Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Song Of Blades And Heroes Report: Gondor Ambushes Isengard

FARAMIR SETS OFF TO LAY A TRAP FOR THE UNSUSPECTING URUK-HAI OF SARUMAN
This game was played using the basic rules of “Song Of Blades And Heroes” by “Ganesha Games”, and is the second in a series of adventures involving the second son of Denethor as he attempts to dissuade the Forces of Mordor from invading Osgiliath. The conflict was based upon the Ambush scenario found within the pages of Andrea Sfiligoi's "fast play fantasy skirmish rules", and resultantly, comprised of a unit of ten Uruk-Hai being 'ambushed' by a slightly smaller sized group of Minas Tirith warriors, whilst the orcs were attempting to traverse across a 36" x 27" tabletop populated with some "Battlefield In A Box" Gothic terrain by “Gale Force Nine”.

The Ambush Scenario was also slightly modified from what can be found printed in “Song Of Blades And Heroes” in order to try and create the impression of an impenetrable hulking dark mass of Orcs rushing towards Faramir's men, and the Attackers therefore potentially simply shooting at shadows. As the Defenders, Lurtz's party would still place "markers (of the same size of the models' bases) instead of placing models" and place "two markers per model in his warband." But during play, the Defender would only "reveal whether the marker is real, substituting the marker with a figure, or if just a dummy, removing the marker from play" if "a marker is attacked, or whenever an opponent moves within one Long distance from the marker." A marker would not be revealed "whenever the Defender rolls to activate it" and instead were all assigned with the statistics of Savage Orc Heavy Infantry; Short Move: 75mm Quality 4+ Combat 4.  
THE TABLETOP - OSGILIATH
“The story so far… At the bidding of Sauron, the Lord of Isengard has sent forth Lurtz and some of his Uruk-Hai to clear out the human defences at Osgiliath. However, before the "great soldier-orcs" can launch a devastating attack upon the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Gondor, Faramir plans to spring a trap and ambush them as they pass between the Fallen Angel and Blasted Terrace..."

Situated in the west, and overshadowed by the ruins of the Fallen Angel and Blasted Terrace, Lurtz marshalled his force about him. Saruman's "second-in-command" was treated as an Orc Champion, equipped with a hand-weapon and shield. He was awarded the Savage and Hero traits, which meant he could inflict a gruesome kill just by doubling his opponent's score [as opposed to needing to treble it], and would always roll one automatic success, regardless of his Quality.
LURTZ PREPARES TO LEAD ANOTHER URUK-HAI RAIDING PARTY INTO OSGILIATH
Due to the Uruk-Hai accompanying him all wearing armour and carrying a sword/shield, they were classed as Orc Heavy Infantry, and were therefore also given the Savage skill. In addition, because of their heavy armour, the nine Uruk-Hai could only move a short distance (75mm) per action.
Faramir's part were initially positioned together as if emerging from the east. The four bowmen were treated as Archers, and therefore given the Shooter (Long - 180mm) skill, whilst the quartet of swordsmen were used as Heavy Infantry, and subsequently reduced to moving just a short distance (75mm) per action. Denethor's second son was made a Leader, and thus increased the Quality rolls of any friendly model within Long distance (180mm) by one. In addition, Faramir would force all friendly models to make a Morale roll if he died.
FARAMIR HURRIES HIS MEN FORWARD IN ORDER TO SPRING HIS AMBUSH
The Forces of Saruman won the Initiative but surprisingly failed to show any indication that they were about to emerge from out of the western shadows. As a result the "Prince of Ithilien" seized the opportunity to steal an advantage over his savage opponents and used his Leadership ability to spur his Warriors of Minas Tirith forwards. This caused two archers to speed northwest past the Buried Monument, and the remaining two bowmen rush towards the Blasted Terrace. Behind them, Faramir and his swordsmen headed west a little more slowly and cautiously.
  
