- Andrew PoulterUnited Kingdom
My first games of the official scenario "Breaking of the Fellowship" since its publication. This can be found at http://www.warofthering.eu/2nd_ed_down.htm. Both games used the first edition rules with the expansion and the latest (Corsairs) version of the on-line client that directly supports this scenario.
GAME 1 - I played the Shadow
The game starts with the Fellowship half-way to Mordor, revealed and with some corruption. Meanwhile the shadow armies are massed and at war but with no victory points yet. So as the Fellowship is half-way to Mordor a shorter game then? Well.....
The companions move to protect Gondor and Rohan with Gandalf the White, Strider and Gimli in Minas Tirith. The flying With-King (Chief of the Ringwraiths) is deployed to search for the Fellowship. The Day Without Dawn, prevents Strider being crowned as the large shadow armies march into Rohan and approach Minas Tirith.
The fellowship is revealed as soon as it moves with the Witch-King helping. Then Isuldur's bane helps push the corruption higher still (now on 7). The fellowship try again, but are caught again and corruption is on 8. A Nazgul strike is also used and the corruption goes ever higher to 10 and the fellowship is also revealed preventing a safe haven in Minas Tirith.
Rohan is attacked but both Edoras and Helm's Deep prove difficult to take. The fellowship move but are then revealed when the Nazgul Search, so again no refuge can be take in Minas Tirith.
Helm's Deep battle rages on with Legolas leading the defenders, but faced with superior numbers it is eventually taken for the first victory points (2). Aragorn is crowned in Minas Tirith as the shadow armies finally start attacking Gondor.
The battle for Minas Tirith starts with a great field battle for the free peoples hitting 5 armies for a loss of 2. The fellowship move again hoping to reach Minas Tirith for much needed rest and recovery. Rohan is finally taken (3 victory points), with a large army led by the Witch-King. The defenders hit well and instead of another large army to help against Gondor the shadow forces in Rohan are left with little might. Pelagir is taken (4 victory points) to try and surround Minas Tirith.
The Fellowship finally take refuge in Minus Tirith! The shadow spends a lot of time consulting his Palantir before attacking Minus Tirith again, putting them into siege. Denethor's Folly may prove the undoing of Minas Tirith.
Denethor seems to recover and the shadow have only a few chances to attack Minas Tirith. All the casualties inflicted by the Shadow armies in the first attack are replaced with Guards of the Citadel. A second attack goes badly, Gandalf using his powers to great effect.
More armies push onto Minas Tirith and yet another battle starts. Again the Shadow armies take massive losses to a single Free people's unit and the attack has to stop. Two more attacks follow as no elites are available and one battle negates Gandalf's ability, finally getting the Free players unots down to just 3, but the Shadow armies are almost all depleted too (5 regulars left). So Gandalf, Strider and Gimli ride out for a field battle hoping to remove all traces of the Shadow armies. The first round hits both sides equally but Gimli dies an heroic death to let the battle continue. After another round only 1 unit is left for the free against 2 for the Shadow and still the Free battle on! Not wanting to risk a free path to unprotected Mordor regions the Shadow armies retreat and the Free peoples have liberated Minas Tirith after four TURNS of battle - epic battle.
With no real defence anymore Gandalf and Aragorn separate to help defend other areas as the Shadow armies finally siege and capture Minas Tirith for 6 Victory points. The Fellowship moves on with the corruption at a more manageable 4 after much healing in Minas Tirith. Almost straight away though they are again found and an Orc Patrol raises the corruption to 8. Lorien is also placed under siege by the Witch King.
Grond is used against Lorien, but after 3 rounds the Elves survive with 2 units left and slightly more for the Shadow. The Ents start mustering and with no units in Orthanc and little to protect the Witch-King, someone was going to die! The Witch-King flees north and sure enough the Ents kill Saruman and later also free Lorien. Finally the Fellowship move to the edge of Mordor as the Witch-King sieges Erebor.
The Witch-King attacks Erebor hoping for a swift victory before the massive dale army that had been built can counter-attack. The Dwarves are tough though and the Witch-King is forced to retreat from the Dale armies. The Challenge of the King occurs before the Fellowship move in Mordor (removing two eye tiles!) and they use their Elven Cloaks as well.
More tiles are added for both sides and now the full set of special tiles are in play. The fellowship moves to step 2 against 4 eyes and corruption rises to 9 as they get revealed, with a Morgul Wound making it 10. Meanwhile the Mouth of Sauron appears to lead a small force against the last two units in Lorien. Cleverly the units use Scouts to run down towards a completely empty Rohan as the Shadow grabs Lorien for 8 Victory points!
Both players empty the character card deck (there are less in play in this scenario). Rohan forces muster up with Aragorn as the Shadow armies rush to defend empty strongholds. Just as Aragorn looks vulnerable though he finds the Dead Men of Dunharrow and uses them to inflict massive damage (5 hits) to an army that was approaching Dol Amroth. The Fellowship hide in Mordor unable to progress.
