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Subject: By the Path of the Woses and into Mordor rss

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Eric Walkingshaw
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As with most sessions of this wonderful game, this was unlike any I'd played before. The fellowship was turned away from Lorien and then twice from Minas Tirith, Aragorn and Gandalf the White led the Riders of Rohan into the heart of Mordor, and the stalwart and selfless Boromir saw the hobbits safely through Minas Morgul. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I guided the good Free Peoples and the nefarious djarv controlled the ruthless Shadow Armies.

The story begins as so many before it, with Gandalf stubbing his toe on Rivendell's doorstep, leaving the now-revealed fellowship in the trusty hands of Strider. Mr. Hunty was summoned instantly, and Sauron's eye was ever on the fellowship thereafter. While I usually prefer to keep Gandalf the Grey around as long as possible, Sauron's early focus on corruption and hunts made Strider a very useful guide, as we'll see.

Saruman quickly revealed himself as the treacherous traitor he is and started using his voice to pump out Wargs. But with the help of Galadriel's mirror, Gandalf the White appeared in Fangorn and recruited the Ents. Saruman started mustering more cautiously...

The fellowship kept pressing forward, but was seemingly revealed at every step. Strider would hide them again with a muster or palantir and onward they would press. Despite the early corruption (and the death of poor old Pippin), the fellowship revealed themselves moving through Moria and took even more hunt damage. They expected to rest in Lorien, but it was not to be... Revealed on the move that would allow them to declare in Lorien, they were turned away and decided to continue south instead to Minas Tirith. Strider separated and was soon crowned.

Meanwhile, back in The Gap, Saruman's Wargs marched on Helm's deep, smiting √Čomer and his riders on the way. Wormtongue's lies kept Rohan from mustering to War despite this imminent threat, and Helm's Deep soon fell. Wary of the Ents, Saruman quickly moved reinforcements from the Dunlands into Orthanc, and mustered a Warg or two. But not enough! Two Ent cards brought 15 dice of the Ents wrath on Orthanc and Saruman paid dearly for his treachery.

I held Path of the Woses and two Rohan muster cards so I mustered a huge army in Edoras, figuring I could threaten Orthanc or eventually move them south, buying time for the fellowship either way. Isengard spent a turn fortifying Orthanc.

The fellowship moved South, with Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, and the Ringbearers all following the questionable lead of Merry Brandybuck. The success of Sauron's spies and hunters continued. No longer scared of losing Aragorn, companions fell left and right. In Osgiliath with one move in the bank, a deftly played card revealed the fellowship, forcing Merry to flee to Minas Tirith, but denying the fellowship from resting there. The fellowship remained in Osgiliath...

In the next round, they were revealed again. Fearing that they had spent too much time already, they moved into North Ithilien forgoing the much needed rest in Gondor's capital. Though they were knocking on the gates of Mordor, the fellowship's prospects looked bleak at 8 corruption and with just Legolas and Boromir for company. Mr. Hunty did his job well, with a whopping 9 hunt tiles drawn to that point and 7 of them revealing the fellowship.

No matter, I've been in this situation before... I had a massive army in Minas Tirith and another in Edoras, and Gondor and Rohan eager for war. Gandalf the Warmonger moved south to Minas Tirith and the fireworks began.

The bad guys marched two big armies toward Gondor. One mostly of Orcs and the other mostly of Southrons. Faramir's rangers whittled down the Orcs in South Ithilien and again at a stand in Osgiliath, but Minas Tirith was soon under siege. The ancient beacons were lit and almost instantly, out of the north, a massive host! The Riders of Rohan by the Path of the Woses!

Many Orcs were slain and Sauron was forced to retreat. A massive army of Rohan and Gondor elites, led by Aragorn and the White Rider (and Merry), marched directly on Mordor for victory! Sauron mustered frantically in the Black Land's emptied strongholds. Minas Morgul was put under siege and taken! But at heavy cost...

The hopes of the Free People's armies were soon crushed, as the Mustering of a Long-Planned War put 10 fresh recruits in Mordor. The Free People fought bravely in Gorgoroth but fell. Aragorn and the White Rider (and Merry) perished, and with it all chance at victory for the Free People.

Boromir would not give in so easily. He blew his mighty horn and the fellowship pressed forward again! Before declaring in Minas Morgul they were able to heal a point of corruption, Frodo rediscovered his Mithril Coat and the Phial he somehow got from Galadriel while circumventing Lorien.

Now in Mordor, the fellowship pushed cautiously forward while Sauron started grabbing land. He took Edoras and Minas Tirith, and eventually Pelargir. Dol Amroth was still well defended and he had only 6 points, so he started moving armies northward and fortifying for his siege on Dol Amroth. He was taking his time, unaware of the threat in his very land.

Boromir's horn was broken, then Legolas fell, and Boromir. The Mithril coat was spent and the hobbits were stopped in their tracks at 8 corruption and still three long marches from the Crack of Doom...

But luck (if you will call it that) favors the wise and good, and soon all three elven rings were restored to the Free People's hand, just before a crucial card would have given the Shadow a free hunt tile. And the next time Frodo and Sam pushed forward, Galadriel's Phial appeared and reduced their corruption by 2!

