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Subject: SPI's War of the Ring 1978 --> 3 player army game session. New CRT. rss

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Richard Smith
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Coquitlam
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Note on playing on 2019, July 5th → THREE PLAYER ARMY GAME:

I'm exploring some rule changes to the game to make the military game more important.
I'm using these house rules:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2163203/ricks-new-character...

The new change is I'm using my new Combat Results Table (CRT), to make combat more important. The REASON why I think that this game can use a more deadly CRT can be found here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/31943259#31943259

The new CRT is here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/180832/spis-war-ring-rick...

I've played many games of SPI's War of the Ring, and I've never seen a military victory. This is a SERIOUS flaw in the game since the militarily game is 3 times longer than the character game, but every victory I've seen has been decided by capturing or destroying the ring. Far too many army combats (which are very expensive in shadow points), result in indecisive, small attrition losses.

I think that the Saruman player is too weak in the three player game, but I am not trying any rule changes to make him stronger this game.

Glossary:
SP = Saruman Player
FP = Fellowship Player
DPP = Dark Power Player

PT = Shadow Points (Also PTs)
ST = Strength. (So 35 ST means a military force with 35 Strength points.)
N1 = Lord of the Nazgul.
N2 = Khamûl  (The 2nd Nazgul was actually called Khamûl, Gothmog was an orc leader. See Forgotten Tales.)
N3 thru N9 = Nazgul #3 thru Nazgul #9.


Test Plan:
The Dark Power Player will do everything reasonable in this test, to win a military victory. Note that the Shadow Point costs of military actions has been lowered.


SETUP: 
This copy of the game came with the second edition of the rule book.
I know what was discarded, so on a 1 or 2, the player picks the top discard and on a 3 to 6, picks a new event card from the top of the deck. (Unless, a player knows that the top discard was one they thru away previously, in which case they take the top card.)

--- 
TURN 1:
Initial Hands:
– SP: “Corsairs of Umbar”, “Elven Boats”, “Aragorn Uses Palantir”.
– FP: “Saruman Sum. Gandalf”, “Pipeweed Cache Discovered”, “Rivers Flooded”.
– DPP: “Misty Passes Open” x2, “Saruman Escapes to the Shire”.

Shadow Points: 13. Golum is with the DPP.

SP: Draws “Ents Vent Rage”, & discards “Aragorn Uses Palantir”.
FP: Draws “Aragorn Uses P”. and discards “Saruman Summons Gandalf”.
DPP: Draws “Boromir Attempts to Seize the Ring” and plays it instantly! (This is the only turn in the whole game where this card can be played usually!)

Character Combat: Frodo vs Boromir.
Frodo puts on the ring. Frodo escapes, the duel is over. However, Frodo takes a point of Ring Fatigue and must remove the ring next turn. (Considering how rarely this card can be used, it is pretty anti-climatic.)

No Search on Turn 1.
SP turn: No point in moving, stays in the Orthanc.
FP Turn: Great magic items are found in Rivendell! The FP gains Mithril Mail (Frodo), Elven Cloak (Sam), Sting (Frodo), and Glamdring (Gandalf).
Boromir, just maybe, isn't fellowship material. Elrond thinks about locking him in a cave for 100 years, but instead he is instructed to head home via the Pass of Rohan. The rest of the Fellowship goes towards Moria, deciding to camp by a pleasant little lake near the west entrance.
DPP Turn: Spends 12 SP to move N1, N2, N3, N7, N8 & N9. N9 & N8 go inside Moria, while the rest surround the fellowship hoping to spot a hobbit.


TURN 2:
Frodo FAILS to remove the One Ring! Another point of Ring Fatigue.
Shadow Points: 10 Gollum stays with the DPP.

Saruman draws Saruman Summons Gandalf, sweet! He plays it at once. Gandalf is captured and Saruman searches his back pack and takes Glamdring for himself. (Normal rule, see Y.6.) This is a good start for the forces of White-ness!
FP draws and discards “The Shadow of Sauron”.
DPP draws “Fierce Storms” and discards “Saruman escapes to the Shire”, mentioning to Saruman that he might want to pick this card up next turn.

Search Phase:
– DPP draws 3 Nazgul search, but not in Eregion.
– SP draws eye orcs, wasted search.

