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Subject: Overtime and Sudden Death rss

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David F
United States
Emeryville
California
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Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
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Let the Lord of Chaos rule.
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Shadow
David F
United States
Emeryville
California
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Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
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Let the Lord of Chaos rule.
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Free Peoples
Mont A.
United States
Carbondale
Illinois
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2
















Previously,
Game 1: When More Eyes is Good
Game 2: (brief note)
Game 3: Fell Deeds Awake!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
This game ends in a corruption victory, after an incredible swing of back-and-forth in the end resulted in the FP being forced to take the last step and dunk the ring after the Shadow reached 10 VPs.


Turn 1: Rising Powers
I thought of placing 2 Eyes in the Hunt Box, thinking that a successful early hunt could force the hand of Gandalf the White, and possibly bring in hunty Witch-king , which I still haven’t had the right opportunity to try yet. Still went with 1, because whenever you don’t put 1 in the box, the dice know how to screw you. Sure enough, I rolled 3 additional Eyes. My opponent rolled 1 Character, 2 Musters and a Combo, and decided to let the Fellowship stay put.

I drew a card for my first action, and it made the rest of my turn easy. “A NEW POWER IS RISING!” I proclaimed in my best Christopher Lee impersonation, after I mustered Isengard to war and brought in Saruman. This is probably the scariest early-game card out there (recruiting 8 points of units i.e. 4 muster dice), and it easily helped me decide where to strike first.

My opponent used all his dice (with the help of an elven ring) to bring the Elves to war and muster Galadriel. He is a fan of getting the 5th die early.

Turn 2: Fall of the Riddermark
I used the Voice of Saruman only once to upgrade elites, and it was go time, with a 7-stack (5 Elites). I had over-mustered 10-stacks in our last game with me as the Shadow, and I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again. I entered the undefended Fords of Isen without pushing Rohan down the political track, after he had consolidated all of the Rohirrim into a 5-stack (6 hp) at Helm’s Deep. Taking advantage of this, I detached a single Uruk to take over all Rohirrim settlements, including Edoras, before engaging Helm’s Deep and bringing it to war. DREADFUL SPELLS then provided 1 hit, scaring all the mounts of Rohan away, leaving only regulars in the 5-stack.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
To be exact, I took Westemnet and Edoras, then attacked Helm’s Deep to bring Rohan to war, he forgot to muster an Elite in Anorien (which would have, with a couple more musters, retaken Edoras against my 1 regular, and I then swept Anorien away.

In hindsight, that was not a smart move at all from me. After I took Westemnet, he could have pushed Rohan on the political track, forcing me to take Edoras and let Anorien/Helm’s Deep recruit, or besiege Helm’s Deep and let Edoras/Anorien recruit. I need to bring 2-4 guys to clean out Rohan for future games).

The Fellowship moved once (only 1 character die). It augured well for me early, with me already sitting on 1 VP with the Fellowship only having moved once toward Mordor.

With my last action, I used the Elven ring to muster the Balrog (overriding an Event die).

Turn 3: The Shadow Sleeps
And then the early momentum was cruelly wrested away, after I received 1 Army, 1 Muster, 2 Eye and 5 Event dice on Turn 3. Even worse, 2 out of my 5 cards said “Play only if the Witch-king is in play” (too early for him), 2 said “Play only if all Shadow nations are at war” (not even close) and the last said “Play if the fellowship is not in a Free Peoples settlement” (never!). I sorely missed the Elven ring I burned last turn. I drew a card, hoping to draw something playable, and did get to play WORN WITH SORROW AND TOIL (discard a FP Character Event if a companion dies, great while Gandalf is still in the Fellowship), but promptly hit another unplayable card (“Play if a Nazgul is in Dol Guldur”) with my 3rd Event die.

