A wargame using the fourth (‘One Rule Book’) version of Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, depicting an imagination of the seizing back of the Corsair port of Umbar from the last remaining forces of the dark lord Sauron’s army.
King Aragorn, Elessar, sovereign of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor, leads a mighty host southwards. Riding with him are his friends and allies from all the fair races of Middle-Earth – Elves, led by Prince Legolas of Ithilien; Dwarves, led by Prince Gimli of Aglarond; his kinsman and loyal Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth; King Eomer of Rohan, and two diminutive but brave Hobbits of the Shire, Knights of Rohan and Gondor. Borne by land and sea, the host has besieged the walled city-port of Umbar and prepared an escalade from the water and against the outer walls. Inside the city, the galley slaves – some of whom hail from the very lands now marching to liberate them – stand ready to rise up against their oppressors.
Facing them are the dregs of Mordor, the remnants of Harad and Rhun, the surviving Corsairs. Even trolls and half-trolls, their loyalty firm through dark magicks and habit, defend this last bastion of darkness. The Sultan of Umbar, the Fleet Lord of the Corsairs and other fell Men are torn between the desire to flee by sea to a new lair or to hold firm and fight, leaving behind tears in the camps of their enemies and songs of their great stand.
It was early in the Fourth Age, when the free and newly-liberated peoples of Middle-Earth set out to reclaim lands long lost to the forces of the dark lord Sauron. One such domain was the port of Umbar, far to the south of Gondor, that had once been a thriving possession of the mighty kingdom of men. As the realm faded, so evil crept in and for long has Umbar been a port rules by bandits and pirates. The infamous Corsairs have ravaged Gondor’s coastline for centuries until their demise at Pelargir in the last days of the Third Age but now the port is but a last desperate refuge for the minions of Sauron as they await their fate.
Nemesis approaches in the form of Aragorn, King Elessar, ruler of the reunited kingdom of Arnor and Gondor, come to bring this former jewel into the kingdom once more. Riding with him is King Eomer, ruler of Rohan and staunch friend and ally. Lending their support are Prince Legolas of Ithilien and Prince Gimli of Aglarond, once more competing in martial competition. A combined assault on the fortified port has been planned, with boats full of warriors crashing through the harbour entrance and a formal escalade over the city walls at the same time. A third front is planned with the revolt of galley slaves from their compound in the ruined Old City, still recognisable as Gondorian architecture amongst the sandstone dwellings of the Corsairs, aided by Swan Knights from Dol Amroth breaching the compound walls.
The defenders are a rag-tag bunch – survivors of the battles for Minas Tirith and Cair Andros, refugees from Mordor, bodyguards for fat sultans who sent others to do their bidding. With the troops having nowhere to run they prepare to sell their lives dearly, while rich merchants ready a large ship to break the blockade and flee.
The game started with ramps crashing down on the city walls and troops pouring onto the battlements. At the same time the fleet of boats made its way into the harbour. Two boats contained Dwarves, the speed of the rowers compensating for their short legs. Elves manned another craft, Legolas standing proud in the bow with his longbow and confident of outscoring Gimli, who needed a box to see over the hull! The final craft contained Aragorn himself, leading from the front as ever. No fool, his boat had a large crossbow in the bows to clear a path. Across the siege tower ramps Rohirrim and more Elves surged forward, with the gates breached by a mighty ram and ladders permitting more access to the walls.
The port was ever ready for a counter-attack, with high walls around the city and stretching out into the harbour. Orcs crewed Siege Bows in the towers, able to shoot massive bolts into man or vessel alike. Half Trolls and elite Haradrim warriors awaited the invasion on the jetties while Easterlings stiffened the line with their heavy armour and long spears. Ominously the dock managers had released cave and Mordor trolls from their usual duties of loading ships. With some clad in armour these brutes also awaited the forces of Light.
One Dwarves craft turned aside in order to clear the long breakwater but the other three vessels raced for the jetties. Prince Imrahil led his knights into the city, fending off rapidly-mobilising defenders but the ill-equipped galley slaves struggled against shieldwalls of Easterlings. Cave trolls guarded the shattered gates while heroes from Rohan and Ithilien strove to force them back. There were archers in profusion, with the Elves having accuracy and punch while Evil had the mighty Siege bows and poisoned tips. Those troops not engaged in hand-to-hand combat exchanged missiles and thinned the ranks of the reserves.
As is often the case, siege ladders proved more dangerous to those ascending than the defenders but progress was made from the ramp of the tower. The Dwarves were the first ashore and ran into the half-trolls with their multiple attacks and great strength. Gimli was soon beset but he loved being outnumbered. He was losing his combat score against Legolas when the latter was specifically-targeted by a visiting young general who disliked Elven princelings and shot everything he had at him! Fare well, Prince of the Woodland Realm.
The fiefdom troops continued to beat back all opposition, even as the slaves were pegged back, and Evil started to pull back deeper into the city. The surviving Elves intercepted the merchant ship before it could escape and cleared the main wharf of Corsairs. A vicious battle for the narrow bridge was won by Elrond’s sons but at a cost in time. Aragorn won his fights but the jetty was so congested that again progress was slow. The sun set and the battle ended with an inconclusive result on both walls and jetties, but the incursion of Prince Imrahil and the greater prowess of the great Heroes of the West would surely have prevailed.
Terrain is built using 12" square modular terrain boards using kits from Sally 4thTerra-Former Range
The Sultans Palace & surrounding Souks are from Exotic Locations Range
The Middle Eastern Style Buildings are from Outremer Range
Siege Towers, Battering Rams & Siege Ladders from Sally 4th Siege Range