Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
Sarah and I settled down to another game of War of the Ring, using the expansion, last Friday. As is almost traditional, I played the Free Peoples, and Sarah played the Dark Forces.
Round 1 Hunt 1+1
Gondor moved closer to war, Celeborn's Caladhrim, the fellowship moved twice, and Gandalf was killed by orcs. Just another standard start from my side. Sarah had more fun: playing the Balrog, and moving a lot of troops around. Strangely enough, no-one was at War at the end of the first turn, mainly due to a lack of muster dice from Sarah. She'd rolled almost all character dice!
Round 2 Hunt 1+2
What do you do with Character dice early in the game when you don't have good character events or companions wandering the map? Apparently you move the elves out of the Grey Havens. They really didn't do that much during the game, but it was amusing.
Sarah moved a lot of troops, getting her Easterlings, Saurons and Southrons into position.
Round 3 Hunt 1+3
Elven Cloaks and Lady Galadriel pretty much sums up my turn, as Sarah finally moved Sauron to War. It was clear by this time that Sarah was sending a large force to the dwarves and elves in the north...
Round 4 Hunt 1+0
A Power Too Great hit the table, protecting Lorien from an early assault. The fellowship struggled on, the dwarves moved towards war, and Sarah used Stormcrow to make the elves further away from war. No! Her armies were getting bigger, and closer to my north-eastern nations...
Round 5 Hunt 1+1
Legolas moved to the Woodland Realm, courtesy of There and Back Again, and I mustered troops quickly in the Woodland Realm and Erebor thanks to his warning. The fellowship moved again, and again weren't spotted. They'd moved 5 times now, only being successfully hunted once.
Sarah brought the Corsairs of Umbar into play, and mustered a lot.
Round 6 Hunt 1+1
I started build trebuchets in the Woodland Realm as Sarah moved it into siege. The Witch King came to lend his support, as did Deep Trenches and Great Engines, but when the siege started, it was short this round and surprisingly unbloody. This would change.
Round 7 Hunt 1+2
Replacement trebuchet, The Red arrow, and some horrible siegeing of the Woodland Realm found it falling. First VPs for Sarah!
Round 8 Hunt 1+2
Fellowship finally got found... by Gollum. Ugh. Just when I was ready to declare them in Lorien. Strider, disgusted by this, left for the Fords of Isen, and summoned the Riders of Theoden. Meanwhile, Sarah happily mustered, moved and got ready for her next attack.
Round 9 Hunt 1+3
Deciding now was the time to declare the fellowship, I placed them out of Rivendell, and well on the way to Mordor... in a path that lead through the Balrog. Sarah's tile was ineffectual. Yay!
With Sarah all poised for another attack up the north, I managed to get the Kindred of Glorfindel into Rivendell. Like they helped! Phial of Galadriel and Elven Rope gave me some more hope in Mordor. Meanwhile, Dale and the Iron Hills were happily falling to the Shadow. Oh, goody. Sarah then moved her great Southron army into the Lamedon, courtesy of the Corsairs. I grinned, and played Dead Men of Dunharrow, and then rolled a 6 on the die for 6 casualties! Strider recruited, Sarah moved her troops away, and I rejoiced!
Round 10 Hunt 1+4
Hmm. Can I move this fellowship? I tried, got found, and took 3 corruption. Erebor came under siege, and Saruman finally entered the war.
Round 11 Hunt 1+1
The Fellowship moved to the Dead Marshes, Gondor declared war, and Sarah moved forces out of Dol Guildur after recruiting heavily.
Round 12 Hunt 1+2
Gandalf the White finally entered play, in Fangorn Forest. The Fellowship moved twice, the second time being revealed in Dagorland; they were now on 4 corruption. Three Rings for Elven Kings gave me back the Elven Ring I'd used to move them the second time. Sarah annoyed me with a Cruyel Weather, and then reinforced the siege of Erebor with her Witch King and assorted armies.
Round 13 Hunt 1+2
The fellowship hid, then attempted to move. A 3 tile saw Smeagol get it in the neck, and my corruption hit 7. Oh, good. Not what I wanted. Erebor built trebuchets to contain the siege, and it resisted well against the Shadow. This was not what Sarah needed; she took heavy casualties, although eventually the dwarven stronghold fell.
Round 14 Hunt 2+3
I declared myself in Mordor with way-too-big a Fellowship. You'd think I'd learn! Challenge of the King did nothing for me, and the Ents, launched by Gandalf and the three Ent cards I drew, managed to do horrible things to Orthanc... but failed to destroy it. My last roll of 5 dice just needed one 5+. No luck. Saruman stayed there and taunted me. Lorien came under siege from the Balrog. My fellowship got corrupted for not moving...
Round 15 Hunt 3+0
Aragorn got crowned, and Gandalf and Aragorn started moving a big army towards Mordor, where Sarah didn't have many troops. The Witch King reinforced the siege of Lorien, and proved that he wasn't as effective as he should be. Lorien resisted well, and the force of the Witch-King, Balrog and Mouth of Sauron (who also had come around to help), managed to get almost completely slaughtered, with only a single man left. If I'd been thinking, I would have attacked them back, but I wasn't, as we were soon to discover. The Fellowship moved once, taking only 1 corruption. Total: 9 corruption.
Round 16 Hunt 2+4
The Free Peoples were on the verge of a military victory, because Sauron's forces had been badly hurt, their captains were vulnerable, and I'd soon be able to take back the fortresses they'd conquered. Pity I didn't really think of that at the time. Sarah had played the event that allowed her to add Character Dice she used to the hunt, and she'd rolled almost nothing but Eyes and Character Dice. So, I decided to move the fellowship, didn't I?
An Eye got drawn, I forgot entirely about Galadriel, and the Fellowship took 9 corruption. Oops.
I really, really, really need to pay more attention - and play the game more often. Too often I forget things that I really should know how to do.
Great game, though. Strange story - nothing like the real LotR - but possible...
9 corruption because you choose to die is truely inspired play, but,
look, can I give you two some pointers?
Cruel weather should be played as a turn stall.
Using it one space before Mordor is . . .
Saruman on turn 10?
Saruman is ALWAYS 2 of the first 4 musters Shadow rolls.
Gandalf does not get "killed by orcs" on the first turn any more.
Not unless Saruman is already in play and you have a WoW.
His card draw ability is easily worth absorbing the 3 corruption.
Besides, do you want Strider eaten by the Balrog?
Q "What do you do with Character dice early in the game"
A Move the Fellowship. Come ON!
Why would Sauron go to war on turn 3, allowing Galadriel, if Sauron doesn't beseige until turn 6?
And Turn 15 King? What?
This is meant in a friendly way.
And nicely written up, BTW.
Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
You know, there are times when we play really great, hard-hitting games, where things move really quickly and we're on the edge of our seats all the time...
...and then there was this game.
I don't know. My mind really was somewhere else. "Hey, look! Balrog, Witch King and Mouth all together with one regular troop! I know! We'll let them escape!"
I won't speak for Sarah's thoughts. I think she's been playing more defensively recently. Slow build up, and sudden strikes. Except for the bit where the FP actually resist her might.
I left the part out where I moved Strider into Osgiliath with his army... then realised I needed to move him back into Gondor to crown him... moved him back in... crowned him... them moved Aragorn out to finally confront Sauron.
I really enjoyed playing this game, but I guess I was thinking about playing Imperial for the first time on the weekend or something.