Last Thursday was the last night back and with three of us we had to get creative. We decided to play a three player game, (all right, so not really that creative when you have three players). There was an objective in the center of the table, victory points for each model within six inches when the game ended. There is random deployment with a die roll determining where each warband comes in. A 1 means, not this turn, 2 your opponent chooses a North/South edge, 3 your opponent chooses an East/West board edge, 4 you choose N/S, 5 you choose E/W and 6 you choose any board edge. There are also points for wounding and killing the enemy general. For players of LotR this is the Hold Ground scenario. The effect of this deployment, with just two players, is chaos as warbands come in all over the table and head for the center to mix it up, often fighting as they go. With three players there was even more confusion.
|Initial deployment. Arwen will come in behind the ruins top center. Galadhrim top left and bottom left with Rumil's band bottom center.|
I had three warbands, two of High Elves and one of Galadhrim. The list can be found here for anyone interested in the details. Erestor's warband and the Galadhrim came in side by side. Arwen's force was delayed a turn later, and then came in on the south edge. There were two Uruk Hai warbands on my table edge, one only an inch away. The three Galadhrim were spread with one on the North, and two on the East, one all the way South. Huntsman decided to take a chance and place Saruman with his wharg riders right next to that southernmost warband. This deployment meant that my two warbands would immediately be engaged as would one of Jonathan's. There was a third Isengard warband free to maneuver, but close to the fight with me. Two of Jonathan's warbands were free to head for the objective.
|Rumil's warband. Four of them would die to archery on the way to the objective. Other than that, a walk in the park.|
Erestor knew he was asleep. He could remember falling asleep and recognized the waking dream. He was leading a force escorting the princess of Rivendell, Arwen Undomiel, to Caras Galadron to visit with Celeborn and Galadriel. In addition to Arwen's personal guard there was a force of Galadhrim, sent to ensure the safety of the princess. Erestor knew this for a dream, and he knew that dreams did not always follow the logic of the real world, but it did seem odd to him that there was a force of Galadhrim opposing his march. The Uruks of Isengard, led by the traitor Saruman, that made more sense. As the battle started, Erestor's awareness of the waking dream faded and he fought his enemies as he found them.
Somehow Erestor had lost the princess. He had two thirds of the army with him but Arwen was missing. As he came out of the mists his right flank was assaulted by Uruks, baying for blood. As they crashed into his flank he shouted orders, immediately obeyed by his highly trained warriors. The Elves formed a shield wall, archers with spears backing them up. The Galadhrim were ordered to secure the ruins to the front and to tie in the left flank with them.
|Uruks knocked down all over the place. This put them at somewhat of a disadvantage in the following combat.|
|Another view of prone Uruks. It just makes me happy to show this again and again.|
In another corner of the field, Erestor's vision, inexplicably, focused in and he saw a swirling fur ball of a melee involving the traitor wizard, and his riders battling Galadhrim knights and foot. The orcs seemed to be getting the worst of that fight, though it would go on for many minutes, finally ending in the deaths of all of the orcs as well as the white wizard.
|Saruman managed to drag this out a surprisingly long time, before his inevitable end.|
|Many fewer Uruks were left.|
|Arwen arrives. Galadhrim to the left and Uruks to the right.|
Again, Erestor saw through the mists as Arwen arrived, marching her warband across the table to meet up with her guards. Her archers dropped back to fire into the battle between Saruman and the knights, killing one orc and two enemy elves.
|Saruman's last moments.|
|Big bullies cut down to size by another Nature's Wrath.|
The Galadhrim foes had now consolidated on the objective with a powerful phalanx guarding the point of contention while archers positioned themselves to force full payment, in blood, by anyone attempting to contest hand to hand.
|This Captain will not be making any standfast rolls.|
With the death of their leader the Uruk Hai lost heart and all but six fled the field. A lone Elf charged the captain, keeping him too busy to attempt to rally his force. He survived three rounds of combat before being struck down.
|That's a whole lot of un-contested victory points.|
Erestor used this sacrifice to rush his force through the ruins, attempting to form a line on the objective. All of his forces finally came together, having fought, and won one battle, he was almost prepared to fight a second, when sleep left him and he woke, confused and uneasy.
At this point Jonathan had won a crushing victory, as the game ended when I rolled a 2 at the end of the turn. Despite only having five models on the table, Huntsman got one point, the same as me. We each had one model within six inches of the objective. Jonathan had so many we didn't bother to count, as well as three points for killing Saruman. As usually happens in these games, two players ended up fighting each other while the third just waltzed up to the objective.
|An all elf fur ball. This made Huntsman very happy.|
This was a great game. Both of my opponents are always fun to play and the scenario made it especially interesting. It was the first time I've played with the High Elves in a long time and I was very pleased with how they worked. Both of my enem... er, I mean opponents were very impressed with how devastating Nature's Wrath can be. I'm looking forward to playing again next Thursday.