Monday, 23 January 2012

WOTR: Battle Report - Gondor v Gothmogs Morannon Orc

 "Long has my father, the Steward of Gondor, kept the forces of Mordor at bay."
- Boromir, The Fellowship

So two weeks ago we returned to East Grinstead War Gaming club nights after the Christmas break and I tried Warhammer 40K – Imperial Guard, it was interesting, however my heart is with LotR and WotR and it kind of bugged me that the year was 40,000 yet the accuracy of the weaponry was such that scatter dice were being used - surely my cannon has some advanced targeting to hit what I aim at…?

Still my son loves it so I am currently working on building an Imperial guard and Necron army -so far so good. And being honest I can kind of see the appeal.

However, after trying Warhammer 40K last week I desperately needed to play WotR, so it was back to Middle Earth this week; Craig and I agreed on 1500 points and this time no Dwarves!

I sorted the armies out before hand and turned up with two full 1500 point armies, Craig got to choose... I always play Mordor as my son loves Gondor and NEVER lets me play good, so when Craig asked to play Mordor I happily handed the figures over and began to unpack Gondor.

We played a 6 x 4 battlefield (shield wall) with two ruins, one to north and one to the south of the board - the northern had capacity for 4 companies, the southern 6.  We used the usual Realm of Battle battleboard and had the hills in each of the four corners to create a valley.

It was then that I saw the might of Mordor and it felt kind of strange facing my own army that I have laboured over building and painting and had developed and won many a battle with - in fact I thought, they are undefeated. As my usual/normal army, I could now see how it looked to face them in battle and I was a little worried.

I originally planned for Mordor to take 4 seige bows, with 8 companies of warg and a few archers for Mordor, but settled on the following armies:

LOTR: Mordor Deployment Trolls
Mordor force 1500 points 
Epic Hero:
6 x Comp of Morannon Orcs
- (with Banner)
6 x Comp of Morannon Orcs
 - (with Banner)
 - (with Captain)
6 x Comp of Morannon Orcs

WOTR: Mordor Deployment 
Morannon Orcs
  - (with Banner)
 - (with Captain)
6 x Comp of Morannon Orcs
 - (with Banner)
 - (with Captain)
1 x Troll Chieftain
4 x Mordor Trolls

Gondor Force 1500 points 


WOTR: Gondor Deployment: Warriors
and Knights

Epic Hero:
6 x Comp of Warrior of Minas Tirith (WoMT)
- (with Banner)
6 x Comp of Warrior of Minas Tirith (WoMT)
 - (with Banner)
 - (with Captain)
3 x Minas Tirith Archers
6 x Comp of Knights of Minas Tirith (KoMT)
 - (with Banner)
 - (with Captain)
4 x Dol Amroth Knights
   - (with Knight Champion)

WOTR: Gondor Deployment: 
and Knights of Dol Amroth
2 x Avenger Bolt Throwers
1 x Trebuchet
4 x Comp of Osgiliath Veterans
 - (with Banner)
 - (with Cirion)

Craig un-packed the Morannon orcs and lined his forces out with the main troll contingent near the building in the south. I placed the Osgiliath veterans as close as I could to the building. The Dol Amroth Knights were placed on the southern most flanks, with the main army of warriors in the middle.  The Minas Tirith Knights were flanking the north in front of the archers, I had my tactics, draw him into the centre and plough my cavalry around the flanks to attack the rear of the main Morannon force.  
WOTR: Gondor and Mordor face off -
Let battle commence
I placed my trebuchet and one bolt thrower on the southern hill, the other bolt thrower was at the far end in the north.

Boromir took centre stage in the middle of a formation of 6 companies of the WoMT ready to meet Gothmog and his horde of morannon… I started to think about Gothmogs ability and that any epic/heroic action I called Gothmog would call so maybe I should place Boromir in with the Knights and really push through his northern force… but where would the fun be in that!

And so it was set, two 1500 point armies - Gothmogs Morannon Orcs battle host (steadfast against humans) to grind it out, shield wall to shield wall against Gondor.

Turn 1

Craig won priority rolling a 6… and so it starts...

Having won the initiative Craig moved everything forward, Gothmog ATD in the centre and the trolls charged round the southern side of the building ATD.  I had expected him to try to take the building (his usual tactic) but this time he swung his army either side of it.

My turn to move, I immediately moved my Osgiliath veterans to the building (less then half movement) and occupied it, everyone else stood firm - I needed priority to ensure my horse could get the charge without the use of might, maybe next turn and so they stood firm out of charge range of the trolls.

