A few weeks ago one of my friends suggested another game of Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit as it is now called. Last time I played it was about 6 months ago, when we played a couple of times in a row. For some reason I was a bit reluctant to start with. It had been a while, so I had forgotten about the game – how intriguing it was and how personal with the small miniature count and so, and how fun it was. In the end I agreed, after suggesting Ravenwing, Skaven and High Elves as potential challengees.
So to go back a bit to the last times we played. These games involved a) testing out the scenarios with the Escape from Goblin Town set and b) pitting the awesome dwarf team against a bunch of Rhûnlanders with Khamul. The set was initially intended only as a hobby lure for my girlfriend who really liked the Radagast mini in the box, the rest of the contents was just some happy rainy day painting. But it’s not as easy to leave as that. The minis were great, and I liked the rules already in the Lord of the Rings era. Now they have added detail and adjusted slightly the rules. For the better I believe. But, as my friends think too, the bows were not in need of a nerf.
The scenarios were fun too, while being very hard for the dwarf player to beat although that could have been as a result of us not knowing the game enough. We tried a couple of them, with me taking the role as the dwarves. In the story of the Hobbit I told back then, the dwarves all got stuck or died in the darkness. Against the Easterlings in a points match game I fared a bit better, but ultimately faced defeat. It was the first time I ever tried an all hero force, and it seemed to work well.
There we left it until now.
This model of Éowyn was my first Lord of the Rings miniature.
This time it was time for my Rohirrim to face those dreaded Easterlings again. Playing only 500 points this time I had not to face a Ringwraith but:
The Easterling force consisted of:
A mounted Easterling Captain with a halberd and shield
4 Black Dragon Kataphrakts
1 Black Dragon Kataphrakt with a war drum
A mounted Easterling Captain with a halberd and shield
6 Easterling warriors with shields
5 Black Dragon Warriors with Shields and pikes
An Easterling War Priest
6 Easterling Warriors with shields
5 Black Dragon Warriors with Shields and Pikes
And my Rohan force consisted of:
Éomer (Pelennor Fields)
1 Redshield with banner
1 Rohan Archer
4 Rohan Warriors with shields
This kind of lists we play. My two opponents have foregone archery completely or mostly. I do like getting a wound in here and there so that the numbers are not so much against me. This game was the Hold Ground (randomly selected) – meaning a single objective in the middle – models within 6″ score one point when the game ends; no models deployed – the entry for each warband is rolled for.
The battlefield looked like this. We decided to have a river, which one of my gaming mates had acquired from ebay cheaply, dominate the battlefield.
The Evil side got priority and began by rolling a 2 for the first warband, meaning I got to choose their entry point. I decided for him to deploy in the far south east as far away from the objective as possible. Second he had to enter from the same table edge and then he got to choose his entry point. That was not too bad.
In my turn, I rolled a 2 for the first warband too, so the warband on foot entered just beside the bad guys on the south table edge. (This was after some confusion on whether or not they could charge when they entered or not.) For the second warband, Ekrenbrand’s, I got too choose a point on the southern (or northern) border and decided to support the infantry. Hopefully this would keep the Easterlings at arm’s length for a moment or two. Finally I rolled another 2 – oh, the horror. Éomer, apparently having got lost, entered from the opposite table edge. Luckily they were all mounted so they would quickly enough be there to aid the rest of the force. But the Rohirrim were scattered, while the Easterlings were pretty much lined up for battle already and could start working as a cohesive force from the start…
In short words the game went as follows.
The next few turns Éomers warband runs up midfield losing a few arrows as opportunity permits. Éowyns warband of infantry in turn backs away taking pot shots at any targets of value while supported by Erkenbrand and friends. The Easterlings first head, as a cohesive force, for the objective, but changes direction after a couple of turns as they decide to try to take out the two warbands without support of Éomer’s riders. I keep backing away for as long as I can to get Éomer in supporting range.
By the time the Easterlings are so close I am forced into clos combat one Kataphrakt has fallen and one is unhorsed. A fate point has been taken off the War priest. Not much really. The next turns turn the game into a grinder. Soon Éomers force hits the Easterlings from the back. I take the opportunities I get to get cavalry charges while tying up as many easterlings as possible – using Might if Priority is not on my side. Things are quite even, although I lose a few riders a bit faster than I had hoped. Soon the Easterlings run out of might, with the help of some Heroic Moves from my side. Some Easterlings try to run through the woods to get to the objective, but the two riders that are assigned guard duty force them back into the fray.
In the end the Rohirrim break the Easterlings first (1 Vp), and manage to slay their leader (1 Vp). One rider near the objective gives another point for a 3-1 result. The one point the Easterlings get for breaking the Eored as well. Another fun game of the Hobbit is thus wrapped up.
Now I have been planning additions to my Rohirrim, and dreaming of a potential Dúrins folk army as well. Let’s see where time takes us. For those of you who haven’t tried the Hobbit SBG I do recommend it. The rules are simple, yet there is very much depth. The game works well as standard Point Matches, but in my opinion you get the most out of the rules in story driven missions. The game is really at its best if one in the group takes time to work out some narrative scenarios.
Those who have more experience from the Hobbit SBG or the Lord of the Rings SBG – you are very much welcome to give any advice for both generals. What can we do better in list making and tactics? For you I also have a straight up question: How can one avoid that big mob fight? Should one keep the warbands separated from each other during the game?
I’ll soon add in game pictures.
Erkenbrand is my go to hero, together with Éowyn.