The minions of the Necromancer of Dol Guldor have surged north through the vast expanse of Mirkwood, driving the wood elves before them. Thranduil, the King of the Wood Elves, has organized the defense as best he can, but each foe slain only slows the onslaught. The evil tide continues to roll forward bringing darkness and death.
Now, at a stretch of forest not far from their halls, Thranduil and the elves rally their forces for another desperate defence. Success means a brief respite, but continued struggle. Failure means utter destruction.
Turn 1 - Evil
Chittering in anticipation, a Giant Spider arrives from the north, not far from one of the Bat Swarms.
With piercing cries, the Bat Swarms initiate the attack, each charging a wood elf warrior. The Giant Spider scuttles behind a tree, trying to shelter from the arrows that it know are ready and waiting.
The Wood Elf Sentinels each sing out a Hymn of Elbereth, emboldening their comrades (Thranduil, an archer and a spearman). Elven bows begin to sing and arrows fly through the air at the Giant Spider, but its tough carapace deflects the missiles. One of the Bat Swarms is defeated by its opponents, three elven warriors causing three wounds, their spears stained with the blood of the vermin. The second bat swarm is more successful, defeating a pair of elves, but is unable to injure either of them.
Turn 2 - Evil
The next round of combat begins with another Giant Spider arriving from the south-west, its many eyes glittering. The bats re-engage the wood elves, trying to press their attack while the first spider joins in the assault. The elven warriors rush to aid their friends, but courage deserts two spearmen, one of them being carried off the field of battle in his fear, the other nearly so.
Turn 3 - Good
The next round of the battle opens with the arrival of yet another Giant Spider, this time from the south-east edge of the battlefield.
Taking the initiative for the first time in the battle, the wood elves work to consolidate their forces while pinning down the enemy. Their task is complicated by three of their number (an blade elf, an archer and a Sentinel) retreating from the enemy, though all remain within the battle area. The remaining two Sentinels each play the Eldamar Madrigal, one succeeding in forcing one of the spiders away from the main battle. As he rushes to engage the Bat Swarm, a wood-elven warrior throws a dagger, slicing one of the bats out of the air (1 wound). One of the spiders is struck by an arrow, piercing the carapace with a crunch. The spider snaps its fangs angrily as green ichor oozes from the wound.
Close combat in this round is rather inconclusive. The elf who charged the bats followed up his success with a slice from his glittering blade, leaving a pair of disembodied wings flapping momentarily before flopping to the ground. (1 more wound on the bat swarm). An archer who had charged a spider defeated the arachnid, but was unable to cause any injury.
Turn 4 - Good
The forces of good maintain their hold on initiative, despite the final Giant Spiders arrival. Two Sentinels both succeed at moving two of the spiders using their Eldamar Madrigal. A pair of archers fail to keep their act together and retreat from the enemy, though they remain in the fight. The elf warrior who had defeated the Bat Swarm the previous turn attempted to repeat his success, throwing another dagger as he charged the wildly darting creatures. Unfortunately, the blade whistled through empty air. A second elf warrior, charging a Giant Spider had more success, the thrown blade slicing off one of the loathsome creatures legs and causing a wound.
Once again, the elven archers draw back their bows and loose their arrows. The brown spider who had been injured the previous turn is the target of a barrage of arrows and slain, an elven arrow embedded deeply into its body.
One of the Sentinels had led a small band of elves into an attack on another spider, and in a flurry of flashing blades and spears they pin the creature to the ground and hack off all of its legs for good measure. A third spider had attempted to attack from behind, and was succesful, but failed to pierce elven flesh.
The remaining bats turn the tables on their elven antagonist, enveloping him in a dark shroud of wings and fur until his lifeless body falls to the ground, covered in small bites.
With the conclusion of this rounds combat, the evil army is now Broken!
Turn 5 - Evil
Evil wrests the initiative back from the elves, but is it too late? One of the remaining spiders chitters softly and fades back into the dark forest, fleeing the battle. The other spider and the bat swarm hold their ground. Thranduil calls a Heroic Move, and uses his circlet to cast Aura of Dismay. In turn, the Bat Swarm is dismayed by the Aura and fails to charge a Sentinel. In turn, the remaining spider is hemmed in by vengeful elves.
The Bat Swarm is target by several arrow, but none are able to harm it. The Sentinel and his elven warriors make quick work of the spider, their weapons dripping slime and ichor.
Turn 6 - Evil
Keeping priority, the bats pass their courage check and launch themselves at a Sentinel in a fury borne of desperation.
The Sentinel is joined by other nearby elves, and though fight like Bats Possessed, they flying mice lose to the elves, but avoid further harm.
Turn 7 - Good (tie)
Good wrests priority from the bats (had been a tie) and presses their attack. Apparently feeling like all was well in hand, two elves fail their courage checks and retreat.
Despite this, the fate of the bats is sealed and the last one is spitted on a wood elf spear and the forces of Good are victorious!
Post Battle Thoughts:
While a short and fun game, it was somewhat disappointing that I was only able to kill a single elf, (not counting the one that ran from the battlefield) and never got anywhere near Thranduil. I probably could have played it better, but at least on the surface and with one play through, it seems like a difficult scenario for evil to do well in. Still though, it was fun, and an interesting change from the usual :)
Stay tuned for the next installment in the campaign (much more interesting in my opinion)