Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Lord of the Rings and Gaming

Today I'll be talking a little about one of my passions in life, the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien and more specifically how that ties into my war gaming.
As you all know GW have created what is on the whole a wonderful range of miniatures based on Peter Jackson's vision of this world, and with those miniatures two wargames (the Strategy Battle Game and War of the Ring).  Now SBG is a fine rule set that is enjoyable to play and is a skirmish level game so covers small forces and fellowship/dwarf party sized games.  War of the Ring covers mass battles like Pelennor Fields and the Five Armies however I felt the rules left something to be desired compared to SBG and began looking for something else to use.  Luckily I didn't have to look far as I had already been keeping my eye on what was then a new gaming system from Mantic Games called Kings Of War, the rules ticked all the boxes for me as they allowed you to play massive battles without getting bogged down which in turn means you could just enjoy the game rather than having your head stuck in a book half the time (the rules are free to download here).

My Fallen Dwarf army from Miniatures of the North

Fast forward several years and we're still enjoying playing 'King of the Rings' as it has been dubbed and I have created army lists for a good deal of the forces based off the KOW lists but tailored more to get the right feel for Lord of the Rings (if anyone is interested in seeing these just let me know and I can post them up, they are a work in progress though).

This Saturday just gone we had a small 1500pt game before getting settled down for a Hobbit-a-thon (and the extended cut of Desolation is superb as long as you don't want a direct translation of the books to the big screen) so I grabbed my camera and took some quick snaps to show the flow of the game.  We rolled a pillage (objective based) game, which was fitting considering the setting of an Orc raid upon a Rohan village though in this case it was defended by an alliance of Men and Elves (perhaps a small skirmish before the Battle of Dagorlad).

The battle lines are drawn

As the Huorns clash with the Warg riders and the Ent and Great Eagle clash with some Orcs the brave Rohirrim charge the Olog-hai

The Rohirrim survive the initial onslaught on the Olog-hai and sensibly charge past it to assist the Ent with the hoard of Orcs while the more able Galadhrim march foward and slay the foul Troll.  The Great Eagle is slain by the Orcs who destroyed the Huorns yet they may have met their match as once they are done with the Olog-hai the Elves push forward to engage them.

Unfortunately the Elves are overrun by flanking Warg Riders however the stalwart Rohirrim still stand firm in defence of their village and see off the Orcs.  Gondorian Knight swing in after clearing the right flank but are peppered with foul arrows which halts their advance.

  With this the game comes to an end, the Orcs hold one objective while the Alliance hold two yet this is not enough to give them a victory and as both sides took heavy losses no one could claim they had the upper hand.  Both forces must pull back and gather themselves before engaging the enemy again but this time in much greater numbers...

This game took us a leisurely two and a half hours, plenty of tea and biscuits, and was great fun with the balance of the battle shifting throughout the course of the battle (the best moment was when the Orcs had utterly defeated one unit yet rolled a double one on the nerve test so the unit stood firm and proceed to butcher the Orcs in the next turn).  Next time I believe we'll be having a re-match and upping the game to 3000pts on an 8x4 table, should be fun!


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