The Fellowship has to move again against a vigilant Sauron (4 eyes), but it is Shelob that finds them and the corruption of Frodo is complete (4 rolled).
Conclusion - I would never have thought such a long game would come from this scenario, but the battle for Minas Tirith, that I felt I must conquer to stop the Fellowship from healing, turned into one of the hardest I have ever fought. Great card play and use of Gandalf and the trebuchets kept me trying for a full four turns and still it did not fall! The game was all about corruption with the military as a secondary part in my mind, very thematic. I was lucky with finding the Fellowship so well at the start and preventing them getting to Minas Tirith for a while also may have helped. So after this another game was needed to see if the game favoured the Shadow too strongly.
GAME 2 - I played the Free peoples
Totally forgetting that the Fellowship starts revealed Gandalf the White moves to defend Minas Tirith as Strider, Legolas and Gimli move to Helm's Deep. The Shadow strikes first at Rohan easily taking the fords, but Strider and friends find secret ways with the Dead Men of Dunharrow to go to Pelagir. The Witch-King (Black Captain arrives) and Aragorn is crowned.
The battle for Gondor starts. As the Witch-King descends on Minas Tirith Aragorn gathers the Gondor forces. The Fellowship starts to move to Mordor but many eyes are watching (5) and they are revealed (corruption 4).
Gollum shows the Fellowship that "There is another way" and they feel safer (corruption 3). Gandalf resists the first waves of Shadow armies attacking Minas Morgul in several assaults, but looks like he will soon be overwhelmed. Meanwhile as the Shadow is distracted the Fellowship get to the edge of Mordor unseen. Realising his error Sauron uses a Nazgul search and the Fellowship are revealed in Minas Morgul, but they suffer no ill effects.
Minas Tirith now has overwhelming forces and siege towers to deal with and although Gandalf resists he is finally defeated and Minas Tirith falls (2 Victory points). The Witch-King then leads an assault with minimal forces against Edoras defended surprisingly by Pippin. The Shadow forces prove to be very tough (4 hits, then 3) and Edoras is taken swiftly (3 Victory points). Bilbo's song helps the Fellowships spirits (1 corruption) as they prepare to go to Mordor. Helm's Deep is attacked but it must be foggy as no casualties occur.
The Fellowship have a chance to race through Mordor (1W and 4Cs with just one eye). They start well (0R) and push into Mordor. Galadriel uses her ring's power as forces gather outside Lorien to protect the Fellowship (Eye tile becomes 3 - corruption now 4). The Witch-king takes all of Rohan as Helm's Deep falls (5 Victory points). The Fellowship find Mordor hard going as they continue onwards (another 3 - corruption now 7). However they seem to do better as they push on (1 - corruption at 8). They decide to rest rather then risk moving on as the Witch-king leads a massive army on Lorien. Galadriel resists but is soon defeated.
Sauron does not seem to realise his danger (one eye) and Frodo and Sam use their Elven cloaks to throw the ring into the fire and Sauron is no more.
Conclusion - A totally different game to the first, but again the hunt and corruption seemed the main factors. The scenario seems still able to provide some variation despite a more fixed setup and some of the game elements already decided. I would recommend trying it out for a different kind of game to standard War of the Ring, and it especially allows the books to be followed quite closely.
- [+] Dice rolls
- Roberto Di Meglio(cybernex)Italy
Thanks for the reports!
The situation where all Companions are out of the Fellowship, but the war is actually yet to start, is a very unusual combination that this scenario brings to the table. In "normal" games it happens only if the FP is trying a military victory, but the setting here is very different, with the heavy mustering of Sauron armies.
To be honest, despite the start at Rauros, the scenario does not seem to make the game shorter, at least in my game experience.
But it definitely creates a situation similar to the books, where the attack of the Shadow starts later than it does in most games with the regular set-up.
- [+] Dice rolls
- Brian Jones(bclayj)United States
Thanks for the report! Got in my first play of this the other day and really enjoyed it.
It did take a little less time to play, and I think it may be a good way to teach the game to a new (FP) player. Moving the Fellowship and the hunt is simpler, with no decisions about splitting off companions or using any special powers other than Gollum's. They also do not have to worry about finding the character cards with FP hunt tiles. And the extra die and options for companion movement just add more fun.
My first game of this was very different and interesting. Playing the Shadow, I never once crossed the borders of Rohan. Before gathering Saruman's forces my opponent managed to play some cards to muster a few units, and shortly thereafter brought in Strider and Gimli to help out. Instead of fighting this battle, I just parked some forces on the border and sat tight. Instead, decided to bring a massive force of Sauron and SE forces against Gondor and then the Elves in the north. With some help from the Witch King and a few lucky rolls the forces of Gondor were routed quickly, making it difficult for Aragorn to be crowned. The Ring managed to make its way to Mount Doom, but the military pressure was so great that a quick scurry to the top proved too much and the Ringbearer was corrupted. Can't wait for a few more scenarios to try.
- [+] Dice rolls