Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To the Death! - LOTR SBG Battle report - Rohan vs Isengard

A lazy Sunday afternoon saw me have the chance to entertain two gaming chums; Paul and Brett, to a game Lord of the Rings SBG.

In this case I was happy to umpire it, taking them both through the ropes of the games rules and subtleties of tactics within the game.

Paul is primarily a Flames of War player, who had not experienced skirmish wargaming before so this was all new to him.

Brett had played a bit of Legends of the High Seas before, which is a derivative of the SBG rules, and is also a SAGA player so has a fair grounding in Skirmish games.

Brett also had some Rohan troops he had acquired and wanted to try them out, so I added some of my own to bulk out his force and then gave Paul an Isengard force to theme the battle - an Isengard probe into the Westfold.

I accordingly set up the terrain depicting a small isolated farm...

 The battle was 750pts each.  

Rohan's force was (roughly)
Theoden (the King) leading warband of Riders of Rohan, including gaming with royal banner
Theodred (King's son) leading a warband of Riders of Rohan
Hama leading a warband of Warriors of Rohan on foot.
Eowyn (King's niece) leading a warband of Warriors of Rohan on foot.  

Isengard's force was
Uruk Hai Captain leading Uruk Hai with 6 pike and 6 shields
Uruk Hai Captain leading Isengard Troll, and 8 Uruk Hai Berserkers
Orc Captain on Warg leading warband of Warg Riders
Uruk Hai Shaman leading Uruk Hai warriors with 6 pike and 6 shields

 We played 'To the Death' just for ease of learning the game and mission.

Paul won dice off for deployment and started first...

Final deployments as below...

Theodred is bottom right facing the Warg-riders, Eowyn leads the foot troops near the ruin, Theoden is in the centre, and Hama is in the farm paddock, facing the Shaman's Warband.

I am going to let the pictures do the talking for the most part...  Paul won the early priority advancing as best as he could though the Shaman's warband had a hell of a time negotiating the farms fences with 5 out 13 Uruks rolling a 1 trying to cross the fences. This caused the Rohan commander much amusement who promptly fell foul of the fences himself, though not quite as badly...

For the most part of the early game, Rohan tried to keep a distance, and shot up the approaching Isengarders This succeeded in dropping several Uruks despite needing a 6 to kill. As Brett says "Need a six? Roll a six!" ;-)

Flank Rohan cavalry withdraw, to shoot bows...

Centre Rohan cavalry, advance...

Slightly exasperated Paul kept plodding forwards... with troll and Berserkers heaing to centre of board, away the disengaged warband of Theodred.

Theodred rode forward, bows again shooting...

Early combat is joined in the centre as Theoden cavalry engage the central and left flank Uruk Hai warbands catching some up against the farm fences...

Eventually as battle became properly joined, the power of the cavalry charge was revealed but also shown to be blunted in the face of pike supported troops.

The fences again quickly came in to the equation as they frequently trapped those who could not back away from combat...

The battle for the farm also heats up...

Theoden leads the central charge against the Uruks, but has he over exposed himself...?

The Uruk captain facing off against Theodred quickly found himself surrounded, yet kept fighting gamely... the troll sees easy pickings in front of him, and focuses on the blonde haired female bravely wielding her sword...

The Uruk captain slays Theodred! Then runs away the next turn when he fails his courage check, as by this point the Isengarders are broken...

The troll was a huge problem, but Eowyn bravely led her forces against it... but even surrounded the troll could not be stopped (it rolled a 6), and turned Eowyn into a red pulpy squish mark on the ground! She might be able to deal with the WitchKing of Angmar, but a great lumbering troll? Nope!

Theoden, who could have made use of the Royal Banner of Rohan to recharge his exhausted supply of Might, never got the chance when Paul won priority and charged Theoden with a pike armed Uruk, who promptly spitted Theoden from his horse! Gamling was left trying to hold the centre together...

The forces of the White Hand eventually broke and started losing troops to failed courage rolls but the Shamans recast Fury held the end of the line.

The troll still could not be stopped! Where's a wizard with an Immobilize when you need one!?

Gamling holds the centre together...  just...

Final positions...
The troll is a serious problem on the Rohan left flank...

