As stated in the previous blog entry, a friend of mine, David, and I, are working our way through the "The Lord of the Rings" journeybooks, starting with "The Fellowship of the Ring".
The Witch King leads two of the Nazgûl in the hunt for the ring...
We both have fairly extensive collections of "The Lord of the Rings" models, and by adding the few that we need as we go, we're trying to make sure that we do use the correct models for every scenario.
This has been great fun as it's already prompted me to grab a box of the nine Nazgûl in Citadel Finecast so that I'll have "The Nine" as they should be (fully cloaked and disguised as black riders, as opposed to using a Witch King model with the helmet and flail), though it does mean I need to grab nine of the mounted Ringwraiths too... at £15 a piece, totally worth it, but still a big hit.
Why are we doing this rather than just proxying close approximations? Because we want it to look right, and it's a great excuse to break apart other painting projects for something a little different. Already David's quite excited to be painting Gildor and Tom Bombadil, two characters he'd otherwise not have painted. Already, I've really enjoyed painting the Nine, even though in standard points match games I use the Dark Marshall and Witch King only. Were I just painting them, I may feel as though I was "wasting" valuable painting time that could be being used on other projects.
The Nazgûl arrive...
This has already got me extremely excited and eagerly awaiting further battles. I have a small Isengard force, mainly from the old days of "Battle Games In Middle Earth" (a fortnightly magazine that came with The Lord of the Rings models) that I'll finally have an excuse to add Dunlending Warriors to!
So far we've played the first two battles of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (The Hunt Begins, and The Trust of Arnor) which pitches several of the Nazgûl against several Dúnedain. Essentially, the Nine have arrived at the edge of the Shire in search of the Ring, and the Dúnedain, men sworn to protecting the Shire, are trying to keep them out. I've been taking command of the forces of Evil, and David took up the defence of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth as the Ringbearer and forces of Good.
The Dúnedain sally forth!
So far, it's not gone too well for me. I lost both games, though I firmly state that the scenarios are weighted in favour of the Dúnedain! Each of his models has 1 Might, 1 Will and 1 Fate, and he vastly outnumbers me in both scenarios. In game 1, he only needed to kill two Ringwraiths to win. Let's break that down statistically.
*Twang* *Thwack* *Screeeeeeeeeech!*
A Dúnedain needs a 3+ to hit a Ringwraith with his bow. He then needs a 6 followed by a 4 to slay one. That second bit sounds hard, but in reality, if he rolls a 5 on the Wound roll, he can spend his single Might Point to make that a 6, then he only needs a 3+ after. My Ringwraiths have zero fate, so a single wound in this way kills them outright! With 9 of these, plus reinforcements, in the first game, I lost my second Ringwraith in turn 2 to bow fire.
Thus it was, we set up the table for game 2, "The Trust of Arnor". I had all nine Nazgûl in this scenario, but again, was heavily outnumbered with the Dúnedain getting reinforcements as the game played out. In this game, I certainly could have done better than I did. Having read the new rules for the magical power Black Dart, I started going trigger-happy trying to kill enough Dúnedain to break them and cause them to flee... with many abysmal rolls, I succeeded not in slaying the Dúnedain, but in weakening my Ringwraiths by draining them of Will. They fade out if they reach zero Will, and automatically lose a Will point at the end of any turn in which they're part of a Fight.
The Witch King aims a Black Dart
Of course, David is a great gamer when it comes to "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit", so I shouldn't let all this undermine his efforts. He played well, had some very good rolls and kept the objectives in his head throughout... ultimately, this meant that both games were victories to the forces of Good, and for the next few games (the ones against the Hobbits) I'll be starting off with less Will than I'd like (a symptom of spending it all in one game in a Campaign setting where you have to roll to regen it after each game). Both games have been utterly epic, not least because we had the correct music (The Ringwraith themes, "Dun-DUUUUUUN-dun!") from the film playing as we battled!
The Will I have remaining...
So soon we move on to "Short Cuts Make For Long Delays" where three of my Nazgûl will be trying, again, to wrest the ring from Frodo's cold, dead hands, with only Gildor and Davids tactical accumen to stop them! I can't wait!