Last weekend I had the incredible experience of my first WOTR playthrough! The following is an account of that struggle that saw it all. Stubborn Elvish Defenders! Brazen Rohan Assaults on Orthanc! Corsair ships assailing the Gondorian Coast and sacking Stronghold after Stronghold! The Fellowship struggles, and the will of the Ring grows strong. If you notice any rule errors kindly point them out, I'm aware this wasn't by any means a perfect run, but I think we got the broad strokes right. Entering Mordor however, was a different story, but I digress. Will the Third Age be defined by shadow or the Will of Men? Read on.
Opening Moves: The beginning of the game was marked by the cautious optimism of any player at the start of a game. The shadow player opted for an agressive start and only allocated one eye to the box, spending the remaining of his dice moving the SP forces to war and bringing Saruman into the game, who begins spawning his filthy Uruk hai. The FP player, emboldened by the lack of eyes, begins to move the fellowship, but gets revealed after his first movement. Ouch. The FP elects to hang on to Gandalf, instead taking the corruption directly. Thus, the first FP turn almost becomes a wash, spending two of his dice on the fellowship and moving it but one space. They slide Rohan and Gondor closer to war, and it appears likely that at least Gondor will become active next turn, judging by the contents of Mordor.
The Black Gate Opens: The Gate opens and the disgusting filth of Mordor spews out. It appears as if Osgiliath is the first target and indeed it is. A man of Gondor falls, and the other retreats to Minas Tirith. The Southron forces begin marching to Pelargir, thus giving the FP something else to contemplate as the blob of orcs lumber closer. The FP has much more success this turn moving the Fellowship, moving without any hunt successes for some while. And as the Uruk's fall upon
Helm's DeepThe Hornburg, Rohan and Gondor are both at War! Pelargir falls, HD falls, Edoras is besieged, Minas Tirith watches as both sides build up for the eventual combat. The fellowship declares in Lorien.
Midmatch: The fellowship has made it to the Refuge of Lorien, although it appears they may not be long for the staying as a army has set out to take the stronghold. The SP currently has 3 VP and has set their sights on Dale, Erebor and the Woodland realm. Having chosen to end the siege at Edoras, Sauraman's forces consolidate power in HD, and the SP mentally adds up his targets... Lorien, Dale, Erebor, Pelargir, HD, Woodland Realm. 10. The Fellowship is in decent condition to, at only 2 corruption, but has a marked advantage in terms of special hunt tiles, 3 to the SP 0.
Both sides, and this is one of the things I really enjoyed about this game, felt like they were losing the entire game, and felt like their opponent had the upperhand. I know this is a common phenomena to newbs, but it will be interesting to see if this holds up in the countless repeat plays this games has already earned. Anyway, the SP just remembers to bring in the Witch King, and dispatches him to the Easterling force marshalling in North Rhun. MT by this point isn't even an option for the SP. The turtle was on in full force and marshalling new forces and marching them from Mordor would have taken to long. The FP has put a sufficient force in the pass between Pelargir and Dol Amour (? Forgive a new player who doesn't have the board handy.) completely unaware of Corsairs of Umbar. (This is gonna happen in a new game.)
The closing moves:
WK moves and conquers the Dale, sending the Men of the North to war. Sauron then tries his hand at the Woodland Realm. One stubborn Elfish defender, apparently in hard cover, lasts for many turns. How many? At least four, I forget exactly. These were full combats to, 5 dice, 2 rerolled. The SP ran out of elites before this guy died. Why didn't the SP play a card, any card? A bad ruling from myself determined that cards that say Nazgul leadership, exclude the WK since he is a minion. It's a very bad ruling and a big mishap. My rational was, it would just say Leadership if the WK could play it, forgetting about the Mouth of Sauron, which unmakes that point, but anyway. Strider breaks from the Fellowship and crowns himself in MT giving the FP that crucial extra dice necessary for the Modor dash. At this point the fellowship will be declared in Mordor next turn or the turn after, depending on whether or not the FP spends the die nessecary to hide this turn. However, the FP sees an opening...
At the end of the long night, Hope: The FP marshals at the fords of Isen (we know know this is wrong b/c this is not a settlement, same with Osgilliath.) And claims an undefended Orthanc, smoting Sauraman the Christopher Lee from Middle Earth. The SP cares not, as Lorien falls and leaves him two VP away, with his eyes on Erebor, the Dwarves having avoided conflict cannot muster, and Sauron moves some nearby forces and some nazgul before commiting. However, Bill Ferney has totally failed Sauron as, some Men and Elves marshall in the North and head towards Mount Gundabad. Uh oh. Rivendell is emptied and sent north, round the mountains. With the pressure on, the eye turns his eye to Erebor and urges his servant forward, posthaste.
The Final Turn: The Fellowship is declared in Mordor, and to avoid the penalty, the Fellowship moves up one step. No reveal. Sauron begins to march to Erebor. The men and elvish coalation creeps closer to Mount Gundabad and ends up adjacent. Sauron attacks Erebor, the Dwarfs withdraw into a siege. MG is assailed, the Orcs withdraw as well. FP are out of dice... The SP grins maniacally and begins to cackle as he plays a card from his hand. The FP look turns to horror as the SP plays Monsters Roused. The SP uses his remaining dice to strut right into an empty Rivendell by use of one of the Elven Rings used so liberally by the FP. Game. In the words of Bluth Sr., "That's Why you always leave a Garrison!"
Final Thoughts: Truly a tremendous game, and a incredible first session. Although a mistake that the FP could not have forseen, as neither player had knowledge of the cards aforehand turned the tide, the game truly did have an epic feel and scale. I eagerly look forward to my next playthrough. Thank you for reading!
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- Ralf Schemmann(Uthoroc)Germany
RickDintheAM wrote:And claims an undefended Orthanc, smoting Sauraman the Christopher Lee from Middle Earth.
Just a note here, since it's not 100% clear how you played it. Moving into an undefended Orthanc does not kill Saruman, as charcaters are only killed if they are with an army which gets wiped out.
Theme-wise Saruman shuts himself inside his tower, and the Free can't get at him. He still provides his die, but can't muster in Orthanc anymore, obviously. And any use of an ent card will kill him at this point.
Great report, glad to hear you had such big fun.
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- Indeed I was playing wrong! Thank you very much.
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- The Bill
- What do you mean Edoras was under siege? I thought Edoras was a city (you only get the "must roll a 6 to hit" for one combat round.
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blondlostime wrote:What do you mean Edoras was under siege? I thought Edoras was a city (you only get the "must roll a 6 to hit" for one combat round.I was wrong on that as well. I was confused on the terminology of city, settlement, stronghold. This lead to the confusion that saw recruitment in Fords of Isen. Thanks for pointing it out even as I was writing it I had already forgottent that that was wrong.
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