The centre has been carnage leaving only three Riders and two Uruks standing... whilst the paddocks and fields in the farm remain contested... though Rohan probably has the upper hand here...

But eventually the Isengarders were dropped to 25% of their starting number bringing the battle to close. All that remained was to add up Victory points:-

Both sides have inflicted huge losses on the other with both sides going past their break point - 3 points to each side.
Both sides had slain the enemy commander, another 3 points each.
Yet Gamling remained holding aloft the Royal banner scoring 2 points.

This tipped the game to a victory to Rohan, 8-6.

Sadly this must be considered a Pyrrhic victory for it was truly a frightful day for the noble house of Rohan, losing the King, his son and niece in one encounter! Saruman will be chuckling and rubbing his hands together in glee in the Tower of Orthanc at this boon, and the way is clear for a full invasion of Rohan!

A thoroughly enjoyable game that both players enjoyed and played in great spirit.

Sadly Brett had to depart half way through the game, leaving me to take over Rohan, but not before using up all the heroes Might points, the bugger! It was shortly after this the Rohan heroes started dying! That's my excuse and I am sticking to it! ;-)

What pleases me more is Brett was even motivated to buy some more Riders of Rohan the day after we played the game, so I count that a victory for the LOTR SBG game!

I have that many LOTR figures that Paul is more than welcome to use whatever force he wishes whenever he fancies a game, though I have a sneaking suspicion he may be contemplating embracing his Dwarven side!


  1. An excellent report Scott, nice pics too! Make sure Brett buys them figures!

  2. I agree with Ray... ALmost makes me want to play the game (no one here plays)

    1. Many thanks JP. Hopefully the movie release may rekindle interest in your area?

  3. Great looking game and brilliant battle report. You're right: Saruman would be dancing a jig at this news. (Hey, you can always 'grow' more orcs, right?)

  4. Great table and game, damn good read!

  5. Oh how wonderful, great gam and report Scott; I'm feeling the need to dig out my unpainted LoTR miniatures!

    1. Thank you! Thats great, I'd love to see what you do with them :-)

  6. nice report, and great figures, i am getting very tempted.


  7. You've got LOTR fever Scott and you're infecting your friends!! Great batrep and you had loads of fun too. I'm keen on dwarf's myself so I wish your friend the best on painting some up.

    1. Yes indeed Anne!
      Dwarfs are indeed pretty cool, I always had a soft spot for them ;-)
      And they're mighty tough in the game too!

  8. Poor Eowyn! I've heard the LOTR rules are actually pretty solid for fantasy skirmish but I've never had the chance to try them. Your game looked fun.

    1. Give them a whirl, they're also well suited for other periods with a few tweaks - Legends of the High Seas for Pirate themed antics, and Legends of the Old West for Cowboy adventures.

  9. Thanks for another great battle report Scott. I'm definitely liking the trend on your blog lately. can I bribe you to do more LotR??

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Blackie, no need to bribe me, I'm sure there'll be more to follow... I've just got back from the Premiere with the Stars on the Red Carpet in Wello, and got a few pics, so am positively fizzing, a great day out the atmosphere was electric!

  10. Thanks for hosting us Scott, it was a lot of fun to play and your knowledge of the rules certainly let us devote more time to trash talking and silly sound-effects! My poor old orcs suffered at the sharp end of the Rohan shooting, and with having to take courage tests to stay on the board as well that finally tipped things against me. Having said that, it was well balanced and I felt like anything could happen at any point (and frequently did!), which kept it fun and interesting. I'm not generally a huge fantasy fan, but I'm looking forward to playing LOTR again. Cheers, Paul.

    1. Good to hear Paul, more than happy to entertain you again in Middle-Earth! :-)

  11. Hi Scott,

    thanks a lot for this great report and the nice pictures. An excellent attunement for the upcoming movie.


    1. Thanks Monty - I'm really looking forward to a rekindled LOTR gaming period to my hobby and blogging!

  12. Beautiful stuff man.

  13. Great report and your making me want to dig out my forces and get some paint splashed on them.

  14. Great battle report and loving the board layout!

    1. Thank you Sir! I only have the one Rohan building at the moment, I need to make a couple more!


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