invasion of Gondor. Damrod had little hope, for he believed "the days of Gondor are numbered, and the walls of Minas Tirith are doomed."

Damrod
In the game Damrod is a low to mid range hero, who will give me a little more strength to my Gondor forces in Ithilien, and in the defence of Osgiliath, and the Pelennor. At 20pts he is a cheap and easy way to lead another warband of 12 rangers and Osgiliath veterans on the field. And an extra point of Might on the table for those crucial heroic moves and heroic fights... plus another 3+ bow armed hero that doesn't count to bow limit is useful.

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Both of these models I picked up thanks to the LOTR/Hobbit Facebook trade group, and a good deal from Michel Molenda in Poland.

I stripped and repainted them as you see above.

Thanks Michel :-)

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Slopes of Mount Doom

Saturday saw me make the journey down to Wellington, to meet up with Andrew and Bryan at the Warlords... We had planned to play the Battle for the Slopes of Mount Doom - the titanic final clash at the end of the Second Age, which sees the Last Alliance march into Mordor for the final confrontation with Sauron...

It's an epic scene from the Prologue of the movie; The Fellowship of the Ring, which sees some the of the mightiest heroes of Middle Earth pitched against each other in a final cataclysmic battle...

Gil-Galad, High King of the Elves and Elrond lead their Elven host in alliance with Elendil and Isildur leading the might of the Numenoreans.

Against them, Sauron is drawn out to fight against them, in the foul depths of Mordor, with a vile host of orc soldiery at his command...

The scenario is in the old and new Mordor supplements. We tweaked the game slightly, allowing Sauron to deploy from the start...

Andrew and I had tried playing the scenario at the KWC on Thursday evening, but had simply ran out of time to complete the game. The game pitches two forces of approx 1200pts against each other, with several powerful heroes to command, so there is a fair bit to manage. The scenario also has special rules for playing in Mordor - managing volcanic eruptions in that blighted land....

Also the force of Good are immune to break tests in this battle! They have come this far, they will fight or die! The orcs are led by Sauron, they will only break once they reach 50 casualties! This game is going to go down to the wire...

Hence the decision to try again at Warlords who have an all day Saturday session...

Deployment

The forces of Good deploy first, up to 12" in from their board edge. The the evil forces then deploy within 12" of their own board edge. In the original scenario, Sauron is not deployed at the start but only comes on when a good model moves within 12" of the evil sides board edge. However, we decided to play him from the beginning. He's a cool model and we wanted him on the board - in part to attract attention from onlookers...

Andrew took command of the Numenoreans and deployed these to one side of the board, and Bryan the elves on the other side. From my brief experience against these troops on Thursday night, I had found the Numenoreans a little easier to deal with, so decided to mass my force against these, and make the Elves move to engage...


Deployment

To War

The game was rather epic in game play, we played for about 6 hours... and a lot happened, which I will have to summarise in the following pictures and highlight commentaries, as best as I can remember...

 To start, the Numenoreans held their ground..., then decided to withdraw, drawing the orcs forward...


 ...as the elves started their advance towards the flank of the evil forces...


The orcs begin their advance towards the Numenoreans...


...ever onward they come... the warg riders looking to sneak round the flank...


The battle lines finally clash in a crescent shaped line ... an orc captain on warg has led the lead elements against Isildur on the Numenoreans right flank. Isildur also took the initial evil attention from Sauron, weathering Sap Will and Chill Soul on him and his formation. This weakened that flank for the numenoreans, allowing the orcs there to gain the upper hand... Isildur also suffered a Transfix but still resisted the orc captain...

Both the orc shamen had channelled Fury, and this kept kept many orcs from falling...

Meanwhile Elendil was hacking through orcs, and Elrond and Gil-Galad joined the fray... Gil-Galad fluffed his earliest attempts, a lowly orc keeping him constrained for a couple of turns, but I guess this was just Gil-Galad just getting 'warmed up'...

Elrond also fluffed his earliest attempts, attempting to Channel Natures Wrath, and fluffing the castling roll and having to spend all his Might to get it to work. This left the dilemma of a shaman trying to resist it, but this would then blow his Fury... I was concerned that I would lose a banner if the spell was successful, and attempted the resist, but blew the roll anyway, and lost the banner and Fury! In hindsight I should have just kept Fury in play, and sacrificed the banner...


Channelled Natures Wrath from Elrond flattens many orcs and kills several... 

The orcs continue pushing against Isildur's formation, looking to wrap the flank and swing round behind the elves with their fast moving warg riders and plenty of spear armed orcs lurking to support...

