The Hobbit SBG proved to be the first game to show up here as a battle report. After some time since the Lord of the Rings game (well, and me painting up Gimli and Aragorn and ordering some Erebor dwarves) both Mr. Easter and I felt it was time for a clash.
While this game was a one off, it might well be that we are up for another run of Battle Companies. That ruleset would be ideal for getting the incoming Erebor dwarves painted, and might help Mr. Easter and Chaos Beakie (also known as Saruman’s Butler) paint up some more of their forces (perhaps Mr. Easter would straight up use his Morannon’s to expand a bit? – hint, hint). Also, there’s been some independent planning of something dungeon crawlery that both the Hobbit ruleset and the Battle Companies would work well with.
The scenario was easy too choose this time. We both wanted to avoid the massive heap of warriors somewhere in the centre of the board that usually happens, so we wanted to go with something with multiple objectives. The size of the game was a different song, however.
(Skip the following two paragraphs to jump to the battle report.)
We threw out 400 and 500 points, of which neither was explicitly chosen, but Mr. Easter voicing his preference for the slightly larger size. I wrote up two lists for this – one being a LOL list with the Three Hunters, the other something different for my Rohirrim – a shieldwall with Royal Guards and a mounted warband led by Éomer, Knight of the Pelennor. Shieldwall tactics for Rohan would be a bit of a change for the games that we do – probably something welcomed by Mr. Easter who has lately been sounding tired of taking cavalry charges. As it were Mr. Easter had prepared only 400 points list, while I really had set my mindset into putting my shieldwall Rohan list on the table.
Mr. Easter got to choose which list to face, and accepted the challenge of taking on the Three Hunters. I didn’t want to throw an all hero list at him again after the not-so-enjoyable last game we had with him facing a band of named dwarves looting the armoury of Erebor thus getting an all round Defence 8. Of the Three Hunters, though, only Gimli is D8 while both Aragorn and Legolas is a much more manageable D5. A small rummaging around in the rules later I also found the rules I had been looking for for Aragorn – Isildur’s Heir, with him acting as a banner and a movement enhance for Legolas and Gimli.
A rough overview of the forces (425 points):
Good (Three Hunters):
Aragorn, Isildur’s Heir, Elven Cloak
Legolas, Elven Cloak
Gimli, Elven Cloak
Evil (The Eastern Kingdoms):
Easterling captain (in horse)
6 Easterlings (2 with shield, 2 with bow, 2 Black Dragons with Pike)
9 Easterlings (3+3+3)
↓ The board looked like this, with the four objectives being placed as a diamond with two along the middle line (near the carriage and to the left of the shrooms) and two deep into either deployment zone (by the hill below of the tower and near the ruined tower). (Also: Sorry for the blurry pictures, the lighting was difficult.)
↓ The Three Hunters deployed (individually) into one of the forests.
↓ The Castellans were sneaking ahead of the main battle group.
↓ The Easterlings move around the tower, taking cover from Legolas’ arrows, but more importantly trying to surround the three heroes.
↓ I move the Three Hunters around the hill using the elven cloaks to avoid taking shots from the Easterlings that have climbed the tower.
In this game I realized the how useful Heroic March can be. Aragorn, as a Mighty Hero, gains one might per turn. So far away from the forces I found it unlikely that he’d find some other use for the free might. Heroic March adds 3″ to the Movement of the models within 6″ meaning that I gain 1.5″ even if I intend to shoot. In addition, in this game Gimli has the lowest movement value of 5″ meaning he would be struggling to keep up with his allies and away from his enemies. Instead a move of 8″ is not bad at all.
↓ Legolas scores the only wounds done in the shooting phase in a single phase.
↓ Mr. Easter tries to vanguard his horsemen on the flank, behind the shed. The Heroic March surprises him and a Kataphrakt is just close enough for a charge by Legolas and Aragorn in the following turn. He decide it is best not to sacrifice the rest of the horses and moves them to safety.
↓ The rest of the Easterling forces keep trying to block the route.
↓ The Good heroes still try to push through, hoping to wither down the evil forces as much as possible before the final fight, while trying to keep the enemy from forming up into a large battle group.
↓ The mounted Easterling captain (unpainted infantry) with D7 is more easily unhorsed than killed and might have been the man stopping the endless run of the Three Hunters.
↓ Soon the long fight begins. The Castellan is a dangerous opponent with his morgul blade and a strength of 5, able to cut down both Legolas and Aragorn (D5) with a good strike (if they fail a single Fate roll).
When I and Mr. Easter play I have a tendency to win any roll offs to decide which of us that get to do their heroic moves first. In this game I won 3/3 of these rolls. Mr. Easter had only 4 might against my 3 x 3+1/turn, so I could easily counter. (Could this incredible luck be one of the main contributors to the crazy success, compared to the common opinion on the interwebz, of my all mounted Rohan?)
↓ The battle rages on. The heroes are able to keep away the enemy forces piece by piece, but their Might points are running low. Being surrounded, and trapped, a single lost combat could be the end of them.
↓ Soon the game nears an end, with the Easterling forces being close to breaking. I did not only win all the roll-offs for Heroic Moves, but also the fight went improbably well. Of all the endless fights the good probably lost only 4 or 5, two of these then being saved by a might points.
But Mr. Easter has a soldier on two of the objectives – and they are stubborn as hell.
↓ Soon the game ends. Using the scoring method of the Domination scenario Mr. Easter scores 8 to my 5.
The stubbornly steadfast Easterling Warriors took two objectives (the brave Black Dragons ran away at first opportunity) for 3 each and scored two wounding hits on Aragorn that were saved by Fate points. The Three Hunters scored 3 for breaking the opposing force without being broken themselves and two other for slaying the opposing leader.
Being able to do Heroic Marches could have given me an objective in the end Mr. Easter correctly pointed out. Also, I think I should have moved around the other side of the purple tower earlier taking on half of the Easterling forces while still being close to two of the objectives.
The real game changer though was the incredible rolling.
A fun and interesting game though, and I think (and hope) that Mr. Easter enjoyed the game too with each fight potentially risking to be the end of one of the heroes.