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!