Monday 22 April 2019 – The Fellowship has rested and received gifts from the elves at Lothlórien. All members are now equipped with an Elven cloak and Legolas has received the Bow of the Galadhrim (which is Strength 4 and allows for one re-roll of a To Hit roll every turn). Boromir succumbs to the evil of the Ring and confronts Frodo when he is wandering alone in the woods. Frodo flees and Boromir comes to his senses. Lurtz and his band of Uruk-hai are searching for halflings, so Boromir protects Merry and Pippin. Meanwhile, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli rush to Boromir, Merry and Pippin, but are delayed by a swarm of Uruk-hai. This scenario consists of two scenarios, which are found in DeAgostini magazine #11.
In the first scenario, the Three Hunters are ambushed by Uruk-hai as they try to make their way to the halflings. The strategy of the Uruk-hai captain and his warriors is to delay the Three Hunters for as long as possible, giving Lurtz and the other Uruks more time to search for the Ringbearer.
The six Uruks surrounding Aragorn all narrow in on him, while Gimli and Legolas sprint towards the opposing board edge. Being the mighty fighter he is, Aragorn has no trouble winning the fight against the six Uruk-hai, slaying three of them in one turn. The Evil side changes strategy and the Uruk captain tactically commands single Uruk fighters to delay the warriors of the Fellowship, one at a time. This way it will take the Fellowship longest to make it to the board edge.
The Uruks fail to make a dent into any member of the Fellowship and the Uruk-hai captain quickly meets his demise at the hands of Aragorn. Still, his tactics have worked as it takes the Fellowship ten turns before making it to the board edge. A single courageous Uruk-hai warrior keeps haunting Gimli, delaying him a further two turns before he can come to the aid of Boromir and Merry and Pippin.
Meanwhile, in the second scenario, Boromir faces a large force of Uruks. He has only 1 Might point left and no Fate, as he has fallen victim to the Shadow of the Ring ever since joining the Fellowship in Rivendell. The hobbits run as hard as they can, away from the Uruks. But with their short legs, it’s only a matter of time before they will be overtaken by the intimidating Uruk-hai scouts.
Boromir expends his final Might point by making a Heroic move, delaying the confrontation between Uruk and hobbit by one more turn.
Nevertheless, the confrontation is inevitable and the Three Hunters are taking their sweet time before arriving on the board. Boromir and the two hobbits are on their own. Initially, things are going well for the Fellowship. The Uruks fail to take in the hobbits and Boromir wins his fight, slaying one of his enemies. In the next turn, Pippin even manages to kill one of the Uruk-hai and Boromir is victorious once again.
But luck then leaves the Fellowship. Lurtz kills Boromir and the hobbits are taken captive. Lurtz and his Uruk scouts are successful in their quest and carry the hobbits to their starting board edge. A little late, but still in time, Aragorn and Legolas appear on this very board edge, hoping to free the halflings and avenge Boromir’s death.
However, it is a little late and with just two people the Two hunters are unable to block all of the Uruks. The Uruk-hai carrying Pippin escape, though Merry is rescued by Aragorn and eventually Gimli. Before this, Aragorn slays Lurtz.
Because one of the hobbits was taken captive, this scenario was a stalemate, meaning the Uruk-hai had enough time to make it to the Ringbearer Frodo. This resulted in Frodo having to roll on the ‘Death of a Hero’ table. Fortunately, he survived, though he did lose his Fate points.
These were quick and tense scenarios. It felt like it took a long time before the Three Hunters finally managed to leave the board edge in the first part of the scenario. Had they made it sooner, they might have made it in time to prevent either of the hobbits to be taken captive. The Three Hunters did feel like a team of true killing machines, even the relatively strong Uruks didn’t stand a chance against them. Lurtz is quite a lot stronger in this edition than in previous editions, now having three Attack and three Wounds. But even wasn’t able to strike a single blow to Aragorn. Boromir in his weakened state was heavily outnumbered by the Uruk-hai. If he had his full store of Might, he probably would have been able to fend the Uruks off for a lot longer.
All in all the scenario felt very thematic and a true race against time. I think they are nice and short scenarios, though I did enjoy certain other scenarios in this campaign more. Maybe because the Fellowship feels so unbelievable strong and in my mind Uruk-hai should be dangerous, even for Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. Still, I’d recommend this scenario on its own and it’s definitely a good fit for the campaign.
