Friday, November 02, 2012

An Unexpected Journey... back to LOTR gaming

Well its been a while since I blogged here... I've been putting a lot of work into the KapitiFowGamers blog recently which has taken up some of my time from here...

I have also been very busy with more Wehrmacht forces, which many of which are on the cusp of finishing, either just awaiting decals, final varnish or basing... so there will be a splurge here shortly of recent output...

Some new acquisitions were made during the recent Maelstromgames discount sale, and arrived safe and sound, not only Flames of War goodies but some characters for my Empire of the Dead gaming. Again these are near finished too.

Sadly it does appear I have been stung now by Maelstrom, as being unable to resist, I went back and ordered more, only to have this latest round of purchases just sit 'processing' on their website... Whether these will be honoured or not I cannot tell but with the recent rumour and gossip flying round the web, I am beginning to doubt it very much.

I have been in touch with my bank and credit card, and have a form to lodge my claim for unreceived goods/services. I have to make the claim within 30 days of items appearing on my statement, so if nothing happens over the weekend from Maelstrom, then I will lodge my claim.

Shame really as I have had good service from Maelstrom over the years and to be fair I have probably quite literally saved $100s, if not $1000s on goods purchased from them, compared to what I would have paid for same goods here in NZ...   

But if the rumour proves true, then the "King is Dead... Long live the King"... there are other online suppliers who will no doubt be happy for the increased trade they will be receiving....

Before Maelstrom went tits up, I did manage to place an order for the new Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Books. Although the evil empire (Games Workshop, not Sauron et al) had put the block on them sending their products to overseas customers, I was able to find a loophole by ordering via my father in the UK... even with him shipping the goods to me, it still worked out cheaper than buying them here...

So with the new books I was just waiting to give them a try out. Its been a long time since I played LOTR SBG, my most recent LOTR gaming was with the now apparently defunct War of the Ring game.... this game, whilst it had potential, had several issues that knackered it in my mind. It probably just needed a v1.1 rewrite but I doubt that will happen... plus with the evil empires pricing policy I can't see any new players having the funds to buy enough LOTR models to make a decent size WOTR army now anyway...

But with The Hobbit's immanent movie release, my Middle-Earth juices are starting to flow... so I thought it was time to give the new SBG rules, involving Warband army composition and new missions, a whirl.

I had heard rumblings that a little bit of LOTR gaming had been going on at the local club (KWC), so I made contact through their Facebook page and organised a game.

Sorry no pictures from game - I didn't want camera action to interfere with a game with a player I was meeting for the first time.

[The Hobbit - I can't wait! We'll hopefully being going to the parade of stars in Wellington and then seeing the opening night viewing!]

The game was 750pts per side.

I took a Dol Guldur list. I love the idea of this place... dark brooding menace full of orcs, spooks and other nasty beasties!... Allows for a fair variety in your army list.

I took:
The Mouth of Sauron, leading 6 Morgul Knights, one with banner and one with Warhorn.
Kardush the FireCaller, leading 11 orcs; 5 shields, 5 spears and one banner.
An Orc Captain leading 8 orcs; 4 shields, 4 spears.
SpiderQueen leading 6 giant spiders and 3 spectres.

Sol, a pleasant young chap I met for the first time, took a Gondor force:
Aragorn the King, leading Knights of Minas Tirith
A Gondor Captain leading some foot Warriors of Minas Tirith, a mix of sword-and-shield and spear-and-shield.
The King of the Dead leading some Warriors of the Dead and a Gondor Ballista and crew.

I set the terrain up depicting a ruined mixed countryside, of woods, hedges, scrub, marsh,  rocks and ruins...

We rolled off a mission and got "Hold Ground!" - This mission starts with all forces off the table and they come onto board from various edges. The objective is to hold the centre point of the battlefield.

Sol got the roll off to start. He managed to get  both Aragron's cavalry and his foot WoMT on his long edge of the board, but the ghosties and ballista failed to show...

In my turn, I got my two blocks of orcs on my long edge of board, but Morgul knights and spiders failed to show.

In next turn Sol advanced his troops towards centre of board, and managed to get his ghosts and ballista on. Now at this point he made a gamble, and deployed these to my flank, angling to get flank shots at my orcs with the ballista, itself protected by his ghosts.

However in my subsequent move, both Morgul knights and Spiders arrived, and I quickly deployed them surrounding this flank group, knights behind and spiders in front. I also used the spectres special ability to draw his ballista crew away from the machine, rendering it inoperable and exposing the crew...

Over the next couple of combat phases, the Morgul knights and Spiders slaughtered the crew and ghosts, the King of the Dead the last to succumb, surrounded on all sides ...

Meanwhile in centre of board, Sol continued his advance on the objective, as I advanced my orcs to meet him forming them together in a large mass to withstand Aragorns inevitable cavalry charge.

Again this central scrap lasted a couple of turns, and my orcs held against the knights charge, whilst my own knights and spiders raced to get into the action from the flank quarter.

My orcs were steadily beaten down but they were taking a heavy toll of the Knights of MT too. Finally my own knights and spiders got into the action from the flank, with the spectres again doing their spooky thing, drawing supporting spear armed troops to their doom under Morgul knight lances and spider fangs...

But the battle had to come to an end early, Sol had a long drive home so we called the game at 9.15pm. At this point Sols forces were shattered, with only Aragorn left of his cavalry, and 4 foot warriors of MT, 3 of which were crucially standing on the objective.

