Battle at the Bunker x2 (LotR) - Wednesday, July 22

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Battle at the Bunker x2 (LotR) - Wednesday, July 22

Postby Amdur » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:16 am

Greetings!

Last night I had the opportunity to meet a few LotR folks at the Downers Bunker to throw some dice in Tolkien’s world. I didn’t have my camera with me, so sadly, I do not have any pictures to share, which is sad, since both of my opponents had some nicely painted stuff!

I first met Chad and we snagged a table in the main room to play on. Originally we had planned to play 1000pts WotR, but decided to play 350 LotR armies instead. I liked this idea a lot because it would give me some more experience playing LotR, and at the same level as the B3 tournament next month.

Chad brought out some Mordor orcs, and I brought Dwarves.

Chad’s list (as best as I can remember):

Captain
Shaman
Banner
About 15 Orcs with sword/shield
About 15 Orc Spearmen

My list:

Gimli
10 Kazad Guard
10 Warrior Kinsmen w/shields
7 Rangers w/Bows

I was warned by several people that typically dwarves will be outnumbered, so I was mentally prepared for that.

We decided to play a simple “kill ‘em all” scenario, and agreed to play just until one side reached their break-point. For me, that was 14 models, and for Chad it was 17.

The board was set-up such that we had an elevated area on my right that was fairly traversable, and an elevated area on my left that was separated from the middle by a fairly decent cliff-face.

During deployment, Chad set-up his horde in two distinct groups. For both groups, several of sword/shield orcs were in the front, with spears supporting them. The group to my left included the Shaman, the group to my right included the Banner and Captain.

I ended up having a group of mainly Kinsmen (with a few Kazad Guard) on my left, across from his Shaman group. The rest of my force (including Gimli) was on my right, with the Rangers arranged such that they could maximize fire ASAP.

The first couple turns went by in a flash, since Chad didn’t have any missile weapons, I was able to do all the shooting. By the time we got close enough to come to grips in melee, I had killed two orcs with bowfire. Thus I learned a powerful lesson: STR 2 bows aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! ;)

In both melee locations, I made some important mistakes. To my left, I had too much room for my smaller contingent to protect: no way to bottleneck my enemy, he was able to bring his numbers to bear on me fairly easily. To my center, where my numbers were greatest, though I was able to get Gimli into combat right away, Chad did a good job of bottlenecking ME, and for a couple turns, I had a handful of dwarves that could not get into melee! And, Chad having spears (and me not having them), he consistently had more dice than me in both melee areas! This was important, because it taught me just how invaluable spearmen really are!

The battle in the center was particularly nasty, as on at least three occasions, I had won critical combat rolls, only to have Chad’s banner allow the orcs to fight with greater ferocity and turn the tables on me! Thus I learned how cool banners can be!

Some of the Rangers eventually got into melee (to fill the gaps left by their fallen comrades), and the one memorable moment in my favor came when a lone Ranger, having ascended a nearby hill, lined-up a shot and planted one right between the eyes of that troublesome banner-bearer. If only he could have done that a few turns prior!

In the end, Chad’s contingent to my left eventually overwhelmed and wiped-out my left flank, which in conjunction with losing a few models in the center, put me at my breaking point, with Chad being at least two models away from his. We called the game, shook hands, and I thanked him for taking it easy on me!

Another thing I took away from this game: don’t forget to add in the Shield bonus to my Defense value when I acquire shields for my warriors! DUH!




Doug was sitting nearby watching us, and he asked if he could play against the winner. Since Chad had to depart when we were finished, Doug had to settle for playing the loser. ;)

Doug mentioned that he didn’t have a lot of LotR experience (like me), but he seemed to know the rules pretty well, so like my first game, the game did proceed at a good pace and we didn’t spend much time looking up rules.

Doug’s list (as best as I can remember):

Captain
Cave Troll
Banner
~8 Crossbowmen
~10 Orcs with sword/shield
~10 Orc Pikemen


My list was the same that I used against Chad, above.

The board was re-arranged a little, and we had a pretty sizeable hill in the middle of the board, with a set or ruins in each of our deployment zones.

For deployment, Doug set his Cave Troll alone on my left, near some ruins, which of course scared the crap out of me.  The rest of his troops formed a massive (and intimidating) phalanx in the middle of his deployment zone.

This is when I learned about one variety of ‘phalanx’ in the LotR sense: He set up his line of swordsmen, then behind them he had his crossbowmen touching the swordsmen (protecting them of course) and the crossbowmen can ignore a friendly model they are touching for shooting purposes without having to roll ‘in the way’. And then behind the crossbowmen he had the Pikes who can support up to TWO models away, which would still provide the swordsmen in the front with support!

