My first LotR SBG report posted here - hope you all enjoy it!
LotR or WotR battle report:
Today a friend and I played what turned out to be a nail-biter of a 500 point Domination scenario between his Elves of Lorien and my Mirkwood beasts.
In Domination, one scores the usual victory points for killing the opposing leader or breaking the enemy's morale, but the majority of the available victory points come from controlling the five objectives spread out all over the battlefield. It's my favorite scenario, I think, because one has to make all kinds of interesting decisions about how to divide your forces to go for this or that objective and/or combine them to most effectively fight your opponent; and then the battle is usually won or lost not in one big scrum, but in several small, sharp firefights for control of the objectives. Perfect for a skirmish game! And that's how this one turned out....
My friend brought two highly skilled warbands of Galadhrim (Lorien) elves, each with a mix of archers (4-ish), melee infantry with shields or spears (5-ish), and Galadhrim cavalry (3-ish), one band led by Haldir and the other by his brother Rumil. I brought a fearsome Cave Drake from the depths of Mirkwood, a pack of 8 wargs led by a wild warg chieftain, and a warband mix of wargs (7) and giant spiders (2) led by the sorcerer Druzhag the Beastcaller. Game on!
The battlefield was covered in woods and hills and old ruins with plentiful pathways between them. (IMO lots of terrain is the way to play the SBG -- two long lines of warriors crashing together over open ground gets boring in a hurry.) We each started with two objectives under our control and the fifth in a ruined building in the middle. Rumil's company started near this central objective, and I sent my Cave Drake and the wargs with the warg chieftain to attack it. Meanwhile, Druzhag sent several wargs charging at Haldir's warband, but most of those quickly died with elf arrows through their throats, so Druzhag and the rest of his nasties hung back thereafter, lurking in the woods to avoid elven bowfire. Two giant spiders, however, sped around through the underbrush to try to sneak up on one of the objectives under elven control.
The elves under Rumil didn't have much opportunity to shoot before the Cave Drake crashed forward bellowing for a meal and the wargs attacked in its wake. In the early going I rolled poorly for the Drake, who thus lost most of his fights, though his tough hide turned aside all the elf blades poking at it. And the Galadrim cavalry killed some wargs. But, perhaps inspired by a roar of wrath from the Drake, Evil soon had a masterful round of combat on that part of the field and killed about half the elves there including all the cav. Then the Cave Drake attacked Rumil and tore him apart!
And yet all was not lost for Good. On the other side of the central ruin the opposing forces had split into several different fights, and one brought a dramatic victory for the elves: a lone Galadhrim cavalry fighter charged around a small copse of woods and attacked Druzhag himself. The sorcerer motioned two wargs into position on all side of the rider -- but the elf won the combat anyway, knocked Druzhag to the ground, and skewered him! Elsewhere in the area the battling was more even, the giant spiders getting some nice kills, but with Druzhag dead, when the Evil force's morale broke, there was no one in that part of the field to rally the beasts. Several fled -- including ones contesting control of objectives. The elves, who soon "broke" too, made almost all of their courage tests, as you might expect. When the battle ended, though the Cave Drake was unwounded and gobbling up elves steadily, Evil was left with partial control of one objective (the one near the Drake), but Good held all the others, mostly thanks to their steadfast courage.
Victory to the elves of Lorien!
This close and excellent battle reminded me of why I think LotR is GW's best designed game. Well-constructed scenarios, smooth-playing game mechanics, and very cool miniature armies -- all straight out of Middle Earth! -- make it easy to play and loads of fun. Various interesting tactical situations arose in this game today, but among them it is worth noting that cavalry shined. Druzhag never would have perished had it not been for the speed and knockdown power of one daring Galadrim knight. Elsewhere when bogged down in grinding melee the cav died before making their points back. But the Druzhag attack and another rider's dash to contest a distant objective really showed what they can do. I think our mild house rule of saying cav warriors get +1 Fight value strikes just the right balance.
Looking forward to my next game!