Wednesday 18 December 2019 – After barely escaping Sharku and his Warg riders, our Heroes find themselves reinforced by Haldir and a host of Galadhrim. There is no time for rest however, as a host of Uruk-hai has marched all the way from Isengard to lay waste to the fortress of Helm’s Deep. This scenario is found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #29, with a minor alteration as discussed below.
Both sides consists of an army worth 600 points. The game lasts 12 turns. If after 12 turns 20 or more Evil models have crossed the Helm’s Deep board side, Evil wins. Otherwise, Good wins. Since the Uruk-hai are so numerous, the ‘Endless Horde’ rule is place, meaning any Evil model that leaves the board returns at the start of the next turn and can immediately make a Move.
The Uruk-hai march on, while the alliance of Elves and Men concentrate their bowfire and throwing weapons on the torch-carrying berserkers. Both berserkers are taken down, one by Haldir (costing him 1 Might point) and one by Legolas.
But there’s no stopping the endless stream of Uruk-hai and new berserkers rush towards the bombs that have now been placed in the culvert. One berserker gets taken down by Haldir (again requiring 1 Might point), meaning the other one could make contact next turn. That is not all of Good’s problems though, as Uruks have started raising siege ladders and are trying to get atop the walls.
A number of fights ensue. The defenders on the walls have the advantage, making full use of their cover and superior fighting position. The surviving Uruk berserker now gets into contact with a bomb, fortunately Haldir manages to shoot him down, spending his final Might point in the process.
In turn 4 the guardians on the wall are generally too occupied defending their position to have time for taking down the new berserkers. A new berserker has made it to the bombs. Luck is on the side of Good as a Rohan spear-thrower manages to kill this new berserker, even though everyone else failed to do so.
In turn 5, luck has run out and a new berserker has made it to the bombs. He survives the shots fired at him (by rolling a 6 as part of being Oblivious To Pain, one of the new special rules for the berserkers in the 2018 edition), passes his Courage test and ignites one of the bombs. The entire wall comes crashing down and many Uruk-hai die in the process. However, so do Haldir, two elves and the heroic Rohan spear-thrower.
There is now a huge gap in the wall, allowing the Uruks to roam free and rush through to the other side. This is exactly what happens and the defenders on the walls retreat to ground level. A couple of Uruks rush on the ladders to try and take them out before they can aid their allies on the ground.
Legolas stays atop the walls, trying to shoot down any Uruk that tries to make it to the board edge. But the valiant man of Rohan protecting him dies and he soon has to stop his shooting and defend himself with his knives. He wins the fight but fails to wound. It is at this point that I decide that not having any of our Heroes restore any spend points from the previous scenario is perhaps a bit harsh. They have already missed their opportunity to recover all their spend points and the ability to equip some armour (in the case of Aragorn and Legolas) due to Good losing the last scenario. It is quite unfair for all three Heroes to start this game with 0 Might, despite having paid a hefty price for those non-existing Might points in terms of points, since this is a points match. So I now roll to recover the spend points (on a 4+) and all Heroes recover 2 Might points in this way. That is enough for Legolas to slay the Uruk and continue his shooting in the following turns, giving Good at least a fighting chance in winning the scenario.
The stakes now become high as it is turn 11, the penultimate turn, and so far only 4 Uruks have escaped the Helm’s Deep board edge. That number can increase quickly though, as more and more defenders of Helm’s Deep die and the Uruk-hai have really broken through the walls.
Turn 12 and now exactly 19 Uruks have left the board. This means Good will win the scenario, albeit with the smallest possible margin. Aragorn and Gimli survive the turn, meaning they can continue their heroism in the next scenario. By the end of the game the results of the friendly killing competition between Legolas and Gimli also is a close call. Legolas wins with 10 kills, while Gimli had 9.
Good wins the scenario, meaning Good now has 19 victory points. Evil did manage to kill a named hero, meaning they now have 26 victory points. The outcome of this scenario doesn’t affect future scenarios. Since Haldir died, he is considered to be permanently dead since this was the ‘historical’ place for him to die.
I think this is quite a cool scenario, however I never really like the ‘Endless Horde’ special rule where models are continuously reinforced. I like it more when kills are more definitive. In one turn I forgot that Good could push off the ladders when no Uruks were on top of the ladder, that might have helped them a little bit more. On the other hand, I also could have played Evil a bit more competitively by completing ignoring the defenders and just rushing all possible Uruks towards the board edge. All in all I think I played both sides quite balanced. Nevertheless I think the Good side has an uphill battle here (despite them standing on top of high walls). It was really close and if Legolas didn’t have the Galadhrim bow Evil would likely have won.
I did really enjoy the look of the board after the bomb went off. It really looks like a zoomed in part of the battle of Helm’s Deep with all the Uruks rushing through the exploded wall. I also really like the new profile for the Uruk-hai berserkers. They are much more of a threat now than they used to be, with cool new special rules.
All in all I would recommend this scenario as part of a Helm’s Deep campaign. As a standalone play it feels a bit unsatisfying because it feels like there should be a follow-up. Fortunately, I’m playing a campaign and this scenario will be followed-up! Comparing this scenario with the new version in War in Rohan, it seems this scenario has basically been split up in three separate scenarios. I’m looking forward to playing those as well at some point in the future.
In the next scenario, the siege of Helm’s Deep continues. The Uruks push through and the defenders of Rohan will have to retreat to the keep and hope for a miracle or reinforcements to arrive.