Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Well the Sons of Sek got finished right under the wire. The GT was a blast and I'll have full coverage by this weekend. 

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Headless Easterlings - First Games of The Lord of the Rings

Earlier this weekend I played my first three games of The Lord of the Rings. I arrived at Imperial Outpost Games (in Phoenix) about two hours later than I had planned. I quickly put together enough models to play games of around 400 points. I didn't bother with heads, which is why I currently have an army of headless Easterlings. About every third person would make some comment how my Easterlings shouldn't be at some disadvantage, since they couldn't see without a head. Very "clever"... I would just sigh and roll my eyes at their "cleverness" (you people know who you are).

Game 1:
My first game was against Anthony's High Elves. I made a mistake and tried to sit back and exchange missile fire with his elves. Standard human bowfire has nothing on the Elves, who are the best in the game when it comes to bows. After several turns of losing 3:1 men to elves, I decided to move on his position. I managed to outflank him with Khamul the Easterling on warhorse on one flank and my Kataphraks on the other. Things were going well until I lost Khamul (I've been warned that he's really tricky to get a handle on). Soon my force broke, and eventually I lost.

Lessons learned
: Khamul requires more finesse; spears would have been really helpful (for both sides).

Game 2:
Next day I played Dusty's Haradrim. We played Storm the Camp, where you have to capture the enemy deployment zone while protecting your own. I split my force in three: 1) Cavalry 2) Swordmen/Spearmen 3) Swordsmen/Bowmen. The Cavalry tried to advance on a flank. Group 2 went up the middle and Group 3 watched the camp. I didn't use Khamul this game, and opted for a cheap Captain. Long story, short: my cavalry got decimated by a phalanx of spearmen, and Group 2 got overwhelmed by Haradrim. I was broken, and lost.

Lessons learned
: Cavalry require more finesse, and should not necessarily charge into a phalanx of spear men; my particular cavalry don't pack a lot of punch, and are better suited in a support role for the infantry; a combined arms approach to the formations works better than keeping all the archers together (unless you plan on volley firing); elements of the force need to be in positions to support one another.

Game 3:
Dusty and I upped the point value to 450, and I threw Khamul back in. Dusty added some Warg Riders as allies. We played Kill the King, where you have to kill the enemy general. For deployment, I created three lines of troops. A line consisted of swordsmen in the front, supported by a couple of spears, with a couple of bowmen, able to fire over their shoulders. I Had one line down the center, with the others on either side. I used terrain to anchor my flanks. My cavalry was in the back, with Khamul.

I spent the first several turns advancing at half speed, so my archers could get some shots off. I also took Khamul down one flank, and my cavalry down the other, trying to draw his warg riders to the flank. When they came after me, I ran them back behind my lines, ready to support the lines against any breakthroughs. My left line and Khamul dispatched with his mounted Haradrim Raiders, while my right line dealt with the warg riders, support by my cavalry. My middle line dealt with a phalanx of pikemen, which I had whittled down with my very deadly bow fire. Eventually I broke him, and after a while I caused his General to run (using Khamul's -1 Courage Area of Effect).

Lessons learned
: I used Khamul more effectively, but he is still difficult to use efficiently; the combined arms approach does seem to work; when you have numerical superiority, do your best to try to "trap" enemy models to get extra swings at them (Dusty was gracious enough to keep reminding me of that tactic, when I failed to employ it).

I really enjoyed the system. It is a very simple and elegant system. What I really like about it, is that artificial tactical bonuses are minimized. Tactical advantages are conveyed through maneuvering, positioning, fighting the enemy with the right type of unit, and supporting your units. The priority system is really interested. It dispenses with the YouGoIGo system, and gives the game a more dynamic and fluid feel. I'm very excited to get some more games in, and to paint my headless Easterlings.

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Current Progress on the Sons of Sek

Current Progress on the Sons of Sek
Sept. 5th, 2008 - They were finished literally at the table before the first round began.