Monday, March 31, 2014

Flight to the Ford - LOTR/Hobbit Battle Report

Our Fellowship campaign continues!

Onwards to scenario 9; Flight to the Ford...

A quick recap of our prior game... saw Aragorn go AWOL at a vital time at Weathertop, involving an alleged incident with bacon and sausages! ... And poor Frodo slumps to the ground from the Ringwraiths varied attentions!

But, post game, Aragorn makes an appearance, scatters the wraiths, grabs Frodo from under their outstretched arms, and flees into the dark wilderness, with Sam, Pippin and Merry following as best they may, all very dashing and Errol Flynn-like, but sadly at that time, somewhat 'off screen'... He must reach Rivendell to have any hope of healing Frodo!

Briefly evading the pursuing wraiths, he has a moment to administer some first aid, to Frodo's wound, finding Athelas, a weed, also known as Kingsfoil, that has healing properties, unknown to the common man.

Frodo's condition is temporarily stabilised... and then right on queue Arwen arrives! She's been out looking for the party, and has seen the wraiths out searching for Aragorn and the hobbits...

A rapid discussion, and it is agreed she is the best chance for Frodo, to gallop with her on Asfaloth, (on temporary loan from Glorfindel!) to Rivendell and safety!

So our mission commences and it is a bit of a mish-mass of events from the book and events from the movie...

Deployment
Arwen starts the game with Frodo, mounted up on Asfaloth, positioned 12" into the board.
A Minimum of 5 Wraiths on horseback are positioned up to 6" into the board behind her.
Aragorn and the hobbits chase onto the board in the first turn, coming on behind the wraiths...
The remaining wraiths enter the game as reinforcements, rolling to come on, and arriving from either side of the board, but must enter play this side of the river, they are attempting to cut off Arwen, and prevent her from escaping across the River Bruinen...


Deployment
Victory conditions
The Ringwraiths must kill Frodo to win.
The forces of Good must kill all the Ringwraiths! What the...!!!!

Special conditions
All the wraiths are knackered after the scrap at Weathertop, as are their horses, from galloping flat out everywhere for days and days of the ongoing chase... Each wraith has only 3 Will Points, the WitchKing has 5. All horses roll a die each turn and move thus D6+4" per turn... if  6 is rolled, the horse moves that distance then expires on the spot, throwing the wraith!
Arwen can call the river Bruinen into flood, once she has entered the ford, on a 4+ on each successive turn and then action it at will.
Aragorn and Frodo are also exhausted - Frodo has no Might or Fate. Aragron has no Might, though can still use his free point per turn.


Game on, and Arwen urges Asfaloth onward; Noro Lim!


Aragorn and the hobbits run on behind the wraiths, and Aragorn and Merry manage to catch up with one, preventing it from galloping forth after Arwen...


Unaware of the drama unfolding behind her, Arwen gallops on, the sound of pursing hoof-beats close behind...


Aragorn and Merry continue their fight with the wraith as Sam and Pippin push on...


Galloping at 12" per turn, Arwen quickly out distances the pursuing wraiths and is already at the ford...


... as Aragorn and Merry strike down the wraith they are fighting... the rest of the wraiths are still chasing after Arwen as quickly as they can urge their exhausted mounts on...

Arwen splashes through the ford and turns to face her pursuers... on home turf now, she has the river at her beck and call...

Logic has one wondering if she wouldn't be better off just galloping on to Rivendell, but Rivendell is not also known as 'The Hidden Valley', for nothing... Sauron's forces do not know its location, otherwise he may have marshalled his forces and attacked it in strength before now... and if Arwen flees there with the wraiths following, she risks revealing its location... So she must turn at bay and face the threat head on...


The wraiths ride on as fast as they can manage...



... and upon reaching the ford, two horses collapse to the ground, throwing their ethereal riders to the ground... and finally, on from the flank, another rider emerges, arriving far too late to head off Arwen... meanwhile Aragorn and the hobbits continue their foot slogging march, trying to catch up...



The  first of the wraiths to reach the ford, pause at the riverbank, unsure of the waters ahead...

"Give us the Halfling She-Elf!"



"If you want him, come and claim him"


Somewhat cunningly, I stopped the wraiths at the edge of the ford. It was 6" across, I could clear it in a single move, without being stuck in it for a turn to get washed away... a bit of a dirty trick, but no point throwing my wraiths away...

The flank wraith gallops on towards the ford...



 And so, Arwen trots forward and unleashes her own natures wrath, throwing the two wraiths on foot to the ground, and the mounted wraith off its horse, the horse fleeing away..., that will slow them down, allowing Aragorn a chance to catch up! Clever...


...And then she canters away again to safety...

The wraiths get back to their feet and once again wait to cross the ford... but then Arwen unleashes the waters of the Bruinen, knowing shes not going to catch them unawares... so as the heavy waters rush past, the ford is then left as difficult ground, so half pace to cross... further delaying the wraiths...


Aragorn and the hobbits get closer, only to be charged by the wraith coming on from the flank! The wraiths at the ford press on toward their quarry...


Aragorn sidesteps the on charging wraith, and strikes it from its horse, the horse bolting away, at last free of its terrifying master...


Arwen flees the scene as Aragorn and the wraiths, attempting to cross the swollen ford, clash. Two, including the WitchKing, make it across the ford, as the mounted wraith and one other turn to face Aragorn... They battle on in turbulent waters, neither gaining the upper hand...


