This scenario is the first one from the RotK rulebook. It´s a skirmish in the ruins of Osgiliath. It´s made to be played with the figures that come in the boxed game, but I´ve yet to paint the 24 orcs, so we changed the Evil forces as per a points match guidelines.

The forces on the Good side were 24 warriors of Minas Tirith (8 spear and shield, 8 archers, 8 sword and shield). On the Evil side, we used 175 points of troops (since the Minas Tirith warriors added up to 200 points exactly) and thus were 10 orcs (5 archers, 3 sword and shield, 2 double-handed weapons), 2 uruk-hai berserkers, and 5 uruk-hai with pikes. This gave the Evil player some interesting tactical options.

The problem here was that the victory conditions for this scenario depended on numbers of figures. First side to kill 50% of the opponent´s troops would win. This meant the Evil player had to kill 12 figures, while the Good side only 9.

The game was played twice, changing sides, and thankfully it was proven that even though the number of figures was not equal, the scenario was well balanced.

Game 1

The first game I played the Good side. The deployment had my troops split, a scout party near the orc deployment zone and reserves coming from the other side of the table. The only thing even close to a battle plan I had was to kill orcs as fast a possible. Try to shoot them down, avoiding the hard-hitting uruks, and hopefully getting 9 out of 10 fast before Gabriel realized he could destroy me with the pikes and berserkers.

Troops coming out of their boxes, deployment zones marked with dice, and final deployment. First moves were “catch the orc”. Trying to kill as many low defence orcs as possible.

The troops were very spread, and little combats were taking place. He was pretty afraid of my lousy shooting, which as usual did almost no harm. My plan worked, so I started killing orcs first. After a few shots I went in close, blocking the uruks with the least warriors and using all my strength on the lousy orcs.

Reserves were running to the fight, while I ran around his uruks, fightint as many orc as I saw.

It turned out well, and I even got to kill an uruk by bow fire. I lost very few figures. It really looked like it was an easy scenario for the forces of Good.

Finally managed to kill the orcs I needed. Almost all the uruk-hai survived the battle, as they were too tough to waste any efforts on them.

Game 2

After a short coffee break, we came back to the table, thinking about what we just learned from the battle. I rapidly accepted the fact that bow fire was useless, and now even more that I was going to play with the orcs. Gabriel didn´t believe that from the start, so he started slow, but finally accepted it too.

My plan this time was to hit fast and hard on the scouts. They were 8 figures, far away from the reinforcements, so if I could kill them fast then I would just need to kill 4 more. Hopefully some archers, since they were less armored.

Same deployment zones. This time deployment of troops was a bit more ordered. Gabriel created small units, and I did too thinking of getting the most effective combinations of pikes, 2 handed weapons and berserkers. I put my orc archers in the middle, giving the impression that I was really interested in shooting. This worked because the main reserves went straight to them while I tried to slaughter the scouts on the sides. The Evil side deploys after all Good models are on the table, and with this battle plan in mind, it was a very big advantage.

This time, deployment was clearer. Small units for his Good troops, and tiny “killer teams” for me near his scouts.

I started my crazy charge against the scouts, while the Good guys braced for impact and the reserve ran like hell for their comrades. Gabriel understood my plan early on and started shielding, waiting for the reserves.

Orcs and uruks choosing their charges, shielding themselves from bow fire.

I kept hitting really hard, but the dice were mocking me. When I had a combat with 4 or 5 dice against the 2 of the shielded figure, I did nothing. But if an orc archer was charged, he usually won the combat! Though getting a 6 to wound the warriors with shield was crazy and it was taking me much more time than anticipated.

Orc archers didn´t kill a thing, but had his reserves running straight into them.

Plan didn´t change, except that I had a small detachment going for the archers. When they arrived some of them were being shot down so I got behind the main reserve unit that was already closing in on my futile slaughter attempts. Gabriel had them running but somehow split them up, which was good having a couple of uruks on their backs.

Some of the fights I picked were deadly, and still the bastards kept surviving behind the shields. Also see the small detachment I had running towards the weaker archers.

Dice kept mocking me and I was getting very nervous. I got to pick the fights, won initiative for about 4 turns in a row, and just could not get my, supposedly easy, 8 kills in time. It was driving me crazy.

Some of the last turns trying to kill the scouts, before the reserves started to arrive.

I had to use the archers to block the reserves advance, but I couldn´t just sacrifice figures. He could´ve won in no time that way. I was killing, at most, 1 figures per turn. It was slow and painful, and even some of the really slow Good archers were catching up into the melee.

Reserves arrive, slowly, but I was still not completing my mission. Now the orcs were going to start falling.

I was finally able to get my kills, but my orcs were already falling like flies by that time. It was really insane how I could not kill those stubborn men, hiding behind their shields.

Finally made the 12 kills before the wrath of Gondor got a chance to pick fights and kill orcs.

This is the first time we used different troops than those specified in a scenario, and thankfully also the first time different sides win it. Beyond the fact that I won both games, it means that the scenario is very well balanced even when messing with the actual number of troops. Another reason that joins the thousands that this game is truly amazing.