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

Subject: Shorter Scenarios rss

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David Benito Richards
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I am a great fan of this game, but regrettably I seldom have the time to sit out a whole FTF game in one session. I have seen a couple of interesting variants starting from the Shire in Internet forums, and thus the idea of developing shorter scenarios come to mind.

I hope you find this variant balanced and true to the book. It should cut playing time by about one fifth. I published this some years ago in Veldrin's forum, but now I have decided to publish it here as well, so more people can enjoy it. Comments are welcome!

Anyway, here it is:


Scenario 2: Lothlorien

Place the FSP in Lorien

Place the FSP Progress marker in the 0 box, hidden side up. The Corruption marker starts in the “2” box.

Strider is the FSP Guide. Gandalf the Grey has been killed, and the White has not appeared yet. Place all other Companions in the FSP.

Place two Elven Ring counters in the FP side, one in the SP side.

The Saruman minion card is already in play.

Discard the following event cards:
SP: Balrog of Moria, Foul Thing from the Deep, Cruel Weather, Flocks of Crebain, Orcs Multiplying Anew, Halforcs and Goblins, Many Kings to the Service of Mordor.

FP: Axe and Bow, Grimbeorn the Old, Eomer son of Eomund.

The following events are displayed face up on the table: Wormtongue, Palantir of Orthanc, Mithril Coat and Sting, Horn of Gondor

Shuffle the event decks with the remaining cards; then the SP draws 1 Army event card, 1 Character event card, plus 1 card of either deck at his choice. The FP draws 2 Army event cards and 3 Character event cards.

The following Hunt tiles have already been played: 3, 2 Reveal, 1 Reveal, 0 Reveal.

The SP gets 8 Action Dice, the FP 4 Action Dice.

Political Markers: Dwarves 0 Inactive, Elves at War, North 2 Active, Gondor 1 Inactive, Rohan 0 Inactive, Saruman at War, Sauron at War, Southrons and Easterlings 2 Active.

Troop setup is as follows:

Dwarves: Same as Rivendel scenario (Rivendel scenario is the standard game, i.e. the out-of-the box set up)
Elves: Same as Rivendel scenario
Gondor: Same as Rivendel Scenario

The North:
Bree 1 Regular.
The Carrock 1 Elite, 1 Leader, 1 Regular.
Dale 1 Regular, 1 Leader.
North Downs 1 Elite.
1 Regular has been taken as a casualty.

Rohan:
Edoras 1 Regular, 2 Elites, 1 Leader.
Isenfords: 2 Regular, 1 Leader.
Helm’s Deep: 1 Regular.

Sauron:
Barad-Dur 4 Regular, 1 Elite, 2 Nazgul.
Dol Guldur 8 Regular, 1 Elite, 1 Nazgul.
Gorgoroth 5 Regular.
Minas Morgul 5 Regular, 2 Nazgul.
Moria 1 Regular.
Dimrill Dale 1 Regular.
Mount Gundabad 5 Regular.
Morannon 5 Regular, 2 Nazgul

Southrons & Easterlings:
Near Harad 2 Elite, 8 Regular.
Umbar 5 Regular.
North Rhun 4 Regular.
Ash Mountains 1 Elite, 3 Regular.

Saruman:
The Shire 2 Regular.
South Downs 1 Regular.
South Dunland 2 Regular.
Isengard 3 Elite, 3 Regular, Saruman.

I have already tried Scenario 2. The game was very balanced, it ended in a FP Ring Victory in the same turn that the Shadow got to 11 VP. I think the reason why Scenario 2 seem to be more balanced is that "Historical" Shadow moves were sound in the first few turns (i.e. hit the FSP a lot and build up armies), but later Sauron military deployment was much slower than is usual in the game.




This is the second shorter scenario, which begins just after the breaking of the Fellowship. This scenario should cut playing time by approx. one third.

SCENARIO 3: THE TWO TOWERS


Place the FSP in Western Emyn Muil

Place the FSP Progress marker in the 0 box, hidden side up. The Corruption marker starts in the “3” box.

Gollum is the FSP Guide. Place the Companions as follows: Gandalf the White in Fangorn. Strider, Legolas and Gimli in East Emnet. Merry and Pippin have been taken as casualties when belonging to the FSP; thus, they are out of the game but may be deployed again with a Mustering action. Boromir has been killed.

