Josh S.
United States
Newark
New York
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In this battle for Middle Earth, I took the role of the Shadow. Both my opponent and myself knew this game was going to be interesting right form the start. As you will see, this game turned out to be a LONG one.

Turn 1: The Free People’s player failed to roll any character dice, instead rolling 2 musters and 2 palantir. With 2 dice in the hunt box, I was able to roll 2 muster/army dice in addition to 1 palantir, 1 character, and 1 army. Isengard went to war and Saruman came into play (along with the extra dice that comes with him).

Turn 2: The FP roll was identical to the last turn, and the Shadow was able to get a healthy amount of musters, enough to bring the Southrons and Easterlings as well as Sauron to War. At this point, the FP was able to bring a bunch of his nations down on the political track, and played “Wisdom of Elrond” to activate the Dwarves. He was also using his palantir dice to play the strategy cards to allow mustering, especially in the Dwarven and Elven Nations.

Turn 3: The FP finally gets a Will of the West die result, in addition to palantirs and a muster result, and I rolled 3 palantirs, a character, and a muster/army result. The Fellowship moved, and with 2 dice in the hunt box, I didn’t expect much success since it was the first fellowship movement of the turn. However much to my surprise, one of the two dice rolled came up with a six. I drew a tile, and was lucky enough to draw an Eye. The fellowship only took one hit, but more importantly it was Revealed. This was perfect, since 3-4 of my cards were cards to hit the fellowship if they were revealed or not in a Free People’s Settlement. The FP player had used all of their dice, so there was no way to hide them this turn. First I played “Worn with Sorrow and Toil.” Then I played “Lure of the Ring.” My opponent shuffled his Fellowship Tokens and I reached in and pulled out… Strider! Usually with this card, my opponent doesn’t have much difficulty deciding whether to take the Corruption or the casualty, and usually just kills off the drawn companion. However, Strider is the one exception. No Strider means no crowning of Aragorn, which means no extra dice later on. He cringed and took the 3 corruption points. However the Fellowship wasn’t done getting hit yet, and I played “Candles of Corpses” and scored one corruption point for the Fellowship.

Turn 4: The FP rolled 2 character dice as well as a muster die and a palantir die. Me, The Shadow, rolled 3-4 musters among the dice in my roll. The FP didn’t want to get hit with another nasty card, so he hid the Fellowship. Although I didn’t need the Fellowship to be revealed to play “Isildur’s Bane,” and I pulled a 1 hunt tile from the Hunt Pool, docking the Fellowship with another Corruption Point. The Fellowship moved, almost certain they would be safe with only 1 Eye in the Hunt Box. I felt the same way, but rolled the dice anyway. We were both wrong. Despite only 1 dice being rolled, I was lucky enough to get a 6. A regular 1-damage hunt tile was drawn, and my opponent just took the damage, not wanting to risk killing off a high-level companion in a random casualty for a low-level hunt tile. However the last two turns were horrible for the Free People’s Player, as the Fellowship had only moved twice the entire game and was already at a devastating 7 Corruption. Never before, for me at least, has anything like that happened. The problem was at this point, trying to attain a victory with the Fellowship was going to be immensely difficult. As a result, I began mustering units into the weaker locations (Moria, Mount Gunabad, etc.) to make sure that a Military Victory for the FP was going to be very difficult as well. By the end of the turn my ability to defend against future attack was better, in addition to my huge army forming in North Rhun, preparing to hit the Dwarves.

Turn 5: My opponent saw what was happening and moved the Fellowship back to Rivendell to recuperate. He separated Gandalf and Strider and the Elves went to War. That was a wise decision as he saw the army in North Dunland in the nation of Isengard growing. The army of North Rhun attacked Iron Hills and were in position to hit Erebor.

Turn 6: A huge army marched towards Rivendell so the Fellowship would lose the benefit of being able to heal. I took advantage of the amount of energy the FP were putting into defending Rivendell by attacking Erebor at the same time as Rivendell. Erebor was besieged and so was Rivendell. A few units were assembled in Moria so that they could be moved to the Siege in Rivendell should the need arise.

Turn 7: The battle of Rivendell began, and after many tough rounds of fighting, I no longer had an elite unit to reduce to allow the siege to continue another round. I moved my army from Moria towards Rivendell to reinforce. However, it was still a successful round: In order for Rivendell to have a fighting chance, they were forced to separate Boromir, Gimli, and Pippin. After I ceased the attack, the army in Rivendell fought a Sortie, suprisingly. They took heavy losses and were down to 4 regular units, but they had destroyed my army. Although the Army from Moria attacked, only to have the Free People’s Army play “Scouts.” They retreated before the first round and I tried to pursue, but his army ended up in Bree and I was one region away but out of dice. On the bright side, Rivendell was now under my control, one lone unit left behind to keep guard.

