Faramir's scouts had reported a raid, by Corsairs, moving up the Anduin. When he finally made contact he found that they were accompanied by the Shadow Lord and his guard of Black Numenorians. He was still sanguine about the results. He had brought a strong force of his veterans from Osgiliath as well as a company of his rangers.
|The Battlelines meet.|
Faramir led his veterans forward to guard the center and left flank. The right was under the command of the suicidally brave Cirion. The rangers, under Damrod's command would be coming in on the Corsair's left flank. Faramirs' immediate goal was to reach a gap in the stone cliff that would allow him to hold off the larger number of corsairs while still leaving him with sufficient strength to hold the left flank.
|The right, just before they get hacked to pieces.|
All was going according to plan until the right, under Cirion, made contact. For some reason the troops there were unable to defend themselves and started to drop like flies. The Nazgul was keeping the shooting of the rangers from being too effective, but the veterans just could not seem to make a dent in their lightly armored opponents.
|There seem to be fewer Gondorians than there were a second ago.|
Cirion and the Captain were both killed, along with vast swathes of their men, falling to the brutal attentions of the Rievers they were facing. The survivors fell back, some towards the rangers and others towards Faramir. (I switched out my wretched dice at this point and the game started to look up, too late to change the outcome though).
|Two turns worth of casualties. Wretched, wretched dice.|
On the left Faramir had been forced to throw himself into the fight. His personal intervention was enough to hold the gap while his left flank was dealing effectively with the cavalry and flankers. Faramir and his men were able to keep the corsairs from making use of their greater numbers, thinning them out and buying time for the right flank to get back into action.
|Faramir seals the breach, and holds it for the rest of the game.|
On the right the rangers were able to kill most of the Black Numenorian cavalry, but they were steadily whittled down, along with the few veterans who had survived the first round of destruction. This flank's losses would, eventually, bring Faramir's numbers down to 25%. One ranger did actually manage to engage the shadow lord, but was pushed back. The Nazgul's minions then threw themselves between their master and the man of Gondor, who continued to struggle to reach the wraith until the fight was finished.
|The guy in the center engaged the Shadow Lord, then three or four different minions, managing to survive the whole game.|
On the left, Fararmir was finally pushed back through the gap but the corsairs no longer had the numbers, or courage, to break the line. They were whittled down and clearly losing here. Sadly, the battle had already been lost on the right, where the vast majority of the corsair army was, and Faramir was forced to order the retreat, sounded by the hornblower.
|The corsairs eventually pushed Faramir back, but could not break the line.|
This was a fun game. My dice were abysmal for the first half dozen turns. By the time I switched out, (to dice that matched the army colors of course), it was too late to save the game, though the rest of it was much more hardly fought. Tony and I had a great time just laughing at the position that my dice had put me in.
It's good to have a game like this every once in awhile, just to remind you that sometimes it just doesn't matter what you do and all you can do is settle in, laugh, and enjoy the carnage.