So needless to say, once he explained that to me… well, I made it a point NOT to go throwing myself at that wall-of-death! Of course, this played into his hands, as it allowed him to give his crossbowmen the best protection possible, AND allowed them to sit stationary for as long as he wanted, and shoot me for several turns without having to move (because crossbows can’t move and shoot).

And that’s exactly what he did… I move left around the big hill in the center, putting it between his Phalanx and my troops – but, part of my troops on the left were elevated by a gradual hillside, which gave him some nice shooting angles as I approached! Oops!

Since I had chosen to move my troops to my left, the only target for my Rangers was the troll. Through several turns, I peppered his position with fire. Doug wisely kept the troll in cover, which probably saved him. Still, even with the cover, I was able to do a wound to him before my troops got close enough to engage.

Meanwhile, as I approached with my massive lightning-quick movement of 5” a turn, Doug’s crossbowmen expertly went to work. Before we had engaged in melee, Doug had slain 5 of my troops (mostly Kazad Guard), and I had inflicted only a single wound on the troll! (Worthy of note, one of my deaths was due to the troll lobbing a section of ruin wall and crushing an unfortunate dwarf!)

The first melee was indeed the troll, as I won priority on the round we were finally within range, and I engaged with everything I could. Thankfully, only one dwarf was too nervous to charge, but the others gleefully threw themselves forward, including Gimli. Within minutes, the small ‘horde’ of dwarves made quick work of the Troll, though I believe Gimli had to spend a point of Might to be able to win the fight!

The troll taken down, the bulk of my force then turned to my right, where the Phalanx had split into two smaller groups – one of the groups was heading towards the angry dwarves who had just killed the troll, and the other phalanx group was headed toward a group of scouts that had finally climbed the hill in he middle of the board, along with 4-5 warriors who were ‘pretending’ to do a flank move of their own!

After their initial awesome showing, Doug’s Crossbowmen finally slowed down a bit, killing maybe one to two more of my warriors the rest of the game. Doug’s meat and potatoes from that point on came in the form of his Pikes supporting his swordsmen, along with his Captain of course.

From that point on, just about every troop was involved in melee, except my Rangers who, having no further targets after killing only one or two orcs, began their descent back down the big hill in the middle.

The melee was interesting because it really did sway one way and then another. At first, I started hacking Orcs off the board left and right… but then my dice failed me and it was Doug’s turn to return the favor. The theme through-out the combats was – I couldn’t win many combats, but when I did, I’d kill my foe most of the time, and on the other hand, Doug was winning tons of combats, but couldn’t roll high enough to penetrate that dwarven mithril armor!

Once we were close enough to see the whites of each other’s eyes, we also both used Heroic movements, which is an extremely cool feature. I also learned about “Shielding”, which is extremely cool, too!

The heated battle ended on turn 6 or 7 with BOTH Doug and I reaching our breakpoints (I went over by several, Doug went over by a single model!). On the following turn, I won priority, and going first, I began to move models and take my Courage tests.

As fate would have it, Gimli went first, and of course he immediately failed his very first Courage test (by one! And I was out of Might) and was removed. For me and the rest of my force, that was pretty much a ‘sign’, and I shook Doug’s hand for an exciting game, and conceded at that point.


Both games were very enjoyable and got me really jazzed to play again. I am going to be at the Bunker on Monday (WotR night) for some WotR, but I am HOPING to be able to go on Wednesday again next week (LotR night) to play LotR.

Both of my opponents were gentlemen and put up with my noobness very well. I was also able to meet a few other LotR players (hello Rob!) and talk about the game, and that was great too.

Off to the side, my wife continued to slave away with her paintbrush, and made excellent progress on my own troll and Lady Arwen (beauty and the beast!). It was also the first visit we made to the Bunker where she bought something – and I didn’t! 

I really look forward to playing again. Thanks Doug and Chad for making my first game-night at the Bunker very enjoyable!

-Tim
Wheels within wheels in a spiral array, a pattern so grand and complex.
Time after time we lose sight of the way, our causes can't see their effects.
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Postby prion2001 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:29 am

Thanks for the battle report. Glad to hear that you were able to get in some games on the fly. Chad is a great guy (and not a bad player to boot).

So, is the Monday (WotR) and Wednesday (LotR) the official GW nights for those games or is that just the nights people seem to be planning on?

Jamie
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Postby BostonNazgul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:58 am

Sounds great, I want to say ive met chad at adepticon... did he have the shelob force this year?

I think there may have been a misinterpretation on the pike rule though.

