The southern port town of Mogurakh has rebelled! The Betrayer and a high ranking Hasharin lead a group of Haradrim rebels to assassinate two high ranking dwarves as they flee the city - not from cowardice, but to get news back north of the scum!
Etako (Balin with no throwing axe, but one extra fate), Gimli, six Khazad Guard, 8 dwarven warriors with shields and 5 with bow.
The Betrayer, Hasharin and about 30 odd Haradrim, 6 Watchers of Karna, the rest bows and spears.
Major Victory for the Dwarves if Etako and Gimli make it through the city to board a waiting ship.
A draw if only one dwarf makes it.
Major Victory for the Haradrim if both dwarven leaders perish.
Although the dwarves have more points (roughly 100 points) more to start with, at the end of each evil movement phase 1-3 slain warriors of Harad come back to the battle - reinforcements from other areas of the city.
As you can see in the image above, we're playing at my brother's house. He's put together a great selection of buildings using cardstock and theming them like in the Haradrim sourcebook. He has more to say about them over at his blog: http://paulslotrminis.blogspot.com/
You can also see that the setting up and deployment rules were different here and that we're not using the realm of battle board this time. The deployment went that I had to put my troops throughout the city. They could be no closer than 8cm from one another. I pretty much put archers in the tall towers, shield dwarves at intersections and at the foot of ladders.
Then he got to put his troops down similarly. Lastly I put my heroes with their three guards each at the gate end of the city. My plan at the beginning was to link up my hero groups so that a wall of Khazad Guard could push along the main road towards the boat. The archers and shield dwarves would run interference and try to stop him from getting time and man consuming groups in front of my heroes.
There was no point (and I often had to really resist the urge) in killing his troops, since they just reinforce back anyway! Here's the view from the other end of the table.
Well, this was a really interesting scenario right from the start, there were things happening everywhere!
Turn one so I had priority with my good dwarves. My melee dwarves, and some of my archers, moved forward into combat as often as possible to try to deny him any movement. My two sniper dwarves stayed in the tops of their towers and took pot shots at the evil men below. One arrow missed entirely, the other hit but caused no serious injury, save to knock the evil man enough so that his returning arrow missed.
As you can see in the picture below, there was action right from the start in the melee phase!
At the top of the picture you can see an overconfident dwarf, who charged at a Haradrim spearman with shield slightly askew. Thinking his armour more than enough protection, his overconfidence was his downfall, the Haradrim put the butt of his spear into the ground and essentially used the dwarves own momentum to drive him onto the spear, taking him out of the battle quickly and easily!
Towards the center of the shot you can see another shielded dwarf, he saw the evil Betrayer nearby, summoned up all his courage, and made to charge into the miasmic black aura surrounding the Nazgul. The dark shape turned its head and although the eyes weren't visible, they turned the dwarves knees into jelly and he just couldn't do it. Ashamed, but terrified, he was easily dispatched by the Hasharin and a spearman.
To the bottom of the image you can see another dwarf who did manage to summon up enough courage, while the Nazgul was staring down his friend, he charged into battle, immediately he was set upon by two Watchers of Karna and a spearman as well as the ringwraith! Certain doom? No! Yelling dwarven battle cries, he swung his axe and blocked with his shield in a frenzy of motion, he was hit several times, but his strong dwarven armour meant that he was pushed back, but not seriously injured.
In one of the streets two dwarves charged two Watchers, fighting near each other, they set up a banter about how quickly they could take out their opponents. It turned out to be very quickly indeed! Although the Watchers had dual blades blurring in arcs of shining steel, the dwarves simply battered forward with their shields then swung out with their axes, taking out the taller men in the knees!
Elsewhere on the battlefield another few brave dwarves perish, it's already not looking good for our heroes!
Turn 2 - Priority Dwarves.
As you can see, there are small combats on rooftops everywhere! The dwarven heroes are advancing with a screen of Khazad Guard.
In the reinforcement phase, two Watchers enter near the top tower. The player with priority gets to choose where they come in. In hindsight, putting them up near where I wanted to end up was probably a bad idea, but it was that or close to me.
In the shooting phase, the Haradrim shoot into combat every chance they get, after all, even if they hit their own men, more reinforcements are on the way! Scummy evil!
Anyway, there's always a Suicide Bob in every game we play, this time it was that dwarf who last turn didn't die to the Betrayer. He felt invincible after that and charged right back in there, knowing that denying the Nazgul his movement kept him from his leaders and stopped him from casting any spells. Unfortunately he was now surrounded by the ringwraith, Hasharin, two Watchers of Karna and a spearman.
