This is the first battle report I’ve posted here. We played the game specifically with writing a battle report in mind, and wrote it as we played…which probably hampered our strategic thinking. Next time Ill have a third party record things.
Anyway, we decided to keep it small for the first one and gradually get to bigger forces…although seeing how terribly 500 pts went, I may just skip straight to 1000 next time. Played this against my brother (JP) at a weekly game night. We had just played Fallen Realms vs Elves last time, so we wanted to do something different, which was part of the motivation for choosing smaller forces: a third of my Mordor force is ‘in progress’ as I’ve been repainting stuff.
Gondor – 550pts
2c warriors of minas tirith w/captain
1c archers of minas tirith w/captain
3c knights of minas tirith
3c rangers of minas tirith
2c army of the dead
2c orcs w/ shields
3c orcs w/2H weapons w/captain and banner
1c orcs w/bows
2c warg riders w/bows
3c warg riders w/shields
The Shadow Lord
The board was a 6x4, probably a bit big for the army size, but the usual one we play with, set-up with two rock formations of impassable terrain in the southwest corner, a piece of ruined pillars defensible terrain that could hold 2 companies in the southeast, a hill for 1 company and a stone pillar in the northeast, two sets of woods, one to hold 1 company one to hold 2, in the northwest, and a ruined building that held 2 companies in the center.
We rolled The High Ground for the objective, which is my least favorite of the three objective types, and the one I play the least frequently, but oh well. We decided the ruins were the High Ground and rolled Maelstrom for the deployment. Uhg. I hate maelstrom. Again, it’s my least favorite game type, I’m no good at it, and it’s particularly poorly suited to small games. As you’ll soon see.
We rolled for priority and JP rolled a 6, but passed-off the first ‘move in’ rolls to me. Oh joy.
The game started with me rolling a 1 and a 2 for the Warriors of Minas Tirith (with Pippin) formation and the Archers of Minas Tirith. Bad start so far. Apparently Pippin had slowed the group down with stopping for elvenses.
The Rangers moved onto the field in the very center of the northern edge, headed straight towards the ruins to try and get a good defensive position early-on. The Army of the Dead then entered from the eastern edge, coming-in at the northeast corner and at an angle to attack any evil forces that might try and flank the vulnerable Rangers. The Knights of Minas Tirith followed them, and entered in the center of the eastern edge and proceeded to reverse direction 10” in, with 2 companies in front and one behind, to charge any would-be attackers, their northern flank protected by the massive stone pillar.
Soon the Mordor Orcs w/shields arrived, led by the Shadow Lord, cruelly charging directly behind the angled Army of the Dead. :-( A terrible blow to the forces of good. The Shadow Lord proceeded to call upon his terrifying visage and cast Sunder Spirit on the AotD.He rolled a 6…-3 to the ghosts’ courage! He barely passed his focus roll and managed to cast Visions of Woe on the surprisingly terrified ghosts, who took 3 hits when they failed their courage test, quaking from the might of the Nazgul. The SL attempted to cast Visions again but this time the ghosts held firm with double 6s on their courage test, not to be swayed by any more of the Ringwraith’s sorcery.
To the south, the Orc archers had just entered by the lower edge and moved full-speed up to the edge of the defensible ‘ruined pillars’, seeking the shelter of the fallen stones. The bestial Warg Riders with shields and the Mordor Troll both entered from the western edge, the troll taking-up a position within the largest wooded area and the wargs moving at full-speed towards the central ruins. The wargs with bows then entered from the southern edge, moving at half -speed along the eastern side of the ruined pillars. Lastly, the orcs armed with 2H weapons charged-in from the western edge, their captain goading them into column formation along the northern edge of the forest, headed towards the mannish Rangers in the center of the field.
The only formation able to fire, the wargs with bows, took aim at the mighty knights of Minas Tirith, needing 6’s with their strength of 1 from that such a range (despite shooting at the un-shielded flanks), and only caused 1 hit, a glancing blow shrugged-off by the foremost knight.
With none of the good forces facing their enemies (idiots), evil took command. The Shadow Lord’s formation assaulted the Army of the Dead in their rear, passing their courage test (and the ghosts barely passing theirs with a 9).
The battle was bloody (if ghosts bled), as the SL’s formation caused 7 hits (out of 19 dice lol) and the ghosts terror-blades killed only 2 measly orcs in return. Disordered, the AotD fell-back 3” towards the northern edge, while the SL’s orcs cheered greedily for more killing.
