This game is now at turn 8 and I’m playing Dark Servants.
I cannot give too many details, but the Free People’s player went for a quick army rush opening, recruiting King of the Dead, Denethor and Eowyn as part of the first five champions. Those three bring a cool total 8000 HI and 2000 HC with them. A, thankfully much reduced, part of that army is now on the plain below Barad Dur. Sauron was at first really excited to see all those troops out there but then he realised they weren’t orcs. Not to worry, my brave army is out there as well.
The DS cannot match those numbers with their own champion choices so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Those three commanders do not bring much in the character department and those troops cost a lot of upkeep. Even if they cannot in the end take Barad Dur, they might have created enough momentum to give the Freeps a lasting advantage.
Looks interesting, keep writing how it is going!
Now the freep armies made it to Barad Dur. Not wholly unexpectedly my 2000 orcs were no match for the human and undead horde. Exciting times ahead! Always a great boost to morale having enemy armies massed outside your capital.
On the other side of the map the fearsome balrog Durin’s Bane is scaring some peasants, burning its way through camps. Imladris, the enemy capital, is still hidden but for how long? Sauron has his ways to handle hidden havens.
Turn 10 next with no character losses that I know of. There’s been some feeble attempts at assassinations and a few courteous refusals to challenges. But agents are skilling up and the scenario has three curse artifacts as well so if anyone got a hold of one of those early, then the first curse squad might be close to completion by now. Both sides start with 75 skill mages and there’s some truly heavy hitters for the DS and FP so the only thing missing from cursing are the items. Perhaps soon we’ll see Sauron, Saruman and Murazor drawing against Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond.
I’m curious how soon you found out that the FP player recruited the King of the Dead. With no forewarning that such a huge army was on the way, that army might be hard to deal with. What were your countermeasures?
Good question, and it was quite easy actually.
I hadn’t really paid much attention to the FP characters before joining a game but by chance had glanced through the list later and had a nasty shock in noticing King of the Dead with 5000 HI and Eowyn with 2000 HC. The FP can reach Eowyn on turn 1 from Imladris and then King of the Dead the following turn. Eowyn, after being recruited, can march to Minas Tirith to woo Denethor with 3000 HI in one turn. So, I put together that this could happen:
Turn 1: FP starting character move to Eowyn
Turn 2: FP starting character recruit Eowyn and move to King of the Dead, Eowyn moves to Minas Tirith
Turn 3: FP starting character recruits King of the Dead, Eowyn recruits Denethor
On turn 3 I scried the hex between King of the Dead’s recruiting hex and Eowyn’s hex. I saw that there was indeed the King of the Dead army and a camp had been placed on Eowyn’s hex (so it was that old fool Gandalf who had ventured south as Frodo has no emissary skill). This confirmed to me that the FP army icon in Minas Tirith was both Eowyn and Denethor.
I think this is something that this scry is something that every DS player should do to avoid being totally surprised by 10 000 FP troops.
But Barad Dur stands proud and undefeated! The FP armies just butchered my remaining orcs and then continued on their way, without venturing against the walls.
On their way to Barad Dur, the FP armies had captured Minas Morgul and Cirith Ungol. Both are towns with a lot of fortifications. Without sacrificing troops on those I’m pretty sure the FP could have taken Barad Dur. But not burning troops on the way would have probably been too ruinous for the FP economy.
Ouch. Turn 12 and the FP are down two champions.
Eowyn’s reign of terror in Mordor is brought to an end in a pitched battle against warg riders. She fights to the last with the remainder of her host of Rohan.
In Minas Tirith Denethor is found dead in his bed. Who knows what killed him in the end, madness or something even more malicious? Very likely those stab wounds on his chest have something to do with it.
Of the original trio who proudly and foolishly marched on Mordor, only the King of Dead is standing (not quite alive ) with the remnants of his army in Cirith Ungol. He is trapped, enclosed within the black gates, after the garrison in Minas Morgul fled their posts in terror, the frightful whisperings of Sauron dripping poison in their ears. Orcs are back patrolling those walls now.
And one more champion goes down.
According to Uruk-Hai witnesses, the balrog Durin’s Bane was peacefully wandering near Orthanc, when suddenly an old man jumped in front of him and shouted “You cannot pass!” and then laid on the poor balrog with such fury that the orcs fled the scene, fearing they might be next.
Gandalf challenges Durin’s Bane and wins! Good thing Eowyn is dead already so the Witch King need not look over his shoulder all the time.
Not much action on turn 14. No battles as Mordor is now free of enemy forces. Cirith Ungol’s dispirited garrison didn’t take much threatening to lay down their arms but Moria stays firm against the empty blustering of Aragorn, camped outside with an elven army. While the goblin garrison of Moria is busy laughing at Lord Aragorn, agents (probably more elves) are looting the former dwarf hold.
In Gondor, Faramir makes an appearance with his army, perhaps hungering to avenge his father. Good thing Gothmog marched to Osgiliath this same turn! Faramir’s puny army should be dealt with easily. I just wonder who recruited Faramir…
Sauron’s might is unstoppable! The Age of Orcs begins.
Faramir dies in army battle against Gothmog. Minas Tirith is hastily arming peasants and old men but they won’t be enough. Gondor can lite up all the beacons it can, but there are no more Dead Men and Rohirrim marching to save Minas Tirith, for those forces are spent.
In Imladris the Nazgul decide that the walls would look much better in blood red and get to painting. Those hidden capitals can be nasty as they won’t show enemy characters and challenges get accepted all too easily. I also had a curse barrage and assassins waiting as well.
To my opponent, thank you for a great game! To summarise the DS side as of turn 15, Gothmog would have been able to threaten pretty much anything with a command rank of over 160. I had a full curse squad in place and enough mage skill and mage items for a second one. Gollum had agent skill of 107 and stealth of 40 and Ji Indur was at skill 87 and stealth 50 (although Gollum failed to assassinate Eomer on this turn). My agent squad was also fully doubled and I was able to track Gandalf and the One Ring. I was also very close to recruiting 1000 HC per turn (at the expense of that second curse squad), half of with steel/steel.
I really enjoyed this scenario and will definitely want to play as the FP. I was very much looking for a slow start but the FP came all in. But it seems to have been too much too soon. I doubt the starting FP economy can afford all those troops (2000 HC and 8000 HI) and it also comes at the expense of three of the starting champion slots going to subpar characters. For a while that was also my only hope and I tried to slow those troops down and I guess the expense meant that they had to throw troops on the walls of Minas Morgul and Cirith Ungol on the way to Barad Dur. In the end I was able to stop and completely wipe out the incoming wave with the longer term expense of Minas Morgul and Cirith Ungol being villages that were easy to threaten back and two burned camps.
The new riddles were a nice change for me. Not too hard and with some research all were possible to crack.