They roll. It's a tie, the reroll gives Evil the win. They roll, they fail to wound! He's surrounded, so they get to reroll, they fail to wound! The Betrayer's mastery of poisons, however, means that a small nick on his hand festers and blisters as though acid had been dropped onto his skin. Soon the reaction moves along his arm and to the rest of his body, which decays almost in fast motion into a disgustingly putrefying (but brave) mess.
He was only wounded on the last roll of 18 dice because of the poison reroll =)
At the other end of the city a messy melee broke out near the dwarven heroes. Two Khazad Guards disdainfully swing their axes and quickly dispatch two Haradrim spearmen. In a shock, though, another guard follows suit and again, overconfidence causes him to swing too hard against a Watcher of Karna, who dances lithely to one side, deflecting the axe with one blade, while stabbing a thin blade through the small eye gap in the metal mask. Death is instantaneous.
At this stage I'm feeling rather low, it's really not going my way at all! Still, there were some moments of glory, my dwarves atop one of the towers teamed up against a Haradrim spearman. One ducked low, the other charged in, bowling the spearman over his friend and stabbing him with a dagger, sending him screaming over the side of the wall to land with a dull splat on the ground below.
Turn 3 - Priority Haradrim.
One spearman comes back.
This was an excellent turn for the good dwarves. No dead dwarves! The Khazad guard continued to be set upon, but this time kept their face-plates guarded as they swung their mighty axes and decapitated, delimbed and hacked their way through their opponents. Although the plan was for the heroes to not fight, Gimli couldn't help but sidestep out and use his two axes to carve up a spearman.
Elsewhere in the city some small one on one fights resulted in another two haradrim deaths. As the dwarves began feeling more uplifted and positive the music in the background suddenly changed dramatically to some minor tones of impending doom.
Yes. The Nazgul and Hasharin were leading some troops in an inexorable wall of doom towards the heroes.
Turn 4 - Priority Haradrim.
1 Watcher and 2 spearmen reinforce.
In the shooting phase, two Haradrim archers from opposite sides of a street shoot down from atop their perches at a dwarf with a shield. He manages to raise his shield in time to stop on arrow, but the other catches him in the back of the neck, he gurgles, choking on his own blood as he curses the rebellious evildoers. His nearby friend swears to avenge his death!
Along many rooftops, scenes such as these are taking place less and less frequently as the dwarves are slowly whittled away by the constantly advancing men.
Etako, jealous that Gimli had so much fun in the previous turn, uses his axe to block a watcher's sword, then uses his gauntlet to deflect another, the look on the Watcher's face as his weapon bounces off what he thought was just a dwarven hand was priceless. As was the look on his face a moment later as the same gauntlet smashed his jaw in a massive uppercut, sending blood and spittle flying through the air.
Looking down one of the side streets you can see the line of the Betrayer and gang with reinforcements in the background. Archers everywhere on almost every rooftop continue to send arrows flashing towards the heavily armoured dwarves. Sure, it takes a lucky set of rolls to kill one, but it's already happened once this game!
This shot was taken just before the fighting was worked out, you can see how bottled in the dwarves are getting. Now I'm wondering whether to cut back and around to the left or what. Then I realise that with my shorter legs, he can beat me to anywhere I want to go anyway!
Turn 5 - Priority Dwarves.
A Watcher and another spearman reinforce.
A dwarven archer pulls back and lets loose an arrow, which flies straight to a Haradrim archer who was about to send an arrow down at another dwarf. The evil man falls screaming from the rooftop to land with a thud near his erstwhile target, who grins and doffs his helmet at his sharpshooting friend.
The soundtrack changes... "and Iyyyiiyyyiiiiiyiii wiiiiill allllllwayyyyys looooove youuuuooouuuoouuuuouuu" ahh, the soundtrack from "The Bodyguard".
The Khazad's charge forward, the blackly evil Betrayer causes no fear in their stalwart hearts, they know that they have to keep their leaders alive and they'll do whatever it takes.
Etako and Gimli together share a spearman. The Hasharin and a spearman combine in a swirling vortex of blades to slay a brave guardsman. The Betrayer and his spearman support similarly win their combat, but fortunately the brave dwarf deflects their blades. A Khazad faces off against a Watcher of Karna, they both glare at each other and twirl their weapons and in the end forget to actually fight, too impressed with each others martial skills.
