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Monday, November 23, 2009

War in Middle-earth

As I have posted earlier, there was a WOTR League this summer at Imperial Outpost Games here in AZ. The League ultimately failed, not because of any lack of effort on Sean and Anthony’s part, but because the game appears to not have been thoroughly play-tested. We found many ambiguous rule descriptions and the game just did not have the “Mass Combat in Middle-earth” feel that we were looking for. Plus the lack of Army Lists ALA “Legions of Middle-Earth” made for some truly abusive and cheesy armies that were perfectly legal in WOTR. All in all, the game just did not “feel“ like Middle-Earth…

Because of this, I decided to go back to the WAR IN MIDDLE EARTH Rules I had put together for large LOTR SBG Games and see if we could fix some of the problems we were having in WOTR.

The various complaints we had are summarized below (along with the House Rules we adopted to address them) Note that these are still being play-tested and are subject to change:

Magic is very overwhelming.
In the LOTR Strategy Battle Game (SBG) magic is limited by the amount of Will the caster has available. The caster must choose when to expend his limited Will to affect the battle. In WOTR the casting of spells has no Will limits. Instead each caster has a “spell mastery level” that list the maximum number of spells he can attempt to cast each turn. The number of spells cast each turn is limited by having to roll against the difficulty of the previously cast spell. So with the simple tactic of casting lower difficulty spells first, a player can maximize his chances of getting off the full number of spells for the caster. Plus, if he fails to cast a spell this turn, the caster can just attempt it again next turn.

In short, where LOTR SBG requires tactical decisions on when and where a caster will attempt to impact the battle with his limited spells, WOTR has the caster blast away each turn with just a die roll limiting the ability to impact the battle. Since WOTR has no “exhaustion” affecting the casters ability to continue casting, they became very potent, since Heroes eventually run out of might to resist…

House Rule: Add Will back into the game.
There are two approaches to this:

1. Add Will to heroes/characters exactly as in LOTR SBG (including Ringwraiths spending Will when in a combat)

2. Add double the base SBG Will (pluses remain but are not doubled) for all except the Ringwraiths. Ringwraiths keep SBG level Will, but do not spend Will in Combat.

In some ways I think I prefer the second option, since the battles in WOTR represent more extended conflict timelines than the ones in LOTR SBG, and it encourages using the Wraiths in combat rather than just skulking about casting spells…

The Heroic and Epic abilities are also overpowered.
I feel that the intent was to duplicate the numbers of “kills” that Legolas and Gimli racked up during the Battle of Helm’s Deep. But Helm’s Deep was attacked by 10,000 Uruk-hai. So Legolas and Gimli’s kill counts, while impressive, were just a drop in the bucket (0.85% in fact). WOTR games are going to be played with maybe 300 miniatures in an army. So while it might be “cool” to have my Elven Captain issue a Heroic Duel against the Morannon Orc Captain and slay him and 19 of his troops, the end result is much more devastating to the enemy force (6.67% in this example.)

The other problem with the kills inflicted in Heroic and Epic Duels is that they ignore the armor of the targets. So my Strength 4 Elven Captain has just killed 20 Defense 7 troops that normally he would need 6’s to wound in normal combat.

All in all, very discouraging to purchase, paint, and set up all those models only to have heroes wipe out huge numbers of them with a couple of die rolls.

House Rule: Convert “auto wounds” on Troops in Heroic/Epic Duels and Special Abilities to “rolls for wounds”.
This only affects Troops. Heroes are still auto-wounded in Heroic/Epic Combats, but the ability of a Hero to slaughter troops is diminished. This is assuming that each individual warrior in a Company is representing tens (maybe hundreds) of individuals…

Rare and Common Troop Choices do not make any sense.
WOTR adds the concept of Rare and Common Troop Choices. When our group heard this we were elated. We felt this would help to limit some of the “All Elite” Armies (Str 4, Def 6/7) that are fielded. After all, armies might have “elite” units, but the majority of armies are filled out with common troops. We thought that there would be more of the Common (Defense 4/5) Troops on the table and that the Heavy Armor and Shield (Defense 6/7) troops would be the Rare Choices. Mordor would actually field Orcs. Dwarf Rangers might actually be seen. Uruk-Hai Raiders, Wood Elves and Galadhrim; the possibilities look endless.