The Fellowship breaks – Boromir has fallen at the hands of Lurtz, who was then killed by Aragorn. Frodo and Sam are now venturing towards Mordor, while Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Merry are chasing the Uruk-hai who took Pippin. The story continues in the next part of the campaign, the start of the Two Towers …
Saturday 09 March 2019 – Having lost Gandalf the Grey, the Fellowship hurries towards the safety of Lothlórien in issue #35 of the DeAgostini campaign. A huge swarm of goblins from Moria has followed them down to the Silverlode. Will the Fellowship reach the elves of Lothlórien in time?
Aragorn calls a Heroic March with his free Might point, while Legolas only moves half his movement to be able to shoot with his Deadly Shot (three times). Unfortunately for him, he rolls three 1’s. It doesn’t take long for the Goblins to reach and surround the Fellowship…
Some fighting ensues. Some precious Might points are used and Legolas loses all his Fate points. At least the hobbits survive and actually make it to start crossing the river. Though not explicitly mentioned in this scenario, I treated the Silverlode as ‘Deep Water’, meaning a swim test has to be made while crossing it, drowning the swimmer on the roll of a 1. The river section with the stones doesn’t require swimming tests, but is treated as difficult terrain. This means it takes quite a while for the Hobbits to cross the river. Any dead Goblin returns as reinforcement the next turn. Knowing these reinforced Goblins might not catch up with the Fellowship on time, some of them decide to risk swimming across the river in order to cut off the Fellowship.
A few Goblins die trying to cross the water, but the majority makes it through. Meanwhile, the Fellowship is getting more tired every turn. Evil only has to slay a single member of the Fellowship to win this scenario, which would have devastating results. In that case, Lothlórien will not be reached and play immediately proceeds with the next scenario, the Ambush at Amon Hen. This means our heroes will miss out on the gifts of the elves (such as Elven cloaks and a Bow of the Galadhrim for Legolas). Even worse is the fact that the Fellowship will then start the next scenario without any rest, meaning depleted Might and Fate points for most members.
Frodo finally crosses the river. Unfortunately, this also means the reinforced Goblins can now start at any board edge, including the two across the Silverlode! These Goblins can cut off Frodo before he reaches the elves (winning condition for Good) and other goblins try to reach the tree tops to slay the vastly outnumbered elves.
It’s a tactic that works for Evil. A goblin captain has made it atop the tree platforms and slays some of the wood elf archers stationed there. Meanwhile other goblins hold up the fellowship while their leader is on an elven killing spree. Galadriel and Haldir are attacked as well, though they are able to fend off the lone goblins there. The Fellowship is having a hard time killing goblins, though they are able to win most fights. All elves on the left tree platform have been eradicated by the goblins and more and more climb up. About to assault the elves on the right platform, Frodo calls a Heroic Move and is able to climb up the tree and come into base contact with Galadriel. The Good side wins, though it was a very close call.
This was a very close win for Good. Legolas, Pippin and Merry all nearly died at the hands of the goblins and just a single death would have resulted in Evil winning this scenario. Had Frodo taken just a turn longer, the goblin captain and his minions could have done some serious damage to the rest of the elves. It’s a good thing the Fellowship can rest now (and receive their gifts!). Legolas in particular will be very happy with his new bow of the Galadhrim, which has Strength 4(!) and allows one To Hit roll to be re-rolled every turn.
I liked the board of this scenario quite a bit. The forest is beautiful and the tree platforms are interesting. The elves weren’t allowed to leave the tree tops in this scenario. I am generally not a fan of the ‘endless horde’ rule where all dead models will return the next turn as reinforcements. Especially on this 3′ x 3′ (90 x 90 cm) board, the stream of goblins seemed just endless. While very thematic, it did cause some, in my opinion, plodding gameplay. The Fellowship barely advanced most turns, if at all. It was nice to finally play this scenario with the proper terrain and it’s a thematically successfully scenario that is quite unique. However the fun factor for me was not as high as in other scenarios such as the Bucklebury Ferry, Watcher in the Water and Balin’s Tomb scenario. Playing with an exhausted Fellowship, I feel the Evil victory condition is a bit too easy. That would have been fine if that didn’t have these damaging consequences I described earlier. On the other hand, it would’ve been interesting to see how different the campaign would have been if the Fellowship hadn’t made it. As a stand-alone scenario I feel these win conditions for both sides are pretty balanced. For campaign play, I think it would be better to allow Good to benefit from Lothlórien as a sanctuary even if a single member of the Fellowship dies in this scenario. As punishment for losing, the roll for the dead of the Hero roll could have a -1 modifier or something.
