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 Post subject: Lovejoy’s Battle Company Campaign
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:09 am 
Wayfarer
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Location: Japan
Hello there. So. I wanted to set down my experiences with the Hobbit/LOTR SBG recently, specifically with Battle Companies. What follows is a general recollection of a couple of recent games. I may add photos if there’s an interest, but my opponent doesn’t use official GW minis- thought I would hold off on the images for now in case there’s a policy regarding that on One Ring.

Back in late February here in Japan, my friend (known as Spevna online) and I began our inaugural Battle Companies campaign.
I’ve been steadily collecting the miniatures and printed material in recent years (I am a sucker for the setting and ruleset), but could never find a player in recent times. This has now changed, as the new BC tome is enticing the odd new player and now it seems to be a perfect time to get stuck in.

Although we had both played the SBG before, neither of us had the chance to give it an outing for some years. It’s testament to the clarity of the ruleset that, even though we were relearning everything and tacking on the BC stuff to that, there were only minor instances of confusion or difficulty.

I went with a Mordor force, since Spev decided on Dwarves. My Mordor backstory is that they are a lost patrol, the remnant of an expeditionary force from Udun which was all but wiped out by the accursed Gondor tarks, and are now manfully (or orcfully) striving to survive and plunder wherever they can. Each model is carefully named in a suitably orcy fashion. Lieutenant Kitbazsh! Sergeant Bolgor! and so on. My counterpart had a slightly different approach to his Durin’s Folk company - “This is Brown Beard Archer”, “That’s, er, let’s call him White Beard” etc. I can offer no comment.

We played two games. Since we didn’t have all the necessaries for a completely random scenario (no cave troll or campsite painted up as yet, for example- we are keen to do these soon) we simply chose something that would be close to a straight up fight for the first game, to keep things simple. We opted for scenario 2, A Show of Strength.

The board was comprised of a suitably folorn looking landscape peppered with stone ruins, and rickety walkways, in an unspecified corner of Middle Earth. (we’ll do better with the backstory next time). Spevna did a grand job with his terrain.

The game quickly developed. He spread his small, more elite force quite widely, I was rather wary of dwarven fighting prowess and therefore kept the bulk of my lads together in a scared huddle, with the two bowmen on a flank to harrass a bit. There were a couple of initial turns consisting of moves closing into combat and the odd bow shot (exchanges of fire during which I got a very flukey hit which removed a dwarf, though my opponent’s superior shooting removed my only two bowmen).

Outdone at shooting, I attempted to intercept a lone dwarf in the centre of the board with 2 of my orcs who I had unwisely seperated from the main throng. The encounter didn’t go too well, I found that they quickly lost out to the doughty dwarf’s superior fighting skill and high defence, with one orc falling in battle, and his pal -the surviving two handed axe wielder who had accompanied him- doing nothing much. I couldn’t seem to cause a wound, but I realised I was going about things in the wrong way.

What would an orc do, anyway? Why, gang up on and outnumber the foes in a cowardly fashion of course. Clearly the best tactic was to try to single out and mob the slightly less well defended dwarves (avoiding the shield bearers) and to try to ignore the rest - their stunty little legs wouldn’t let them react quickly enough to any unpredictable movement to make a difference anyway.

Using this approach I started to make some headway, although some fine dwarven shooting was thinning my ranks. Finally I ground out a win as my Lieutenant racked up the greater number of kills despite the orcs having been given something of a pasting.

I should note here that we had been interpreting some multiple combat rules incorrectly, which very probably meant that the orcs took more casualties than they should have. We didn’t intially pair combats off enough, and when for example a 5 orc on one dwarf fight resulted in a dwarf win, we were foolishly giving strikes against all 5 orcs.
Silly in retrospect, but we realise how it works
now. Hey, you live and learn...

Post game, I found that both archers had been not only injured, but killed- killed dead. Not to have any orc bows in the company isn’t such a loss really. Yes, one of them did manage that very lucky kill in game, that was down to a couple of unlikely sixes.
My growing Influence enabled recruitment of a Black Numenorean. I’d wanted a Mordor Uruk Hai, but I couldn’t complain at all with that. Things were looking good for the next bout.

My Dwarven pal did well out of experience, adding a skill or two I believe. His leader, the imaginively titled Brown Beard, had picked up a leg wound which reduced his risible movement still further, and would hopefully work to my advantage in the next game.

The second game saw a move to a more sylvan scene, as out came the green battlemat and autumn trees, dotted around some osgiliath ruins.
We again chose rather than rolled for the scenario, and plumped for Scenario 8, Secure the Area. The setup rules seemed a little unclear to be honest, unless we were missing something. It doesn’t seem to specify what if anything starts on the board...

We decided to just alternately roll for each model in our respective company to determine if it had arrived, and if so where, according. the he scenario table. This worked fine. Thus set up on various board edges, we began.

The faster movement of the orcs certainly helped here, along with some luck in priority rolls. The now 8 strong Mordor warband was soon converging on the central goal, although when briefly in range of dwarf bows, a couple of my boys fell to their fire. No matter, life is cheap for a goblin.

As the lost patrol swarmed to the centre, they were quickly out of bow range. I resumed the tactic (such as it is) of mass charging one of the poorer defended naugrim at the centre and doing him over, before going to the next.
Both sides reached their break points, but held on. Finally all the dwarves were given a good old leathering, though I had I think only 3 orcs standing. Still, a second victory!

Post game everyone survived, though a couple will lick their wounds and sit out the next battle. Spevna’s slightly crippled dwarf actually recovered from his previous leg wound, and is now back up to full movement.

Skills were gained, but off hand I can’t recall them all. However, we are getting a very clear sense of the rapid improvement in the abilities and of our little men, which is very satisfying.

To wrap up, Battle Companies is fantastic. A two big thumbs up from both players here.
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 Post subject: Re: Lovejoy’s Battle Company Campaign
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:20 am 
Wayfarer
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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:44 am
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Thanks heaps for posting! And yeah, those mixed up multiple combat rules would definitely hurt the orcs a lot more than the dwarves!
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