With my hand choked up, I attacked Helm’s Deep even though it was suicide (he had siege superiority), because I at least wanted to use a combat effect and free up a card slot. I dealt 1 hit at the cost of an expected 5 casualties (he used an Ent combat card that added 2 to combat rolls, allowing him to hit on 2+), and had to knock out a regular and bring 4 elites down to size, but it was okay since I had Nazgul there to provide leadership. With my Muster die, I called the Hillmen of Dunland to my side, foreseeing the need for future reinforcements, and creating the beginnings of a 10-stack in Dunland (3 Uruks and 2 Dunlendings each in North and South due to A NEW POWER IS RISING). However, THE POWER OF TOM BOMBADIL quickly made the Shire a lot less attractive.

The Fellowship seized the momentum and moved 3 times against 2 Eyes. The Hunt only succeeded once, in Dimrill Dale, but WIZARD STAFF gave him safe passage through Moria.

Turn 4: Reawakening
He rolled 3 Character dice, but wanted to move only once and declare in Lorien, partly to heal, and partly to get rid of the WORN WITH SORROW AND TOIL I had on the table. He also had 1 more Will of the West die, which made his mind up easily for him. After a successful move brought the Fellowship to step 5 (and Lorien), Strider and Boromir journeyed to Edoras from Rivendell through the Gap of Rohan, and then to Minas Tirith, as the Will of the West awaited. But lo, one of my unplayable cards was suddenly playable. STORMCROW pushed Gondor one step back on the political track and eliminated a regular from Osgiliath. This was crucial, because Gondor was one step from war (he had pushed it down in a previous turn), and this respite meant that I could take Osgiliath without fear of a retaliatory muster in Minas Tirith. Seizing the opportunity, my 10-stack in North Ithilien stormed the fort with my last action. Aragorn was crowned within the seven walls as storm clouds gathered over the White City.

Strider and Boromir were witnesses to the siege of Helm’s Deep when they rode across the Westemnet plains. Since reinforcements from South Dunland would take 3 Army dice to reinforce the siege, I decided to use 2 Muster dice to recruit 4 Dunlendings from around Helm’s Deep, then attacked (4 Uruks, 1 Warg, 4 Dunlendings against 4 Regulars + 1 Leader), ignoring siege superiority since he already had 2 trebuchets to my 0. OLD HATRED from the Dunlendings dealt an important hit, and Helm’s Deep fell on the next die.

Turn 5: Calm Before the Storm
The Fellowship declared in Lorien (0 corruption), and the Balrog’s tile was a disappointing 0. He then moved the Fellowship 4 times, putting the pressure on me. Gandalf the Grey died on the third move (2-damage), Legolas died on the fourth (2-damage). Still no reveals, unfortunately.

I stalled, using Army dice to march (the Morannon army doubled back toward Gondor) and Muster dice to push the Southrons & Easterlings down, waiting for a mistake just in case. There was none, and I had to act. Upon the steps of Minas Tirith, I brought forth my own champion, the Black Captain, to meet the King of Gondor. Then THE RINGWRAITHS ARE ABROAD brought the victorious Nazgul from Helm’s Deep, and the siege began. The 10-stack (11 hp) dug in against a 5-stack (6hp) that boasted 4 Leadership with Aragorn, Boromir and Denethor.

Turn 6: The Race Heats Up
My focus was entirely on Minas Tirith at this point, for I needed to kill Aragorn to slow down the Fellowship. On my first action, GROND, HAMMER OF THE UNDERWORLD rammed against the first level. Amazingly, I took Minas Tirith in one die with the 3 rounds of combat provided by Grond, even though he had siege superiority. Aragorn marshaled an inept defense, with his first two combat cards both being useless (since they subtracted 1 from my combat roll, but I did not play cards that added to my combat roll). FOUL STENCH stopped deadly re-rolls from him on the first round, and I rolled 3 hits. The 3rd round finished off the straggler, with 4 surviving orcs, and I did not even have to sacrifice anybody to ONSLAUGHT, my 3rd combat card. And the 10-stack in Osgiliath did not even taste battle.