SP turn: Note that Saruman can not 'persuade' Gandalf for event cards. Note that in the last army game I played, I didn't notice that Saruman mobilizes on Turn 2 (see rule T4). My plan is to let ALL of the reinforcements arrive and attack on M+5 (turn 7). By a house rule, Rohan will mobilize on Saruman M+3, so Saruman will need to visit Edoras to keep them calm. With that in mind, he moves to Edoras and moves the “Rohan Mobilizes” counter from turn 5 to turn 6.
FP turn: Boromir swings wide around the Nazgul while the rest of the Fellowship brave Moria. This generates a free search roll for the 2 Nazgul inside, but the party is missed amongst the thousands of passages and rooms of the Dwarrowdelf. The Servant of Sauron was a Frightening Rumor. What a nice place! Gimli plans to redecorate Moria, when he has some free time.
DPP spends 10 SP to move N2, N3, N4, & N5 in front of the main fellowship group. N1 goes to the woods 2 hexes south of Isengard to help close the Rohan gap.


TURN 3:
Frodo removes the One Ring.
Shadow Points: 12 Gollum stays with the DPP.

Saruman following the advice given by the DPP draws “Saruman Escapes to the Shire” and discards “Corsairs of Umbar”.
FP draws “Orc Quarrel over Division of Spoils” and discards “River's Flooded”.
DPP draws “River's Flooded” and discards one of his “Misty Passes Open”.

Search Phase:
– DPP searches with 3 Nazgul, and could try to find Boromir in Eregion. Does not bother to try.
– SP draws an eye orc, wasted search.

SP turn: Saruman stays in Edoras (Rohan mobilizes on turn 7 now). Dunland forces move south, but stay out of Moria. Orcs start building up in Isengard, while Gandalf the Grey watches.
FP turn: dodging Nazgul they reach Lothlorian and gain magic items. The elves have Anduril, the flame of the West and give it to Aragorn. Aragorn also takes Athelas, because he is the party medic.
Boromir continues south.
DPP turn: N7 joins N1 in the Rohan gap, N4, N3 and N6 move into East Emnet to block Fellowship movement. (Two Nazgul remain in Moria. They could have sworn they left a Balrog around here somewhere.)


TURN 4:
Shadow Points: 10 Gollum stays with the DPP.

SP draws “Wizard Employs Palantir” and discards “Ents Vent Rage” hoping the FP won't draw it.
FP draws “Ents Vent...” and discard “Pipeweed Cache...”.
DPP draws “Fierce Storms” and discards the other “Misty Passes Open”.

Search Phase:
– DPP gets a Nazgul search but misses.
– SP gets a Nazgul search, which is no good for him.

SP turn: Saruman stays in Edoras (Rohan mobilizes on turn 8). Reinforcements continue to come.
FP turn: The Fellowship crosses the Anduin, and move to the door step of Dol Guldur. Boromir has a choice, swing wide and take longer to get home, or try to pass thru the Rohan Gap. Being impetuous, he decides to force the Gap. The two Nagul get a free search, fail to find him, and he reaches Eldoras. He takes Shadowfax, and some traveling Elf Merchants sell him a coil of Elven Rope.
DPP: N1, N2 and N7 move south of the party, blocking their advance. Failing to find any sign of the Balrog, the two Nazgul in Moria N8, & N9, move to the Servant of Sauron hex on the Minas Tirith road.


TURN 5:
Shadow Points: 10 Gollum is STILL with DPP.
SP draws an “Elven Boats” and discards it.
FP draws the “Elven Boats” and discards “Aragorn Uses Palantir...”.
DPP draws “Nazgul's Flying Beast Killed” and discards it.

Search:
– DPP searches Rohan, but Boromir is in an army hex and is immune.
– SP draws eye orcs wasting his search. Wow, the rest of the search deck must be full of hand orcs.

SP turn: Saruman moves east in case a lucky search finds the Fellowship next turn. (He wants to be in range to help if his orcs get lucky.)
FP turn: They cross the Anduin and return to Lothlorian, then play elven boats. (“Screw all this walking! Didn't we see some elvish boats we could steal back there?”) They take the elven boats to the island before the Falls of Rauros. Boromir uses Shadowfax's great speed to cross rivers and end up east of the woods with the Servant of Sauron hex on the Minas Tirith road. The fellowship is doing very well, Mordor has not managed to Mobilize, and they are approaching Mordor quickly.
DPP turn: Only 4 Nazgul can move. The ones in Rohan move to two hexes of woods on the Minas Tirith road. The first has 1 Nazgul in it, the second hex has 3.


TURN 6:
Shadow Points: 12 Gollum goes to FP.
SP draws “Gollum Attempts to Seize the Ring” and discards “Elven Boats”.
FP draws “Gate of Morannon” and keeps it.
DPP draws “Mind Battle: Elrond ...” and plays “Rivers Flooded”.

