Gamescape-North RTT

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Gamescape-North RTT

Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:42 pm

I and three of my fellow LOTR players went to an LOTR Rogue Trader Tournament on Sunday (Feb 9th) and I decided to bring my newly finished spider army. The tournament was for 700 points so I had to paint up a few more models to meet the points requirements. So by 2am the day of the tournament I had finally finished the spiders and set off to bed. We gathered at our local game store and made the 90 minute carpool trek to Gamescape-North to challenge their locals and see if we couldn't come home with a few of the prizes. We arrived at the venue, got registered and go to meet the other players. Wyn also made the tournament so we had ten players in the event.

Spiders of Mirkwood
5 Spider queens
13 Giant Spiders

Models = 18
Might = 10


Round One - Reconnoitre
My opponent was fielding a Black Gate force with the Witch King, a Mordor Catapult with a Troll loader, a bunch of Morrannon Orcs and some trackers. This scenario is so well suited to my force that I was not the least bit worried when I saw my opponent's force. The spiders are extremely fast and hit hard enough to cut a swath through any force if they can hit a thin spot in the lines. The fact that there was a large patch of difficult ground on my opponent's right flank made it very likely I would be able to get through before I broke. I had the advantage of setting up second so I was able to load my left flank in anticipation of exploiting the patch of difficult terrain and cutting through the very thin line of defenders. The only problem was the presence of the Witch King and a uruk-hai captain on that flank. The game started with me rushing the enemy lines in a skirmish line to avoid taking too much damage from the double shots from the catapult and I chose to keep the majority of my Spider Queens in the cover of the woods to protect them from volley fire or the catapult. I took a few losses amongst my spiders and a couple of the queens took wounds by the time I hit my opponent's lines. I pulled my attack on the right flank into my opponent's center to shutdown his trackers and slammed into his left with the rest of my force. A couple of heroic combats saw my queens break through his forward defenses on my left and I was engaging his last line of defenders. I also managed to catch the Witch King who had been forcing me to spend Will far too freely to stop my Spider Queens from being Transfixed or Compelled at the wrong times. I couldn't take down the Witch King, but I did manage to get three broodlings and a queen off the table before I was broken by a rather unpleasantly accurate catapult shot. I threw the remaining spiders into combats and rushed whatever was near the table edge off the table. When the dust cleared I was down to four models, which brought me to less than 25% of my starting force. Game over and I have a Major win to start the day. My opponent took the loss very well and was one of the most enjoyable players I've ever played.

Game Two - Storm the Camp
Okay at this point my companions are thinking I bribed the organizer to pick scenarios that unreasonably benefited my army. I am paired off against one of my regular players and his Minas Tirith force. Conner has faced my spiders on two occasions and he's played me in Storm the Camp so he's not totally unprepared for the challenge. I got to pick the table corner so I chose the table corners that made his job as difficult as possible. Again the ability to ignore terrain made my job a lot easier than my opponent's. Conner wasn't exactly sure how to manage the defense of his camp so he placed his archers behind the rocky ridge that shielded his camp from me and placed his heavily armoured warriors in front of them with his cavalry lead by Faramir on his right flank. I threw my spiders straight for the opposite corner waiting for him to make a decision on how he would go after my camp. He threw Faramir and his cavalry to my left with the obvious goal of going around my advance and stealing a win since i left my camp undefended. I responded by throwing a very small spider force to my far right to make a try at skirting his lines on that end, the majority of my spiders into the center to draw his defenders toward the largest of my forces and a security force of two queens and several spiders to take out Faramir and his knights.

At this point I suffered a bout of hubris and stupidity set in. Conner had pulled his archers out of his camp and moved them onto the top of the ridge and had the rest of his line defending his camp from the front of the ridge. I knew from his initial deployment that he had nobody in his camp so I decided to teach him a painful lesson in underestimating his opponent. Well that was the plan anyway.

