Friday, August 4, 2017

Reconnoitre: Elves vs Mordor

Turn 1 - Evil

The Evil army has priority for this turn, and Ratbag the Taskmaster arrives with his warband in the North-western part of the board. Perhaps having taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque, Garsh the Chieftain, Barfa the Drummer and Dolgulzagar the Marshal do not arrive this turn. On the Good side of the board Legolas, Haldir and Cumeren arrive with Tauriel, Gwaihir and Aurnaith the Captain not yet showing. Legolas appears slightly west of center on the board, with Cumeren a short distance to the East. Haldir arrives in the South-east corner.

The initial moves of the various warbands largely consisted of warily moving toward each other, while waiting for their wayward comrades. Legolas leaves his wood elves to join the Galadhrim Knights, skirting the shore of a swampy pond. Haldir's elves cautiously march forward between a set of standing stones and a rocky hill.

Turn 2 - Evil

Evil retains priority this turn, and the each army is up to full strength (at least temporarily) as their remaining warbands arrive. Garsh arrives in the center of the northern edge opposite Legolas and Cumeren while Barfa shows up just to the east of Ratbag. Finally, Dolgulzagar appears with his Morgul Knights in the North-east, opposite Haldir. Here is the board following the Evil deployment.

The Evil army mostly marches straight South this turn, Garsh's warband positioned between two sets of ruins, and Ratbag and Barfa combining forces just west of a ruin.

On the Good side, Tauriel and Aurnaith with their warbands and Gwaihir arrive just east of center on the southern edge. Legolas and the Galadhrim knights continue moving North-west past the swamp. The wood elves also angle North-west, attempting to place themselves in a position to block the oncoming orcs and uruks. Cumeren with the Galadhrim infantry move along the North-east shore of the swamp, and Aurnaith and Gwaihir also move forward along the shore. Tauriel's warband advances along near a set of standing stones, and Haldir holds his position on the other side.

Here is the board following the completion of the movement phase.

First blood of the battle is drawn during the shooting phase, with two uruks and an orc of Ratbag and Barfa's force falling to elven arrows. A Wood Elf, Legolas and a Galadhrim Knight each claim a victim.

Turn 3 - Good

The Good army gains priority this turn, and continue their skirmishing tactics. Legolas and the Galadhrim Knights turn straight West, passing in front of the orcs and uruks and screening the Wood Elf infantry. Cumeren and Aurnaith continue to lead their forces North, with Gwaihir winging on ahead. Tauriel and her Rangers move cautiously northward among the standing stones, trying to keep open lines of fire at the Morgul Knights. Haldir continues to keep his line of warriors in place. Here is the Good army following their movement.

The Evil army keeps up their advance, with Barfa beating his drum and driving the orcs and uruks forward. Garsh and his trolls advance ahead of the spiders and spectres, and Dolgulzagar and his knights rush past another swampy pond. Here is the state of the board following movement.

Haldir and his elves steadfastly hold their ground in the face of the charging Morgul Knights.

Here is a picture of Legolas and the Galadhrim Knights passing in front of the evil force.

Elven bows continue to draw blood, with the Rivendell Knights, Mirkwood Rangers and Haldir's Galadhrim directing their fire at the approaching Morgul horde. A Galadhrim Warrior shoots down a morgul horse, sending its rider sprawling. A Rivendell Knights also shoots a horse out from under a knight, though the rider is able to regain his footing. An arrow from a ranger slays a knight, the man sliding from his saddle.

Turn 4 - Evil

The Evil army regains priority this turn, and surges forward. Several of the orcs and uruks of Ratbag and Barfa's warbands engage Legolas and the leading pair of Galadhrim Knights before they can fall back. The spectres also attempt to beguile one of the knights, but he is able to easily shrug off their gaze. The charging Morgul Knights impact Haldir's line with a resounding crash and dark war cries.

Now with their opportunity to act, Aurnaith leads his knights in a flanking maneuver to afford clear fields of fire on the unengaged Morgul Knights. Some of Tauriel's rangers rush to aid the embattled Galadhrim, while others hang back to add their arrow fire to the rear rank of knights. Gwaihir wings his way back southwards to also try to lend aid.

The unengaged Galadhrim Knights fall back, trying to keep their distance from the approaching trolls.

Here is the board following the conclusion of the movement phase.

The Wood Elf archers fire past their comrades and two uruks fall to their arrows.

The first round of close combat for the battle is inconclusive. Legolas is defeated and driven back by his attackers, but suffers no damage.

To the East, three Galadhrim Warriors perish on cruel morgul lances. It does not go completely evils way however, as one Galadhrim warrior dodges a lance and hacks a knight from his saddle. Also on the western edge of the melee, a Morgul Knight who had been mobbed by Galadhrim and Mirkwood Rangers falls to a flurry of blows.

Turn 5 - Good

With priority flipping back to Good this turn, the various heroes of each army ready themselves for Heroic actions. Not disapointing, Ratbag, Garsh and Dolgulzagar all call Heroic Moves. Legolas attempts to contest Ratbag and Garsh, and is able to act before Ratbag, but Garsh is first. One of Garsh's trolls charges into Legolas while a handful of orcs tie down some of the Wood elves. Ratbag takes the majority of his orcs past the elves, running hard for the board edge.

Haldir attempts to contest Dolgulzagar, but the Marshal acts first. Two of the Morgul Knights slip past the elves and become the first models to exit the board. The remainder push hard trying to slip between the elves and the rocky hill. The elves and Gwaihir rush to try and tie down as many of the evil cavalrymen as possible, while Aurnaith, Cumeren and Tauriel begin to march their respective troops toward the Northern board edge.