Craig did not have any shooting this round as his trolls were not close enough and had ATD to get close.
My trebuchet started the shooting and launched its attack straight at the formation of 6 comps of Morannon… with the bonus for attacking such a large formation my volley struck home killing…
1 Morannon…
Next the bolt throwers open fire, well one did as the other miss fired and attacked the troll chieftain leaving 1 wound counter - oh the joy of artillery!
The Archers loosed there volley at full range (strength 1) at the troll on their side but failed to hit any wounds either.
The Osgiliath veterans in the capacity 6 building shot at the side of Gothmogs advancing formation and killed 8, who were driven back 2 inches, this was enough to attract the attention of Mordor.

LOTR: Osgiliath Veterans enter the ruins and are charged
by two Mordor Trolls and Morannon Orcs
Craig seeing the thorn in his plans decided to attack the ruined covered Osgiliath veterans and charged two trolls and 6 companies of Morannon at them.

Not expecting such an onslaught the veterans were never going to win, outnumbered and attacked on three sides by both orc and troll, the fighting was fierce, but cometh the moment cometh the man!

Despite loosing the fight and loosing 7 veterans, the Osgiliath’s killed both Mordor trolls rolling 6’s for the only roll on the hard to kill chart for both trolls and also killed 2 Morannon… Craig was stunned, however his loss was less than mine and enough for him to win the fight and the vets were forced from the building.

In a panic they failed their panic test and were left disordered… I feared the worst for them was to come as the Morannon entered the building.

Turn 2

Keen to get the charge with my cavalry I picked up one of my lucky dice (a black one!) We both roll for priority, and both rolled 6’s. We re-rolled and both rolled 6’s. We re-rolled again (come on lucky dice), however this time Craig rolled 6 and I rolled 2, Craig won priority what are the chances of 3 x 6’s in a row?!

Craig cracked the whip and Gothmog ATD toward the warriors of Minas tirith, the northern Morannon ATD towards my cavalry and the troll chieftain ATD towards the Dol Amroth Knights.

To my surprise the Osgiliath vets failed their courage test and I had to use a might point to regain control and get them back into the fight. The rest of my army held… time to let loose my plan!

Craig held his Morannon in the building to my surprise as I expected him to come out and fight the vulnerable Osgiliath veterans.

Craig’s troll was now in front of my Minas Tirith Knights and threw his weapon and managed to kill one…

My trebuchet attacked the Morannon in the building (next to the Osgiliaths) and killed 6, the siege bows fired, one at the troll chieftain but didn’t leave a wound counter, the other attacked Gothmog’s formation but only killed two (curse those shields).

My archers fired at the Morannon in front of the cavalry and killed 4.
Unfortunately the position of the vets meant that they could only shoot at the Morannon in the building and despite the shields and the walls I killed another 4…

WOTR: Dol Amroth Knights Heroic unstoppable charge 
towards the Mordor Troll Cheiftain
As soon as the shoot phase finished I declared heroic charge for Dol Amroth and for my Knights of Minas Tirith - 2 might points well spent in the hour of need - I simply had to get the charge.
Craig pondered and said, “shall I call heroic charge for my troll chieftain and Morannon to try to beat your cavalry…?” I looked at him willing him to say no… and he did, “I will see how it goes I might need the might later”

And so I rolled for the charge of Dol Amroth - 6 unstoppable charge straight into the Troll Chieftain. The Knights of Minas Tirith charged into the Morannon to the north.
Craig smiled and tried to charge his other troll in the south into the rear of Dol Amroth, but he stalled rolling a 1 - if only he had called the troll charge he may have been charging 3 trolls against me.

The north troll however managed to charge the side of my knights of Minas Tirith.
Then Gothmog charged his formation of 5 x companies of Morannon into the 2 formations of 6 warriors of Minas Tirith with Boromir.

WOTR: Gondor starts to take casualties in the centre
but a lot less than the Morannon
Craig, having won priority chose which battle order to resolve - I declared an Epic Duel - Boromir against Gothmog, Gothmog used his special ability and copied mine. I thought about increasing my fight to 10, but I already had an advantage against Gothmogs fight and knew if I called it then he would copy, so went with my already better fight value.

LOTR: Gothmog survives the Epic Duel,
But the Morannon take heavy casualties
We rolled off to see who would go first, I won and rolled a 4 to Craigs 2, that gave me 3 rolls on the duel chart - this resulted in 6 dead Morannon and only two wound counters on Gothmog, he survived.  Next it was Craigs turn, but this resulted in 1 dead warrior of Minas tirith.

The battle ended with 15 dead Morannon and 5 dead Gondor - Mordor lost, but being steadfast again humans they again held their ground.

To the north his charging troll killed 2 x knights of Minas Tirith - the knights lowered their lances and attacked killing 18 of his Morannon and added 2 wound counters to the troll… the Morannon killed 2 more knights. The Morannon were again steadfast against humans, despite the loss and held their ground also.
LOTR: Mordor Troll Chieftain is slain by
the Knights of Dol Amroth

Next the Dol Amroth Knights, the troll chieftain managed to kill one, but with the unstoppable charge and their lances poised the heavy knights decimated the stranded troll - Craig was now concerned that he only had one troll to protect the flank.