But when we got the game we were disappointed. The first thing that seemed wrong was the fact that you only needed one (1) Common Choice for each Rare Choice. That seemed like saying that the US Army was 50% Special Forces/Rangers, and 50% Regular Infantry…

We also are presented with some very strange “Common” troop choices: Orcs are a Common Troop Choice. So are Morranon Orcs. But Morannon Orcs are Strength 4 and Defense 5/7; whereas Orcs Are Strength 3 and Defense 3/5. So once again, we have Morannon Orcs appearing on the table (as a common choice) and Orcs are not seen anywhere...

House Rule: RARE is RARE.
The ratio is changed to 1.5 Common to 1 Rare. This means it takes 3 Common to get 2 Rare. This gives us a 60/40 ratio between Common and Rare. (You could also use 2 to 1 for a 67/33 ratio, but that makes for very vanilla armies…)

House Rule: All Defense 6/7 Troops are a RARE Choice.
This only affects Troops. The intent here is to make players field some of the Defense 3/4/5 Troop Choices alongside the elites. When you are forced to field the lower defense troops, maneuvering to protect them or get them into the flanks becomes more important. You can’t just attempt to steamroller your opponent and count on your armor.

You now actually have to make decisions about where you elites need to be deployed to maximize their impact. Do you go for the juicy soft targets, while hoping your own common troops can hold out long enough? Or do you attempt to pit elites against elites, and try to tip the scales with soft troops on the flanks?

Note: Dwarfs are an exception here (since almost all their warriors are Defense 6+. They remain as they are in WOTR, but must field 1 company of Rangers for every company of Dwarf Warriors with Shields).

Another exception here we are considering is eliminating Terror from the Elves. Their Named and Legendary Heroes will still cause Terror, but not the common Warriors. Each Company’s points would probably be reduced by 5 to compensate.

WOTR has no army limits like “Legions of Middle-earth“.
Instead it has generic lists for each major race/faction. But these lump together heroes from separate ages and makes for some of the most egregious abuses in WOTR. Nothing prevents a player from fielding Gimli and Aragorn (with his sword Anduril) alongside Elendil (with Narsil, the sword that was broken and reforged into Anduril) and Erenion Gil-galad. Well nothing but points, and maybe self respect. IT’S ONE FREAK’IN SWORD!!!!! AND GIL-GALAD AND ELENDIL DIED 2500 YEARS BEFORE ARAGORN WAS BORN!!!!

House Rule: Use the “Legions of Middle-Earth” supplement as a guide when creating your army.
This one is fairly straight forward. Use some common sense when utilizing troops that are in WOTR but have not had SBG profiles published yet…

House Rule: Heroes are Special.
This one is fairly straight forward. Since so many were using 8 Heroes and 48 Troops, we decided to limit the number of Heroes you can field based on army size. You can have one Named Hero or Legendary Formation per 750 points of Army. It works for Warhammer Fantasy and Warmaster…

The Fog of War
The final complaint we have heard about the WOTR game involves how the battles do not have the feel of inertia and confusion in a battle during ancient/medieval times. Every unit in the army responds flawlessly to the generals wishes. No orders are lost or marches delayed. Communications are perfect between units.

House Rule: “For want of a messenger…”
All Heroes have a Command radius equal their LOTR SBG Stand Fast Range. Heroes can issue orders; move, charge, etc., to their Formation and to any Formation within range (measured from the edge of any company in his formation).

Units with no Hero and outside command range from a Hero must pass a Leadership/Courage test in order to move/charge. If the unit fails the test it may not move/charge during the turn, but are otherwise unaffected.

A unit which has failed its Leadership/Courage test may re-roll the test (at -1). If the re-rolled test is passed the unit may move at half speed or initiate a charge as individuals take the initiative and convince their comrades to proceed. If the re-roll is failed; roll a D6 and on a 1 – 3 the unit stays put, on a 4 -6 it becomes disorganized and retreats (at half speed) either towards its starting table edge or away from any enemy forces in charge range.

Banners extend the command range by 3 inches.

This should add some Fog of War, encourage the use of Heroes (and Banners), and actually make courage useful for more than just resisting spell effects.

So, let me know what you think.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gathering in the Desert 2010 Primer

I played in the GitD 2010 Primer this last weekend. I would like to thank to Tim Kulimski, his wife Shannon, and Darren Cochrane of Imperial Outpost for putting on a great event.