I got priority and moved two spider queens around to the left of his infantry lines and launched several broodlings into his camp. I then hit his front lines with every spider I had in the vicinity with an emphasis on tying up everything he had to reinforce his fight flank. I also made a strong feint at slipping past his other flank with the smaller spider force, but I took the escorting queen away from them to reinforce the main attack. My security force blocked Faramir in his corner and waited his next move. At this point I realized my mistake as I had basically advertised my intent by throwing the broods into his camp and Conner seeing the danger pulled his archers back and engaged the broods. If I won one combat the game was over and I would win, but that combat was a brood versus three archers. I lost an amazing amount of combats and as Conner is a very good student he had learned from my Easterlings beating up on his Minas Tirith force the week before that if he surrounded his foes he'll be killing them a lot faster. I lost a third of my giant spiders in that turn and all but one of my scoring broods.

what I should have done was charge with my two queens and declare Heroic Combats to allow me to move around his lines from the combats and gain the win by not telegraphing my attack and sneaking a win. Getting cocky lost me the quick kill.

The next turn saw Faramir move his cavalry back to rescue his camp and I slammed what I had into his cavalry. I got a spider queen into combat with Faramir and another knight. I had declared enough heroic moves to get my spider queens to be charging, but the Warriors of Minas Tirith were far more numerous and tenacious. I lost fight after fight and my queens were unable to kill everything they engaged. Faramir even managed to beat and slew the queen he was engaged with. The next turn saw more of the same with the knights and Faramir charging the rest of my security force and catching my spiders napping. My second queen (who lost a contest of Heroic Moves) was also caught by Faramir on the charge. My main attack having been decimated by the Men of Minas Tirith, Conner decided (wisely) to send a force of men to go after my camp while he continued the defense of his own. I lost a second queen to Faramir and my attack in the center was now down to two queens, a couple of giant spiders and the remnants of my broods. My attack on the right had to contain a counter attack lead by some Citadel Guards without a queen to support them. I had to pull a queen from my security force engaged with Faramir to engage and (hopefully) destroy the infantry push in the center. At this point I'm thinking the game is a loss, but I am going to make Conner fight for his win anyway. The spider queen managed to kill all four of the lead warriors with a heroic combat and was now looking at a dozen Warriors of Minas Tirith lead by a captain bearing down on her. Faramir and his knights slaughtered all but three giant spiders, all but one of which was now wounded. A couple more turns of this and this game is over. My spider queens in the camp of the enemy are now out of Might and unable to generate any more Heroic Moves. From this point on they will live or die by Priority and my opponent still has two might points at his disposal.

I manage to get priority and my queen in the center slams into the captain of Minas Tirith and his escort of warriors. Faramir and his remaining knight are charged by the last of my spiders on that flank. My two queens in the camp get charged by a Heroic Move and the spiders that didn't rout attempt to take out the enemy banner. All in all I'm doing far better in the courage test arena than I expected with only a couple of spiders leaving, but they were going to be swamped anyway so they were lost causes regardless of how things went. Things started to go my way. On my left Faramir lost his combat and I took his horse out from underneath him while his knight got slaughtered. in the Center a heroic combat netted me the captain and four of his warriors (three from the first combat and two from the second). I lose one queen in the camp, but the other one manages to roll a 6 and throws her attackers back. At this point I switch from trying to kill the Citadel Guard to striking at the softer archers. I net a couple more kills. While my opponent is charging my spiders again, I realized that I've gotten my opponent within two models of his break point. This gives me a small (very small) hope that I can still pull out a win or at least get a draw by keeping him out of my camp for the duration of the clock. Faramir wins combat and destroys my security force. My queen in the center finally finishes off the remainder of the warriors in the center with the timely help of one of my last giant spiders. The spiders on my right flank have been killed as have my broods and all I'm left with is a single queen and a giant spider in the enemy's camp.

