Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Army Worthy of Mordor: Session Report, Monday 23 Apr 2007

Yesterday, Steve and I gathered to kick off the traditional SABG Monday game session... only this time we started at 0800 hours. Suspecting that no one else was going to show, we decided to once again play War of the Ring (with the expansion). We rolled for sides, and I took the Free People.

The dice started out quite kind to me. I averaged around two Will of the West dice every turn for the whole game, which is amazing luck for me. I've gone a whole game without seeing a single WotW previously, so I thought the time was nigh for a solid FP victory. Aragorn and Boromir were in Minas Tirith on turn 1, dumping a random hobbit next to a tree in Fangorn along the way. By early turn 2, Aragorn was crowned, Treebeard was awake, and Galadriel had spawned. Things were looking good! I started loading the end-game cup with blue tiles and slowly progressed the Fellowship southward.

Then, much to my chagrin, things started departing from the plan... I hadn't invested in muster dice, so the Elves were still far from war. Steve sallied forth from Dol Guldur and before I could react, he burned Lorien to the ground, sent Galadriel back to Valar, all while the Fellowship watched from a nearby hillside. Not good! I truly expected Lorien to put up more of a fight, and this reinforces the lesson that you need to get an extra elite or two in there as soon as you can.

I then made another big mistake, which Steve was quick to capitalize on. I decided to order Theodred and company to stand and fight a second round of combat at the Fords of Issen. Steve rolled well, and suddenly Helms Deep was left with a single regular to defend it. This poor guy promptly soiled his armor, then was overrun. The rest of Rohan soon followed.

The Fellowship kept moving, and made it to Minas Tirith for a turn or two of psychotherapy, and was ready to set forth for Mordor with just three corruption, Gimli, Legolas, Merry, and still the possibility of Smeagol in tow. Steve unfortunately continued his strong military push. His legion at Lorien shot northward and rapidly took down Erebor and Dale, but didn't have enough to take down the Woodland Realm. Next, the Witch King came out of Angmar and took out the Shire. I briefly retook Dale, but then lost it again, which cost me the game! Argh!

Other lessons learned:

- Watch out for the card that nukes Will of the West dice. I was about to stabilize the bleeding with a roll of three Will of the West dice (i.e., Musters), but then Steve cancelled all three with a single card. Argh!

- The Fellowship was on its way to the ring dunk, but I tried to get there too fast. I should have paid more attention to defense in the North.

- I did do a good job at keeping Minas Tirith free. I had Aragon, Boromir, and most of the Gondor military sitting there, and this kept Steve from even attempting an attack the entire game.

We followed this game with two sessions of the Knizia's Lord of the Rings. We lost one and then won one! Woo hoo!



At 11:28 AM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

So has the fellowship won WotR yet? Everything indicates this game is a ton o'fun, but it'd be nice to see the good guys win once in a while.

At 11:54 AM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Jeff said...

Ben got a FP win versus me. I got an FP win versus Amy once. So out of my 7 games, that's 2 for the forces of good. And once or twice, the FP exploded in a firestorm of corruption on the very brink of Mount Doom, so two wins and a couple of VERY close games out of seven in my experience. Without the expansion, the bad guys have a distinct advantage, especially if the FP player is a newbie, but FP wins are very possible.

Awesome report Ben.

At 12:07 PM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

Ted, not in the three games Ben and I have played so far, though I know Ben has won with them, but it definitely seems easier for a new player to be an efficient Sauron. I for one can't wait to play the Free Peoples again.

The game really changes my mind about the Council at Rivendell. In the book, I shake my head at poor, dumb Boromir, and smirk at anyone suggesting they hide the ring and fight. The book just makes the right course seem so obvious.

However, the game presents all manner of options. The debate at Rivendell now seems a lot more meaningful.

I guess I'll wait till 10 plays before revisiting that thought, so it'll be a little while. Till then, I've got parts of every day free till some foolish company hires me.

At 12:10 PM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

And scouring the Shire with the witch king made me feel good, especially after spending the whole game fearfully watching for the Ent smackdown.

At 1:17 PM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

I think Steve had a great idea for the Collector's Edition to include a single hobbit military unit for use in The Shire. In our game, the dwarves and elves fortified the Grey Havens well, but The Shire fell quickly...

I'm convinced the FP's can win this game, but you need to know what you're doing. I think you have to try hard to keep the initiative. If you find yourself in the situation of just reacting to what the Shadow is doing, you're toast.

My recommendation is to decide early which strongholds you're going to let the bad guys take and which ones you're going to fortify. Gondor is tough to keep, as is Rohan. If you totally lose both, I think that's 8VP down the drain (three strongholds, two cities). In the North Dale, Erebor, and Woodland Realm are 5 VPs, with Lorien making a total of 7 VPs... it seems to me a skilled shadow player is going to get at least this many by the time you're in Mordor. Keeping them from that last 2-3 VPs while you dunk the ring is the key to victory. Even slowing the bad guy down for 1-2 turns can be all it takes...

Another thing I need to work on is not letting my card draws dictate my strategy too much. I tend to try to use every card I get, so this makes my strategy a bit unfocused, which can be a game loser for either side.

At 4:48 PM, April 24, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

I've won a fair amount with the FP (in the base game), although never a military victory. I still need to try the expansion.

At 10:59 PM, April 25, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Yep, the only 2 times I've played this game, I sucked badly at it.....as the SHADOW against Brian. Never played again. WOuld like to though since it's up on my shelf gathering dust.


Post a Comment

<< Home