Friday 28 February 2020

War of the Ring epic game report with photos

I dusted off War of the Ring last weekend- I hadn't played it in three years. I printed out some excellent aide-memoirs from Universal Head as well as a 3D Mount Doom from Thingiverse, and set it up. I was The Shadow, Amnese was the Free Peoples.

The Shadow has to crush Middle Earth militarily or corrupt the Ringbearer, whilst the Free Peoples have to endure as the Ringbearer creeps to Mount Doom. It is an engrossing race against time, as concentrating on one aspect allows your opponent to get ahead in the other.

The pressure was on the Fellowship as the Nazgûl found them early, having taken the High Pass. Strider died protecting the hobbits.

Fellowship tries to sneak over the High Pass.

Saruman declared his allegiance with a successful assault at the Fords of Isen, following up with a siege at Helm's Deep.

Saruman seizes the Fords of Isen.

The Fellowship remained in dire straits, as both Boromir and Gandalf the Grey died. However, Gandalf the White then appeared in Lórien. Meanwhile, an evil army marched north from Dol Guldur to threaten the Woodland Realm.

Fellowship limps past Lórien.

The Fellowship broke, and Gollum led Frodo and Sam towards Gondor...

Breaking of the Fellowship.

... where a mighty horde bore down upon Minas Tirith. After a devastating journey, the Ringbearer rested here for several turns, giving The Shadow time to manoeuvre his armies.

Hobbits get only brief respite in Minas Tirith.

Helm's Deep finally falls after a bloody siege.

Saruman gloats as Helm's Deep is his.

Osgiliath falls, and Minas Tirith is besieged as Gandalf commands the defenders.

The hammer falls on Gondor.

Minas Tirith falls to the Witch King and Gandalf the White perishes.

Minas Tirith under siege.

But the hobbits sneak through the encircling armies...

Taking the Morgul path.

...and begin to climb Mount Doom.

On the slopes of Orodruin.

The Shadow pushes the Gondor remnants back to Dol Amroth.

Fall back to Dol Amroth!

Capitalising on a tactical error, Southrons seize Lórien. Edoras falls to Isengard. Shadow Victory is imminent!

Lórien is ravaged.

And then Frodo, aided by Samwise and Gollum, destroys the Ring of Power. Middle-earth is saved!

It is done.

Cue stirring music! I really like this game, and it is a pleasure to play with painted figures. Inspired, I went home and slapped paint on Mount Doom.

As the Shadow, I'm always aware that I can have certain victory ripped away from me by insignificant Shirefolk. I built up some big armies that took terrible losses as I drove them across Middle-earth. I put great pressure on the Fellowship, killing Gandalf and Strider and Boromir. The winning action was statistically unlikely but thematic- we worked out afterwards there was a 10% chance of Free People victory and a 90% chance of Shadow victory, hanging on a chit draw from a cup.

The unsung heroes were the defenders of Dol Amroth. They blunted the Witch King's offensive which, if successful, would have won me the game whilst Frodo was only halfway up the mountain.

The game took three hours. I didn't add in the expansions, because I'm not really familiar with the new rules. 

Highly recommended.

Friday 21 February 2020

Blackstone Fortress: Traitor Command

Here's a Chaos Commissar and Ogryn. I struggle with the concept of a Chaos Commissar. Nice models, though.

Traitor Command

Chaos Commissar

Chaos Ogryn

Skull-o-meter™: 3

Friday 14 February 2020

Blackstone cultists

I've painted some Slaanesh cultists for Blackstone Fortress. Lovely poses.

I think the helm is a bit odd, but am happy with the flames.

The leader is no-nonsense.
Cult Leader
I think the gunner looks like Leela.

Heavy Stubber

Grenade Launcher

Cultists with autoguns

Saturday 1 February 2020

CanCon Lord of the Rings

I participated in a Middle-earth tournament at CanCon last weekend. Apart from that one game a few weeks ago, I haven't played in about ten years.

There were four 500 point games, all running under 90 minutes. My Mordor list was two orc captains, a troll chieftain, and thirty-six orcs including two banners. No cavalry, ranged attacks, or magic for me! I didn't have the desire to get to grips with all the new rules.
My orcs

Heirlooms of ages past

My opponent ran Uruk-hai scouts, and with their enhanced movement he was able to run on the board, find the objective, and run away. 6-2 loss.
Orcs try to close on the scouts

Storm the camp

This was the most frustrating match. I advanced about halfway over the board before being shot to pieces by two (!) Isengard siege bows. Very unsatisfying 6-0 loss.
Distant siege bows pummel the river crossing


This was an interesting match-up between Isengard wargs and my orcs in constraining urban terrain. I circled in the centre and weathered his charges to a 5-5 draw.
Troll defends against swarming warg riders

Capture and control

I was a bit over things by this stage and threw myself at Gothmog and his Morannon orcs. Not more Isengard, thankfully! Gothmog was way too much for my guys to handle as he stormed a rickety walkway. 8-4 loss.
Gothmog takes the bridge

It was good to dust off some old figures, but I didn't have the energy to learn the new rules tweaks and I was outmatched at the list-building step. It was a long way to go to be hammered repeatedly. I didn't mind playing against all Evil forces. There were 34 players, and I came 32nd.

The terrain was pretty good, the scenarios were fine, and most of the armies were excellently painted.
Here's some pictures of terrain and armies:

Best painted army

Tournament winner- Hunter orcs

I was disappointed in the organisation- a lot of it was run through a private Facebook group which wasn't advertised (!), and it ran about an hour overtime which made me grumpy before a very long drive home.

I'd consider playing again, but am more interested in the warband-size Battle Companies rules.