Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The New Zealand Hobbit League, Final Round. - Day One.

Over the weekend my son Chris and I attended the final round of the New Zealand Hobbit League, held at PlayerBase in Lower Hutt, where 20 players had gathered for a weekends gaming fun in MiddleEarth.

Photos courtesy of Matt Ridgely and NZHL Facebook page... I took my camera along, but the action was pretty fast and frantic once the games started and I never remembered to take any in-game pics myself!

The event was 750 points, with the stipulation that armies must include at least 1 hero (or two combined) who's points value is 250pts or more. I think the thinking behind this being two-fold... the games will get to feature Heroes which Middle-Earth is all about, and it would avoid purely horde armies which can take a long time to move... the games were 90 mins max, with a strict dice down at that time... so we needed to boogy to get our games played out in time... horde armies would inevitably time out...

So with that format we had four games in the first day, with a random draw in first round followed by swiss chess draw for remaining games of the day...

What did I play? Well I tend to favour my Mordor armies (It's good to be bad!), tending on the horde side with a few powerful fighting leaders... but I decided on a variation this time...

I've always had a 'thing' about Dol Guldur, and the recent Hobbit movies certainly, have all explored that theme, and they were some of my favourite scenes from the trilogy... delving into the back story behind the main theme of the Quest of Erebor...

So I chose a Dol Guldur force led by the Necromancer.

I have had the model painted in my collection for quite some time and only used it once thus far in a 1000 point game where I felt its points were justified., so I thought it was high time it got a dusting off... and try it out at this smaller points game level.

He would lead a warband of Dol Guldur Orcs (F4) with banner. Backing him up would be a Mordor OrcTaskmaster and more Dol Guldur orcs with a Spectre. Finally, a Mordor Orc Shaman mounted on warg, leading a warband of orc warg riders and giant spiders.

I wanted to keep a sensible Dol Guldur theme, and still have an effective combo of heroes in the force...

I would be focusing on Chill Soul with the Necromancer, channeled where possible to kill troops. The Task masters ability would hopefully buff this ability saving some Might points, with luck. The Shaman would of course be there to cast channeled Fury, to try and keep my orcs alive and wearing down the foe...

To Battle!

Game 1
My first game was against Ollie Redding, who was running a Mordor force led by the Witch-King on Fellbeast, with Morannon Orcs, a Troll and some Easterling allies...

Sorry, I didn't find a shot of this game. Ollie hadn't played for a while, so wasn't up on some of the new Hobbit rules tweaks, but that said, I made a rule error too that Ollie corrected, so all was good.

The Game was a standard To the Death, and I got ahead early with some Chill Souls killing a few of Ollies troops. Ollie responded with an expected Channeled Sap will from the WK forcing my Necromancer to burn will to combat it ... in the meantime my greater numbers were knocking down Ollies troops. This theme continued until my Necromancer was down to 1 Will remaining and legged it getting away from the WK. With time running out, I had managed to break Ollies force, remaining unbroken myself, and had a banner active too, where Ollie did not, resulting in a 7-0 VP win, converting into a 24-0 Tournament score.

Game 2 and I was drawn against my son Chris, and the Gondor force he was running that I had readied for him. Boromir with the Banner led WoMT, Damrod led rangers with spear, Faramir led his mounted Knights and Beregond led more WoMT.

Chris had got off to a good start against Peter leading a Mordor force in the first round and had also come away with a 24-0 in his favor so he was feeling pretty stoked!

Our game was Domination... with 5 objective markers scattered about the board.

This would mean splitting my forces to try and cover all the objectives, which wasnt the way my army worked well. Also I had no shooting attack so couldnt just sit tight as I'd get shot to bits by the rangers... the board was relatively open.

So I decided to go for broke. the central objectives were all covered, and Chris had put his rangers clustered in a group covering his rear objective. He had placed Boromir out on a flank. I thought I saw a chance to advance on the rangers - Chill souls them and knock them out of the game, then return to the board centre and hold off Boromir and make a go of contesting the rest of the objectives and killing off Chris's army. But it was big and would be tricky to break.

Things started to go wrong from the start, I advanced on the rangers with the Necromancer's warband... and cast channeled chill soul., rolling a six on 4 dice. Damrod had one will point to resist it, and rolled a six to block the spell! The rangers then shot, and dropped 6 orcs! My Shaman was busy on the other side of board so no Fury saves either...

I got Chill off next round but by then Chris has spread out so I only got 2 rangers... and now Boromir was marching down to attack my shrinking warband...

We continued to battle it out across the table for the objectives... but when time was called Chris held one solely while all the rest were contested, and I was broken, leading to a 10-4 in VPs IIRC... and Chris getting a major win 20-4 in Tournie points.

Well done Chris, well played indeed!

