It is March 16th TA 1412. The witch king has fallen on the fields
of Pelennor and Thranduil has repelled the forces of Dol Guldur, but the
arm of Sauron is still strong. The Evil One has stretched forth his hand
and summoned the Orcs and Goblins from the Grey Mountains to lay waste
Erebor and Dale
A company of dwarfs from the Iron Hills and men from the lands between
Mirkwod and the Lonely Mountain stand in their way. They are determined
to hold the main pass through the Grey Mountains to the plains before
Dale. Messengers have been sent to summon aid from the Elves of Mirkwood
This is the scenario that we used for our second large scale battle in
Middle Earth, which was played at Cold Wars in March 2001. Can the dwarfs
hold on until the Elves arrive or will they fall and Sauron's horde lay
waste the farmlands and Dale?
The game was played on a large T shaped table, comprised of 6 foot wide
tables. The rules used were Games Workshop's Warmaster, scaled up to 28mm
by doubling all the distances.
There were two areas of rule changes:
1) The brigade rules were modified to allow stands from a brigade to be
moved as a stands in a unit during both charges and pursuits. After movement,
the stands in a unit have to be contiguous.
2) Giants are such large and dangerous targets, that any missile unit
may target them in preference to the closest unit. Any artillery unit
may shoot over intervening units to target them.
We decided to simplify and have no wizards or flyers, except the Nazgul
leader of the Orcs. The only magic items used were a couple of banners
that were carried by the Dwarfs.
The games was sponsored by The Stuff of Legends and the Virtual Alchemist
Ltd. Games Workshop were kind enough to donate some giveaways and to provide
More Pictures: Openings
and apologies to those valiant Good players who didn't get pictured. Thanks
also to James Humphries and Derek Whitman.
The Battle went well and fun was had by all. Warmaster is an excellent
system for this size of engagement, and the massed hordes look spectacular.
Giants are nasty.
The T shaped table didn't work too well. By having the first slope at
the junctions of the tables, the focus of the battle was a 6 foot reach
for the evil players. If we had moved the slope back 3 or 4 feet, it would
have allowed the evil players to reach their stands easily, but still
have allowed them space to maneuver into the pass.
The Elves didn't arrive, they were planned to come in behind the dwarves,
which would have been a mistake. It would have caused an enormous log
jam and been boring. They should come in on a random side of the T, with
the evil horde being surprised or not to taste. This would give a much
more fluid battle.
The rule changes for brigade charges and pursuits were easy to understand
and helped keep things moving. Given the figure scale it seemed more natural.
The large target rules also appeared to work well, although further testing
is necessary. The point costs for the special Orc units and for the Dwarf
Bolt Thrower need to be fine tuned.
We tidied up loose single stand units on the evil side after each turn
to eliminate clutter. We removed these stands and used them to replace
lost stands in other units or to create fresh units at the rear. We did
not rebuild units in the front line, only in reserve units. This definitley
helped move things along.
The only way to successfully run such a large game is to keep things
simple, It also helps to have a sense of humour!