The Fellowship can now rest safely within the realm of Lothlórien, under protection from Galadriel and the other elves. After some time, they will have to move forward with their quest and will travel down the Anduin, where they’ll make camp at Amon Hen. But they are not alone …
Monday 11 February 2019 – The Fellowship have nearly made it through Moria. All they have to do is cross the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm (issue #22). Wanting to avoid a confrontation, they hurry along the long stairs, even Heroic Marching thanks to Aragorn’s free Might point each turn. But will it be enough to avoid the Balrog of Morgoth?
The Fellowship is underway and the goblin archers move to take a good position. When they’re firing their arrows and Merry gets hit (though not wounded), the Fellowship changes tactics and let the hobbits trade places with the bulkier, heavily armoured Gimli and Boromir. The jump across the gap in the stairs slows down the Fellowship quite a bit. Some poor dice rolling cause some Might points to be spend and the ‘big’ heroes to throw the smaller fellows (tossing with hobbits). Gandalf, having a pivotal role in this scenario as only he can break the bridge and thus assure a safe passage out of Moria, moves up ahead, not waiting on the slower pace of the hobbits. Meanwhile turn 7 has commenced and a whole host of goblin warriors has entered from under the archways.
The goblin archers block the path to the bridge so Gandalf has to wait for the rest of the Fellowship to catch up. Meanwhile he sorcerous blasts a number of goblins to their deaths. Turn 9 and the Balrog shows up. The Fellowship has quite the head start, but the goblins can really slow them down.
Fighting doesn’t go as smoothly or quickly as the Fellowship would like. The Balrog catches up and uses his Fiery Lash to grab Gandalf and put him into base contact with him. With a much higher Fight value, four attack dice, brutal power attacks and a ‘death by Balrog is really dead’ special campaign rule, versus a single attack from Gandalf, Gandalf, and with him, all hopes for the Fellowship in this scenario seemed lost.
Meanwhile, most of the Fellowship had crossed the bridge, where they watched Gandalf fighting the Balrog. Miraculously, Gandalf won the fight and even managed to deliver a wound to the Balrog. In the following turn, Gandalf sorcerous blasted a Goblin of the bridge to make way for him to move towards the end of the bridge. All he had to do now was survive the attacks by the goblins and land three strikes on the bridge in the turn after.
It worked! Gandalf survived the fight and in the next turn he managed to succesfully cast Sorcerous blast on the bridge, landing three wounds with a random roll (1-2 = 1 wound, 3-4 = 2 wounds, 5-6 = 3 wounds) that couldn’t be influenced by Might points. The bridge collapsed and Gandalf took with him 6 goblins and the Balrog himself, while the Fellowship watched from afar.
Post game thoughts
Wow, what a tense scenario! Initially I wasn’t sure if the Heroic Marches (which of course weren’t in the edition of the game at the time of this scenario / magazine) would cause the Fellowship to be able to move off the bridge without meeting the Balrog. But it seemed it was really necessary in this play. Had the Fellowship stalled a little bit longer it is very likely the Balrog would have made some permanent casualties. I was really surprised by Gandalf’s contribution to the Fellowship. He stole the show in this scenario, obviously, doing most of the heavy lifting. However he also pleasantly surprised me in the previous two scenarios, where his magic really damaged Evil. His kill count over these three scenarios is 17, more than Aragorn (13), Legolas and Gimli (both 10) and Boromir (9). Way back in the day I never understood why Gandalf was such a costly hero pointwise, having just 1 Attack. But he’s easily earned his share.
I made the terrain myself based on the instructions in the DeAgostini magazine. It took some hours to layer and paint such large areas of terrain, but I think it was very much worth it. It doesn’t look as nice and embellished as many of the terrain of the pro terrain makers out there, but for me it looks good enough and really serves the gameplay in this scenario.
