Just want to say i love this game. Its fun and complicated enough to be interesting, while simple enough to not have to check the rule book often.
Ive only played 2 games so far. The first took absolute hours lol and i think we did a fair few things wrong so i wont count. The second we had the hang of the rules and finished in two nights. The first game i split the companionship up almost immedietly, this seemed to work pretty well in the battles but in the end i was overwhelmed running out of reinforcements in many areas. So a win for the shadow...
I was ready for the second game with a new gameplan. Get the fellowship to Mordor quickly and in one piece!!
So here is a report which i tried to make insteresting.
War of the Ring, the true story.
The shadow started quickly moving Isengard to war and capturing the fords of Isen and Westemnet. Saruman showed himself in Orthank and Grima wormtongue worked his magic on Rohan and frustratingly for me Rohan failed to see the dangers thinking the raids were just a growing orc problem. They were hemmed into Helmsdeep and Edoras and refused to prepare an army in defence.
Forces were building in the South and Mordor to massive levels early on and they moved towards Osgiliath and Minas Tirith caputiring the ruins and putting Minas Tirith under seige. Taking Gondor to war. I could see Saurons plan was to create an unchallenged army and then roll over the whole of middle earths people one by one, and so far only the Elves and Gondor could see this.
The fellowship was discovered by Nazgul as they headed from Rivendell early on in the Fords of Bruinen and Frodo felt the pain, then soon they headed through Moria aiming for Loth Lorien. In a suprise twist Gimli and Legolas hitched a ride from the Eagle lord and were dropped in the Elven forest Kingdom with plans to rouse the men and Dwarfs. They had left the company at the fords of Bruinen early on. By this time the elves were already at war having realised the seriousness of the situation but i saw men and dwarfs as a necessity to hold back the growing shadow. The company made it through moria without event but at attack in Dimril Dale meant Frodo suffered a morgul wound, Boromir lessening the damage calling for aid with the Horn of Gondor.
I had now realised i had to split the fellowship to try to rouse the nations or it would all be over pretty quick. Saurons lies meant that no alliance was going to happen without some intervention.
In the south things were getting worse, the battle flowed around Minas Tirith and Denethor threw himself to his death, the loss of leadership meant it was only time until it would fall. It was here Gandalf decided he had to leave the fellowship Strider following him. A choice made easier as Frodo insisted he could go alone. There was no need for that yet though as Boromir stayed now leading a smaller fellowship of just 4 hobbits onwards after their brief stop in Lorien.
Unknown to the shadow the fellowship changed direction to Edoras following Gandalf, as now the ringbearer needed to rest urgently. Gandalf and Strider quickly arrived in Edoras and then removing Grima. Though the horse lords still needed pursuading to fight. By this point things were going from bad to worse. Only the elves and Gondor saw the seriousness of the situation, the fellowships run to Mordor had become a crawl and now they needed a long rest in Edoras...
Things began to take a turn for the better in Gondor, In Lemadon the infighting between Southrons and Mordor orcs claimed a chunk of the army heading for Dol Amroth. Their attack on the city failed with high casualties and a glimmer of hope appeared. Though Gondors neglected armies didnt have the power to follow up this retreat and Minas Tirith was still under siege. They were given some breathing space as the army reinforced.
Gimli and Legolas had finally pursuaded the dwarves and a large dwarven elven alliance moved into dale and this seemed to relieve the pressure for a moment on the other nations. Sauruman pulled back from Rohan having not assaulted either of the cities and began to mass more troops. His eye turned north. Was the ring in the hands of a Elven Dwarfen army?
The easterlings began to push from the east towards to dwarven alliance, more through Saurons pride to crush such a large army then need. The first massed battle of the war of middle earth saw Legolas and Gimli smash the Easterling army on the old forest road and push them south fleeing for their lives. The alliance army advancing after them but this advance was a fatal mistake...