I got called by work to resolve a computer problem shortly after arriving at Imperial Outpost and signing up. Since I wasn't able to resolve it over the phone, I had to go in and missed the first round. After resolving the problem I rushed back to Outpost and arrived a few minutes before the first round ended.

Tim told me that Jerry Autrieri had also missed the first round (he overslept), so we would both be credited with a Major Loss on our first game and continue from there. Talking with Jerry revealed I would be taking my High Elves against his Gondor force. When I found out he had 31 models including Guard of the Fountain Court (with shields) I knew I was in for a tough game. I think I have faced Jerry in every single LOTR tournament I have played in, and every single game has been a squeaker. He is a very capable player.

Since I was out numbered (by his D6 and D7 troops) I knew I would have to take advantage of every advantage my Elves had. Those advantages were:
Two Captains (I had to field 2 Captains 1 for the High Elves, and 1 for the Wood Elves to have Galadthrim Knights to support my High Elves so I had more Might), a higher Fight value (I would win all ties), Mobility (Woodland Creature rule on map with some forested terrain), Armor (I had High Elf Spear with Hvy Armor and Shield so I had some D6 troops as well.) and Shock (Cavalry against Infantry). My Elven Bows were also a plus, but since the majority of Jerry's forces were D6/7 I knew I would need 6's to wound most of his models.

The scenario for round 2 was a Domination variant. Jerry won the roll for table set up. I set up on the opposite table corner. I won the roll for priority and moved my Elves forward to position myself toward the closest objective to my start position. Jerry split his force and moved to occupy the closest objective on his side of the table and sent the other force at full speed to the other objective on his side of the map, using the Weathertop ruins for cover. There was no shooting since we both had moved to far and no fight phase since we were not in HTH.

Here is a shot of Game 2 in progress; Jerry's Guardian's of Minas Tirith vs. my High Elves.

Jerry won the Priority on turn two and advanced his first group into the center of the map up the hill, leading with his Guard of the Fountain. His second group continued to advance on his next objective marker. I now moved my Cavalry full again (knowing that Jerry couldn’t shoot this turn) across the open terrain in the middle of my side of the table, aiming to use the copse of trees on the hilltop for cover. My Spearmen moved full speed again to a position near the base of the ruins, while I moved the Archers only three inches this turn to position them past my first objective and allow them to shoot. Since I could only see Jerry’s first group, I targeted the 3 Minas Tirith Archers and let fly. The grey elven shafts flew true and killed two of the archers. Jerry’s remaining Archer returned fire but with no luck.

The next turn Jerry again won priority and advanced his first group again, this time to the top of the hill. His second group captured his second objective this turn. My Spearmen moved along the base of the Weathertop Ruin and my Cavalry positioned themselves for a charge next turn. I also moved my Archers 3 inches again to give me a clear shot at his first group. During the shooting phase Jerry’s Single Minas Tirith Archer killed one of my Archers, but my 5 return shots killed him and 3 Guards of the Fountain Court. (I don’t think I have ever rolled that many 6’s in one turn before!)

On the fourth turn, Jerry won priority and charged his Guard of the Fountain Court and caught the flank of my Spearmen’s formation. He wasn’t able to get all of his GotFC into combat though, so he positioned the remainder to have spear support for the Elven Cavalry he knew was coming. His Captain was unable to make it into the combat and so he ran (with a Warrior of Minas Tirith) into the center of the Weathertop Ruin which would allow him to make it into combat next turn. His second group left behind a Warrior to hold the objective and began maneuvering on the third.

I moved next and brought the unengaged Elven Spearmen into the fray, making several 4-on-2 fights to maximize my chances of rolling the 6’s I would need to kill GotFC. My Captain (on Horse) and the Galadthrim Knights then charged the remainder of this group. I knew I needed to crush this group as quickly as possible, before Jerry was able to complete his circuit of the objectives and reunite his two groups. Then hopefully I could use the speed and shock of my Cavalry to pick off the defenders of the captured objectives.

To add insult to injury, I shifted my Archers back 3 inches towards my first objective and positioned them for a clear shot at Jerry’s Captain. The 5 shots were enough to kill the Captain and the lone Warrior in the Ruins. This also placed the Archers in position to cover my first objective that Jerry was maneuvering to take.

