Wednesday, 13 November 2019

For Gondor!




One of my goals over the next year or so is to actually play more wargames. While I spend almost every day working on games or painting miniatures, its actually comparatively rare that I actually play a game, just for fun.

Thankfully, I’ve already got several ‘events’ scheduled, where I’ll get in some fun gaming: The Frostgrave Campaign Day with HATE in January, the Frostgrave Tour in February, and Adepticon in March. That said, I also wanted to see if I could get in a few games closer to home.

So, last Friday night, I found myself in the gaming store, with a small force of Gondorians, preparing to hold back a Harad raiding part. It’s actually been many years since I played a game of the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game (since before it was called that) that wasn’t a Battle Companies game.

It was basically a learning game for me and my opponent. I learned, right off the bat, not to put my Knight of the White Tower who was leading my force in the front rank, as he (admittedly, improbably) died to hail of poisoned arrows in a single volley. Although I fought the good fight, I never quite recovered from this and had no real answer to his heroic commander who tore up my lines.

We played a second game where my opponent switched to Dain leading a small group of heavily armoured Dwarves. Interestingly, I think he was so shocked by the easy death of my leader in the first game, that he hid Dain at the back of his force. This meant he was out of position when the lines clashed, and my spears and cavalry proved too much for even Dwarven armour.

It was a fun night of gaming. I had forgotten how tactical the movement phase is in the game. It also has a wonderful freedom of movement, since there is no such thing as unit cohesion. I’m not 100% convinced by the combat system, but overall, I do think it is a very good wargame, which I will likely play again.



13 comments:

  1. Egads! Do I see unpainted miniatures in a table!

    I honestly don't know if I've ever played a game using only painted miniatures, and it's good to see photos of a game played for fun (gasp!) with unpainted miniatures in spite of that being "insulting to your opponent" and "missing the point of miniature gaming".

    Silly me always thought the point of miniature gaming was gaming with miniatures and maybe even having fun, which might be easier if we all didn't get insulted over miniatures being painted!

    More on topic I do miss playing LotR:SBG with my old pre career and kids crew.

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    1. Well, my army was full painted, which is all that mattered to me. I don't mind taking on the grey hordes from time to time.

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  2. What a coincidence, I played a few games of LOTR for the first time in years on Monday and Tuesday. I had the same experience with archers proving deadly early on from which I couldn't recover. This is still hands down my favourite rule set for handling army sized fantasy skirmish.

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  3. Interestingly, no archers made any significant contributions for the rest of the night... fun though!

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    1. Likewise. It's good to learn fast from the tactical errors.

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  4. Did you remember to apply the +1 modifier to all your die rolls for having a painted army? :D Your force looks very cool on the battlefield.

    I like the turn sequence from LOTR; almost as much as I like the turn sequence from WFB 1st Edition.

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  5. Just this morning I was looking for info about this game, since I got my fiancee hooked with wargames and she's such a big tolkien fan.
    Going by forces in those photos, looks like you can have smaller games than what the starter box would suggest (which is a good thing in this case) Anything else the good fellas in this blog could tell me about the game?

    (BTW, I already lend her my copy of Frostgrave.)

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    1. You can play with really small groups with Battle Companies, but that requires the purchase of at least 3 different books to play. You might also think about Rangers of Shadow Deep and just changing the setting to middle-earth. Pretty easy to do, and she might enjoy the co-operative play.

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    2. My crew was playing ~200 pt games all the time with SBG. It's fast but still has enough independent units to be tactical & you can even fit in a champion at that size. One bad roll will end a game though, but with forces of 6-10 units you can shove in several games in a night.

      For the recommended game size the rules do a shockingly good job allowing hero characters to shine without making them untouchable. There are limits though, as Sauron and the Balrog cannot be damaged by goblins, which doesn't matter unless you are playing a homemade goblin uprising scenario...

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    3. If you're looking to get into it, 450 points is a good limit and you'll only need the rulebook, one army book and1-2 boxes each and a hero or two to play. If you just want to play together, ignore the new edition and get the old blue rulebook from about 2005 (about a fiver online): it's outdated but the rules are still good and nearly all the profiles are in the book!

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  6. I'm getting into MESBG, and I agree that the combat system is a little finicky, with all the weapon special rules and with it basically coming down to, If I have higher Fight, I just need to roll a 6. But you're also right in that it's a fantastically tactical system when it comes to moving units.

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    1. I really like the combat system. I've only really played GW (plus the odd spot game of Warmachine) and it's the best combat resolution they've produced, alongside Blood Bowl. I like that it's about stacking the odds in your favour by committing more warriors and ensuring spear support is in place.

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  7. Absolutely fantastic job you have done here.This is so nice.Thanks for sharing.

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