On Sunday I played in a Battle Companies campaign day at Island Games. It was put on by Lance, who is unfortunately leaving the area for a few years, but has been running LOTR games for a while now. We played the original Battle Companies rules published in White Dwarf, now OOP and available here: http://www.lordsofmiddleearth.com/Battle%20Companies/Battle%20Companies.pdf
I decided to play a Haradrim company, the "Serpent's Strike", led by my warlord, Verthigras the Bold. I started with 5 Haradrim with bows and 5 with spears. My leader simply had one point of Fate. The Haradrim are very average but get half bowmen to start and the "poisoned arrows" rule allowing them to re-roll wound rolls of one when shooting. I figured that would be a nice perk.
Battle 1: My first battle was against dwarves. I was not happy about that as they have phenomenal defense. The scenario was "Take the High Ground" where we were fighting over a central objective. In this case, the nice statue of a Gondorian. Once one warband dropped to 50% the game would end on a roll of 1 or 2, with the winner being the player with the most models within 3" of the objective.
I advanced quickly and took the high ground as the stunties slowly came forward.
An overview of the beautiful table.
Although I lost a spearman to arrow fire, my own return fire downed both dwarf archers, and a timely charge allowed me to overwhelm the dwarfs. Needless to say, I rolled a lot of 6s to wound!
The Dwarves fall to a man and the battle goes to the Haradrim!
Two of my warriors were promoted: one to a Hero in the Making! We'll call him "Gavrax the Eye", and the other warrior was promoted to a Haradrim Raider. I bought a horse for my two heroes with my 4 influence dice, giving me three cavalry for the next battle. With two of them being mounted bowmen I had a great mobile fire base to work with, and I would use this to my advantage. My one casualty actually died! So I was down to 9 men.
Gobbos vs Haradrim
Gobbos use cover as they advance. Clever! One lucky git shot one of my troops as the advanced.
To finish the battle my leader charges the goblin leader, and strikes him down in heroic single combat!
After the battle I again got an archer promoted to Raider, and bought my leader a bow. Now I had 4 mounted archers! My casualty from the battle recovered with no long-term effect.
Game 3: I played Shelby's Rohan. Shelby had a run of bad luck and now it got worse. We played "Rescue" and he rolled to defend. This meant his hero and bodyguard were separated from his relief: just one man! My half-mounted army advanced quickly, rained poisoned arrows down, and eliminated the hero. I did take two casualties including Gavrax the Eye, though, as he captain fought back quite bravely! Only one Rohirrim got away uninjured.
The poor Rohan captain about to meet a steamroller. I didn't take too many pictures as I kind of felt bad about this one being so lop-sided.
After the game I got another promotion to Raider and then rolled on the reinforcement table, getting a 6. This got me yet another raider. So I had 5 cavalry now. However, one had been injured and had to miss the next battle. My lieutenant Gavrax the Eye recovered without incident.
Game 4: I played against Judd's orcs. This mission was "Hold the Line" and Judd was the attacker. He needed to get 3 orcs off the opposite table edge from his deployment zone. My men deployed near the road next to a fine inn they had been visiting, no doubt regaling each other with tales of their prowess. My mission was to prevent 3 enemies from escaping the table.
The Serpent's Strike deploy astride the road.
This Rohan-esque settlement is about to suffer from the ravages of war!
My troops advance to cover a likely route of approach.
My infantry form a second line of defense.
The orcs advance through cover, exchanging bow fire with my Raiders. I lose two horses and then a Raider to their eerily accurate archery!
However, their mobility allows the Haradrim to corned the orcs and get off a favorable charge.
The orcs seek refuge in the wood and despite many arrows hitting the trees, a few find their marks! The orcs are reduced to below 50% and start taking courage checks.
The village is almost clear of greenskins.
The orcs in the forward woods flee and the last orc scampers into the underbrush to save his skin. The Haradrim are victorious!
Conclusion: My warband ended the day with 6 mounted men, 2 of them heroes, and all with bows, as well as 4 spearmen on foot. My captain and lieutenant increased their fight and shoot respectively. Although my captain was wounded in the last battle and now has a leg injury! I had some good luck with my match ups and the missions. Probably the windfall of "6s" rolled against the dwarfs made the rest of my day that much easier. Battle Companies is a quick and fun way to get in an afternoon of gaming and create an ongoing narrative. Thanks again to Lance for running the game, and to all my very sporting opponents. We are going to get together again to see how our companies progress. Next time I need to play the Uruk Hai, the only warband with a higher rating than mine after the day's battles! For the Serpent!