Bilbo's Unexpected Party

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Bilbo's Unexpected Party

Postby BrentS » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:01 pm

Bilbo's Unexpected Party made its debut at a pick-up game at the Chicago Games Day. I had a chance to play against Mike and Carol (they teamed up and borrowed some Minas Tirith models from Jamie). We rolled for a random scenario and ended up with Reconnoitre. Not eactly the best scenario for an army comprised of 15 model, eh?

Here's the configuration I ran:
Gandalf
Thorin (Dain)
Balin (Balin)
Gloin (Shieldbearer)
10x Iron Guard
Bilbo (Pippin)

I didn't have my Gandalf model mounted, so I just ran him as a foot version.

I deployed all 15 of my models in a tight formation and started the game off casting Blinding Light (obviously). Let me tell you, that's a wonderful spell for a small army like this! I knew I didn't have a chance to hold the line for long but I did my best to keep my models clustered in the center of the board so I could react to however he split up his forces.

Mike started by racing his Cavalry (5 knights, divided into a group of 2 and 3) towards the center of the board. I promptly moved Gandalf up and used Sorcerous Blast on the first wave of 3 (using an extra point of Will) and knocked all three of them to the ground (no causulties) causing them to lose their horses. The next turn was a repeat as the second two Knights lost their mounts to a SB.

I stayed in a pretty tight formation and the CBL protected me from all arrows. Even when he hit, it was usuall through volley and I could just assign the wounds to my Def 9 Thorin model or Def 8 Balin. He did manage to kill off one of the Iron Guard from bow fire but all things considered, I managed to survive the advance towards my side of the board. The downside of me hunkering down too much was that he started splitting off groups. He had a small contigent of rangers that were peeling off to my left side. I dispatched Balin and two Iron Guards (we'll say Ori and Dori) towards that side. I moved Gandalf with that group so that he could offer as much CBL protection as possible. At this point, our main battle lines were close to clashing and I didn't have to deal with any direct bowfire and could afford to move the blinding light away from Thorin and company.

My plan with this army was the hold a tight line, try to leverage the Shieldbearer to get a free Heroic Combat every turn to get extra kills. By having so many Iron Guard, I was getting 2 attacks and could through my axes on the charge. Great plan except the throwing axes couldn't kill a damn thing. The shield bearer also lost every fight he had (against "regular" Warrios of Minas Tirith no less). The sheildbearer even lost a wound in that fight. Ugh. Thorin was killing a few things but even with the Great Dain profile he wasn't a combat monster (rolled three '1s' one turn on the fight). Ouch! Well, my battle lines dwindled a little bit and I lost 5 Iron Guard in total.

Gandalf was assisting Balin, Ori and Nori as best as he could but his sorcerous blast lost its momentum and I failed two other attempts. Despite the suddenly sorceously blasts, I managed to contain the rangers on my right flank. Unfortunately, on the left flank, Mike was able to swing some Warriors of Minas Tirith around my shorter (no pun intended) battle lines. I'd like to think this is because the stinking Iron Guard over on that side of the board (Call them Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur) couldn't kill a fly and they kept getting pushed back and ultimately died.

After the turn in which Mike and Carol got those three WoMT off the board, I conceded defeat. We were running short on time and although I had all my strongest models still on the board, it would have been impossible for me to avoid the major defeat. This is definitely not a scenario designed for Bilbo's Unexpected Party. However, I knew going in there are several scenarios where I'd be an extreme underdog.

I would liked to have seen what could have happened if I'd have had a better luck with my throwing axes and with my initial fights when the lines clashed. With my small army, if I'm not killing nearly every time I win a fight, its going to be hard for me compete. I also think that if Gandalf had been mounted, I could have done a better job covering a wider range with some of my Sorcerous blast and moving to cover with Blinding Light.

One thing I've been thinking about for this army is the inclusion of a banner. I've had various builds where a banner was included. It would be nice to get that re-roll in the fights when I'm always going to be outnumbered. I may look at some lists and try to work that back in. I'm not sold on the Shieldbearer yet either. I think the free Heroic Combat is a great special rule but my combats will nearly always be congested due to the compact nature of my army. I'm not sure I'll ever get the maneuverablilty to use it effectively. I definitely want to get a lot more playtesting in with this army and try some other builds.
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Postby ChrisLS » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:02 pm

Neat read! I'll agree with the banner thought - with the small numbers, you NEED that reroll. I'm looking forward to hearing more about how this force performs.
In my fantasy world, we have pie.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. - Mark Twain
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