DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 6: Hold the Fort

Monday 12 August 2019 – The Three Hunters and Merry find a Rohan fort with a Rohirrim resistance force. They will make a stand against a heavily armed Uruk-hai patrol sent by Saruman. Will they successfully fend off the attackers or perish in the process? This scenario is found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #27.

Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Merry stand together with 14 Warriors of Rohan and 4 Riders of Rohan against 3 Uruk-hai captains, 10 Uruk-hai with Shield, 10 Uruk-hai with Pike, 9 Uruk-hai with Crossbow, 3 Uruk-hai Berserkers and 3 Uruk-hai with no extra equipment. So 22 vs 39 models, both sides being worth 600 points. The game ends if half the Uruk-hai force has been decimated (so after 20 kills). Evil wins if both Aragorn and half of the Rohirrim (9 models) are slain before that time. The game is a draw if only one of those objectives is completed before the game ends. Good wins if neither objectives are completed before the game ends.

The Uruk-hai advance. The crossbowmen march towards the hill, hoping to get a better shot at the obscured Rohirrim. Meanwhile, the Rohirrim hold their ground and shoot their bows against the Uruk-hai. In the first turn, already 4 Uruks are slain by the bowfire! Aragorn had to use a free point of Might for his kill and Legolas also spend a point of Might (taking down 2 Uruks). A good start for Good. The second turn was not as lucky, only 1 Uruk-hai was shot and killed. But then in turn 3 Legolas spends his final point of Might (he only had 2 since he was still exhausted from last scenario) to kill 3 Uruks! Another 2 Uruks are killed by Aragorn and other Rohirrim. This means the game is already halfway, 10 of the required 20 Uruk-hai have already been slain. The Uruk-hai crossbow return fire is not nearly as successful, the Rohirrim are well guarded by the wooden fort and no casualties are made.

In turn 4 most of the Uruk-hai have made it into close quarter combat range. With Priority they get to pick their fights and manage to almost completely cover the entire front row of the fort. Pike-bearers are used amply. Still, the Good side feels confident, after already having killed 10 of their ambushers. The four Rohan riders sneak out through the backdoor, hoping to sweep off the attackers at the front in a couple of turns.

The excitement and sense of an early victory quickly turns to dread after no less than 5 Rohan warriors are slain in combat, whereas only 1 Uruk-hai is killed. Furthermore, Legolas nearly dies, taking 3 Wounds. With 2 successful Fate points he is now reduced to no Fate, no Might and just a single Wound. 9 more Uruks need to be slain, whereas if only 4 more Rohirrim die, Good will no longer have a chance of winning the scenario. The remaining Rohirrim retreat towards the back, while Gimli joins the fight at the front. Merry has sneaked behind the warning beacon, hoping to survive the onslaught.

With Priority, the Uruk-hai gang up on the badly wounded Legolas. Aragorn calls a (free) Heroic Move hoping to prevent this, but it is countered by an Uruk captain. In the Fight phase, Aragorn tries again to save his elven friend by calling a Heroic Combat. This time he gets it (despite again being countered by the Uruk captain). He has to spend his final Might point to win the duel against a trapped single Uruk-hai Captain but does manage to slay him and take some heat (a pike-bearer and a Captain) off Legolas. He wins the second fight as well, but doesn’t land a wound. Legolas loses the fight, but isn’t wounded (good move from Aragorn!). Tragedy strikes when Gimli loses the first Duel he’s in and actually dies at the hands of an Uruk-hai and captain. Those Uruks sure are strong, having little trouble piercing through Gimli’s heavy dwarf armour.

The next turn Good gets priority and is able to manoeuvrer to their advantage. In total 1 Rohan rider and 4 Uruk-hai die (one of which a Berserker that Legolas managed to slay, despite being in a near-death state).

The following turn is going to be decisive. By now, 15 Uruks have been slain (only needing 5 more), versus 6 Rohirrim (only needing 3 more). Good gets priority. Legolas moves to the side of the fort where he can shoot the marching Uruk-hai crossbowmen. Every kill counts. Unfortunately he doesn’t kill a single one. Meanwhile, the Uruk-hai crossbowmen also don’t manage to kill Legolas, due to the cover provided by the fort. Good is very lucky to have Priority this turn, because it means they choose the order of the combats. An Uruk and captain die, meaning both sides can take only 3 more casualties. Then 2 Rohirrim are slain, somewhat unexpectedly, meaning Good can only take one more casualty. An Uruk dies and then two more, meaning Good wins the game by the smallest possible margin. This is thanks to the flanking Rohan cavalry and their bonuses.

