Entering Middle Earth

Welcome back to Middle Earth.

We’ve all done it. The long years of neglect, the occasional glance at old mini’s, the familiar stirring when something catches our eye. Strategy Battle Game took up most of my teenage years and I still consider them hours well spent.

I rejoined the hobby this year. Devouring hours of contend from the GBHL and other assorted channels. Following the decline and now rise of the hobby from afar has led me to the conclusion that this is a game worth being involved with, and certainly worth contributing too.

Gamesworkshop’s recent announcement of the support for the game issued a rallying cry to players like us. They want to see life in this game. So I suppose this is my shot at that. I will go into my own journey in more depth later. But I thought a nice way to start was by sharing a battle report with you.

Battle Companies

The battle companies edition first created by GW, and then expanded upon by Erunion are a perfect way into the game. I haven’t yet played a full campaign, but it is certainly on my list of things to do. For this report I used the starting warbands for Minas Tirith and Bara-dur to represent my forces. They work out at around 60pts each. For the leader of each force I gave 1 model a point of Might, Will and Fate.

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So above is the Orc Warband. You can see that Shagrat is included and has the most basic of conversions, with an arm swap to make him more battle ready. He’s being used as an orc with a two handed weapon in the battle, and is of course the leader.

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Next are the warriors of Minas Tirith. I’m less happy with the scheme on these, but I tried to paint a large amount at once. The leader is the warrior with the sword raised. It’s a smaller warband but with the majority of the troops on defence six, I think it should counter any initial weaknesses.

Deployment and Turn 1

Playing on a small board deployment was fairly simple. The warriors of Minas Tirith sat just outside of the houses, ready to defend their village, whilst the orcs formed a shield wall and began their march.

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Minas Tirith took priority (later to be a theme of this game) and decided to stand still. The Orcs, excepting the archers kept formation under the gaze of their captain and pressed forward. Minas Tirith shooting went wildly wrong, a double 1!

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The Orc archers tried to line up their own shots. Both orcs went for the Captain. My thought being that if I could rob the enemy of might I may be better placed in the combats. Despite both hitting, the orcs crude arrows had little effect on the captain and he stayed put.

Turn 2

Minas Tirith stole priority again, and deciding a tactical retreat would allow another turn of shooting, the force moved back. The orcs pressed forward in the same fashion as before. However the captain peeled from the back of the combat to the right hand side, just ready to meet any Gondorians on the flank. The Minas Tirith archers were poor again, whilst the orc contemporaries had decide to move rather than miss again.

Turn 3

Again, the warriors of good took priority. This time instead of the retreat of last turn, the warriors pushed forward. Attempting to choose the combats as best as possible. Even the archers pushed in, flanking the orc shield-wall.

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The warriors of Minas Tirith pushed the advantage of their charge. Though the majority of combats were stalemates, the two warriors either side of the Gondorian Captain managed to kill the shield bearing orcs assailing them.

One of the objectives of this game was to get my head around the new special strikes, and so when attempting to piercing strike two handed with my orc captain I was expecting big things. He lost the combat, managed to lower his defense to a 1 and duly lost a fate point trying to save the wound. Not an ideal turn for the orcs!

Turn 4

Priority for… you guessed it. Minas Tirith.

With two down in the orc ranks the warriors of Minas Tirith surged to choose favourable combats. Most importantly during the reshuffle the Captain managed to gain a spear support giving him the upper hand in a combat against a single orc.

The Captain called a heroic combat, won and then charged into another orc creating a three on one. This started a calamitous turn for my orcs. Across their line they fell. The Minas Tirith captain easily dispatched his enemy in his second combat. The orc captain, not learning from last turn decided to two-handed piercing strike again. Sadly with the same outcome, except this time he had no fate to save him from being cut down. The orcs on the left flank held a little better managing to kill a warrior of Minas Tirith, but in all the Orc forces lost 5 warriors this turn.

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Turn 5

Priority… Orcs. If a fight back was to happen, this wasn’t helpful.

The broken rules for battle companies mean troops run to the nearest board edge rather than run away completely. However with the small board two of my orcs left immediately. Leaving a single archer to face off against the defenders of the village. Predictably it did not go well for the orc.

A resounding victory for the warriors of Minas Tirith!

Post Battle

Well I didn’t expect that to happen. I thought it would be close, and I knew the warriors of Minas Tirith would be hard to break down, but my Orcs just bounced off the defence 6 line and took some heavy losses.

Yes, the rolls were extraordinary for the warriors of the White City. Priority each turn meant the choice of combats, and allowed the Captain to set up the fatal heroic combat. Where as the two handed orcs may as well have come unarmed. Archery was poor from both sides, and perhaps I should have sacrificed it to engage with those two extra orcs quicker!

In all, a great little battle to get things started. I really enjoy small scale engagements and this sort of game feels like a great way to introduce someone very quickly into the game. The forces are easy to put together, and with a single troop with a few tactical options it gives you chance to figure out how best to use each one.

Mini of the Match

The Minas Tirth Captain. Despite really being a lowly warrior with a point of Might, Will and Fate he managed to survive an initial onslaught before calling his Heroic Combat and killing two Orcs!

Moving Forward

  • Defence 6 isn’t to be taken lightly. Great for a basic troop
  • There must be a better way to deploy those two-handed weapons, I probably should stack them up with some support to ensure I don’t risk losing my own defence.
  • Heroic actions can be great. Before I had only used Might to edit dice rolls. But the Captain was able to cut right through the line with his Heroic Combat.
  • I’m intrigued to see what happens against different forces. I’ll be trying this warband out on some High Elves and Dwarves soon against my regular opponent.
  • Any advice, feedback or comments would be great!

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