Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

War of the Ring: Battles of the Third Age» Forums » General

Subject: The problem with the Gondor scenerio... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Brian Cook
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
...is that the gods of Fate have decried that the Shadow cannot win. Or at least with my game. I'm now convinced of that fact.

Each game, the carrot of victory has been dangled tantalizingly closer to the Shadow player, only to have it snatched away at the last minute. We've played three games thus far, and each time the Shadow has gotten slightly closer to victory, only to have it snatched away.

The first time, the Shadow barely made it into the Pelenor Fields. Yes, you heard me. The Shadow was able to take the Outer Defenses, and that was about it before a hoard of Riders of Rohan came sweeping out of the Path of the Woses and flattened everything in sight. It started off simply enough--the Shadow tried to rush West Osgiliath on the first turn (an effective enough strategy, first discovered before others posted it here). This, however, has set the tone for all of our games to come, for the FP took the brief opportunity to flip the one token there, then braced for the assault. When it came, it was accompanied by a flurry of 5s and 6s, on the FP part, met by a staggering number of 1s and 2s from the SP. It was the 3rd turn before the Shadow was able to force them into retreat, and by then Imrahil was halfway across Pelenor to retake the ford. And thus began my belief that the gods hate the Shadow.

Our second game was slightly better--the SP entered Pelenor early,after WO and CA fell in the 1st two turns. What followed was a bitter struggle, as Imrahil was able to hold on just long enough for Theoden and crew to arrive. Eventually most of the remaining resistance was quelled (Theoden and Faramir both retreated into MT, leaving only one army holding it and one army in the field). The problem was that the single army in the field was able to harry the SP forces mercilessly, persistantly rolling better and taking out many forces of similar or larger size, only occassionally retreating to adjacent to the Outlands to refresh troops. But at least we saw siege engines in play that time (even if each trip over the wall resulted in much greater loss of life for the SP than the FP--we're talking 2:1, at least).

Which leads us to the bloodbath of tonight, the reason I'm completely convinced that fate will not let the SP win. It started out well enough--the SP rushed WO, getting over without a fuss, then left a token force behind while some forces moved up to CA, and flanking force came from the Black Gates, and reinforcements swept in from behind. A single combined attack dropped CA on the second turn, with minimal loss of life. We then marched on to the Pelenor Fields, and that's where the trouble began.

Imrahil was routed twice easily enough, but proved suprisingly elusive--he eventually fell, but not before Theoden and a dozen Rohirim (sp?) arrived. They swept in along the north edge of the wall, and we managed to trap them in a combined attack--4 cave trolls and an orc on one side, a motley assortment of cave troll, mumakail, orc, and infantry on the other. The horselords (led by Eomer, with Theoden still in reserve) then did the unthinkable--over the course of 3 rounds of combat, they rolled a handful of fives. Every other die was a 6. Three rounds, maybe one miss. The mixed group was destroyed, the trolls severely injured (but able to rally). This set the stage for every major battle, however.

Thrice more, pivotal battles were fought. And each time, just as the SP seemed close to victory, the FP would roll nothing but 5s and 6s for two straight rounds. And each time, the SP would achieve (at most) one hit, every other die being 1 or 2--maybe the occassional 3. Aragorn was killed, but his tattered army still held off a dozen orcs, plus another mumakail and 2 Southron horsemen. Some nondescript, leaderless ruffians beat back 4 trolls, followed by 5 orcs. But most telling was the fight for Minas Tirith itself.

Trebuchets were quickly erected once the Fields were clear, and the walls of the Great Gate were brought to a strength of 1 (with the aid of Grond, Hammer of the Underworld). The FP proceded to draw Bastions of Indomitable Stone, playing it immediately to bring the walls back up--drawing the shelling out for another 3 dice, giving them plenty of time to get their other forces close. Then came the battle of the gate. When the dust settled, 4 trolls and an orc had done 4 points of damage, being annihilated in the process. A flurry of 6s was met with a weak shield of 1s. The game ended with the Fate Track at 17, no SP forces within the Pelenor Walls, and none close enough to reach them with the remaining dice--along with a full complement of forces within MT, and a couple of units still guarding the destroyed gates.

