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Subject: The Age of Men rss

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Tatzelbelm
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The following game was played as part of the 2013 WotR online tourney. Magic Geek, currently the best WotR-player according to the ladder, was playing the Free People while I was playing the Shadow. For some perspective, this was my fifth game overall, third as the Shadow and first against an aggressive FP player, which really threw me for a loop.

At this point I'd also like to thank Peter Majek for organizing and managing this tourney and of course a big thanks to Magic Geek for this daring play, which I just have to write down, because it was totally awesome.

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This story is a tribute to the brave people of Bree, back when it was an unimportant town, a tribute to the strength of men and their greatest triumph over the Shadow.

Game board at the start of round 1 (standard setup):

A long time ago, representatives of all the Free People met at the council of Elrond in Rivendell.
Elrond: "Sauron is preparing for war! We have to sent a small, covert group to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring!"
Strider: "No! I must go and help my people in Gondor!"
Boromir: "Yeah, what he's saying! Who cares about a small piece of jewellery!"
Legolas: "I heard Lorien is being threatened by a force of orcs gathering in Dol Guldur. I have to help my cousins, I can't stay here!"
Gimli: "What's the next village where I can get some decent Ale? I'll just go there. Nothing decent to drink around here"
Pippin: "I have to warn my people! Warn the Shire that they have to Fear the Firesetting Foes which are coming to burn our settlements!"
Merry: "Gondor sounds cool. Hey Strider, can I come with you?"
Frodo: "I like it here. Nice waterfalls. And Bilbo's here. And I hate blood and fighting. I'd rather stay here."
Gandalf: *shakes his head* "We're doomed, they've all gone mad. Can't they see we have to destroy the ring? It seems I have some work to do to persuade Frodo."

Meanwhile, Sauron and Saruman prepared for the upcoming war. Saruman revealed his evil intentions, and in response to Pippins' warmongering in Bree Sauron called his most trusted minion, the Witch-King, to lead an army into Gondor to crush his foes and kill Strider before he can reveal his lineage and be crowned king.

Start of round 2:

Pippin continued marshaling able-bodied men and women of the north in Bree. Legolas arrived in Lorien, and Strider, Boromir and Merry arrived in Dol Amroth.

The eye of Sauron looked to the north, worrying if more orcs should be rallied in the northern holdings. But the HE, the king, was in the south in Gondor. HE must not be crowned, and if he is, HE must fall. Moria is deep and full of terrors, and the loss of Mount Gundabad and Angmar would hurt, but not cripple him. When Gondor and Rohan have fallen, the rest of the free people would fall as well.

Start of round 3:

Strider started working on preparing Gondor who the inevitable onslaught, and on looking for his ID certifying he really is the true king of Gondor. It seemed to be missing, hopefully it wasn't in the pocket of his other ranger's cape, the one he left in Bree.

The Witch-King received simple orders from his master. "Crush Gondor!". His army left Mordor and started the great siege of Minas Tirith.

Gandalf was not progressing well in motivating Frodo to leave Rivendell.

Start of round 4:

More troops were mustered in all the lands, even in sleepy Rohan a few people began to doubt the good intentions of their friend and neighbour Saruman and his intimidating army of Uruk-Hai. And the army in Bree continued to grow.

The Witch-King led a short and fruitless assault on Minas Tirith. But Minas Tirith wasn't important right now, it was enough that half the forces of Gondor were trapped inside. HE was in Dol Amroth. Dol Amroth was more important.

Start of round 5:

In Umbar, the preparations of the Corsairs were finished. "With this armada we shall take Gondor by surprise! Dol Amroth will fall! Death to the King, death to Gondor!". The great Armada set sail started the amphibious assault of Dol Amroth. "They come without proper leadership and cannot retreat - we shall fight and defeat them in the field." Strider told the brave soldiers of Gondor. After a bloody battle the Olliphants and many dark-skinned soldiers were dead - but the losses on Gondor's side were almost as many. Only a single unit of gondorian infantry made it into their fortress along with Strider, Boromir and Merry. The leader of the Southrons grinned and ordered his men to rest until morning. "They're as good as dead, we outnumber them five to one. They will die in the morning hours tomorrow.".

During round 5 after the Corsairs arrived:

The southron leader was no longer amused. "Please elaborate. We surround their fortress, outnumbering them five to one. We came from the sea with the largest fleet we ever built. And you are saying some elven ships slipped by and reinforced them in the night? Execute the watchposts, and prepare for a longer siege, we need reinforcements."
But the elves and men did not wait, they sallied forth and eliminated the rest of the corsairs.

Strider was pleased. The siege was lifted, and he'd finally found his ID papers. "Guys, prepare the coronation, and draft some more men. There's orcs in the hills coming this way".

And Gandalf was still trying to talk Frodo into taking the Ring to Mount Doom.

Start of round 6:

Sauron was growing impatient. A humiliating defeat like that must not happen again. He sent his Nazgul to lead his orcs in the new attack on Dol Amroth and coerced some lazy hill trolls to support them. The brave folk of Dol Amroth were not intimidated, though. More troops joined their ranks, and Strider was crowned.
"Death to the King! Death to the hope of Gondor and the free people!" was the battle-cry of the orcs during the new assault on Dol Amroth, but it was the orcs that died, not the free people.
"Are they even trying?" wondered Aragorn as he watched the Nazgul flee the field with the few surviving orcs.

Gandalf finally lost his patience with Frodo. Maybe Pippin was a better choice after all. Disgusted he left Rivendell for Bree and, after arriving, got some new, sparkling white robes.

