Sunday, July 24, 2011

Skirmish in Osgiliath

There has been very little (okay, none) war gaming this summer on the 'ole dining room table so it was with great excitement that I got around to play a scenario from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. As mentioned in an earlier posting, it is not what I consider a "strategy" game; but it is an easy to learn and highly enjoyable skirmish game.

Honorable Son #5 and I would be the opponents and since this was his first game as the supreme commander of his side, we decided to play a scenario that wasn't too complicated but still had enough in it with enough troops to move around on the table. We played Scenario #1, Skirmish in Osgiliath from the 1st Edition of the Return of the King rule set. In the base scenario a group of Orcs and the Men of Minas Tirith are fighting amongst the ruins of the city of Osgiliath and the objective is simple: Eliminate 50% of the enemy force. The forces of Good have 8 men with spear and shield, 8 with sword and shield and 8 archers.

On the Evil side are 8 orcs armed with hand weapon and shield, 8 with spears, 4 with orc bows and 4 with two-handed weapons.

We decided to add some extra figures for the game and wanted to give each side some leaders, banners (flags) and elite troops. For the men from Minas Tirith we added a Captain and a banner bearer. In addition, from the Siege of Gondor supplement, we also added Beregond of the Citadel Guard with a banner bearer and 6 Citadel Guards with longbows.

Beregond and Banner bearer.

For the orcs we added an Orc Captain with banner bearer and for some extra hitting power an Uruk-hai Captain with banner bearer and 6 Uruk-hai.

Banner for the Uruk-hai. The fight in the foreground is the Uruk-hai captain and a captain of Minas Tirith

The terrain represents the ruined city of Osgiliath. The Good player (yours truly) sets up 8 figures representing sentinels on one side of the board within 12 inches of the table's edge and my reinforcements are set-up on the other side of the board no further out than 12 inches from the other edge. The Forces of Evil (led by Honorable Son #5) are can be set-up within the sentinel area out to 24 inches from the table's edge.

The impact of the main forces!

My plan was simple. The Citadel Guard along with Beregond and the banner bearer would be the sentinels. I decided to place them in a defensive position and hope to "distract" as many orcs as possible until my reinforcements arrived.

The Citadel Guard successfully defending a wall.
I set up my reinforcements with swordsmen in the front and spearmen in the back supporting them in order to take advantage of the "extra" attack spearmen in the second rank give. The captain and banner would be in the center and the archers would support wherever possible.

The plan for the Forces of Evil was simple too: get to the men and destroy them.

Two Uruk-hai getting ready to smash a soldier of Minas Tirith. Note the spearman behind the swordsman for support.

My plan did work as Honorable Son #5 was concerned about the Citadel Guard archers and put too many orcs against them which weakened his force against my main body. Orc archers are usually pretty pitiful, but his were able to wound Beregond twice early in the game and I had to use his lone "fate" point to save a wound. The Guard peppered the orcs and held their defended position. Key to the defense of the position was the killing of the orc banner bearer and the subsequent orc who picked up the banner.

Banner bearer down!

With the main body, the disciplined ranks of the men of Minas Tirith won the day as most of the orc spearmen were up against the Citadel Guard. The banners on both side were key; banners allow you re-roll one die to determine who wins a fight for any figure within 3 inches of the banner.

The disciplined ranks hold against the initial onslaught.

It was touch and go for awhile, but the Minas Tirith archers were able to kill 2 of the Uruks and a few other orcs. The remaining Uruks almost trapped some of the men, but in one turn, I rolled an incredible string of "6's" and Honorable Son #5 rolled a whole bunch of "1's" resulting in the catastrophic loss of 6 figures in one turn. The following turn, the Forces of Evil lost 50% of figures allowing the men to hold out for one more day . . .

A good learning game for Honorable Son #5. On the third turn, he realized that he had deployed too many orcs against the Citadel Guard and in the next turn realized his spears were in the wrong spot. On the other hand, he used his Uruks, Uruk Captain and banner very effectively against the main force of men (does the phrase "like a hot knife through butter" sound familiar?).

Uruk-hai are heavily armored and tough!

Until the turn of the disastrous rolls of 1's, he came very close to winning the game.

The best part of the game? The smiles on his face.

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