Aftermath

Good wins the scenario and gains 3 victory points, now totalling 8 victory points. Evil scores 2 victory points for killing Gimli, which means they now have 21 victory points. Gimli rolls a 4 on the ‘Death of a Hero’-table and is therefore not permanently dead, but does lose all his Fate points for the next game.

Post-game thoughts

This was an extremely close and tense scenario. Good finally had some good dice rolling again. After the great first turn (for Good), I thought Good was going to have an easy time. But then the combats started and despite the cover granted by the fort, the Rohirrim were quickly cut down. Legolas nearly died and Gimli died in his first Duel, without having performed anything noteworthy. Legolas and Aragorn were very good (as they should be) this scenario. Legolas had 7 kills and Aragorn definitely did his share. It was fun and a relief to finally see Good doing their thing again, though it was also extremely stressful when things became so close again in terms of winning the scenario. Because of Gimli’s death the net difference is just +1 victory points for Good. Still, I think it’ll prove to be quite important for the rest of the campaign and certainly for the morale.

This is the first time I used the actual Uruk-hai warriors this campaign and they’re really strong when paired against the Rohirrim. Their higher Fight, Strength and Defense values really make a difference. In this sense the Rohirrim seemed to disappoint a bit, seemingly being cut down like butter. It was a good call to have them fall back after the disastrous first turn of combat.

Finally I am really quite proud on how the fort terrain turned out. I believe I’ve already built it about half a year ago, but I only finished (painting) it this morning. It is now my latest finished terrain and compared to the tents, blankets and warning beacon I placed inside the fort (which was all some of the first terrain I built for this campaign, more than 6 years ago), it seems I have come a long way. 🙂 Here is a bonus photo for the finished fort, including the barrels with throwing spears and wooden pellets with (throwing) stones on them,

The finished wooden fort.

In the next scenario, the Three Hunters and Merry will meet Gandalf, now returned as Gandalf the White. Together they’ll ride to Edoras and try to free king Théoden of Saruman’s dominion over him…

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DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 5: Message to Edoras

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.

The forces of Evil move in, while the Rohirrim stay put and shoot their bows at the attackers.

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.

Aftermath

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).

Post-game thoughts

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.

DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 4: The Wrath of Rohan

Friday 19 July 2019 – Éomer and his Riders of Rohan stumble upon a camp of Orcs and Uruk-hai. What they don’t know is that the Orcs carry a Hobbit captive, Peregrin Took (Merry has previously been rescued by Aragorn and Gimli in the scenario ‘Ambush at Amon Hen). This scenario is found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #18.

Éomer and 12 Riders of Rohan attack a group of 8 Uruk-hai Scouts with shield (led by Uglúk, who took over from the now deceased Lurtz) and 8 Orc warriors, who are led by Grishnákh. Uglúk has taken hold of Pippin and tries to drag him to Fangorn. This means he has to half his movement every turn. The Rohirrim don’t know that the Orcs have a captive, so I’m playing this scenario in such a manner that they are only interested in slaying all enemies (including making sure no one escapes). Evil wins if Pippin is abducted to Fangorn or all Good models are slain, Good wins if Pippin is freed and reaches Fangorn on his own or if all Evil models are slain. Pippin cannot be attacked, only captured. Good will receive 5 bonus victory points if they win, Evil will score 3 bonus victory points if they win.

The Rohirrim decide to hold their positions and let the enemies come to them. That way, they can take advantage of their cavalry charge bonuses and can shoot their bows from a relaxed distance. Not wanting to be sitting ducks, the Orcs and Uruk-hai move up, though they do this carefully to stay out of charging range the next turn. Meanwhile, Uglúk moves his prisoner away towards Fangorn.

The Rohirrim take down 2 Orcs by bowfire. The next turn, another Orc spearmen is slain by the Rohan bows. This time, the Orcs do move into potential cavalry charge range. Bad news for Good: Evil gets priority. Having played this scenario prior, not having the cavalry advantages is catastrophic for Rohan, so Éomer decides to call a Heroic Move. Grishnákh reacts to this by doing the same thing however and wins the roll-off. The orcs hurry to swarm the Rohan riders.