Search:
– DPP draws hand orc wasting the search.
– SP draws eye orcs wasting his search. Sigh, at least Mordor auto-mobilizes next turn.

SP turn: Saruman heads west to help on his big attack next turn.
FP turn: Boromir tries to sneak past the Nazgul on the road. (He is by himself so he is pretty hard to find.) He sneaks by them easily and enters Minas Tirith. Home at last, he tells Dad about the One Ring, and tricksey Hobbits which go invisible. One of these days, invading Rivendel would be a good idea, Elrond was rude to him. Also watch out for some hobo called Aragorn...
The Fellowship wants to head east. They can't cross the Anduin this turn and decide to wait for one turn. The hobbits approve of a picnic instead of all this walking. Aragorn decides to move to Rohan, to help in the big fight that is coming, and ends up on the road east of Edoras.
DPP turn: Mouth of Sauron goes to the Black Gate (no Pt cost). N1, N2, & N7 go to hills NE of the Fellowship. N7, & N8 go to hex E0726 (the hex NW of the Black Gate). The other Nazgul are happy where they are.


TURN 7:
Shadow Points: 12 Gollum stays with FP.
SP draws “Orcs feud Over Allegiances” and discards “Gollum Attempts...”.
FP draws “Gollum Attempts...” and after some teeth grinding discards it.
DPP draws another “Fierce Storms” and plays it.

Search: DPP draws an eye orc, and the SP draws a hand orc. Search phase is wasted. Grrrr!

Saruman moves to Helms Deep and moves all his forces except a 6-5 orc which stays in Isengard. He achieves complete surprise. (Well, Gandalf knew.) Rohan Mobilizes.
Battles: Saruman has 150 troops, but attacks with 126 of them to get 6:1 odds. Saruman uses magic in the battle and adds a +1 modifier. His moral is 3 and Theodred has a moral 2. Saruman attacks on the [6:1 to 9:1] column with a +2 Die Roll Modifier (DRM). He rolls a 1 and takes no losses, and kills 4 of the Rohan troops. Theodred makes a speech, we will die but not be forgotten!

FP turn: Boromir stays in Minas Tirith. The fellowship has only 2.5 movement this turn and can't cross the river. The hobbit's picnic continues. Aragorn 'races' back towards Rohan to help but can't reach Edoras this turn. The Western Allies mobilize. The rangers move into Hobbiton. Brand and his army moves to Dale. The Mirkwood men move towards the ford over the Anduin.
Rohan mobilizes. Eomer crosses into Rohan, but with the storms he can't reach Edoras. Theoden decides to try to Save Helms Deep, he attacks with 10 troops, (sending a 1-7 horseman to Dunharrow).
Battle: Theoden attacks at 1:5 or less. Saruman uses his magic and rolls a 3. Theoden is attacking at 1:5 at -3 DRM. He rolls a 4 and loses 80% of his troops, (6 men), but enters Helms Deep with 4 horsemen. Theodred is shocked that he is reinforced.

DPP: Mobilizes at last! Uses Shadow Points to move odd armies here and there closer to where they want to be.
Note on House Rules: With the DPP mobilizing a number of auto-mobilizing rules kick in. The dwarves will mobilize on turn 12. The Elves, & Gondor will mobilize on turn 10.


TURN 8:
Shadow Points: 10 Gollum stays with FP.
SP draws “Sauron Employs a Palantir” and discards it.
FP draws “Wormtongue Bemuses Theoden” and discards it.
DPP draws “Denethor Peers into Palantir and Sees Doom!” and plays “Fierce Storms”.

Search: DPP draws hand orcs. SP draws 10 hand orcs! First Saruman search this game! Rohan is searched for Aragorn, and finds him, and attempt a capture. Aragorn avoids the orcs, but Saruman gets a free troop in Aragorn's hex. (We have always played that orcs generated by searches are bonus, which don't have to come from the regular forces or reinforcements. However, this point is not defined in the rules.)

SP turn. The 10 troops move to Eldoras. Everyone else stays still and attacks Helms Deep.
Battles: Saruman attacks with 126 troops for 6:1 odds. Theoden is there, so both sides have a 3 moral leader. Saruman uses magic and gets rolls a 1 for a +1 DRM. The FP plays, “Ents Vent Rage” for a -3 DRM. The attack rolls a 5 → 3 which is another 50% loss (and no leaders killed). There are 3 horsemen left in Helms Deep.

