As this series goes on it confronts me with a greater awareness of something of a dilemma: on the one hand, I enjoy winning, but but on the other I value a good game. Winning games is not the only reason that I play, and I value a narrow victory against someone who clearly knows what they’re doing where the luck was even over a complete slaughter of a novice assisted by jammy dice, but I’d rather win than lose. Even so, I’m starting to find my current series of wins against people less than half my own age rather dissatisfying. That said, every time I’ve played someone more experienced I’ve been soundly spanked, so I’m not sure if I really am that keen for a succession of worthy opponents to stroll into town. As I say, a bit of a dilemma.
Well, this week’s game was a bit closer, as you will hopefully see. I found myself playing (not his real name) Sssscotttt and his Rohan army. Sssscotttt earned my disapprobation by enquiring as to exactly what was in my list prior to writing his own (I politely refused to tell him). He ended up with a solid-looking force consisting of two rider formations, one with Eomer and the other with Deirdre (I haven’t got all the names of the Rohan characters quite down yet), an infantry block and a small archer formation. Eowyn was lurking in there somewhere too.
We ended up playing for control of a terrain feature, in this case a wood at the table centre, using the random deployment system I so spectacularly failed to completely understand a few weeks ago. With two fairly mobile armies on the table the game boiled down to a number of small battles scattered around the table. First of all the Dark Marshal and his Knights engaged with the Rohan archers, having first nobbled them with Sunder Spirit and Transfix. The archers bit the dust and the Knights headed off across the table to where the Ghosts were preparing to take on the rest of the Rohan infantry.
Before that could happen, the Morannon Orcs took on Eomer and his riders on the other side of the table. The Rohirrim got the charge but were unlucky with their dice and killed only three Orcs. In response the Orcs scored six hits on the cavalry and drew the combat. By the next turn the Knight Commander’s regiment had galloped into range and were able to hit Eomer and his men in the rear, killing another five riders.
Leaving the Orcs to finish off Eomer and his men the Knight Commander disengaged to try and tackle Deirdre and his men, who had slipped by and were bearing down on the game objective. While this was going on, the Ghosts had flanked the Rohan infantry and badly beaten them up, then slipped behind them to set up a charge from the Dark Marshal and his men. The unit duly popped.
This left my surprisingly-intact army (I’d lost six Ghosts and six Orcs leaving all the cavalry and the Troll unscathed) closing in on Deirdre and his riders from all angles. With a few turns in hand I would’ve been very confident, but for the fact that the Rohirrim had occupied the terrain and picked up a hefty Defence bonus for it. I still had the Ghosts, who wouldn’t be bothered by that, plus two hard-hitting cavalry formations and the Troll, so I think the odds were still in my favour.
Unfortunately, we weren’t to know how it would’ve played out, as Sssscotttt had to go home for his tea. Not that it mattered, but we decided I’d probably have won had we carried on. Sssscotttt felt he’d lost due to spending too many points on heroes – I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the fact that he barely spent a point of Might all game can’t have helped his cause much. Certainly I think a judicious Heroic Charge here and a Heroic Combat there contributed significantly to my success.
I think I’ve got the hang of using this army over the past month or two, so if pressed I’d just reiterate the usual things: it could really use some decent shooting, and more cheap infantry. Nevertheless, the fact that I still (would probably have) won despite the Troll doing nothing and the Nazgul’s magic mostly fizzling is rather reassuring. Come the New Year I really must paint some more Orcs and Gothmog, but that seems a deceptively long way off at the moment.