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War of the Ring: Lords of Middle-earth» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First try at Lords of Middle Earth rss

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Genestealer Patriarch
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The supply gods finally smiled on us and we were able to pick up a copy of Lords of Middle Earth. Had to wait a week to paint the models to a decent standard (love the Balrog) so we could try out the new goodies. To keep things simple, we left Warriors of Middle Earth out of this one. I was the SP.

In games so far, as SP I have found Lorien to be a pain. Very difficult to conquer, by which time the game has usually been decided one way or the other, and it provides a valuable refuge for the Fellowship if it goes the Moria route. So my plan for this game was to get the Balrog ASAP and storm Lorien with the Balrog, Moria and Dol Guldur's armies before the FP knew what hit him; then retreat the Balrog back to safety in Moria (if the Fellowship hadn't reached it yet) or find something else to destroy before the Valar squashed him with a WotW.

The FP put Boromir in Minas Tirith and New Gandalf as the guide.

In the event, the Balrog was summoned early and Dol Guldur marched out. However he turned out to be very difficult to get going. I waited a turn to get his dice, which promptly failed to show "use Balrog", so he was stuck inactive for all the second turn. The third turn saw the correct symbol rolled, so up he crawled. By this point the combined army threatening Lorien had no less than 4 trolls and 2 Nazgul leading it, with Galadriel defending. However the FP now had a WotW dice, and with repeated passing ensured that if the Balrog stomped out of Moria, it would be killed before it ever got to attack. Therefore it sulked impatiently in Moria for turn 3 as well.

By this time the Fellowship had had a disastrous excursion from Rivendell, being revealed only 2 steps into its journey. Cue the next big toy, the Chief of the Ringwraiths. I'd decided to bring him on (and risk losing the Balrog die) because it was already activated, and I had drawn the new event card that allows you to reactivate it. I also assumed (correctly) that the FP would not spend a WotW to inactivate the Balrog in Moria.

The new Witchking was a beast, blasting the poor Fellowship with one character card after another. Although he managed to move further on the track, the FP did not bother declaring as the WK would come with him. After looking at the rules, he did not want to risk going through the Balrog either; Gandalf is not quite an obvious sacrifice when he is giving you an extra dice. After only a couple of turns, the WK had killed Gimli and inflicted 4 corruption, and the Fellowship had yet to cross the mountains.

Down south, things seemed to be going better for him. Minas Tirith was under seige, my orcish rabble joined by Gothmog (also risking his die). Boromir held out pretty well, and Pelagir was soon joined by King Aragorn at the head of the Dead Men. After one particularly nasty battle for the SP, the White City was left beseiged by a single Orc and his three leaders cowering behind him. Unfortunately the FP was not able to capitalise on this disaster so they were hastily reinforced from Minas Morgul.

Saruman appeared and boosted Orthanc's army. I decided to go hell for leather, use all his army to take Rohan and risk that Gandalf would kill him with Ents. They took Helm's Deep and looked tpwards Edoras.

When the FP failed to roll any WotW dice (and Galadriel rolled an eye) the Balrog saw his chance and raced out of Moria to join the rablle surrounding Lorien. I only had a single action die left, but with 4 trolls and 5 leader re-rolls the battle could only go one way, though I whiffed with the "Durin's Bane" combat card, losing any second chance to reactivate the Balrog. The only gain the Elves took was that they were finally At War. By this point I had lost both the Balrog and Gothmog's dice.

At this point the FP conceded. I had 6 VPs (Lorien, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith) with massive armies poised to take Edoras, and probably Pelagir followed by Dol Amroth. The Fellowship was bogged down in northern Middle Earth with 4 corruption and the Chief of the Ringwraiths on their tail, so was in no position to pressure me into worrying about the hunt.

Stuff we learned:
As has been pointed out on the forums here, the Chief of the Ringwraiths is great when he gets an early deployment, especially if you keep drawing the right character cards. So I was lucky twice over.

The Balrog is an absolute beast and lived up to his billing in this game, but the timing of his contribution is unreliable. He can't activate the turn you get him (as you don't get to use his die until the following turn). Even then, you still need the right result (1/3 chance) to activate him. After that, you need to pick a turn when the FP doesn't have a WotW to kill him off.

Having Boromir in Minas Tirith is good (Gondor was at war before Sauron!) but it wasn't enough.

Gothmog's extra dice was handy (but only got 2 uses before the dreaded star); apart from that, I did not get to use his ability so he was basically a Nazgul.

Galadriel might be good, if a Balrog doesn't eat her first.

Smeagol didn't show up as the Fellowship were scared off from moving.

At first glance (one game), it seems like the SP get much more out of this expansion than the FP; though I was lucky in how my new guys worked very well for me. Need to get more games in and see how it pans out over time...
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Neil Moore
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San Dimas
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Patriarchxyz wrote:

At first glance (one game), it seems like the SP get much more out of this expansion than the SP


I'm so confused!
 