Then, as Jerry said, he got to sample Elven Cavalry for the first time and didn't like it at all. The Fight phase went almost completely my way. I won three of the four Cavalry Charges and two of the 3 Spear fights and killed 4 more GotFC only losing 1 Knight and a Spearman.

Things went downhill for Jerry from there. He couldn’t seem to get the Priority to stop my Cavalry, and the time he did my Captain just used a Might point to call a Heroic Charge and continue my advance. The Elven Knights rolled over Gondor again and again until the defenders were dead. But even then, they did as I feared and held out long enough to force a draw.

Actually, Jerry had a Minor Win until the last moments, since he had seized his third objective with his second group despite my bowmen killing more of his forces as they advanced on it. On the last turn my Cavalry finally broke behind the line and captured the first objective Jerry had captured. But I didn’t have the time to seize any other objectives, so the game ended with both of us controlling 2.

As I said, every game we have played has been tremendously challenging and has always been close. All in all, he’s an excellent player. Now I just have to convince him and some of the rest to come to Outpost more often to play! I am there almost every Saturday around noon.

In my last game I was matched up against newcomer Andre's Grey Company force with 28 bows on the Ruin of Osgiliath (lite) Table. The scenario was "Contest of Champions". Although being run by newcomer, I know Andre as a 40K player so he is not completely new to the Hobby. Plus I have seen the casualties his Grey Company Army inflicts in War of the Ring, so I knew I needed to stay in cover as much as possible. But even with cover that many shots of volley fire had the potential to inflict casualties. My only hope was to use cover to close before I was broken from shooting and try to pick off his Champion with bow fire if possible. If I could do that before he could make any kills with his Champion I knew my Mounted Elven Captain could run up a number of kills against the D4 Rangers of the Grey Company.

Here is a shot of Game 3; Andre's Grey Company vs. My High Elves

So off charge my Elven Knights on the left flank aiming to stay behind ruined buildings the whole way. My spearmen advance at full speed up the left center, also staying in cover as much as possible. My bowmen did the same on the right center, sacrificing shooting (only 5 Elf Bowmen, so no volley) to close the distance. Andre wasn’t able to see my Spearmen or Bowmen because of ruined buildings, so he fired his entire round of volley fire at my Cavalry on the first turn. He got only 4 hits, and no wounds (Str 2 bows vs. D5 Galadhrim Knights/Galadhrim Steeds meant he needed 6’s). I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped my luck would hold.

Next turn went much the same though I had now moved my Spearmen into an area where they could be spotted/volleyed as well. Andre volleyed again, splitting fire between Cavalry and Spear. End result: 1 dead Galadhrim Knight and 1 dead Elven Spearmen.

Next turn, Andre moved some of his Grey Company into cover since he knew my Elven Bowmen could move into position and fire during the coming turn. I positioned my Elven Captain and Knights behind the large ruined building on the east side of Andre’s deployment zone. My Spear advanced again and took advantage of another ruined building. My Elven Bowmen advanced three inches taking cover behind the fountain in the center of the map and positioned themselves to shoot into the unprotected Grey Company. Andre and I exchanged fire. He used a group of 8 to direct fire my Bowmen and the remainder all volley fired at my Knights. He killed one Bowman and although he hit 6 times on the knights not a single horse or knight fell.

My 5 Elven Bowmen returned fire and all 5 hit. Four Grey Company fell.I think this psyched out Andre a little, because next turn he retreated the band of Grey Company in the center towards cover. The group of 10 that included his Champion also retreated back 3 inches away from where my Cavalry and Spear were advancing. I advanced my bowmen 3 inches to the southwest and positioned them in the center of the street to fire down it at the group that contained Andre’s Champion. I also advanced the spearmen down the center of a street towards the Champions group as well. Finally I moved the Elven Captain and the knights around the building but outside of charge range. I kept Elven Captain behind the three Knights to give him some cover.

Andre now had some difficult choices, since both the Spear and Cavalry were moving into engagement ranges. Plus my Bowmen were now in range. He volleyed the group of 10 in cover that couldn’t direct fire my Cavalry or Spear because his own men were in the way at the Elven Bowmen and killed one. The other group of ten then direct fired into my Spearmen who were in charge range and killed 4 of the 7. The remaining 4 all fired on my Elven Captain, and scored 3 hits. But then the Grey Company had to make”in the way” rolls for the ruin and the knights in front. All 3 hit the wall.

