XXXIII – Year’s First Hobbit

I am happy to report an early start of the Hobbit year with a game! As stated before, in my gaming group little interest is shown for the Hobbit SBG. But I will keep struggling to get the Hobbit Hobby fix. If nothing else, then my hobby appetite shall be sated by the GBHL’s videos on youtube – well worth having a look at.

For Christmas I was happy enough to get a box of Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs. Although being hit by a particularly stubborn flu, and thus the Hobby year seems to having taken a bit of a slow start – especially in terms of gaming, I have already expanded these with Fimbul and Hunter Orcs on foot from my FLGS. (I also have painted 8 Lootas, and, most importantly, finally finished my Frostheart! More of them later, I hope.) These models are awesome! So much detail compared to the old minis. The price tag is quite steep, especially for the characters, but after assembling these the price does not feel so bad.

Also, I have been plotting to spread the gospel and I have two eager individuals, in shape of the miss-in-charge and one of her mates, to try out the game. So if I can come up with two decent armies I might soon get games in on a more regular basis too – with the approval of someone special. 😉

To get to the game it was 600 points Rohan (with Fiefdoms) against Easterlings. In the end the list did a lot for my part, you might spot some blunders of mine. As we have played so little, the lists in my group are far from optimized, so any “oddity” will weigh in heavy.

My list was:
Erkenbrand
11 horsemen
-2 of them Sons of Eorl
-1 Red shield banner bearer
-the Rest red shields

Éowyn
11 Infantrymen of which
-5 are archers (Outriders)

King of the Dead
-6 Dead ‘Eads with shield and spear

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I faced 3 warbands worth of Easterlings, consisting of a 50:50 mix of Black Dragon Halberdiers and ordinary Swordsmen, 5 Black Dragon Kataphrakts (one with a drum) led by Khamul, a Warpriest and a mounted Captain.

Rolling for a Points Match Scenario in the Main Rulebook we got Lords of Battle, I was to deploy first on the gameboard below:

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The game board set up with terrain.

Normally we have played on rather crammed boards. This time I decided to try playing with slightly less terrain to see the difference. Many times one sees internet battle reports on rather empty tables, but we have always tried to fill the board. It simply makes for a more varied game. I still think it is true, but it would be even more true for a game with multiple objectives to hold. Something perhaps for a future game.

Anyways, deploying first I chose the side with the ruins. I decided I wanted to try to defend it – especially as I never really have run spear models before. (I tend to run all mounted Rohan.) In this case, the Warriors of the Dead would not give me the benefit of their superior defence, as they are the ones behind my Rohan warriors with their spears, but at least I could easily wound with them. For the future, I think I would need cheap spear support for my WotD so I really can get that defence in the face of my opponent.

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The mounted warriors and the Warriors of the dead must deploy in a more forward position.

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The Easterlings line up rather close, as they have no archers.

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I get priority, but move only a little to keep my full army supporting each other, and I want to be able to make him feel my superior number of bows. And he does – first turn my banner bearer manages to put an arrow in the eye socket of the drummer. A solid hit that allows me to capitalize further on my better manoeuvrability. Unfortunately they only manage to do another two or three wounds doing the entire game! What a botch!

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Easterlings move up, and at some point Khamul decides to go on a little adventure.

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The lines close in. I get priority in almost all (if not all) of the first ten turns. At this point I wonder if I should charge. I decide not to, still confident my archers will do something, and that I will get a non-priority turn charge opportunity soon.

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It does not happen, and the Easterlings decide to go for the ruin instead. Now I realize the issue the wall might be for me, but with my move of 10″ I can still redeploy to his flank or rear soon. If he is trying to get into that pen ,he will have a harder time to react as well. The few wounds the archers manage are on the horses of the Kataphrakts.

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Then I get an opportunity to go for Khamul and his two companions. I decide to go for it. This is after he Compels one of my Sons into a forest, luckily he can escape out of it rather easily.

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Those terror checks prove difficult to do – shouldn’t it be a 50-50 chance of keeping your nerve with courage 3? Anyways, Khamul is unhorsed and overcome in two turns along with his two companions at the cost of a Son of Eorl and a Redshield. Not too bad. (Was it a good move from me to go after Khamul? Was I being outplayed by the Easterling player? Comments are welcome!)

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Soon fighting is going on both in front of the ruin – the entry point held firmly by a Warrior of the Dead and his King. I get the favour of the dice and in the lost combats where I am defending the Easterlings hit the obstacles with the majority of their strikes. I am taking a lead.

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This grinder goes on, and soon enough (say in two-three turns or so) the horses get to the Easterlings from behind and start wrecking havoc. Not a moment too early, as the Easterlings are slowly pouring into the ruins. As he breaks I have only taken 9-ish casualties.

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Again it was fun to get to play a Lord of the Rings game. This game was perhaps a bit one sided – a list mismatch perhaps. It really is completely different from the other two games we do – Warhammer and 40k, The rules set is simple and effective, and for once terrain is decently described. Hopefully we get more games in soon. Perhaps enough of them to motivate my opponent to get some Mordor nastyness – perhaps that Great Beast of Gorgoroth he has been looking at.

If you have any tactical or list building comments – please leave a note. I would be happy to learn from your advice!

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2 responses to “XXXIII – Year’s First Hobbit

  1. Thanks for the battle report. It’s been a long time since I have played and I haven’t seen the rules for The Hobbit (only the old Strategy Battle Game), but I think that taking out Khamul was a good idea. Even with his reduced casting abilities (I assume this is still the case), a Ringwraith running around unchecked can cause issues, particularly for your characters in combat.

    Also congrats on the new “recruits”. Hopefully they catch the bug 🙂

    • Thank you!

      I always feel that a cavalry force is very reliant on the Heroes contributing with Heroics and a pip of strength. Getting rid of Khamul made sure they would be available if need would be. But at that point it felt like I had a strong upper hand already, so I had room for a gamble even if I wasn’t too sure about the wisdom of my move

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