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Subject: Do we really have to go to Mordor? rss

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Merric Blackman
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Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Sarah and I pulled out War of the Ring the other day and played through a rather unusual war. This was the first game we'd played using the second edition cards and rules, and Sarah - playing Sauron - wanted to do a different strategy than the DEW North she'd used in previous games. Thus came the following game...

Turn One: Hunt 2+3
That was a lot of dice in the Hunt box! Despite that, I still managed to move the Fellowship once without Sarah catching sight of them. I moved Gondor down the political track as Sarah moved a lot of troops around in Mordor. The Power of Tom Bombadil gave me some defense against an attack on the Shire, and King Brand's Men just mustered some troops.

It was a pretty slow start for the Shadow - so busy looking for the Ring!

Turn Two: Hunt 1+3
Sarah used Cruel Weather to move me out of Rivendell into the Trollshaws - I'm not entirely sure, but it doesn't seem like a good move to me. There must have been some reasoning behind the manoeuvre, but I'm not sure what it was as it actually moved me closer to my goal. The fellowship moving were spotted by the Shadow, and the three on the hunt tile meant that Gandalf the Grey would be leaving the Fellowship rather early.

Sarah moved Isengard to war, and I responded by moving Rohan closer; I didn't think it'd be long before the war was joined.

Turn Three: Hunt 2+1
Flocks of Crebain circled the Fellowship as they held off declaring in Moria (bad). I had two Will of the West dice, but with Saruman not yet on the table, I couldn't play Gandalf the White. Instead, the fellowship moved and took a corruption. Sarah harried the party by moving an troll army into the Trollshaws, then put Sauron at war, as I moved Rohan up one spot away from declaring war. Then the dwarves got more active: I really didn't have much to do with my dice this turn.

Sarah then played Saruman, now I was out of action dice. Ah yes, the Uruk-Hai would be spawning soon enough!

Turn Four: Hunt 2+2
I declared the Fellowship in Dimrill Dale, running away from the trolls (and getting through Moria). When they continued on, Sarah used the Flocks of Crebain to ensure I was spotted - one corruption and revealed, which (alas) couldn't be in Lorien. The Lure of the Ring hit Pippin, and he was abandoned in the wilderness. (Get out, Pippin, and don't come back!) An Orc Patrol failed to spot the group as an eye was revealed, and Bilbo's Song healed the group of one corruption - back to one.

Sarah then mustered with Saruman and attacked the Fords of Isen, bringing Rohan to war. The battle was short and sweet, and the small detachment there was eliminated.

Turn Five: Hunt 2+1
For the second turn in a row, I rolled no Will of the West results - very annoying, as I really needed Gandalf the White in play. Sarah mustered the Witch King, just to rub it in, and moved to siege Helm's Deep. I did my best to defend it, but it fell by the end of the turn.

The fellowship moved on, were revealed and took two corruption. Strider needed better luck!

Turn Six: Hunt 2+2
At last, a Will of the West die allowed me to must Gandalf the White in Fangorn. Sarah moved in on Edoras as the Riders of Theoden mustered to defend the capital. Saruman took some hits (and came very close to being eliminated) as Gandalf summoned Treebeard to attack Isengard, and I used There and Back Again to move both Legolas and Strider into Minas Tirith before the gates shut against the approaching army of Mordor.

The turn ended with Osgiliath falling.

Turn Seven: Hunt 2+1
Rohan and Minas Tirith mustered, despite Denethor's Folly. The siege of Minas Tirith began, as the Fellowship moved on (1R, bringing me to 4 corruption).

Ignoring Denethor, Strider revealed himself as Aragorn, and managed to defend Minas Tirith against a Relentless Assault. Aragorn overcame Denethor's Folly, and Sarah moved the Easterlings towards war and moved more Nazgul into the siege - but she really needed more troops outside of Minas Tirith, as the initial attack had been very bad for her side.

Turn Eight: Hunt 1+2
The Guards of the Citadel turned out to defend Minas Tirith, and the Easterlings went to war. Aragorn prematurely revealed himself to Sauron using the Challenge of the King, but no eyes were revealed. He attacked out of Minas Tirith and beat back the Shadow forces, and mustered more troops to defend Gondor. The fellowship hid and moved on successfully.

Turn Nine:
Sarah spent much of this turn moving up armies, whilst the Fellowship moved closer to Mordor. Another Ent attack caused by Gandalf came very close to killing Saruman, but kept Sarah's forces back from attacking Rohan. The turn ended with Pelagir falling to the forces of Umbar. (Sarah had very little army action this turn).

What was important was the Breaking of the Fellowship, which eliminated THREE characters, leaving just the Ringbearers and Gollum in Mordor.

Turn Ten: Hunt 1+1
This was a disastrous turn for Sarah: The Fellowship declared inside Mordor, the third attack of the Ents killed Saruman, the Witch King's attack on Edoras was repulsed, and the counterattack eliminated the force and killed the Witch King!


Sarah besieged Minas Tirith again, but the military victory was looking unlikely. More likely was the possibility of the Ringbearer being corrupted.

Turn Eleven: Hunt 1+2
The Fellowship ran into Shelob - three corruption, and this was really bad for my corruption. Sarah tried using Dreadful Spells against my forces in Minas Tirith, but was completely unsuccessful. Instead, I moved up my forces from Dol Amroth and retook Pelagir, as well as adding the Phial of Galadriel to the Hunt pool.

Turn Twelve: Hunt 1+2
The mandatory movement of the Fellowship gave me the Phial... and -2 to corruption. Very, very lucky. Sarah had no useful dice - pretty much all Event dice - so she just played as many events or drew cards as she could. Meanwhile, Theoden moved up to the almost empty Isengard, and retook it easily.

Turn Thirteen: Hunt 1+3
Sarah tried using The Ring is Mine! and Give it to us!, but it didn't really matter - with pretty much nothing but event dice (again), she couldn't do anything as I marched troops into Umbar, for an extremely unlikely Military Victory for the Free Peoples!

There's no doubt that Sarah had a very rough military game. Mind you, Frodo was one corruption away from losing the game for me, so I was very lucky to be able to take Umbar and Isengard as I did. Still, that's the way the game can go!
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Robert Wesley
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whistle ~*obligatory*

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