Game 3, and I was drawn against the 'Ringer'; Matt Ridgely. One participant had pulled out at the last moment, so Matt although being TO, also stepped up to run a force. Any points he scored wouldn't contribute to a position on the day, but his opponents score would still count fully.

Matt had gone with The Fellowship as his force.

Our mission was Reconnoitre, with an adjusted points scoring system. This is a mission where this match up worked well for me... a small hero force trying to stop a much larger force crossing its table edge, and vice versa.

Again, sorry no picture for this one.

Our forces deployed and we set to... Matt deploying centrally on his board edge whilst I loaded a flank.

My force surged up the side of the board and Matts main heroes tried to head me off, whilst the 4 hobbits went for a sneaky end around uncontested march.

After a few turns we were mixing it up, with  Aragron, Boromir and Gimli in the front with support from Gandalf and Legolas from behind. But once the lead heroes were engaged by foot troops, the faster wargs and spiders zipped around and surrounded Legolas and Gandalf.

The fighting was fierce and the Necromancer ended up in the thick of it, against Boromir and Gimli, with orcs on all sides and Aragron surrounded by orcs too. I cant remember the order in which they fell, but Legolas went first I think. Boromir lost his fight and the Necromancer laid the killing blow with Drain Soul, Boromir being out of Might and failing his lone Fate roll. And subsequently Gimli also fell to the Necromancer. Legolas and Gandalf also both fell surrounded and cut down by warg riders and spiders... Only Aragorn stood alone in the throng at this time... But whilst all this was playing out the Hobbits were continuing on their merry jaunt, unmolested... so I was having to keep a close eye on how close they were to escaping, and how may of my own troops I had to get moving, and how much time was left...

We lashed through the last few turns, with all hobbits escaping, but hordes of orcs had also escaped, vastly outnumbering the hobbits... Aragorn had been unable to impede their massed march.

With getting max points for my reconnoitering troops, the altered Scenario VP's awarded me a 5-0 win; and thus another 24-0 in Tournie points.

Great game against Matt, and a little revenge for our last meet up at CTA! ;-)

Game 4, and the last game of the day and I was draw again Bryan Thompson, running Rivendell Elves led by Gandalf the White on Shadowfax, Arwen was along for the ride too, with Elladan and Elrohir both mounted and armoured up.

Bryan and I had had a pre tournie warm up game a couple of weeks back, where I tried out the Necromancer for only the second time, and Bryan dabbled with using Tom Bombadil in his force... it was a curious game with Bombadil facing off the Necromancer... and largely neutralising him...

Back to our game today...

Our game would be Lords of Battle... which is basically a scoring match with each kill scoring a point.

I deployed centrally up front with Bryan deploying to one rear corner...

I began by advancing towards Bryan's force and lashing away with a channeled chill soul at the grouped elves, trying to take out some archers too to reduce their return fire as I approached.

Bryan replied with Gandalf lashing back with Sorcerous Blast... to minimal effect thanks to Fury saves...

Evil continued its advance closing down the Elven force, more Chill souls  took their toll and Arwen trotted out to let off a Natures Wrath, accompanying Gandalf on his own Sorcerous exchange.

A steady toll was being inflicted on the Elves, and the orcs were passing all manner of Fury saves.

Eventually the two sides clashed in melee and started mixing it up...

The Necromancer singled out the Elven banner with a Chill Soul to remove his benefit to the elves, but elves being elves, still made an account of themselves in the ensuing melees...

When time was called we anxiously totted up the casualties and Victory Points, to find the game was a draw! I had got ahead early with my Chill Souls, but Bryan had fought back towards the end and closed the gap.

This scored us both 12 Tournie points.
A very enjoyable game.

And this pretty much wrapped up the events of Day One.

To finish off the day we submitted our votes for 'best sportsman', 'best painted', and 'best army'.

Our final standings after Day One would then see us go through to a knock out cup draw, splitting the field, the top 8 placings competing for Lord of Middle Earth and the rest for Squire of Middle Earth.

So with 2 wins, a draw and a loss, I'll see where I stand...

Tune in next time for Day Two!


  1. Sounded like a damn good day Scott, good luck tomorrow!

  2. A great day, wasn't it?
    Good luck for day 2!

  3. Nice write up of the action, good to hear you held your own against uber tactician Bryan.
    Love the fact that Matt used the fellowship, that seems to be the perfect ringer army!

  4. Sounds like you had a great day with most games going either way right upto the end. Excellent report fella.

  5. Great stuff! Looking forward to hearing about Day 2!

  6. Sounds like FUN! Our group does a few casual tournaments every year at 90min. You really have to book it to get through the game - especially if there is heavy armor involved.

  7. Great report of an excellent event by the sounds. Nice idea for making sure horde armies don't take up all the time with the army heros rule. looks like it worked well.

  8. Very fine photos. The figures and the tabletop are terrific. Sounds like you had some cracking and close games.
    I always enjoy your blog for the LOTR/ME inspiration.


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