LXXIV – Riding Rohan to Ruin

My Hobbit SBG Rohan force faces an unexpected issue – the near overwhelming frustration of the opponents. Is Rohan overpowered in our meta? That is one question I would like opinions on from any who has any. Also, counters to cavalry is something I would appreciate you sharing in the comments.

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My gaming group has four players that has for a couple of months now every third week or so dived into the world of Tolkien in the form of the Lord of the Rings / Hobbit SBG. So far everything has been going rather smoothly – I have my Rohan force, a buddy borrows my Hunter Orcs, Mr Easter commands his namesake Easterlings, and Chaos Beakie does Isengard. It all started with some Battle Companies, but now we are doing other “ordinary” games (paired random generic scenarios) every other week.

Previously I have already had good success with my Rohirrim, with whom I mostly (by far) go all-mounted. Why? The horsemen are what dragged me to the faction. (If anything I play cav or (war)beasts whenever I can.) From what I understand the general opinion this is not the strongest way to play Rohan. I’d be better off with some foot soldiers, or maybe even some allies. I’d rather not. But I want my opponents to enjoy their games.

Any previous success I have put off as differences in available troops, or maybe even experience. But it is becoming more apparent that the issue is somewhere else as the problem persists, or maybe actually is highlighted, even as my opponents gain more experience. (I am a enthusiastic collector – much faster than Mr Easter and Chaos Beakie, and I have, maybe errantly, hoped that my large collection would spur them to pick up something new to their lists.)

In the Battle Companies I have prioritized getting mounts to my warband wherever possible (the heroes can purchase horses). This has led to that almost every model of mine has a horse, a few warriors have been promoted to Riders of Rohan (not automatically with bow), and those who have become heroes have bought a steed to ride upon. This was the final drop.

“How can cavalry be so cheap with no drawbacks?”, they ask. “What can you do to counter a mounted force? Is it even possible?” One simple remark would be terrain. Do we have enough? I think so. Diverse too – we have ruins, fences, forests…  So the other question is lists. What do we have? A recent, and rather representative example can be set by giving you a short battle report of the last game between Rohan and Easterlings.

Our forces looked like this:
easterlings

Mr Easter wanted to try out his new Castellans, Morannons and Shagrat so he pulled out a (too?) hero heavy list. We have Khamul, 4 Kataphracts, 4 Easterling bowmen, 3 Black Dragons with pike and shield, 4 Morannon Orcs and Shagrat as well as two Castellans.

I’d call this Easterling list “too in-between” hero heavy and troop based. Neither having numbers, and not really having an absolute upper hand in terms of heroes. Usually, he fields Khamul and a Captain as leaders and fills the rest up with his 6 Kataphracts and Black Dragons.

rohirrim
My Rohirrim was two near identical warbands. One lead by big Éomer, the other by Erkenbrand. One has 3 Sons of Eorl, the other has 2. Both have one Outrider. The rest are Westfold Redshields.

The Rohan list instead is very solid, with two good characters and a few hard hitters. Not too much to improve, really, is there?

The scenario was High Ground, and the board looked like this.

Board

This is actually a bit sparse with terrain, now that I look at it. Adding a forest close to the middle hill might have helped a lot. When we play here at home we have lately had one board filled with ramps and buildings, and another with a ruin and several larger forests. That has not helped too much. (In the case of Battle Companies, injuries and dice, as the models are only 4-8 for us so far, have been messing around.)

This battle report I won’t fill up with as many words as I use to, but rather point out the highlights. Each image is (probably) from the beginning of the turn. The first image is after at least one move, as I decided to keep away from any first turn charges by keeping back a bit. This way I could soften him up with arrows before striking.

2

 

I spread out a bit to threaten to circle around. The first targets are the four archers and Khamul.

3I keep at it…

4
Soon the archers are down.

 

5Feeling he is getting shot to pieces, he decides to bite it and closes in. I get in a few charges, as he only is in assault range with a couple of minis, and manage to cut a few down.

6_1This grinder is then on. I have a upper hand when it comes to might points, so I call heroic moves to get charges in. Éomer I soon send into contact with Khamul to cut him down, but fail. Most of the time I him locked, and thus unable to work his magic on me. (He drained Éomer’s and Erkenbrand’s courage a few times, that’s about it.)

7
The game actually ended quite fast after I broke him, but we decided to keep rolling as he wanted to see what the new minis could do…

8

9
As you can see it was pretty one sided. One major factor resulting in this, well, massacre was the dice. Only once of the ca 9 times the rules called for a random roll the result was in favour of the Easterlings.

A suggestion that has been voiced is that we should apply a cavalry limit. I don’t like this of course, as this would destroy my main factions main theme. So I need to find other solutions. Do any of you readers have something that could help even the game?

Thanks for reading – please comment away!

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