Monday 29 July 2019 – The Three Hunters and Merry find themselves ambushed while staying in a small Rohan settlement. They are on the hunt for Pippin and were gathering information from the local townsfolk. The Orc and Uruk attackers bear markings of the White Hand of Saruman and king Théoden needs to be warned. Will Edoras receive the message, or will the Rohan settlement be wiped out before a message can be sent? This scenario is found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #50.
Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Merry stand together with just 14 Warriors of Rohan and 4 Riders of Rohan against 3 Orc captains, 36 Orcs, 1 Uruk Scout Captain, 12 Uruk Scouts, 1 Warg Rider Captain and 8 Warg Riders. That is 600 vs 700 points or 22 vs 61 models. In the first three turns, the Good models are taken by surprise and unsure what to do. Every Good model needs to pass a Courage test before they can move during those first three turns. The objective of the Good side is to leave the right board edge (towards Edoras) and succeed in a D6 roll to determine if the message was delivered. The Evil side wins if 15 Good models are slain.
Because Good is surrounded and only very few will be able to move, Good decides to stay put and shoot their bows. A warg rider is unwarged and an Orc archer is killed by arrows.
The wargs charge in. The captain rides a white warg and faces combat with Gimli. Since the Three Hunters are tired from their chase, they haven’t had a chance to recover their Might, Will, Fate and Wounds since Amon Hen. In particular this leaves Aragorn with just 1 Might. He calls a free Heroic Combat, but fails to win from a single warg rider who didn’t even charge him this turn. Gimli wins the fight against the Warg captain, but rolls double 1’s to Wound.
More Orcs come rushing in and while Legolas is (literally) killing it with his archery, Aragorn and Gimli put on a poor show. In this scenario Gimli rolls double 1’s to Wound on three occasions and Aragorn often barely manages to win a fight. Since a lot of the Rohirrim are already being charged in turn three, having to roll for courage really hampers the Good side in picking the right fights. Quite a number of Rohirrim die as a result.
Two of the four Riders of Rohan are dead. Legolas, Merry and the two remaining Rohan riders charge an orc captain, though an orc warrior separates Legolas from the fight. Legolas calls a Heroic Combat and with a point of Might manages to kill the orc, thus coming to the rescue of Merry. The orc captain is no match for these four and dies at the hands of Legolas, who has now killed 6 enemies so far and is actually starting to live up to his point cost (contrary to Gimli and Aragorn).
Finally an opening is created (after Gimli spends his last two Might points upping his double 1’s (which he gets +1 on because of rivalry with Legolas and +1 because Durin’s axe two-handed weapon). Two Riders, Aragorn, Gimli, a Rohan warrior and Legolas and Merry all hurry towards the Edoras board edge. But it is too late, Evil manages to pick off Merry in a fight and he dies at the hands of a lonesome orc warrior. 15 Good models have been killed and Evil wins the scenario.
Evil wins the scenario and gains 3 + 2 victory points, now totalling 19 victory points. Good is stuck at 5 victory points. This means the next scenario will be ‘Hold the Fort’. Merry rolls a 2 on the ‘Death of a Hero’-table and is therefore not permanently dead, but does lose his single Fate point (again).
It is quite depressing having Good lose once again. Truthfully they didn’t really stand much of a chance. Since it was a points match, with Good having to have these members of the Fellowship in their list, not much points were left to spend on the much cheaper Rohan warriors and Riders. Meanwhile, Evil got to go crazy with no named Heroes and an extra 100 points. There was no real way that I saw for Good to send a messenger earlier than I tried in this playthrough. In part because of the crippling scenario rule that for the first three turns every Good model needs to pass a courage test to move, but largely due to being surrounded and extremely outnumbered (22 against 61). I think on its own this could be an interesting scenario. However, the way it’s implemented in the campaign really makes it hard for the Good player. Thematically I’d expect our three heroes to have the charisma needed to lead the Rohan men into action, thus not requiring the courage tests, at least for turn 2 and 3.
Merry proved a bit of a burden with such low stats, yet still being a named hero and thus delivering Evil 2 victory points when killed. Legolas did a good job protecting him, but was eventually outnumbered and overwhelmed. Good did have some bad dice rolling, most notably by Aragorn and Gimli. Let’s hope they perform better the next scenario…
In the next scenario, the Three Hunters and Merry join forces with a small Rohan fort of resistance. They hope to repel the forces of Saruman before they make it further inward towards Edoras.