Turn 8: The 3 companions fled to The Shire to Activate the North Nation. They brought them down to war and began mustering. Units began propping up all the way over in the North city of Dale. This was putting my attack on Erebor in jeapordy, so I mustered 2 elites in North Rhun and brought them over to join the besieging army. But the army in Dale attacked them and destroyed them, although did a little damage in turn. I mustered again and used “Shadows Gather” (or a card similar) to get them there safely. The fellowship also moved, but was hunted. The 2 Damage+ Reveal Hunt tile resulted in the death of Legolas. I then played “Foul Thing From The Deep” and successfully pulled a 1-damage tile- with no other choice due to the card, Merry was killed.

Turn 9: The Armies of the North and the Elves was growing, and I began to make preparations. Luckily, There was no Will of the West dice rolled since Gandalf Separated, preventing him from being turned into Gandalf the White. I moved some Nazgul around and mustered a bit. With Gollum now the guide 1 region from Rivendell, things weren’t good, but by playing “Bilbo’s Song,” “Athelas,” and “There is Another Way,” corruption was now down to 1. However this turn had a very unexpected conclusion. My opponent moved Strider and Gandalf to The Fords Of Isen so Gandalf could go to Fangorn and Strider could later go to Minas Tirith. However, as I was trying to figure out what to do with my last Event action dice, I noticed that Gandalf and Strider were in a region containing an army. If they’re with an army, then that means they can be destroyed. Much to my opponents dismay, I played “The Ringwraiths Are Abroad,” allowing me to attack. My huge army from Orthanc, with the help of the “Desperate Battle” combat card, crushed the small 2 regular unit army, resulting in the deaths of Gandalf and more importantly, Strider. Gandalf can come back as Gandalf the White. Strider however, can not. The sixth action dice would never become available to the FP because of this slip-up.

Turn 10-15: I’m combining these because these turns were a mixture of three battles. The FP had been mustering, and were ready for 3 coordinated attacks on 3 of my strongholds. It was risky, and the FP were putting a lot of units and settlements on the line. However, these armies were tough, and one of these armies I really didn’t expect to form. The bottom line was if two out of the three attacks were successful, then the FP player would win a Military Victory.

1) Attack on Isengard: Gandalf the White, in all his resurrected glory, was sitting in Fangorn. He made use of those blasted Ents cards, and played two of “The Ents Awake” cards. The damage was minimal, however the sizeable Rohan army besieged Orthanc. On the first round, due to the help of “The Devilry of Orthanc” combat card, the Shadow army scored 4 hits, and the FP only scored 1. Second round resulted in 1 hit to both armies, and the third resulted in 1 hit to my army and 3 more to the FP army. Moreover, in order to continue the siege the FP has to, of course, reduce an elite unit down to a regular unit. So while I had taken only 3 hits throughout that battle, the FP had taken a nasty 10 hits. There was no way for this battle to go well, so the FP army withdrew back to Helm’s Deep.

2) Attack on Mount Gunabad: The army in the Shire combined with the army in Bree. The army was large in size, so I mustered a few units in Angmar and Mount Gunabad and moved them to the Shadow Stronghold. They moved through Angmar, taking control of it and earning one Victory Point before moving to Mount Gunabad. They threw my army into siege. The army led by Boromir, Gimli, and Pippin was large, and I knew I probably wouldn’t win, but my goal was to maximize the damage to the FP army so I could more easily take it back later. In the first round I managed to score a nasty 5 hits. The Attacking army scored one. However in the subsequent rounds, the combat cards “Daylight,” “Shield Wall,” and “Brave Stand,” the FP army returned the favor. My army was destroyed and Mount Gunabad fell to the control of the Free Peoples. However, the massive Free Peoples army of 6 Elites and 4 Regulars was now reduced to 4 regulars.

3) Attack on Dol Guldur: My army besieging Erebor was holding it’s ground, not eager to attack Erebor quite yet. There were 3 Elites, 2 regulars, and 2 Leaders in its garrison, making it a place that could be taken, but at potentially high losses. That would be fine, but 2 sizeable armies, one in Woodland Realm and the other in Dale, would most likely be able to crush my army after it would be damaged taking Erebor. However I was surprised to see my opponent combine the army and the move it South towards Dol Guldur. I had ample time to prepare, and mustered some units into my stronghold. After a few rounds, both armies having taken some damage, I withdrew into siege. My army was a good one however, and had 3 Elites and 2 Regulars. In addition, I played “Hill-Trolls,” Replacing my 2 regulars there with 2 Elites. In the first round of the siege, I played the “We Come To Kill” combat card, and scored 2 hits on the combat roll. My opponent scored 1, but my additional attack roll scored 2 more hits. The attack was ceased and although the siege was maintained, I wasn’t concerned about another attack there anytime soon.

