Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battle Report - Lords of Battle

Hey all! It's been a while but it was worth it (for me at least) as I got another High Distinction for another of my Masters subjects, hard work with not much time for gaming. I need at least a 5-6 hour block to get over to my brother's place, set up, play a game, pack up, get home and as you can imagine, with uni and a toddler it's not easy to manage!

Still, thanks for all your comments and emails etc. I hadn't quit or anything, was just busy!

I should mention that some of the rules may have changed in the rulebooks from the very first lord of the rings game. We are using the Mines of Moria rulebook. We've modified slightly so that the wargs this time will not get any bonuses for charging (they never should as they are not cavalry - some of you need to be mindful of this) but we won't play that they get knocked over by a charging horse (though a charging horseman still gets the bonus attack). Wild wargs are not cavalry! They will cost the same number of points as always.

Today our Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game is a modified "Lords of Battle" scenario. The old version was all about your commander, obviously we now have multiple heroes per side so it's not fair to restrict them =)

1 victory point for every wound or fate point a hero causes someone to lose.

1 victory point for scoring a wound on the enemy commander
3 victory points for killing the enemy commander

1 victory point if the enemy force is broken at the end of the game.
3 victory points if you are unbroken at the end of the game.

Special rules: every time one or more of your heroes is in a fight in which an enemy hero dies, one of your heroes who was in that fight regains a lost might point.

To end the game, when one force is broken roll a die, if it's a 1 the game ends. At the end of each subsequent turn the roll needed increases by 1.

So, for some fun we decided to play with a hill-fort. The ruins of an old fortress lies on a hill in the barren wasteland near Mordor. There are strategic points throughout the area, the fortress itself has a source of clear spring water via a well. 

700 points each (though we went slightly over to 712 so I could use all my wargs!)

The Betrayer has convinced Suladan that holding the area will be of vital importance and will personally give the Serpent King a powerbase in the area. Buhrdur, Druzhag and a whole lot of evil creatures believe that this area should be human-free.

The stage is set for an intense battle within the narrow confines of the fortress walls!

The Betrayer and his cadre of archers feel the ground tremble and peer over the walls to see the heads of three trolls bearing down towards them!

Suladan and his raiders sweep around the fortress walls to ensure that the perimeter is clear...

Which, of course, it is not! A wild warg chieftain leads a band of wargs looking for horse-flesh to sate their hunger.

To battle (priority creatures)! One of Buhrdur's "pet" wargs bounds into the room full of archers to stop them from peppering his master. The Betrayer points his sword at the creature, dark, sibilant voice flowing from the dark space under his turban. The warg is transfixed and the haradrim troops swarm over it, smashing it down with their bows and slashing it's throat. 

Druzhag calls out in a gutteral, goblinoid voice and the green spider's eyes turn from their usual yellow to a bulging red as it's joints creak and power oozes from it as it is enraged by the spell. Leaping, chittering towards the Hasharin nearby it stabs and slashes with razor-sharp fangs and abdominal spike. The Hasharin is beaten back, three punctures in his cloak - somehow fate is on his side and the spider has hit concealed weapons next to the evil man's body rather than drawing any blood. (Three wounds and all were saved by fate! His luck must be continuing from the previous game!) The spider itself suffers an internal rupture, a wound caused by the spell's power in its body.

At the end of the turn there is already melee happening - we love these new rules, so fast to get into action and so much adventure with more captains and warbands.

Turn 2 (priority creatures) and Buhrdur's towering form strides into the central chamber. No fewer than five evil men strike out at the beast, but his massive sword sweeps around in a mighty arc and two men fall decapitated, too slow to duck. (One point of might and two kills for a hero, so Creatures: 2, Haradrim: 0)

Behind this fight a brown spider pops over the wall, only to be transfixed by The Betrayer! Somehow the spider still manages to avoid being slain, taking one wound from a spear in the thorax, green ichor spurting from the crack.

Outside the clashing sounds are dimmed by the walls as the two fast moving warbands near each other, growls from the wargs, thumping from the hoofs...

Druzhag has enraged the green spider again and this time it bodily smashes into the Hasharin, bearing the man to the ground and sinking it's huge fangs into his neck. Just as he dies the spider also thrashes around, tearing the human's body even further before it curls up dead - the effects of the spell rupturing more internal organs and leaving the Hasharin torn and covered with ichor.

The other two trolls fight in the corridors outside the central room. The spear wielding troll almost impales the Hasharin before it, but fate is with the man and no blood is lost as the tines of the spear pin his arm to the wall, but fail to draw blood!

