OK, it had to happen finally - I managed to win a game of War of the Ring!
We played a 1000 point game, on a 6 x 4 table. I deliberately restricted the game to this size board as I wanted to see if that was part of the issue.
The only house rule restriction we imposed was One Epic hero per side.
I played my Mordor force, led this time by Khamul the wraith. I had heard how wonderful he was so thought I would try and see for myself. (As it turned out this proved to be a zero factor as when I got him into a fight, I forgot completely about his special ability! Although had I remembered it may well have made the fights easier)
6 x Mordor orcs with 2HW and captain.
3 x Corsair raiding party with shields and captain. (these were intended to be the screen for the orcs )
3 x Morgul Knights with captain
6 x Warg Riders with captain
Boromir with standard
2 x Warriors of Minas Tirth with banner captain and musician
2 x Warriors of Minas Tirth archers with captain
3 x Knights of Minas Tirth with Hornblower and shields
3 x Rangers of Gondor with captain
1 x Warriors of the Dead with captain and banner
1 x Trebuchet
1 x Fortune (Fortification bonus)
At this point Roly turned up and helped us set up terrain, scenario and deployment.
Deployment & Scenario
We ended up with Shield-walls and High Ground, which turned out to be a hill just in my deployment area.
The terrain consisted a small wood, a large ruin, a small farm, a barrow, the hill, and a stream (difficult ground) across board separating the two armies.
Chris deployed first placing his trebuchet on Barrow on left of his deployment zone which had clear line of sight of most of battlefield including the target high ground in my deployment area.
His rangers went in the ruin in centre of his deployment zone. Boromir and the knights were between these two features, facing the farm just in front of right of my deployment zone.
His warriors, archers and Ghosts took the right of his deployment zone defending the stream.
This really wasn't how I expected tonight's game to go. My army was designed to attack yet I found myself having to defend a hill. Chris's army was arguably more defensive in nature, yet he really had to attack.
I saw no point in sitting on the hill and getting pummeled by his trebuchet, so I decided to attack anyway, as if I managed to defeat him, he wouldn't be able to take the hill...
I placed my warg riders on my left flank, aiming to go round side of woods and head for his Warriors of Minas Tirth archers. The Corsairs led by Khamul screened the orcs as intended and they both intended to set off in support of the warg riders by circling the other side of the wood.
My Knights hid behind the hill, while the troll chieftain deployed behind the farm.
Chris got first go and set off. He sent Boromir and his Knights off across stream to left of battlefield, intending to round the farm, and head off the Troll on its way to the Trebuchet. The archers advanced slightly into stream ready to fire. The Warriors of Minas Tirth moved up in support and the ghosts crossed the stream and entered the wood.
I advanced the warg riders in column past the wood towards archers, Khamul moved the corsairs forward but failed his ATD roll, but was just in range to pall of night the rangers in the ruin. He then followed this up with sunder spirit and visions of woe upon the ghosts, but they made an excellent courage save and took no hits. The orcs moved up directly behind the corsairs.
The Morgul Knights crossed the hill, heading towards the flank of Boromirs knights, and the Troll rounded the farm moving into rock throwing range of the front of Boromirs knights.
The rangers fired first killing 3 corsairs. The trubuchet crew looked interestedly at the Morgul knights but couldn't resist the big block of orcs and sent a stone thumping into them killing 6. The Warriors of Minas Tirth archers fired on the close approaching wargs killing 2 and driving them back slightly.
The troll hurled a rock at Boromirs knights killing one.
In the charge phase after some heroics and roll offs, Boromirs knights charged the troll and Epic Duelled him with Epic Strike. Chris rolled a 5 or 6 I think and I a 1, and I sensed a dead troll, but Chris only got one hit on the Troll on the duel table after all rolls were resolved. Boromirs mighty blow made this a roll on the VHTK table which came up with one wound on the troll. I think I dodged a bullet there...
In the ensuing combat the troll killed 2 knights for no further injury, so won the fight. Chris unluckily rolled snake eyes for the courage test and lost another knight, leaving Boromir looking in danger...
The warg riders charged the Warriors of Minas Tirth archers, and killed 10. The corsairs charged the ghosts in the wood, and killed 2 for the loss of 4 (this is where I forgot Khamul's ability.)
The corsairs were beaten back and disordered.
Chris won priority. Seeing Boromir was now over extended, facing an angry troll and closing Morgul Knights, he wisely 'summoned' the rangers out of their ruin, which meant he was just in range to move to their formation, leaving the knights to their fate. They retreated in the face of the troll, back over the stream.
