Sunday, July 19, 2015
Having defeated the defenders of Helms Deep, Saruman set his eyes on the Rohan capital of Edoras. Gandalf, Théoden, and Aragorn were all his prisoner and only Deorwine, Captain of the Royal Guard, was left to garrison Edoras. Having won priority in Turn 7, Saruman and his army moved into Westemnet, almost guaranteeing that he would reach Edoras by Turn 8. Treebeard and his three remaining huorns moved into the Folde so they could come to Deorwine's defense.
With no battle being fought in Turn 7, priority was rolled for Turn 8, the final turn in the campaign. The Evil side again won priority and moved the Isengard army into Edoras. Deorwine stood on the the ramparts of Edoras and looked out at the mass army of uruk-hai before him. With only two companies of Royal Guard, Deorwine surrendered Edoras to Saruman without a fight. Treebeard seeing this, moved into Eastemnet so he could save the huorns and return to Fangorn to go into a long tree slumber. There will be no dawn for man.
Thus concludes our War of the Ring "mini-campaign". Our goal was to see how a campaign system would work using both War of the Ring and Strategy Battle Game systems with fixed army lists and scheduled reinforcements. Points wise, the total numbers of formations and Epic Heroes combined were almost even, with a slight nod to the Good side, since they had so many Epic Heroes compared to the number of their formations. This actually was an advantage for the Evil side, since with only three Epic Heroes to the Good side's nine, the Evil point values were in formations of orcs and uruk-hai which would ultimately wear down the Rohan army. Even with formation killing heroes such as Gimli and Aragorn, they quickly used up their Might on Epic or Heroic actions in battles and were not enough to take down the larger number of Evil formations by the end of a gaming session.
The one advantage that the Good had was in their cavalry superiority, but they used their formations piece-meal, and never massed all of their cavalry formations into one area to be used as a counterattack. The forces of Good did very well in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen even though they were forced to fight a battle regardless since Evil had priority the first campaign turn. But following up on their success, the Good side chose to send Erkendbrand's Riders, two formations of Outriders and keep Elfhelm's Riders in the Fords of Isen to fight the whole of the Isengard army in Turn 3. If the Good side kept what formations they had in Turn 2 at the Fords of Isen and moved all the infantry formations into Helms Deep and kept all the cavalry formations in either Eastemnet or Edoras, they could have been able to counter-strike at the Isengard army along with the ents and then follow through all the way to Isengard.
The Good side also could have placed just one formation of Oathsworn Militia in Edoras along with Eowyn to meet the requirement of having to keep one formation and one Epic Hero in the capital. This would have put all of the best infantry formations and Epic Heroes at Helms Deep in order to wear down the Isengard army on the walls and hope to last eight game turns forcing Isengard to withdraw. The next turn, Isengard would most assuredly try and assault Helms Deep again and the Good could have had all of their cavalry and ents arrive as reinforcements to fight an already depleted Isengard army. If the Good side had been successful in this and taken the Isengard army down to 30 percent, Isengard would have no choice but to retreat to Orthanc and hope to prevent a Good victory. But as in any wargame, much came down to die rolls. The Evil side were able to capitalize when they won priority and send two formations of uruk-hai into Westemnet twice and pin the ents into a SBG skirmish battle not allowing them to move out of the area.
If I had to change anything, I would have probably given Isengard a Troll Captain and two Isengard Trolls instead of so many uruk-hai formations. I know I have criticized GW's Isengard Troll since Tolkien makes not mention of them in his writings, but the campaign came down to who could kill more companies than the other side, and trading 350 points of uruk companies for three trolls could have changed the dynamics. Isengard having trolls in this regard makes the game more balanced.
But the campaign was overall balanced, the Good side won two battles, lost three and two were a draw, and the evil side won three, lost two and two were a draw. The game did come down to the final turn, and it was the fact that Isengard had an overwhelming number of companies at the end of the campaign being the reason the Good side decided not even to fight a battle on Turn 8 and concede.
The next mini-campaign will be a Mordor-Gondor campaign, following Mordor's invasion of Gondor in order to take Minas Tirith which we will do some time in the Fall.