February 2, 2014

Ruins of Arnor - The Rescue

A Hero finds himself separated from his main force and under attack from the enemy. As his foes seek to cut him down, his companions race to his rescue. This opportunity is too much for the attacker to pass up, providing they can slay the Hero without too much loss...

That's the intro from The Rescue, the first scenario in the Battle Companies rule book. Arnor lost the roll off so Captain Marko Steelknife would be placed in the center of the board with just two of his men as Zorbag the Widowmaker and his entire warband descended on them. The rest of Steelknife's company would enter from the opposite table edge on the first turn, but the hunters of Angmar would have a great head start. Angmar wins if they manage to drag down Steelknife. Arnor wins if they can keep the Captain alive long enough to take out 50% of the orcs.

It was pure dumb luck that the orcs ended up one inch short of being able to reach the soldiers of Arnor on their initial charge. I placed Steelknife and his guards a couple of inches from dead center and placed the orcs exactly eighteen inches from the edge as the scenario allows. It turns out they were seven inches apart. Had the orcs been able to make contact on turn one, this might have been over very quickly!

On Arnor's turn, Captain Steelknife vaulted the wall (rolling a 'six' meaning he suffered no movement penalty for crossing the obstacle). His men followed with less agility but managed to stumble across, securing a strong position to prevent a quick pursuit and maybe buy time for the reinforcements who moved six inches onto the table.

On turn two three orcs charge the defenders at the wall while Zorbag directs the rest around the gap to the right of the Arnor soldiers. The spearmen manage to hold off the attackers, but fail to cause any wounds. Captain Steelknife is joined by two more Warriors of Arnor and a pair of Rangers of a Arnor struggle up a cliff to gain a vantage point for their bows.

By turn three the soldiers of Arnor managed to form a strong defensive line and the orc horde surged nearer! The Rangers of Arnor reached the summit of the cliff. The orc archers tucked in behind the wall loosed a couple of arrows at the Rangers, but failed to hit. This would actually be the case for the entire game. Neither side caused any wounds with arrows!

The orcs crash into the Arnor line and a struggle ensues which lasts for the rest of the game. The Heroes went toe to toe for six turns with neither able to gain total advantage even though Zorbag often had the support of one or two more orcs. Both Heroes were forced to spend all of their Might and Fate points and Zorbag suffered one of his two Wounds. In the end, the Defense Value of the Warriors of Arnor (6) made them the equivalent of LotR Space Marines and the orcs failed to cause a single casualty! Meanwhile, the men averaged one kill per turn.

Zorbag managed to escape with a much reduced warband (the game ended after half of the orcs went down)...

... and Captain Marko Steelknife led all of his men home.

The post game phase was quick for Angmar. Zorbag gained 2 Experince Points and his warband gained 2 Influence Points, neither of which is enough to spend on upgrades. It wasn't all bad for Angmar, two of their casualties would miss the next game, but none of their losses were permanent. Captain Steelknife gained 6 Experince Points and rolled a '1' on the Advancement Chart, granting him a +1 Fight Characteristic, raising it to 6! One of the Warriors earned a promotion and I rerolled Royal Guard of Fornost... I'll have to paint up a new model with trim on his tunic and gold accents on his armor to make him stand out! The warband also gained four Influence Points so I spent one to roll for reinforcements... A '3' meant another Warrior of Arnor, but I decided to spend the forth Influence Point for  a +1 to make it a Ranger of Arnor.

Final observations... Warriors of Arnor are tough! Even the orcs with double handed weapons were no match for their high Defense. In larger games Angmar's trolls and spectres will go a long way to evening the scales (and I will be scrambling for help on Arnor's side since the Spearmen were hardly overwhelming against the orcs). Had the orcs been able to swarm a couple soldiers alone, they could have overwhelmed them... Arnor scored the victory when they were able to consolidate their force. The archers were also ineffective on both sides. The orcs were just hapless and the Rangers were unable to beat the gamut of 'to hit', beat the cover, AND cause a wound. Part of that comes from only having two shooters on each side... In larger games I am sure they will be more effective.

Anyway this was a lot of fun and a great way to learn the rules! Lots more LotR stuff on the painting table...


  1. Very nice report. I have really enjoyed the progress on this project.

    Can't wait to see more.

    Top notch!

  2. Nice and compact little game. Like that the rules offers a way to chain together different games by Experience/Influence points gained.
    The figures look great on the table, shall be fun to follow as the armies grow in size.

  3. Greate looking game and a very nice AAR !

    Best regards Michael

  4. Nice to see someone playing battle companies and Arnor!

  5. How did the rules handle solo play? I was thinking of converting LotR for my Greek Myth games. Love the figures and the AAR!

  6. The rules work fine solo. The only conflict might come if to heroes are 'bidding' against each other with Might points. You're suppose to do this secretly and reveal together... It only happened once in the game and didn't change the outcome. It might be an issue in larger games with multiple heroes throwing Might around, but as I am playing solo there are really no arguments...

  7. Nice looking game and good report. Good to see LOTR getting some interest.