The archers recovered their disorder and held firm in front of the warg riders. The Warriors of Minas Tirth crossed the stream and swung round to threaten the flank of the warg riders. The Ghosts left the wood appearing behind the wargs. It was not looking good for the warg riders!
What to do I thought.
First up I need to help those warg riders, so I managed to rally the corsairs with the wraith but this meant he couldn't move to the orcs as was my earlier intention. So he cast Wings of Terror on the corsairs, and they moved round the wood, with an ATD roll, and got behind the ghosts. The orcs moved up with an ATD roll to threaten the flank of the now exposed Warriors of Minas Tirth.
The troll chased down the the last of the Knights, crossing the stream. If he could kill them, he could then hopefully attack the trebuchet next turn.
The morgul knights seeing lightly armoured rangers just across the stream couldn't resist, and lowered their lances but had to negotiate the stream first. This slowed them appreciably, but they would be in range for a charge, but sadly so were the rangers themselves.
The only shooting this turn was a another thumping great rock from the trebuchet which flattened another 6 orcs and pushed them back a little.
In the ensuing charge phase after a few more heroics, the corsairs caught the ghosts in the rear before they could charge the warg riders. The Warriors of Minas Tirth archers failed their charge roll in the face of the warg riders and stood still in the stream. But the Warriors of Minas Tirth on the flank came to the rescue and charged the flank of the warg riders.
However the orcs had not been deterred by large lumps of masonry falling from the sky and charged in against the now exposed flank of Warriors of Minas Tirth who had just charged the warg riders.
The troll chieftain charged the last of the knights.
Boromir and his rangers got the jump on the Morgul knights crossing the stream, and charged them!
As the fights played out, Khamul, who now realized he had forgotten 2 chances to cast more spells after successfully using wings of terror to get into position behind the ghosts, made up for it by killing them, for one dead corsair (again forgot to try and bounce this hit).
The warg riders and orcs with 2HW utterly destroyed the the Warriors of Minas Tirth for the loss of several orcs.
The troll killed the last of the knights, freeing him to charge the trebuchet next turn.
Boromir, Epic duelled the Morgul Knight commander killing him easily. The rest of his knights stunned at this attack upon them in the stream were so disordered they failed to get a single hit against the rangers, who finished them off. (shades of the battle of Stirling Bridge there methinks!)
However after his heroic defense of the stream in the centre by Boromir and the rangers, who had by now blown 5 of his 6 might points, the Gondorians, only had their rangers, trebuchet and a depleted company of archers left, in the face of Corsairs, Orcs, Warg Riders and the Troll Chieftain.
Chris conceded he had little lost more than 50% of his army and had little chance of getting to and holding the hill.
A victory to me - finally, after over a year of constant defeats! So please forgive this somewhat jubilant write up of the report.
I must apologize for the fact there are no pictures to accompany the battle report, but there were several unpainted units on the table and I was determined to try and concentrate on the game and not get distracted by taking pictures.
Next time I promise I'll do a better report.
Thoughts and lessons learned.
The troll chieftain was definitely more useful than a regular troll being able to ATD.
My Morgul Knights as usual promise much but fail to deliver. I never seem to be able to get the best out of these guys.
The orcs with 2HW, didn't fair too badly for not having shields and their 2HW took a heavy toll of the Warriors of Minas Tirth, especially in the flank.
Chris admitted he made bad moves to start with which set things up poorly for him on the whole.
I also think he could have spent less points on some of his command choices to take a few more companies, most of his formations seemed a little brittle.
The smaller board size definitely made a difference as we got to grips quickly.
So a 1000 point game played in a couple of hours at most, and finished in 2 turns. Whilst fun and interesting, I think the game is still pretty much small beer, at this scale of game. Certainly good for learning the rules, and see what the differing units and characters can do, but I feel this is just a springboard for larger games.
We only had about 5-6 units each, which if you compare to other rules, like say Black Powder or Hail Caesar, this would really comprise one to one and half 'brigades'. I would really like to see 3 'brigades' on the table for each army. Then I think we will get a thrilling game, that may go the distance: The game is after all designed to be played up to 8 turns each. And it will not then be 'over' after the first couple of charges go in...
Now I am looking forward to the next game, and the LOTR lead/plastic mountain is smiling at me again. However I am still trying to complete my pirate world, so will hopefully press on with that this wet weekend. Sometimes its nice if its raining ;-)