Chris L's GitD 2011 BatReps

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Chris L's GitD 2011 BatReps

Postby ChrisLS » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:26 pm

Another Gathering in the Desert is in the books, and as normal I am sitting in the airport remembering what a great time I had. This year had the best competition I have experienced so far – not a single game was a pushover nor a blowout. In fact, this was probably the best, highest quality tournament I have ever had from the perspective of game play and camaraderie.

The lead-up to this tournament was a major part of it. I wanted to bring a new army, a Mordor horde with 60+ models, a budget Witchking, drummer, shaman, and a Mordor Uruk-Hai nutcracker element. Alas, between school, being the primary caretaker for my daughter, and three weeks of illnesses ravaging my household (not to mention getting roped into a couple of Flames of War events) I didn’t get beyond a basecoat for the army. So I went with the Shadow list of green Easterlings.

The Shadow Returns to Rhûn

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Easterling Contingent

Captain on armored horse with shield
5 Kataphracts
16 Warriors with shield
7 Warriors with shield and spear
12 Warriors with bow

Black Gate Contingent

Morannon Orc Captain with shield
6 Morannon Orcs with shield (3 with spears)

Nazgûl Contingent

Bill, the brother of Bob, the Barely Budget Ringwraith (2/7/0)

49 Models
6 Might
12/46 archers

Additionally, this was my last chance to pick up the “golden ticket” to the Throne of Skulls GT in Vegas. Despite this great prize, I resolved to play this weekend as pleasantly and amicably as possible, knowing my propensity for getting emotionally wrapped up in my games.

The event was held at Imperial Outpost, the home of the first Gathering. This was my first experience with the store, and it was a good one. There was plenty of space; in particular having 2 feet on both sides of the table was AWESOME. The place was clean, with plenty of product (though the LOTR and Flames of War sections were a little sparse). There weren’t as many options for shopping around the store as at Empire Games, but all in all, I didn’t really care. I did end up picking up a copy of the Flames of War Blitzkrieg Early War book, though.
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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Postby ChrisLS » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:42 pm

Round 1: Seize the Artifact

Table 1 (Weathertop)

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Opponent: Frank Brown

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(check out the look on his face…)

Army: Mordor

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Shadowlord on Fellbeast

Black Guard Captain
8 Black Guard
8 Morannon Orcs
5 Morannon Orcs with spears
10 Orcs with spears
10 Orc trackers
5 Orc trackers on wargs

Models: 48
Might: 4
Bows: 15/46

AGAIN. AGAIN! Well, let me count the repeats: Fourth time I’ve played Frank, fourth time the scenario has been Seize the Artifact, second time I’ve played him in the first round, and second time we’ve faced off using these armies. I think that’s it for now. And given our experiences with each other, this is looking like another Round 1 draw.

We diced off, and again luck seems to favor me over Frank. I choose the side of the table which was more open to the artifact, though there was a patch of forest that would interfere with direct movement into the watchtower. I deploy heavy right, with my archers on the right flank, then Easterling infantry, the Morannons, my cavalry, and anchored my left flank with more Easterling infantry.

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Frank deploys his Nazgûl in the middle with a couple of warg riders, his foot trackers on my left, and the rest of his warg riders on my right, and his infantry across the gaps.

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The race for the center is pretty predictable. I’m trying to get my cavalry in before he gets his cavalry in, which should be pretty simple.

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That is until Frank drops his wraith down right smack in the middle of the gap through which I was going to ride. His warg riders are coming up quickly to try to grab the prize themselves. I intercept the front rider with a kataphract, then dismount another to leap through a window into the central courtyard. I throw a three die Sap Will against his wraith, which he resists with four dice.

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My Easterling captain tries to engage the wraith, but to no avail – he totally whiffs his courage tests. I try to Sap the Shadowlord’s will again, but once more he resists it. In the mean time, the race is on for the artifact.

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(note the flat base showing the position of the Fell Beast - that thing is a PAIN to play with, but it looks way cool)

I take out the warg riders, but Black Guard are about to make their presence felt as two of them get into the courtyard. I’m able to get my Morannon captain and another orc into the courtyard, but not in contact with the artifact.