Place one Elven Ring counter in the FP side, one in the SP side. Discard the third one.

The Saruman minion card is already in play.

Discard the following event cards:

SP: Balrog of Moria, Foul Thing from the Deep, Cruel Weather, Flocks of Crebain, Orcs Multiplying Anew, Halforcs and Goblins, Many Kings to the Service of Mordor, The Breaking of the Fellowship, Orc Patrol, Bane of Isildur, Rage of the Dunlendings.

FP: Axe and Bow, Grimbeorn the Old, Eomer son of Eomund, Horn of Gondor, Galadrim of Celeborn, Guards of the Citadel, Mirror of Galadriel.

The following events are displayed face up on the table: Wormtongue, Palantir of Orthanc, Mithril Coat and Sting.

The following Hunt tiles are prepared for entering the Hunt Pool when the FSP is declared in Mordor: Shelobs Lair, The Ring is Mine, Phial of Galadriel, Elven Cloaks, Elven Rope.

Shuffle the event decks with the remaining cards; then, each player takes one card from one of his decks of his choice and discards it face down. Lastly, the SP draws 2 Army event cards, 1 Character event card, plus 1 card of either deck at his choice. The FP draws 2 Army event cards and 2 Character event cards.

The following Hunt tiles have already been played: 3, 3, 2 Reveal, 2, 1 Reveal, 0 Reveal, 0 Reveal, Eye.

The SP gets 8 Action Dice, the FP 5 Action Dice.

Political Markers: Dwarves 0 Inactive, Elves at War, North 2 Active, Gondor 1 Inactive, Rohan 1 Inactive, Saruman at War, Sauron at War, Southrons and Easterlings at War.

TROOP SETUP IS AS FOLLOWS:

DWARVES: Same as Rivendel scenario

ELVES: Grey Havens 1 Elite, 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Rivendel 2 Elite, 1 Leader. Lorien: 3 Elites, 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Woodland Realm:, 2 Elites, 1 Leader, 1 Regular.

GONDOR: Dol Amroth 3 Regular. Pelargir 1 Regular. Osgiliath 1 Leader, 2 Regular. Minas Tirith 1 Leader, 2 Elites, 3 Regular.

THE NORTH: Bree 1 Regular. The Carrock 1 Elite, 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Dale 1 Regular, 1 Leader. North Downs 1 Elite. Casualties: 1 Regular.

ROHAN: Edoras 1 Regular, 1 Elite, 1 Leader. Isenfords: 1 Elite, 1 Regular. Helm’s Deep: 1 Regular. Casualties: 1 Leader, 1 Regular.

SAURON: Barad-Dur 4 Regular, 1 Elite, 1 Nazgul. Dol Guldur 8 Regular, 1 Elite, 2 Nazgul. Gorgoroth 5 Regular. Minas Morgul 5 Regular, 2 Nazgul. Moria 2 Regular. East Emnet 1 Regular. Eagle’s Eyrie 5 Regular. Morannon 5 Regular, 1 Nazgul. Western Brown Lands, Dead Marshes: 1 Nazgul each.

SOUTHRONS & EASTERLINGS: South Ithilien 1 Elite, 4 Regular. Minas Morgul 1 Elite, 4 Regular. Umbar 5 Regular. North Rhun 1 Elite 5 Regular. Ash Mountains 1 Elite, 3 Regular.

SARUMAN: The Shire 2 Regular. South Downs 1 Regular. Isengard 3 Elite, 5 Regular, Saruman.

I have tried Scenario 3 and it was a relatively easy FSP Ring victory. If you agree that it is a bit biased in favour of the FP, you may try any or both of the following Scenario Special Rules SSR:

1. Lost in Emyn Muil. The first action die spent to move the FSP does not affect the Movement Track. It is placed directly in the Hunt Box. Conduct a Hunt as normal. Gollum is not yet considered the Guide for this Hunt. After this first action, Gollum becomes the Guide as normal.

2. The Black Gate is Closed. The first time the FSP declares in Morannon or Minas Morgul, it is instead moved back 1 area by the FSP player. The FSP may never again declare to be in that Mordor space.