FP turn. Darn, another Storm. How many of these cards does the DPP have anyway? Hobbit picnic continues. Rohan first turn of reinforcements appear. Aragron can't reach Helms Deep, so he and a 5-5 Rohan infantry attacks Eldoras. Eomer joins him in this attack. The horsemen reinforcements attack Helms Deep & will be commanded by Theoden.
Battles: Aragorn & Eomer attacks at 1:2 with a +5 DRM (4 moral +1 for Anduril) He rolls a 1 → 6. 10%K / 30%. Eomer is killed. Aragorn is willing to attack again, the orcs don't want retreat (Aragorn might be killed). Another battle starts 4:8, still 1:2 odds. The roll is a 6 → 9+ which is 80% losses to the orcs. 6 more orcs die. The 2 remaining orcs retreat northeast which blocks the road.
The forces in Helms Deep sally, while horsemen attack from the rear. The odds are 43:(150 x2) (the orcs are doubled on defense because the terrain outside of the citadel is rough). 1:5 odds. Both sides have moral 3 leaders. Saruman rolls magic and gets a 3 for a -2 DRM. The attackers roll a 3 → 1, which is 80% losses. 9 troops survive and enter Helms Deep. (It now looks like Rohan is doomed.)

DPP turn. Have enough Pts to move all forces, so armies placed this turn are moved closer to their targets. (They are moving slow tho, because of the storm.) About what you would expect but a force of orcs move north from Dol Guldur towards the Mirkwood elves.


TURN 9:
Shadow Points 13 Gollum goes to the DPP.
SP draws “Orcs Argue Over Fate of Captives” and discards it.
FP draws “Orcs Argue...” and keeps it.
DPP draws “Rivers Flooded” and plays it.
Search: DPP draws hand orcs (wasted), and SP draws 10 ST of hand orcs. However the main FP is not in any of the areas searched, and the other characters are with armies. No effect.

SP turn: Battle: Attacks Helms Deep. 150:(9 x3) = 5:1 odds. Moral 3 to Moral 3. Magic gains a +1 DRM. So 5:1 odds at +1. 5 → 6 = 100% damage. Helm Deep falls! Theoden, Eowyn, and Theodred are all captured.
Saruman has taken a citadel.
By house rules, the SP gains a reward: The fellowship player must discard a random card, (“Orcs Quarrel...”), and Saruman gains a free event card draw and his hand size increases by one. Ignoring the FP discard, he draws “Eagles!” and keeps it. As a final bonus, all searches with hand orcs gain +1 ST in troops. (So a search with 8 hand orcs becomes a search with 9.)

FP turn. Rohan reinforcements pore into Eldoras then feed up into Dunharrow. Fed up with the storms and flooding, the FP moves south, wishing that they had landed on the east of the river to begin with.

DPP turn. Lots of PTs this turn! N1, & N2 move onto the woods 2 hexes from Minas Tirith on the Gondor – Rohan road, while N7 moves to hex E0528 (blocking the bridge). Still enough PTS to move all troops and most mass as close to Minas Tirith as they can get. The hammer will fall next turn.


TURN 10:
Shadow Points: 9 Gollum goes neutral.
SP draws “Tom Bombadil Intervenes” and discards it.
FP draws “Orcs in state of Battle Frenzy” and keeps it.
DPP draws Gondor Mobilizes and discards it. He says to Saruman player, “don't pick up that card”. The DPP also plays his last “Fierce Storms”.

Searches: (Reshuffles search deck.)
– DPP has Nazgul search but no fellowship characters in those areas.
– SP has Nazgul search which is wasted.

SP turn: There is no military victory for the SP (which sucks), Saruman MUST capture the One Ring. Since the FP has moved south, Saruman moves his force down the Minas Tirith road in hopes of a lucky search. (They can't get in front of the Fellowship, because of the Storms.) 15 troops are left in Helms Deep with the Chief of the Dunlandings. 15 ST of orcs, along with the prisoners, are sent back to Isengard in case Aragorn is feeling frisky. Gandalf is happy, he has some people to talk to now. The 2 ST troop that was left over from Aragorn's attack in Eldoras also heads to Helms Deep.

