Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Hobbit SBG - Rules trial, Battle report: Dol Guldur vs Dwarves and Elves Alliance.

Three of us got together for a Friday evening game at Bryan's, for a try out of the new The Hobbit SBG rules. Bryan took 500pts of Elves, and Robert took 500pts of Dwarves in an alliance against my Dol Guldur force of 1000pts.

Elladan & Elrohir both Armoured and mounted, with 11 High Elves (1 banner, 4 bow, 3 spear & shield, 3 spear)
StormCaller with 12 High Elves (4 bow, 4 spear, 4 spear & shield)

King Dain plus assorted Dwarves including Kazad Guard, Iron Guard, and warriors with short bow, and a banner.
Balin plus assorted Dwarves including Kazad Guard, Iron Guard, and warriors with short bow.

Dol Guldur:
The Necromancer, plus 8 Dol Guldur Orcs (1 banner, 2 shield, 2 2hw, 2 spear, 1 bow) 2 Giant Spiders
Troll Chieftan, plus 7 Dol Guldur Orcs ( 2 shield, 2 2hw, 2 spear, 1 bow) 2 Giant Spiders
Orc Taskmaster plus 7 Dol Guldur Orcs ( 2 shield, 2 2hw, 2 spear, 1 bow) 2 Giant Spiders
Black Numenorean Marshal armoured warhorse , shield and lance, plus 5 Morgul Knights (inc banner & horn.)

We rolled off 'To the Death', which made the game straight forward, as we simply wanted a try out of the rules, and we hadn't played properly together for a while...

The Dwarven Commander started deploying first and chose to sit behind a central wood. The Necromancer deployed in the wood ready for a fight. The Elves deployed in a covering supporting position, and the last dwarven warband deployed adjacent the first. My trolls warband was in right of woods with the troll just out of the wood. The Taskmaster was behind Necromancer, hugging the wood for cover from the elves shooting. The Knights were exposed on the right of the woods, looking to swing the flank, hopefully with a little help from the troll.

With deployment finished the game commenced.The battle in the woods was going to be pretty, but annoying with models getting caught up in the trees and the trees constantly getting knocked over. So we replaced the trees with mdf disks to mark their position. Not as pretty to look at but far easier to play!

The tactics were fairly straight forward , the dwarves and orcs made a battleline against each other in the wood, whilst the knights and troll came round the flank. The good guys tried to unhorse as many knights as possible with shooting, and succeeded in unhorsing 4.

Once the flank battle line joined in turn 2, things got interesting as the troll chieftan romped in the fight, and we tried out the new Hurl Brutal power attack. The troll won his fight picked up a dwarven archer and flung him down the flank battle line killing him and knocking prone several dwarves and elves facing the Morgul knights. This then allowed the knights to start putting some hurt on the prone battleline, but they proved difficult to actually kill as they were all D6...

The Necromancer had not been terribly effective with spells, as he fluffed his first go at sap will on Balin, then passed it on the second turn only to have Balin resist it. I had been trying to get Balin into a position where I could compel him forward then surround and trap him in the ensuing fight, but the trees were foiling my plans blocking my surrounding moves.

The third turn proved to be more of the same, the good guys were trying to stop the flanking move of the knights, and hold up the central orcs. Again the troll chieftan won his fight and this time flung an iron guard down the battleline, knocking 9 good guys over. The iron guard survived this but killed two of his comrades as he knocked them aside, and wounded one of the twins having knocked him from his horse.

We resolved the ensuing fight phase and called it, as we had reached 11pm with only 3 turns played... we hadn't reached any victory points but evil was declared the winner as they had inflicited 11 casualties, against 7 received.

[EDIT: actually both sides scored 2VP's for having 2 banners each, still alive at end of game]

An enjoyable game, and interesting to see what the new Monster attacks can achieve. It made the good guys decide they probably need to consider taking a better wizard now to deal with the troll / 'monster threats'.

The Necromancer didn't achieve a lot though got a couple of kills. He did allow the upgrage to Dol Guldur Orcs, which gave them better fight skill, matching the dwarves, so no more auto losing drawn duel rolls. That came as a nasty shock to the good guys.

The one thing I didnt realise was the power of the Chill spell. I had glanced at the Necromancers list of spells and just assumed the 5+ spell would be Black Dart. Which I could have used if I had thought about it, on killing the good sides banner bearers. It wasn't till I got home and looked at Chill and realised how more effective it is, as it doesnt need to roll to wound....

I could have killed the banner bearers with ease and started giving a real fright to the stronger heroes including the Stormcaller, relatively easily with the right amount of will and an odd might point thrown in too.

The Taskmaster proved quite useful for a 60 point hero, calling a few heroic moves, and even getting one for free thanks to 'whip of the masters'.

So I certainly liked this list for 1000pt game and learned what its capable of achieving.

There was a little good natured grumbling from the good alliance about the the trolls Hurl ability, but I think Monsters have for a long time been too easily 'nerfed' and often not taken as they rarely proved worth their points. So if these new rules means we'll see more of them on the table, so much the better.

The individual weapon rules were interesting but no 'biggy', and were largely ignored, other than the new way supporting spears work.

