Woodland Realms vs. Moria - 26Mar11

On 26Mar I had a fantastic, challenging game with one of my long time LotR mates, Joe. The below report covers the game for the most part. Sadly in the second half I got so engrossed in the game that I just wasn't taking as good of notes as I did earlier.  This happens to me a bit.  Maybe I need to start video recording the games.  :-)

 

I try to model my Woodland Realms forces around a combined strength of Thranduil's Mirkwood Elves (primarily) and the forces of Lothlorien as they may have worked together during the first and second White Council raids on Dol Guldur, though I sometimes pull in Eagles or Ents as well as I feel they are well themed allies.

 

Our scenario was a standard hack-and-slash for victory points and we rolled for a Shield Wall deployment.  On our 4x8 table this meant we would have a long front line and would be on top of each other almost immediately.  Of course, it also meant my Longbows would be in short range almost immediately too.  The terrain had a large ruin in the center (holds 4 companies), two woods that would also each hold 4C, two more woods that would hold 3C and a farm we designated as a walled field (+1 Def) that could hold 4C.



4C The core of my army was in two Formations.  Galadriel, Protectress of Lothlorien was my Army Leader and she was joined by Legolas in a 4-Company strong formation of Sentinels.  Next to them was a 4-Company formation of Wood Elf archers lead by Thranduil and Gandalf and including a Banner.


To their right was another 4-Companies of Wood Elf archers, this one lead by a Captain and anchoring the right flank were 3 Companies of Galadrhim archers lead by Haldir.


My left flank was secured by one 3-Company formation of Wood Elf Archers.  I also had Treebeard who was hiding in Ambush in a small woodland in Joe’s deployment zone.  With my shoot value this gave a potential of 180 dice of shooting, though in reality most turns saw at least one or two companies per Formation only firing in support.  It’s true that shooting in WotR is not very effective, but when you’re throwing that many dice at 3+ to hit, you’re bound to get some 6s.  :-)


Joe didn’t pull any punches with his army list.  It started with two 6-Company Formations of Goblins with shields and one 6-Company Formation of Goblin Archers.  One of the Shield formations had Druzag as the Army Leader (this was a surprise as I’ve only faced Durburz in previous games) and a Shaman, the other had a Captain and Shaman and both had Drummers.


This mess was supported by two Cave Trolls in the center, the Spider Queen with four Companies of Giant Spiders on his right flank, a Wild Warg Chieftain leading six Companies of Wargs on his left flank, and a Balrog centered behind them.  He also had a few more Companies of Wild Wargs off to the side for Beastcalling.

I won the rolloff and deployed first.  In hindsight after deployment I should have given Priority for the first turn to Joe but I elected to take it myself.  My Sentinels advanced slightly and entered the 4C wood terrain in front of them while Thranduil’s force moved up in parallel but shifted a little to the right to have better aim around the ruined castle.  Haldir also advanced a little so that his Formation was in contact with a 3C woods, but I forgot to enter it at the end of the turn.  My other two archer formations also advanced to keep in line with the leaders.  Thranduil cast Guide Arrows but nothing else was of value (another reason to have let Joe go first…might have reached him with some magic).  Likewise Gandalf fired off one spell, got a 1, and then bombed his Focus.  I guess his mind was elsewhere.
From the beginning Joe was finding the combo of the slow Trolls and terrain to limit the mobility of his big blocks of Goblins.  He did rush his secondary Shield company forward ATD, taking advantage of his Drum and their Pathfinders to get within charge range of my right flank and brought his Wild Wargs up along the table edge on the same side.  His Archers moved forward a little to Pass Through the 3C woodlands in front of them for a clean shot (not realizing that they disturbed the sleep of Treebeard in doing so).   Spider Queen ducked behind the farmhouse and her spawn hid out in the walled field to get a little protection from my bows and the Balrog slid up in the direction of Haldir’s Formation while keeping as much terrain and other formations as possible between it and the archers.  Druzag’s Goblins pushed forward as far as they could behind the other Goblin Infantry and Troll and was close enough to target magic at my WE Archers w/ Captain and scored a few kills with Exsiccate (I still can’t believe this one is only Focus 2!!!) and Bolt of Fire.   I came to hate this combo as the game progressed…especially once the Balrog got in there doing the same.
Shooting in Turn One was fair but not conclusive with a couple models going down on each side.  Turn One Fight was a different story all together.  My WE Formation with a Captain charged the Goblin Infantry, followed by Haldir’s Formation swinging up and catching the same Goblins on the flank.  I was only partly concerned with the Wild Wargs since they were pretty far away and would also have to pass a Courage Test to charge my Elves.  Unfortunately they succeeded both rolls and caught the Galadhrim Archers from behind.  This is NOT where you want a few companies of Wargs (Prowlers).  Haldir declared an Heroic Duel with the Warg Chief and my Elf Captain declared the same with the Goblin Shaman.