FP turn: Gondor and the Elves Mobilize. Faramir needs to escape with his 5-7 horsemen. He is pretty much hemmed in, but can attack a 5-6 oliphant counter, and reach the river at least. But that would allow his force to be overrun next turn (no defensive bonus). He will do so, he is sure to be killed sooner or later if he sits still. My new rules (which make it easier for the DPP to move his forces) make it very hard on Faramir, I may have to give him a new starting hex.
Aragorn has 48ST of Rohan troops and thought long about getting adventurous. But if he leaves Dunharrow, it will likely be lost, so for this turn he sits still.
The Elves sit still.
The Fellowship goes onto the Minas Tirith road and enter a hex with 3 Nazgul. Free search. The Nazgul don't spot them.
Battle: 1:1 odds with Faramir's moral of 3 giving the good guys a +3 DRM. 4 → 7 = 30% damage to the bad guys. The surviving oliphants retreat across the river into Lebennin, further cutting off Faramir, and cutting the road.

DPP turn: The shortage of PTs will hurt. The DPP pays to move all troops. He over runs Faramir (this costs 3 PTs for an attack with 50 ST points or less). He pays 2 PTs to move N1 into Minas Tirith. He has 260 ST in Minas Tirith but lacks Shadow PTs to attack there. However, now M. Tirith can't be reinforced without generating a battle.
Battles: The overrun kills Faramir's force with no losses, and captures Faramir.


TURN 11:
Shadow Points: 13 Gollum is with the Dark Lord.
SP follows the advice of the DPP and draws a new card. “Misty Passes Open” and discards it.
FP draws “Rivers Flooded” and discards it.
DPP draws “Eagles!” and keeps it. He plays “Denethor Peers in Palantir & Sees Doom!” Fellowship looks at a random Event card in the DPP's hand and sees “Eagles!”.

The DPP and the SP ally to defeat Minas Tirith.

Search:
– DPP draws eye orcs but they search the far east.
– SP draws hand orcs and search Anorien with 5+1= 6 ST of troops. A 4 is rolled, and the Fellowship is not spotted. Too bad, this was likely the last chance Saruman had of winning.

SP turn: 15 troops block the road in the two hexes before Minas Tirith, and 90ST of troops move into M. Tirith. Saruman moves into M. Tirith.
Battles: Saruman attacks with 75:(25 x3) = 1:1 odds. Saruman moral 3, Boromir moral 2. +3 for “Denethor Peers...” Saruman rolls for magic and gets a +2 modifier. So 1:1 with a +6 modifier. The roll is a 3 → 9 which results in 80% losses of the good guys. 5 horsemen and 2 infantry troops remain.

FP turn: Because of “Denethor Peers...” no characters or armies can leave M. Tirith and the city will likely be captured on the DPP turn. Time to pull everyone back to Dol Amroth. Elven reinforcements and Gondor reinforcements appear. Aragorn takes a 35 ST of horsemen to hex E0127 (he is with an army so the Servant of Sauron hex on the road is ignored). He joins up with the 15-5 Anorian troop in that hex. The Fellowship backs up one hex to join him. The full fellowship is now stacked with army units so no search is allowed. Aragorn gives Legolas the Athelas magic item.
Gondor forces attack the 4-6 unit in Pelargir. The card “Orcs Feud Over Allegiances” is played, and Faramir escapes and moves to Pelargir, taking command of that army.
The DPP choses to defend at full ST for 2 PTs.
Battle: The odds are 53:(4 x2) = 6:1 with Faramir having a 3 moral. 4 → 7 = 100% damage. The Gondor force in Pelargir are doubled on defense, so they are a fairly tough nut to crack The DPP would dearly like to kill them there before they can reinforce Dol Amroth tho.

DPP turn: Nice, plenty of PTs this turn (tho 2 are already spent). The DPP pays to move all armies and attack with all armies. 2 SP are spent to move N2 to Pelargir to command that force. The Mouth of Sauron moves north to command the northern armies. (No PT cost to move him.) A 50-7 horseman moves to E0232 to cut off the escape of the Gondor troops. Everyone else moves up, with more troops piling into Minas Tirith and Pelargir.
Battles:
Minas Tirith commanded by the Lord of the Nazgul. 278:(7 x3) is an overrun. Minas Tirith falls, Boromir are captured. Denethor dies at the end of the turn. (A shame that this rule is not written on the event card, but has to be looked up in the rules.)
Attack at Pelargir. 115:(57 x2) = 1:1 Both leaders are 3 moral. Khamul rolls on the sorcery table and gets a +1 DRM. The attack is a 2 → 3 which is intense fighting! Both sides lose 50% of their force and the defender loses a leader. Faramir dies. The DPP is willing to continue the combat, but the FP retreats her force north into the rough ground with 40 troops.
Not a good week for the house of the Stewards of Gondor.

House Rule bonus for losing a Citadel: FP discards “Gate of Morannon” and DPP draws it and keeps it.
The hand size of the DPP increases by one and he gets +1 Shadow Point per turn (to a maximum of 13). Finally all searching eye orcs get +2 ST.


