*Intro fanfare plays*
Bob: Hello sports fans, and welcome to the Gondor-Bowl! It's a fine day for a siege, as we once again see whether the power of Mordor can cross the river Anduin and conquer Minas Tirith.
Dave: That's right Bob, it's a fine day for a game. You've joined us just in time, we're getting off to a brisk start. In the Mordor end zone, there's already not just one but three dark leaders rising up to take charge of those pesky orcs. That oughta get a cheer out of our orc fans!
Bob: That's an improvement over the previous game already, Dave. Apparently the ruling that the Shadow can use leadership markers in the Gondor scenario slipped under the radar last time. Huh-huh-huh.
Dave: Well they've got plenty of mobility now - and here they come, descending out of the mountains like the Dickens - er, Tolkiens, rather! Just look at that rush for the Osgoliath fords!
Bob: Yes sir, they're in fine form today. Looks like the Free Peoples don't quite know what to do about this. Last time they easily collected a horde of defenders and Gandalf to boot, but now they're scrambling to deal with this more mobile foe. They can't seem to form a line at Osgoliath to save their lives - and, yes, there goes their lives.
Dave: Ohhh - you see that play? Those Shadows were likewise DECIMATED to the orc, and we've an empty field at the thirty yard line. That was AWESOME!
Bob: At least Cair Andros is still holding its own up north. Looks like the Shadow's going to whip up another assault on Osgoliath first, though. Here they come, descending from the mountains again.
Dave: You've got to admire the heart these orcs are showing on the field, Bob, they just keep coming on strong. Those Free Peeps may have bit off more than they can chew this time ... oh, what's that guy in green doing on the field? You see that, he ran right out and sacked that orc, then scampered back off the field again. What was that about??
Bob: That was Faramir, Dave, and it's all part of the game. See, no whistle call. And the orcs have crossed the Anduin! They're settling in for a permanent stay in Osgoliath like it's a one-star hotel.
Dave: Seems they want to make this a two-pronged front; I see some orcs sneaking up on Cair Andros in the north.
Bob: Good eye, Dave. Looks like the Free Peoples have either missed that play or don't care. They're looking preoccupied with recruiting new team members at their end. So, there's the Cair Andros attack, and it looks like the wall's reduced to pebbles. Free Peoples goes for a last minute rush to bulk up defence, but it's too little too late. And the Shadows have it! My, that was ugly.
Dave: And according to the Fate Track, that ends our first quarter. Well, it's been a one-sided game so far with the Shadow gaining some key ground at a rapid pace. Now it looks like they're settling in and bulking up with some mustering, and the Free Peoples are doing the same.
Bob: As long as that continues Dave, I think the Free Peoples are picking up an advantage; they'll be more than happy to run the clock and play defensively, since they win by default if time runs out. Seems kind of one-sided, but that's Gondor-Bowl for ya.
Dave: And that advantage continues - the orcs aren't rolling any swords to help their mobility. At least the mustering's going well. Free Peoples have Imrahil on the field, and Faramir's set up shop in Minas Tirith. Shadow still aren't making a move ... is this Gondor-Bowl or golf???
(... a short span of dull moments later ...)
Bob: Well, it's half-time, and if things don't pick up soon I'm afraid both teams are going to lose some fans.
HALF-TIME INTERLUDE : Orcs mount the stage at center field for a massive Riverdance. Faramir's soldiers follow that up, performing "Men in Tights".
Bob: And - we're back!
Dave: We're got Theoden with Eomer waiting to burst onto the Free Peoples end zone, but it looks like they want to bulk up the reinforcement counters a bit first. At least we're seeing a bit of action now, with a bundle of Gondor footmen advancing to occupy the Causeway and Imrahil's gang charging ahead to back them up. This may be a one-two punch on Osgoliath. I don't know if they've seen that second pile of orcs on the other side of the river, though.
Bob: Looks like it backfired! Osgoliath's laying one on them. They're retreating northwest to the East Dike.