As mentioned before, the Rohan Riders really need their cavalry advantages in this scenario. Four Rohan Riders are slain in the Fight phase, whereas Evil only loses 1 Uruk and 1 Orc. The next turn, Good thankfully manages to retake Priority. However, Grishnákh can’t let that happen and calls a Heroic Move. Éomer responds by doing the same and wins the roll-off this time.

Nevertheless, another 2 Riders of Rohan are slain, while the men of Rohan only kill one Orc. Éomer successfully kills an Uruk and Grishnákh. He now sees that an Uruk (Uglúk) is trying to escape to the forest and hurries towards him. Another Rohan Rider also sees the escaping Uruk and also commences a chase.

There is still some fighting at the edges of the board, but the only thing that matters for the scenario is whether Pippin is abducted or freed. Uglúk only needs one more turn worth of movement to successfully take the poor Hobbit to Fangorn. Evil wins Priority. Éomer expends his final point of Might to call a Heroic Move, which would be enough to charge Uglúk. However, Uglúk responds by also calling a Heroic Move and winning the roll-off, thus taking Pippin to Fangorn.

The Rohirrim were too late to save Pippin…

Aftermath

Evil wins the scenario and gains 3 + 3 bonus victory points, now totalling 14 victory points. Good gets 2 points for killing Grishnákh, which means they now have 5 victory points. Because Evil has more victory points, they will get 100 bonus points worth of troops in the next scenario. Grishnákh is now dead in the campaign, while Éomer and Uglúk are still alive.

Post-game thoughts

The above report is actually the third time I played this scenario today. The first time I hadn’t properly taken into account the movements with regards to cavalry charge bonuses at the start of the game and unintentionally let all the Orcs and Uruks swamp the Rohan Riders. This was catastrophic for Good and resulted in a very clear victory for Evil, even killing Éomer. That would have resulted in 8 victory points for Evil and 0 for Good! I do want to play this campaign in a fair way so I was planning on just writing up that report and simply going with it. However, then I realised that the whole thing was clearly a mistake on my part. I made bad tactical decisions because of my inexperience with playing cavalry. Because those decisions had such a huge impact on the game, I decided to replay it.

When I did however, I didn’t take into account that the Orcs also wouldn’t just be cannon fodder for the cavalry. This time Good just completely swamped the Evil models, which would likely have resulted in a major victory for Good. So then I decided to replay it one final time, now taking into account proper tactical decisions and manoeuvres for both sides, the result of which I described in this battle report. As you can read, Priority plays a very important role in this scenario. This is somewhat mitigated by both sides having at least 3 Might to call Heroic Moves, but even then the resulting roll-offs have a huge impact on the game. The above play I think is reasonably representative of the average of the two previous plays, slightly favouring Evil with Priority. In the end, the game came down to a 50/50 roll-off between Uglúk successfully escaping and Éomer and 2 Riders successfully charging Uglúk before he got away. Of course I had hoped the latter would happen, but alas, the dice gods decided otherwise.

Despite the heavy reliance on luck and dice rolls in this scenario, I did enjoy playing it. While any side can very quickly be decimated very fast, the scenario itself is fun and fast. I also really enjoyed the setting / terrain. The camp props such as tents and campfire are some of the first pieces of terrain I built for this campaign, I guess about 7 years ago. I also really like the Citadel Woods trees for representing Fangorn forest (saves me from having to make those trees myself, which I tried but wasn’t a success for me). Officially the participants mention 6 Riders of Rohan + 12 Warriors of Rohan, but the magazine itself encourages to use 12 Riders of Rohan and no Warriors instead. I agree with their recommendation, it makes for very fast gameplay and is more thematic. I would definitely recommend this scenario for standalone play because it is very fun, though I would put a disclaimer saying it’s very luck dependent.

In the next scenario, the Three Hunters and Merry witness first hand the destruction of Rohan villages caused by Saruman’s forces. They’ll have to send word to Théoden in Edoras. Will they be able to deliver the message?

DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 3: The Fords of Isen

Sunday 14 July 2019 – Saruman has sent Orcs and Uruk-hai towards Théoden’s son, Théodred, hoping to slay him, further weakening Rohan’s strength. Théodred and a handful of his warriors (8 on Foot, 1 Rohan Royal Guard banner bearer Mounted) will defend a key crossing in the river Isen. They are ambushed by Saruman’s forces and their only hope is for reinforcements (Éomer and 6 Riders of Rohan) to arrive. This scenario can be found in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #65.