TURN 12:
Shadow Points: 8+1 Gollum goes neutral.
SP draws “Misty Passes Open” and keeps it.
FP draws “Dead Men of Dunharrow” and keeps it.
DPP draws “Rohan Mobilizes” and discards it.
Search: Phase skipped since no characters anywhere can be found this way.

SP turn: He collects all of his forces in Minas Tirith and attacks the hex with the fellowship in hopes of destroying them utterly and capturing the ring. An extra 15 troops come down from Helms Deep. 15 ST of orcs move from Isengard to Helms Deep.
Battle: 105:50 = 2:1. Aragorn has moral 4 (+1 for Anduril), Saruman has moral 3. Saruman casts magic and gains a +1 DRM. 2:1 at -1. A 3 → 2 is rolled, so both sides take 20% damage. Aragorn loses 5 men-at-arms. Saruman loses 21 orcs. Saruman is willing to continue the fight, but the FP chooses to retreat and moves into the woods in hex E0227.

FP turn: Gondor forces retreat towards Dol Amroth. All can make it in except some 5 movement infantry which park in the town Linhir.
The Dwarves Mobilize. In the north, the orcs moving up thru Mirkwood cause concern. The alliance of Elves, Dwarves and humans start moving towards Thranduil's Palace to make a stand there. The unit in Bree moves to Hobbiton just in case.
Aragorn, has to make a decision. The army makes the characters immune to search, but if the army is destroyed all characters will be auto captured. Aragorn is the only military leader in the area. The army escorts the characters down the road a couple hexes (to make the characters immune to Nazgul search, then the army reverses direction and heads back towards Rohan. The characters cross the Anduin and end in hex E0527. Aragorn attacks Saruman's force. He is being tempted by the "Dead Men..." card.
>>> I later decided this was a bad mistake. <<<
Battle: 40:114 becomes 1:3. Saruman rolls magic and finally gets a -3 DRM. So 1:3 at -1, a 2 → 1 is rolled, and Aragorn takes 50% damage; 19 troops are lost. Aragorn retreats up the road. (On the bright side, all of his remaining troops are now mounted with 7 movement. Also they are in that little woods, so his defense is doubled for next turn.)

DPP turn: Hmm... Only 9 PTs. Up to 4 groups of a total of 50 ST or less will move (3 PTs) and 2 Nazgul (4 PTs) will move. A 5-4 orc counter takes Boromir towards Mordor and 45 troops from Minas Morgul move south towards Dol Amroth. N1, & N3 move to Minas Morgul. No battles.


TURN 13:
Shadow Points: 12+1 Gollum goes to the Fellowship.
SP draws “Orcs in State of Battle Frenzy” and keeps it.
FP draws “Woses Ally With the Free People” and discards it.
DPP draws “Woses Ally With the Free People” and keeps it.

Search: DPP gets a hand orc (wasted), and the SP also gets a hand orc, but does not search the right area.
The DPP breaks off the alliance, (he does not want Saruman putting troops into Ithilien and maybe finding the ring).

SP: Looks like the ring is gone. May as well kill Aragorn and try to capture Dunharrow. Saruman attacks the force on the road using 84 troops.
Battle: 84:(21 x2) = 2:1. Saruman rolls for sorcery and gets a +3 so final DRM is +1. The attack is a 3 → 4 = 10% / 20%. 5 horsemen, and 8 orcs die. Aragorn retreats further up the road towards Dunharrow.

FP: All Gondor forces retreat to Dol Amroth. (The Eye was distracted, and didn't move the armies quickly enough to kill the stragglers.)
Aragorn runs to Dunharrow. His combined force has no real chance against Helms Deep.
The Fellowship moves to hex E0629 (beside Minas Morgul).

DPP: Spends 4 PTs to move all forces. Boromir is moved to Barad Dur (designer errata says no escape from Barad Dur, so Boromir is gone for the rest of game). Over 200 ST is moved onto Dol Amroth (and more are coming). The DPP does not pay for an attack this turn because he wants to move Nazgul. N1 moves to Dol Amroth, N2, & N4 move to Minas Morgul. N6 moves to E0829 (inside Mordor beside Mt. Doom). No battles.


TURN 14:
Shadow Points: 13+0 Gollum stays with Fellowship.
SP draws “Saruman Resurrects Orcs at Isengard” and discards “Misty Passes Open”.
The event deck is exhausted so it is reshuffled, and the FP draws “Elven Boats” & discards it.
DPP draws “Misty Passes Open” and discards it.

