Thursday, April 29, 2010

Up Elve's Creek

Two posts in two days. Wow!

Mark came over today for another game of War of the Ring. It was essentially a re fight of the last battle we had with a few minor differences. Instead of taking the wood elf King, Mark went with Haldir, who, as we shall see, is pretty hot with a bow. This also gave him the points to buy another company of Elves, giving them two formations with two companies each. The terrain was also slightly different with a branch to the creek, one larger patch of forest and a few extra spots of difficult terrain. My forces were unchanged from the last game.

My account of the game will essentially be a description of the high (and low) points that occur ed, rather than a turn by turn account. A lot happened in the game and it would be difficult to relate it all.

My set up was different than last game, with Vrashku's Talons on the far left flank, followed by Saruman in a formation of two companies of Uruk-hai Phalanx, next to whom were a three company formation of Uruk-hai Warband. Within the forks of the creek was a four company formation of Orcs and a two company formation of Uruk-hai scouts with bows.

The big patch of forest was right in front of the Talon's and, I having won Priority for the first turn, moved them in at the double. The forest had a capacity of three, so they would be able to shoot at full strength. All of my other forces advanced as best they could. The amount of terrain made things interesting for manoeuvring. My first turns shooting went well, taking out almost a whole company of Rohan bowmen who were hiding in a nearby patch of woods. A lot of his cav was on my far right flank, but they did not move into an offensive position as they were worried about Vrashku and his crossbows. Mark's return fire killed some of the Uruk-hai scouts on my left flank who had moved to far to shoot. They were subsequently charged and wiped out by a unit of Rohan Royal Knights. I had advanced too far forward and they paid the price. That hurt and left a group of cav menacing my large Orc formation.

I decided to turn the orcs around to face the knights so they wouldn't be charged in the rear. This turned out to be a huge mistake as every bow in range shot them in their poorly protected rear, also wiping them out. The cav didn't even have to charge them. My right flank had effectively ceased to exist.

Back on the right things were a bit of a see saw. The Berserkers were acting as a meat shield for Saruman's Phalanx while he moved into spell casting postion. Despite this, some of the Elven archers were able to draw a bead on him and took down some pike Uruks, despite Saruman casting Aura of Blinding Light. The Rohan bowmen had wisely retreated behind the forest leaving me with no targets. The Elves had a special cloak rule which meant I could only shoot them at a range of 12" or less.

Mark's cavalry on the left were moving into position for their inevitable charges, but he found the crowded terrain somewhat limiting. Saruman had found a position with had both of his flanks covered by forest, which meant pretty much any charges would come from the front, and the pikes would negate any charge bonus. He tried to hammer one formation of Riders of Rohan, lead by Erkenbrand, first with Exsiccate boosted by Epic Ruination. I rolled quite well on the number of hits, but, as it was a friendly game, I reminded Mark that he could use Will of Iron to resist the spell effect, which he did. I then hit him with a Bolt of Fire, for which I rolled a 6 for spell effect which would have meant D6+3 strength 9 hits (!), but he spent another point of might and resisted the spell (Damn!). Finally, I tried to Immobilise the formation, but on the subsequent charge he managed to roll under his strength value and was able to make the charge. If Mark had not have used Will of Iron that formation would have been wiped out for sure. I think it was one of the deciding points of the game because that unit would cause me a lot of grief later on. At least I got him to burn off most of his might.

On the left, Vrasku's Talons, after much waffling on my part, had left cover to try for a shot at the elves, but could only bring one company to bear. The Troll Captain lumbered forward out of some woods suddenly menacing a lot of Mark's units. I had lost priority so called heroic shoots with both the Talon's and the Troll. Mark called an Epic Shot with Haldir, and won the roll to see who went first. He did three Epic Shots with Haldir which wiped out the Talons. We felt something was wrong with this and on reading over the rules we realized only one point of might could be expended per phase. So, the Talon's miraculously returned to the board. Instead, he used his single Epic Shot on the troll, which almost survived the onslaught of arrows, but Mark used Haldir's last point of might to bump a die roll, finishing the troll off. My return fire, despite expending a point of might to use Take Aim, only killed four elves, much to my chagrin. The Bersekers managed to charge the archers who had moved back into the woods and wiped them out to a man.

On the next turn the berserkers moved right right in front of a unit of Riders lead by Eomer. At first they were going to be a nasty speed bump, but I used Saruman's Overlord ability to allow them to do a heroic charge. Eomer also declared a heroic charge, but I won the die roll. Eomer's unit also failed it's courage check for being charged by a unit that caused terror, reducing their fight to zero. Eomer expended his last point of might for a heroic strike, but only managed to kill one berserker. The remaining four (some had been killed by archery fire in previous turns) must have been really pissed off. The rolled a "Carnage Unbound" on their special table which increased their strength to 10 and the rolled a five for their charge bonus. I also had a plus one on my attacks because of two handed weapons. This meant I had something like 12 dice, hitting on 2's. The attack took out six riders, and Eomer came very close to being taken out. On the next turn he would move to a larger unit of Riders.

Mark charged Saruman's Phalanx with the cav that had weathered the magic storm. Originally he wasn't going to because the pike negated the riders charge bonus but he realized he could call out Saruman in a heroic duel. Saruman only managed to roll a two for the duel and Mark rolled a six, giving him 4 rolls on the chart. This wiped out Saruman and all but five of the Phalanx who were then killed by the remaining Riders.

Over on the right, my large unit of Uruk warband had manoeuvred so their backs were to some forest. IIRC, every archer that Mark had in range of them shot at them, but because of their toughness and armour, no casulaties were sustained. A unit of Royal Knights charged them in their right flank but I called out their leader, Deowine in a Heroic Duel, which I managed to win, slaying him. The fight only killed one Uruk and the Knights were down to two companies and disordered. The large formation of Riders that Eomer had joined wheeled around and positioned themselves for a charge on the front of the Uruk warband. I called a heroic charge and managed to win the roll and charge them first, negating their charge bonus. The Knights charged me in the flank. After all was said and done, a few Uruks went down as well as some riders, but I still had two and a half companies remaining.

Back on the left, the Talon's had retreated back into the woods and were peppering elves with crossbow bolts. At that point we had to call it. Mark had the by far superior force remaining. His Royal Guard and and Militia hadn't even engaged anyone yet. I was certainly in better shape than the last game, but not by much.

I'm not sure what I would have done differently. I think the loss of the right flank was critical. I decided to turn the orcs around at the last minute, and I should have just advanced them at the double and kept their shields to the front. Also, I advanced the scouts two far forward and they got caught in the open. They died within sight of the forest they were trying to get to for cover. It may have also been wise to have Saruman move up faster as he only got in one good turn of spell casting.

The first few pictures above were taken with my new camera, but I used up the limited memory I had available by the middle of the game. I plan on fixing the memory issue with an 8 gig memory card as soon as possible. Mark sent me the last couple which were from later in the game.

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