Here is a picture of the board following movement.

Elven arrows claim more victims this turn. A Wood elf arrow strikes down a passing uruk of Ratbag's warband.

On the other side of the orcs and uruks, Galadhrim Knights shoot down a Morgul Stalker and a spider.

Combat this turn goes mostly in Good's favor. Gwaihir grips a dismounted Morgul Knight in his talons before Hurling him into two of his fellows. Also knocked down is Galadhrim Warrior, though neither he nor the two knights are hurt, although they are unhorsed. The same can not be said of the hurled knight, who is very much dead upon hitting the ground. Haldir expends one point of Might in order to finish off a Morgul Knight, his blade cleaving the man nearly in two.

Legolas and company manage to defeat one of the Mordor Trolls, but the creatures tough hide saves it from harm.

A Wood Elf falls to the flashing blade of a Morgul Stalker, the ground being stained red beneath him.

Turn 6 - Evil

With Evil taking back priority, it is now the Good armies turn to call Heroic Actions. Wasting no time, Haldir calls a Heroic Move, which Dolgulzagar attempts to contest. Haldir manages to act first and he and his troops, as well as Gwaihir, rush to cut off the Knights avenue of escape.

Legolas too, calls a Heroic Move, and manages to best both Garsh and Ratbag. Following Haldir's example, the Wood Elves and Galadhrim Knights seek to block the orcs escape route as best they can.

Unable to hinder everyone, however, Ratbag, Barfa and two Morgul Stalkers manage to escape from the Southern board edge.

Nearby, a troll engages a Wood Elf, while another elf is attacked by the second troll and a spider. Not to be outdone, Garsh charges into a pair of Galadhrim Knights with a roar.

To the East, Aurnaith, Tauriel and Cumeren lead their warriors North as quickly as they can, skirting the swamp on either side and making for the Northern board edge.

Following the conclusion of the movement phase, here is the overall state of the board.

There are no casualties from shooting this turn, so we move straight into combat. A dismounted Morgul Knight is slain by a pair of Galadhrim, while another knight cuts down a third Galadhrim. Haldir manages to defeat Dolgulzagar, but is unable to cause a wound. Gwaihir once again Hurls his opponent, sending him flying down the line of evil warriors, though he also catches Haldir and another elf, knocking them down as well. The Hurled knight dies spectacularly, killing the banner bearing knight in the process.

Legolas and a Wood Elf are defeated by an orc, but neither is injured. Sadly, the other nearby elves are not so lucky. Combat goes decidedly against the elves of Mirkwood and Lothlorien this turn. Two are slain by Mordor Uruks, two fall to the insidious Stalkers, and each of the Mordor Trolls each slay one apiece. Garsh himself defeats two Galadhrim knights and crushes them both.

Turn 7 - Evil

With Evil keeping priority, Legolas once again calls a Heroic Move, and he and the survivors from the previous bloodbath throw themselves against the forces of evil. One of the Galadhrim Knights charged two uruks knocked down in the previous turn before they can stand back up. Perhaps satisfied with the carnage, Garsh declares a Heroic March and exits the southern board edge with one of his trolls.

In the East, only a single dismounted knight remains, falling back onto the rocky hill. Haldir's elves form a screen to his south and eye him cautiously. A total of six evil models exit the board this turn

Aurnaith, Tauriel and Cumeren each declare Heroic Marches, with Aurnaith and his five knights exiting the Northern board edge. Gwaihir and several of the remaining Galadhrim infantry break away and begin their trek north.

Legolas is again defeated by an orc and is wounded, require all three of his Fate points to prevent it. One of the prone uruks manages to defeat the charging knight and springs to his feet. A Wood Elf shields with his spear and manages to drive back the raging troll.

A Galadhrim Knight strikes down a Numenorean spectre, its spirit finally finding peace.

Turn 8 - Good

Good gains back priority this turn and Cumeren and Tauriel each Heroic March, seven models exiting the board. On the Evil side, a Spectre escapes to the South. The dismounted knight descends from his hill to attacks one of the Galadhrim. Legolas charges a pair of spectres, knocking both down and managing to kill one of them. An uruk is also sent flying and slain by a Galadhrim Knight, though a second knight falls to an orc. One of the remaining Wood Elves is killed by a Stalker.

The dismounted knight is repulsed by the Galadhrim Warrior, but is unharmed.

Turn 9 -

Priority flops to Evil this turn with little the Good army can do to oppose it. The remaining Mordor Troll charges Legolas, and five more evil models escape to the South. To the east, Gwaihir wings his way off the board edge, and Tauriel and nine of her rangers also make their exit. Combat does not go well for the Good army this turn, with Legolas himself being slain by a gigantic blow from the troll's hammer.

Uruks also manage to kill two of the three remaining Galadhrim Knights, hungry blades flashing in the sun. A Wood Elf archer does manage to kill an orc spearman who had charged him.

And with the close of the turn, the game comes to its end. The final victory point tally is as follows:

Victory points:
Good - 24
Evil - 23 (20 models, 3 for Leg)

It ended up being a very close game, and I didn't think I was going to be able to pull it off. My initial plan was to try and use my cavalry as a mobile missile platform and to try and shoot down as many knights and other models as possible before running for the board edge. I had wanted to try and avoid the trolls completely, but that sort of fell apart... It was a good game though, and quite enjoyable :)

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