Turn 6 - Priority Haradrim.
Etako calls a heroic move! The Betrayer calls a heroic move! In the roll off good wins! The dwarven heroes slip through the blockade, while their guards throw themselves at the enemy to allow Gimli and Etako to continue their race towards the docks.
Two more spearmen reinforce the evil side (one of them making his third come back!)
Although they know that they'll be surrounded and mercilessly destroyed, the Khazad Guard buy enough time! Truly epic stuff!
Here's the before battle picture.
Well, Etako uses a point of might to win the battle and slay the rebellious spearman that dared oppose him. His gauntlet shattered the man's face and sent him flying like a rag doll to the ground. The Betrayer again hisses at the Khazad that dares stand up to him, and again the brave guard stands his ground, is beaten back, but his overlapping armour plates keep him alive.
2 Watchers of Karna and a spearman surround a Khazad Guard, whose armour fends off the sharp weapons, but the sheer pummeling of the attacks knocks him to the ground where he is mercilessly slain while trying desperately to fend off the overwhelming numbers of blades.
The Hasharin and a spearman launch their assault at the Guard that so impudently attacked. The Hasharin feints towards the dwarf, attacking twice in rapid succession, then spinning artfully and more in the form of a dance then an attack, pirouettes around to slide a sharp, thin dagger between the gap at the back of the dwarfs neck armour, killing him almost instantly.
So many deaths. Etako and Gimli swear to honour the Guard in song... if they survive.
Turn 7 - Priority... Dwarves!
Phew, now they have a chance to further their escape! Again, the brave remaining Khazad Guard launch themselves at the Betrayer and Hasharin, while Etako and Gimli run towards a narrow alleyway.
By now several of the dwarves that had started atop roofs have just about rejoined the heroes, ready to do their best to fill in for the brave Khazad Guard.
One spearman comes back for reinforcements.
However, having left the rooftops, the Haradrim archers now are free to shoot a multitude of arrows, all at Gimli! What are the odds of wounding Gimli? Poor, but it happens! Fate is with Gimli today, well, at that time, but he uses all his fate to avoid dying. Even so, blood from the wounds runs down his face and left arm, hopefully it won't get in the way of fighting if he needs to.
Two Watchers of Karna and a spearman beat back and kill a dwarf with shield. He dies in the knowledge that he served his king well.
2 spearmen, a Watcher and the Betrayer all gang up on the stoic dwarf that has resisted death for so many turns. His bronze chain armour and mithril plates are running red with blood from the many superficial wounds that he has suffered and in the end his axe slips from his blood soaked hands as he succumbs to the bludgeoning and slicing of too many blades over too many turns.
The Hasharin bares his yellow-stained teeth and laughs openly at the last living Khazad Dwarf, who barely sees the blow that stops him from being the last LIVING Khazad Dwarf. Nobody is even sure what made him die, it all happened so fast! (The Hasharin rolled all sixes.) It may have even been the almost supernatural power of the master assassin that just stopped his brave, brave heart.
Seeing that I had slipped through the cordon of evil, the Haradrim begin reinforcing the area around the docks.
Turn 8 - Priority Dwarves.
Etako and Gimli run down the alleyway as fast as their short legs can take them while wearing so much armour! Brave dwarves block the alley entrance to give them as much chance as possible. It's looking like a possible win for the good side!
2 spearmen come back as reinforcements. Kinda hard to get a photo of the alleyway, but you can sort of see them in this shot =)
The Betrayer, incensed by the audacity of the running dwarves, lashes out psychically, a black dart of pure malice stabs out and stops the heart of a shield bearing dwarf at the alleyway entrance.
The archer next to him, terrified at the sight, still manages to fend off the attacks of the Watcher of Karna assaulting him, who was also somewhat disturbed by the bug-eyed look of horror on the dwarf's face as he died.
Arrows flash through the alleyway at Etako and Gimli, but none strike home this time, ricocheting off the narrow walls instead.
But what of the Hasharin? Sneaky bugger!
Turn 9 - Priority Dwarves.
Thank goodness for all these priority wins!
The only death this round was to an enraged Ringwraith, who again black darts a dwarf, snarling and hissing as he follows after the runners. Etako and Gimli are spurred on in their running, seeing a fellow dwarf die in a miasmic black haze of pure evil. What a way to go =(
Another dwarven casualty as the brave archer bringing up the rear tied up two Watchers of Karna, knowing that he had to do everything to keep as many out of the fight as possible.
