This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Last year Nick & I commenced a journey to replay the original Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game campaign scenarios, using the scenarios from the original editions of the rulebooks and the 'Journey' books. The approach that we are taking is to play both scenarios twice so that we both get the chance to play good and evil, so the final result can be a draw with one replay being a good victory and one being an evil victory or a convincing vistory for one side or the other. We decided to play each scenario as a stand alone game rather than having the effects of one influence the next. The reason for this is that the Hobbits are very fragile and an early loss of Frodo and the ring could of course completely change the whole course of the campaign.
This game is based on the Bucklebury Ferry incident where Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pipin are attempting to gain the safety of the ferry and put some running water between them and the mounted Ringwraiths. The scenario appears in the Fellowship of the Ring journey book and it also appeared as a scenario in the Games Workshop weekly in store campaign. We set up the scenery as somewhere between the two.
We played on a 4' square gaming table made up of Sally 4th Terra-Former modular terrain tiles. When I first played the scenarios, probably about 15 years ago when the 'Journey Book' was first published and I was running a hobby store, I constructed the river sections and ferry with the dimensions in the book. I still have that river and re-flocked it to match the Terra-Former tiles usingLukes Apps foam landscaping products, but when I laid it out it looked to narrow for the Brandywine river so I decided to use Terraformer canal sections instead so that we could just show one bank.
The four hobbits start off in the centre of the bottom edge of the table. For a 'Good' victory Frodo needs to make it on to the Ferry.
Three mounted Nazgul are deployed on the adjacent sides. They are tracking the hobbits, but have not sensed them yet so are subject to the sentries rule.
In the first game the hobbits concentrated their attacks on the Nazguls Mounts and managed to unhorse one early on in the game, reducing its mobility.
With two hobbits fighting one ringwraith, the little fellows hold their own for a few turns.
However, it is not long before more Nazgul pick up the scent and head towards the action.
Eventually they all arrive and get in to combat with Frodo, eliminating him with ease for an Evil victory, (Merry & Pipin had already suffered a similar fate).
In the second replay, the hobbits got a lot closer to the ferry, before their demise. The three companions form a defensice cordon around Frodo and head to the ferry building with the unity of a precision drill team.
Once again, the Nazgul close on the Hobbits.
After the first round of combat and pushbacks the hobbits become seperated allowing Nazgul to focus on individual targets.
This time the results are a lot closer, Frodo is just a single move away from the Ferry when he is killed by the Nazgul.
The game was a lot of fun. It is always good to play a scenario based on the books.
The result was a resounding 2-0 for Evil. It is quite a hard game for the hobbits to win as they slowly cross the table at 4" per turn. Although the Nazgul are slowed by the sentry rule, once they get moving they quickly cover the ground with 10" mounted movement.
The next game we are playing is 'Fog on the Barrow Downs'., which should be a lot of fun. It's a long time since I've used Tom Bombadil in a game!
A few weeks ago Nick & I decided to revisit Games Workshops, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle. This is a game that has gone through a lot of different versions, I am playing with the original version 'The One Rule book', Nick has the very latest copy, but at the end of the day it still boils down to you both roll a D6, highest roll wins, if a tie highest fight value wins, is still a tie, enie-minie-minie-mo! A simple and fun game, as long as you don't take it to seriously.
Our plan is to start at the beginning of the story, and work our way through the scenarios starting with the Fellowship journey book. As many of the scenarios are a bit unbalance, we are playing through twice so we both get to play both sides.
The minatures are all original releases, brought and painted up when first released 12-15 years ago. At that time I was running a games store, so had made all of the special scenery pieces that the scenarios required. I have however taken the opportunity to freshen them up a bit. I know use 'Lukes Apps - Geek Gaming' scenic materials as my default choice, they just win hands down on range and quality. The terrain boards are all based on 12" square Terra-Former modular terrain tiles. These are kits to build frames with consistant profiles for hills, streams, roads, rivers, canals, cliffs etc and encorporate strong rare earth magnets for perfect alignment and to stop terrain drifting apart mid game.
The first two scenarios in the Fellowship Journey book feature the Dunadain, Rangers of the North defending the borders of The Shire from the Nazgul who have been dispatched to search for 'Baggins'.
This was an interesting match, the Nazgul are fielded in there weakest state, so 7 Will but no might or fate. Each time that they cast a magical ability or fight a round of combat they lose a point of Will and when they get to zero Will they dissapear as the magical energy that holds them together is spent. This means that the evil player needs to make careful decisions about which abilities to use.
