Easterlings vs. Smeagol's Morannons

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Easterlings vs. Smeagol's Morannons

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:32 am

Tonight saw my first game with my new Easterling/Harad alliance. I fielded a dozen Easterling Archers, 12 Haradrim Spearmen, 24 Easterling Warriors with Shields, six Haradrim Raiders of which three had War Spears, four Easterling Kataphrakts, a Haradrim Chieftain on a horse with a bow named Nu-al-Din and the nearly-invincible Easterling Captain Tai-Shan on foot with a bow.

Tim Hixon granted my request to face his Morannon Orcs again. He, too, had adjusted his army, dispensing with the Orc Trackers on foot and replacing them with Mordor Uruk-Hai with bows. His army seemed to be half made up of Morannon Orcs and Mordor Uruk-Hai, with the second half of being Orc spear-carriers who would support their larger brethren.

The scenario chosen by me was Meeting Engagement, as I wanted a general feel of how my new army would work. Numbers were about even, with Tim having three more troops than me. Tim definitely had superior melee potential, with his S4 troops being a real threat to my D6 Easterlings. He also had three heroes to my two, and his heroes were superior in melee to my own, especially Shagrat. My advantages were a general superiority of armor protection, greater range of missile fire, and the mobility of cavalry, including cavalry archers. This game would be a true test of skill; whichever of us was able to utilize his army’s advantages to the greatest degree would likely be the winner!

Tim, having recently won a “Best General” award, was not likely to be any slouch in that department…

Tim began the game with his Orcs rolling on to the field in a large block. My Easterling archers, with the Haradrim spearmen backing them up, moved into the center of the board and prepared to use their superior range to punish the Orcs with volley fire. My cavalry linked up with my archers to add their own arrows to the deluge, and my Easterling Warriors spread out on either side in skirmish formation, covering nearly all of my side of the table.

Captain Tai-Shan began the game with his volley-shot slaying an Uruk-Hai archer, leading to much rejoicing. Tim’s Morannon Orcs marched forward in the center, while his Uruk-Hai archers moved to either flank and began to leapfrog forward in a standard bounding over-watch formation, which had one unit moving half and shooting, while the other unit moved the full distance and did not shoot. In this way, the Morannon Orcs were able to keep their flanks fairly secure while the Uruk-Hai were still able to shoot.

Shots were traded between the armies, with the Easterlings gaining a slight advantage in casualties caused, but the Uruks had some excellent luck with their bows, making the contest more equal than I would have hoped it would have been.

At this point, the difference in our strategic outlook was clear to see. Although Tim’s army had slightly greater numbers, fully half of his troops were the support-only-please Orcs and so his army actually held a smaller frontage than mine. In my army, only 12 of 60 were support troops, and so while my line was much thinner than his, his flanks were very much in danger and I maximized this effect by further spreading out my Easterling warriors.

Eventually, his Morannon Orcs, led by a chieftain, contacted my skirmishers on my right flank and attacked them for little benefit. Easterling warriors in heavy armor are hard to kill, even for Morannon Orcs, and I was perfectly happy to “shield” with my skirmishers while my archers fired another salvo of direct fire into the Orc lines.

On turn nine, the Uruk-Hai scored a coup by shooting Nu-al-Din’s horse out from under him. Meat was put back on the menu, and there was much rejoicing.

On turn ten, the two battle lines met and proceeded to hack away at each other. My spear-backed archers attacked while my warriors shielded and the Orcs came away from that round with a bloody nose.

On turn eleven, Tim decided to call “Heroic Combats” with Shagrat and one of his Morannon Orc Chieftains. I laughed and told him not to do it. Tim is truly infamous for his bad luck with Heroic Combats, and the only reason I can guess why he continues to attempt them is that he figures that he has had so much bad luck in the past that he is due for some good luck in the present.

Tonight, he did not disappoint. His Morannon Orc Chieftain, backed by an Orc spearman, rolled triple “1s” on his Fight dice, causing him to be driven off with much derision by the Easterlings. Shagrat, overcompensating, rolled three “6s” to attack but then failed to wound, earning further derision for his army.

The Easterlings continued to fight well, slowly grinding down the Orcish army despite their supposed inferiority in melee. Although the Orcs on my left attempted to “refuse the flank” against my cavalry, they were ground down, and on turn thirteen, Nu-al-Din called a heroic move that allowed seven cavalry models to turn the right flank of the Orcish army, causing much concern from its commanders because now Kataphrakts and Raiders were rampaging behind the lines, attacking the Orc spearmen.

Turn fourteen saw both armies break, but the Easterlings held a superior position, as much of the Orc army was now enveloped.

Turn 15 saw a collapse of the Orc army. Shagrat broke and ran, as did one of the Morannon Orc Chieftains. Eight Orcs followed them in their desperate flight. The remaining Orcs charged the Easterling heroes, and six Easterlings fled in response, but the Orcs now had too few troops left and although they fought well, this turn ended with the Orcs being reduced beyond their point of resistance and the Easterlings won a minor victory.

The final twist-of-the-knife for Tim was that both Shagrat and the Morannon Orc Chieftain only failed their Courage tests by one point apiece. Had they not embarked on their ill-fortuned Heroic Combats, they would have been able to hold in place, none of the other Orcs would have run, and the Easterlings would have been defeated.

I was very pleased with how my army performed. My archers performed moderately well in shooting and in melee. My Easterling warriors proved extremely tough to kill, which allowed the other elements of my army to do their best work. Whereas Tim’s army placed emphasis on supporting all of his melee elements with spears, I gave no support whatsoever to my 24 Easterling warriors, and they earned most of their kills by trapping or ganging up on enemy models. My two heroes fought well, and provided good leadership for my army when I needed it. I can’t gloat too much over my victory, because luckless Tim cut his own throat with those Heroic Combats, but I am very pleased with my force and look forward to the next battle!

Avante!

BdS
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Postby Gartl » Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:36 pm

I am glad you are enjoying your new army. Hopefully your joy will build as you rack up more victories against Tim, however I know that you realize you still won't defeat me...

Sincerely yours,
Smug
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:53 pm

I don't know about that. I was doing a pretty good job of slaughtering your Gondorians until the wounded Captain Faramir took out a whole Easterling detachment by himself :P
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Postby Smeagol » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:56 am

Yes, but I had bled out close to a third of his attack force before he even made contact with your force. :P
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Postby Gartl » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:36 am

With two might, one wound, and no fate, Faramir still managed to kick ass!
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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Postby Smeagol » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:40 am

Yes he did. I was very surprised when Baen managed to catch up in the long run. That was a truly enjoyable game.
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Postby Gartl » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:08 pm

Yeah, that 3-player game was the most fun game I have had in a while. I also haven't seen you laugh that hard in a long time. I was amazed how Baen performed. I think he lost one fate? And Steve had more models than us combined for some time there (of course he was also the first tabled :-))
It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. - Boromir FOTR
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