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I throw my last point of will into another Sap Will, but Frank again resists it with two points of will. I somehow manage to win the fight with wraith, and wound him... but Frank saves with Fate. Frank’s Black Guard promptly digs up the artifact. Uh, oh…

Frank wins priority, and the inevitable Heroic Moves are called. This is it – if Frank wins the roll-off, he’ll pick up the loose artifact, hand it to the wraith on fell beast, and so long, it’s game, set, and match. He rolls – a 3. Evil (me!) goes first. I engage the wraith with a regular soldier (the captain is still chicken), engage the Black Guard with my Morannon orc, and the Morannon captain runs to the now control-zone-free artifact, back to the window, hurdles the window (rolling a 6!), and runs into the middle of my army to put me in the driver’s seat. Sweet!

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Frank comes up with a really gutsy plan – fly over to the empty spot near my model, Compel the orc Captain into giving the Nazgûl the artifact, and then flying off. WOW! What a play! However, upon discussion and calling over the rules judge, we determine the following: Compelling the orc to hand over the artifact is completely in character with the effect, non-harmful, and simple enough to not be considered a “complex” movement. However, since hand-offs require base-to-base contact, it would mean forcing the orc captain to charge the Nazgûl, which would enable the rest of my army to ALSO charge the Nazgûl. That wouldn’t be a good outcome for Frank or his wraith (who is running really low on Will), so instead he decided to play for the draw, pulling his wraith back to cover my escape route.

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The rest of the game was pretty much decided by the clock. We were at less than half and hour, and while I started my run to the flank there was no way I could get by the three warg riders and the fell beast with my lone mounted model. I took a few pot-shots through the Shadowlord’s veil, and managed to take out one of the Morannons blocking my path, but time ran out long before I had a chance to get the artifact near the other table edge.

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RESULT: Draw – 11 points (10+1 for holding the artifact at the end)

Well, history repeats. I got lucky in grabbing the artifact (again), and Frank very effectively blocked my retreat off the other side (again). Every turn was full of critical moves to block movement via control zones, remove control zones, and throw the other guy off with unconventional moves, which meant we were constantly thinking and trying to anticipate the other side. Frank calls our games chess matches, and I have to agree. I can’t pick out any major mistake by either side, and we’d managed once again to knock each other into the middle of pack. This isn’t a bad thing this early in the tournament, but it might bite us later. At least we both knew we wouldn’t be playing each other later and drawing again.

One thing for which I have to give big credit to the tournament organizer, Tim Kulinski, is the way he handled pairings for the beginning of this event. In the past, he paired locals vs. out-of-towners, on the theory that locals would prefer to play someone they don’t regularly game against. However, due to the quality of players who are willing to fly in to game, this often resulted in mismatches. I definitely saw this in previous years – my first games tended to be warm-ups from my perspective. Well, this year Tim took the data he’d gathered from the previous years and paired people up based upon their previous results. This meant historically strong players played historically strong players while those who hadn’t done as well didn’t feel like punching bags the first round. This led to quite a few draws in the first round, but things quickly sorted themselves out, with the results at the end of Round 3 being right about what you’d expect based upon people’s armies and abilities. All in all, a great call by Tim.
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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Postby ChrisLS » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:52 pm

Round 2: Domination (modified)

Table: 3 (river and woods)

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Opponent: Howard Beam

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Army: Eregion with Galadhrim Knights

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High Elf Captain on horse with shield and heavy armor
Galadhrim Captain with armor and elf bow
5 Galadhrim Knights with armor and shield
Elf with heavy armor and banner
4 elves with heavy armor
15 elves with spear, shield, and heavy armor
10 elves with heavy armor and elf bow

Models: 37
Might: 4
Bows: 10/35 (+1 hero)

My opponent for Round 2 was a familiar face, but an unfamiliar opponent. I’d admired Howard’s elves for the last few years, and recall them winning Best Appearance two years ago. He’s widely known as an elf lover (in a good way!) and a meticulous painter. He had converted a bunch of High Elven cavalry back when they were an option with White Dwarf rules, but since then they were dropped. Since the Galadhrim Knights were added, he’s used those rules for a counts-as force. His force was small, as you generally expect from Elves, but had some very effective elements. His archery as always was a concern, as was his ability to race and even charge through wooded terrain.

We rolled off for sides, and Howard won, sticking me behind the river in the corner. There was a bridge, but this made it MUCH harder to get to the objectives in time. He set his archers (including the Galadhrim captain) up on the hill in the middle of his deployment zone, flanked on either side by a contingent of spear-elves. His cavalry was placed behind the hill, but with a 12” move they could get wherever they had to go.

