- Raf B(Rafamir)United States
This game began as the first recorded (as far as I know) in-flight War of the Ring game, made possible by on-board WiFi access, the excellent java client, and my opponent's willingness to suffer through what proved to be a too-often grim connection. With technical lessons learned from this experience, I look forward to again playing from the air. As a way to pass several hours of a transcontinental flight, I can think of few things as gripping (for a game geek, that is).
A Dream Opening for the FP. Uthoroc and I picked up the game again at Turn 4, after our initial session five weeks earlier. His FP was extremely well positioned thanks to an opening roll of W W W C and promoting Strider while Gimli brought the North to war with Fear Fire Foes. Gandalf had just fallen as was returning to provide the FP a sixth action die. To make matters worse for me, Eomer, Dain, and Thranduil's Archers had all been played, and with the North at war, DEW was looking like a solid defensive rampart.
When Aragorn advanced into Osgiliath, leaving an empty Minas Tirith, I decided to take Pelargir the WK's Southron army and advance through Lossarnach, forcing Uthoroc to burn a ring to muster in Minas Tirith. The WK's three elites allowed me to take MT with one action, but when Gandalf the White joined Aragorn to retake the white city, the WK fled to go lead Isengard's assault on Helm's Deep. Its fall brought me to 5VP, but nothing was easy after that.
Mid-game. Now Uthoroc started really leading me by the nose. Instead of retaking MT, he left one regular keeping my five Southrons penned up, while the Gondor army and the largish force in Edoras joined into a fearsome 4/6/6 army in Folde. The FP juggernaught plowed its way to the Fords of Isen, threatening both Orthanc and the WK in Helm's Deep. The misdirection worked. I was just thinking I should cover the terrain around Minas Tirith in case he held Paths when foomp! I suddenly had the juggernaught sitting in Osgiliath again. Aragorn stayed back in Rohan to retake Pelargir with the next action (Dead Men, of course). I botched the encirclement of Edoras, allowing the lone regular there to casually retake Helm's Deep, giving the FP more breathing room and causing me to waste a bunch of actions. Rivendell threatened Moria, delaying my attack on Lorien. When Moria repulsed the Elves, Gimli set out for Mt Gundabad with a North regular and three elites and had me worrying about an FP military win. Thankfully I was holding Orcs Multiplying Again and, after scrambling the Nazgul, Gimli's threat was blunted.
By turn 10, the FSP was only in Osgiliath, but with 0 Corruption and Merry guiding. Things now got even more interesting. FSP reached Mordor but took Merry as a casualty along the way, landing him in Fangorn. With Orthanc all but emptied out for the (re)conquest of Rohan, Saruman could see some Ents in his future. Isildur's Bane produced a 3-tile, stirring faint hopes for me that Mordor might prove treacherous afterall. The Shadow army that had repelled Rivendell's thrust at Moria now marched to the Grey Havens, gulping up the Shire along the way. Gandalf and Aragorn retook Minas Tirith while the WK and Mouth of Sauron converged on Lorien, finishing it off with Grond.
Agonizing End Game. With Gollum as guide it was likely that a few more steps up Mt Doom would bring things to an end before I could reach 10VP without Uthoroc liberating something again and again. Challenge of the King removed the red Eye tile, and Gollum's reveal ability would dampen the effects of most of the other tiles. Meanwhile, Uthoroc built up a force in Bree that threatened to rob me of the VP for the Shire, while the FP juggernaught turned its attention to liberating Edoras. My counter was to use the Corsairs to put DA under siege. Would I get it in time? Could I manage to hold both Edoras and the Shire for the win? Alas, no.
As luck would have it, the FSP's fourth step up Mt Doom drew Shelob and I rolled a 5. Gollum revealed to put the FSP at 11 Corruption. The WK bypassed the FP juggernaught to retake MT, putting me at 9 VP. Now it was Turn 15, there were only two Eyes in the Hunt, and Uthoroc used There Is Another Way to heal and advance. About a third of the Hunt pool would have let the FSP advance unscathed, but an Eye tile spelled the end. I had just drawn Morgul Wound, so barring some luckier Hunt draws for Uthoroc I had the means to finish Frodo off. What seemed like it would be a largely military game came down to a Corruption win, aided mainly by Shelob's unlooked for intervention.
Post-game navel gazing. The to and fro of VPs conquered tells the tale nicely: Pelargir, MT, HD,
Pelargir, Edoras, HD, HD, Shire, Grey Havens, MT, Lorien, Edoras, MT again. Ralf managed to threaten me on so many fronts. Without a lot of early move dice, I played a different sort of Shadow opening, starting my offensive with the Southrons and leaving almost the entire Mordor garrison in place for the entire game. Mordor alpha only got as far as Minas Morgul. Nurn, Gorgoroth and Morannon were untouched. Maybe that gave Ralf second thoughts about charging his Gondor/Rohan juggernaught into Mordor, I don't know. If it's not clear from the report above, I'm extremely lucky to have come out on top. This was Ralf's game to win, and I only survived by playing not to lose for as long as I possibly could. A long game, but a real fun one throughout. Thanks again, Ralf.
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- Ralf Schemmann(Uthoroc)Germany
- Thanks for the report! It was a really great game, and you always have to give the dice and hunt tiles the opportunity to work in your favor. So don't shortsell yourself. You certainly didn't give me an opportunity for a nice and easy military win, so I had to rely on those fickle hunt draws.
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- birchbeer(bamonson)United States
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