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Genestealer Patriarch
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neil moore wrote:
Patriarchxyz wrote:

At first glance (one game), it seems like the SP get much more out of this expansion than the SP


I'm so confused!

Dammit!! blush

*Ahem* fixed, thank you! whistle
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Genestealer Patriarch
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We had a rematch today, and once again the Fellowship took something of a back seat.

This time they were led by Classic Gandalf, with the alternative Legolas starting in the Woodland Realm.

As in the previous game, the Balrog and his cave-troll bodyguard had an early start, but a pair of WotW dice kept him cowering in Moria.

Saruman made a first turn appearance, and started building up in anticipation of the assault on Rohan. The FP's muster dice (and Legolas' anything-dice) pushed the Elves, Rohan and Gondor most or all of the way to war.

The usual Sauron movements in Mordor yielded two giant armies along with Gothmog. They killed one forward Gondor scout, and a Southron horde took over Pelagir. That was the extend of action in the far south for the whole game, as the war became far more intense elsewhere.

Dol Guldur launched a Balrog-free assault on Lorien, which was again joined by Galadriel. Despite 5(!) trolls, 5 orcs and 2 Nazgul, the Elves were successful, taking a few hits but reducing the mighty shadow army to a single Orc and his red faced masters. The Balrog was sorely missed, and would surely have turned the tide. Worse was to come as Gandalf the White raced from Rivendell to Rohan, stopping once to force the Balrog back into his cave, and again in Fangorn to put the wind up Saruman.

Before the Shadow knew it, Legolas led his father's army to take Dol Guldur from the hastily assembled Orc defence, and Elrond's household raced up to take on Mount Gundabad. In this case the defence gave them pause, but the seige went ahead.

Thanks to Gandalf's counsel and a large number of muster dice and recruitment cards, the Riders of Rohan had assembled a huge force, not to mention some quiet words with the Ents of Fangorn. In response, Saruman's Dunlending allies turned up just in time to swell his fortress and the Gap of Rohan. The war would be decided over the three Shadow fortresses...

With the Valars' attention elsewehere, the Balrog, accompanied by the Mouth of Sauron and 3 Nazgul, raced to join the army from Morannon which marched north to retake Dol Guldur. He showed what a difference he makes when off the leash, with Legolas and his brave companions slaughtered to an Elf. The bloodstained army turned west to Lorien and its queen.

The battle for Isengard was more balanced, Saruman electing to fight on the open field until his army was reduced to six. At this point the army retreated back into the citadel, leaving a straggling band of Uruk Hai to be cut down. However Theoden's men were sorely depleted. A suicidal charge by the Dunlendings in the Gap of Rohan took down only a single Rohan unit, but it seemed to have tipped the balance.

Even Gandalf's magic and the fury of the Ents (2 combat cards) could not prevail, and after two rounds of seige the beseiging Rohirrim were left with a single army, precariously guarding Gandalf and two leaders. With 4 elites in the fortress, the White Rider would be unable to withstand Saruman's inevitable counterstrike, whilst Galadriel would likewise be snuffed out by the Balrog and his Mordor army.

The FP conceded; though the SP was on a single VP, the Elves and Rohan were exhausted of reinforcements and would be completely overrun in a couple of turns (maybe the Grey Havens would be safe a little longer). Gondor would fall long before the Fellowship could mount a credible threat on Mount Doom, being still in Rivendell; any desperate rapid push would easily be dealt with by the Witch King and the freedom I would now have to devote to the Hunt.

Stuff we learned:
- Aggressive elves and Rohirrim are dangerous. At one point I was scrambling to defend 3 fortresses. Losing 2 by the end of a turn would have lost me the game.
- In contrast, the Fellowship made barely a token attempt at moving the ring, so I was under no pressure to devote more than a single Eye to the hunt. This was a rare game in which whenever I had the option, I picked strategy cards rather than character.
- Again, no Fellowship meant no need to bring on Chief of the Ringwraiths, so I had no danger of losing the Balrog/Gothmog dice. Having the new Mouth of Sauron (released once Dol Guldur was captured) was just as good in this game, without the downsides.
- Keeper dice, in this case Galadriel's, helped the Shadow as much as hurt. She rolled an eye at the time I had a card on the table which allowed me to change one of my red dice. I think the third roll she got was the character icon, which Gandalf used to deactivate the Balrog, but the Star icon also losdt her the die since he was present.
- I was lucky to get Rage of the Dunlendings when I did. Those extra reinforcements turned up just before Orthanc was put under siege.
- Good play by the FP to keep the Balrog in check. I would always need two clear dice to both move the monster out of Moria, and attack with it. He kept passing with his last WotW dice so I could never get this combo together (if I moved the Balrog out to join the army, he would have spent the WotW to kill it before it could fight). Once we had a turn where the PF rolled no WotW, the Balrog was out, to do as much damage as possible before he could be crushed.

Still looks like this expansion favours the SP; however in our eagerness to try the new fun stuff we have been neglecting Frodo's progress, so there are surely more approaches to discover...
 
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