Friday, November 16, 2012

Reconnoitre - LOTR SBG Battle Report - Gondor vs Angmar

Another great game down at the club last night...

Sol brought his Gondor force, this time lead by a newly painted Aragorn (as Strider), whilst I brought the grim forces of Angmar out from the northern wastes, led by a Ringwraith - the Dwimmerlaik.

750pts again.

Sol took;
Strider leading a warband of WoMT and banner
Gondor Captain leading a warband of WoMT
King of the Dead leading a warband of The Dead

I took:
Dwimmerlaik leading a warband of Warg-Riders
Shade leading a warband of orcs with banner and a spectre
Angmar Orc Shaman leading a warband of orcs and a spectre
Barrow Wight leading a warband of orcs
Angmar Orc Captain leading a warband of orc trackers

I set the terrain up to look like the Northern wastes depicting the borders of Northern Eriador and Angmar, a blasted countryside with the ruins of past dwellings of happier times, remnants of field boundaries, woods, rocks and marshes and bogs, and of course the memories of the glories of the proud kings of long ago; a couple of barrow mounds...

We rolled up for mission, and after rolling Hold Ground, and The High Ground which we had played in last two games, finally got Reconnoitre.

Reconnoitre is a slightly odd mission in that it portrays the idea of both sides trying to scout out the enemy dispositions by trying to break through their lines. This is achieved in the game by getting your troops off the opposite table edge. Each model moved off this way earns you a victory point.

The only problem we had with this is that normally, troops that leave the table for any reason, count as casualties, and since this wasn't countermanded in the mission description, we were a little wary of running across the board and off the table...

Still, since I had 50 models in my force and Sol had 30-odd,... if we ran past each other and off the table, I'd win by 10+ VPs... but this would just seem a boring, dull and dare I say 'daft' game... so I just decided to have a fun game, and go for the kill!

Sol brought down a mate who he was introducing to the game, so that was good to see more interest in this game system and we had several onlookers come and go. I think Sol's mate must have thought I fancied myself as some kind of 'David Bailey', with the number of pics I snapped away during the game... but the problem is these shots are often quickly done so as not to interfere too much with the game (and we are always pressed for time), and often its not till viewing them afterwards you find half of them are blurred and unusable...  anyway I managed to get several decent shots for following report....

Reconnoitre, is again one of those missions where your troops march onto the board, rolling off for each warband in turn to see if they arrive...

Sol went first , but only manged to get Aragorn's warband on the board.... who advanced from the centre.

In my phase, I got the Shamans warband, the Barrow Wights warband and the Dwimmerlaiks warband on the board. The orcs I sent up the centre and the wraith towards the left flank...

The wraith is mounted on an armoured warhorse, and protected by a warg-rider escorting warband.   Since Sol had not taken Gandalf, the wraiths mission was simple - neutralise Aragorn. This I planned to achieve by first sapping his will, then chipping away at his courage. It would take several turns but would reduce Aragorn to a quivering wreck - at least that was the plan! So the mounted option allowed me maneuverability to get to Aragorn to ensorcerel him, and stay out of his infantry charge range.

The first orc warbands arrive... Shaman casts Fury on 2nd attempt.

The full evil force arrayed and advancing...

Aragorn leads the charge up the centre, the banner of Gondor blowing in the Northerly breeze...

The Gondor captains leads his warband up their right flank...

The King of the Dead (the figure with broken sword, - doing his best Elendil impression) leads his warband up their left flank.

The wraith advances and hits Aragorn with a Sap Will. Aragorn resists it but it burns a Will point anyway and a Might point.

The orc warbands have merged and now advance en-masse...

Aragorns warband moves off to the side to try and escape the wraiths attentions, but the faster wraiths cavalry shifts laterally also, and hits Aragorn again with another Sap Will. This time Aragorn fails the resist and loses all his Will. He is now open to all the spells the wraith chooses to target him with...

The orc trackers advancing to get into firing position.  I decided to try some orc trackers as they have a bit of a better shoot skill than regular orcs, and I thought they might be useful in unhorsing the odd knight, denuding Sol's cavalry... but Sol didn't bring any cavalry to the game so the orcs would just have to try and sneak an arrow through the armour of the Gondor soldiers...

Sol's flank infantry start to advance towards the centre... much of the early part of this game was maneuvering...

Aragrons warband and the Dead continue the advance to the centre...

The evil forces array their battle line and await the good forces charge... The wraith is busy hitting Aragorn with drain courage, knocking off a point each turn...

The forces of Good get closer...

... and the battle lines finally clash... with the Dead hitting my right flank, and Gondor warriors following up in my left flank on the next turn... I was quite happy about this... Sol, seemed to feel his Dead would be unstoppable, but I knew I outnumbered him, I had the Shade there (-1 to all Sols fight rolls) , the Shaman had Fury going so I am immune to courage checks and might get the odd orc back even if it dies, and I've got a banner for re-rolls. The only trick is actually killing the Dead as they are D7, meaning I need 6's to kill them, or 5's with my 2HW's...

The combat raged but the orcs held as I expected, and the Dead started to fall... Sol advanced his Dead King to the end of the orc line possibly hoping to get round it, but this just left him open to being surrounded by the orcs. The spectres made their presence known, ejecting the odd Dead warrior from the line or a spear supporting Gondorian...

In a flurry of orc weapons the Dead King was struck down and dispelled to nothingness, blowing all his Fate points... More dead started to fall, as did a couple of orcs though one was saved thanks to Fury.

My right flank was holding well, and in a little more time I would be able to swing this flank and start rolling the line...

At the other end of the line, things were not as good, though far from bad... the only problem I had was Aragorn was getting close, and the Gondor banner was there.