I had lost a couple of Knights, half dozen orcs or so and had 2 wounded spiders.

When we counted up the VPs, Sol scored 3 for 3 models on the objective, and I scored 3 for breaking Sols force and being unbroken myself. So the game ended a draw.

Had the game continued for one more turn, I think it likely the forces of Gondor would have gone under completely, possibly with Aragorn hanging on for a couple of turns more till he ran out of Might and Fate, being utterly surrounded at the last...

A great game and thoroughly enjoyable and a nice format to meet a new player.

It was good to get back to the game again, remember the rules, and we each learned a few things that we had played differently in the past.

Of course I'll probably get all fired up to paint my massive outstanding LOTR figure haul that I have, I've probably got enough to open a small store! And make some more LOTR terrain...

But I have just placed an order for some Tigers for my FoW forces, and a whole pile of 'backstory' civilians for Empire of the Dead... and I still have to  make a Victorian city!

It never rains but it pours... so please excuse me if my blogging is somewhat erratic... I am likely to be very busy in months to come!

As always thanks for reading.

Regards, Scott


  1. I've got your new blog up on my blogroll Scott. I've been away for most of October myself and am just now catching up with people.

    With the release of The Hobbit around the corner, now is a good time to get back into LOTR. And from what I've been hearing about Maelstrom you may be out of some money.

    Glad you enjoyed the game and great batrep!

    1. Thanks Anne :-)
      Yep its sure been busy...

      I'm really buzzing about the The Hobbit... when the LOTR movies were coming out, I took my wife along to seem, but 'made' her read the books first as she didnt have a clue... she loved them and the movies...

      This time around I get to take kids along to share the expereince. It's going to be ... , hate to use an over used word - Awesome!

      I'm keeping my fingers crossed about Maelstrom... a mate just emailed me to say he got an email from them about sorting out his past outstanding order... so I am hoping they are still beavering away...

      Thanks again. It really is a great game system for Skirmish level gaming, if you can get the core rules, you could probably use it as a basis for your own worlds gaming... they are very adaptable and have been used for Pirates gaming and Cowboys... they're a solid gaming base, even if you are not a fan of LOTR.

  2. Ah, good 'ol LOTR, by the sounds of it you're quite busy on the hobby front! Glad you found a new gamer!

    1. Sol is a fine young chap and I hope to enjoy many more trips to Middle-Earth with him...

  3. Good to hear that you enjoyed your return to Middle Earth. I've still got a mass of unpainted LOTR miniatures kicking around from before I was married - perhaps with the release of the Hobbit I might have a little return to the Shire myself.

    1. I certainly hope so Sir, I look forward to viewing your skillful renditions!

  4. An excellent report Scott!!! I'm looking forward to the film, but was very disappointed with the book.

    1. Ah dear Sir, I can see where you are coming from, but the story was written an age ago, in a style befitting its time of writing and, with a younger reader in mind... yet it sows the seeds for the greater adventure... when I 'made' my wife read LOTR I insisted she read The Hobbit first, explaining beforehand its place in the tale... despite its oddities in prose and style, it remains a family favourite...

  5. That's a great report. I'm waiting to see the movie but afraid the atmosphere of the book will be lost.

    1. Thank you Sir... I sincerely hope PJ, has captured the feel, and if I am any judge, I am sure he will have captured the setting and feel admirably. Only time now will tell...

  6. I hope you get your goods or at least your money back mate. I to have had the lure to to some LOTR gaming I have Dwarves and Goblins rattling there weapons and shields for me to paint them. Look forward to seeing some more LOTR gaming. They where a great range sadly abit overpriced nowadays. Ebay is still pretty good for them though.

    1. Thanks Brummie. Yeah the pricing is just crazy, and I am very wary of this new 'FailcOst' range... Ebay (and Trademe) are certainly the places to go...

  7. Yes, I expect The Hobbit to get me going on LotR again. I may paint some knights of Minas Tirith as they are quite quick to do...

    1. I must admit I've got a stack of MT warriors half done sitting on top on my painting table... they were easy to base coat with the airbrush, I am just gradually working through them between painting tanks and steampunk characters...

  8. I am very happy to see you return to some of your blogging roots and tackle some LotR SBG goodness. That's how I found your wonderful blog in the first place (well that, and pirate gaming). I made a post a few months back about my hopes that the upcoming movie would reinvigorate the LotR crowd and bring us back to the halcyon days where LotR was everywhere. While it remains to be seen if the community can ever regain those glory days, it is heartening to see that you have possibly caught the bug again. My fingers are crossed are that I'll see more LotR content in the future from you. Oh...and maybe some LotHS as well!!!

    Thanks for the report by the way. Too few of LotR battle reports are around these days.

    1. Thanks Blackie, happy to please... I have always been one to paint figures for whatever game system I am actively playing... its often part of the arms race to get the next cunning set of troops on the the moment for me thats FoW & EotD, but it will only take a few games of LOTR and I'll be scrabbling around to find stuff to add to my forces. I dislike playing with unpainted troops, so rather than put bare metal on the table, I'll get all worked up to get something done in time for the next game!
      I haven't done much with my 'pirates' for a while... I managed to paint to completion virtually all of my pirate themed figrues... though I still have that weddingfavour coach I was going to try and make, oh and theres still my brig thats about 90% done to finish off...

  9. It was epic. I witnessed the carnage and yet you still lost...1 more turn.

    1. I know I know, one more turn... despite taking a hammering Sol was wise to get to the objective first and sit on it!


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