August 2009

Just a quick note to share the happiness. Another fruitful search for amazing deals on the internet got me the following reinforcements for the armies of Middle-earth.

I won´t tell how much, but it´s a lot less than you imagine. No, even less.

The fun box has the following:

16 elven archers
16 elven swordsmen
2 warriors of Minas Tirith, a swordsman and an archer
6 knights of Minas Tirith
2 uruk-hai carrying hobbits
3 orc archers
Goblin shaman
Haldir, Legolas and Arwen
6 Lorien elf archers
Dying Boromir
36 goblin spearmen
33 goblin swordsmen
45 goblin archers with some metal armoured goblins in the mix

Fun bag #1 has 15 plastic Mordor orcs

Fun bag #2 has 46 plastic and metal goblins in different states of completness, conversion, or damage. Extremely fun “conversion” bag.

16 closed blisters include:

Mounted Boromir
2x Kings of Men (having the three variants)
2x orc bowmen
2x orc warriors
2x elf spearmen
Gondorian bowmen
Lorien elf bowmen
Uruk-hai bowmen
Uruk-hai warriors
2x Moria armoured goblin archers

6 box sets in differing states of completness, but most figures accounted for include:

Ambush at Amon-Hen
Fellowship of the Ring
Attack at Weathertop
Captured by Gondor
Heroes of Helms Deep
Heroes of the West

And finally, to make the deal complete and my year a happy one, two complete, unopened, basic sets:

The Two Towers (already had this one, but I needed (yes, needed) more Rohirrim and uruks)
The Return of the King (the only basic set I didn´t have… I love the figures and the scenarios in this book)

Not much to say other than I´m a happy kid, er, I mean, man. Happy man.

Another excellent game this weekend. Third one in our quest for Middle-earth.

This time I taught my friend about characters. We played the second scenario from the Two Towers rulebook, in which Merry and Pippin have to be taken into Fangorn by the capturing uruk-hai. The good side wins if the little ones are released from their captors and walk into Fangorn on their own.

Pre-game sequence, including mate. The orcs deploying on their camp, surrounded by fires (cool huh?) and of course, our zone of control measuring device. Isn´t it nice?

A hard game for the good side, which I played. People usually say how powerful the good guys are in this game. However, since we started playing, the dark powers won each and every game!

The chase begins!

It´s been a while since I played so I really think I misspent my resources (Might, Will and Fate points). Guess it will come back with experience. Gabriel didn´t have to use them much except to save Grishnakh from a beating. Twice.

Éomer leading from behind (not sure why though), and the uruks run in a typical Blood Bowl formation!

It was a very simple battle though. The uruks ran. The Rohirrim tried to flank, then to break through. I killed all of his orcs except for the four that got away with the hobbits and only lost 3 riders. But it was not enough! I found myself shooting at the damn uruks in the end, trying to actually hit the hobbits and get a draw out of the game. It was all in vain!

The Rohirrim clash with the orcs and begin a slaughter that would prove completely unnecessary.

I finished painting the figures just a couple of hours before the game. That´s why some of them have unfinished bases. Besides that we used the wonderful Gamling on horseback figure to play Éomer, a figure I still don´t have. These guys will be in their galleries once I complete the bases and take good pictures.

After the orcslaughter the only thing left to do was to try and shoot the running uruks. No luck, and they crossed into Fangorn carrying the hobbits. Victory for Saruman!

Next time we´ll play the same scenario, changing sides. It´s something we enjoy very much, and this game is perfect for it. Meanwhile I´ll paint some dwarves, slowly creating Moria, but I´ll prepare for the next scenario when our heroes face some wargs!

Troops back to quarters, until next time.

Second game.

This happened about a month after the first game, but we seem to have remembered the lessons from the first game. This time I played the forces of Saruman.

Visually speaking, the only change (and minor flaw) was the use of an actual Éomer figure instead of using a mounted Gamling, but his base wasn´t finished. The model was painted, but you´ll notice the black base with sand in it.

Deployment was mostly by the book. I put my hobbit carrying uruks inside an uruk-hai blockade, with orcs and uruks to the sides, and a weak screen of orc archers in front ready to harass. Gabriel deployed two wings with 4 riders on each side, and the rest of his troops in the middle with Eomer and the Rohan captain.

Some images of the deployment of the orc camp and the Rohan fury.

I started my crazied run towards the Fangorn edge. He advanced his wings, dividing the one on the right flank to strike on my orc archers. The big bulk of his army moved half to shoot his bows.

Off we go, running away. Check his 2 horse detachment to deal with my poor orc archers.

In an amazingly lucky shot an orc manages to kill the captain´s horse, leaving him on foot. We used a Gondorian warrior since I still don´t have any foot Rohirrim. My intention was never to cause that, but it was welcomed.

Orc´s lucky shot leaves a pedestrian amongst the riders. And yes, they stand fast for the Rohirrim charge.

I kept running away, using my character´s Might to do a heroic move when initiative was not on my side, and it was time to try and stop the rider´s assault. I detached a few orcs and uruks to the attacking wings, and my archers stood firm blocking the center body of horsemen. They were dead meat, but every second counted.