And then behind the crossbowmen he had the Pikes who can support up to TWO models away, which would still provide the swordsmen in the front with support!


yes pikes can support from the 3rd rank, but that bonus is added to the middle man's bonus, ala 2nd rank spearmen. logically, the crossbow is not supporting the sword warrior, thus the pike is only supporting the crossbow.

then there is the common FAQ of only allowing one model to make way for a retreating comrade, sometimes phalanx generals forget that and get their warriors trapped after losing a fight.

dwarves are a good starting force and looks like you are picking up the game fast
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Postby BrentS » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:03 am

Glad to hear you got some fun games in. Thanks for taking the time to share them.


I'm going to assume you were facing off agains Uruk-Hai in the second game as they are the only "orc" style army that has acess to crossbows. Sounds like you learned some valuable lessons.

A few things I picked up from your battle report (specifically versus Doug) that you may want to thing about.

I'm not sure that they way he used his phalanx is completely legal. I've never seen that particular formation used. I'm pretty sure the rules specific that the third layer can support with Pikes but only if the second layer is supporting the combat with spears (or pikes). I'd have to look that one up in the rules to be sure.

Charging a troll - if you were trying to charge the terror causing troll, your Khazad Guard have the bodyguard rule which allows them to automatically pass any terror test if their "hero" (in this case Gimli) is still alive. Not sure if you used KG in that charge and you may have already known/used that rule. Anyway, in case you didn't, the bodyguard rules are very handy in those situations.

Courage Tests for Heroes - In addition to using Might, you can use Will to modify courage tests. I'm assuming that Gimli had will left over as you weren't facing any magic using models in that game. Assuming your courage roll was close enough, then you could use whatever will you had left to pass the test, which also has the added benefit of allowing all the KG to automatically pass their courage tests (see above).


Anyway, glad to hear that you had some fun games. Keep it up!!
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Postby BrentS » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:04 am

BostonNazgul wrote:Sounds great, I want to say ive met chad at adepticon... did he have the shelob force this year?


Yes, that was Chad at Adepticon. He posts here as Shaggrud Dethblasta. I'm assuming this is the same Chad that Amdur played agains but not 100% sure.
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Postby Amdur » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:47 am

prion2001 wrote:Thanks for the battle report. Glad to hear that you were able to get in some games on the fly. Chad is a great guy (and not a bad player to boot).

So, is the Monday (WotR) and Wednesday (LotR) the official GW nights for those games or is that just the nights people seem to be planning on?

Jamie


Hello there Jamie!

I was told by other players that Monday is indeed "WotR Night", and Wednesday is "LotR" night. I was there Monday and there were a few WotR players waiting to play some scenario against a red shirt. I talked to a friendly guy named Mike, who I hope to game with this coming Monday. He and his friend said they show up just about every Monday, hoping to play.

The cool thing I love about both systems is how complimentary they are. If you have a WotR force, you should be able to play LotR, and if you have a LotR force, you should have a good start on a WotR force! :)


EDIT: I just found one of the August 09 calendars for the Bunker, and they have Mondays listed as WotR night and THURSDAYS listed as LotR night. That stinks, as Thursdays are usually bad for me. Crapola. :)

-Tim
Last edited by Amdur on Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Amdur » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:53 am

BostonNazgul wrote:yes pikes can support from the 3rd rank, but that bonus is added to the middle man's bonus, ala 2nd rank spearmen. logically, the crossbow is not supporting the sword warrior, thus the pike is only supporting the crossbow.


I do believe that by the time he split his phalanx formation into two smaller parts, I THINK the crossbowmen were left behind by then anyway, and his pikes were doing the traditional support-the-guy immediately in front of them, so I think gameplay-wise, he was fine.

I just remember at the beginning him telling me about the tactic, and I was impressed! :) Every front guy has 2 dice for attacks, and crossbowmen who are safe behind the front line still able to fire - and since they're evil, they can still attempt to shoot even when the guys in front are engaged. Nasty stuff! :)


BostonNazgul wrote:then there is the common FAQ of only allowing one model to make way for a retreating comrade, sometimes phalanx generals forget that and get their warriors trapped after losing a fight.


Ouch! And indeed, it even says this on pg 29 of the small book, and even mentions Orcs as an example! Good tip!

BostonNazgul wrote:dwarves are a good starting force and looks like you are picking up the game fast


Thank you sir!
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Postby Amdur » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:00 pm

BrentS wrote:I'm not sure that they way he used his phalanx is completely legal. I've never seen that particular formation used. I'm pretty sure the rules specific that the third layer can support with Pikes but only if the second layer is supporting the combat with spears (or pikes). I'd have to look that one up in the rules to be sure.


Indeed, as BN mentioned above and as I found on pg 43, the Pike must support a guy who is already supporting with a spear or pike. Good catch!

I do think we were ok, though, as by the time melee was joined, I was coming at him from two directions and he split the group in half, and left his crossbowmen behind to remain stationary for shooting.