Incredibly, there was still no real sign of movement from within the western shadows. Such a lack of haste of the part of Lurtz's troops meant that "J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium" had even more time to get his human forces into position, and before long Gondor's two northern archers had the Uruk-Hai just within their weapons' range and let lose some searching arrows. On this occasion the bowmen were too far away to cause any damage, but their shots did reveal the presence of two actual Orcs amidst the shadows.
THE ARCHERS OF MINAS TIRITH RUSH INTO POSITION AS THE FIRST OF THE URUK-HAI APPEAR
Despite a few of their number becoming enemy targets, the "fighting Uruk-Hai" remained hidden within the shadows of the Fallen Angel and Hidden Terrace [i.e. they failed their turn's first activation for the third time on the trot despite only rolling two dice]. Luckily for Saruman however, all Faramir could muster was for his northern pair of archers to reveal a third Orc by peppering the western morass with more missiles. Cursing, the younger brother of Boromir turned to reprimand his stalled swordsmen and urge them onwards. The Men of Minas Tirith needed to be much closer to their bowmen if they were going to ward off "the Isengarders" from their bowmen once the ambush was properly sprung.

Finally "the servants of Saruman the Wise" started to move east, with a couple of Uruk-Hai breaking formation and fast approaching Faramir's archers in the north. It seemed clear to the man who would 'eventually succeed his father as the Steward of Gondor' that he needed to take matters into his own hand if his trap was to succeed. With a surge he moved west behind one of the walls of the Crumbling Remnants, and literally dragged one of his accompanying swordsmen with him. Emboldened by their leader's evident bravery Faramir's rearguard slowly followed a little way behind.
FARAMIR LEADS HIS SWORDSMEN WEST AS MORE URUK-HAI START TO EMERGE
To the north, the two Gondorian archers continued to 'sting' the western shadows with arrows, but revealed no more Uruk-Hai. Whilst the Prince of Ithilien's other two bowmen positioned themselves directly south of the Crumbling Remnants and began notching their weapons. The trap had finally been sprung, but after so many delays would it still work...

20 comments:

  1. Good background for a fight. Love the setting (LotR) like the rules am full of anticipation. Just wondering if my club would like the same. Thinking it through it might suit all.

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    1. Thanks Clint. I think the three failed activations by the Uruk-Hai have certainly given Faramir time to get some of his troops in place. I genuinely don't think your club will go wrong with "SoB&H" :-)

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  2. Great BatRep Simon, could be a very interesting battle in the second half. Will Gondor have revenge for last time, I guess we will have to wait and see

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    1. Cheers Dave. There was an uncanny amount of build-up at the start of this battle, as you can tell. But blood definitely flows in the second one ;-)

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  3. Not my cup of tea at all. LOTR gaming leaves me cold but as long as you enjoy that's all that counts.

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    1. Indeed, Bryan, and enjoy "LoTR" I do! :-)

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  4. LOTR is such an awesome fantasy setting and this works really well with the SoBaH rules. I like the map set up, looks very good and suitably Middle Earth-like. Lovely figures as well. Can't wait for part 2.

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    1. Thanks Undercoat. I'm a big fan of "LoTR" and "SoB&H" captures it really well imho. I'm hoping to get my hands on some more "Gale Force nine" scenery soon to add to the look of Osgiliath.

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  5. Brilliant. I've often wanted to pick up some of the GW LotR stuff but as a bit of a latecomer to wargaming it's always seemed pretty pricey but seeing a small skirmish LotR game...well, that's much more affordable!

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    1. Thanks Gordon. I fear I have a substantial backlog of "LoTR" stuff, and "SoB&H" is encouraging me to start painting it up. For now however, I'm trying to stay strong and stick with the minis I've already painted up - there's plenty to come, and "SoB&H" seems to handle it really well imho; so go on, and treat yourself to some minis ;-)

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  6. Great stuff Simon! I'm a huge fan of both Middle Earth and Ganesha games, so this is right up my street :-)
    Roll on part 2 !

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    1. Cheers Greg. Glad you like both "LoTR" and "Ganesha Games"; I certainly do :-)

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  7. Just brilliant! Love seeing this stuff as it will hopefully help motivate me to get all my LOTR stuff painted up and on the table :)

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    1. Thanks Ivor. I'd be delighted for being partially responsible for you painting up some "LoTR" stuff - you don't need much for "SoB&H" either.

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  8. Nice report mate. I couldn't get on with the SOBH ruleset. I tried it a few times I found the activation's and ranged shooting frustrating.

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    1. Cheers Simon. Despite the Orcs failing to activate a single mini for three turns, I do like the activation for "SoB&H", but bizarrely didn't like it when playing "Blitzkrieg Commander" for some reason. Shooting is, as you say frustrating, especially from long range as it is really hard to get a telling hit in. But for a quick 'pick up and play' rule-set I do really like it for fantasy skirmish. I suppose time will tell as I ramp up the size of the forces/games for this campaign.

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