Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Sad Day in Rohan

My third game of War of the Ring this year, and also my biggest yet.

John wanted to give his Uruk Hai an outing, and we decided on a good size game of 2000 points.  It was to be a straight pitched battle on an 8 x 4 foot table with no terrain.

The Rohan force consisted of:

Royal Guard (4 stands)
Oathsworn Militia (4 Stands)
Oathsworn Militia (4 stands)
Oathsworn Bowmen (2 stands)
Oathsworn Bowmen (2 stands)
Rider of Rohan Eored (6 stands)
Rider of Rohan Eored (6 stands)
Rider of Rohan Eored (6 stands)
Erkenbrand's Riders (6 stands)
The Kings Bodyguard (6 stands including Gamling and Hama)
Theoden, King of Rohan.

The forces of Isengard consisted of:

Orcs (4 stands)
Uruk Hai Scout archers (2 stands)
Uruk Hai scouts (4 stands)
Uruk Hai Phalanx (3 stands, including s Shaman)
Uruk Hai warband (5 stands, also including a shaman)
2 Isengard Trolls
2 Uruk Hai Berserkers
Sharku's hunters (6 stands)

I had never seen magic used in War of the Ring before, and had never really paid much attention to it so it was going to be interesting.
We had five players, with 2 commanding the Isengard and I had two sub-commanders, neither of which had played the game or seen the rules before.
Deployment was fairly standard, with the Rohan deploying a centre of infantry, with cavalry on each flank. It was a tight squeeze and a 10 foot table would probably have been more appropriate.
The Isengard deployed with the Trolls and Beserkers on the their right, facing down the Rohan cavalry, with the main Uruk formations in the centre with Saruman leading and their Scouts and cavalry on the other flank.

Looking at deployment it was clear from the start that the Rohan left flank was a write off, as there was no way the cavalry could defeat the trolls, and not enough room on the table to redeploy in ay meaningful way.
Early game saw a cautious advance from the Rohan and a rush across the table from the Isengarders.
At this point we began to realise just how powerful magic is in this game, as Saruman and the two Uruk Shamen began to blow massive holes in the Rohan centre.
Rohan tried to counter with shooting but the Isengard army was full of high toughness, high resilience troops and it was not terribly effective.  By the time combat was joined the Rohan centre was pretty much destroyed, with a mopping up exercise being carried out by the Uruk's  The Trolls started to work their way through the Rohan cavalry on the left flank, without the Rohan being able to do much of anything about it.
On the Rohan right things were going slightly better, but not much. Failing to get priority for pretty much the whole game bar the first turn left the cavalry in a difficult position, and they were unable to capitalise on their superior charges.
Late game saw some minor success, but basically the game had been decided. The King of Rohan and his bodyguards were wiped out by the Trolls, along with the rest of the cavalry on that flank (the Trolls between them managed to pretty much wipe out that Rohan flank single headedly), while on the Rohan right the Uruk scouts had all been destroyed but some rotten dice rolls had ensured that Erkenbrand's Riders Had been seen off by Sharku's hunters.

The Rohan army at the end, give or take....
We called it at 10pm as there really wasn't enough Rohan left on the board to do anything, and they would just have been killed by the wizards anyway.
Upon reflection the game as not the complete disaster that it at first appeared to be. All that was left of the Isengard force were the troops that Rohan had no answer for, namely the Trolls and the Uruk Warband under the protection of Saruman.  Apart from that the army did not do too badly, especially when you consider that it was a cavalry army and we lost priority for pretty much the entire game.
A good game, played differently than I would normally approach it, which is always a good thing to try.  This was more of a Warhammer Fantasy Battle style game, with powerful magic and monsters.
A few mistakes were made with regards to the rules and what re-roles are allowed by what, but it was a very hectic evening, with a lot going on at the table at once, all needing my attention.
 In the context of the game I am not sure how I feel about that kind of powerful magic being present in the game. There are very few wizards in the forces of good, and most of them are named characters but I do not want to feel compelled to bring a member of the Istari every time the Rohan go to battle as I'm sure they have other things they could be doing.
  My gaming in Middle Earth has always taken a "historical" approach, in that I always tried to capture the feel of the books and films.  Further to that I think magic does not really have any part on the battlefield, with there being only a very few magic users in middle earth, consisting mainly of the Istari, Elves and perhaps at a pinch the Nazgul.
I will keep going with my Rohan as is and see what happens in the future, but perhaps a different approach is required for this style of gaming.

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