After last weeks gaming I wanted to post a few pictures of my finished Glorfindel model, however I have recently been suffering from the attentions of Nurgle and had bearly left my bed for two days. On Monday I was considering which one of my friends would get to pay off their mortgage after inheriting my Tyranid army. But the sickness has passed and now here are some pictures.
As you will already be aware of Thursday night saw us gamers get together for another round of beat on the Elf. Last nights battle was a lot of fun. As ZombiePirate has already informed you it was a battle for the pass game with us basically having to kill as much of each other as possible [I love simple games]. My army had seen a few changes since its last use – out went the Ent which had done next to nothing in 3 games, and I’ve also been trying out lots of different characters – in last nights match I used Glorfindel, Thranduil and Cirdan. The rest is pretty familiar; 3 companies each of Galadrim, Galadrim Archers and Galadrim Knights.
I deployed my army across the board to take full advantage of the longbows, whilst ZombiePiarte used a refused flank stance. In general the battle went as follows – Elves got attacked by the wood; Galadrim Archers shot the crap out of stuff; Glorfindel had a fantastic failure of a combat with the Winged Nazgul (more later); the Galadrim Knights saw off the Haradrim Raiders, then got finished off in combat against the Haradrim Infantry with Dalamyr (though they did take out about a third of the unit); the Nazgul spent half the game having fantastic magic rolls, whilst despite having 3 casters, mine flopped like a bad perm; Glorfindel later redeemed himself by finishing off the Haradrim, the Easterlings and the Nazgul and at the end of it all there was 4 Morgul Knights and Dalamyr left on the table. Total whip out for the Elves [my third in a row now!].
So what are my feelings towards my army? I like the Elves, despite the losses sustained so far – I’ve 1 game out of 4 and like I said the last 3 there was nothing left of my army, but at least this time there wasn’t much left of my opponent’s either. For some reason I like the Elves (and Elf-type) armies in wargames. I have a Wood Elf army for Fantasy, an Eldar army for 40K and the Thaniras Elf fleet for Uncharted Seas. And now after playing some games of War of the Ring I’ve noticed a theme; that they all aim for the hit hard, hit fast principle. They are all incredibly fast armies with a lot of hitting power, but somewhat lower defences and so tend to lose out in a war of attrition. The Elves of War of the Ring are no different. After having spent some time thinking about the army, I’ve identified what I see to be the main strengths and weaknesses of in the army.
- Speed – all the Elves move at least 8 inches (their cavalry move 12), they also all have pathfinder master, meaning that they ignore difficult terrain.
- High Fight – even the basic Elf is Fight 5 (equal to many other people’s Epic Heroes) and their own Epic Heroes often have Fight values of 7,8 and 10. So that’s LOTS of attack dice.
- Terror – they all cause terror.
- High Courage – basic Elf courage is 5, with captains and most Epics at 6, making them very reliable and making the Spirit Grasp rule pretty pointless against them.
- Longbows – 36″ range weapon with at least 10 dice per company, it massacres lightly armoured units and even heavy units need to watch out.
- Magic – the only Good army to have magic users in their list and there are plenty of them; out of 12 Epic Hero choices 6 are magic users, plus there are 2 Legendary formations and the Galadrim can be upgraded with Stormcallers. This gives you access to Dismay, Command and Wilderness spells.
- Characters – they have more Epic Heroes to choose from than any other army save Mordor, so that’s plenty of choice.
- Expensive – most companies of Elves cost at least 50pts; that’s enough for 2 companies of Minas Tirith Warriors or almost 4 companies of Orcs/Goblins. This means you can expect to be outnumbered by at least 2:1. It also means that you often can’t afford the a lot of unit upgrades.
- Low Defence – they’re defence is often a point or two lower than most units; e.g. Galadrim Warriors 4(6), Easterling Cohort 5(7).
- Limited unit options – a lot of the units do similar things, and they’re is no artillery.
- Characters – too much choice leaves you pondering on which characters to use and the expensive units means you can’t get a lot of Might points in your army.
So how do I feel about the army that I used last night? And how did these strengths/weaknesses play out?
