This is a solitaire scenario I created and played for The Lord of the Rings SBG and my first Small Table Game Day battle.

As a refresher, I play solitaire LotR using my own rules hack called Isildur’s Bane. Click here to get them. Also, I decided I would give it a shot and design and play some scenarios for different games using a 60x60cm table. That’s roughly 2’x2′. Of course I was thinking small skirmishes with a few models a side. This was, of course, not the case!

For this scenario I decided that a dwarf warband lead by Mardin, one of my favorite models, would go into goblin infested depths of Moria to reclaim some ancient treasure. The objective was behind the center column (from the dwarves’ point of view). They had 10 turns to get the treasure and take it back to their side of the table. As well as the time factor, there were two trapdoors on opposite corners of the table. From those, each turn after the first there would come 1D3 goblin reinforcements.

The lists were roughly equal:

The dwarves

5 archers
6 iron guards
4 teams of vault wardens
Points total:  310

The goblins

Goblin captain with shield
10 goblins with shield
10 goblins with bows
2 cave trolls, one with spear and chain
Points total: 307

Here you can see the table set up, both armies deploying on the platforms 5 inches from the borders, and the starting forces. For the game I used the rulebook, my own Isildur’s Bane hack, tape measure, a few D6, a single D3 for goblin reinforcements and some tiny dice for the trolls’ wounds and Mardin’s and the goblin captain’s Might and Wound scores (no bookkeeping for me). Deck of cards because of the solitaire rules and a new zone of control marker since I misplaced the other one 😦

After deployment the armies advanced. One single change I did for the solitaire rules was that instead of creating groups every turn with figures 10cm from each other, I’d simply activate groups of similar figures. The table being so small, I could probably get away with very little groups with the original mechanism, so I simply decided all similar troops were a group for the whole battle. So I dealt one card for trolls, one for dwarf archers, one for goblins with shield, one for the goblins with spears (reinforcements), etc.

The first couple of charges were from and against the trolls. One of them was left with just one wound but amazingly finished the battle, while the other one fell after the first combat. Dwarves are very hard to scare with a simple Terror test.

After that the centre became a big Bloodbowl match, goblins going down easily, but dwarves falling here and there and hurting a lot more. For reinforcements I only rolled 2s and 3s, so there were between 4 and 6 new spearmen every turn!

After some turns Mardin managed to get to the goblin captain with a small escort, killed him and took the treasure with him. This was probably around turn 6 or 7 so time was almost up. The troll tried to catch Mardin running away with it and with his chain managed to hurt him. But the battlefield was too crowded for him to move easily around his own troops. At this time the dwarves had to start making Break tests, and they managed to pass them all being near Mardin (20cm is a lot in such a small table).

I kept drawing a red activation card for Mardin, even though he was the only character. That was because maybe, just maybe, a red Joker might come up with something bad happening to him (using the random events optional rules from IB). The iron guards had a tough time during the battle when they got the Joker and couldn’t do anything for a whole turn. Goblins needed to roll 6s and then 5s to hurt the vault warden shield-bearers. The bastards killed 2 of them! Finally Mardin kept running away with the objective, while goblins chased him from every corner and the remaining dwarves kept blocking. It was turn 9 when he finally reached his table edge with the relics. Very close call for the sons of Durin.

Overall a really fun scenario, surprisingly balanced too. In a new battle I would probably send some goblin reinforcements to block the dwarves edge instead of attacking the battle line from behind, but of course the dwarves could deploy a few vault warden teams to cover that corner as well.

Here’s the end stage and the casualties. A crowded small table with lots of LotR flavor to it and a very good scenario, by chance of course. It could have gone horribly bad and end in the second turn, but I was a bit lucky (as well as knowing dwarves and goblins pretty well, game-wise).

Small Table Game Day 1 was a complete success, even if it was a solitaire battle. Got to play with a lot of models, a game I haven’t played in a while, a pretty cool original scenario from scratch, and great tense moments on the table (as well as pretty pics!). And now that I think about it, seems appropriate to open my STGDs with small size creatures like these.