The troll with the hammer finds it hard to swing the mighty weapon in the confines of the corridor and the human spears jab at its body, though the tough folds of skin are not scratched by the sharpened metal.

At the end of the turn the frenzy in the middle is about to be joined by the clash of the creatures and horse-men outside.

I took some shots before we started the turn just to show how cool the fortress was, it was really fun playing in such different terrain, though I fear it was to my advantage with the trolls being so tough. See the spiders lurking near the walls, ready to climb over! (Another advantage to me, I think, though I guess they're worth lots of points!)

And here's a low angle view, just a few trolls loom over the walls!

Turn 3 and priority goes to the Haradrim. Buhrdur again faces four men, who have bravely overcome their fears to engage him (passing courage tests) but the colossal sword flashes in a 180 degree arc of death and bisects another two men, splashing red entrails over the supporting spearmen. (Creatures: 4, Haradrim: 0)

The brown spider wins its fight against another group of four men and stings one man, the puncture wound from the massive spider tears his guts out, while slashing and biting the face from another, eight legs swarming over the poor human.

Druzhag casts his enraging spell on one of his bat swarms and follows it into assault against a spearman, the bats fly through the air, each one taking a chunk of man-flesh with it before Druzhag's sharp-tipped staff spears into the poor man's chest as he flails wildly at the bat swarm. (Creatures: 5, Haradrim: 0)

He dies screaming as does the man behind him, where a giant orange spider has leapt out from the walls of the ruins. Although the spears fend off the eight-fold attack, one tiny nick from a spider fang quickly pulses red, then purple, then green and the swift-acting poison causes the human who was bitten to scream in pain as his heart literally bursts from pumping toxic blood.

You can also see in this picture more spiders lurking...

And here's some aerial photography, perhaps taken from a passing Great Eagle?

Suladan's warband charges into the wargs! Suladan himself rears his horse back, kicking a warg in the head before he lunges down and slashes open it's jugular with his sword. (Creatures: 5, Haradrim: 1)

Nearby another of his raiders takes on the wild warg chieftain and another warg! The brave man deftly manoeuvres his steed and spears down to kill the warg while avoiding the claws of the chieftain!

The Betrayer again casts his evil magic, this time on the troll with the spear - transfixing the great monster! The nearby Hasharin unpins himself and with a backflip he swings his swords around, causing two massive wounds in the troll, blood spraying out onto the walls. (Creatures: 5, Haradrim: 3) 

The troll with the hammer is again hampered by the close confines of the walls and wins his fight, though cannot swing quickly enough to take out the faster moving humans.

The eagle's eye view shows how tightly packed the action is today!

Turn 4, priority creatures! Buhrdur has finally cleared a path to The Betrayer, but wait! The Betrayer goes for a Heroic Move, Buhrdur counters with one of his own, the tiebreaker goes to... The Betrayer thanks to his pact with the dark power of Sauron. With one flippant gesture and a muttering of black speech that makes the air turn cold he transfixes the spear wielding troll and rides away from the central room, leaving the brave haradrim there to face the angry troll!

Aforementioned angry troll uses his last few points of might to wade forward into three humans, he kicks one into the wall, shattering his spine, then sweeps the gargantuan sword (which is longer than the men are tall) through two others, the room is now covered in blood and gore. (Creatures: 8, Haradrim: 3.)

The brown spider in the room also launches into some of the men, eight legs, massive fangs and deadly stinger are almost matched by the martial prowess of the haradrim... almost - two more humans are slain by the arachnid in a messy gorefest of poison and stabbing. (So lucky, the spider won on a tie!)

The purple spider is beaten back after squeezing it's massive bulk through a window and attacking two men, one spear punctures the creature, spraying green oozing ichor across the walls.

In the corridor originally occupied by a Hasharin and his warband, the spiders are mopping up, clambering over walls to strike with lightning fast poisonous fangs and skittering legs. The orange spider takes out one human, while in the background...

Druzhag and his two accompanying bat swarms finish off the last human in the corridor, clubbing the man to death with his dwarf-skull staff while the bats swarm around, blinding the doomed spearman. (Creatures: 9, Haradrim: 3.)

The Hasharin, poisoned blade spinning, easily finishes off the transfixed troll, the massive beast toppling to the ground and shaking the rickety old walls. (Creatures: 9, Haradrim: 4.)