An Uruk-hai Captain, 4 Uruk bowmen, an Orc Captain, 4 Warg Riders and 12 Orc warriors are what the men of Rohan have to face. The odds are against the Good player, though reinforcements could arrive as early as the start of turn 2. Starting at turn 2, a D6 is rolled. On a 6 all reinforcements arrive. Every turn after that, the number of eyes on the dice needed for the reinforcements to arrive decreases by 1, to a minimum of 2+ starting from turn 6. The men of Rohan are determined to defend their position and therefore automatically pass all courage tests. Like in the film, there is heavy raining, meaning the range of all missile weapons is halved, the river is overflowing and requires strict swimming test and all movement is reduced by 1 inch.

Evil wins if Théodred is slain, the Good side wins if Théodred and Éomer are both alive after all Evil models have been removed from the board, otherwise the game is a draw. In the first turn Evil moves up. One Warg Rider charges a Rohan warrior. None of the shooting of either side hits anything, but the Warg Rider slays the Rohan man.

Despite losing the first model, Good is incredibly lucky as at the start of turn 2, a 6 is rolled and Éomer and his Riders arrive.

It will take one more turn before the Riders of Éomer can actually charge, but they move up. The forces of Saruman decide to thin out the river defenders first and deal with Éomer later, so they try to fight as much as possible. On the right side of the river, things look good for Good, Théodred calls a Heroic combat and slays three orcs. On the left side of the river, the enemies overwhelm the Rohirrim stationed there, led by the Uruk-hai captain who calls a Heroic move and later a Heroic combat.

Carnage ensues on the right-hand side of the river, Théodred is in full form and Éomer and his Riders really even the numbers. The Orc captain is quickly disposed of, without having performed anything noteworthy.

Once the right-hand side of the river is (almost) clear of enemies, Théodred and Éomer cross the river and deal with the final invaders. The Uruk-hai captain still puts up somewhat of a fight and forces Théodred to use a Heroic Strike, but he is no match for the combined forces of Théodred and Éomer and ultimately perishes. The rest of the Orcs have either been slain or fled in cowardice (it seems a sensible thing to do, though).

Aftermath

Evil still has 8 victory points, Good went from 0 to 3 by winning this scenario. Théodred is alive and well, meaning he can participate later in the campaign. If Good had more victory points than the Evil player, he could have already joined forces with Éomer and rescue the captives in the next scenario. Théodred slayed 5 enemies, Éomer killed 2.

Post-game thoughts

Initially Good seemed a bit outnumbered. However, since I’m playing with the new profiles, both Théodred and Éomer have been significantly buffed compared to their original profile (Théodred went from 2 to 3 Attack, gained 3 Will and 1 Fate; Éomer went from 2 Attack and 2 Wounds to 3 Attack and 3 Wounds and also has an additional Will and Fate point). It seemed the moment of Éomer’s arrival would be quite vital for this scenario.

Fortunately for Good, reinforcements came quick. So much so that any sense of tension was quickly lost after rolling this 6. It’s nice to have Good win a scenario for once in the Two Towers campaign, though I do wish there would’ve been a bit more excitement and sense of danger here.

I don’t think I’ve ever made it this far into the DeAgostini campaign in my life. So while the scenario itself was a bit of a let down, I am very happy to have made it to this point. I am also quite pleased with my painting of the Rohirrim, particularly the Royal guards and the named heroes. I believe I have definitely progressed a bit since I started preparing for the campaign, though it is of course (and will be) a far cry from the skills of other people. The photos don’t really do them justice, probably because I am a bad (miniature) photographer.

In the next scenario, Éomer and his Riders will stumble on a camp of Orcs and Uruks. What he doesn’t know is that this gang of Orcs actually hold a valuable captive…

DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 2: The Forbidden Pool

Sunday 05 May 2019 – Orcs have attacked the camp where Frodo, Sam and Gollum are being held, at the secret base of the Rangers, the Forbidden Pool. This scenario is described in DeAgostini BGiME magazine #63. 12 Rangers of Gondor and Faramir protect their base against 3 Orc captains and 24 Mordor Orcs. Because Evil won last scenario, an additional 12 Orcs and a banner bearer are added to the forces of Evil. Faramir, Captain of the Rangers, knows the importance of Frodo’s quest and decides to aid their escape and protect them from the attackers.

