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War of the Ring (First Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Rewriting the book rss

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kevin knott
United Kingdom
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I played WOTR for the first time this weekend with my wife and brother. None of us had played before and I'm sure we all played lots of suboptimal moves. However, I'm not posting this for suggestions as I really enjoy trying to work out tactics and strategy for myself.

I played as the free peoples and my brother and wife played as the Shadow. We didn’t use the multiplayer rules, they just worked together sharing decisions. As this was the first time, none of us were thinking far enough ahead to worry about things like feints that would require my not knowing their long term plans.

This game takes a long time to set up. I have read suggestions to paint the model bases the colour of the nations and if it looks like I'll be able to play this game regularly in the future I think I may have to do that.

When the game was finally set up I gave a quick overview of objectives and tried to explain the balancing act between the ring and the war. I tried to explain a bit more about the rules, but we all decided the best way was to start playing. This worked well as the dice control your options; there is no need to explain everything at the beginning.

I left Gandalf as my guide until nearly the end of the game and the Shadows always put 2 dice into the hunt.

Shadow player immediately moved Sauron to war and started the march to Gondor in an attempt to reverse the trilogy. They took the ford pretty quickly and the city in Pelargir. By this time I was able to start mobilising troops and started to build up elites and leaders in the two Gondorian strongholds. Meanwhile the fellowship started their long trek to Mordor, hiding behind Gimli and Legolas's bow and axe. (The hunt found them once early on, did 2 damage, down to one with the card, no reveal).

After taking Pelargir the shadow swung NW for Minas Tirith and mustered the Witch King. I mustered up to 10 in the Minas Tirith and then realised they wouldn't all fit in the stronghold. So when they struck I tried to fight them on the plains in front of the city, but I was getting slaughtered (they had full 10 units 2 Nazgul and the witch King), whereas I had one leader and 10 units). So I retreated into Minas Tirith, disbanding my extra units. They threw themselves at the walls in a desperate attempt for an early decisive victory, but my incredibly lucky dice rolling prevailed. Even using cards which counteracted my siege bonus, they were unable to score a single casualty in two consecutive assaults. However every single one of my dice rolled a hit in BOTH assaults. Suddenly their entire army including 2 Nazguls and the witch king were gone.

Fair play to them, they didn't whinge about bad luck anywhere near as much as I would have done. They got on with the game, for which I thank them, especially as they were only playing to humour me.

They tried to bring some reinforcements up from the Southrons, and advance them to hold Pelargir, but the troops I had mustered in Dol Amroth were able to hold them off.

Meanwhile the fellowship were crawling along as I was rolling a sword at most every other turn.

After the surprise defeat at Minas Tirith, the Shadow turned its evil eye to Rohan. Isengard was bought to war, Saruman entered the game and the fords of Isen and then Helms Deep were taken in a single turn.

There then followed a bit of reinforcing as I made sure Edoras was reinforced, while Saruman cemented his grip on Helms Deep.

Finally the fellowship reached Lorien. However from this point in the fellowship had nothing to do with the game. I got like 3 swords until nearly the end of the game and 2 Will of the West. Not only this but the Shadow were rolling 2 or 3 eyes on top of the 2 hunt dice already there. Sauron really wanted that ring.

By this time the elves were at war and I separated Strider and Gimli and then a card to get them to The North and rouse them to war. A combined force from Rivendale and the North downs swept up and took Mount Gundabad and the nearby city by complete surprise (My brother and wife didn't realise they had Settlements there until it was too late).

After this I only needed 1 VP to win. Although Sauron was at the gate to Rivendale I decided to sally forth from there with all the elves I had mustered and make a desperate attempt on Moria, while advancing my forces on the south.

The Shadow suddenly realising quite how powerful Saruman was, used his mustering to recruit a load of Uruk-Hai and head to Moria to defend it, while reinforcing the Southrons every other muster. When the elves reached Moria the balrog stormed out and decimated them. The final few elves attempted to storm Moria once but were resoundly beaten, so I broke off the attack and slunk back to Rivendale, with my tail between my legs, before it was overrun by Saurons Hordes. I then used some of my rare swords to race Gandalf down to the Gondor Force marching on the Southrons, while reinforcing them with elves from the sea.

A huge force from Near Harad assaulted me, but the legendary luck from Minas Tirith returned and I was able to defeat them all, although I was taken down to 3 regulars a leader and Gandalf. I advanced to Near Harad with my sights on the city of Far Harad as Umbar was heavily fortified. Realising my plan the Southrons poured out of Umbar, with 10 units and 3 Nazguls against my tiny unit. They poured over my men scoring 4 hits. All looked bleak until Gandalf stood at the forefront, a strange glint in his eye and gave his life to protect the brave men of Gondor (using the heroic death card). The final two units and leader retreated to the free place next to Far Harad and then limped into the city there on my final dice. The Shadow could not reach me that turn and I won.

WOTR is a brilliant game which really captures the feel of the books. I am very lucky as my wife has agreed to play it again the next time we have a spare weekend. Not only is she beautiful and intelligent, but she will even play Doom and WOTR. I can see this being my favourite game, although I suppose it is still too early to say after only one game.
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