My return fire was done one at a time. The first shot was at his champion and hit. I then had to make two “in the way” rolls. The first hit a ranger. It killed him. The second shot was also aimed at the Grey Company Champion. It flew past the other ranger who was in the way and wounded the Champion, who then rolled a 1 on his Fate roll and died. The remaining two shots killed one more Dunedain. Andre grinned and said, “Well I guess I’m playing for the draw.”

Next turn I won priority, and Andre called a Heroic Move. I called one as well. I won the roll off and charged my Captain, Knights and the Spearmen into combat. Andre was unable to do his heroic move since none of Grey Company in range were unengaged My bowmen moved 3 inches back into cover and prepared to fire on the Rangers behind the ruins to the southwest. Andre then moved the rest of his Dunadain and Rangers towards my Elves. During the shooting phase the Elven Bowmen killed 3 more of Andres Forces and he killed 1 Elf Bowmen. During Combat my Elven Captain killed his two Ranger opponents (and secured the Major Victory for the Elves). One of my 3 Spearmen killed 1 Dunadain, but the other 2 both lost their fights and 1 was slain.

Even though I had met the conditions for a Major Victory, Andre and I decided to continue to play just to see if my captain could survive. In the end he killed a total of five models before he was finally pulled down and slain. In the end the 18 elves inflicted a total 15 casualties. But after the Elven Captain and Knights killed the Rangers they were in hand-to-hand combat with they were mowed down by massed bow fire from the remaining Rangers as they moved to engage them. The second Elven Captain with the bowmen was the last to fall.

All in a an interesting game. I think Andre might have been able to limit me to a draw if he had had his last group of bowmen in a position where they could have direct fired on my captain. But the restricted lines of fire on the Osgiliath Board (lite!) helped me to minimize some of the Grey Companies shooting advantage. I think Andre's Grey Company Army will be more flexible at 600 points also when it has actual Captains instead of just Dunadain.

All in all, a great day of gaming and definately helped clear up the doldrums caused by WOTR!!!

Return to Posting on The Valley of Starlight.

I have not updated this blog in quite some time. I blame "War of the Ring". Initially because I was really looking forward to "Mass Combats in Middle-Earth", and so was playing games at our local Hobby Shop (Imperial Outpost Games, Glendale AZ) when the game first came out. Later because I was so depressed over the obvious lack of play-testing that showed when you read the rules or attempted to play the game.

We had a Summer WOTR League held at Outpost that was supposed to run 8 weeks. The League was intended to get new players interested in the game so it was very loose. Unpainted models were allowed and the league started at 750 point so new players could get an army with minimal investment. Each week the Army size would increase by 250 up to a maximum of 2000. The league died in week 4 because everyone, even the newbies, had figured that the game was not "Mass Combat in Middle-Earth", but "Massed Heroes and Massed Magic in Middle-Earth". The very minimal army building rules allowed for truly heinous character combinations, like Aragorn with Anduril fighting alongside Elendil who is wielding Narsil. Then Throw in Gil-Galad as well. In WOTR this is perfectly legal.

My friend Mike figured out in week three that using Counselor on a model with another model with Counselor or Epic Renewal made for some massive Might Pools that allowed characters to slaughter whole units and enemy heroes. Or placing the two Nazgul; the Betrayer and Khamul; in the same formation to allow every failed wound on an enemy model to be re-rolled and every wound inflicted on the formation to be reflected back as an auto hit on the enemy on the roll of a 5 or 6. Needless to say, the game did not capture the feel of massed forces in conflict.

Instead as the league progressed we saw that the “best” Armies really had very little of a LOTR “feel” and instead consisted of a small core of supposedly “Common” Troops (with D7) supported by large numbers of Magic and Combat Characters. In fact many of the more competitive armies seemed to consist of more points spent on characters than troops. That was definitely not what I and many of the others were looking for in a Mass combat game. Add to this the lack of clear rules regarding so many of the basics of the game (movement in particular) and many became discouraged and stopped showing up for league nights.