The objective of the Good side is to move Frodo and Sam off one of the board edges where the Orcs deploy, to let them continue their journey towards Mordor. The Evil side wins if either Frodo is killed or if all the rangers (including Faramir) are slain. The game is a draw if Frodo makes it off the board but Sam is killed. The scenario takes place at night, meaning prior to a Shooting or Charging action, a D6 is rolled. Only on a 4+ can the action be performed, otherwise the model may no move no more that turn. Gollum can see in the dark just fine so he is the only one who doesn’t have to take this extra test.

Following Gollum as their guide, the hobbits cross the river, because that path seems safer. The orcs are moving up, but the ranger’s bow fire is very ineffective because of the lighting conditions.

The orcs are ready to charge some rangers and an Evil priority win causes some orcs to ambush the hobbits. Not wanting that to happen, Frodo spends a point of Might to Heroic Move. Not wanting to let anyone escape, the orc captain also performs a Heroic Move. Evil wins the roll-off and the hobbits are attacked. A ranger comes to the rescue of Frodo and Gollum, but Sam has no luck: he is paired with two orcs and an orc captain. Wanting to aid his buddy Sam, Frodo calls a Heroic combat. They slay the orc and manage to take some heat off Sam by charging into one orc in his combat, though they fail to wound him. Sam’s situation is dire as he loses the fight and receives 3 wounds. He barely makes it, with one Wound left, having spend all his Might and Fate points to survive.

The rangers are outnumbered, their shooting hindered greatly by the darkness. The hobbits have a bit more luck these turns now that most orcs are unable to find the hobbits in the dark, thus not being able to charge. Not wanting any harm to come to his master, Gollum fights in a rage and kills two orcs. Realizing Sam is so close to his death, Frodo shouts to run for it and Sam does so. He jumps to the top of the hill, though falls flat on his face after jumping down. Slowly things are looking better for the Fellowship.

But not for the rangers. Some of the rangers are bravely buying time for our heroes, so that the Ringbearer can escape. But they pay the price with their death. Below the river, only Faramir is left alive from Good and he is surrounded by many orcs, with no hope of escape.

By spending his final two points of Might, Faramir wins the fight, but is unable to wound any orc. A turn later, Faramir too dies and the orcs focus their attention towards the few rangers atop the waterfall.

Leaderless, broken and faced with a horde of orcs coming for them at night, two of the four rangers atop the waterfall flee. Our Ringbearer heroes are now free to travel further towards Mordor, but if the orcs manage to kill the rest of the rangers (or if they flee from their ‘Broken’ courage tests), Evil will still win the scenario.

A single courageous ranger remains standing on the battlefield and he tries to buy our heroes some time. Unfortunately, his fright has gotten the better of him the next turn, meaning the Ringbearer and companions haven’t made it in time towards the board edge, netting Evil another victory.

Aftermath

Having slain a named hero and having won the scenario, Evil gains another 5 victory points, placing them at a total of 8 victory points where Good still has 0. That means the next scenario to be played will be The Fords of Isen. Faramir rolled a ‘3’ on the ‘Death of a Hero’ roll, meaning he isn’t permanently dead, though he does have to do without his Fate points in the next scenario he will participate. The orcs have overrun the secret ranger base and all rangers have either fled or been slain. This was very much a military victory for the forces of Evil, though Frodo, Sam and Gollum did manage to sneak away and continue their quest. All hope is not lost yet, though things are looking dark for the Good side.

Post-game thoughts

From the start I was worried for the Good side. With the cover of darkness, the ranger’s greatest strength (archery) would be muted. They were vastly outnumbered by the orcs and had to deal with 3 orc captains (and a banner bearer). There was no way they could just defeat the orcs and then allow the Ringbearers to move away. I played the scenario thematically, meaning I didn’t send every orc on the hunt for the ring. After all, they would have no idea that the ring is there. Still, I did play like the orcs wouldn’t want anyone escaping, so the Ringbearers were definitely hunted.

There was definitely some poor dice rolling for Good. I think maybe a total of four or six orcs were killed by bowfire the entire scenario, even though there were at least 4 rangers continuously shooting every turn. Had Evil not had the extra troops, had Good had some more luck with dice rolling, had it not been night, had the rangers still had access to volley fire (I play these scenarios with the current edition of the rules, so no volley fire), maybe Good would have actually won the scenario by letting Frodo and Sam escape from the board edge. That’s a big maybe. I definitely feel like this scenario is favourable for the Evil player. I think it is for this reason I didn’t like this scenario too much… Frodo, Sam and Gollum are so vulnerable, having to travel in the direction of the orcs. And the rangers are so incredibly outnumbered, especially considering their shooting in this scenario is statistically as efficient as regular orc bow fire.