Two more Wraiths have arrived from the other flank, and gallop on to the ford. Aragorn remains locked in combat with the wraiths at the riverbank, as the hobbits catch up. The WitchKing and his follower, press on, and Arwen who cannot bear to leave Aragorn to his fate, decides to gallop back and use the might of a cavalry charge to deal to the wraiths following her...


The battle at the ford is still inconclusive, but Arwen's rash charge is cunningly dealt with by the wraith and Asfaloth is stuck down, throwing Arwen, who lands gracefully on her feet, but poor Frodo, not feeling the best by any means, lands with the grace of a sack of potatoes... that's P-O-T-A-T-O-E-S
(boil em', mash em', stick em' in a stew!) Ahem sorry, couldn't resist - that's for a much later scenario! ;-)

Crucially, the loss of Asfaloth, robs Arwen of her 12" move per turn and cavalry charge! Not good! By the way, I didn't have an Arwen on foot model (its in the post), so the model of Galadriel in her 'war form' seemed appropriate - she's certainly a bit peeved now!


Aragorn tries to charge the wraiths but rolls snake eyes! Freezing him to the spot momentarily, is his resolve beginning to fail, he's been though so much! Arwen gathers up Frodo, and they flee the scene!

Snake Eyes! Not a good time to fluff your courage check Aragorn!
The mounted wraith see its chance to break free of the melee in the water and gallops off after Arwen, leaving one wraith on foot in the ford holding up Aragorn as the two flanking wraiths close in...

They now catch Merry, who has ran in front of Aragorn, as the wraiths on the other side of the river catch up with Arwen and Frodo...



Arwen and Frodo manage to fight off the wraiths, attacking them, but poor Merry falls to the mounted charge of the two wraiths..., whilst the wraith fighting Sam and Pippin dissipates into the air....



The end game approaches, its now or never for either side! Aragorn and the hobbits seek revenge for poor Merry and charge the two mounted wraiths at the ford....


...As the WitchKing and two more wraiths charge Arwen and crucially Frodo, who finds himself surrounded now and trapped!


The final wraith arrives from the flank, but too late to affect the matter...


Aragorn and the hobbits fight off the mounted wraiths but cannot slay them...


Arwen withstands the mounted charge of the wraith, and it dissipates into the air, but she cannot stop the WitchKing striking down Frodo! With no fate to save him, he succumbs to his wounds once more...

Frodo succumbs!
...and with that, is the fate of Middle-Earth sealed?

But wait, off camera, do I hear hoof beats rapidly approaching from Rivendell, once more, in the nick of time???

-----o0o----- 

Another cracking game, that came down to the wire!
Having to kill all the wraiths to win, is a tough ask, but they only have 3 Will each and each round of fighting reduces their will store until they dissipate away...

Having to strike down Frodo forces the wraiths to fight, they don't have enough will to be lashing off spells either, so its tough for both sides.

Interestingly, Aragorn's free might per turn got him into the fight a little quicker than would have been with earlier versions of the game, as the new Hobbit rules include the heroic action; Heroic Advance, giving foot troops a bonus 3" move per turn. On some turns Aragorn and the hobbits were moving faster than the mounted wraiths!

Chris perhaps got a little rash charging back in with Arwen but saw an opportunity, and he was concerned at eventually being trapped against the edge of the board with no where to run to...

Striking down Asfaloth was a gamble and shrewd move that paid off, it robbed Arwen of her mobility and charge bonus...

...and Glorfindel is going to be seriously pissed off, as he'd only taken out "3rd-party, fire and theft" ! ;-) Oh to be a fly on the wall as Arwen tries to explain this one away... ;-)

So, to keep the story moving along, Elrond has sensed evil approach the borders of his realm and gallops out with his Rivendell knights 'off camera', arriving to the rescue in the nick of time...

So our heroes arrive in Rivendell, battered and bruised but with a chance to heal and recuperate. And the Rivendell knights no doubt scatter the remaining wraiths to the four winds, leaving them to trail back to their dark master, shattered and broken and failed in their mission! Oh dear, more explaining to do!

-----o0o-----

And now the newly painted combatants get to parade for your viewing pleasure!

The Nine Ringwraiths...


Led by The WitchKing of Angmar!


And not forgetting Arwen and Frodo...


...mounted on Asfaloth!



And now on to Rivendell, for rest, recuperation, and a sociable sherbet or two! ;-) I for one, won't want to leave!

22 comments:

  1. Great report Scott, been waiting for it for awhile! Things were tense by the last few turns there.

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  2. Fantastic report Scott! Great photos!

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  3. I was quite engaged reading and viewing the pics, Scott. Very interesting game. Dean

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  4. Nice report as usual, and very nicely painted models :)

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  5. Damn good tale and Frodo got it too...excellent!

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    1. Cheers Fran... ooooh you are cruel! ;-)

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  6. It's great that these are coming out so close, I'm really enjoying the sequence of reports and your excellent terrain. Well done!

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    1. Thanks mate, I'll try and keep things fun!

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  7. Looks like another good one Scott, thoroughly entertaining and I have to say I'd probably add the off camera conclusion as well, far too much emotional attachment to the story to have Frodo die!
    The victory conditions are interesting, a war of attrition for the good side and a lucky strike for evil. There were some clever tactics in evidence there, the student starts to surpass the master?

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    1. Thanks Ste, I know what you mean... as much as I enjoy playing the bad guys, my hearts still with the good guys!
      It was certainly on of those missions where you had to figure out how it best going to work out for you... Master? Me? I wish, anyone who has played against me knows my tactics are usually pretty naff! ;-)

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