A 5-stack with siege superiority fell on a single die, and Aragorn was killed only 2 turns after he was crowned. To make matters worse, my opponent had erred in not laying down THE CHALLENGE OF THE KING with his first action of the turn, and that was now dead-weight after the sudden unexpected demise of Aragorn. The pendulum had swung again.

It was a race against time now. He had 2 Character dice. The first move was safe, the second was a 0-reveal, and he drew an extra tile for entering Morannon, which was merely a 1. He was forced to use his 2nd Elven ring to hide the Fellowship, or waste a whole turn being unable to declare in Mordor. The Fellowship reached Mordor with just 1 corruption and a hefty 3 companions remaining! I immediately used MORGUL WOUND to deal 2 corruption before he could hide. 2 Shadow special tiles (the eye and the 1) and no blue tiles went into the Mordor Hunt Pool.

My forces were not ready. I had hastily burnt the useful THE BLACK CAPTAIN COMMANDS as a combat card for Minas Tirith and was unable to rally the Nazgul since I had no Character dice. But I had to act when he mustered the North to war, and my 6-stack from South Rhun was compelled to attack Dale before the defenders could get their act together. There was no time to wait for the 4-stack from North Rhun or for Nazgul to join up.

The lines were drawn for the final battles. He mustered an Elite in Dol Amroth immediately after the fall of Minas Tirith, which made me look away from Gondor. I had 14 units around Minas Tirith and another 10-stack of Southrons approaching, but the distances were too great, the spirit of Man too strong, and Pelargir and Dol Amroth would still only give me 8 VPs. I had to quickly consolidate my Easterling forces with a slow, lumbering 8-stack from Dol Guldur, and take the DEW quickly.

There were no Free Peoples survivors out of Dale. He used a Muster/Army die to call the ranger in the Old Forest Road to the Woodland Realm, and the dwarf in Iron Hills to Erebor.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In hindsight, he lamented he should have mustered an elite in Woodland Realm, gaining 2 total hitpoints and leaving the other two as speed bumps and liberation forces).
I gave siege to Woodland Realm, and even though I had a 6-stack (7 hp) against his 3-stack (4hp), with no leadership against his 1, I correctly predicted he would not give me field battle since the risks were too great, and he had a trebuchet inside the stronghold. This bought me a breather to bring the Nazgul in next turn, as he could no longer muster in the Woodland Realm.

Turn 7: The Dominoes Fall
2 Character dice for the Fellowship. The first was a 3-tile, and both Gimli and Merry were killed. Then a grave setback followed as Smeagol joined the Fellowship. The Fellowship ended Turn 7 with 3 corruption and 2 companions in tow, plus 1 Elven ring. Time was running out.

Again, the Free Peoples had siege superiority in the Woodland Realm, but I had no time to worry about that. After the Nazgul joined up with the besiegers, I used DEADLY STRIFE to wipe out most of the defenders, and the stronghold fell in 1, maybe 2 dice. I still had 4 regulars left. These marched immediately toward Erebor. I quickly realized my mistake as he mustered in Carrock, and I had to spend a precious half of an Army die to push 1 regular back to defend my newly-taken stronghold. Reinforcements finally came from North Rhun. Half of the 4-stack went to hold Dale, in case the Iron Hills grew belligerent, and the other half formed up with the vanguard, as the 5-stack (all regulars) marched into Erebor.

Turn 8: Stalwarts of the Lonely Mountain
The new dawn saw Erebor ready to fall, but that would be for naught if the Fellowship, 3 steps away from the Crack of Doom, could destroy the One Ring. The tension grew when he rolled 2 Character dice, with one last Elven ring in reserve. The first move caused 2 damage. He did not want to assign 2 Corruption, because he was hoping to get Gollum in play to discard my much-used CAPTAIN OF DESPAIR (every Character die I use is placed in the Hunt Box as an Eye). Instead, he took a random casualty, praying the 50-50 pull would not be Smeagol, for fear that WE SHALL GET IT. It was Smeagol. Pippin also died immediately once he became Guide.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Every single point of damage mattered here, including We Shall Get It.