I again rolled a 1 for priority this turn…terrible terrible luck this game. JP started the turn by rushing his cowardly orc archers into the ruined pillars and taking-up firing positions towards the knights of Minas Tirith. The bow-armed Wargs moved closer to the knights along the easter pillars’ edge, while the Shadow Lord advanced At The Double to block the northeastern corner (in case Pippin arrived nearby). The Shadow Lord then cast Sunder Spirit on the Rangers past the AotD, passing his focus and barely casting SS again with a roll of 2, but thankfully he failed his final focus roll. The Rangers could thank Illuvitar that all they suffered was a drain to their will. In the west, the 2H weapon Orcs charged across the northern edge of the forests but again failed their ATD roll, refusing to be motivated by their captain’s lash. Too bad :-)
Meanwhile, the troll decided to leave the cover of the forest and loped across the gap towards the nearby grove of trees, hoping to get around the Rangers’ line of fire. To his south the shielded Warg riders charge forward howling, eager for Ranger blood.
When it came to good’s turn Pippin’s formation again failed to show. They’d stopped for luncheon I think. Thankfully the archers of Minas Tirith were not beguiled by his hobbit food-charms and stumbled onto the western edge of the table, moving full speed towards the swiftly-shrinking wargs with shields.
In the east, the AotD were able to keep it together and re-formed to face the Shadow Lord’s formation in their corner. The Rangers in the center advanced south, straight towards the ruins, hoping to take-up a blocking position nearby. The knights, meanwhile, wheeled bravely to face the hideous warg archers.
JP’s orc archers peeked-out from their ruined pillars and shot at the knights, managing to score only a single hit at range, and the warg bowmen had no time to fire as their beasts charged forwards
For my own part, the heroic captain of Gondor managed to heroically shoot with his archers and hit one fleeing warg rider in the back, despite the immense distance, scoring a small victory for the forces of good.
Fresh from destroying so many ghosts last turn, the Shadow Lord whipped his orcs forward to assault the AotD again, but oddly enough the orcs found that facing an enemy head-on was too much for their tiny hearts, and they failed their charge roll with a miserable 1.
The warg archers were thankfully able to keep their stomachs, however, and charged into the Minas Tirith knights with an Unstoppable Charge and 2 additional dice. My own AotD also failed their courage test to assault the SL, apparently still feeling the pain of their friend’s departed souls.
In combat now, the warg archers killed a single heroic knight, who in turn killed a single bow-armed warg rider. Equally matched, both formations moved back to charge again.
Finally my luck turned a bit, as I rolled a 6 for priority despite JP’s second 5 in a row.
Pippin, plump and happy after 3 morning meals, finally arrived on the northern edge of the field, entering by the corner to face the Shadow Lord’s cornered formation. The AotD were able to pull-back in an arc to fight alongside the heroic hobbit and face the Shadow Lord in case he tried to re-form. The knights likewise were able to wheel and trap the warg archers between them and the ruined pillars, where the orcs hiding in the ruins could only quiver in fear.
Meanwhile, the valiant Rangers wheeled 3” and entered a line formation between the grove of trees and the central ruins facing the oncoming warg riders, while the Minas Tirith archers quailed a bit at the sight of the troll and moved 3” back to guard their flank against one of the southern rock formations.
The monstrous troll, however, had no interest in such distant prey, and charged around the northern edge of the woods into a flanking position near the Rangers. The warg riders too charged straight into the gap between the woods and the ruins, eager to lay grimy old blades on Gondorian leather. The 2H weapon orcs with their screaming captain charged ATD down the northern edge of the woods, headed to attack the Halfling prince.
In the east, the Shadow Lord saw the gap left by the retreating AotD and ran ATD, lashing his orcs, towards the knights of Minas Tirith, focused as they were on the warg archers. Within range now, the SL case Visions of Woe on the unsuspecting soldiers and rolled a devastating 6, forcing them to need a 7 on a single die. The knights rolled a 4 taking 5 hits and killing two of their number as they were wracked with terrifying hallucinations. The SL proceeded to pass his focus roll and Transfixed the soldiers, although his second focus failed in his eagerness. The wargs with bows, seeing the Nazgul coming to their aid, backed 3” to the edge of the pillars and prepared to fire at the charging knights.
Gondor’s Rangers, seeing the wargs and troll closing-in, let fly at the closing warg riders but only managed to hit once as the beasts sped forwards.
To the east, the cowering orc archers let loose a volley at the charging knights but scored no hits, while the bow-armed warg riders likewise failed to penetrate the knights’ shields.
Finally, the charging, shielded warg riders tossed some throwing blades at the Rangers, killing 3 as a prelude to their assault.
Finally accomplishing something, the knights managed an Unstoppable Charge on the warg archers, with 2 dice added to their attack. Unfortunately, they only managed to kill 1 (although the wargs did nothing against the onslaught), but the orcs were steadfast and the two formations move back to re-dress their ranks, ready to fight again.
The west is quiet, as seeing the mass of heroic Men before them, the warg riders with shields fail to charge, rolling a 1, despite being only 3” away from the Rangers.
I rolled a 4 for priority and JP’s luck turned as he rolled a 2 this turn.