Turn 16: The Free People’s paid for their failed conquest this turn. With all of the Elven and Northern army units either Mustered or Destroyed, my army besieging Erebor was no longer threatened. It must have been a sad day for King Dain, watching the armies he thought would save him march away to attack down south, leaving him and his forces to their deaths. Erebor was wiped clean, and I suffered only moderate damage. My army of 4 Elites, 6 Regulars, and 5 Nazgul Leaders was only reduced to 3 Elites and 3 Regulars. With no resistance in either Woodland Realm or Dale, my army simply moved through them and captured them both. I was now at 7 victory points. My opponent moved his army out of the siege and combine it with his army in Lorien. Knowing an attack on Moria was probably in the future, I mustered a bit there and moved an army of mine from North Dunland into Moria.

Turn 17: Moria was attacked and after a few rounds I withdrew into siege. I was down to 4 units, 2 elites and 2 regulars, in Moria, but I played “Orcs Multiplying Again” to make it a 5-man strong army. With no dice left to attack after putting me into siege, I mustered and moved 4 of my Elite units over to attack the besieging army. Again, this 4 elite unit army wasn’t going to wipe them put, but the might succeed in rendering them useless. That’s pretty close to what happened.

Turn 18. With the army besieging Moria greatly weakened, they tried one desperate attack on Moria that wasn’t successful and brought them down to 4 regulars. My army in the Dale/Erebor/Woodland Realm area was sort of looking for something to do, so they began to move towards Mount Gunabad to reclaim it. To keep it safe, the FP around Moria ended the siege and moved back to Lorien. The FP moved the fellowship once. The hunt was successful and a 3 tile was drawn. With Gollum now as the Guide, he revealed the Fellowship to reduce the damage and took 2 corruption. I played “Orc Patrol” to do some more damage, and I was extremely lucky and drew another 3 tile. The Fellowship was 2 regions away from Rivendell (again) and was already back up to 6 Corruption.

Turn 19: The Easterling army was closing in on Mount Gunabad, so my opponent really only had until the end of the turn to achieve a military victory. The army in Helm’s Deep besieged Orthanc yet again. My army had 3 Elites and 2 Regulars, but by playing “A New Power Is Rising” I was able to make it into a 5 Elite army instead. Despite the great help of the third “The Ents Awake” card combat effect, the battle was a crushing defeat for the army of Rohan, and the army was now a measly three regulars that quickly ran back to Helm’s Deep. My army besieged and attacked Mount Gunabad, and with the enhanced attack roll given by “Deadly Strife,” took back Mount Gunabad. The army was destroyed and along with it their leaders Boromir, Gimli, and Pippin. With the last action, since all three of “The Ents Awake” cards were played, Gandalf was moved to Minas Tirith to activate the only nation that wasn’t at war.

Turn 20: Gondor was moved to War, so I ordered the Southron Army that had been sitting adjacent to Osgiliath for most of the game to attack Osgiliath and then quickly attack Minas Tirith. My Southron army was able to put up enough of a fight to force them into a siege. With Minas Tirith under siege, reinforcements couldn’t be mustered there, and my opponent struggled to come up with a force to take out mine. I brought in The Mouth Of Sauron and The Witch King into Minas Morgul, and had the dice to muster 3 elites. The Fellowship moved twice and though the Hunt succeeded twice, both times a 0+reveal was drawn. Thanks to Gollum’s ability, the tiles were useless.

Turn 21: The huge army from Minas Morgul marched over and reinforced the siege against Minas Tirith. With a total of 6 Elites in the combined Southron/Sauron army, Gandalf’s ability to negate the Nazgul Leadership couldn’t save them. Minas Tirith was destroyed and Gandalf died as well. With all 10 of my dice in play, I had enough actions to create an overwhelming Uruk-Hai force in Orthanc thanks to “The Voice of Saruman” ability and assault Helm’s Deep. The Rohan forces offered little resistance, since they had sustained too many casualties in their two attempts to take Orthanc out from Saruman’s control. Helm’s Deep fell and since I had enough Victory Points the game was mine!

Shadow Victory Point Tally:

Rivendell-2
Erebor-2
Dale-1
Woodland Realm-2
Minas Tirith-2
Helm’s Deep-2

This game was pretty much an uphill battle from the start for the FP, with how horrible the Fellowship got hit. After the attempt at a military victory failed, the Shadow Armies pretty much just swept through and dominated.

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Happy Squig
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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It's from a movie.
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That's a very detailed session report, thanks for that!

Out of interest, do you record your game somehow? There is no way I'd be able to remember the exact ordering of that many turns.
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Josh S.
United States
Newark
New York
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HappyDD wrote:
That's a very detailed session report, thanks for that!

Out of interest, do you record your game somehow? There is no way I'd be able to remember the exact ordering of that many turns.

Yeah, I usually keep a notebook next to me and put a few things down, or at least enough to help me remember what the turn consisted of. Also, since the games usually aren't completed in one sitting, if I know a game is going to be worthy of a session report, after we have finished for the day I type up to where we left off. That way I don't have to do it all at once.
 
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C M
Germany
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Move along, move along...
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Very nice session report. I just got the game shipped last night, your report makes me very keen to get it out of the shrink wrap asap!

Thanks!
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