Suladan also called a heroic move... Charging into two wild wargs while his companions also spurred their horses on into the fray, in total four wargs are brought crashing to the ground! (Creatures: 9, Haradrim: 6.)

The hammer troll, hearing the ominous thump of his companion, finally works out how to swing the hammer in the narrow confines of the corridor and smashes a human to a bloody pulp on the rough stone ground.

The wild warg chieftain, with so many of his pack killed by the Haradrim raiders, savages one of them himself, leaping into the human and bringing him and his horse down, tearing the throat out of the man as he does so. (Creatures: 10, Haradrim: 6.)

At the end of Turn 4 the wargs have taken heavy casualties, but so have the humans in the ruins! The Haradrim have broken (Creatures: 11, Haradrim 6) but the game continues on...

Turn 5: priority to the creatures (four times out of 5!).

The Betrayer rides around the ruins to get a look at the hammer wielding troll and transfixes it, though it's tough, rock-hard skin manages to be impervious to the blades thrust at it.

Buhrdur charges across the room to slay another spearman, while the lucky bowman ducks under the colossal sword (Creatures: 12, Haradrim 6). The spiders lurk near windows this turn, waiting to pounce on the next (if there is one!)

Here's a shot that I thought was pretty cool of the yellow spider...

Suladan calls another heroic move and spurs his horse into another two wild wargs!

And shortly thereafter are two dead wargs enough to break the creature force (Creatures: 11, Haradrim 9)! Suladan rides on with his nearby banner bearer proudly waving the flag!

The wild warg chieftain pounces towards a spearman...

Is then charged by two other horsemen... but ravages through them, turning, leaping, snarling, biting and clawing until two are brought down dead (Creatures: 13, Haradrim 9)! The last of his pack falls nearby to another raider, warspear jutting from it's snarling muzzle.

At the end of turn 5 the die is cast... game over! The Creature army wins with 13 victory points to the Haradrim army's 9 points.

Gratuitous bat-shot...

And here we have a shot of the losing army. Suladan is particularly disappointed as he was about to clear out the last of the warg chieftain's pack (and probably the chieftain too!) and with the Hasharin about to strike a transfixed cave troll there were plenty of points on the next turn that could have turned the tables on the scores in an instant! Oh well (I say), what a pity =)

The winners pose proudly for the camera, having secured some loot after the battle! Buhrdur stands even taller than usual, having made up this game for his pitiful attempt last game. Druzhag (or his enrage beast spell) also did well, enraged creatures are truly scary to face! The spiders also did not disappoint this game, probably the first time I've been happy with them as their low defence means that when you lose a fight you die really quickly. This time they won fights and their multiple poisonous attacks worked a treat!

I've gotta say that although I won, I think the battlefield probably was in my favour for this match. With flyers and spiders that could just crawl over walls and trolls that were mostly only fighting a few guys at a time in the narrow corridors I think it was probably to my advantage.

Still, it was really great fun to play in such a different setting, the hill fort looked fantastic to play in, I hope the pictures do it some sort of justice. So much more fun than those games that have just three or four terrain pieces! At least, we think so!

At only five turns, this was a short, sharp, brutal battle that was over fairly quickly - again thanks to the new rules with the close deployment options. 

If you haven't played with the warband system and new scenarios on a terrain heavy board before, why not give it a try? 

Hopefully I'll get some more games in before my next semester starts, so keep your eyes out =)


  1. Your battle reports are always a treat to read. The 'colourful' way you describe the separate battles just make it so much better to read.
    I have recently started playing scenario battles and I'm having a great time. I have also recently had a new friend that is interested in the game and it seems I have a lot of fun games to come.

  2. Great battle - even though Harad lost. I am really growing to love Buhrdur... I mean, what's not to like about a troll with might points?

    Assuming he is fighting _for_ you that is.

  3. Another great report, the yellow spider shot is especially cool, I can imagine the spider creeping up behind the Betrayer and his friend and killing them from behind :)

  4. Awesome report(I'm mastermanje from The
    One Ring)

  5. Your reports are always (yes, always!) a very enjoyable read, please, keep them coming!
    Just a note only, before posting the report, can you please make the scenario even more clear? And all the special rules etc (like the Watcher of Karna upgrade?)

    1. I agree however the upgrade is "Warriors of Karna"

  6. Thanks for the praise =)
    Can't give too many details due to copyright stuff. All the real details are in the books =)

  7. More battles!
    More battles!
    More battles please!

  8. I really enjoyed to read all your reports and look further to read some more, of which company are the ruins?