Glorfindel: I decided that I wanted to use this guy partly because I thought I could do with a monster to replace the Ent and partly because I enjoyed painting the model [it's the big green one in Servitob's post]. The beginning of the game went really badly for him – he charged the Winged Nazgul, declared a Heroic Duel and did nothing, then came regular fighting between them and again nothing. What should have been a dramatic combat between two monsters was a huge pile of fail from both characters, no hits were scored. He failed a lot of his spells and failed to hit a single Morgul Knight in a later combat. He later redeemed himself by killing the said Nazgul along with the Easterlings and the Haradrim. His speed and the sheer number of dice you roll in combat makes him a formidable character, and at defence 7 and Very Hard to Kill, he’s not easy to hurt. Would I use him again? Most definitely, but at 250pts he’s probably a bit too expensive for a 1000pt army.
Overall rating so far: 4/5
Thranduil: Another new hero for me to try. His epic shot surprised ZombiePirate and his Fight 7 and Wilderness Spells are useful – though I did manage to fail a lot of my magic rolls (especially focus rolls) with him. On the plus side he is (125pts) and you get a good combat character who is also a wizard. Chances of me using him again; good.
Overall rating: 3/5
Cirdan: A new choice for me. I thought his Command Spells would hurt the Nazgul and repair damage to his unit, but he got Black Darted at the beginning of turn 2 and had done nothing in the game. If he had survived longer, then perhaps something may have come from him, but at Resilience 1 I’m not sure I’ll be in a hurry to use him soon.
Overall rating 2/5
Galadrim Infantry: I’ve had a mixed amount of success with these troops. As my main combat unit they tend to get a lot of attention, but at the moment I’m only fielding 3 companies of them, and the damage absorption just isn’t there. One the plus side they do have a habit of really hurting stuff in close combat and at defence 6 they can take some punishment. They have worked well when supported with a Hero with Epic Defence and the Spells of Command to replenish depleted companies. A good, dependable unit, just don’t hit it too many times.
Overall rating 3/5
Galadrim Archers: Probably the one unit that has done the most damage. At the risk of offending the dice gods they have a habit of doing a lot of damage with their longbows, hence why I added a third company to the unit since my last game. At fight 5 they’re also no pushovers in combat and when they have a Hero with Epic Shot or Epic Defence, they become a unit to fear. This unit I intend on taking every time I go to the field.
Overall rating 5/5
Galadrim Knights: Another useful unit. I’ve yet to use the shield armed variety as I find their longbows and Expert Rider ability just too much of a temptation. They do a decent amount fo damage at range – destroying the Haradrim Raiders after 3 volleys, and they can deal a lot of damage in combat. There one big weakness – defence 4, so pick your targets carefully. This being said, I fully intended on keeping the unit in my army.
Overall rating 4/5
So how did the army as a whole work? Ignoring the bad dice rolling that plagued us both this game I think it went well. Although I had nothing left, it was probably the most tightly fought game so far. The speed, high fight and longbow strengths really came out, how ever so did the lacking in numbers and the loss of Might points to the Black Dart. What would I change for next time? I think that the army was to character heavy, especially for 1000pts, so a change of characters will probably take place before the next battle. Good thing I have plenty to choose from.
Thursday evening saw the 6InchMove team head to their latest addition of the floating citadel to talk more smack, throw more dice and drink more DPZ. Fortunately, the Co-op had a buy one get one free offer on DPZ. Unfortunately that meant that they had sold out, so we were reduced to drinking Pepsi of the Max variety.
Following War Of The Ring, we all settled down for a game of Death Angel, the card game based on Space Hulk. Personally, I really enjoy this game, almost to the extent that I enjoy Space Hulk. Honestly! Yes, they are two different beasts but Death Angel is far more straightforward at least from a logistical point of view and still retains the edge of tension and the much cliched “a moment to learn, a lifetime to master” type feeling of the original.