Faramir dies in the next turn as he's bereft of Might and I have Priority. The queen and the giant spider in the camp both win their combats and manage a couple more kills, which both breaks the enemy and cancels the bodyguard rule protecting the Citadel Guard. Conner is starting to get frustrated with my ability to protect my spider queens and remaining spiders by winning combats. Now broken he abandons any thoughts of trying to take my camp and starts pulling his warriors towards his last remaining captain. He also renews his efforts to kill my queen and her last escort. He finally manages to win a combat against her and guts her and the remaining spider. I'm now down to two exhausted models. One unwounded giant spider and one spent spider queen. I have all my Will and Wounds, but nothing else. I throw my models into his camp by climbing over the difficult terrain ridge and get behind his army. Conner has now become obsessed with taking out my entire army and then marching across the field unhindered to win. At this point I’m still surprised that I'm still in the fight. I get charged by his Warriors of Minas Tirith and again repulse them with a lucky die roll and then I get priority and I charge his captain in order to stop his Stand Fast! rolls. This nets me several routs and a dead captain.

At this point the game becomes one of me watching his warriors rout and his men becoming less and less numerous when they charge my queen. The last spider escort hides in the corner behind his queen to prevent being engaged and killed. The last turn sees all but one of the Warriors of Minas Tirith rout from the field and with the expenditure of the last of my Will I manage to keep both of my wounded models on the field with a Stand Fast! Result - Major win for the spiders.

I stole this win. I won’t say I deserved to win because I had to work really hard to manage the feat against all the odds as my dice saved me on too many occasions throughout the conflict until I could get into a position to start dictating the game again. I should have been more patient in the beginning and taken the easy win, but I got cocky and it turned into one of the hardest games I've ever played. Conner’s Minas Tirith force outnumbers my spiders over three to one and he is a very sharp player. He still makes a few mistakes now and then, but he could have still gotten a win if he'd kept sending models out to capture my camp when I was down to just four models of which he had half surrounded and doomed to die. Still I walked away from the table with an adrenaline rush and Conner was obviously unhappy with the heartbreaking loss, though he did take a lot better than I probably would have.

Game Three – Kill the King
You’d think they tailored the scenarios to my force wouldn’t you? My third round sees me facing off Wyn who at this time has one Major and one Draw. His goblins of Moria are lead by Durburz (who he nominates as his King), a Spider Queen, a shaman (I have learned to hate) and a goblin captain. His troops consisted of a few wargs, four or five giant spiders, a couple of bats swarms, a lot of goblins of various sorts and a few prowlers with a variety of weapons. Another example of a force outnumbering me by over three to one and I think Win may have had almost four times my numbers. Well I have a black queen who is my “King” and four more to act as assassin bugs. I didn’t get to choose sides and as we were playing with the difficult ground negates spider queen charge bonuses, Wyn choose a corner with plenty of difficult ground to hide Durburz.

The initial turns were typical of what I expected. Wyn put out his faster elements (Wargs and spiders) onto my left flank as both a security force and as a potential strike force to get to my lead queen. His archers anchored his other flanks and took up a position on a small hill to get a better vantage point for shooting, while his center was crowded into a large wood and was many layers deep in terms of warriors with shields and spears. I have played Wyn a few times and our record to that game was 1-1-1 so he’s as good as I am (in some ways I think he’s a better player) and he definitely knows how to get the most out of his forces in a game. I choose to use terrain to protect my spiders from his unusually accurate Volley Fire in the first couple of turns and to buy me time to consider my plan of attack. All I have to do is kill on model to win, well there is the small matter of carving a spider sized path to that model of course. Ultimately I choose to do a general advance aimed more or less at his center. I loaded my left flank with all, but one of my Spider Queens and I sent my last queen off to help support the right flank attack. I wanted to see how Wyn would react to my push into his center in hopes he’d make a mistake in his response. Failing a big mistake I would try to push through one or both flanks to get to Durburz. Wyn didn’t make any mistakes as he pulled back his security force of wargs and spiders just enough to force me to spread out if I through an attack that direction and if I ignored it I would be eating Wargs from behind very soon. He wisely sent a couple of reinforcing units to his other flank. His Fury inciting shaman and a couple of spiders went to the aid of the goblin captain and the archer detachment stationed on Wyn’s left flank. I got Priority and choose to engage both flanks simultaneously in order to split up his defenders and maybe create a gap in his center. Things went well enough initially, though I had to spend an additional Might point to win one of my Heroic Combats, but I now had Wyn’s spider queen engaged with one of my own and I had just caved in his shield of Wargs and had engaged his second line of defense (Bat Swarms). My attack on the right flank was doing fairly well, but there were a lot of goblins and relatively few spiders. Since I charged with Priority Wyn used that opportunity to trap as many spiders as he could. Other than a couple of lost combats that resulted in dead spiders and a prowler that refused to lose combat, things went well on that side and I managed to get a firm foothold on Wyn’s extreme left. His archers were shutdown at the very least which was my primary goal of that attack.