I thought about what to do with the wraith...I could Black Dart Aragron (a tough spell to cast needing a 5+) but even if it hit, it wouldn't kill Aragron outright... Likewise I could kill the banner bearer with the Black Dart but there was still that 5 needed to roll. Then I struck on the idea of simply Compelling the banner bearer away... An easier spell to cast only needing a 4+, and I could then simply walk the banner away from the fight. Easy. Just to make sure I chucked two dice using extra Will to get that 4,... and rolled two 3's ! Plus the Dwimmerlaik has no Might so I couldn't increase it. Damn!

Oh well, not a crucial failure, but a little annoying...

The fight continued, Sol had got his flank approaching Gondorians into the action too now and they were now mixing it up with the warg-riders and the Orc archers... Everything was in the mix now!

And then a crucial phase... Sol finally won a priority roll, as I had kept rolling for several in a row, and seeing his chance, jumped at it, charging Aragorn against the wraith who I had maneuvered too close in its attempt to get off that spell last phase...

Sol was rather quick off the mark with his movement, and I didn't even get the chance to Call a Heroic Move... but I let it go and played on... Ha, I thought, with Aragorns reduced courage from his spell battering and the Harbinger of Evil effect of the wraith there was a fair chance he'd fluff the roll to charge my terror causing wraith! He rolled a straight 10! Bugger! Not only that, he got in an assisting Gondorian who also passed his courage check. Double Bugger!!

Oh well, I moved the rest of my forces as best as I could but couldn't get anything in to help out the wraith. And once its engaged in combat, it can't cast any spells. Triple Bugger!!!

The fight phase rolled on, and the majority of the action continued to go evils way, the combination of Shade, Shaman Fury, and banner was excellent. Even elsewhere my greater orc numbers were still prevailing.

But the crucial fight came and Aragorn won the fight roll with a 5. The wraith took two wounds, but had 2 Fate points! Two dice bounced across the cloth and one passed and one failed. But one failure was enough, the wraith only has one wound and its ethereal form was dispelled!

[I will NOT at this point blame my young son, who had just joined us and asked if he could roll Daddy's dice for him...;-) ]

Damn, I lose my commander and give 3 VPs to Sol.

But otherwise things are not too bad... I am still in a decent position to continue the game, but... as ever we need to finish early due to Sols time constraints. We could have started another turn, but it would have been unlikely to change over much in just one turn. So we ended it, with Sol sneaking a 3-0 victory.

I must apologise for lack of pics of through the actual combats, but once the action hots up I try and concentrate on what I am doing and then usually forget the camera...

The end positions:

A great game which I felt in control of, ... right till the end... ;-)

What did I learn... well I could have easily won on VPs by just running my wargs off the board, instantly scoring 8VPs, but that wasn't how I wanted to play the game. I suppose if this had been a proper tournament, I would have had to pay greater attention to the victory points of the mission... but I just like a damn good scrap!

The Shade was excellent.

The wraith wasn't too bad, though in hindsight I forgot to invoke the Dwimmerlaiks special ability - I could have cost Aragorn more Might and Will points earlier in the game...Also I may consider using a Fellbeast mount next time, just to give the wraith more maneuverability, and more importantly height for Line of sight for spell casting, especially when trying to peek over clashing battle lines... And if a chance comes to charge, I'll get monstrous mount abilities too...

The spectres again proved useful, and I feel are worth their points.

The Barrow Wight I was disappointed in... It didn't get into any fights usefully... it was lined up against the Dead, and its two attempts to paralyze, it rolled a 1 both times needing a 4... For the points of the Wight I could have had an orc captain and a couple of orcs...

I am quite happy with how my orc battle line holds up against the Gondorians, and look forward to trying them out again.

However, my time at the club will be curtailed somewhat, as my wife has started a Pilates class which clashes with my club games-night, and I have a young daughter who needs babysitting! Ah well, the greatest plans of Middle-Earth domination by Sauron and his wraiths will be utterly foiled by the attentions of a six year old girl! Somehow, there is something inherently Tolkien-esque about that ! ;-)

Till next time, happy gaming folks...


  1. Nice bat rep... makes me miss the game a bit. Like you, I'd often get caught up in the fight rather than pay attention to the victory conditions. Well, it's all good as long as everyone has fun.

    1. Thank Jerry - yeah, nowt like a good scrap! ;-)

  2. LOTR is still one of my favourites, those little rules sometimes get forgotten.

    1. Good to hear Fran, will the Rejects be breaking out the LOTR figures when The Hobbit gets released?

  3. This is great. You never see LotR battle reps anymore...I'll have to get back to it myself. Thanks Scott!...I also thought the Shade was excellent
    what an under rated piece...the last tourney I played was not only the 1st time I used it, but the first time I saw it used. Good Stuff!

    1. Many thanks John, happy to please. I hope to get more of these going, I have enjoyed the games immensely. A couple of my regular FoW gaming buddies are also showing signs of interest, so here's hoping.

      I have a feeling the Shade special rule may have been tweaked in its current incarnation making it far more useful? I'll have to check back...

  4. This is a game I think I'd enjoy and I think I'd understand it. Great batrep and hopefully you'll convince some of the purists to take a walk on the Dark Side.

  5. Sounds like it was great game. Would it of tipped in Sol's favor maybe the dicegods where beginning to sway his way.

    1. The dice Gods are a fickly bunch... just when you think they are on your side, their patronage is withdrawn and dissipates quicker than a dead wraith...

  6. Loving it!
    Return of the King to SGB :-)
    Well done and keep up the excellent work.

  7. I can't believe I only just found this blog... I've been playing LotR for ages. Another kiwi player too!

    How to you play the Barrow-Wight's Paralyze ability on cavalry? Does it throw the rider?


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