And did I mention that for the last three turns, the FP rolled at least 2 Will of the Wests each turn?

The odd thing is, there have been a total of 4 people involved in these 3 games, and no matter who was the SP, their rolling was atrocious, while the FP consistantly did well (not as well as the FP tonight, but then again I try not to play too many dice games with her due to her unnatural luck with dice--we once played a game where she went the first 90% of the game, roughly 2 hours, before missing her first roll--and that was a draw, not a loss, while it took me 3 rolls to get my first win, and still only hit at best 50% of mine). This is the first time a legitimate assault threatened MT, with one of the walls actually brought down, and it was even worse luck that that it was dragged on just long enough to deprive the SP of all Army dice.

A couple of big negatives I've consistantly seen for the SP:

1. A minor quibble, but part of the problem is getting reinforcements into the thick of things. There are alot of empty spaces in N and S Ithilien that pretty much serve only to make the trek to Gondor that much longer, especially when recruitment without character dice is so inefficient. And 5 recruitment areas means you have to spend even more dice to consolidate them, while the FP has only one space for each nation.

2. It's late, I'm tired. I can't remember what 2 was supposed to be when I started this.

3. The lack of leadership for the SP. You can sit on position 3, but that still only gives you 3 leadership to spread around, while the FP has a far greater amount. Twice I rolled to a total leadership of 5, but with character dice so important, and only a 1/6 chance with each die of rolling a character, the SP tends to run very short on leadership, and being too aggressive only brings on the destruction of the ring that much more quickly. It also leads to...

4. The Darkness cards. Many of these are great cards, and some of them the Shadow really cannot survive without. Most important are the extra (potentially 10th) die, and the alteration of Mordor Orc favored terrain to any. Quite honestly, this is the only way to really keep the SP even in combat--once that effect is gone, most attacks seem to continually refresh the FP hand, as the SP cannot amass enough mumakail and trolls to have superiority where it really matters--the Pelenor Fields, and MT. More importantly, once this deck is gone, the only enticement for position one is the possibility of the X tiles remaining. And I have yet to see the darkness deck survive until Aragorn arrives (in fact, tonight it was gone before Theoden reached the board). With half the tiles destroying tokens, along with (I believe) 2 cards that can get rid of tokens (one potentially with 2 tokens at once), the poor Darkness deck just can't survive long enough to be truly useful. At least the Grima deck has some requirements for disposal a bit tougher to meet.

5. The Action Tokens. Really annoying, especially under a couple of circumstances. First, the FP don't usually have enough different forces to need to affect multiple ones at once with, say, a muster die. They don't often have multiple forces to rally at once, so it's not much of a limitation. Same with recruitment--in our games, the first few turns tend to go towards filling the Recruitment areas with extra Musters and Action Tokens, then once Theoden arrives there usually aren't enough Rohan forces left to recruit, so you're placing as many recruitment tokens with a die as you are with an action token. Army movement is similar, and usually you don't need to move that many characters at once. The only thing you can't do, essentially, is attack or make use of cards. In all other respects, the action tokens are basically 2 free WotW each turn--you just affect a single army, but usually that's all that's needed anyways. I'm trying to think of a way to limit their usefulness (and give the SP the dice superiority they're supposed to have.

Ah, well. We'll keep trying. Eventually the nut of Minas Tirith will be cracked. In the mean time, we're working on breaking the dice hex so they'll roll in the SP favor (or fairly, if that fails).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Antigonus Monophthalmus
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
I agree with this mightily. I don't have a problem with it, since the Shadow is supposed to have a tough time winning this one, and I keep doing better and better (made it over the walls a few times last game...) but MAN...

life aint easy when you're evil.

The only thing I can say is:

Quote:
1. A minor quibble, but part of the problem is getting reinforcements into the thick of things.