Dave: Whoa, that's no retreat - they've set up a trap around the Causeway. [drawing arrows madly] If the orcs advance here into the Causeway, they'll face a combined force counterattack. A better play would be slipping north or south to make room for that second band to ford the river.
Bob: I expect they're watching the clock and feeling the pressure, Dave - yes, it's a straight advance to Eastern Fields, striking at the East Dike. Looks like they're not taking the Causeway bait, but they're not taking any guff either.
Dave: And now that battle's called off, mired into a draw. At least the second orc army has advanced across the river. Now we've got four armies, two to each side, clustered around the Causeway. It's the Free People's turn to scratch their heads and make a play.
Bob: Wow, that's a daring one Dave - Imrahil's charging ahead into the Causeway and hitting those wounded orcs in Eastern Fields right in the underbelly. Ah, it's no good - dense fog, and the battle's called off after one round.
Dave: Makes you wonder if the orcs had that trick saved up for just that moment. The orcs are retreating back to Osgoliath - no, it's not a retreat, it's a move plus attack, now with five units, right back at Imrahil. This oughta be good!
Bob: Wow, look at those dice flying, they're ... wait a minute ... can you BELIEVE this?
Dave: No Bob, I can't believe this. Viewers, that poor fellow Imrahil cannot roll a single hit. Not in five dice ... ten dice ... fifteen dice ... twenty dice ... whoah, there's one, now two hits, in twenty-five rolls!
Bob: This isn't looking good for the Imrahil posse, Dave, not good at all. Those orcs are just - not - letting - up - and it's over! Imrahil is down and out!
Dave: Wow, that was just incredible. He was one of their star players, and now he's a corpse! This is getting uglier by the minute.
Bob: Well, we ARE talking about orcs here. Huh-huh-huh. How do you think the Free Peoples will respond to that?
Dave: It's not over yet, Bob, not by a long shot - in fact, in as we close out the third quarter the Free Peoples are looking pretty solid. [Drawing more arrows] Theoden and Eomer have entered the fray, and now they've settled into Amun Dun. That'll stop any north orc advance in its tracks. Aragorn's been drafted into the game too, and he's ridden a ship to Harlond with a pack of archers. The Shadow may have won this skirmish, but at the rate time's slipping past, this game's in the bag for the Free Peoples. The Shadow has to pull out all the stops if they want to win this.
Bob: You can bet they do Dave; the excitement ain't over yet! They've occupied the Causeway, so I expect they'll marshal some backup before they ... no, I'm wrong, they're ... making a drive for the end zone!
Dave: That's a gutsy play Bob. You gotta hand it to these orcs, they know an opportunity when they see one. They've rushed right between the Rohan forces and Aragorn, and now they've planted themselves right outside the gate of Minas Tirith!
Bob: Talk about dodging - that was amazing! That was an easy thirty yards, and now they're knocking on the door. Looks like Aragorn's not putting up with that. He's brought his archers to the South City Wall and letting them have it but good. Guess those archers were itching for some action, they're DEADLY! Whew, that was a quick one. Better measure those orcs for some body bags. Huh-huh-huh.
Dave: The Shadow's looking pretty dispirited, Bob. Fate Track stands at fifteen points now with only three to go, and they've made the only desperate act they were capable of. I think that's the ball game.
Bob: 'Fraid you're right Dave. These Shadow orcs have just been way too slow getting their act together. They captured those fords in quick order, but then their pace fell completely off and they've never recovered. They've still got a lot of heart though; looks like another show of force has pulled itself together in Osgoliath, led by Gothmog.
Dave: Yes it has, Bob. Those orcs aren't quitters, that's for sure. They're even sticking their necks out by taking the Causeway again.
Bob: Wow, they just won't go down without a fight. Those East Dike Free Peep forces are digging in for another battle, so it looks like ... wait a minute ... no way ... I can't believe I didn't see that coming!