BrentS wrote:Charging a troll - if you were trying to charge the terror causing troll, your Khazad Guard have the bodyguard rule which allows them to automatically pass any terror test if their "hero" (in this case Gimli) is still alive. Not sure if you used KG in that charge and you may have already known/used that rule. Anyway, in case you didn't, the bodyguard rules are very handy in those situations.


Aye, I did use this rule to good effect, since more than 1/3 of my force were K-Guard. Very, very handy!

BrentS wrote:Courage Tests for Heroes - In addition to using Might, you can use Will to modify courage tests.


Ah-ha! I thought as much, but was specifically told that you can't use Will for Courage tests, and like you surmised, Gimli did indeed have 2 Will left!

Thank you for pointing that out!

BrentS wrote:Anyway, glad to hear that you had some fun games. Keep it up!!


Thank you! I do hope to be able to play someone next week! :)

This weekend I'll be visiting my folks down south and meeting old friends to play some WotR, so the next 5-6 days means lots of gaming! Lots of 'practice' for GenCon, where my same friends and I hope to be playing some more pick-up WotR/LotR! :)

-Tim
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Postby BostonNazgul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:04 pm

ya, the will for courage checks was kinda an FAQ/errata update as i recall(mines of moria or fellowship rulebook?), seeing as 75% of games dont involve magic is a good use of the useless trait.
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Postby Amdur » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:07 pm

BostonNazgul wrote:ya, the will for courage checks was kinda an FAQ/errata update as i recall(mines of moria or fellowship rulebook?), seeing as 75% of games dont involve magic is a good use of the useless trait.


You nailed it. Just looked in the 'mini' rulesbook (From the Moria box), page 37, plain English - can use for Courage tests. But it's all good, live and learn, and all that stuff. I didn't bother opening the book at the time because one of the guys assuring me I couldn't use Will was a Red Shirt! ;)

And most games don't involve magic? Is that a pretty common thing, most people avoid it?

-Tim
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Postby BostonNazgul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:19 pm

well for the most part, not so much avoid as they are just costly heroes. evil armies of course see the nazgul, but good armies rarely have magic due to cost, i think its like 175 for gandalf? you just dont run into a lot.
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Postby tjski » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:30 pm

Amdur wrote:And most games don't involve magic? Is that a pretty common thing, most people avoid it?

-Tim


Tim,

You will find the reason for not having magic is that there is so few magic Users in the game. Unlike WHFB, Magic is not a huge part of LotR, there are the big Nasties like Sauramon, Gandalf (Grey & White) as well as some elves, but they are expensive and only a few of them.

LotR balances out magic very well and you only have a limited amount in it in a game. Also Magic will not win a game out right, I look at magic as Salt for food. You only need a right amount to make food taste right, if you over do it, it makes everything taste terriable. So for Lotr you need just the right amount for the game or army your facing.

Tim K
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Postby Shaggrudd Dethblasta » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:39 am

Brent wrote

Yes, that was Chad at Adepticon. He posts here as Shaggrud Dethblasta. I'm assuming this is the same Chad that Amdur played agains but not 100% sure.


Yes that was me playing Tim. And just to clarify things a little, I was using Morannon orks with shields and Mordor orks with spears. The game was a lot of fun and I also made a point to identify how the order of fights as far as being trapped is concerned is important which ones you fight first. Great game.
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Postby Amdur » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:44 am

Shaggrudd Dethblasta wrote:Yes that was me playing Tim. And just to clarify things a little, I was using Morannon orks with shields and Mordor orks with spears. The game was a lot of fun and I also made a point to identify how the order of fights as far as being trapped is concerned is important which ones you fight first. Great game.


Oh yes! Being trapped can really stink - but it makes sense and using that to your advantage (and trying to avoid it happening to you) is just yet another tactical considertion! Thanks for pointing that out for me Chad!

/takes another trapped dwarf off the table... :)

-Tim
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Postby ChrisLS » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Magic for Good armies - once you know what you're doing, magic is absolutely awesome. I've played in two GTs this year with Gandalf, and he ROCKS. The trick is knowing all of the stuff you've got in your bag - I've used every spell of Gandalf's at least once this season. Alas, most people get bogged down with the big sexy spells like Black Dart and Sorcerous Blast. Those are the ones I tend to use the LEAST, preferring Immobilize/Transfix (for turning enemy nasties into drooling idiots) and Command/Compel (for turning enemy nasties into drooling idiots and then making them walk to their executions). Combine those spells with stuff like Heroic Combats or trapping, and you've got some really great combos.

If you want to really learn about magic, I'd recommend playing with a budget Nazgul first. They've got enough Will to allow you to throw stuff multiple times in a game while still forcing you to make choices about what you'll cast.
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