Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WOTR @ The Cavs. 1000 Pt Isengard vs Elves 'Attack of the Corsairs'

 Andy has done some good work on a three piece model fortress for WOTR. Since it is such a cool showpiece, we gave it its first run at the Cavs, last Thursday. 1000pts of his High Elves (Galadriel, Epic Srike Twin, 4 x Cohort, 3x Galadrim w bow, 2x Woodelves, 2x Wood Elves) defending the fortress against the warriors of Dunland (Thrydan and Battlehost, 5x Huscarls, 5x Huscarls, 5x Huscarls, 4x Uruks with Cross bow, 4x Wildmen, Tainted and Dwimmerlaik allied Nazgul). We did another round of the 'Attack of the Corsairs scenario, which I am trialing for NATCON inclusion, but Andy did not take me up on my offer for him to attack!
So turn one has the Elven defenders standing their ground at the walls of the keep, as the determined Warbands of Dunland approach. I have to have a unit on each of my three edges, so my Uruks set up to the right (East), Thrydan's households troops bring up the centre (South) and Wulfgar's men follow his standard to the left (West). The warbands advance determinedly, shields held up, into the hail of Elven arrows, while the Uruks exchange fire with Elves on the walls. Mysteriously, the gates of the keep lie open, and conscious that his leadership rests on his reputation, Thrydan resolves to show no fear and press forward through that opening. The attackers take only light casualties from the rain of Elven arrows (aside from poor Rolf, who attempted some weak quip about fighting int eh shade, and was punched for his troubles!), while deadly Uruk crossbow-fire scythed down Elves on the walls above.
The fickle Elves had the initiative once more, in the second round. Wulfgar had his horn blower sound out the advance and his men readied ladders and surged toward the wall. He noted with grim satisfaction that his accompanying Wraith laid low yet more of the defenders before him - they would not hold against his assault! On the far side of the fortress, the Uruks continued to trade fire with the Elves, but now one of the main towers was joining in and casualties on the crossbows dramatically reduced their effect.

In the Centre, Thrydan gave a great battle cry and led his men forward. They had followed him for many a battle and were willing to follow the Wolf Banner..... to whatever end. The trap was sprung! High Elven Cohort met him at the gate with a wall of shields. In order to forestall an Elven countercharge, the allied Wraith attempted to cast a dark pall upon the Elven line and nearly failed (expending might). Then with a crash of bodies and a clash of steel, Wulfgar's men overrun the walls to the left, while Thrydan smashed into the thin line at the main gate.
The Elven line held there though. However, despite the fact they had priority again, the defenders faced the prospect of yet more waves of attackers as Thrydan's reinforcements approached. Wulfgar's band to the left made it over the wall and into the courtyard proper. This forced the Elven cohort to withdraw and reface, presenting a solid line for the half of the fortress that remained in Elven hands. Both sides engaged in a battle of sorcery, with the Elves on the receiving end of spells that raided their strength while sapping their lifeblood. Now Thrydan's men were in a trap, and disordered. The approach to the main gate was a killing ground for bow-fire, which could be rained down by archers from the towers into the flanks of the attackers. The Elven defenders were successful in seeing off the Uruks and also left perilously few men in Thrydan's own unit. The Cohort engaged Thrydan's unit in melee, with the Elven duelist seeking to eliminate the Wraith therein. He failed, though the warband's numbers were so further diminished. Wulfgar's troops held off a charge on the cohort, as the horns sounded to his rear - signaling the arrival of the hillmen of Dunland.

Buoyed by their burgeoning numbers, the forces of Dunland seized the initiative and pressed forward. Rollo's men were only cautiously advancing to join Thrydan, but the hillmen quickly and agilely scrambled over the walls to reinforce Wulfgar. Seeing the trap laid for him, Thrydan bid the Wraith follow and moved to join Wulfgar's men. His own Huscarls may be bottled up at the gate, but they would sell their lives dearly while he led the rest of the battlehost to victory and vengeance! All about them, Elves fell from the walls as the Wraiths wove their magic. The Elven Cohort looked on impotently, wreathed as the were in Wraith-wrought shadows. Their reckoning would come in time.

Somewhere out in the hillsides, another unit of Uruks were making their approach. However for this turn it was up to Thrydan's men to force a decision. Elves had initiative, but it would not save them. Once more, Elves were cut down by Nazgul magic, and once more the Elves failed to freeze the stout men of Dunland with their weakling sorcery's. In turn, more of Thrydan's troops piled up at the gate, felled by cowardly bow fire. Behind them, Rollo's men slowly advanced. Spurred on by the cheers of the hillmen occupying the walls above, Thrydan led Wulfgar's Huscarls in a ferocious charge upon the Elven cohort. Many of his men fell, but he accounted it a fair trade if two brought down a High-Elf in their turn. 
On the sixth turn of battle, the Elves had the initiative but were already succumbing to their natural decadent fatalism. How can you be victorious once you have acknowledged defeat in your heart? The time of Elves was about to end even earlier here as more Dunlendings swarmed toward the keep the martial beat of Uruk feet heralded their arrival to the West. The Wraiths had moved themselves to the Hillmen upon the walls, and there they went to their deathly work - eliminating the rest of the Elven bowmen from the other gate-tower. Below them, Thrydan and Wulfgar awaited the Elven charge, as they were transfixed by Galadriel's magic. They met the enemy charge with axe, spear and sword and cut the first-born down, throwing them back in disarray.

 The last turn was now a mere formality. The Wraiths decimated the Elves with magic, before the two sides me in combat once last time.

The attackers had proven too numerous and far too determined for the Elven defenders. One more chapter in their long defeat as Thrydan's fearless companions cheered on the Age of Men.

Firstly, that castle is just awesome as a gaming piece for WOTR. Andy got a LOT of compliments from wandering players at the club. He did great work with both presentation and design. Our forces sat easily on it and it can be simply expanded by future additions (though I think Andy wants to leave fortress building along for a well-earned break!).

We played it this way: Towers only hold two coys and can only be approached via their marked doors. Gates were played as open and both walls had ladders ready to allow a charge against them. We allowed units to overflow the wall when occupying (since only three bases would fit there) and that logic might be extended to towers - though that could get visually confusing. The towers overlooked everything and allowed bow in them to shoot the flanks of units approaching the main gate. All positions gave def 3 to units occupying, except for the inside facing of the walls - which allowed units to fire from one wall top position to hit troops on the other.

I think he found the experience of holding the fortress with Elves a little dispiriting. However, next time he can take the offer to attack (if used at NATCON, I would always give Elves and Rohan the option to attack) instead of defending the admittedly appealing defensive position. Wave attacks would square things up pretty well. It is possible that it was too easy to assault the walls, and I might try it with attackers having to set ladders for a turn, though most armies would find it easier to hold a line than Elves would.

The Raven (Rollo's slow troops) and Mythical Beast  (Wulfgar's brave heroes) flags are from Roy's excellent Viking flags.

Cheers for a great game on great terrain, Andy!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is fantastic! Another great job by Andy!