My last game (my best game) I poured so many guys right into Cair Andros and Osgilliath, just wave after pathetic wave, and finally drove them out, and brought the Mouth out as quickly as possible. Then I activated the remaining recruitments from Mordor, brought them into Osgilliath and the Peleannor and never recruited from Mordor again. The hike was just too long.

I'm thinking it's all in the ability to get the Mouth working as soon as possible.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Chapman
United States
Powhatan
Virginia
flag msg tools
Axis & Allies Developer and Playtester; War of the Ring Editor and Playtester
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds like you're suffering from bad luck more than anything else, Brian. Here are some tips for the Shadow:

Make good use of the Nazgul. Hampering the FP's rallies and unit manuevers is crucial.

Take advantage of the Darkness while it's still there. It will go away, so use it to it's maximum advantage early.

Get Gothmog as soon as possible. He provides good leadership, and his special abilities will help with reinforcements.

Rally as much as you can. Keeping your troops fresh while hampering the FP's efforts to do the same with the Nazgul works to your advantage. You can also play to your numerical advantages by rotating damage markers away from the front and replacing them with fresh troops.

Mumakil and Olog Hai are your best friends. Their unit manuevers can be devastating when used at the right time.

Try to eliminate Faramir and Theoden. The loss of Action Dice really hurts the FP. Also, try to maximize your own Action Dice as quickly as possible.

Use position 2. The Witch-king's leadership is important, as well as his abilities while on the board.

It sounds to me like you may be using position 3 too much. Allowing the FP a lot of Fate draws not only accelerates a Fate victory, but the dispersion of the Darkness as well. I find position 3 works best in the late game, when reinforcements are needed around Minas Tirith.

Hope this helps!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Long
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
flag msg tools
I'll certainly agree that the Gondor scenario initially seems very difficult for the Shadow.

I make use of the word 'initially' because I am not convinced I have explored the game enough to know if this ever changes. But if it does, I haven't reached that point yet.

That said, I have managed to win twice as the Shadows, but both times were very narrow victories, against opponents less experienced at the game than I.

You've probably seen the comments on how 'overpowered' Position 3 is in the Rohan game. I guess the verdict isn't in on Gondor yet, and all 3 positions seem to be called for at times. I agree that Darkness doesn't seem to stick around nearly long enough to make most of the cards useful. I'm surprised, however, that you don't consider the 0-fate tile in the Darkness deck among the most useful. Since this is one of the only ones that doesn't "go bad" with time, I consider it probably the best of the lot.

Personally, I don't know how much there is to "using the Nazgul." They should of course be used whenever the FP attempts to rally. If that's all you ever do with them, you should have more than enough. Trying to stop the FP maneuvers is pretty much a waste of time, and if you're at all uncertain about whether you'll have enough Nazgul for other things, never bother using the maneuver-disruptor.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Cook
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
One of the problems is likely not using the Witch King enough as a leader. We've mostly stuck to 1 and 3. As for using Kreighund's comment on using more Mumakil, part of the problem lies in the recruitment--in the last 2 games, only a single mumakil recruitment token has come up, and recruitment of southrons seems a little futile at times just because there's such a long route for them to go to get to a useful position--unless you get a useful Corsairs card (the ferries one).

The 0 token in the Darkness deck works well, but the problem lies in getting it out--given how rapidly the Darkness goes away, you may only get 2 cards from the deck during the game, meaning there's only a 1 in 3 shot of it coming out in any given game. And the other 0 token would probably only come out 1/2 or 2/3 of the time depending on how quickly you get through the story deck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
GodRob
United States
Culpeper
Virginia
flag msg tools
While primarily used for killing vampires, a wooden stake to the heart is also highly effective against most other opponents.
badge
Everybody wants to be a Game Designer but nobody wants to be a Game Designer.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
4. The Darkness cards. Many of these are great cards, and some of them the Shadow really cannot survive without. Most important are the extra (potentially 10th) die...

More bad news: according to the FAQ the shadow player can only have a maximum of 9 dice.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.