It’s been ‘almost there’ a while now. And there has been a certain distinct toxic and flexible appendage to the torso being the one calling “are we there yet?” for only a slightly shorter period of time. But now, this Tuesday we finally got together to take the first step towards a series of Lord of the Rings /the Hobbit SBG games – a series of Battle Company games.
In these games Mr. Easter will take his namesake Easterlings, Chaos Beakie will act the beardy wizard he is with his Isengard forces and I will ride for ruin (whether mine or the enemy’s is yet unknown) with my Rohirrim. But we also have a newcomer, to both the Hobbit SBG and tabletop wargaming in general (let’s call him General Anderson for the sake of anonymity), that will take charge of my Hunter Orcs. These armies, in turn, mean that we’ll be fighting around in the setting Rhovanion.
But what is Battle Companies?
In the earlier days of the Lord of the Rings SBG there was a system for small clashes (think Border, or Combat, Patrol for Warhammer Fantasy and 40k). These rules and warbands got updated with the new releases but were unfortunately never “quite right”. Now, the rules have been improved and expanded upon by an awesome person who’d I like to hug (no promises). They can now be found here.
It is basically just small scale games for the Hobbit with character advancement, experience, promotions and, in the end, crocodile tears when your favourite character dies. Warbands start out with 1 hero (1/1/1) and 2 almost heroes (0/0/1). Warriors can become heroes when experienced, or they can die (in that permant way) before even getting a chance to swing. Warbands gather gold that can be used to try to get reinforcements.
In our case we have a starting set up of:
2 Fell Wargs
2 Hunter Orcs with bow
2 Hunter Orcs
1 Hunter Orc with 2 hander
3 Warriors of Rohan with shield
3 Warriors of Rohan with shield and throwing spear
2 Warriors of Rohan with bow
or something roughly equal for Isengard and Easterlings.
Before we’d begin properly with the actual book-keeping we decided to have an evening of just recalling the rules and trying out the feel. On my gameboard of 6’x4′ we managed well to play two games beside each other, and even had time to do three games (the last one being mostly a chaotic battle royale king of the hill-style). Again, the Lord of the Rings ruleset showed off its good side in terms of easy to get into, with General Anderson, having only played it once a year ago and then enjoying one of GBHLs intro vids, bashing in all our heads with equal measure.
Last time, years ago when we were just starting LotR, I somehow managed to roll over Isengard and Mirkwood (the latter consisting of particularly fragile elves). The question must be if I were just lucky or if the boys conceded to let me upgrade my warriors to have horses? Anyhow, this time I feel will not be so easy. Why? Well, if nothing else, then because those Hunter Orcs are nasty! Seven of them with two attacks each! Ouch. Luckily we are all on equal ground in terms of Defence when they hit with strength 4. (It did not help that my archers did squat the entire evening.)
Next time is scheduled in a tenday! So if you want more Hobbit SBG reading, come back in the middle of february! Thank you for reading!