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Subject: Our 2nd game ever: Fellowship victory rss

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Merric Blackman
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Sarah and I played two more games of War of the Ring last night, each took about two hours. This is the report of the first game on that night; the second game's report will follow shortly.

Game 1: Sarah as Sauron, Me as Free Peoples.

R1) I moved the fellowship once, and moved Gondor and Rohan closer to war. Sarah began bringing up her Mordor and Southron armies.

R2) The fellowship discovered some Elven Cloaks and Gandalf revealed his Wizard's Staff, which he used to prevent the fellowship from being found in Moria. Isengard went to war, more Sauron troops moved up, and Orcs Multiplying Again helped reinforce everything.

(Wizard's Staff is almost a bad card to get so early, as it delays Gandalf's departure (or death) from the fellowship; OTOH, it did help the fellowship move quicker.)

R3) Frodo revealed his Mithral Coat and Sting, and the Wisdom of Elrond helped Rohan move closer to war. As the fellowship contined to move, Cruel Weather moved them out of their comfort zone, and Gandalf the Grey fell as the hunt got closer (3). Saruman declared himself as a traitor, the Easterlings and Southrons got closer to declaring war, and the Southron army gathered in Umbar.

R4) The fellowship declared themselves in Lorien, so the weather could not betray them further. After a brief rest, they continued to move on. Gandalf the White appeared in Fangorn, the Easterlings and Southrons declared war, and promptly employed the Corsairs of Umbar to invade Dol Amroth, with the Nazgul's arriving in force to aid them. The troops in Dol Amroth retreated to the "safety" of the stronghold, and Gondor declared war. Celeborn's Galadrim began to reinforce the elf strongholds, the Nazgul used an ineffective Dreadful Spells against the defenders of Dol Amroth, but were successful in the ensuing siege - Dol Amroth had fallen to the Shadow!

(I think Dol Amroth fell in one round of battle - diabolical rolling from myself and Sarah. )

R5) Rohan declared war on Sauron, and Morder followed suit by declaring war on everybody. Gandalf used his advice in Fangorn: The Ents Awake: Huorn, and three troops of Orthanc were killed, slowing down Sarah's preparations there. Strider and Legolas left the fellowship, and Strider used the Book of Mazabul in Erebor to bring the dwarves to war, Legolas moved to the Woodland Realm. Meanwhile, the southron forces continued to advance, and Pelagir fell. Gandalf rode to the defense of Minas Tirith.

(The use of The Ents Awake: Huorns was pivotal in the game. Sarah had five troops there at the time, and it really slowed her invasion of Rohan down. Just as well, when you look at the final score)

R6) More reinforcement of the elves from Thranduil Archers, and I prepared for the eventual trip through Mordor with a Smeagol Helps Nice Master. Sarah moved her troops in Dol Guldur to threaten Lorien, while Legolas with the aid of a Through Night and a Day brought the Woodland Realm troops up to threaten Lorien. The Witchking entered play, Eomer, Son of Eomund reinforced Rohan.

(I thought Legolas might be able to take an empty Dol Guldur with two Elite Elf Troops and a Leader. Unfortunately, Sarah then reinforced it, and I wasn't brave enough to sacrifice it in that way).

R7) The elves moved closer to war, the fellowship moved closer to Mordor, Hill Trolls threw in their lot with Mordor, and Lorien was attacked by the Witch King and his forces - it held out, but the elves retreated into the stronghold.

(At this point, the fellowship token was still in Lorien!)

R8) Boromir sacrificed his life for the fellowship as they moved on, but as I tried to move them another time, they were revealed in North Ithilin. The first Elven Ring was used to hide them again. Sarah spent her turn moving troops and reinforcing the Witch King's army.

(I completely changed my opinion of elven rings this game. They suddenly became really necessary for the Fellowship to continue on! Poor Sarah thought that she'd be able to play many more nasty cards on them, but it was not to be.

R9) The Phial of Galadriel was added to the Mordor hunt pool, but even as this item was revealed, Lorien fell to the Witch King. Flocks of Crebain began hunting the fellowship, and caused 1 corruption as the Fellowship moved on. Sarah moved in more troops and invaded the lands around the Shire. Athelas healed a minor amount of corruption. Legolas and Strider tried to defend the Woodland Realm.

(Legolas and Strider kept retreating from battle after one or two rounds of battle and linked up with more troops. I was quite outnumbered, and the casualties I was inflicting were minor indeed. Sarah had reached 5 victory points by now).