Over recent weeks the 6 Inch Move team have become ever more enamoured with our sojourn into Tolkien’s fantasy realm. Servitob even went out and bought the movies! I believe that I’ve now played and seen enough games to start to really understand the flow and mechanics of the game and also the more noticeable differences between the two sides. While each faction within an alignment is distinct with a theme of their own the alignments themselves offer a different set of playstyles and challenges. What I have to commend the Sherriff for in this regard is the characterisation of the alignments. If someone gave you an edited list of some of the models I reckon that most people would be able to tell you if a model was good or evil just by looking at the numbers.
So, let’s have a look at what a War of the Ring profile means. There are 8 stats for each model profile, as well as a Type that defines whether a model is Infantry, Cavalry or a Monster. These are Movement, Fight, Strength, Defence, Attacks, Resilience, Courage and Might. Movement is quite self-explanatory, this number is how far in inches a company can move during the move phase. Fight is a numerical representation of a company’s combat prowess while Strength is a measure of how easy it is to cause a wound on an opponent. Defence represents things like armour and shields as well as the general toughness of something, you compare Strength against Defence to work out what you need to roll on a D6 to cause a hit. Attacks has two purposes in War of the Ring, firstly it represents the number of dice rolled for a shooting or close combat attack, secondly it is also a handy indicator of the number of wounds a company can take. Resilience is important because it defines how many hits a company can take before it takes a casualty, for infantry this is normally 1 and for Cavalry it is usually 2. Courage represents if a unit is likely to stand and fight or turn tail and run when faced with certain effects. Might is used to Heroes and is one of the defining aspects of the game, appropriate and timely use of Might can drastically change the game.
Not only are the units of differing sides of the Good/Evil divide different in their stat weightings but so are the Heroes. GW have done a really good job here of taking the stories that Tolkien wrote and translating them into a table top game. At first glance the main difference is that the Good side is filled with far more Epic Heroes and Legendary formations, after all, these are the good guys, the ones who will selflessly sacrifice themselves for the good of others. On the flip side the Evil alignment is supported by a veritable cornucopia of Monsters, from Trolls to Dragons, the forces of Sauron have the biggest and gribbliest beasties with which to bolster their lines.
All of this fits well within the mythos and gives armies themes, you will also find that the Good armies are often painted in bright primary colours, blues and reds and whites (OK, I know white isn’t technically a colour), even Gondor with their silver and black regalia have colour thrown in with the Knights of Dol Amroth. The evil sides are filled with dirty browns and greens, the only real difference here is the Fallen Realms list that has the golden armoured Easterlings, but then the balance here is that the reds are dark and black features heavily (again not a colour I know). We’re all still working on getting a fully painted army, other than Gribblin who is just about done with his 1000pts. I’m looking forward to the day when we roll out fully painted armies as it is going to transform the aesthetic of the games we play.
With the forces of Good being bolstered by so many Heroes it is no surprise then that your typical good army has access to a lot of Might. Might allows you to perform actions outside of the normal Priority that is rolled for at the start of each turn, also, Epic Heroes have Epic actions that they are allowed to call, there are a lot of different Epic actions and each Epic Hero has a list of the Epic actions they are allowed to call. Most of the Epic Heroes in the forces of Good have a Might of 3 or more, even some of the cheaper Heroes (sub 100pts) have a good store of Might. Many of the Heroes have special rules and abilities as well.
On the Evil side of things there are differences. Might is a lot harder to come by, to get comparable stores of it you would need to invest much more points in an Epic Hero. I can provide an example from my own Faction, the Fallen Realms, if I want an Epic Hero from my own faction with three points of Might I have to pay 165pts to get Amdur, yes he is a combat monster but Evil is generally bereft of the cheap utility heroes. This is countered through the threat that Monsters provide. The Nazgul also have very low Might but their special rules and the options for their use make them very effective, you have to think hard about using that single Might point with them. There is a temptation to take more Captains and increase the Might available to an evil army but this then restricts the number of troops you can take as they eat heavily into your budget.
