Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Raid in the Rittermark - Part 2

As mentioned earlier, I designed a scenario to introduce Games Workshops' Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game to my friend Michael Fox, creator of the great Dog Fight: Starship Tactical Card Game. The outcome of the play test was decidedly in favor of the Forces of Evil (BWAH HA HA!). After looking at the force composition and the rules I determined that that the Good side was undermanned - big time. So it was time to tweak the forces.

For the Forces of Evil
(BWAH HA HA!) I took away the 6 Uruk-hai archers and replaced them with an Orc Captain, Orc banner bearer, 2 Orc archers, 2 Orcs with spears and 2 Orcs with hand weapons. That would reduce the quality of the overall force (the Uruk-hai are tough) but still keep the numbers about the same. By adding the Orc Captain that gives another "hero" for the minions of the Dark Lord and the extra banner increases the Orc's chances of winning individual battles - plus I like flags. Which figure wins an individual fight is a simple process in this game: you roll an amount of dice based on the number of attacks you have and the high roll wins. If your figure is within 3 inches of your banner, you can re-roll one of your die. Whichever figure wins the fight can now attempt to wound the loser.

Heroes in this game can also spend predetermined "might" points to influence the dice. A hero in the game can avoid being wounded by spending "fate", tend to have more attacks (better chance to win the fight) and can alter the order of the game by declaring heroic movements, shooting or fights. I like how heroes are treated in this game. Let's face it, what would a Lord of the Ring game be without heroes?

To beef up the good guys, I decided on adding a "what if" to the background of the scenario. What if some good ole Dwarves had a mine or workshop in or near the Rittermark? What if I had some Dwarves in my figure cabinet that haven't seen the light of a gaming table in years? Enter the tough short guys. How tough? Ever try to work in a mine with a Balrog around? These guys aren't like those sissy Dwarves from Snow White.
Ever try to work in a mine with a Balrog around? To help out the Riders of Rohan I added a Dwarf captain, a Dwarf banner and 10 Dwarf Khazad Guard (the best of the best with honors!)

The Dwarf starting lineup.

The game objectives will be the same as the previous game. The Forces of Evil (BWAH HA HA!) need to get 1/3 of their forces off the northeast corner of the table near the farmhouse. For infantry to cross the river, there is still one ford and of course the bridge. Cavalry and Tom the Troll can cross the river anywhere counting as rough terrain. The Forces of Evil (BWAH HA HA!) start in the southwest corner and the good guys set-up on the eastern side of the board. I decided to put the Citadel guard force of archers behind the stonewalls, the Dwarves to the south of the bridge amongst the ruins and the Riders of Rohan on their left flank ready to ride down the enemy.

I forgot to mention in the previous posting that the game mat is from Hotz Artworks and is their 6' x 4' European Fields pattern.

Michael getting ready to deploy his evil minions.

The game started with the bad guys moving quickly to secure the ford. I responded cleverly by sounding the trumpets, advancing the Riders - and forgetting for 2 turns to move the Citadel Guard forward to cover the ford with arrows. Yep, very clever of me.

The evil horde moves out. . .

. . . while the pride of Rohan advances.

Michael was able to get his orcs across the ford followed by Tom the Troll. As I looked at the situation I realized I was in trouble with Michael's orcs already on the northern side of the river with the Uruk's soon to follow. In addition, the Dwarves move 5" while the Uruks, Orcs and men on foot can move 6".

"Where are the rest of the Dwarves? That's right, cavalry moves 10" and a Dwarf moves 5".

Instead of all of my cavalry charging the Uruk-hai, I decided to detach 3 of the Riders to cross the river as a forlorn hope to engage the orcs and Tom the Troll in a attempt to slow them down.

You can just see the 3 Riders in the background that were detached in an attempt to slow down the Orcs.

At the same time, I would send 1/2 of the Dwarves back to the bridge and cross it to reinforce the Citadel Guard. Fortunately for me, while I was worrying about the Orcs north of the river, Michael was worried about the sight of mass cavalry bearing down on him and he decided to keep the Uruk-hai in place to protect the ford.

The Dwarf force that is moving over the bridge to help strengthen the right flank.

The next couple moves is what this game is all about. Heroic charges and fights. In the melees to follow, I was able to keep my cavalry charging and initiating the combats which gives cavalry an extra attack die.

I was also able to use my hero Eomer and perform heroic movements; not only did it allow him to move first but also all Riders within 3" of him to move when he bellowed, "Follow Me!"

My forlorn hope arrived in time but I did not have faith that they would survive long. Tom the Troll was delayed a little when he decided to stop, pick up a rock and through it at one of the riders. Fortunately he missed this time.

The Forlon Hope engages the Orcs.

To make a long story short, the Citadel Guard got in range just in time and their archery skills took Tom the Troll out of the game - while the 3 riders killed a few Orcs.

A few less Orcs and Tom the Troll is killed by mass archery fire.

Meanwhile south of the river in a ferocious fight the combat went back and forth with casualties on both sides. In a subsequent turn Eomer declared a heroic combat allowing him to fight the 3 Uruk-hai he charged. Eomer decided to put the "H" in Hero and slew all 3 Uruks-hai dramatically changing the situation. As the Uruk-hai started to take more casualties, the Dwarves caught up and also engaged the foe.

Eomer (on the white horse) about to show the Uruk-hai that he is the stuff of legends.

As the Uruk-hai started to take more casualties, the Dwarves caught up and also engaged the foe. Slowly but inevitably, the Uruks and Orcs were thinned out and it became obvious that the evil side would not have enough forces left to win.

What a fun game that was actually a lot closer than I made it sound (hey - it's my blog!) Seriously, this game could have gone either way; both forces were evenly matched and both of us played a good game. The turning point in the game was the loss of the 3 Uruks killed by Eomer and the death of Tom the Troll. I'm looking forward to the rematch!

Beregund and Gumdrop the Dwarf celebrate the victory.


  1. Great report and some very nice figures there Neil.

  2. Rodger - Thanks. It was a fun game to play too!