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Subject: Gates of Blood rss

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Itamar Parann
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The orcs attacked swiftly, aided but a little by the Goblins. Initial attempts to take Dale failed, as though the ruins were conquered, the archers of Thranduil did much to harm the army of orcs and wargs, and the men of Lake Town retook the ruins twice, with the aid of elven spearmen, and held their ground.
[end of 4rd turn; Bilbo could have entered the game, but was not yet mobilized].

Even though the mountain passes were slow to open,goblins did pour in at last and closed on Eastern Camp just as a host of orcs ran down from the Broken Lands. Brand fell, his encampment in ruins.
A platoon of goblins from the east pass made its way towards Raven Hill, but Gandalf [whose nearly every attempt at using his wizard's fire failed abominably during the battle] and Thranduil led some elves there, only to find Bilbo had somehow joined them, and the fortifications were well-manned. The goblins swerved west, skirting the deadly battlements.
[end of turn 5]

Bolg and his main forces were late. very late. The orcs and goblins were thinly spread and much dismayed, and so they made a desperate bid for the Gates of Erebor, but were thwarted by the Dain's forces at Camp and by the single dwarven defender at the gates.
[end of turn 6; as of turn 4 SP did not roll a single Muster Die, nor get any Eye symbols; SP forces were quickly thinning out and only Eastern Camp was his - 4VP. Due to luck with fate and with the Ill-Fate and Shadow of the Necromancer cards, Thorin was not yet placed on the board, but Beorn did move one left on the fate track; both Thorin and Beorn were already somewhat bolstered with fate cards].

Finally, the war drums were heard; a desperate force, a combination of several tattered companies of the Shadow Creatures, attacked Dale and retook the ruins for the third time. Soon after, Bolg arrived with hosts of orcs and other fell creatures. Dain led an assault to retake the ruins - but fell before Bolg's might, leaving his Camp deserted.
But though it seemed that winds were turning in the field of battle, Fate was unkind, heralding the possible arrival of Thorin, the Lord of Eagles and of Beorn...
[End of turn 7; much Mustering was to be had by the SP, but a 3-fate token was drawn; Bolg managed to enter with 3 bodyguards, but FP was well entrenched in the southern parts of the game].

Beorn was about to enter the field of battle at any moment, Bolg and his army were at Dale.
Brand and Dain were already dead, Thranduil was of Troubled Mind.

Thorin stood at the fortifications of Erebor, wearing his hauberk and carrying that lethal axe of his, adding much to the defenses of the gates and the strength and leadership of the army.

[This is turn 8, another 3-fate token brought the game dangerously close to the end - if SP would fail to hold at least 6 VP, FP had plenty of swords with which to call Beorn and end the game right there and then].

Bolg moved north, took over the empty Camp, and continued onwards to attack the gates! His three bodyguards were all with him, as were 2 great orcs, a warg and two goblins, most of them somewhat wounded. Thorin stood with a dwarven regular and a dwarven veteran at his side. And the fortifications. And the armor.

Battle ensued and lasted for 9 rounds. Thorin took the first hits with his armor, in the process bringing ruin to one of Bolg's bodyguards and one of the goblins. Then, the fortifications held long enough for another bodyguard to fall along with a goblin, leaving Bolg with two great orcs that were wounded in previous combats and with a single bodyguard. But the fortifications did fall, Bolg stormed the gate while Thorin stood fast, and in the end, both sides were completely annihilated, with Bolg and Thorin falling over each other, their blood mixing into the falls and flowing into the river beyond.

The forces of the West won the day, even though many of their bravest leaders lay dead and broken on the field of battle. And the survivors - with one Bilbo Baggins amongst them - had an epic story to tell their friends and distant relatives...
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David Gatt
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I love the way your game finished with Bolg and Thorin coming to blows in a fight to the death.

Did you play the Shadow or the Free Peoples? What might you do differently next turn?
 
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Itamar Parann
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SP had a rough time of it - three turns without Mustering is a real problem, especially when there are also no Eyes with which to get goblins to compensate.
Thing is, you never know in advance that this sort of thing would happen, so it is hard to say what should have been done differently.

As for FP - he should definitely have spent the swords and flags needed to get Brand out of the Spur and an additional unit or two into the Front Gate. As it were, he did not, and that nearly cost FP the game despite SP's lack of recruitment.
 
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