I got a game in vs James (traditionally a committed 40k guy) at the Cavs last night. His reputation for 'hard' armies preceded him, so I felt a little guilty when he actually turned up with Rohan, rather than something Mordor with full training wheels. It's a tough balance to strike, and we've learned our lesson there - we have a rematch next week and actually confirmed both armies this time! My less than stellar performing (below 50%, in fact) Angmar vs his Mumak list.
Full nine strong Riders with Theoden
Four (?) Oathsworn Militia with Eomer
Two coys of Oathsworn Bow
Six strong Elfhelm's Riders
I had the army of the Reunited Kingdom led by the High King himself.
Four companies of Ithilien Warriors
Three Companies of Ithilien Warriors
Four Companies of Eriador Warriors
Three Companies of Anfalas Warriors
(all of these are straight WOMT)
Five Companies of Axemen of Lossarnach
Five Companies of Knights
We played Shieldwalls and James won the dice-off and chose to take the hill plus priority. I set up my full battleline, with Axemen on the left to block a likely flanking move by Elfhelm's riders over the river (diff going) and then four units of warriors to the front, with Knights in the back. It was tricky even getting out of my deployment zone, due to terrain. Most of my line advanced ok, via use of columns, popping in and out (turn 2) of defensible terrain, but the axemen just refused to double - despite having Elphir's courage 6! This led them spending too much of the game in march formation (to get through gaps and turn) and not enough in the line they needed to be to prevent Elfhelm rolling up their flanks. As expected, Elfhelm swept along beside the river. On the other flank, Eomer bravely led his militia to meet my warriors and Theoden hung back with his riders. In the shoot phase, I was showered by arrowfire, but took only light casualties. Then charges went off. Eomer's men ended up in combat with two units of my warriors. Elessar called the duel on Eomer but only landed a glancing blow. The ensuing melee saw half the milita killed, with a few casualties on the Warriors.
We got Craig over with his camera for turn two. James had priority and had me move first. Above you see Elfhelm positioned to finally get a charge in on the Axemen, if he rolls well. The militia rally from their lost fight but my warriors are swarming all about now. Elphir must have an impressive hangover or something, since he fails to properly double move his men again, this could be bad if the cav get a line on the block's flank. The Rohirrish shooting at least achieves something this time, they finish off a company of axemen, which proves quite important due to the 1" pushback. Then it's the charge phase.... I casually point out to James that sure Elfhelm is just in range for a hopeful charge, but the spearhead would now (due to shooting) take him into the front of the Axemen, who are also pikemen... He quickly gives up that idea.
Eomer's militia get hit again by Elessar and two units of warriors, no need to duel and they die to a man. As you can see from just before the charge phase above, I was a bit blocked in by terrain and the militia. James again got priority and made me move first. I tried to sort out and reface the Axemen, but they fail to double again, three turns running now. By the end of the turn 2 Move phase, Faramir has led his Knights to threaten the archers on the hill, Theoden's huge block of Riders has moved up to threaten my warriors in the centre, I have pulled back a weakened unit of warriors and put the other three up in a line with Elessar and....
...yes, surely Elphir's Axemen's time is now up? Shooting is not a major factor this turn.
Wait, what? Yes, I had priority and it is here we see that James needs to get his WOTR eye back in after playing so much 40k. He did not properly consider the Axemen charge arc and so neglected to call a heroic charge to beat me in. Frankly, he was over casual in a number of ways, since Elfhelm's boys have a big move and a banner. He pays mightily, Elphir has a lot to prove after his earlier failures and he has four companies of 2HW, Epic Strike and a duel to do it with. Theoden charges in on the warriors and then Faramir counter-charges the flank. Theoden has stacked up the abilities so the whole block of riders is fight 6.
In the fight phase, James sees the writing on the wall and calls 'Epic Sacrifice' with Theoden. I still go through with the duel (I had called two actions at start of phase, so the might was committed) using Faramir and also a Heroic fight. Theoden dies to the duel, but does his job. The Cav actually win the fight in the end, taking only light losses due to the sacrifice of their King.
However, Elfhelm dies, badly, and the duel takes out many horse. The 2HW butcher the rest.
So we do make it to turn four. The block of Riders in the middle and the bowmen are largely intact, but all of their heroes are gone. The Knights take down the bow on the hill and I hit the riders from two sides and chew through them in melee.
Good game, James. Well see how my Carn Dum warbands fare in the hot south vs a Mumak, eh?
There were a lot of interesting games at the Cavs this week. In 'our' section of the room, we had two other games of WOTR (Elves vs Isengard, Beige Wizard wins! Gondor vs Fallen Realms, Mumak wins!) and two games of FOW. Dave's HG PzGren took down Stephen's Tigerkompanie and Chris' 'Panzerpioneers' (IHAS) eventually saw off Craig's US Paras. Craig has a report on the game at his blog.
I'm also really pleased with my new bases. WOTR is so much easier with all the guys stuck to their bases and casualties marked with a die. Easy to deploy, easy to transport and less fiddly to move and lean on slopes. I also like that I can vary the troop formations.