The Elves and Elendil press on trying to fight through to Sauron...,


A tied priority roll results in Volcanic activity in Mordor,... and with an explosive blast from Mount Doom, rocks come crashing down, landing behind the elves and men, knocking many off their feet, and killing several... They manage to recover with a heroic call, getting back to their feet before the orcs can charge and trap them prone on the ground...

Volcanic blast knocks the elves and men flying...
The fighting continues back and forth, taking a steady toll to both sides... Isildur, with one wound remaining and no will left, is felled by a Chill Soul from Sauron, and wargs and orcs attack, and destroy the remnants of his command...



The orcs now look to swing this flank and come down behind the elves and men...


The battle rages on, Elrond, Gil-Galad and Elendil continue to slice and dice their way through the orcs. The Orc flanking move has stalled , caught up with a handful of elves and men, who despite being outnumbered and charged by cavalry refuse to die, and thus the flanking move is held up for several turns... bringing parity back to the battle.

Another volcanic blast this time knocks the orcs and even Sauron off his feet, but once again a heroic action get the orcs and Sauron back to their feet before the elves and men can charge.

Volcanic action knocks even Sauron off his feet...

Finally what is left of the outlfanking move breaks through but its too little too late, the majority of the orc line has been cut down, but at great cost to the elves and men. Only a handful of orcs remain to defend Sauron and he is now in battle with the Good Heroes.

Sauron and Gil-Galad engage, Elendil is about to charge in, Elrond fights the warg mounted orc captain.


As had to happen, eventually the last of the orcs are cut down, leaving Sauron in his wrath left upon the field, surrounded by foes on all sides.

Sauron quickly realised that his main adversary is Gil-Galad, who is as skilled in combat as Sauron and carries the mighty spear Aiglos. Thus Sauron directed all his attention against this foe, ignoring the others, even though they charged into the fight as well, effectively trapping Sauron if he lost the duel roll...

And so we went round after round... in a nail biting series of priority rolls and duel rolls... if Sauron won priority he would transfix Gil-Galad, giving him a greater chance of winning the fight if he could still roll high enough on three dice to win the duel roll.... Twice he achieved this but on one occasion rolled three 1's to wound (needing 4's), and then followed this up with another go, and rolled a 1 and two 2's...ARRRRGGHHHHH! Interspersed with these attempts, when the Good Heroes won priority it was a different story making Gil-Galad far more effective, and Sauron was struck several times... eventually dropping him to one wound remaining, now only the power of the ring could sustain him...


Twice more the Good heroes won and struck Sauron. Being trapped by several foes thus doubling their attacks, Sauron was getting nervous to say the least! One round 5 saves were required; of 'Anything but a one'.... the dice were rolled one at a time, bouncing across the board... he survived! Again the good heroes win, this time 4 strikes getting through... 4 more dice bounce one at a time across the board, and still Sauron survives, the power of the Ring sustaining him!

Sooner of later though something had to give, and in the final round of combat we managed, Sauron won priority, transfixed Gil-Galad, won the fight with a 6, (as Elrond and Elendil do not have enough Fight skill to compete with Sauron) and struck Gil-Galad down once and for all...

Final positions, Sauron strikes down Gil-Galad

And with time virtually exhausted at the club and everyone else packing up around us, we called the game there... We had played our hearts out, 6 hours of battling!

At this point, Andrew and Bryan felt their chance had gone, as they could no longer compete with Sauron's fight skill, and didn't have the might of Aiglos (+1 on all dice rolled to wound) to help strike Sauron down.

I wasn't so sure, it still could have gone either way with Sauron still just one more wound required to 'kill' him, eventually he was bound to fall to the 'Anything but a One' curse!  But with less foes to strike at him, the odds were getting longer against them. If Sauron wins again, there is a good chance he could strike down a good hero each turn, or start using his Unstoppable special rule where he can strike once at all against him, including spear supports!...

... who knows what might have happened it we had played to the very end...

It certainly proved Sauron is a serious handful, especially when empowered with the One Ring, he is nigh on 'unkillable', and in any average game, will dominate. He is probably best reserved for such scenario match ups like this one...

-----o0o-----

Thanks again to my opponents Andrew and Bryan for a very enjoyable, if somewhat nerve-wracking game at the end, I think we all enjoyed playing it, and having the chance to recreate this momentous Battle of Middle-Earth...