One other factor that has played out rather obviously now is the lack of Courage for an evil force. With my Fallen Realms I have a couple of formations that cause Terror. So far no-one has failed a Terror test against anything of mine, Rohan, Elves and Gondor all have access to high Courage values with Inspiring Leaders. Faramir can also allow one formation per turn to automatically pass a Courage test. The Elves cause Terror and have high Courage themselves, this proved pretty conclusive against Servitob’s Uruk-Hai! Using Galadriel to debuff them by a single point or more neutered the charges of the Uruk-hai on numerous occasions. OK, Servitob’s dice had taken this game as an opportunity to go on vacation didn’t help the cause but all those tests with low Courage really came over decisively.
It really is interesting to see how the two alignments are characterised. The prevalence of Epic Heroes for the forces of Good bolsters the men and keeps them going when you’d expect them to fail, while the Evil forces will turn tail and flee when things don’t go their way, all very cinematic I am sure you’ll agree. Planning contingency for these kinds of events is one of the features of army building for this game as it is for many others, seeking to overcome your weaknesses while capitalising on strengths. I still have to face the Elves and a rematch against Carabus’ Gondor, there may even be a clash of evil sometime too to see how I fare against the Uruk-Hai. Will my courage hold against those Elves? I hope so, but I fear (pun intended) for my lowly Courage 3 Haradrim against all those Terror-causing hairdressers!
As alluded to in my post yesterday the 6 Inch Move team got another day off from our usual lives in order to avail ourselves of some juicy gaming goodness. Unfortunately, “the Man” makes Gribblin work every Saturday so we had to wait for him to clock off before his fashionista forces could arrive for their inaugural game. Servitob also had to arrive late due to generally being a lazy ass.
So it was that Carabus, nBreaker and myself appeared to kick off the morning in proper fashion. As nBreaker had been gimped by terrain on his last game against Servitob’s Isengard we had decided he would be up first to get another game in, we were also going to throw him in the deep end against the aforementioned debutantes of Gribblin’s poncy Elves. Due to them getting their nails and hair done they were unable to arrive until the Gribblin left work in the afternoon. So, with the three of us standing around we decided that it would be myself to face off against the Rohirrim using my recently “tweaked” Fallen Realms list.
It was a 1000pts game that saw me take the following;
- Dalamyr, Fleetmaster of Umbar – Leader
- Haradrim – 4 Companies with Bows and Balefire Arrows
- Haradrim Raiders – 4 Companies with Banner Bearers
- Easterling Cohort – 3 Companies with Pikes, Captain and Dragon Knight
- Morgul Knight Regiment – 3 Companies with Banner Bearer
- Watcher Warband – 1 Company with Bows
- Winged Nazgul – The Shadow Lord
We ended up playing the Field of Swords scenario where you are rewarded for taking Banners and crumping skulls. I was up against a veritable horde of cavalry and an allied Dwarf Ballista. My list was changed around since last time, namely the dropping of the Mumak for the Winged Nazgul and dropping the Dark Marshal, the Easterling Archers and the Haradrim Heroes in order to afford the Morgul Knights and taking Dalamyr plus putting a few upgrades here and there such as the pikes on the Easterling Cohort. Overall the new list looks more threatening than the last one.
With a memory like a seive I cannot provide a blow-by-blow battle report but I can pick out what works for me with the new list. The Winged Nazgul is an absolute treat, I was made to set up first and was then given Priority in the first turn. The first thing I did was swoop attack over the Dwarf Ballista, the attack itself did nothing but the following Strength from Corruption spell rolled 4 hits and destroyed the machine before it got to fire a shot. After shuffling the rest of my army around a little nBreaker stood in deep and thoughtful conversation with Servitob about what to do in his move phase due to the hungry looking Felbeast hanging around in his deployment zone.
The Nazgul kept making a nuisance of itself throughout the game, picking off stuff here and there, disrupting charges with Pall of Night and although nothing ever failed its Terror test when it charged into combat it really did cause problems. I heard mentions of Gandalf when people were discussing counters for it later on. The Morgul Knights ended up fighting other cavalry for most of the game, however, when they hit some Rohirrim I was hitting on 5′s and with five dice managed to roll every single one as a 5 to finish off a unit, that was quite lucky on my part. My Easterlings with Pikes were a massive anchor on my right flank, they wouldn’t shift and when bolstered by the Dragon Knight’s fight of 7 really lay down the hurt, he even saw off Eowyn in an Heroic Duel. I am loving my Easterlings and I think other people are respecting how difficult they can be to shift.
