Monday, June 20, 2011

Batrep WOTR: (Houseruled) Gondor vs Easterlings

It was me vs newish player Ray at the Cavs, over a week ago now - the aftershock having interrupted regular blogging. Ray has had these boys for a while but I am not sure if they have had an outing on the tabletop since last we two met in battle. We decided to give my proposed 1000pt tournament guidelines a try. So I was limited to the one decent Epic Hero, though he could take both Khamul the Easterling, and Amdur - Lord of Blades. I had (left to right) Four Coy Warriors of Eriador (WoMT), King Elessar, Four Coy Knights of Minas Tirith, Three Coy White Mountain Rangers, Four Coy Axemen of Lossarnach, Four Coy Osgiliath Veterans and Six Coy Warriors of Minas Tirith. Ray had: Morgul Knights,, with Knight Commander, Four Coy Easterling Pikemen with Dragon Knight and Amdur, Four Coy Easterling Pikemen with Dragon Knight and Khamul, Four Coy Corsair Arbalesters and Three Coy Haradrim Raider Cav. Ray did not take a hero in the Arbalesters but I suspect he will be in future. We gave the 1000 pt tournament guidelines another trial.

Turn 1: Ray won the roll off so deployed first and elected to move first in turn one. Both our moves were straight advances, closing the distance between our lines. Khamul tried some magic but Lt Cirion used 3+ Will of Iron to negate it. I did fire off the Osgiliath Vets' bows, using heroic shoot, but bowfire vs Shields is pretty ineffective. Not so ineffective as a crossbowman shooting on the move without might though! I really hung back on my left flank.Waiting to see if the Easterlings would stick out their neck there.

Turn 2: saw the battle lines hit. Ray had priority and initiated the charges. The ensuing melee saw him down a coy of Easterlings. King Elessar had led the Rangers on to the hill, to heroic shoot, so did not join in the fun that turn. As you can see, Ray has a cunning arrowhead thing going on, which I totally failed to see at the time. So he was only engaging my centre, while refusing to battle at the flanks. I had a lot of wasted troops on either wing.
Turn 3: I had priority and opted to go second. Ray's Haradrim raiders were obviously tired of living, so raced forward. The mutual exchange of bow fire did little and I actually think the Easterling forgot spell casting entirely. I have sent Elessar to the left wing to finally try and get something happening over there. The Rangers are now in that wood, shooting out at the Morgul knights. The Corsair Arbalesters again move forward. I would mind crossbow much less in this game if it did that more often. Bowfire has already weakened the Haradrim raiders and the huge Warriors of Minas Titrith formation to their flank closes the deal. Meanwhile, two formations of Pikemen, led by Amdur and Khamul, are slowly but surely grinding my centre. See those Morgul Knights hanging back to screen the flanks, but not engaging?

Turn 4: Ray had priority and opted to go second. So I 'cleverly' sent the Knights of Minas Tirith around the far left to circle the wood (with the Rangers). Meanwhile, I put Elessar in the Warriors of Eriador and sent them up to finally get some of my left wing into charge distance of the Easterling line. Ray decided to ignore my Knights entirely and positioned some Easterlings to block Elessar's unit. Meanwhile, Khamul's magic went to work on the remnants of the Osgiliath Vets and the Arbalesters finally got to shoot up some of my warriors. Melees then went in. Elessar got some kills on the tough Easterlings but the overall outcome was that both the Axemen and the Osgiliath Vets were shattered and combat ineffective. There goes my centre!

Turn 5: I had priority and tried to get the jump on Ray's Morgul Knights with the Warriors of Eriador. Khamul's Easterlings in the centre saw off the remnants of the Osgiliath Veterans but the Axmen pulled back while the Corsairs kept up a rain of arbalest bolts on my right wing. The outcome of all of this was that the Warriors of Eriador got hit by a heroic charge from the Morgul Knights (Evil won the roll off) and that meant that Easterlings were able to sneak by Elessar's men and kill off more Axemen. The Vets died to a man. However, the Morgul Knights had suffered turns of bowfire and Elessar clove the remnants with Anduril.