At 8 corruption and two marches from the place from whence It came, the Fellowship pushed forward again, taking two corruption but moving successfully. Sauron scrambled wildly, attacking desperately in both the North and South, but it was too late. On the last step of Mordor, at 10 corruption, the Hobbits pressed forward. And who was the hero but Sam Gamgee, whose Elven rope that he had carried so long finally came in as handy as he'd guessed, and the One Ring was unmade.

Hurray!

Thanks, djarv, for another awesome game. And sorry about the fantastic luck I got at the end there... Not a single companion survived this game. Never seen that happen in a FP win before!
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Dick Jarvinen
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Great report! This was an incredibly interesting game, with big swings that favored first one side and then the other.

This is the second game where walkie abandoned a city (in this case, Minas Tirith; in the previous, he abandoned all!) to field a large force against Sauron's hordes. When he broke through Osgiliath, I thought I was doomed. I spent my last dice (a Palantir) to draw a card and voila! I drew "Mustering of a Long-Planned War" which allowed me to play 5 units in Nurn and 5 units in Gorgorath. These boys saved the day (but just barely!). Well.. temporarily, anyway.

At this point, the Free People's Armies were well into the toilet and the Fellowship was in extremely bad shape, so I fell into a (familiar but fatal!) lethargy, and proceeded slowly. Too late, I realized the danger, but couldn't accelerate the military campaign (in one roll, I ended up with 4 eyes, 3 musters and 1 army!). All my good luck on Hunt Rolls was spent early in the game, and Shelob and other help were no where to be found during the Hunt.

Another side note: this game convinced me of the value of Trebuchets for the Free People; even a single Trebuchet against two siege towers is enough to delay a siege for an entire turn.


Walkie again brings forth Victory while facing near certain death. The fate of Middle Earth did indeed balance of the edge of a blade.

Great game, well played, congrats!



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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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walkie wrote:
The fellowship moved South, with Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, and the Ringbearers all following the questionable lead of Merry Brandybuck.
In the standard game, the companion with the highest level must lead. I'm only vaguely familiar with the expansion rules - do they change that requirement?
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Eric Walkingshaw
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Sphere wrote:
walkie wrote:
The fellowship moved South, with Boromir, Legolas, Gimli, and the Ringbearers all following the questionable lead of Merry Brandybuck.
In the standard game, the companion with the highest level must lead. I'm only vaguely familiar with the expansion rules - do they change that requirement?
D'oh! For some reason I thought that rule only applied when the guide died and you were choosing a replacement, but that when you changed the guide at the beginning of the round it could be anyone. But I just looked it up and you're right...

Fortunately, Merry's leadership in the big army was redundant (Aragorn, Gandalf, and multiple Rohan and Gondor leaders), so I don't think this mistake had much impact if any. Although I don't remember if I played Boromir's horn before or after this, so it might have made a difference if he had been the one to fall.

I've got 18 games of War of the Ring in now, and if I've played any completely correctly, I'd be surprised!
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Dick Jarvinen
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I sort of remember asking something about that during the game but since the slaughter of the Companions was so brutal and ongoing (I think Frodie had to absorb something like 23 corruption during his holiday; you'd think that would be enough to kill four hobbits easily!), it didn't really matter who was leading.

They were mowed down faster than a field of Longbottom attacked by nicotine starved Tooks.
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Eric Walkingshaw
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djarv wrote:
They were mowed down faster than a field of Longbottom attacked by nicotine starved Tooks.

laugh
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Per Sylvan
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walkie -
You wrote that two ent cards brought 15 dice against Saruman.
How could that happen? Every ent card is only 3 dice, right? Or does the expansion change that?
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Eric Walkingshaw
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Hi Perry,

Yeah, the expansion completely changes the way Ents work.

They are now a "faction" that can be brought into play if Saruman is in the game and a companion is in Fangorn. From then on, every time Saruman uses the Voice, a new Ent is added to Fangorn. The new Ent cards (which replace the old) add two Ents to Fangorn and let you attack with them. They move and attack differently than other units, having to grow outward, leaving a trail of Ents from Fangorn, but each Ent that you get to the destination rolls a whopping five dice!

So 15 dice is three of the new Ents attacking Isengard.
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Per Sylvan
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Hmm...interesting.

So, if Saruman do not use his Voice, then there will be no Ents?

Is it then not optimal for Saruman to completely avoid using his Voice ability?
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Eric Walkingshaw
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Perry wrote:
Hmm...interesting.

So, if Saruman do not use his Voice, then there will be no Ents?

Is it then not optimal for Saruman to completely avoid using his Voice ability?
Yeah, this is one of the few problems with the expansion I think. It leads to a bit of scripting in the early game. Saruman uses the voice as much as possible until the Ents are brought into play and then never again.

Overall, the expansion is very good, however, and the new Ents are still a lot of fun. Each of the Ents cards also adds two Ents to Fangorn, so you will always have some Ents to use even if Saruman isn't using his Voice.
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