Turn 10 - Priority Haradrim.
3 more reinforcements!
The Betrayer uses two will to try and transfix Gimli, but distance, and stout dwarven stoicism favour the dwarf. The two leaders are assaulted by Haradrim spearmen, but they effortlessly slay the evil men.
The city at Turn 10:
So close to the destination, but as you can see, so many reinforcements closing in. Near the tower one brave dwarf is holding back four Haradrim!
Turn 11 - Priority Haradrim.
2 more reinforcements.
Gimli calls a heroic move, the Hasharin also calls a heroic move! The roll off... to Gimli!
The Betrayer again weaves dark and evil magic into the air, but cannot compel Etako.
A Haradrim archer on the wall shoots down at one of the last dwarven archers. The arrow bites in, but causes no serious wound... but wait... this close to the Betrayer the poison on the the arrow is more effective than it would be usually, and before long the dwarf is gasping for breath as his tongue and throat swell, blocking any chance to breathe, and he painfully asphyxiates.
The Hasharin, a Watcher and a spear take on the last dwarven archer, they roll terribly. Ha Ha! My archer is going to beat all of your guys =P Except that he rolls badly too. A fumble in his moment of glory turns it into a moment of shame. Sure, the death may have technically been due to the myriad of stabbing wounds, but we all know he really died of embarrassment.
The last of the defending dwarves again somehow manages to hold off four evil men, his shield so dented and battered that the time I spent on painting it now seems to have been wasted!
Turn 12 - Priority Haradrim.
So many reinforcements back on the table already that there's only one bowman to come back!
The Betrayer's magic is again thwarted by the heat of battle. Both Gimli and Etako and the last remaining dwarf are assaulted.
Etako manages to beat back his attackers, he is so close to the ship!
The brave dwarf that had been holding back so many enemies, finally falls, his dented shield rolling across the rough ground and coming to a halt within the eyesight of Gimli.
Enraged and emboldened by the many sacrifices he has seen this day, he explodes in a tornado like fury. Gimli thrusts aside all the blades pointed at him and his axes thwack into the Hasharin. Fate is with the Hasharin (though he uses it all up) and he manages to stay on his feet, wondering if he has underestimated the diminutive dwarf.
Turn 13 - Priority Haradrim.
With no respite, Gimli and Etako are again beset upon by hordes of evil men.
Etako, attacked by so many, loses the fight, the evil side roll a horde of sixes and wound him twice, fate is with him this day and he saves both, but the stab in his side from the blade of the Betrayer is festering. The Betrayer laughs as he fades from the battle, his willpower drained, knowing that he has sealed the doom of the Dwarven King.
Gimli is more successful and uses his last remaining store of might to swing his axes in a flurry of blood and death, sending the Hasharin to wherever drug crazed, evil, black clad, assassins go when they get axes in their brain pans.
Overview of Turn 13 before combat - you can see how close we are to getting there!
Turn 14. Priority Dwarves.
Trying to get through the wall of Haradrim, Gimli and Etako bravely fight on.
Even with their superior armour, that many weapons over that many turns eventually take their toll. Etako only went down after 24 dice in a single turn! Four Watchers and four spearmen trapped him between their blades but it wasn't until the very last rolls that he was wounded! Talk about cliff-hanger, nail-biter! (Although that sounds like a Goblin hero name.)
Major Victory for the Rebellious Haradrim!
Wow, what a game!
There was a lot of tension, excitement and often things were coming down to single rolls of the dice!
In the end it took the Haradrim forces to swarm completely around me to take out the tough little suckers.
We both had times during the game where we thought that there was no chance we would win or that it would be impossible not to win, it was just too tight to call it.
Sometimes I think that the slower movement really is a hindrance to the dwarves, but then again, they're so tough to make up for it!
It's always amazing to me that archers can sometimes get that shot in that we all know statistically has to happen every now and then, but sometimes happens right at the right moment.
Great fun, really enjoyed the different scenario, with the close spaces, alleyways, street fighting etc.
It was also our first ever game with magic and stuff, so we've now played with a Mumak and a Ringwraith. The Harad army now has quite a range of things to field, cavalry, giant oliphaunts, spooky wraiths... Although this game and the last I knew what I was going to be up against, next time we're not going to say which army we're going to use and we won't know which scenario. We'll just show up with an army to play with and see what happens!
I'm away next week, so we probably won't battle until the week after that - but stay tuned for more =)