Turn 3

Craig again won priority.

Craig moved his last formation of Morannon forward to cover the rear of Gothmog at the centre of the field despite the gap on his flank by the southern ruin.

His last troll moved forward to the side of the Dol Amroth ready to strike.

WOTR: Gondor Knights having smashed the Morannon 
decide to withdraw out of charging distance
Seeing this I decide to ATD the Dol Amroth Knights so that they can move around the rear of the ruins, avoid the troll and move into position to attack the central Morannon, but the troll was just inside 6 inches and so it was ½ distance, still 10 inches gets me to the rear of the building - lets hope I win priority next round!

I decide that the Knight of Minas Tirith lacking any more might should withdraw out of the range of the Morannon so that they would not be able to charge me.

The Troll angered at the Dol Amroth riding past threw his weapon at their rear but failed to kill a knight.

LOTR: Dol Amroth Knights ride around the ruins
to prepare to attack more orcs
My turn, the trebuchet again attacked the Morannon hiding in the building and killed another 7, Craig suddenly realised that he should have taken them out in the move phase as he could have charged the vets.

The Osgiliath Vets then loosed a volley at the troll behind the Dol Amroth and managed to kill him.

The archers to the north fired everything at the last troll and manage to kill him - Craig now huffed, his trolls were all dead and so far Gondor had minimal casualties.

My Bolt throwers then killed a few Morannon, in the build to help whittle them down.

WOTR: Gondor Knights still too close and
Morannon orcs prepare to charge
Craig charged his Morannon in the north 6 ¼ inches to face my cavalry, I argued that that was out of range, Craig that the odd was not that far and should be allowed… another member measured and said “Oooh, it’s so close I would say it was in”. Curse my measuring, I still had a couple of inches spare behind to move, but wanted to have a chance to charge myself, still well done Craig.

Gothmog again charged the 2 x formation of warriors of Minas Tirith who seem to be locked in combat with him.

Craig turned to me with a smile “Are you calling any Epic duels?”
I paused… If I call one, he will call one, if I raise my fight he will raise his fight… if I call Mighty blow, he will call Mighty blow… and all for free…
LOTR: Gothmog and the last Troll are slain -
Mordor surrenders
Still, I thought - it is Boromir - be brave and so I called Mighty blow and Epic Duel - surprise, surprise! Gothmog copied and we rolled off to see who would go first, Craig won and I was now a little worried - we rolled for the duel and amazingly he rolled a 1 and I rolled a 6 (+5 for Boromir).
Needles to say, this resulted in 6 dead Morannon orcs and Gothmog was slain with the first blow given to him…

With the death of Gothmog, Craig shook his head and conceded the game “Without Gothmog and the trolls I don’t have anything left”. He still had 2 formations x 6 companies of Morannon, but was outnumbered and I still had heavy cavalry ready to charge his rear as well as archers and artillery to fell his numbers.

We shook hands and ticked another win on my tally.

Final Thoughts
I needed to get my cavalry into action quicker, but was hindered by not winning a single priority roll, the Dol Amroth knights didn’t really get to attack anything other than kill the troll chieftain, but I felt they were about to realise their potential. Also, my plan was to draw him into the centre and flank him with cavalry - so in essence it worked.

I felt Craig lost again by dividing his force, some of his force ATD, some didn’t and they ended up disjointed.  I would have advanced in one line protecting the flanks and attacking all together. Also Gothmog didn’t use his might, Craig was happy copying everything I did and forgot to call anything himself - which had he called Epic Strike and raised his fight to 10 it may have been a different battle. He also didn’t use any might with his captains to win the innovative for the charge nor call heroic actions - a fatal mistake against cavalry and I did keep asking if he wanted to call any.

Man of the Match
LOTR: Man of the Match: Boromir
For me it has to be Boromir - he managed to kill Gothmog and kill loads of Morannon in the duels; I would like to see him against another foe where I don’t have to worry about giving my opponent too much free power! But all in all he fared well; Gothmog could have done better.

We discussed the battle afterwards - it attracted a lot of attention at East Grinstead War Gaming club - hundreds of figures lined up and the battle decided in 3 rounds (2 hours).  Craig liked the Mordor army and I think the next battle he will field a similar army but drop a couple of trolls for 2 x siege bows and some archers or even the catapult.

Having played the vast majority of my battles as Mordor I have learnt to love them and how to play them, but now I have the chance to play one of my other armies, Gondor, Rohan, Dwarves, Misty Mountains, perhaps fallen Realms…? I might even try LOTR SBG...

Now I have to decide… to Mordor or not to Mordor, that is the question…?

East Grinstead War Gaming club