On the second move, Smeagol’s death reared its ugly head when he pulled the 2nd Smeagol tile. After throwing it away, he pulled… yes! The red eye tile! The Fellowship took 4 corruption and was forced to stop 2 moves away from Mordor, with no Character dice left – the tide had turned once again! I hastily played LURE OF THE RING to up his corruption to 8 before he could spend his last Elven ring to hide the Fellowship.

I had to wrap up the victory this turn before the Fellowship could mount a renewed assault upon Mount Doom on the morrow. My 5-stack of regulars with all the Nazgul attacked the 2-stack (3hp, 1 leadership) in Erebor with no fear, for I had DREAD AND DESPAIR (FP rolls 1 fewer die for every point of leadership I forfeit) in reserve in case the attack went south and he counter-attacked.

I revealed DEADLY STRIFE (+2 modifier to both sides), then paled when he revealed LAST DEFENCES, which added his 2 Trebuchets to give him 4 Combat dice. I was prepared for 2 deaths from 2 dice, but not for that: 4 dice hitting at 2+ against my 5-stack of Regulars! I dealt 1 hit, while he scored hits on all 4.

I covered my face now as the counter-attack came. All 5 of my Nazgul and the Witch-king were there with that sole unit left, cowering before the 2 Dwarven regulars led by Dain Ironfoot in the sortie, who cried vengeance for the fallen. The impending loss of all my Nazgul would deal my hopes of victory a fatal blow. I played DREAD AND DESPAIR, he got to roll 1 Combat die, missed, re-rolled it, and… he missed again!.

Gratefully, I retreated, and used SHADOWS GATHER to force-march my Dol Guldur stack to Dale, then place the Dwarves of Erebor under siege once again. 10-stack (11hp) with the full force of the Nazgul against 2 Dwarves and a Leader, and I had one Army Die left. This was it. The first round yielded 1 casualty. A side effect of his successful sortie was that he had to remove both his trebuchets, so for the first time in the game, I did not have to overcome his siege superiority. I got to downgrade my troll, rolled another 5+5 attack and… missed.

Shit! I was still in a daze as Turn 8 drove to a close. This game was going overtime.

Turn 9: The End of All Things
He rolled 2 Character Dice, once again putting him at match point with him 2 steps away from Mount Doom. I rolled 1 Eye in addition to the one I placed, and I started wondering if I was 1 die too late.

His first action was to move the Fellowship, It was 1 corruption, putting him at 9, but more importantly, it added a 3rd Eye to the Hunt Box. With no Character dice to spare on the way to Mordor and no Elven rings to manufacture more, he could not use Gollum’s ability to reveal and reduce the damage by 1.

On my action, I completed the siege of pesky Erebor. It was do-or-die.

The Fellowship entered the Crack of Doom, and drew a 0-tile. “WE MUST HAVE IT!” I yelled Gollum screeched, and a replacement tile was drawn. It was an Eye. 3 damage to a 9-corruption Fellowship. I was too drained to celebrate the victory.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Post-mortem revealed that 3 of 8 tiles in the bag would have given him the victory (0, 1 and 2 versus 4 Eyes and 1-damage Red), or a 10.7% chance of winning with the We Must Have It re-draw.


Misc Facts
- He did not roll an Event Die until Turn 6, after seeing about 30 dice. And of course, it was 1 turn after the death of Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf the White never entered play.
- I never built a Siege Tower, and battled against siege superiority everywhere except Erebor. Each time, 2 Trebuchets were waiting for me, so I decided to suck up the casualties instead of using Muster Dice to build 2, then suffer from his sacrifice. Combat cards helped quicken sieges against lightly defended strongholds, and against the two 5-stacks in Minas Tirith and Helm’s Deep, Grond and Dreadful Spells + Old Hatred respectively allowed me to finish the siege before getting bogged down with casualties.
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