This scenario starts just after the defeat of Saruman, and with the FS having just decided they will not enter Mordor by the Black Gate.

SCENARIO 4: THE TURNING OF THE TIDE

Place the FSP in Dagorlad

Place the FSP Progress marker in the 0 box, hidden side up. The Corruption marker starts in the “5” box.

Gollum is the FSP Guide. Place Gandalf the White,.Strider, Legolas Gimli, Merry and Pippin at Orthanc. Boromir has been killed.

The Witch King and the Mouth of Sauron have not been mustered yet.

Place one Elven Ring counter in the FP side, one in the SP side. Discard the third one.

Discard the following event cards:

SP: Balrog of Moria, Foul Thing from the Deep, Cruel Weather, Flocks of Crebain, Orcs Multiplying Anew, Halforcs and Goblins, Many Kings to the Service of Mordor, The Breaking of the Fellowship, Orc Patrol, Bane of Isildur, Rage of the Dunlendings, Candles of Corpses, Stormcrow, Wormtongue, Palantir of Orthanc, Musterings of Long Planned War, The Fighting Uruk Hai, Threats & Promises.

FP: Axe and Bow, Grimbeorn the Old, Eomer son of Eomund, Horn of Gondor, Galadrim of Celeborn, Guards of the Citadel, Mirror of Galadriel, We Will Prove the Swifter, Riders of Theoden, Treebeard, Athelas, Cirdan’s Ships, Entmoot, The Power of Tom Bombadil, Fire! Fear! Foes!

The following event is displayed face up on the table: Mithril Coat and Sting.

The following Hunt tiles are prepared for entering the Hunt Pool when the FSP is declared in Mordor: Shelob’s Lair, The Ring is Mine, Give It to Uss, Phial of Galadriel, Elven Cloaks, Elven Rope.

Shuffle the event decks with the remaining cards; then, each player takes one card from one of his decks of his choice and discards it face down. Lastly, each player draws 2 Army event cards.

The following Hunt tiles have already been played: 3, 3, 2 Reveal, 2, 1 Reveal, 1 Reveal, 0 Reveal, 0 Reveal, Eye.

The SP gets 7 Action Dice, the FP 5 Action Dice.

Political Markers: Dwarves 0 Inactive, Elves at War, North at War, Gondor 1 Inactive, Rohan at War, Saruman at War, Sauron at War, Southrons and Easterlings at War.

TROOP SETUP IS AS FOLLOWS:

DWARVES: Same as Rivendel scenario

ELVES: Grey Havens 1 Elite, 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Rivendel 2 Elite, 1 Leader. Lorien: 3 Elites, 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Woodland Realm:, 2 Elites, 1 Leader, 1 Regular.

GONDOR: Dol Amroth 3 Regular. Pelargir 1 Regular. Osgiliath 1 Leader, 2 Regular. Minas Tirith 1 Leader, 2 Elites, 3 Regular.

THE NORTH: Bree 1 Regular. The Carrock 1 Leader, 1 Regular. Dale 1 Regular, 1 Leader. North Downs 1 Elite. Casualties: 1 Elite, 1 Regular.

ROHAN: Edoras 1 Regular. Helm’s Deep: 2 Elite, 1 Regular, 1 Leader. Isengard: 1 Leader. Casualties: 1 Leader, 1 Elite, 2 Regular.

SAURON: Barad-Dur 4 Regular, 1 Elite, 1 Nazgul. Dol Guldur 8 Regular, 2 Elite, 2 Nazgul. Gorgoroth 5 Regular. Nurn 5 Regular. Minas Morgul 5 Regular, 2 Nazgul. Moria 2 Regular. Eagle’s Eyrie 1 Regular. Morannon 5 Regular, 1 Nazgul. Western Brown Lands, West Emnet: 1 Nazgul each.

SOUTHRONS & EASTERLINGS: South Ithilien 1 Elite, 4 Regular. Minas Morgul 1 Elite, 4 Regular. Umbar 5 Regular. Carnen Valley 1 Elite 5 Regular. Ash Mountains 1 Elite, 3 Regular. Nurn 3 Regular.

SARUMAN: Buckland 1 Regular The Shire 1 Regular. South Downs 1 Regular. The Saruman minion has been killed, Sharkey is thus available for mustering.

