War of the Ring--Free Peoples Military Victory
Almost...Tonight I was inclined to play War of the Ring and Jose gladly took me up on the offer. It was an amazing game that saw the death of Saruman, the Free Peoples come within 1 victory point of a military victory and a single die away from dunking the ring.
We played using the base game only. I wanted to take a turn playing the FP for a change so Jose took his first try as the SA. I found it frustrating that there are so many options available to the FP and so few can be used because of insufficient action dice. Jose learned that the SA are not invincible.
Jose began with a turn 1 attack on Rohan, taking Helms Deep. He took enough casualties that his garrison was sparse. Much to his surprise I rebuilt the army of Rohan, conducted a brief siege of Helms Deep before bypassing it and moving against Orthanc. He had left a small garrison of Elite units to guard Saruman. Lucky for me I drew two Ent cards and had Gandalf the White nearby. The Ents combined with the Elite Riders of Rohan to sack Orthanc and eliminate Saruman.
I then noticed the Shadow strongholds in the north looked a little empty and marched into one. Lacking the right cards, the SA never garrisoned the towns. This left the FP 1 VP away from military victory. Unfortunately, I got a little overzealous and my army left the safety of Orthanc to finish off the orcs. I didn't realize it because of the weird map boundaries, but the Orcs were able to retreat around me and then walk into an empty Orthanc. Doah!!
On to plan 'B'. The hunt box spent most of the game with only 1 die in it so I was able to move the fellowship quickly. The Ringbearers made it into Mordor and began their trek. Strider, Pippin, and Boromir all took one for the team. In the meantime, the SA captured 10 VP worth of cities. The ringbearer had one chance left to make it inside Mt. Doom, only one die left. Unfortunately, the SA player had an event card allowing him to remove my Will of the West die result. Victory to the Shadow Armies.
This was the kind of game that reminds me why I enjoy WotR. I lost but it was a nail biter and I am consoled by the fact that the FP have yet to win.
Jose concluded that he moved too quickly with the SA. I concurred and also cited the lack of dice in the hunt box as the reason for my near victory. When I play SA, I am methodical, placing 2-3 dice in the hunt box every turn. I then slowly move my troops up and finish off one nation at a time before moving onto the next. It's not the most exciting strategy but it works. Maybe that's why I enjoyed the thrill of the Free Peoples so much.
Labels: session report