The game quickly settled down into a grind after Ray's cavalry was seen off by by Andy's flank-force. However, in the process, Ray had Andy's remaining troops boxed in on the other side of the board. Andy had, due to my tournament restrictions, opted for Gothmog and a Shaman over a Wraith, so was struggling to extricate himself from the jaws of the Easterling's trap.
Turn after turn, he'd charge those tough formations, only to be beaten back. Ray's Easterlings in the wood always seemed to be steadfast too.
Andy's Mordor force is good in a stand up fight but Easterlings are tough and give as good as they get once Mordor are denied their multi-wraith boosts. Andy feels that the hero restrictions were a little over-done, so I would modify them a little next time.
Next game was my army of Gondor up against Andy's legions of Mordor. This was a 'High Ground' (the capacity 4 tower in the middle) using battle for the pass deployment.
Andy's Mordor army outnumbered me and had a nice hill for his artillery park. On the other hand, Aragorn has 'Epic Teleport'. I won the crucial second turn priority roll and got my Osgiliath Veterans into the objective building. These make a good objective holder, being tough, immune to terror, able to shoot out, and the hero has three might for 'Will of Iron'.
Andy responded by massing the legions of Orcs in a number of charges against the tower walls. While the tower did make me hard to kill, it was capacity 4 but with a straight edge so he was always fighting with three companies to my two. The tower afforded me good opportunities to shoot up his orcs and I even brought some rangers up the flanks to whittle the 2HW Orcs down more. In the meantime, he just couldn't shift me. Like last game, I got 'steadfast' the first combat I lost then managed to win combats after that through bringing my supporting units to bear. I used might to shrug off some spells from the sole Darkness caster - a mighty Shaman. .
Then, Aragorn used Epic Teleport to lift himself and five bases of Axemen behind the artillery on the hill. Once he had finished with them, he went merrily rampaging back toward the board center, where he ended up joining a unit of Knights and thundering in to win the final combat of the game.
Since Martin was still tied up with the EQC we ran a multi player game by roping in the event organiser - a guy who was apparently called something like the 'Dark Lord of Ipswich' (I've probably got the place wrong) when he ran a game-store back in the UK. We had the forces of good and the battle went well - until the 'Dark Lord of Ipswich' managed to lose Aragorn to Amdur, Lord of Blades.
The pic to the right illustrates my problem well. I am going to have to advance into a wall of Pike to seize that objective and the pike line has its flank anchored by Corsair arbalesters. Nasty.
One early highlight, seen in the pic below, was that the Morgul knights got pinned in front of my lines and crushed. That was as good as a got though. I tried turning the other flank using Axemen with Faramir leading them but they lost a duel to Amdur, who didn't have the decency to kill him - just heaps of his men. Then the target of the duel, Khamul, won as well, killing Farmir that time. The Axemen then got creamed and the pike rolled ever forward. I found myself really missing the ability to teleport a unit behind the front lines!
So he won that game and I need to go back to having more flexibility in my list. Sure the deployment suited the wall of Shields and Pikes but an army isn't balanced if it can't handle its likely opponents in one of the three deployments.
The mists of time have shrouded all memory of the lists involved, sorry. I particularly want to forget the forgettable Gondor list I took the last time around!
Thanks for reading.