Got together with John of DCHL along with Devin and newcomer Ed for a HUGE thematic game of LOTR. We played the "Great Army of Harad" scenario from the old Harad supplement.
In this scenario, Boromir leads the army of Gondor south to smash the Haradrim before they can meet up with Sauron's forces coming from the East. The scenario called for 2000 points per side, with 300 points of Evil in reserve (the Corsairs of Umbar, late as always). by way of consolation, Evil holds the central building which I dutifully filled with archers. The mission? Destroy the enemy!
Our lists were enormous but neither side had any magic users so this was (with the exception of the 40-foot tall elephant and some half-trolls) mostly an engagement of mere mortals. The Good forces had Boromir, Faramir and several captains. The Evil side had Suladan the Serpent Lord, Dalamyr the Fleet-master, a Khandish King and a Mahud King as well as some other captains. As you can see, the Good side consisted solely of Gondor's finest. The Evil side was a diverse alliance of those opposed to Gondor.
The battle played out as follows:
Initial Evil deployment
Initial Good employment
The central building is occupied by Haradrim skirmishers with bows.
Turn 1: Evil advances with half-trolls and the Mumak in the vanguard.
The Flower of Gondorian chivalry charges forward.
A lot of arrows fly, but Boromir is merely unhorsed!
The Mumak loses a wound but does not stampede.
Turns 2-3: Good takes priority and charges forward on both flanks.
Gondor Knights charge the chariots!
And more knights charge the Mumak!
Gondorian bowmen shower the Mumak again, causing another wound! But using Might and Will the commander passed the
Forlong the Stout leads his men as a rearguard.
The Mumak hurls knights aside and holds off their charge.
The Evil center consolidates.
An evil counter-charge hits back, led by the vicious half-trolls of Far Harad.
The Gondorian charge has little effect on the Evil chariots and trolls.
The Evil troops force back Gondorian cavalry.
Turns 4-5: Corsair reinforcements show up behind the Gondorian lines. They form a skirmish line of crossbowmen in the treeline.
Evil takes priority and Boromir loses a Heroic Move challenge to the Mahud Tribesmaster. The Evil troops hit the Gondor knights hard, now backed by a second line of spears.
The Mumak continues to rampage on the right, whittling down the chivalry of Gondor.
One Khandish chariot fall, but many knights give their lives in return.
Suladan the Serpent Lord confronts Faramir and barely survives the encounter, suffering two wounds.
But the Gondorian cavalry is shattered after taking so many turns of Mumak abuse.
Again the lines clash on the left, with the Gondorian cavalry once again suffering heavily.
Faramir's knights fight a desperate last stand
Gondorian infantry holds the center but has had little effect on the battle so far.
Corsair archery takes a toll on the Gondorian knights from behind. No Gondor forces are positioned to respond.
Evil forces "close the door" on Faramir's knights as Mahud and Khandish cavalry redeploy.
Suladan unhorses Faramir as things look grim for the forces of Good.
Boromir continues to win combats as his men fall around him. He is surrounded by the grim visages of Evil men and trollish warriors.
"Gondor! Gondor!" calls Boromir in vain.
The last line of Gondorian infantry on the left flank begins to crumble under the attacks of heavy camelry and trollish clubs. The Good force has now taken over 50% casualties and is broken. With that, the good commander concedes defeat,
Final view of the right flank. Gondor forces have almost been annihilated.
Overviews of the battlefield:
Evil casualty pile
Good casualty pile
Results and Conclusion: Evil decisively defeated Good. Perhaps Denethor was correct and Gondor was not ready to take the field? In this game, the big problems for Good were the Mumak and the half-trolls. Also, Evil won several roll-offs for heroic moves which allowed Evil to cancel out the otherwise thunderous charges of the Good cavalry. In addition the Good players were somewhat less experienced and did not make the best use of their powerful heroes' abilities to win crucial combats. However, overall the Evil side had some good luck with priority and were able to win many combats due to the resilience of the half-trolls and the chariots, as well as the Mumak, I really enjoyed this game for the theme and the spectacle, which are my primary reasons for LOTR gaming. Thanks very much to my gaming partners, and watch this space for more LOTR.