R10) The Fellowship entered Mordor, but the Woodland Realm and the Shire fell to the Shadow. The Mouth of Sauron came out to gloat at the Free Peoples, and Saruman began to enter the war with the Rage of the Dunlendings. Frodo used Sting to help protect himself against being discovered, then the second Elven Ring was used as the fellowship was revealed as they continued to move to the penultimate part of their journey. Gimli fell to protect the party, and only the four hobbits were left.

(At this point, I had the Phial, Smeagol Helps Nice Master and Elven Cloaks in the Mordor hunt pool. Sarah had no special tiles at all. It would cost her as I could move freely without getting the dreaded "stop" icon).

R11) With Sarah on 8 Victory Points, and being very close to victory, Frodo moved on to the cracks of doom - the final hunt tile was the -2 added by the Phial of Galadriel! The Ring was destroyed, and the world was safe.

This game was a lot closer than our first one (and we handled the rules better). Sarah didn't concentrate on Rohan at all, and Minas Tirith wasn't even attacked after Gandalf the White reached it. However, the elves were falling to her armies, and it was quite likely that either Isengard or Rivendell would have fallen if the game had gone any further.

Meanwhile, I discovered how difficult it is to mobilise the Free Peoples to war. Strider never got crowned despite Minas Tirith being free - it was more worth it to move the Fellowship.
 
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MerricB wrote:

(Wizard's Staff is almost a bad card to get so early, as it delays Gandalf's departure (or death) from the fellowship; OTOH, it did help the fellowship move quicker.)

I think you're right - although some people like to keep Gandalf as FSP leader a while due to his card drawing ability.
MerricB wrote:
R4) The fellowship declared themselves in Lorien, so the weather could not betray them further.
..for a while at least. The Bad Weather can reappear at the edge of Mordor
MerricB wrote:
(The use of The Ents Awake: Huorns was pivotal in the game. Sarah had five troops there at the time, and it really slowed her invasion of Rohan down. Just as well, when you look at the final score)
Perhaps, although three units is only one muster die for Saruman. The Ent cards can be pretty good in defensive combat too - killing Orcs further from their spawning home in Orthanc.
 
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Merric Blackman
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Arneson Stidgeley wrote:
MerricB wrote:

(Wizard's Staff is almost a bad card to get so early, as it delays Gandalf's departure (or death) from the fellowship; OTOH, it did help the fellowship move quicker.)

I think you're right - although some people like to keep Gandalf as FSP leader a while due to his card drawing ability.


The last game we played, Wizard's Staff was in my opening hand, and I kept rolling lots of event symbols. So, I got to draw lots of cards. Unfortunately, I then wasn't rolling any character symbols, and things went badly from there...

Arneson Stidgeley wrote:
MerricB wrote:
(The use of The Ents Awake: Huorns was pivotal in the game. Sarah had five troops there at the time, and it really slowed her invasion of Rohan down. Just as well, when you look at the final score)

Perhaps, although three units is only one muster die for Saruman. The Ent cards can be pretty good in defensive combat too - killing Orcs further from their spawning home in Orthanc.


Muster die + movement, perhaps? The result may well have been more psychological than actual. Sarah was invading on several fronts, and it knocked Isengard out of consideration for a few valuable turns, in which I was able to reinforce Rohan.

Thanks for the comments!

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Ira Fay
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Nice report! Glad to see you're continuing to enjoy the game.

MerricB wrote:
R6) More reinforcement of the elves from Thranduil Archers, and I prepared for the eventual trip through Mordor with a Smeagol Helps Nice Master. Sarah moved her troops in Dol Guldur to threaten Lorien, while Legolas with the aid of a Through Night and a Day brought the Woodland Realm troops up to threaten Lorien. The Witchking entered play, Eomer, Son of Eomund reinforced Rohan.


After playing a few more games, you may find it strategically superior to muster the Witch King *much* sooner, like the 2nd or 3rd turn of the game. The extra die and card drawing ability is usually worth the cost of activating all the FP nations.

Ira
 
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Merric Blackman
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ira212 wrote:
Nice report! Glad to see you're continuing to enjoy the game.

After playing a few more games, you may find it strategically superior to muster the Witch King *much* sooner, like the 2nd or 3rd turn of the game. The extra die and card drawing ability is usually worth the cost of activating all the FP nations.


Hmm. I can see that. I dare say we'll be moving towards that strategy in future games. I wonder if Sarah will let me play Sauron again? She seems to enjoy playing the dark side.

It's been a treat to be playing a war game again. It's been several years since I played them regularly - probably over a decade. Since then, Euro games and D&D have made up the bulk of my gaming. War of the Ring has turned out to not only be strategically interesting and fun to play, but also playable in a reasonable amount of time. 2 hours is fine for a game like it. (I think back to how long Diplomacy could take to play!)

Cheers,
Merric
 
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