I looked at the basic game system and saw that it had some good basic concepts, but other things just did not have the LOTR feel that I was looking for. For instance there were tons of Morannon Orcs being fielded on the table, but no Orcs. Orcs are The Dark Lords bread and butter, but were not represented on the table. This just felt wrong to the LOTR Lore Geek in me.

Another thing that felt wrong: All Elves cause terror in WOTR, but this was not really supported by the books. There are many examples of the great heroes of the Elves (and even some Human Heroes) causing terror, but not the regular warriors.

To make a long story short, I went to Dave Bishop, Anthony Pigatti, Sean Ramirez, Jace Boatrite, Mike English and Carl Matherly, some of the best LOTR/WOTR Players I know, and asked all of them what they liked/disliked about the WOTR System. I also gave them my thoughts. From those discussions I put together a list of “House Rules” to attempt to address the flaws in the game. More about the results of that in a later post.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

War of the Last Alliance

The following are some shots of my Last Alliance Army. I am really looking forward to the release of War of the Ring in April! I will finally be able to field the entire army on the table and finish the game in less than a whole weekend!

These are some shots using the Movement Trays I have. I have 12 Infantry and 12 cavalry trays, and already all will be used. Since I want to run demos of the WotR once it is released in April I ordered another 18 Infantry and 6 Cavalry Trays from my local Hobby Shop this weekend! After all, the Forces of Sauron the Deceiver will need movement trays as well. :)

Above is a shot of my Elven Cavalry conversions. They will be using the Stats of Galadhrim Knights since it looks like the High Elf Knights will not be included in the War of the Ring Expansion's initial release. (Damnit, my High Elves have been nerfed again! ARRRGHHHH! Sorry, tension breaker. Had to be done. :) )

This is a view of part of the whole army. High King Elendil and the men of Numenor are on the right. High King Gil-Galad and the High Elves form the center. King Oropher and the Elves of Greenwood the Great are barely visible on the left. Durin VI and the Dwarves of Khazad Dum (Moria) are out of the picture to the right.

Here is a closer view of Elendil and the Warriors of Numenor.

The High Elf Army of Lindon. Led by Ereinion Gil-Galad, High King of the Noldor.

Another shot of the High Elves. I have quite a few more of these guys, but could barely fit these in the picture. Might be time for a better Digital Camera.

Elendil, High King of the Realms in Exile (Arnor and Gondor) and his men.

Durin VI and the Dwarves of Khazad Dum. I have another 2 1/2 companies of these guys, but no trays to put them on. Can't wait for the ones I ordered to get here...

Another view of Gil-Galad and the High Elves (Noldor).

The Wood Elves. These represent the Elves of King Oropher of Greenwood, and Amdir of Lorinand (Lorien). Oropher is the grandfather of Legolas. He and his son Thranduil were present during the War of the Last Alliance, though sadly Oropher perished after the Battle of Dagorlad in the assault on the Morannon (The Black Gate).

I have another 3 Companys of Wood Elves but no trays for them yet...

The Companies of Armegil have rejoined the Army of Lindon after the battles fought at the Gathering in the Desert!

Another shot of the Elves of Armegil's Company of Rivendell. They are known as "The Guardians of Imladris" (Varnos i Imladris).

War of the Ring

I am really looking forward to the new GW "War of the Ring" Expansion for LOTR SBG. This is the first of some pictures I have taken of my Last Alliance themed WotR Army. Since I don't have access to a demo copy to peruse (no GW Store in AZ anymore...) I am basing the Army on rumors and tidbits gleaned from the WotR Threads on WWW.TheLastAlliance.COM

I already know I will not be able to do a "legal" Last Alliance Army that incorporates all races involved, because only 25% of your armies points can be an allied force. These rules are in place to limit the options of "power gamers" who like to exploit rules in the game, but to do the Last Alliance justice would require units from the Elves, Numenor, and Dwarves...

The allies rule has it's purpose, but it does eliminate the full "Last Alliance" and "Battle of Five Armies" Lists from being legal armies. Which is kind of sad since these iconic battles of Tolkien's Middle-earth really scream for a "War of the Ring" treatment...

Friday, February 27, 2009

2nd Annual Gathering in the Desert LOTR GT

I have to say thanks to everyone that came out to play, and a big thank you to the sponsors (Games Workshop, Empire Games, Litko, Castle Kits and AZ hot Shots, if I remember correctly)

My biggest thank you goes to Dean V. and Tim K. for organizing/managing this! All four events they have organized here in the Valley of the Sun have been incredible.