Start of round 7:


Annoyed by the stubbornness of Aragorn and his people a new host of orcs and southrons united with the surviving orcs and Nazgul and marched on Dol Amroth. Third time's the charm, Sauron thought. The war wasn't going as fast as hoped, but if this was a war of attrition so be it. There were more orcs for the meat grinder than men. And the ranks of able-bodied men were growing thin. Aragorn holed up in the fortress of Dol Amroth, things were looking grim.

But then the mighty host of northmen from Bree started their march under the leadership of Gandalf. And the eye of Sauron quickly switched its focus. Gondor wasn't defeated yet, but... contained. Rohan was peaceful and uninvolved. The Ring was still in Rivendell. Gandalf and his army... if they were defeated, the lands would fall to him. There would be no one left to rise up against him.

The northmen left Bree to the south. Will he go to Moria and continue to Dol Guldur, or will march on Isengard, rally Rohan and try to free Gondor, Sauron thought. He went to Moria, driving the orcs into its deeps. The Balrog was so surprised by this turn of events he even forgot to attack those filthy trespassers.

Start of round 8:

Saruman, sitting in Isengard, pondered. So Gandalf wasn't coming here after all. Should he have ordered his troops to march on him worried less about Rohan waking up and taking his tower when it's only lightly defended? Too late now. But this way he could march on Rohan when Sauron's taken those last desperate guys out.

Gandalf's army left Moria without testing its fortified defenders, only leaving a small detachment of northern archers, and united his forces with the elves of Lorien, including their guest Legolas. Clearly a reaction to the forces of Dol Guldur nearing, Sauron thought. But he was troubled. The host of Dol Guldur was strong, but the combined forces of the Free People were stronger. Gandalf went south towards Rohan. This made it clear to Sauron that he was trying to liberate Minas Tirith. The forces from Dol Guldur jumped him in Parth Celebrant with support from the pissed off Balrog. A short, but effective battle in which many elves and northmen died. But Gandalfs army was still impressive and continued to Dol Guldur.
"Clearly he's trying to take Dol Guldur and will then backtrack to take Moria. But my eastern allies will join forces with the forces of Dol Guldur. Together they outnumber them, grind them down and then the free people will have lost their last hope!" .

Start of round 9:

Sauron was simultaneously pleased and worried. The losses of his enemies were irreplaceable, but his own forces were endless, and he had troops in all corners of the world. But Gandalf was still dangerous with his followers. They were even besieging Dol Guldur, but also between a host of orcs and one of easterlings. Unite them and crush him, if possible trap him in Dol Guldur. But Gandalf didn't attack Dol Guldur, instead he went north to replace his losses with elves and beornings. Sauron was stumped. "What is he doing, he wondered"?

Mid of round 9:

"Now I see!" Sauron realized. "He's trying to conquer the east, to stop reinforcements from Rhun and will then lead an attack of all northerners and elves on Dol Guldur before taking Moria. This way I would not be able to get reinforcements to liberate the conquered regions! But I will prepare a welcoming committee for him. I will gather the strongest easterlings, and together with my Dol Guldur orcs they will finally, finally crush him and steal all hope from the filthy humans!". And Sauron recruited three elite units in east rhun. With the five regulars, this would cost Gandalf dearly to defeat them.

But Gandalf went south. And the eye of Sauron did what noone thought it could do. It frowned. And wondered. And came to a realization. Oh no. This can't be happening. He can't be going here. Like, here! Is he even allowed to do that by the wizard's union? There were now only two of his armies left which could still attack Gandalf. The Witch-King (who was growing pretty bored in front of Minas Tirith) and the orcs and easterlings from Dol Guldur, which had slightly more troops. So he ordered them to attack Gandalfs troops, in a desperate fight to the last orc. But Gandalf retreated. Further to the south. Sauron wanted to cry. That had been stupid. Gandalf grinned, and set up residence in the completely undefended Morannon.

Start of round 10:

The last orcs present in Mordor made a last attack on the invading northmen, but they were simply not enough. The northmen killed them, and took up residence in Minas Morgul and Barad-Dur.

Silently, Gandalf ascended Mount Doom. From the top he could survey Mordor. Friendly flags waving everywhere, no orcs in sight anywhere.
The white wizard drew a small, golden ring from his pocket. "You never, ever thought we would attack your home, did you? Never crossed your conceited mind, right? But this was my plan from the very beginning!" he said while studying the ring, and dropped it.

End of game:


Thus ends the story of the great war against the Shadow. The story of Frodo the coward of Rivendell, of the stalwart defenders of Dol Amroth and of the brave brothers of Bree which conquered distant Mordor.

This is now truly the age of men.

-------------
Closing thoughts:
I learned a lot during this game from mistakes both small and large. Still, it was a close game and by only changing a few decisions this could have ended differently. The unconventional play of Magic Geek made all of this possible. Hooray for that!
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David Muñoz de la Peña
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Thanks for sharing. Huge game.

David

 
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Raf B
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Nicely retold, especially the board images and frowning Eye and wizards union.
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Frank or so
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Very funny game report and also, very funny game! Congratulation for the experiences you have made with this game.
 
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birchbeer
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Rafamir wrote:
Nicely retold, especially the board images and frowning Eye and wizards union.


I like how Frodo, the hero of the Lord of the Rings (well, it could be argued that Sam is the *real* hobbit hero...), sits on his lazy butt in Rivendell, having second-breakfasts and propping-up his furry feat, while the rest of the gang is up to their necks in orc blood.
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Ira Fay
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I loved this report, and I'm deeply impressed that a game like this could happen. Awesome!
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Kevin Long
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outstanding share! thank you!
 
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Mark Wignall
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You sir have inspired me!

None here have lost more than I, and now I know it's in the story of my losses where I must gain my praise!

I can't wait to loose..err I mean .. Play again! Thank you for that!
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Jordan Franklin
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I laughed, I cried, I read in disbelief! Epic game. Great story telling.
 
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