Dave: I think the Free Peoples must be kicking themselves good and hard now, Bob. The Shadow's made another end zone rush, as if the first wasn't warning enough, and they're right back at the gates again. That's just crazy!
Bob: Aragorn's team's looking a bit wounded from their last encounter, but I think he'll have to ... no, looks like Free Peoples wants to challenge Gothmog with the fresher Rohan cavalry from behind. There's the battle, and ... blows to both sides looks pretty even. The Free Peoples is calling it off!
Dave: Not sure I understand that play, Bob. It looks like they're waiting for their next action so they can pummel those orcs even harder with combined forces. Not a bad idea, but I think they've forgotten something.
Bob: I'd say! Boy ... wow! I'd say! Would ya ... boy oh boy!
Dave: I can't ... this is ... incredible!
[... a few moments of astonished silence ...]
Bob: Sports fans, Gothmog's wounded pack of surrounded orcs is hammering on the gates of Minas Tirith like there's no tomorrow. For defenders, the Free Peoples have Gandalf, Faramir, a leader - and one archer. This is just ... unbelievable. I can't describe it.
Dave: The gate is going down. Crushed, just crushed. The gate and the Free Peoples. I can't watch!
Bob: Then you're missing history in the making. Sports fans, the archer is dead. Minas Tirith has fallen, and that's the game! Unbelievable!
Dave: Look at those Free Peoples fans. Just look at them. They can't believe what they're seeing. That is sheer desolation written on their faces.
Bob: Never mind that, look at those orc fans! They're smashing each other's heads in, they're so excited!
Bob: Can we get some comments from the Free Peoples player? What happened out there? How did overwhelming defence get side-stepped so easily, not once but twice? Why was that last attack called off, when the situation was so desperate?
Free Peoples Player: F*$k off! Get that f*@#ing camera out of my face! [cameraman goes toppling]
Dave: And here's the celebrating orcs - let's have a word from our victors!
Shadow Player's Orcs: RAAWWrrrgh!!! [battleax cleaves Dave's head from his shoulders]
Bob: This is Bob, signing off! [off camera: "Get my eagle ready, this place is coming apart!"]
*closing fanfare, roll credits*
That is great!!! Nice write up!!! Love it!
Fantastic! I've solitaired this scenario a couple of times and realised this is no walk over for Sauron
Plus I was laughing out loud!
This was our third play of this scenario, and the first where we played the rule correctly about Shadow leadership tokens. I'm sorry to say I was the Free Peoples player who 'let the ball drop'.
James: Gondor Bowl fans, we have a special treat for you. An exclusive interview with Gothmog of the victorious Shadow Army. Can you tell me how it felt to sack Minis Tirith and defeat the Free Peoples in this year's Bowl game?
Gothmog [speaking slowly in a creepy, wheezing voice]: It was ... satisfying.
James: I see. You broke the Free Peoples streak of victories with what some people are calling a trick play. Can you elaborate on how you came up with that play?
Gothmog: The weakness ... shown by the ... white wizard and the little king ...allowed my orcs to ... riverdance right up to the gate ... and take the city ... without exerting themselves. Of course ... the beatings I administered ... did hurry their footsteps ... somewhat.
James: But, how did you come up with the play?
Gothmog [glaring at James]: I came up ... with nothing. The Free Peoples ... are weak.
James: Um ... okay. Why did you choose to lead the final play against the gates of Minis Tirith?
Gothmog: It is my ... duty ... to destroy all ... who oppose me. Do you ... oppose me?
James [stuttering]: Of-of-of course not! In fact, I was ... ummm ... cheering your team on right from the start! Way to go orcs!! In the previous Gondor Bowls, your armies never crossed the Anduin. What was different about this year?
Gothmog: I was.
James: Well, you heard it here first, people. Gothmog, the hero of the Shadow Army, speaking of his victory. Back to you, Bob and Dave ... uhhhh ... back to you Bob. Bob? Where'd Bob go?