The fellowship were chased into Edoras followed by flocks of crebain and arrived in Edoras with Gandalf already there and began to rest. Frodo was nearly the slave of the ring. Gandalf was still trying to rouse Rohan, Strider set off into Pelargir to recapture it with his army of ghosts but there was no enemy there the soldiers he roused there could hopefully save Dol Amroth though, which now fell under siege from the reinforced easterlings. All concetration was on the armies of the free peoples as the fellowship rested.
Gandalf the grey moved into Helms deep and almost immediately it was attacked falling but with great cost to Sarumans troops. Gandalf fell with the defending army but he had known these odds and was buying time.
Legolas and Gimli saw the error of their headstrong advance after the Easterlings through Mirkwood. The Sauron army south of them had been amassing in Don Guldor came upon them with such speed and ferocity they were defeated before they could retreat, slaugtered to a man and now Erebor Dale and the woodland realm were left undefended.
The fellowship was hunted again as they left Edoras Meriadoc escaping the clutches of the orc band sent for them but at this point Boromir left the fellowship. Unable to ignore his homelands plight he joined Strider and begand recruiting in Pelagir.
For a few days there was a lull in the fighting and little change as the shadow amassed troops and the free people tried to do the same Gandalf the White appeared in Fangorn and roused the Ents, who immediatly destroyed an undefended Orthanc killing Saruman.But all too late, Helms deep had fallen and it was too much to ask the Riders of Rohan to capture it back. Dale the woodland realm and Erebor fell and now it was a matter of time before the shadow won. The only hope laid with the fellowship...
But the fellowship was paralysed, unable to move with speed because of the battle raging around, Minas Tirith finally fell and the free people were one city from defeat.
In the final battle Strider and Boromir headed up the defence of Pelagir against overwhelming odds from the Southrons and died heroicly refusing to retreat in a short horrific battle. The fellowships of Frodo, Sam and Peregrin took were on the road somewhere betweeen Edoras and the gates of Mordor, having lost merry near Edoras.
All of middle earth was covered in a second darkness...
*** *** ***
So fun game even though i lost. I feel the shadow has a massive advantage in this game and as the free peoples you are firefighting and its hard to be proactive. I think the secret to winning is going to be to take control and try to make your plan happen as Free people. I think against a decent enemy a military victory will be impossible. What are your experiences?
Finally i love how in this game your plans count for nothing as the plans soon fall apart, just as in a real war. I had plans to capture the north of Sarumans lands, and put pressure on him, but couldnt even move an army near to do so. I had plans to ressurect Gandalf quicker but couldnt get a will of the west. I had plans to attack the Witch kings stronghold in the north but couldnt amass or motivate a nation to do so. I had plans to speed the fellowship in one piece to Mordor but other things distracted me, and i had plans to defend Erebor and Dale steadfastly but overconfidence destroyed those plans...
Advice and feedback would be welcome!! Obviously after one game its impossible to make a judgement on difficulty for one side or another.
Moved to Sessions
I can be tougher for the Free player if the Fellowship are revealed and corrupted early in the game. I would double-check you are playing the hunt rules correctly, as your game had a lot of corruption earlier in the game then you would expect.
Having said that the game is about adapting plans to suit the cards and dice available and large early corruption can happen. In those circumstances you have to pick your fights very carefully and look for any weaknesses in the shadow lines to see if you can threaten a military win of your own.
Yes they were revealed pretty much immediately and then cards were played to damage or reveal them also. There were a few very lucky rolls. But i think possibly initially we were playing slightly wrong. Its something we need to look at. I think as we started we may have been rolling with every dice in the hunt pool, instead of using free peoples to lower the score needed.
The hunt seems to be the most complicated part of the game i think. I dont think it had much of an impact though as i often didnt move more than one place per turn in the end.
Has anyone managed a military win as the free peoples?
PS in the second game where we are definately playing the hunt correctly I have had about 6 tiles drawn against me and only made it to hte woodland realm...
My opponent is very lucky (this is only ever placing one dice in the hunt pool). Its very frustrating, also once they are revealed or in a non freindly square the opponent can go to town on them.
Ps i think a military win as free poeples is more achievable since i saw that you only need 4 points, which is a big difference lol!