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 …