Search:
– Eye orcs search South Ithilien with 8+2 ST. Fellowship is spotted! Nazgul will be able to jump them on the DPP's movement phase!
– SP draws a Hand orcs but they search the wrong area.

SP turn: attacks Dunharrow with 90 troops, leaving a 1-4 Orc in Eldoras to prevent retreats in that direction.
Battle: 90:(29 x3) = 1:1. After sorcery there is a +1 DRM. FP plays “Orc in State of Battle Frenzy”, and then SP also plays his copy of “Orcs in State...” so they cancel out. (Half the orcs are screaming and running in panic, but the other half are screaming and attacking berserk.) Attack is a 6 → 7, Aragorn is killed, and 30% of his troops are destroyed!

FP turn: She had plans for Aragorn and the Dead men, sigh. The fellowship moves thru Minas Morgul. The orcs there get a free search and spot the Fellowship but don't get a capture attempt. (The Fellowship is moving on a mountain trail so later searches this turn are at a -1 DRM.) The fellowship now has to fight the Servant of Sauron. It is a Barrow-Wight. Gimli fights it slaying it but taking 3 hits in the fight. Since the party is spotted, the 3 Nazgul in the hex can fight the Fellowship. 3 duels start.

N2 vs. Frodo. Frodo puts on the One Ring for the +1 combat and +1 Moral bonus.
N4 vs. Legolas.
N3 vs. Gimli.
Gimli 'kills' N3 with non-lethal wounds. Frodo has taken 2 hits, Legolas has taken 3 hits, Gimli has taken 5 hits, N2 has taken 2 and N4 has taken 2.
Magic items can be moved around / used. Gimli takes the Athelas and regains 5 hit points. Frodo gives the Sting to Sam and Sam gives the Elven Cloak to Frodo. A new set of duels is generated with the Nazgul being put down and the fellowship matching up against them.

N2 vs. Gimli.
N4 vs. Legolas.
Legolas 'kills' N4. Legolas has 1 hit point, Gimli has 3, and N2 has 2 as well. The fellowship puts Gimli up against N2 for the next duel.
Gimli is killed, while N2 has one hit left.

Sam with Sting goes against Khamul.
Sam 'kills' it, but takes one wound. Khamul has 3 permanent hits and 3 temp wounds.

Continuing the Fellowship movement they move into Mordor. They are spotted, but the army in the hex tries to capture them. The army gets a capture attempt. Frodo is missed (elven cloak), Legolas is captured, Pippin is caught, Merry is missed, Sam is caught.
Since it is still the movement phase, the FP plays, “Orcs Argue Over Fate of Captive”, and all the captured characters escape.
However, N6 is in the hex and the fellowhip is spotted, so it attacks.

N6 vs. Legolas.
Legolas gets very lucky, 'killing' it in two rounds, but dies himself.

The four hobbits are a hex away from Mt. Doom, are spotted, and out of movement. They stop here. By designer errata, they STAY spotted until the end of the DPP turn so Nazgul can fly in and attack them.

Prince Imrahil attacks the forces before him. The DPP declines to spend Shadow Points so the forces defend at half ST and the Lord of the Nazgul can not use magic in this attack.
Battle: 67: (267 x 0.5) = 1:2 with a +2 DRM. The attack is a 4 → 6 is 10% K / 30%. Prince Imrahil is killed. Gondor loses 6 troops, while the Dark Lord loses 79 troops. The attacking forces pull back into Dol Amroth, mourning their beloved prince.

DPP turn: THEY ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE RING!
An army moves on to Mt. Doom. 6 Nazgul move. N2 goes back to Barad Dur to heal, while N1, N5, N7, N8, & N9 move to the hobbits and attack. Since the hobbits are outnumbered so they are placed first, and the DPP choses the match ups. Frodo takes back Sting.

Frodo vs. the Lord of the Nazgul.
Sam vs. N5
Merry vs. N7
Pippin vs. N8.
The Lord of the Nazgul makes an Attempt to Seize the Ring and succeeds killing Frodo with sorcery. The other Nazgul make short work of hobbits (who make a brave showing and manage 3 wounds as they are killed).


TURN 15:
The Witch King flies the One Ring back to Barad Dur, and the game ends with a Dark Power Player character victory.
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Richard Smith
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Rick's thoughts on this Session. 3 Player Campaign Game.
Hi all,
An interesting game. The big thing was Gandalf was imprisoned for the whole game, which made it much tougher for the fellowship player.

