Welcome to another lord of the rings strategy battle game battle report!
Today my brother chose the points total (600 points) and then we put together our forces. Lastly we rolled for a random scenario. We got "To the death!" Pretty self explanatory really.
Good news for me! I had a very small force, but a fun one! Two warbands of dwarves and one of giant eagles. Finally a chance to get my three painted eagles into battle! Just to keep the minimalist theme going I also took Etako and four Khazad bodyguards and Brynmor with three Vault Warden teams.
Can't remember the exact forces my brother took, but he had almost twice the number of troops!
We divided the map diagonally instead of horizontally so that the water didn't disadvantage anyone.
Again, the new warband system made for a great deployment phase, with both of us trying to get in close nice and early!
Lets run through the participants... here's The Betrayer with some Watchers of Karna.
And facing the Nazgul is Brynmor with three Vault Warden teams. The watchers may have two attacks each, but so do my teams and they have the added bonus of defence 9!
The Harad Chieftain here had a small bodyguard, including a serpent guard with a poisoned weapon.
The three eagles deployed to take advantage of the woods, outside of cavalry charge range, but within their own flight range... nice =)
Etako took position in the central ruins with a screen of bodyguards.
The evil Hasharin deployed to the side of the ruins, nastily near Etako's flank.
And Suladan came charging on with some raiders, including a very important banner. If I don't kill the banner, he'll net free victory points as I don't have one at all!
The first turn begins in earnest, the dwarves win priority (my special skill apparently) so The Betrayer uses a precious might point to call a heroic move and then transfixes Brynmor who is immediately surrounded by black-clad Watchers!
Although he is knocked down and beaten by the many flashing blades, none of them pierce his strong dwarven mail and he suffers no wounds! The nearby vault wardens press up to attack the watchers, but the spinning robes are impossible to hit with their spears, in return, however, the swords of the evil men cannot penetrate the huge shields.
One of the great eagles soars over the battlefield to engage the Nazgul, the great beak flashes and The Betrayer's sword swings upwards, but neither combatant can do any real damage to the other.
Another of the giant eagles dives down low, tail feathers actually scraping the ground as the mighty claws flash down and rip the throats from a horse and rider.
Barukshathur himself flies eagerly into battle with two raiders. Suladan puts spurs to his horse, which balks at riding towards the flying leader of the eagles. Using his iron will, Suladan manages to urge his horse forward!
Through the maze of spears and swords, the eagle flies, although they manage to beat it back, their weapons cannot draw any blood.
Etako charges forward to engage the Serpent Chieftain and uses a mighty uppercut with his Ironfist Gauntlet. Fate intervenes on the behalf of the purple-cloaked man and he narrowly avoids losing all of his teeth. Two of Etako's bodyguards swing their mighty axes at a spearman and cleave him apart, red blood soaked by his red clothing.
At the end of the turn the battle is already well and truly met by all combatants.
Turn 2 sees priority going to the dwarves again.
The Betrayer uses four might to try and transfix Brynmor again... and fails?!?! This was one of the first of VERY MANY horrible die rolls from my brother. The black-clad Nazgul then trots around the ruins to distance himself from the eagles.
Feeling very confident, Brynmor throws his hammer, Lemya and a Watcher falls dead to the ground, hammer embedded in his skull. Charging swiftly on, Gjel-grava, the mighty mithril shovel, bisects another Watcher - payback for the previous turn and the dents the men caused in the dwarf's armour.
The banner-bearer, dodging and weaving through the scenery is confronted by a giant eagle, who swoops down, tearing a hole in the banner, but not causing any lasting damage.
Another great eagle attack sees yet another eviscerated raider.
Barukshathur and Suladan clash again, the eagle tears shreds of flesh from the human and horse, causing one wound as fate intervenes and the flashing beak clangs off a precious stone instead of causing yet more damage.
In the ruins, the Hasharin and Chieftain both spring into action, spear support behind them. Even the well built, solid armour of the Khazad guard cannot save them from the onslaught and two of them fall beneath poisonous blades.
Etako flings himself forward, gauntlet sending brains and teeth splattering against the wall as a Khazad bodyguard stands behind him, deflecting an incoming spear and returning the attack with a mighty swing of his axe, slaying the human.
At the end of turn 2 it looks like outside the ruins the dwarven team is winning, but inside the ruins the Haradrim are killing dwarves all too quickly!
Turn 3 - yet another priority win for the dwarves.
The banner bearer falls and the great eagle's bloody claws swing skyward, ready to strike again now that its mission is completed. Phew, that banner bearer could have been free victory points for my brother, so I really needed to take him out. Fortunately my priority winning prowess (ie. luck) didn't let him get away.