I also wanted to post a huge thank you to the Terrain Makers, the Empire Games Store Staff and all the players who made this event a huge blast to attend! Again!

I also want to send out a special thanks to all my opponents; Jerry Autieri, John Long, Mike Gingold, Kieth Hruska (Denver), and Travis Paul (California).

The games were very challenging and fun, even when I didn't win.

Thanks to Frank Brown and ChrisLS for the interesting ideas on further conversions for my Last Alliance Army. Finally a thanks to Dave "Gandalf's got a popsicle" Bishop (my carpool buddy for the GT) for making the 50 minute trip to and from the event a blast each day.

This year I came in 7th Overall out of 20... Well 19 and a ringer :)

The Battles/Results were:

1st Scenario: Bilbo's Treasure
Opponent: Jerry Autieri (Faramir and the Host of Gondor)
Result: Draw (10 pts w/ 1 Bomus pt for controling the treasure at the end of the game.)

2nd Scenario: Light the Beacons
Opponent: John Long (Knights of Dol Amroth)
Result: Draw (10 pts plus .5 bonus pt for lighting 1 beacon)

3rd Scenario: Look To The East
Opponent: Mike Gingold (Dol Gulder)
Result: Minor Victory (15 Pts)

4th Scenario: The Artifact
Opponent: Kieth Hruska ("Budwieser Knights of the Beer Court")
Result: Minor Loss (7 pts)

5th Scenario: The Last Alliance
Opponent: Travis Paul ("Dain and Balin with Iron and Khazad Guard Dwarves).
Result: Major Victory (20 pts)

Final Battle Points: 63.5

Here is another shot of my "Young Captains of the Last Alliance" Army for the 2nd Annual GitD LOTR GT 2009 (also taken by ChrisLS). The event has come & gone now & it was an awesome event. Some of the toughest competition in LOTR Gaming I have seen.

Looking forward to next years event, as well as trying to figure out how to make a few more of the GT Events this year. Maybe by next year I will actually be able to use my High Elven Cavalry conversions and give you players more of a challenge in the "Sieze the Prize" type scenarios...

I guess if not then I will do a Seven Samurai-esque Elven Captain Army to use the mounted models. Won't win much, but will be a blast to see them on the table!

Till then, "May a star light your path and guide you safely home."

aka Aredhel of Nan Giliath

My Army for the 2nd Annual GitD LOTR GT

Well, the Gathering in the Desert (Arizona's Independant) LOTR GT has come and gone. Once again I led my High Elves into battle. Above is a picture of the Army (taken by Chris Langland-Shula, one of the competitors at the GitD).

Last year I had placed Fourth overall and won Best Appearence so I knew my Army was basically sound.

Last Years Army:

"The Army of Lindon"
Erenion Gil-galad, High King of the Noldor
1 High Elf Banner (Hvy Armor and Hand Weapon)
7 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor and Elven Blade)
18 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor, Shield, and Spear)
13 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor, Elf Bow, and Hand Weapon)

40 Models, 3 Might, 3 Will, 1 Fate, all Infantry.

My biggest problems last year had been a lack of numbers and a lack of cavalry (Most keenly felt in "Sieze the Prize"). This year I had made some changes to address these issues.

This Years Army:
The Young Captains of the Last Alliance
Armegil of Nan Giliath (High Elf Captain: Hvy Armor Shield, Elven Blade, and Horse)
10 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor, Hand Weapon)
10 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor, Shield, and Spear)
10 High Elven Warriors (Hvy Armor, Elf Bow, and Hand Weapon)

Camthalion of Numenor (Numenorean Captain: Armor, Shield, Hand Weapon)
8 Warriors of Numenor (Armor, Shield, Hand Weapon)
9 Warriors of Numenor (Armor, Shield, Spear and Hand Weapon)

49 Models, 4 Might, 2 Will, 2 Fate - 1 Mounted model for "speed" scenarios.

No F9 Named Hero (but more might/wounds/fate, and ability to have might two places on the battle field)
Lacks 2-hand option of Elven Blade.
Has 9 less F5 Elves, but adds 17 models with F4 to the list.

I figured I would give this list a try.