SCENARIO SPECIAL RULES

SHARKEY:
After Saruman is killed, Sharkey may be mustered instead of a Nazgul in a normal SP Mustering action. Sharkey is placed with any Isengard army. He functions with Leadership 1 for movement and battle purposes and has no special abilities. Sharkey is affected by FP Combat Cards as a Nazgul. Once eliminated, he may not be replaced. Use the Saruman miniature to portray Sharkey.


ENT-DRAUGHT: The “Merry & Pippin, Not Great Generals” Optional Rule should not be used in this scenario.

THE BLACK GATE IS CLOSED: The FSP may only declare in Mordor at Minas Morgul.



I have tried Scenario 4 with a friend. Playing time was about half the normal game. The FP won a narrow Ring victory, but came very close to Military Victory. We thought a FP Military Victory seemed relatively easy to pull out, especially as Moria and Mt Gundabad may not recruit any more Orc Regulars at the start of the game. It was also "unrealistically" easy to reconquer The Shire, as the FP can recruit at Lindon, the Blue Mts and Bree, whereas Saruman reinforcements have to come all the way from Dunland.

Suggested changes to the set up provided above:

S&E The units that start at the Ash Mtns should start in Dagorlad instead
SAURON The Nazgul that starts in the Brown Lands starts in Dagorlad. No Orc regulars in Nurn; instead, Eagles Eyrie has 4 Orc Regulars.
THE NORTH Add 1 Elite at The Carrock

Saruman should only be able to recruit in The Shire and Bree, if controlled. No recruitment is allowed in Dunland or Orthanc.

Other changes that may be considered: Any SP Army entering Orthanc takes 1d6 hits (the Ents stand guard). Orthanc is worth only 1 VP to the FP.
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Kristofer Bengtsson
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Just wait a few more days and the official Breaking of the Fellowship scenario will be released by Ares as a downloadable pdf.
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dave
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David, thanks for doing this as I like the idea for a short, say 3-4 turn game that could be used for teaching someone or if you only had an hour or so to play.

I like the Breaking of the FSP scenario, but I think it is really just an alternative, full length game (with a screwed up SP start!) so your variants may just be the thing for a shorter game.

I've just skimmed through your scenarios, but right now I'm thinking that by the time I sorted through everything to get the board/cards set up, I probably would already be on turn 3 or 4 of a regular game. The solution here I think is the computer version of the game where, once the game log is set up, presto you're ready to play. So, if anyone wanted (you may have already done this) to set up the game on the computer--ie, realigning all the armies and going through all of the card decks to find the discards and then reassemble the decks, then that file could be saved and used, either just in the file section of bgg (but there might have to just be a default no password though), or this file could be used by Andy who said it was pretty easy to incorporate the file into the computer program. Once a computerized version of these 3 were done, I think everybody would give them at least 1 look. Anyhow, just a thought.
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David Benito Richards
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Hi Dave, thanks for your suggestion.
From a personal side, the fact that set-up time is a bit longer is not a big problem... with my friends in Spain, it is customary to meet for games after siesta, so I just cut my nap a little shorter to have everything ready when the guest(s) arrive.:D
I have never played the computer version of this game, so of course I have not prepared an alternative computerized setup.
What has indeed been done is to list all the set ups in Excel files. This was done by someone who goes by the name of Perry in Veldrin's forum. He said the forum did not admit attachments to be uploaded.
From my side, I do not have any objections to anyone creating or distributing such computer files for my variant; I would only request that they quote me as creator of the variant (just common courtesy).
Anyway, the way I came up with these alternative setups was to set up the regular game, and then play "by the book", i.e. trying to replicate the "actual" moves in the Lord of The Rings novel. I will publish this "The Game as History" someday when I have more time to dedicate to this.
 
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The Bill
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I'm very interested in the possibility of shorter scenarios. When I'm with my hard-core wargamer friends, 3-5 hours seems pretty standard, but it would be nice to see an alternative that is under 3 hours to play with people who don't have an attention span for long war games but still like the game (I know, some believe you can't (or shouldn't) separate the epic length of the game from the game itself, but the reality is, sometimes "cuts" can be made to bring more people to the table).
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