The farthest I have gotten in this DeAgostini campaign in my life is right here, after this scenario. I think I just forgot about it after that, which was probably something like 10 years ago. I do remember not being terribly fond of this scenario back then either. Thematically I definitely dig it, but I think Good needs some form of extra benefit. I doubt volley fire alone will be enough. Not taking Broken tests may have also helped and I know you are not supposed to take them during Narrative Play. But not doing so didn’t feel right to me. After all, their leader and more than half of their comrades had fallen in combat, they were surrounded by a seemingly endless stream of orcs and their secret base was discovered. These rangers are mostly just regular men, having a Courage value of just 3. I definitely understand why some of the rangers fled.

In the next scenario, our eyes turn towards Rohan. There Théodred is outnumbered and ambushed by orcs, who are sent by Saruman to take out King Théoden’s son.

DeAgostini The Lord of the Rings Campaign – The Two Towers – Scenario 1: Ambush in Ithilien

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…

The rangers have the high ground, which means it takes the Orcs a little while to reach them.

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.

Post-game thoughts
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.

Fellowship of the Ring statistics & discussion

Statistics

Here are some statistics for the Fellowship of the Ring DeAgostini campaign:

Total number of scenarios: 8

Number of Good victories: 7

Number of Draws: 1

Number of Evil victories: 0

Total number of kills performed by named Heroes: 126 for Good, 1 for Evil

Total number of unique miniatures used (excluding different Hero poses): 16 for Good, 62 for Evil
Total number of miniature participants used (excluding respawns and continuation characters): 16 for Good, 132 for Evil

Frodo: Kills: 1 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 7 | Avg # Kills / scenario: 0.14
Sam: Kills: 2 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 7 | Avg # Kills / scenario: 0.29
Merry: Kills: 0 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 8 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 0.00
Pippin: Kills: 5 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 8 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 0.63
Aragorn: Kills: 35 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 7 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 5.00
Legolas: Kills: 25 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 5 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 5.00
Gimli: Kills: 18 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 5 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 3.60
Gandalf the Grey: Kills: 17 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 3 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 5.67
Boromir: Kills: 18 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 5 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 3.60
Haldir: Kills: 4 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 1 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 4.00
Galadriel: Kills: 1 | Deaths: 0 | Scenarios participated: 1 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 1.00

Lurtz: Kills: 1 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 1 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 1.00
Balrog: Kills: 0 | Deaths: 1 | Scenarios participated: 1 | Avg # Kills/ scenario: 0.00

Most kills: Aragorn (35)
Most deaths: Merry, Pippin, Boromir, Gandalf the Grey, Lurtz, Balrog (1)
Highest Avg # Kills /scenario: Gandalf the Grey (5.67)

Discussion

This was a pretty fun campaign to play. Playing with the full Fellowship, especially with the current edition’s profiles (which contains many thematic special rules), is really fun! They can really be quite the well-oiled machine. As you can see from the statistics, Good won nearly every scenario. In terms of balance, I do think Good has the advantage in most of the scenarios. Nevertheless, some games were really tense and/or thematic, so job well done for the game designers! Even with playing the new rules and profiles, most of the scenarios hold up very well.

Personal highlights for me were:

  • The very first scenario (Flight to the Ferry) because it was the start of this full campaign and after many, many hours of hard work I finally got to play the game, for me the first time playing a game of SBG with the new rules. And the scenario itself didn’t disappoint, very fun, quick and thematic.
  • All of the Moria scenarios (Watcher in the Water, Balin’s Tomb, Bridge of Khazad-dûm) for different reasons. Watcher in the Water was really fun to play and the terrain I built for it made me enjoy it even more. Additionally I managed to grab the old Games Workshop tentacles for the Watcher on eBay and really liked playing with such cool and unique models.
  • Balin’s Tomb I’ve played on multiple occasions over all my hobby years and has always been fun in my mind. It’s the first time in this campaign that you have the full fellowship facing off against a ‘normal’ army. Also the setting (Balin’s tomb) is really fun. The hobbits can hide behind pillars while the beefier heroes defend the entrance.
  • Bridge of Khazad-Dûm was incredibly thematic and extremely close to what happened in the books. It’s a fun scenario with really immersive terrain and my play of it couldn’t have gone any better.