Haldir did pretty well, taking out a full Company of Wargs but not getting any hits on the Chieftain.  The Elf Captain was the opposite.  Though I had a good win above the low-Fight Shaman and scored several dice for the Duel table, I didn’t slaughter as many Goblins as I had hoped (needed).  I thinned their ranks a bit but most of the dice seemed to go to killing the Shaman several times over.  The Wargs, hitting from behind and rolling with a +1 for Prowler killed almost 2/3 of Haldir’s Formation outright.  What was left struck back at -5 dice and only killed one more Warg.  My Elves did fair against the mass of Goblins before them but Joe had blessed dice for his return strikes it seems.  He only needed 4s and rolled more than his fair share, leaving only my Captain and one WE left…that was pretty much it for them.  End results was something like 42 Elves and 31 Goblins/Wargs slaughtered in the one fight.  Haldir kept his Formation together.


On Turn 2 we consolidated and focused on ranged attacks and magic.  The Goblin archers advanced a little, the Spiders all stayed hidden.  What was left of the secondary Goblin Infantry formation pushed forward and the Cave Troll on that side slid up between it and the ruins while Druzag advanced his Formation forward as far as they could behind them.  I can’t remember for sure if he was in range to target anything with spells, but he did call forth his first 2-Company free Wargs, setting them behind the ruins where they could charge forward and support the Archers/Troll/Spider flank.  I suppose Joe figured Druzag, Balrog and about 70+ goblins was enough against my 44 Elves left on that side.  Oops…make that 40 Elves.  The Balrog advanced further and cast the two Ruin destruction spells against Haldir’s Formation, eliminating the rest of the second Company and then passed his second Focus roll and cast Dark Fury on itself.
For my part, Haldir pulled what was left of his shattered Formation back into the defensible woods at the far table edge raising their defense to a respectable 6 (I intended to do this on Turn One but forgot to enter, and then charged into a weaker position…Haldir just loves those death scenes I guess).  Thranduil scooted a little to the right bringing himself and Gandalf into spell range against the secondary Goblin Infantry. Thranduil aced his rolls and hit them with a strong Natures Wrath then Guide Arrows.  With Gandalf in Elves I like to cast some Courage sapping spells (he has two) first so that enemy models have a tougher time charging the Elves or may suffer the Fight loss of Terror when I charge, and follow those up with his special spell on another Formation to force them to F0.  In this case though I got Light of the Valar cast on the Goblins and then rolled a one on Focus.  I think I know how the Fellowship felt sitting outside the Gates of Moria waiting for him to get a clue.
I managed to shoot up the Moria horde pretty well.  Legolas did a Crippling Shot on the Cave Troll and then the Sentinels finished it off easily with a hail of arrows.  Thranduil and Haldir each did an Epic Shot on the Balrog dealing a total of 3 Wound Counters (Extremely Hard to Kill…yikes!).  Thranduil’s Elves used their Throwing Daggers against the secondary Goblin Infantry, scoring a few kills and Haldir’s Formation shot at the same Goblins, getting their flank (Yeah!) and doing more damage.  I can’t remember if Thranduil’s force charged that Infantry or if it was the other way around, but the turn ended with a few less Elves behind the King of Mirkwood and the Goblin formation decimated.
On Turn 3 Joe priority again.  He kept his spiders hidden but advanced his Goblin Archers.  I guess he figured the Goblin shooting wasn’t doing much good but seeing how easily a big block (with Orc Mob support bonus) can cut thru the pretty cloth of Wood Elves they might as well get in close and mix it up.  His last Troll, and Druzag’s Goblins advanced a bit and he summoned forth another 2 Companies of Wild Wargs, dropping them right behind Thranduil’s Elves.  Druzag also hit those same Elves with Exsiccate (did I mention that I can’t believe this one is only Focus 2!!!) and Bolt of Fire followed by Dark Fury.  The Balrog cast the same spells at Thranduil’s force but one only did minor damage and Gandalf resisted the other.  It too cast Dark Fury.
I pulled my Sentinels out of the woods so that they may be able to charge this turn and scooted the WE Archers to their left forward just a couple inches.  Thranduil repositioned his force a little