Wednesday 01 May 2019 – Welcome back, dear reader. This is the start of The Two Towers campaign, as described in the DeAgostini magazines. The first scenario is Ambush in Ithilien, which can be found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #26. It pits 6 Rangers of Gondor against 12 Mordor Orcs. In turn 4, Faramir and 6 other Rangers will arrive as reinforcements. However, 1 Mordor Orc Captain and 24 more Mordor Orcs will arrive in the same turn. The objective of Good is to kill 20 enemy models, while Evil only has to kill 6 enemy models.
This scenario represents an ambush performed by the Rangers of Gondor, as they spot a battalion of Orcs marching in the direction of the secret base of the Rangers in the Forbidden Pool. If they fail to stop the orcs, the next scenario will have an additional 12 Mordor Orcs and 1 Banner bearer. So it is paramount the Rangers stop the Orc threat…
You might notice a gap in the Orc horde in the final picture. Because it’s an ambush by the Rangers, before the first turn, all six Rangers get a free Shooting action. They managed to kill 2 Orcs this way. Playing it smart, the Orcs all gather to rush towards the same side. That way they can stay together and more easily slay the Ranger models. After all, only 6 kills are needed…
Turn 4 arrives, which also heralds the coming of the rest of the Orcs and rangers. The three rangers opposite of the orcs know they are now screwed and are trying to regroup with Faramir.
Fighting ensues and the best option the rangers have to seem to all group together on the large hill, holding strong until 20 orcs have been killed. So far, things have been going rather well with Good. Many rangers managed to win their fights, even when outnumbered. Though actually killing the orcs seems hard. Then at a crucial point, Evil regains Priority and the three lone rangers are doomed…
Things are tense when 15 orcs have been slain and 3 Rangers… But the successive Priority rolls of Evil and the advances of the Orc captain make an end to the Rangers successes. There are too many rangers surrounded, the Good side’s only hope now is to have a very successful round of shooting. But it is not meant to bad, in the end 17 orcs have died, while 7 rangers have met their end, granting a win for Evil.
In all my plays of this scenario over the years, things have always been challenging for Good, having never won in this scenario. This has probably been the most successful play of this scenario for the Good player in my history of playing this game. Good had some lucky dice rolls, where Rangers won fights they probably shouldn’t have. At the same time, this wasn’t too outrageous and the Rangers weren’t so lucky with their To Wound rolls. Evil winning Priority in the final two turns and bad shooting by Good really put the final nail in the coffin for Good. I think Good does have a chance of winning this scenario, but they’d have to be quite lucky. Had Evil not won Priority those final two turns, Good might have actually scored a narrow victory here. At the same time, Good had had Priority for most turns before that so it seems reasonable that Evil would eventually get it.
It was certainly a fun scenario and really close in the end. Sympathising with Good, the whole scenario felt tense from the start. For a more balanced play of this scenario I think the victory conditions would need to be slightly altered – for example Good requiring 18 Evil kills, and/or Evil requiring 7 or 8 Good kills. That way it probably would have been closer. Nevertheless the scenario was fun, so that is the most important part, at least for me.
The campaign continues in the next scenario, where a party of orcs raid the secret ranger base, The Forbidden Pool, in the night. Because of the Evil victory in this scenario, the Evil player will have an additional 12 orc warriors and a banner bearer at his disposal.