Trying to deal with the flanking rider´s and stopping the main body of troops with weak orcs.

He managed to avoid some of my blocking orcs, but I did get to stop Éomer for a few turns. His other character, the captain, was on foot, so he was no longer a danger to my escape. Some of his original flank attackers managed to escape and kept closing in on my guys.

Stopped his characters, but some rider´s avoided my block, and kept staring at those hobbits closing in every turn.

Finally I had to send the last guys to stop the incredibly fast flankers, leaving only 3 uruks guarding the hobbit carriers. My guys were brave, but they were somewhat frightened of the horses.

Last turn and I lost initiative, so I went for another last ditch heroic movement effort. I had both my characters with me, while he had Eomer and the captain way behind. If he had his characters near the hobbits, only a die would have decided who moved first, and the Rohirrim would have stood a last minute chance of winning.

Last effort, finally getting into Fangorn with both hobbits, and deadly close Rohan flankers.

It was an amazing game. Gabriel remembered my mistakes and didn´t do them, making a wonderful flanking maneuver. However he made the mistake of leaving his characters behind. I did everything I could, and no obvious mistakes. It´s always a very close game for the forces of darkness in this scenario.

I found the cure to the oMAD! It´s called “gaming”.

Yes, when you get to play a wargame more than once a year, have a regular opponent, and you both are really excited about a game, somehow figures start to leave the painting table as fast as they come.

It´s been a while since I painted so much stuff in such short time. And it also makes me happy because there are very few figure lines that I like as much as the LotR minis from GW.

Of course, this might not work if you enjoy playing with unpainted figures, like the local Warhammer crowd.

A painting update. I was actually a little behind with pictures rather than figures. So I will finally update this little thingy. Remember all these figures are already in their galleries (LOTR galleries, of course).

Civilians and some uruks including standard bearer, a couple of captains and the ones carrying Merry and Pippin.

One rainy Sunday I turned this…

into this…

I really never liked the green table. It was too dark to play with minis. Didn´t give a nice spectacle at all. That´s why I decided on a repaint rather than creating this table on it´s reverse.

And yes, I am going to Moria…

Another nice Lord of the Rings game on Saturday. The second on a series of intro games, this time I taught my friend about cavalry and scenario-specific rules.

We played the first scenario from The Two Towers rulebook, playing with 5 civilians instead of 6. Makes the game clearer and there´s no chance of a draw.

Ten uruks are burning some villagers alive in a farm, while a dozen riders of Rohan come to the rescue. Thankfully for the forces of darkness, another ten orcs are coming down the road to assist on the killing.

The civilians inside the strange “WW2-like” farm and the crazy bbq making uruks deployed on the fields around the burning building.

The rest of the deployed troops. Half of the Rohan contingent (the others were to the right) and the remaining uruks, quite far away.

The riders start to rush onto the farm. Starting turn 4 the villagers would start to burn! The uruks on the farm do what they can, trying to block the riders´ access to the farm, receiving devastating charges.

When they were about to be flanked by the Rohirrim, the reserves finally arrived. A drastic change on initiative (the Rohan player had it for the first 4 or 5 turns) lets the uruks charge for a change, denying any bonuses to the riders. At least one villager was already on a horse, trying to get away. The orcs did not allow that, blocking the escape.

A weird dice photo, and then the final stages of the game. The uruks on the right, fending off the riders, delaying them. On the left side the orcs were outnumbering the riders by a lot, grouping on them like rats, slashing at the poor rescued civilians.

When the 3rd civilian was killed the orcs cried victory. Sadly we didn´t have time to change sides this time.

Lots of fun with a good friend, some mate to fend off the cold weather, movies soundtrack on the background, painted figures and cute scenery. What more can you ask?

This weekend my friend Gabriel and I got together for some LotR action. He had never played a miniatures wargame before, so I decided I´ll do the intro with this fine game.

I made up two forces roughly balanced and went for an all or nothing scenario. Last figure standing wins. One warband was comprised of 4 elves with swords, and 4 elves with bows. The other one had 5 uruk-hai with sword and shield and 5 uruk-hai with pikes. It did seem balanced, specially by the lack of firepower on the Isengard side, but the uruks wearing such heavy armor just slipped my mind. The elves were better at everything, except at actually hurting the bastards.

I gave him a tour on some wargaming basics. For example, one of us placed the terrain, the other decided where to deploy, and stuff like that. After that we started the first game. He used the elves so I could teach him about movement, shooting and combat. The uruks won the game, but after that he got a fairly good idea of how a wargame works.

Second game we switched sides. I had the elves and went for a very defensive tactic. However he was smart enough to keep his pikemen behind the sword uruks all the way and if I recall correctly I did not do even one casualty with bow fire (even though I fired almost twice what he did the game before). The climatic finish over the hill was amazing, and the poor elves bit the dust.

It was a really fun afternoon, and he liked the game very much. For next time we´ll go with the first scenario from the TT rulebook. It includes cavalry and some civilians for the “scenario with fun objectives” feel I really like in LotR. After that it´s characters and open war!

I´m convinced that this system is by far and wide the finest fantasy wargame I have ever played. It is fun, elegant, fast, and let´s you play with the coolest figures ever made by GW.