Brynmor slays the final of his original three assailants, while the deadlock between the vault wardens and watchers of karna is broken in the dwarves favour as two black-clad men fall with spears in their chests.
Etako fails to kill a spearman, much to his disgust, while behind him another of his guard falls to the Hasharin's flashing daggers.
Barukshathur goes to attack The Betrayer, but even his courageous heart cannot bear the evil miasma of the Nazgul and so Suladan charges into the giant eagle. Suladan's luck has passed him by this time as Barukshathur dispatches the human king, embarrassed about his failing courage and taking out his rage on the Serpent King.
The swooping eagle is faced by two raiders, and this time their horsemanship saves them from the flashing claws and beak.
At the end of the turn the dwarves look to well and truly control the outside, while there are almost no dwarves left inside the ruins!
In turn 4, the priority goes to the dwarves AGAIN!
Brynmor charges towards the ruins, a Vault Warden team backing him up as the last watcher of Karna falls to the ground, face smashed in by a massive shovel.
Etako, almost surrounded by Haradrim, escapes through a side door, while his last remaining trusty, loyal bodyguard hurls himself into battle, falling beneath a myriad of swords and spears. A vault warden team blocks the door behind Etako. With victory points given for wounding/killing your team's leader (The Betrayer and Etako) it was important to not let the dwarf be surrounded, especially with the Hasharin's nasty special rules!
With only three raiders left, the giant eagle swoops down to kill two in a flurry of claws and wings.
Circling above the ruins, the other great eagles kill a spearman, keeping the exit to the ruins blocked with the evil humans trapped within.
Here's a shot from the outside showing Etako's narrow escape.
Here you can see the last raider heading towards the dwarven king, hoping to keep some of the dwarves engaged outside the ruins.
At the end of the turn, four turns of priority going the dwarves way has led to an imbalance. Still there are no victory points yet!
Turn 5 - priority to Harad (for once! and even then it was on a tie!)
With eagles in play, an aerial view was on order =)
The Betrayer spurs his horse onward and transfixes the giant eagle at the top of the ruins. Finally the Harad force has a chance! The Hasharin turns towards the great eagle, but his courage fails him and he cannot seem to move his feet! The Chieftain next to him laughs, raises his weapon, looks at the massive beak and bloodied claws and also fails to charge, too frightened by the huge winged eagle. In the end only a few spearmen charge the transfixed eagle and fail to wound it. I think my brother needs new dice.
Meanwhile, the raider has charged Etako in a death or glory mission. Unfortunately for him it results in death rather than glory, the Ironfist gauntlet sends the man flying through the air, where he is caught by the claws of a giant eagle and torn asunder.
The Harad force is broken, but the game is not over yet! You know how our games often end in a huge turn-around!
Not so much of a turn-around this time, turn 6 sees the dwarves winning priority again.
The three eagles all pass their courage tests and assault the Nazgul! They win on a tie and cause three wounds... the evil servant of Sauron is not that easily dispelled and fate is on his side... twice... Barukshathur dives - claws outstretched to rip through the wraith... only to find himself holding dirty rags as an evil cackle is heard rippling outward from the battle.
3 victory points to the dwarven side for defeating the enemy leader!
Brynmor and Barukshathur had both called heroic combats. Brynmor threw Lemya again and killed a spearman before charging into another. With spear support on the dwarven side for a change he shoveled another spearman six feet under and due to the heroic combat charged further into the ruins to face the Serpent Chieftain!
The human, beset upon by a dwarven hero on one side and a vault warden team on the other could not save himself and hell with a spear in the back as he desperately parried Gjel-grava.
Etako, meanwhile, had to be restrained by his own troops as he tried to join the fight.
The Hasharin now faced an angry giant eagle and a vault warden team. Using all of his skills and luck he dodged all but one attack... Barukshathur claws down and thinks he's killed the evil assassin, but moments later realises that he's just holding the empty robes - much like The Betrayer! The Hasharin has disappeared in the melee!?
The victors! Unbroken, unfazed and unbeaten! Great first battle for the three great eagles!
Well, I may have won, but honestly it was more about the dice than strategy this game! Still, the best thing about playing against my brother is that we both enjoy ourselves, even when the dice are clearly against us. We were still laughing and having fun even when there were double 1s left, right and center.
So there you go, the three eagles are victorious in their first battle. Thank goodness it was a fight to the death and not a hold the objectives type of battle!
I still need to get my hands on some Ents and a Radagast to get my eagles having a rocking good time to face my evil creature army, but I can't see that happening any time soon!
Hope you enjoyed the battle - we sure did!