Turn 6: Now I was out for blood. Easterlings had priority and went second, which is the best position to run away. Both of us could see that, whatever else, the lack of my centre meant that I could try charging the left wing accross to have Elessar pursue Khamul. Arbalest fire kept whittleing down my right wing, while Khamul used magic to finish the Axemen, then proceeded to leg it. No melees that turn!
Turn 7: Elessar's troops fail to double across and the Easterlings manage to escape the noose. I also sent the Knights out, but after two turns racing to the Arbalesters' flank, they are 1/2 " short (and we diced for it the line call - I lost) of an extreme range charge. Khamul manages to get a solid charge into what the Arbalesters left me of the Warriors. That was the end of them.

Elessar is too far off to catch Khamul, who finished off the right wing, having gobbled up the centre, then sauntered off to call it a day. On VPs, the win went to Ray.

That was a great game and Ray is good fun to play against. Easterlings are tough but expensive - though the Arbalester and Khamul costs balance that somewhat. I really needed to be much more on top of my game to win here - since I think we can all agree I lost to an opponent who kept his battle line set right and was happy to let me wander off in random directions with key units! What's more, I was lucky that Ray forgot his spells half the time (and only used Khamul's ability when I kept reminding him), not to mention moving Arbalesters without being able to Heroic Shoot them. There would have been some even bigger holes in my units with a couple more turns of xbow fire thrown in. Cheers Ray, till next time....


  1. Excellent report, and good pictures. Nicely laid out for the blog aswell.
    And very interesting to see how the Easterling perform. I have a few boxes of Fallen Realms stuff to get assembled and tried out sometime...

  2. I am envious of your fallen realms collection. The one thing that perturmbs me about GWs new online sales policy is that I really wanted some boxes of Easterlings (and some Uruks) to get Evil armies done, since there are no good historicals substitutes. Though, come to think of it, if we use my restrictions on Epic Heroes all the time, I reckon I can make Elves work!

    Easterling Pike is expensive but tough. And Corsair Arbalests are inexpensive but lethal. Morgul Knights (another on my to-buy list) are a pretty cool idea and would be my favourite cavalry unit in the game, all things considered. So given the quality of their heroes, it is definitely a strong list. I think it is definitely more visually appealing than Mordor.

  3. What I like about the concept of Fallen Realms, is the fact that they can be fielded very well well by themselves, yet also make a perfect ally force to include on table with Mordor, obviously against all things Gondor. So I also need to get my Gondor stuff painted up so I can host in-house games too!
    Ah yes Morgul knights. They look sinister and deadly, yet I have rarely got the best out of them. I think in about 5-6 games I have only ever managed to one successful charge off with them against enemy infantry... Against elves they get the proverbial kitchen sink thrown at them (spells and shooting), and against Gondor they usually get to face down Boromir mounted with his Knights of Gondor...its not pretty... Epic Duel with Epic Strike against their captain, and they are gone...
    Ok I hear you cry, don't take the captain, but then they can't At-the-double...

  4. Hi Scott, Cav can work, if you put them as part of a many unit line. Also, I think it is worth bearing in mind (and I should follow my own advice) that Cavalry wasn't really ever an arm that could just smash the infantry line from the start.

    I have found cavalry much more useful once I took another WOTR player's advice: stopped putting heroes of any kind with it, started using it in a strictly backup role, in small 3-4 coy unit and kept it well screened. Since it works so closely with infantry anyway, it has plenty of move, without doubling.

  5. Further to that, Scott (I don't know if you have read it already but I linked to it for somebody else), HRM over at onering posted up a good thread and I generally follow his advice with cav:

  6. Yeah thats probably good advice. I cant help but see the movie imigery of glorious cavalry charges crushing all before them... until Braveheart picked up his pikes, that is...
    I must learn learn perhaps to use cavalry in a suppporting role rather than leading from the front attacking role...