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I looked long and hard at the deployment zone. I knew that outnumbering Howard would be a huge help, and figured I could grab one objective with one or two models, throw the rest at the center objective, and keep enough models near the third objective to keep him honest and hope I could dog-pile it before the game ended. The river was further forward on my right, and the terrain was more open, which favored his shooting. The left, on the other hand, was open but had a lot of cover from his deployment zone, so I was less vulnerable to archery on that side. I decided to put by own D5 archers on the left were they could sweep the objective with bowfire but be protected from the S3 elf bows.

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I put my cavalry in the middle since the river would slow them down more than anyone else, and the infantry was left to get over the river as best they could.

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I moved across the river as quickly as I could, but kept my troops out of bow range of the elves. My own archers were in no hurry to cross – they were there mostly to keep Howard off the left objective. I moved a whopping 1 1/2” and volley fired to little effect on the D5 and 6 elves. I did manage to unhorse Howard’s Elven captain, though! I’ll take what I can get. Howard also volley fired a few times, but again to minimal effect. As he advanced his archers further into the center, I was flowing around the 24” range towards the right objective and through the woods on my left towards the center.

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I grabbed the right objective and swung my cavalry around towards his flank. Howard responded by pulling his spear elves back into the center to avoid getting overwhelmed by the majority of my army (which was my plan, after all).

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Because of the archers’ advance, it was almost impossible to stay out of range, so it was time to charge forward. Fortunately my D6 was keeping me safe from his archery, but I still had a tough nut to crack.

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As always, when the going get tough, the Nazgûl get going. Howard was about to bring his blocks together, presenting me a with spear supported block of F5 elves. Not fun. So instead, I Compelled one of his spear elves out into the open and within the charge range of my models, including my mounted captain. One Heroic Combat later, my captain had charged into the middle of his force and I was engaging a number of his infantry models. The fight was on.

One thing I particularly hate about elves are their banners. From a numbers perspective, a banner is like adding pikes to a spear wall when you are rolling to win a combat. With F5, that makes elves VERY hard to beat. So my captain went after Howard’s banner. Unfortunately, I whiffed my roll, and Howard killed my captain’s horse.

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I lost priority the next turn, and lost the Heroic Move roll off, resulting in Howard forming a line against my force. He made great use of my cavalry’s huge bases, blocking off access and requiring jump checks if I wanted to go over the hill anchoring his left flank. He surrounded and killed my captain, but the next turn I managed to take down his banner. I hate those stupid rags, so it was worth it.

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On the left flank, my archers were getting a little attention from three of his archers, but they were more annoyance than serious threat. On the other hand, the cavalry he sent over, supported by spearmen, were a major problem. I owned the center and right objective, so at this point Howard was trying to hold onto a Minor Loss. His models on the left were overwhelmingly powerful compared to my archers, though the numbers were equal. I managed to whittle a couple down via bowfire, but so was he, and as he hit my line the archers started dropping quick.

Right around this time I finally managed to break his force. Howard kept winning priority or calling Heroic Moves to keep me pinned in the center, and his heroes were holding the entire line together despite the Harbinger of Evil rule of the Nazgûl. Ironically, while his troops in the middle were standing firm and getting killed, his now numerically superior troops on my left started whiffing their courage tests, particularly his cavalry. I also got lucky, killing a few of his troops, and was now outnumbering him near the objective. On the third possible turn, we rolled to end the game.

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RESULT: Major Win (31 points total)

This was a tough one for Howard. I outnumbered him, and despite the river I got onto the objectives quickly. Elves tend to play defensively, relying on their fantastic archery to whittle down the enemy numbers to a manageable level. But in this scenario, that won’t work really well. Whoever is holding the objectives is in the drivers’ seat, even possibly winning despite being the ones getting hammered. His line did such a great job of holding me back, I can only imagine what would have happened if his line had been between my force and the objective.

If I’d been playing Howard’s force, I’d have ignored shooting for the first two turns (when I was out of direct fire range anyway) getting up on top of the center objective, particularly going through the woods to do it. If the Easterlings try to flank, fade into the forest at full move while the Men struggle in the undergrowth. Hold the Men away from the objective while the cavalry sweep the enemy archers from the field. Drop one Elf off behind the objective hill, then if you get the break, race for the final objective through the forest with your cavalry to contest the third objective. This mission has to be played aggressively, despite the elves’ strength on the defense.
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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Location: San Jose, CA

Postby griffen127 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:49 pm

Chris what are you waiting for!!! I want to see me!!!!! :roll:
So far I like the reports, keep them coming.
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Postby ChrisLS » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:41 pm

Sorry, I'm working my tail off and volunteered to help a youth Shakespeare group with their technical needs. Hopefully in the next day or two.
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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ChrisLS
 
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:04 am
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