The Haradrim could do nothing but harass Theoden’s unit and my Raiders were circling around the left flank to try to flank/rear charge the advancing horsemen. With Theoden stuck in a wood virtually all game I couldn’t shift them with lowly Haradrim but proceeded to make my presence known on the rest of the field. We called the game at around 2.00pm so we could go get some lunch, unfortunately for nBreaker there wasn’t a lot of the forces from the Riddermark left while Sauron’s allies were at virtually full strength.
It was a good game and a lot of fun, it was nice to see how my army has developed and the increase in understanding of how the game plays and what is effective. It is also interesting to look at combinations of stuff, I know there is a lot of Internet whining (give me a subject where this isn’t the case) regarding some of the broken combinations available but I don’t think we’ve come across that yet. We are enjoying the game and while I can see areas where you could pimp an army out to being a little disgusting I am hoping that our players will keep making tough lists but without trying to “spike” their lists.
Eventually the Elves did turn up, late as usual, but their hair was suitably long and glossy, after swapping appreciations for fetching handbag and shoe combinations they even got into a few scrapes, but that’s a story for another day and another author. I was just watching from the sidelines while they macarana’d their way across the tabletop battlefields of Middle Earth.
After another weekend of furious discussions regarding our building interest in War of the Ring, the final count for the 6 Inch Move team is in. All forces have been chosen and here below is what you can expect to see us using in the (hopefully) not too distant future;
- ZombiePirate – Fallen Realms
- Servitob – Isengard
- Gribblin – Elves
- nBreaker – Rohan
Overall it works out nicely as two armies on either side of the good/evil divide. I’m looking forward to seeing these armies take shape and we are even considering holding an inaugural battle at Warhammer World. Time to clear my schedule for painting.
A quick post today that is only ever so slightly off-topic, although it does feed into the normal “soup du jour” of this site.
These thoughts came about while I was out driving at lunch time, maybe it was the fumes from the petrol station where I filled my car up that sent me on to a heady high to come up with such a warped vision, or perhaps it is my natural hyperactive imagination. Whatever it was, here it is;
In your stereotypical fantasy enviroment there are a select group of races that will normally be making an appearance. I am sure that you are more than familiar with these, Humans, Dwarves and Elves, although for certain universes there is some kind of schism among the Elven community which leads to a variety of Dark and High Elves or similar. What made me chuckle today is when I thought about the core races of Star Trek and how they fit so effortlessly into the fantasy stereotype. I’m not sure whether this was a conscious decision by Gene Roddenberry when he came up with things or whether it is just a nerdy coincidence, but nevertheless they do fit snuggly together.
Humans are a prolific race that feature predominantly across the genre. In both Fantasy worlds and Star Trek Humans are main focus and are everywhere, at times peaceful while others are more militaristic, splitting themselves into factions affiliated with ideologies. Dwarves are portrayed as gruff alcoholics with a penchant for bad singing and kicking seven shades of fecal matter out of people, seems a good match for Klingons in my mind (Klingon + fecal matter pun not intended). OK Klingons may be taller but this is my party so they’re doing good, although most Dwarves for some reason are Scottish and I think a Scottish Klingon would be kind of hilarious. Now, you can probably guess where I am going with Elves. Pointy ears all around, your various flavours of fantasy Elves fit quite nicely with Vulcans and Romulans. One Imperialist and prone to lashing out, one all pacifistic but will stand their ground when riled. Vulcans are older and wiser (generally) than Humans and live longer… geez, wonder where they got that idea from? There is even a suitable schism describing the differences between alien pointy ears number 1 and their more emotional alien pointy ears number 2.
To me it is quite amusing how good a fit they all are. Just as there are many other races in Star Trek so there are in Fantasy too, but your basic run of the mill dramatis personae are here in startling clarity. I just bet you’ll never watch an episode of Trek the same again!