Saturday, September 17, 2016

Raid on Osgiliath! A LotR Strategy Battle Game scenario

My brother Chris came down for a mid-week game of LotR SBG. We've been playing this game for a few months and loving it, using our old Ral Partha figs from the 70's. For this game we chose an orcish incursion into the ruins of Osgiliath, defended by the men of Minis Tirith supported by Faramir and some Rangers of Ithilien. The Evil side had greater numbers, bolstered by a Mordor troll and 5 Mordor uruks and a 3-2 advantage in shooting. (More on this later.) But, as it worked out, despite different numbers in figures and points, each side had a total of 30 wounds. The scenario called for eliminating 50% of the opposing force to win, but we chose to make it 50% wounds and not figures. For a change of pace, I played the Good side.


The battlefield. The scenario called for 8 Good figures to be set up as 'sentinels' in the left 1/4 of the board and the rest of their force in the right 1/4, coming to their aid. The Evil side set up anywhere up to the middle point of the board, starting from the left side as well. (The Anduin River.) The only caveat is that they had to be at least 6" from any sentinel figures.

The 'reinforceing' men of Minis Tirith. I chose to set up in maniples of 4, each with a supporting spearman. Hopefully, they would provide mutual support. The Rangers and Faramir were also evenly distributed. I wanted to be able to be mobile, agile and hostile. This was a mistake. 

The sentinels. They are bolstered with a banner which allows some re-rolls. I could have been a dick and set them up in such a way across the board to deny the Evil side set-up anywhere except along the very board edge but I didn't. I should have. Since when am I not a dick?

Chris, setting up last, wisely set up en masse to destroy my forces piecemeal. The uruks are behind the troll. The orcs on the left, without scimitars, are armed with bows and hand weapons. In perfect 20/20 hindsight, I should have dome the same thing; set up my guys together and forced him to fight all my strength or split up himself and try to out maneuver me. If we were to do this scenario again, I would have Good set up the sentinels, then Evil set up their whole force, then Good set up the remaining troops, but Chris did exactly what he needed to do. He took advantage of my smaller numbers and split archers and charged straight ahead.

The uruks peel off to deal with my left maniple. These Good guys immediately retreated away as they were witnessing their brothers getting cut down like hay in summer. This allowed the regular orcs to then switch targets and head toward the sentinels where I had the only chance of doing some damage.

The troll gets all up in our grill. You can see I tried to back away the right most maniple to try to scissor his forces. Instead they just got mashed one at a time. But at least I had the troll tied up for a few turns; he would need some pretty nifty rolling to get out of this one!

Well, after some pretty nifty rolling, the troll whacks all three fucking guys. First he won the fight roll, then needing a 5 to kill, he rolled a 5 and 2 6's! 

At the Anduin, the sentinels get aggressive. Eschewing a defensive, 'behind the barrier' posture, they seek to destroy the token Evil resistance and hopefully delay the inevitable.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I am forced to push forward two Rangers to clog Chris' center and impede his ingress into my rear. (Always a good thing.) I have also moved my Captain of Gondor into combat with the troll. In the background you can see my right maniple being clubbed like baby seals.

My left force finally returns back to the fray and even Faramir finally gets into the action, since he clearly had rubber tips on all his arrows. We hit the uruks and have the best success of the night against the toughest guys in Chris' force. We whacked three of them. Again, in the background, the orcs are making mincemeat of the few remaining staunch defenders, beating them as if they owed them money. Keep your pimp hand strong.

It almost looked like I had a chance here until Evil's reinforcements came. Ultimately Good only pushed a few orcs back while losing the banner. The banner only helped in one re-roll the entire game anyway. Scratch 25 points which could have bought three more men.

The final positions. Evil will carry this day.

"Go now, and die in what way seems best to you."

Great game, won easily by Chris and his Evil minions. The final count was 15 wounds to 7. Good did manage to inflict two wounds on the troll, but that means we only killed 5 other orcs. Yikes.

A few notes: shooting sucks in this game. Only elves have a Strength higher than 2 with their bows which means it's really hard to wound anyone. In this game, even the Rangers needed 6's to wound, a 16% chance. Granted, they 'hit' easier than common human troops or orcs but what good is that if you can't wound anyone? In my opinion, only goblins and hobbits should have Strength 2 bows. Men and orcs should have a Strength 3. That would wound on a 5 or 6 usually, which seems more congruent with getting shot with an arrow. The range can stay the same; orcish bows not shooting as far as men and elves shooting furthest.
I've already mentioned set-up for this particular scenario. I think a staggered set-up would make for a better game.

Nonetheless, Chris spanked me yet again; taking only about 90 minutes to do so! Great game Chris, well played, thought out and executed!