The turn began with Pippin’s warriors turning around and charging ATD towards the 2H weapon orcs on the north edge, hoping to prevent them flanking the Rangers. The Rangers, for their part, reformed into a single long rank and fell-back a few inches to face the warg riders and troll at once. In the east the AotD pressed forwards into charge range of the Shadow Lord’s formation, and the knights moved closer to the bow-armed warg riders. The archers of Minas Tirith likewise marched forwards towards the warg riders’ flank, but failed their ATD roll this turn, the captain’s pleading falling on deaf ears.
The Mordor troll slunk around the edge of the tree grove and was able to get to the rangers’ flank, although that put him within charging distance of Pippin’s warrior formation. The Shadow Lord, happy to ignore the slow AotD, moved ATD towards the rear of the knights’ formation, casting more Visions of Woe (barely, with a 2) on the knights. Thankfully the men of Gondor stood firm, and the SL was forced to cast VoW again. This time he rolled a 5, and used his single might point to change it to a 6. Forced to make the courage test on a single die, the knights took 3 hits, with one falling beneath the Shadow. The SL was merciless, passing another focus roll and Transfixing the knights once and for all. Meanwhile, the bow-armed wargs slid back, seeking to pin the knights between themselves and the SL.
In the west the 2H weapon orcs continued plodding towards Pippin, but failed their ATD roll, the lazy scumbags unwilling to fight in this battle. The wargs with shields moved into a line to press the Rangers, and readied their anxious steeds for combat.
The shoot phase began with the Rangers firing a volley of arrows, sadly killing only a single warg rider. Thankfully, that removed one company, forcing the wargs to fall-back 2 inches. The archers of Minas Tirith called their final heroic shoot but were only able to cause one hit on the warg riders’ flank. In response, the troll threw a pair of boulders and killed 2 Rangers, and the warg riders threw their spears, killing a single Ranger as well.
On the other side of the battlefield the orc archers failed to cause any hits on the heavily armoured knights, and the warg archers declined to shoot in favor of using their throwing weapons, which accomplished nothing.
The final phase was short and bloody. The knights, transfixed, were unable to move. Pippin failed to reach the troll when he charged, and the wargs with shields ignored their flanks to get an Unstoppable Charge on the Rangers, adding +2 dice to their attack. The troll, thankfully, failed on a 1 to charge the Rangers, although the bow-armed warg riders charged the knights, seeing them frozen and unable to move. The shielded wargs killed 3 Rangers, who in return slew two warg orcs. The Rangers were disordered but passed their courage test, falling back a measly 3 inches. The knights, meanwhile, killed 1 of the remaining 2 warg archers, removing the formation from the table. (yes, we made a mistake lol. Forgot that transfixed means ‘do nothing’. Oops).
The battle had ended with a victory for the forces of Mordor by the shielded Warg riders, as the Rangers, despite being closer to the High Ground, were disordered and unable to claim victory in their panicked state.
My final thoughts:
Firstly, did I mention that I HATE Maelstrom? Lol terrible luck for my first posted battle report. Also, this battlefield was far too large for only 500 pts…we usually play with more but I wanted to start small, thinking that would be easier to write about, and it was…if the battlefield had been smaller. Also, archery accomplished almost nothing this game, which is the opposite of what we usually experience. Pippin being so late to the table was a big blow to my forces, spread-out as they were, and the ghosts (surprise surprise) took a heavy beating by being flanked that first turn (although it’s worth nothing that they DID survive, mainly due to the heroic knights distracting JP’s Shadow Lord).
The rangers did passably, although being unable to get into the central ruins due to size really hampered them.
For me the man of the match was the Minas Tirith Archers’ captain. He was the only one to redeem their late arrival, and actually managed to help them kill some wargs too.
Main mistakes were having the knights of Minas Tirith go flouncing off to attack the warg archers. No idea what made me think that was a good idea :-\ Likewise I should have had the ghosts come into the center with the Rangers, since they at least would have been able to get into the ruins. Overall, bad dice rolls and terrible luck with the Maelstrom set-up cost me the game. Lol and my stupid use of the knights.
JP’s final thoughts:
Having Pippin arrive late was nice and all, but once he arrived so close to the Shadow Lord he actually prevented my wiping-out the AotD, as the orcs wouldn’t have been able to survive an attack by both the MT warriors and the AotD. When I moved him away it ended-up working to my advantage, as I was able to draw the ghosts away from the objective and attack the knights simultaneously. The orc archers did nothing, again, not our usual experience, and the 2H weapon orcs did even worse. The troll, although an overall failure, at least managed to kill 2 Rangers with thrown stones. The shield wargs did alright, although their failed charge cost them some kills. The Shadow Lord of course did well, although all of his focus rolls were bare successes.
Overall man of the match was the warg archers, who were able to distract and hold-off the knights almost the entire game, when the knights would otherwise have made the fight for the High Ground harder on my warg riders.
There wasn’t much I could have done differently…most of my failures were due to terrible rolls and a lot of failed charges. If we’d had larger forces or my troll/2H orcs/warg riders with shields had started on one of the long edges closer to the center things would have gone much differently. But at least I passed those focus rolls :-)