Neither side felt the need to Channel a spell...

So an enjoyable game, and we are looking forward to more.


  1. Fantastic looking game and figures, Scott. Great write up too. Sounds like you've started the new year off right. Best, Dean

  2. That was a great report Scott, seems that you had a good time. The new rules seem interesting, so far I have noticed positive feedback from all who have tried them out. Thank you for the nice report and photos!

    1. Thanks Elhion, yes I feel the new rules inject a little more interest in an already fun game.

  3. That is a very cool looking game Scott!

  4. Good to hear that you've gotten a game in with these figures!

    1. Cheers Anne, it certainly makes a change fielding the 'big hitters' :-)

  5. Nice AAR, Scott some of the new rules sound pretty good. Hopefully it may refresh interest in the game a bit more.

    1. Thanks Simon, I hope to see more LOTR/Hobbit battle reports appearing over the hobby blogs...

  6. Monster rules are going to be the new thing to beat we in Chicago think. Image a moria army with 2 cave trolls, bowling balls down the enemy line 2 at a time.

    I like that you did 1000 points, we are trying to up the values here for our events; it would allow good to take some bigger heroes to combat the monsters.

    Another way would be for a captain to call a heroic duel and boost his fight value to beat out a monster, then hope for some good wound rolls.

    1. Hey Jeremy, yeah I can see a pair of Cave trolls causing a bit of mayhem, as they rightly should!
      And if you can take something to confound wizards immobilizing them (maybe send some bats to annoy them), you should keep them active.

      Yeah, 1000 points opens up more possibilities, but is probably a weekend / afternoon game to get it completed, as we usually run out of time trying to make it an evening game.

  7. A great batrep Scott, looks like a lot of fun.

  8. Great looking game and nice write up. Looking forward to how your next game goes with the new rules as well.

    1. Stay tuned, more coming no doubt! :-)

  9. The new monster rules are certainly fun!

    You wrote that you called off the game early at 11pm but I could not find mention of when you started or how long you actually played. I'm just wondering as I try to get a feel for the new rules. Was your game longer than planned due to the new rules or was it for other reasons (three players, goofing off, etc...)?

    Thanks for the report by the way.

    1. Thanks Scott.

      I got to Bryan's about 7.30pm-ish, he's about a 30 minute drive from mine, traffic dependent...
      Of course on arrival we made a cup of tea, and had a bit of a chat etc. , I hadn't seen Robert in well over a year. We probably started playing about 8pm.
      We also play quite 'technically' making sure of accurate measurement of models movement, and often long pondering of our sides movement beforehand. (We really should use a chess type timer I think!).

      There was of course some enjoyable light banter through the game and also several references to the new rules...

      Invariably we find a 1000 point game too big to complete in an evening, but it's only at these larger size games that the bigger more expensive monsters and characters are worth fielding...

  10. Looks great Scott. Be nice to see some more write up.

    1. We'll try and do a better game next time, preferably with a result!

  11. As per the comments and your answers I must say the game time was acceptable, especially considering there have been quite some changes to the system? Or am I wrong?

    A question in regards to this: Did you feel that the hurling took a lot of time to resolve - as you say, you play 'technically', as do I and I know it can take some time to prone models 'correctly' and calculate damage etc (esp. when playing against certain opponents) - on the other hand, there was just one model hurling...

    And lastly, thanks for the well written report!

    1. Game time was acceptable, we just struggle to complete games of this size in the available time (often lots of pondering what to do before moving models - hence the chess timer comment !)

      The 'Hurling' does not take long to resolve; determine distance model is thrown with a D3 roll plus difference in S of throwing and thrown model - all models under path of thrown model (we used base size of thrown model to determine which were effected) - each model hit takes an S3 hit and if survives is knocked prone, model thrown takes an S3 hit for each model passed through and a final S6 hit when it hits the ground and if survives all this is also knocked prone...

      Many thanks :-)

  12. Good stuff Scott. I'd like to tag along some point and watch a game of this run. :)

  13. Was the thrown distace D3 or D6, I know we did D6 Scott. Yes it was an enjoyable game. Can you check - can one monster hurl another? It doesn't seem plausible but is there a max strength requirement in the rule? Imagine Treebeard picking up a troll and hurling him (funny but wrong).

    PS I'll make prettier discs for next time

    1. Sorry you are right its D6, + str diff.
      Hmmm, the only requirement for the Hurl ability to be possible, is that the hurled foe must have a lower Str than the Hurling Monster.
      So I guess a big monster could indeed hurl a smaller one!

      So Treebeard S8 could indeed throw a troll!

      Treebeard beats trolls, dragons and cave drakes, but equals Gulavhar, and is beaten by the Balrog - who'd probably set Treebeard on fire too ;-)

      Time to get your Monsters to the gym and bench-pressing! ;-)

      I may have to dust off the Balrog...

    2. The other issue aswell is the size of area affected by the thrown figure... we played the base size of the thrown figure... if you do that for monsters, you could well knock over most of the opposing army!

      Which will probably lead to some "King Kong vs Godzilla"-like moments, let the monsters duke it away as far away from everyone else as possible, coz if you'r enear, you're gonna get flattened!


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