Thanks also to Michail and the Warlords for hosting us... it was good to see another table playing alongside us of another LOTR SBG game played by Alan and Thomas, featuring Goblins led by Durburz against Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth and his knights... good to see people breaking out and dusting off those LOTR figures again...




Monday, October 27, 2014

Middle-Earth Miscellany...

The long holiday weekend here in NZ, gave me a chance to catch up with Brett.

Brett is getting to grips with the game, having played it occasionally, off and on in the past...

He has acquired a bunch of figures of various factions and has been learning the ropes with a small Elven force of Galadhrim... Our last meeting saw me take a Moria force with a couple of Cave Trolls and they turned out to be a bit of a handful, so this time I decided to just go with regular troops, nothing flash but the upshot is, there's lots of them.

So I selected a Mordor force, with 4 Orc Captains each leading a full orc warband, one of which was my newly completed archer warband. I also added a Castellan to make the points just over 500pts.

Bretts elven force was fairly small and compact, with Rumil, a Stormcaller and a captain leading the Elves and an allied contingent of Riders of Rohan, lead by Eomer (proxied by Boromir).

We rolled off for mission and got Domination - which puts 5 objective markers on the board to take and hold...

We played on a relatively small table... deployment below...



The game played out fairly predictably with the orcs moving forward into the shooting of the elves and riders... the shooting took a slow but steady toll of the orcs as they advanced, until range became the issue as the orcs closed in...


The riders had a bit of a redirection , causing the orc pack to change their course of advance, but the orcs had managed to collect all but one of the objective markers by this time, which the elves held in the building courtyard...

Brett wanted to try out his cavalry charge and duly did so, but making his charge on his own priority, allowed the orcs to move in and surround them. One rider that was positioned to try and block some of the orc response only really served as a spring board for a mass of orcs led by a captain to strike him down and move on to join other fights, thanks to a heroic fight from the orc captain...

The rest of the orcs pressed on towards the elves...

The riders went down, with Eomer resisting for a turn until he too was slain in the following turn. The Elven storm caller tried to come to his aid, unleashing Natures Wrath in the midst of the chaos, but despite rolling a 5, an orc captain managed to resist the spell... this pretty much sealed Eomers fate...

Sorry but no more pictures as we both concentrated on the game...

The orcs then advanced and brought numbers to bear on the thin elven line, with spears backing up the orcs along much of their battleline...

But the elves clung on grimly for several turns whittling down the orcs, their high Fight skill keeping them in the game....

Eventually though the pressure became unbearable. Rumil was surrounded by 2 orc captains and another orc, and though resisting for a turn, he was felled in the subsequent round. The stormcaller had also been killed by an orc captain who had again used a Heroic fight to kill an elf and leap into action against the the elven spellcaster..., the turn previously...

Eventually it was all over and the Game came to a close as the elves dropped to 25%, though the orcs were broken too...

The orcs had won fairly convincingly claiming all but one of the objectives, I think... the one in the building courtyard was possibly contested....

However it was only after finishing the game that I realised I had completely forgotten about taking courage tests, for both sides, for being broken. The elves with their high courage would probably have been relatively unaffected by this but the orcs certainly could have lost more troops...

So apologies to Brett on that score... The game wasn't 'serious' as such, still a learning game in some ways for Brett, and I hope the forgotten courage tests will go forgiven as I tried to help with the other rules  and tactics in the game :-)

The main lessons I think Brett got from this game were perhaps the cautious use of cavalry, and being careful when to commit your charge... and also the effect of heroic fights allowing troops to leapfrog from fight to fight... and also how a thin elven line can still put up a lengthy resistance due to their high fight skill.

Hoping to have more games with Brett, as he gets a better grip on the rules and his elven force.

-----o0o-----

Th rest of the weekend was pretty wet and miserable with a cold southerly blowing through, so a mug of tea, and a bickie or two, and The Hobbit playing in the background let me press on with some modelling and painting...

So here's a couple of WIP's...

I am busy working on 6 Mounted Rohan Royal Guard, here having just finished their base colours... shade wash and work up still to go... The horses have been shade washed...


Rohan Royal Guard - WIP

And I thought I'd have a go at a conversion I have seen done before; Grima on horse. The recent KWC 'Bring and Buy', saw me pick up a cheap Grima and spare RoR... so I set to, cutting out the central leg area of Grima but leaving his robes at the sides and chopping the top off the RoR to allow his legs to be Grimas mounted seated pose.

Some greenstuff to fill gaps, and we're just about ready for paint...

Mounted Grima - WIP

That's all for now, hope you all had a good weekend...
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