Sauron knew The Ring was abroad. He ordered his minions in Dol Guldur to be on alert. One of the Nine mounted a coal-black steed and led forth from that tower of sorcery a search party. An orc taskmaster whipped along 19 orcs; two warg riders scouted ahead; walking besides the Black Rider at the back was one of the fell Castellans of Dol Guldur, slaves to the Ring like the Nazgul.

Far they journeyed in their search, even across Anduin the Great into the East Emnet of Rohan. But there, in the land of the Horse Lords, the two warg rider scouts were spotted by the patrolling éored of Eomer. Eomer selected the swiftest and deadliest of his riders to ride after them, thinking them but a pair of horse rustlers. When the Rohirrim pursued them to an abandoned farmhouse they came upon the Nazgul's entire party of 24 orcs and spirits. Would Eomer and his 12 riders be enough to defeat them?


Riders of Rohan vs. Searchers from Dol Guldur

A friend and I just played a smallish, 350-point LotR scenario. He had the idea for the story, and I drew up the two lists. The single-warband Rohan list was the riskiest: with only 13 models, a scenario favoring large numbers could cause it real problems. Just a few casualties would break it, and with Eomer the lone leader there were only 3 Might points available. On the plus side, they were speedy and about the most fearsome collection of Riders to be had: 5 bow-armed Riders; 5 mounted Royal Guard, one with a banner; two Sons of Eorl; and the upgraded Eomer with extra strength, attacks, wounds, Will, and Fate.

The Nazgul's list was more balanced, consisting of 3 warbands: the Nazgul leading 10 orcs (6 of them archers), the Taskmaster leading 9 orcs and the two warg riders, and the Castellan (by rule) on his own.

My friend chose to play the Dol Guldur minions.

The scenario we rolled was Hold Ground! -- a nice one for the lone-warband Riders in terms of deployment, since all warbands randomly show up on this or that board edge, meaning the swift riders could possibly strike at a fraction of the Mordor force before the evil whole could coalesce; but the scenario would favor the much larger Mordor force in victory conditions, since most victory points would be scored by having large numbers of models near a central objective when the game ends. As it turned out, the two main Mordor warbands had to deploy at opposite corners of the battlefield -- perfect for Eomer's elite horsemen, who would aim to destroy them one at a time.

In the early going the Rohirrim rode hard toward the board center (where a hobbit model -- the Ringbearer?? -- marked the central objective). Bow-armed Riders shot effectively, killing one warg rider and slaying the mount of the other; the orc archers were not yet in range. The Sons of Eorl used their superior speed to head off the mounted Nazgul, who had tried to join with the Castellan and Taskmaster's party, but was forced to return to his own group of orcs or risk getting slain at the outset of the fight. Seeing the Nazgul's retreat, the Rohirrim turned to assault the Taskmaster & Castellan's group of orcs. They had taken a defensive position by the wall of a farm building -- the horsemen fell upon them with a vengeance. Eomer slew the Taskmaster in the first round of combat, and most of the orcs were dead by the end of the second. Only the Castellan posed a challenge, killing two Riders in a single combat round and looking for more.

With the Taskmaster and his orcs mostly slain, the Mordor force was precariously close to breaking, which could end the game in a hurry. Thus Eomer and most of his men (a few remained behind to slay straggler orcs and deal with the Castellan) wheeled around to gallop to the board center to contest the central objective. There the Nazgul and his orcs awaited them. The Nazgul magically sapped Eomer's Will, then Transfixed him two turns in a row, making sure he would have no part in the final fight around the objective. However, the seven Rohirrim who did make it to the area of the hobbit proved to be more than a match for the orcs defending it, slaying some and driving back the Black Rider. When the game ended, the number of horsemen in the area around the objective tied the Mordor troops; but since the Riders had broken the morale of the orcs without themselves breaking, they won the scenario by a few points.

The forces of Good triumph!

Yet another tactically rich situation set up here, and the game proved to be close and very entertaining. Luck was probably fairly even overall, but the initial good fortune for Rohan of rolling this scenario and then seeing the Mordor forces split in two upon deployment meant that, probably, the game was Rohan's to lose from the start: a hard-hitting, one warband, all-cav force was made for just this circumstance, where it could pick on the most vulnerable looking enemy warband(s), beat 'em up, and still have enough speed to make it make to board center to contest the objective. The Nazgul and Castellan were effective, but the orcs, on foot, charged by cav, never with superior numbers, could do little to resist the Rohirrim onslaught. Orc archery accomplished nothing.


Beaten by the flaxen-haired riders, the few surviving orcs fled the battlefield into the woods. The Nazgul and Castellan, both unbowed, followed. They never got a chance to seize the recumbent hobbit by the tree to see if it held the master's One Ring. Instead, the cursed Riders of Rohan got the prize. The Dark Lord would not be pleased....