Some event cards are overwhelmingly powerful ("Saruman Summons Gandalf"), where as other are trivial ("Boromir Attempts to Seize the Ring"). (Boromir normally does not travel with the Ring bearer, and if the card is played on the first turn, it usually just causes 1 Ring fatigue.)

I'm tempted to go thru the event cards and do a balance pass making some more useful. As for "Saruman Sum. G.", giving Gandalf a maximum of 7 turns captured would be a reasonable nerf. "Eagles!" could be used to free him earlier of course.

Further, "Denethor Peers in Palantir & Sees Doom!" could write down that he dies at the end of the turn. There is room on the card for this information after all.

***
I've never seen a military victory so a bunch of my rule changes are designed to make this possible. (Given that the army game takes more than 3 times longer to play than the character game, the fact that it never matters is a pretty big deal.)

One big change is I've lowered the cost to move armies around. Now the DPP can defend with all armies, move all armies, and fight with all armies for 13 Shadow Points (Sh. Pt.). If he gets fewer than 13 Shadow Points, or wants to move some Nazgul, then there will be trade offs.

***

I'm pretty happy with the new Sh. Pt. costs, but one bad effect is that Faramir gets hunted down pretty easy, before he can escape South Ithilien. Before, the DPP rarely had the Sh. Pt.s to bother. I either need to create some rule that says his troop can move before Gondor mobilizes, or change his starting hex.

EDIT: Some simple rules here. Easiest to just change his starting hex to E0332 (the town of Pelargir).
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/32430437#32430437

***

I've decided to tweak my uploaded file with the new CRT. I'll add a few more attacks like 10%/50% so even while hurting the enemy bad, they do a bit of damage to you.

That said, I'm pretty happy with the new CRT. It does what I want, and it is reasonably possible to make an attack and get more than minor attrition losses.

The revised CRT table (with extra tables on back for Character Game) has been approved and can be found here...
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/180832/spis-war-ring-rick...

***

The fellowship made an error not sending Aragorn with the Fellowship to Mount Doom. The FP had drawn "Dead Men of Dunharrow..." and Aragorn was doing a great job as a military leader. But in the end, being able to chop up Nazgul, on the way to Mt. Doom, would have been more important.

***

What do do about Saruman? I think that the best thing to make this position balanced is say that he could win a Military Victory if the One Ring is destroyed. So if Sauron is removed, but Saruman has a massive military presence, then he is now the Big-Bad-Guy. He will have time to experiment, and try to make his own One Ring. (Remember the Opal ring on his finger when he revealed himself to Gandalf?)

EDIT: Some revised victory conditions are in this post:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/32697643#32697643


***

The house rules I played with do not add any new characters, magic items, military units, servants of Sauron, etc. to the game. (In my rules I suggest a new leader for Sauron, but this new character was not used in the above playtest.) Basically, I'm saying "just use the stuff in the box, but with my house rules the game will play better." With my rules, the military game FEELS like it might make a difference.

However, even with these new rules, I still have not seen the DPP manage a Military Victory. But I think I'm getting close. I would want to play with these rules several more times, before I make any further changes to make the military game more important.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Robert Hammond
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Hi Rick.

If you want to make the Boromir card more useful, simply change the text to read that the character with the lowest ring rating accompanying the ring bearer attempts to seize the ring. Where more than one character has the lowest rating, determine randomly.

This represents the ability of the ring to corrupt anyone, and affecting those with the weakest will first.

In fact you might want to change the Gollum card along similar lines, and include Gollum as a possible choice for either cards as long as he is under dark power control.

Cheers,
Rob

Edited to correct "autocorrect"
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Richard Smith
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New Boromir card.
Hi Robert!

You are totally right.

I've created 32 new event cards for my game and edited a number of the old ones. The Boromir card has changed into "Someone Attempts to Seize the Ring", and the figure with the lowest ring rating (pick randomly if tied), must make a saving throw vs. Ring Rating, or attempt to Seize the Ring.

(One of my new cards is, "Boromir acts as Rear Guard", which is pretty kick ass, and explains why the Fellowship might want to keep him in the party.)


However, my Board Game Geek posts are assuming that people want to play the game out of the box with current components. I've created a thread of house rules which fix the game with out adding new stuff, or changing current components.

***

I've just started adding new things to the game. But I think I'm close to the end of my "How to Improve WotR on BGG", because the changes I'm making now are not just to rules, but changes to components. (For example, N1, N3 and N4, will become Black Númenorians, so N3 and N4, will get a bit tougher.)

Thanks for your post!
Warm regards, Rick.
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