Josh S.
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After returning home from college in Ohio a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time to pull out War of the Ring. It had been about SEVEN months since I had played, and it was time to take over middle earth.

Turn 1: The war opened with all shadow nations but the Southrons and Easterlings going to war, and both Gothmog and Saruman joined the war. The fellowship began their journey but were revealed shortly after.

Turn 2: Things began to go into motion very quickly, as Saruman himself began organizing his troops for a preemptive strike on the Rohanian lands. Within a short time, he had managed to form a sizeable army in Orthanc. In Lothlorien however, Lady Galadriel sensed this evil, and prepared herself for war. Arming herself with her ring, she was ready to help the fellowship and, should the need arise, take up the sword and defend her land. The Fellowship, though they found refuge, had a problem with the ringbearer falling to Isildur’s Bane.

Turn 3: Before the Rohan nation was even ready, Saruman’s forces fell upon them. The fortress was overcome and Helm’s Deep was quickly thrown into siege. After a brief resistance, the attacking forces were triumphant. The Shadow had just enough resources to take out the remaining settlements this turn, utterly conquering the nation. Meanwhile, the men of Umbar were preparing for war. The fellowship was sighted by forces of the Shadow, and Gandalf himself fell to the dark powers. Strider, sensing the need to lead Gondor in resistance to the growing Shadow, separated and moved toward Minas Tirith.

Turn 4: The Fellowship, under the guidance of Legolas, began to make serious progress. Boromir split off to head toward Gondor, while the fellowship moved unhindered toward Lorien. Strider was crowned and Gondor was preparing to liberate Rohan. However, the Southrons complicated this plan. The Corsairs of Umbar assaulted Dol Amroth and took it with minimal losses, marching toward Minas Tirith and decimating the pathetic resistance in between. Gothmog marched his army forward to offer backup.

Turn 5: The army in Minas Tirith began mustering forces in preparation for the coming assault. Strider, who had left previously to liberate Edoras, enlisted assistance from the dead men of Dunharrow and attacked the Southrons. However, the attack was a bitter failure and only destroyed one troop of Haradrim Archers. Aragorn moved to defend Minas Tirith while Boromir and a small group went to support the growing forces in Edoras. Before the day was over, Gandalf the White appeared in Fangorn.

Turn 6: The Fellowship sought refuge in the fortress of Lady Galadriel. There they began some much-needed recovery. Boromir’s army retook everything, including Helm’s Deep. However, the pressure in Gondor was extreme, and after a battle in Pelennor fields that resulted in major casualties for both sides, Aragorn’s army withdrew into siege. Gothmog recovered some losses by flinging troops into the fray, and though some military efforts were made, this day Sauron was focusing on gathering resources to find the ring through the help of Saruman’s Palantir.

Turn 7: The Fellowship was ready to continue their journey, and after a close call with some of Sauron’s servants, Smeagol was located and made the guide of this journey. Although, unbeknownst to them, dark intentions were filling the creature’s mind. After fully strengthening his army, Gothmog ordered a full assault on the White City. A final push on the Citadel forced a last stand of Aragorn’s forces, but to no avail. Aragorn was slain by a dreaded Nazgul, and as he died, Gothmog ordered the White Tree burned to the ground. He was not finished in his conquest though, as he began his journey to retake Helm’s Deep.

Turn 8: Smeagol quickly became a liability, for as soon as danger made itself known, he took the opportunity to eliminate his competition for the ring, and forced Legolas’ death. Gothmog combined with the armies of Isengard and assaulted Helm’s Deep. The battle went back and forth, and after a short time, both sides were left with only large battalions of footsoldiers. However, when the Ents arrived, Boromir took the opportunity to lead a counterattack against Gothmog’s forces, resulting in the complete destruction of Gothmog and his army. The fellowship moved safely, making progress toward Mordor.

Turn 9: The Fellowship continued its journey, and when danger arrived, Smeagol was thrown at the enemy. Leaving him behind, the fellowship pressed on. Saruman and Sauron grew tired of this back and forth take-and-retake exchange that was taking place in Rohan and Gondor, as Boromir already moved back toward Minas Tirith, liberating Rohan yet again. Some small forces followed behind, capturing the now desolate Rohan, and more forces emerged in Minas Morgul. In the lands of Moria, the wretched Balrog prepared himself to, when the time was right, combat the Lady of Light.

Turn 10: The fellowship declared itself in the fiery land of Mordor, and began the final push. The first few steps were safe from harm, but then the fellowship wandered on to Shelob’s lair. Gimli, Merry, and Pippin all knew how close they were, and it was time to perform their sworn duty. To buy Frodo enough time to escape without having to expose himself to the ring, the three warriors separated from the group and sacrificed themselves to keep Frodo safe. Meanwhile, a huge army had been formed and Minas Tirith was assaulted. This time, the battle was much less even. Boromir had lost many forces on his campaign for liberation, and like Aragorn before him, he died defending his home. With Rohan and Gondor utterly vanquished, the Balrog prepared to attack Lorien, and the army that had just conquered Minas Tirith moved to strengthen his army.

Turn 11: Lady Galadriel felt the presence of evil approaching. She knew that the army was too much for her forces to handle, so she moved to her mirror to urge the fellowship into action with the power of her ring. If her lands were lost, Sauron would surely have control over enough of Middle Earth to focus solely on finding his ring. They moved once, and immediately Sauron’s gaze directly fell directly upon them. Galadriel prepared to offer assistance with her ring, but realized that this display of power was just barely too powerful for her to stop. There was rage and panic behind his gaze, as he must have just realized what the fellowship was doing in Mount Doom. Sauron came very close to convincing Frodo to claim the ring for himself, but there was still some fight left in him. Their progress was halted, but they pressed forth once more, and although they were now just outside the entrance to the Crack of Doom, Galadriel, through her mirror, saw Frodo faltering. It would take only a slight urging from Sauron to convince Frodo to keep the Ring. Galadriel used the power of her ring to give Frodo the physical strength to move toward the fires of Mount Doom. Her heart started to fill with joy as she saw him defy temptation and move to drop the ring… But to her dismay, although Frodo may have overcome the temptation of the Ring, not everyone had. Gollum, enraged, jumped at Frodo, demanding the Ring. “Give it to Us!!” He demanded. Frodo, weak with the burden of the Ring, was no match for this insane creature. Frodo was mortally wounded, and Sam retaliated by killing the evil creature. Before Sam could even try and finish the job himself, the Nazgul were upon him. They claimed the ring for the Dark Lord, and all hope for Middle Earth was lost.

Galadriel, sullen, stepped away from her mirror. The forces of Shadow would be close soon. There was nothing left for her in Middle Earth, so with a heavy heart she gathered her trusted advisers and those who could move quickly and prepared to journey to the West. Not wanting to face the consequences of keeping it, she removed her ring from her finger, and placed it upon her mirror. “To the victor goes the spoils,” she whispered. By the time the Balrog arrived, she was long gone, not wanting to see her homeland destroyed.

This one was truly close, coming down to the last tile pull. After seven months away, this was a great way to return to this great game.
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