The Dunadain, on the other hand are pretty handy with a bow and arrow, but it's low strength combined with the Nazhuls high defence means that you need to roll a 6 followed by another 5 or 6 to actually cause a wound, however if you can get enough shots off you only need to cause a single wound.
Both of the Dunadain vs Nazgul scenarios had victory conditions based on the number of Nazgul that can cross the table and exit opposite side, to head for the Shire. We played both scenarios twice and two were won by Evil and two by Good.
Flight from the Shire
The first scenario that features characcters from the fellowship is based on 3 frightened hobbits assisted by Gildor, an elven hero evading the attention of 3 Nazgul on foot. For the fellowshop to win, Frodo needs to exit far side of the table.
The hobbits set up in contact with the hedge. One Nazgul sets up behind them, center of table and two Nazgul set up at the center of each side. Gildor set up centre of far side of table.
The three hobbits are lost and afraid so at the start of the game they have to pass a courage check to activate.
The Nazgul do not know where the hobbits are, so they are subject to the sentries rule until they get close enough to sniff the hobbits out.
Gildor takes a shortcut through the forest to come to the hobbits aid. As he is a 'woodland creature' the difficult terrain does not slow him down.
Eventually all 3 Nazgul get on the scent and close in on the hobbits.
In one of the games, Frodo slips out of there clutches and makes a bid for freedom, while Gildor holds the Nazgul at bay.
This scenario was played twice with one victory to good and another to Evil.
On April 1st I attended a GBHL tournament in Ripon called “Of Dice and Men”. There were 20 people attended the event using the same scenarios as the Grand Tournament. However the catch with “Of Dice and Men” was that the warbands increased to 24 warriors per warband, monsters limited to one for every 10 warriors and everyone got a free Alfred from the old rulebook.
My army for the weekend was that of Spiders. I took Druzhag, Ashrak, Shelob and the Spider Queen leading 26 venombacks, 2 Mirkwood spiders and batswarm.
For my first game I played Louis Aplin and his Dwarf army led by Thrain for a game of domination.
With the Deployment set it looked like the Spiders were greatly outnumbered. Luckily due to the heavy density of terrain on the board, I was able to make use of the bottlenecks to stop the spiders getting swarmed by dwarfs.
Thrain led the charge to try and secure the centre point from Shelob. However she got enraged by Druzhag and killed Thrain and held back the dwarfs. While the spider queen and some helping spiders came from behind the dwarfs line and started to kill them, and the vault wardens also started to suffer from the spiders killing them quickly. However, on the other flank, the dwarfs led by a siege captain were starting to wound the spiders. I was slowly running out of the wound counters I brought to keep track of all the 2 wound models.
As the game drew to an end, the siege captain and his flank of dwarfs reduced in numbers made it to the centre. W hen we worked out the VP’s in turned out to be a draw.
Game 2 was “To the Death” and I played against Matt Weilding and his Isengard army. It was berserkers backed by 2 pikes and crossbows. With a Gollum and the ring.
As it was modified for GT we could deploy anywhere in our half. He set up near the edge of the board and tried to get a few rounds of shooting off and killed a few spiders.
When the spiders met the Uruks they unfortunately did not last long, however an enraged Shelob managed to get a 12” hurl off and threw him through the mob of Uruks forming around the poor spiders. Luckily I had a lot of prone markers as many were hit but failed to kill many of them. The low defence of the Spiders meant his 4-attack line was able to beat me. I ended up losing my second game. The Spiders First outing wasn’t going to plan.
My 3rd Game was against JT. He had a Mordor list led by the mouth of Sauron and 3 Orc Siege Bows. The scenario was Hold Ground, which meant maelstrom deployment.
Luckily for me I managed to deploy my army close and in cover of the siege bows, except Shelob who deployed on the other side and had to walk across the board to meet the army.
My first priority was the to kill the siege bows and then try to secure middle. After the first bow fell I sent 4 spiders across the board to hit the second, while my spiders fought a fierce battle to the centre. After managing to break through and get a few spiders to the centre the orcs fell slowly. Shagrat War Leader was heading towards Ashrak (my general) and his 2 spider bodyguards. Luckily as the flanks fell more spiders were coming to the centre.
The Mouth Of Sauron and some orcs trapping him charged one Spider, but somehow he managed to win the fight and kill The Mouth Of Sauron. Meaning that he was broken and the orcs started to flee when courage tests were done.
The game ended and I had more models in the centre and due to protecting my General so I won the game.
So at the End of Day 1, I had 1 win, 1 loss, and a draw.