It was a quiet weekend at the Mad Padre’s Painting Chapel. A little bit got done, paint wise. Some work done on magnetizing bases and intelligent storage of figures prior to the move coming at me next spring. Perhaps the highpoint was Saturday night, when I decided that my friend Rabbitman needed some miniature and baklava therapy to shake off his funk. Something totally silly was called for, so I grabbed my Lord of the Rings collection which has seen some exposure here lately, tried to mentally dust off my knowledge of the GW rules, and hit the road. We had an agreeably silly game, but it did mark the debut of a hulking chap I affectionately call “Izzy”, short for “Izzy the Isengard Troll”. Here he is leading some Uruks of the White Hand out of some woods, wanting to smash the Rohirrim and eat a horse or two.
For this action we threw most of my toys on the table, in varying conditions of paintedness (is that even a word?), Isengard vs. Rohan. Because the Uruks had some good assets (a half dozen Berserkers, very tough to kill and each w 2 attacks) and Izzy, who is sort of Middle Earth’s equivalent of a King Tiger, we gave the good guys Aragorn (3 attacks per turn and some nifty bonuses), and several heroes of the ridder mark - Eomer, Theoden, Gamling and Eowyn on her little pony. Rabbitman tells the story on his blog here. He wasn’t overly impressed with the GW rules, curiously called the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game - why is it called Strategy when you have to throw dice three times to try and kill one figure? Good question.
While the GW experience was so so, there were some high points. When these minis are painted (alas, not all of mine were), they can be quite photogenic. Here Eowyn and two of the Royal Guard (chap on the left painted by Rabbitman, chap on right w shield showing by Yours Truly) ride down some annoying Uruk scouts. We had some laughs thanks to Eowyn, imagining her riding behind Aragorn and desperately sticking Uruks to gain his attention and impress him. Actually she was the Human player of the game, and did quite well, even shrugging off a paralysis spell by the Uruk shaman, who behaved quite caddishly.
Izzy lumbers towards the Rohan battle line. Notice how Patrick has lined up his troops behind the troll, rather like infantry advancing behind a friendly tank. We were considering a house rule that if Izzy doesn’t score a kill on an enemy figure at least once every two turns, he eats a nearby friendly figure, just to keep his strength up. The poor Rohan archers in the second rank banged away at him for all they were worth, but due to his tough hide and armour they needed a 6/4+ (roll of a 6 on 1d6 to wound, then a second roll of 4 or better) to cause a wound on him. They couldn’t touch him. Izzy was very annoyed at horse-smelling snooty men by the time he got near.
HAHAHAHA! IZZY SMASH! IZZY SMASH GOOD! Gamling and his foot levy men died valiantly while the Rohan horse fought their way through another cluster of orcs to try and save King Theoden. It wasn’t looking good for our heroes when we ran out of time and had to call it.
Mysterious elf babes watch impassively from a nearby hill.
Perhaps next time we play will see a rematch, perhaps Aragorn going head to head with Izzy. There were a few rules I forgot until half way through the game, such as charging cavalry getting an extra dice against foot, and a chance to knock foot opponents offer and stomp on them. Other rules, like requiring a Courage roll to charge the Fearsome (really, he’s quite cuddly when you get to know him) Izzy the Troll, I forgot completely. I found myself agreeing with James that these rules require an awful lot of dice rolling and get quite cumbersome with over two dozen figures on the table. I should dust off the GW War of the Ring rules for large battles and see if they are any better, or buy TFL’s Dux rules for Dark Ages and try Thomas Nissvik’s Dux Gondorum adaptation.
You wouldn’t believe how long it took to get Izzy settled down after he got all excited.