Moving forward, the Balrog has been neutralized meaning he will no longer show up later in the campaign (had the Balrog survived, Evil could bring him to Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers) and Gandalf the Grey will return later as Gandalf the White, because he luckily didn’t roll a 1 after his death.
While the Fellowship grieves over the loss of Gandalf, Aragorn knows they have to move forward. Towards the safety of Lothlórien. The members of the Fellowship are taken aback by the heroic sacrifice made by Gandalf. They are done with fighting, but unfortunately, the fighting isn’t done with them just yet, as you will find out in the next scenario of the DeAgostini campaign where a group of goblins hunt the Fellowship down over the Silverlode …
Monday 04 February 2019 – Strolling through Moria, the Fellowship discovers Balin’s Tomb (issue #21). Grieved by the discovery of the demise of the dwarves, Gimli picks up Balin’s axe, ready for vengeance on some goblins. This axe is actually Durin’s axe and in this campaign, Gimli will get the full benefit from this from this point on. This means he may re-roll one of his dice when determining who wins a fight and gets +1 To Wound. Gimli will not have to wait long to get what he wants …
The goblins come rushing through the gate. Legolas trades positions with Gimli to allow him to shoot each turn. The hobbits run towards the back to hide behind a pillar. Evil wins if just a single Good model dies in this scenario and Merry and Pippin are particularly prone to dying, each having just one Wound and one Fate. Gandalf throws some sorcerous blasts and Aragorn fires his bow. It doesn’t take long before the goblins break through and combats ensue. Some sneaky goblins move left, ignoring the mighty heroes and instead running towards the hobbits. Fortunately, Legolas is able to shoot these down and Gandalf runs towards the hobbits to protect them. The hobbits aren’t totally defenceless and manage to kill a goblin by throwing a stone. The three combat heroes are entangled and surrounded by goblins, causing some problems for Boromir. Due to the ‘Shadow of the Ring’ rule, Borimir loses a Might, Will and Fate point at the start of each scenario, meaning he has no Will and Fate left and ‘only’ has 3 Might points.
The Cave Troll also comes through the door, giving Gimli a run for his money, rending and nearly killing him. Some poor dice rolls by the troll save Gimli from this fate. A goblin captain has made it over to Legolas, winning the fight but not wounding him. At least those three arrows per turn won’t be fired during these fights.
The goblin horde diminishes and in the next turn the cave troll is slain. Good wins if 20 Evil models are slain and this occurs, causing the remaining few goblins to flee out of the room, leaving the Fellowship exhausted but also relieved, for they all remain alive and well.
This was a fun scenario. Plenty of killing and lots of fun and different things to do. Throwing stones, shooting arrows, throwing throwing axes, using the troll chain, using sorcerous blasts. Everyone had their moment. The cave troll was scary at first and I really feared for Gimli’s life, but once that was over the troll was quickly disposed of. I think the Fellowship has quite the advantage here, though if Evil had managed to kill just a single model they would already have achieved their victory. I think this would be a fun scenario for getting people into the game. It’s fun and quick and not too complicated.
The terrain (Balin’s Tomb) comes from the company Ziterdes. I didn’t paint or add anything, so it comes pre-painted. On their website it’s called ‘Dwarf Kingdoms’. It’s more expensive than most of their other products and a bit smaller and narrower than what is suggested in the DeAgostini book (same goes for most of the other versions of this scenario, I believe), but it is beautifully detailed and being complete (for me at least) right out of the package is a huge plus in my book. I think it would have been nice if it was just a little bit broader, especially at the doorway, but it’s perfectly playable in its current state.
Having escaped the assault on Balin’s Tomb, the Fellowship wants to leave Moria as quickly as possible, rushing towards the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm. They are not yet aware of the ancient evil that will haunt them there …
Monday 04 February 2019 – The Fellowship has travelled far from Rivendell and are now stuck at the gates of Moria in the fourth scenario in the DeAgostini campaign, which can be found in issue #19. The Watcher in the Water latched out with one of his tentacles, ensnaring Frodo. And so it begins …
Frodo lost his fight against the tentacle and became abducted. Fortunately for him, his friends came to his aid, killing the tentacle before it could take the Ringbearer to one of the board edges. Legolas stayed behind in order to shoot as much tentacles as possible, while Gandalf the Grey sorcerous blasted some of the tentacles with his free expendable Will point every turn. Combat heavy weights Boromir, Gimli and Aragorn all rushed to fight and kill as many tentacles as possible. The tentacles kept coming however, at one point ensnaring Gandalf and taking him away. Aragorn used Heroic actions to make it to the tentacle holding Gandalf captive, saving the old wizard.
