Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Batrep WOTR: (Houseruled) Gondor vs Misty Mountains

 I managed to squeeze some WOTR into the packed gaming schedule - and I am very glad I did, since it reaffirmed why I like this game so much. The key to this was playing with houserules but we also both (without planning it) restricted ourselves to a single Epic Hero each, which made a for a great game. So the other lesson I take away from this is that, even if houserules are not used, a restriction on Epics is a benefit to the game.
Jason had the goblins of the Misty Mountains (arrayed at the top of the pic), led by the Beastcaller. I took the doughty soldiers of the reunited Kingdom (arrayed at the bottom), led by King Elessar himself. Jason's forces included a couple of formations of Spiders, a big formation of normal Goblins with Shields (not power-gaming the proxied Blackshields) and a formation of Goblin Bow. He also had a couple of Monstrous Giant Spiders, which apparently aren't technically terror causing - I changed that in a hurry! I had a two formations of men-at-arms, one of rangers, two small unit of knights, one of allied Riders of Rohan, and one of Axemen of Lossarnach. Somewhat appropriately (I thought) we played 'High Ground' AKA 'King of the Hill'. Whoever held that ruin in the middle at the end would win - though I also award this win to a formation that throws an enemy out at the end of the game, but is too big to occupy.
 Turn 1 - both sides push forward. We are too far off to engage without our single Epics each really sticking out their necks or the monsters charging off in a forlorn hope. Druzhag tries magic on the Rangers, but Elessar negates it - then heroic shoots with the Rangers. The archers - archers! - also exchange bow fire. My snow camouflaged Rangers are appalling but the Riders show them the way.
 Second turn was more interesting. Jason went first and while both of our forces held off on the right flank - with my riders shooting bow, to back the Rangers in the wood, who again benefit from the iron will of the King. Then Jason's forces smash into my right flank. It is messy, but I hold.
 Turn 3. It is getting 'serious' now. I throw all of the horse on the right flank forward. I'm not sure, but I think I catch the cavalry commander throwing some line about 'red shirts' at me as he leads the Knights and Rohirrm forward to tackle Druzhag and his spiders. Its not important though, I am expecting my infantry on the left to hold (with the remaining knights to back them up), the infantry on the right to sneak into that wood in the goblin deployment zone and my Axemen lurk there in the centre, ready to be joined by King Elessar and really butcher anyone who dares to occupy that ruin. Again, we all exchange bow fire and then clash in melee.
 Here is that melee. I am a clever, clever commander. I'm not sure what 'red shirts' means but it sure is not good to be those cavalry. Perhaps I have some repressed childhood aversion to horses? The melee... well, see next picture.
 Turn 4. Freed of the clutter of all that cavalry, I am now unburdened and able to move at will. Ahem. However, I still hold the wood covering the objective, still have the axemen, and the rest of the infantry still live... though some spiders have magically appeared on the rightmost infantry's flank. Druzhaaaag! I decide that the small remnant of the horse will be useful to act as a roadblock on enemy units - this turn. Amazingly, I manage to prevent a flank charge by the spiders and in fact beat them off in melee, with light casualties.
 Turn 5. Now, we move. King Elessar leads the Rangers out of the forest, which the Axemen occupy. Next turn, they will occupy the objective. Druzhag is hanging right back, rightfully fearing death at the tip of Anduril and the Kings will shields his Rangers from some of the magics that are directed his way. On the left, it is musical chairs all around, but the point of the exercise is the hold the flank, and it holds. To the right, sigh, a monstrous Giant Spider has got in on the act. Not good. However, those men-arms live to fight again!
 Turn 6. Now the King leads the Rangers into the Ruin and the Goblins begin to focus on evicting them. There is a furious combined assault on their position - and the will of men nearly falters - until the King comes out swinging, cuts a swathe through the surrounding goblins and drives off both them and their supporting Giant Spider. I bet those boys wish their leader wasn't such a coward, and would get stuck in to help them out!
 Turn 7, frustrated, the Goblins have to dance around that wood, Spiders being useless at attacking troops hiding in trees. On the right flank, my troops somehow won their combat vs the spiders last turn, and those spiders remain disordered. Likewise the goblins in the centre. Suddenly the Monstrous Giant spiders have become essential if the forces of the Misty Mountains are to evict me before turn 8 is over. However, Elessar and his dwindling band of Rangers hold firm and protect their position once more.
Elessar's band had successfully whittled down most of the threats and preserved his unit long enough for it to hold the ruin with sufficient strength.

It was a great game, and I really enjoyed it. It is a cool scenario - once you make the modification to allow units to potentially win by evicting a formation on turn 8. Playing with hosuerules changed the relative worth of units a lot - magic was less dominating, my men-at-arms cost more, the Rohirrm were potentially better on the charge (if only I could use them properly!) and Giant Spiders caused terror, as they should.

Cheers for the game of WOTR, Jason. Its got me keen to play more of this game again.


  1. Good report Jamie. The game definitely has a better and moire enjoyable feel I think when you impose these limits on Epic heroes. Well done!

  2. Thanks Scott, it was definitely a fun game and having just the one Epic (I'd typically run three) made me play the army differently. I think it also made Jason more protective of Druzhag.

    The list I drew up does allow multiple Epics, but to acheive that you'd need to be taking some of the less favoured ones like Eowyn, Arwyn, Hobbits, Gandalf the White, Grima and so on. I'm toying with the idea of putting the Witch-King on the restricted list but might just give him 'no man may kill me' instead, then he'd actually be a pretty good option for Evil Players.

  3. Yeah we found that, with only one Epic per force, you get protective of them, trying to decde when best to commit them. Makes it interesting.

  4. It was a really fun game Jamie, and I agree in that removes the worst combos by only allowing one epic. It also makes placement of that "inspiring leader" bubble very important as he can't be everywhere!

    Does nerf the elves a bit though, as if anyone needs there epic combos its them! Though they might be ok with the level playing field.

    I also like how basic captains are viable now as they are alot less likely to be epic strike fodder