Priority shifted far too many times and Wyn and I quickly burned up the Might we had on our front lines. His Spider Queen was doing a very good job of holding off my determined assaults on his flank and a counter charge by his little spiders quickly dispatched more of my own spiders. I finally managed to eat my way through the bat swarms, but I had lost a queen to a prowler led swarm of goblins. It was a very bad turn when I lost combat to or failed to kill most of the models I was engaged with. Still I had his spider queen down to her last wound & his goblin captain and both were now out of Might. For my part I was now broken and wasn’t looking for the long downward spiral, especially since I had still not been able to carve a hole into Wyn’s lines yet. Out of Might I found my attack on Wyn’s right consistently counter attacked and my Spider Queen was catch standing in several attacks, but like the battle in my last game she gave better than she received and was slowly (very slowly) bleeding her attackers white. The giant spiders on that flank were swarmed or fled in fairly short order. On my other flank I lost another queen to combat and most of my giant spiders were also cut down. I had managed to kill his spider queen and finally squeezed through his tattered security force and was getting ready to pounce on Durburz’s bodyguards. Durburz of course had started migrating away from this flank.

In desperation Wyn decided to shoot into combat to try and kill my unwounded lead queen. Five shots later my queen spasmed and then shrieked out her last gasp. Game over and a Major Win for Wyn!

I had the opportunity to fight for a draw as I saw my chances for getting to Durburz diminish, but since I am an aggressive player by nature and there was still a chance at winning my first tournament with a string of Major Wins I decided to go for it. It turns out that I pretty much decided on who the winner of the event would be on my second to the last turn when I decided to go for it instead of hiding my queen in a well covered corner. If I had forced a draw then there would have been a three way tie for first place and all three of us had the EXACT same scores all the way across the board. Imagine the nightmare of having to decide who the best overall was in that scenario. ;)

Aftermath
Best Overall went to Wyn and his Goblins of Moria/Spiders of Dol Guldor alliance.
Second place and Best General went to Gary Lane (Winner of the 2007 Las Vegas US GT) and his Erebor/Ecthellion alliance.
Third place went to me and my spiders.
Best Sportsman went to one of our group’s newer players who is a very nice guy to play and so is his Black Gate force.

So the visitors went in and gave the home team a good thrashing. ;)
I did get to meet some of the friendliest players I’ve ever met. It was fun getting to play against three great opponents and I had two of my toughest games at the event, but the camaraderie and sense of fun that the organizer and the other players brought with them made the event the most fun I’ve had in any tournament. Wyn’s shaman survived another battle without a scratch, though at least this time I managed to get him into combat; I just couldn’t wound the bugger. I look forward to our next game and hopefully I can put a tick back onto my win column next time!
The Mouth of Sauron
 

Postby BrentS » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:30 pm

Great report Tim. I could envision those second and third games like I was with you for sure.

Its great to hear that the locals didn't get all bent out of shape when seasoned vets showed up and cleaned up. Hopefully you talked up the LOTR circuit and convinced a couple more players to join in!
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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:38 pm

Most of them are very new to the game, but a lot of them have got good instincts for the game. Their armies were sound and their playing potential was real good. So I expect to see some really good players come out of their area. They do seem to rely heavily on wizards and war machines to win their games and I'm thinking they will eventually learn that doesn't help them as much as they think it does.

Still a good time was had by all.
The Mouth of Sauron
 


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