With nearly 20 tentacles killed (the maximum number, after which the Watcher would retreat), Frodo made it safely through the gates of Moria. The rest of the Fellowship followed, causing them to enter Moria without too much hassle.
I really liked this scenario. It was quick and fun. I thought the board was beautiful and unusual, as it’s mostly covered in water. The tentacles were an interesting enemy. I felt Good had the advantage in this scenario, though things could have gone very differently if the tentacles managed to successfully abduct and devour some members of the Fellowship.
Fortunately, luck was on the side of the Fellowship. With this victory the path through Moria is quite clear. The next danger lies in Balin’s Tomb, which will be described in the next scenario …
Monday 21 January 2019 – In the third scenario in the DeAgostini campaign, the hobbits get ambushed by the Nazgûl led by the fearsome Witch-King. Strider is scouting the area nearby which means the hobbits are undefended for a while.
That while didn’t last long, as Strider already makes his appearance on turn 1. The Ringwraiths draw closer and closer. Eventually some of the hobbits get charged. Pippin almost dies but just makes it out alive in his duel with a Ringwraith. Overwhelmed by the Nazgûl and their sorcery, the hobbits decide to leave the Watchtower while Strider tries to fend off the pesky Ringwraiths. A risky tactic, seeing he now has to face 5 Nazgûl on his own. His combat prowess saves him on multiple occasions and using torches he is able to temporarily scare some Nazgûl into fleeing the watch tower. This allows him not to become too overwhelmed, but the magic of the Nine reduces his ability to fight well quite dramatically. Slaying the Nazgûl in combat seems unlikely as a result and his only hope now is for the Ringwraiths to become depleted in their Willpower. A true test of endurance.
The tactic works and the Will of the Ringwraiths depletes faster than expected. With just one more Nazgûl to deal with, the hobbits rejoin Aragorn and help him destroy the last Nazgûl.
This scenario felt a bit fiddly and I didn’t really enjoy it. It might have to do with the small space within the watchtower of Amon Sûl, quickly becoming quite crowded. It also might have to do with the large amount of magic, courage tests and bookkeeping involved. The cowardly move by the hobbits to let Aragorn do all the fighting was perhaps a good decision (it is likely the Nazgûl would have killed at least one hobbit otherwise. Especially considering the Witch-King is packing a Morgul blade in this scenario, letting the hobbits fight the Nazgûl is quite frightening.), however it’s not a very fun one. Ideally, I’d use a larger model for the watchtower of Amon Sûl and place it atop a mountain / hill so that this tactic is actually impossible, adding to the tension and sense of dread. However, I didn’t feel like making my own custom watchtower of Amon Sûl and I do very much like the model for it by Ziterdes that I had bought. It’s a bit smaller than the official Forge World one, but also cheaper by a factor of about 10. It’s pre-painted and doesn’t require assembly, perfect for economical wargamers such as myself.
I didn’t give the Ringwraiths the Black Dart spell because I thought that would be too destructive in this scenario. In the DeAgostini magazine the Ringwraiths only receive this spell during the Return of the King, a rule I will follow for this campaign. If the hobbits didn’t escape the watchtower, I think it is likely at least one of the good models would have died. I didn’t want to take the risk of then rolling a ‘1’ for the ‘death of a hero’ roll since the campaign is barely underway. For a future playthrough it would be interesting to confine all the Good models to the watchtower.
With the attack of the Nazgûl successfully fended off, Strider takes the hobbits to the safety of Rivendell, where the Council of Elrond will be held. Frodo will receive Sting and mithril armour from Bilbo and the Fellowship will be formed. In the DeAgostini you are allowed to craft your own fellowship (for example taking Elrond instead of Gandalf as your guide, or taking Haldir and/or Faramir as companions), however I will be following the films / books by choosing the Fellowship we all know.
In the next scenario the Fellowship tries to enter Moria. They will found out it’s better not to disturb the water …