Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Phil's Basement
Event:    Play-test run of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields
Players: Solitaire
Game System: Modified L'Art de la Guerre, about 700 points per side.
Theme: Fantasy. 

The Forces:
Rohan, Lead by Theodin (brilliant), Eomer(competent), Elfhelm(competent)
12 Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow, 3 elite. 
About 162 points

Gondor, Denethor(deceased), Imrahil(brilliant), and Duinhir(competent).
16 Light Infantry Bow. 
6 Heavy Infantry Sword armor, (3 elite)
2 Heavy Knights, impact, (elite)
2 Heavy Cavalry, bow
6 Sword, missile support
4 Light Cavalry, bow
About  280 points

Mordor, Lead by Lord of the Nazgûl, Sorcerer King of Angmar, Ringwraith, Captain of the Hosts of Mordor, Wartburg, Gothmog, and Ignatz.
5 Trolls
12 Goblins Medium Spear, Missile support, (Mediocre)
4 Wolf Riders Light Cavalry Impact, Carnivore (Mediocre)
2 Cassowary Riders Light Cavalry Javelin, Carnivore (Mediocre)
Ignatz, Light Chariot
13 orcs, Medium Swordsmen
2 Warg Riders
2 Heavy Chariots(elite)
3 Orc Bow
2 Easterling Medium Sword 2HW
6 Easterling Bow
2 Easterling Foot, Javelinmen
2 Jugger Medium Knight Impetuous, Carnivore
  About 420 points

 4 Medium cavalry impact bow (1 elite)
 4 Light cavalry bow 
 6  Mixed Medium spear, bow
10 Bowmen
3 Mûmakils Elite Elephants
about 240 points
No Break point.  Play till time limit is reached.
I have been working towards this for years.  I have started and stopped this project half a dozen times.  Most of the figures are re-purposed from various Ancients armies, others painted for this event, only to have them languish on the shelf for decades. 

The Board:
8 feet of castle wall, but otherwise an unadorned field with a touch of the River Anduin in the south east corner.

The Scenario
At the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields was the ultimate battle for control of the Planet.  The forces of Sauron were mustered to take the last great bastion of man, Minas Tirith.   

Sauron had every reason to expect success.  The forces of the west were divided on racial linesWhile Machiavellian schemes that had been set in motion for decades were bearing fruit.  The Steward of mighty Gondor was being driven insane by exposing his mind to the Palantir Théoden King was warped into premature senility.  Saruman the White, leader of the console of wizards was turned traitor.  Even though he was defeated, he served a purpose, as the forces of Rohan were now totally out of position to interfere

So with the entirety of the forces of east so arrayed, Mordor Orcs and Trolls, the Easterlings, the Haradrim and the Corsairs of Umbar, what chance does even the mightiest fortress  on Middle Earth stand?

The siege has started.  Black smoke fills the air, obscuring the view of the defenders.  

The forces of Mordor are arrayed as follows.  North most are the Easterlings.  Next to them Orcs and Goblins.  In front of the gate are trolls and Grond.  South of them are the infantry forces of the Haradrim.  Still arriving on the road from Osgiliath road are additional forces of the Haradrim.  In the gate is the Lord of the Nazgûl, Sorcerer King of Angmar, Ringwraith, Captain of the Hosts of Mordor.

He is confronted by Gandalf on Shadowfax.  The rest of the forces of Gondor have backed away from the gate in fear.  On the walls are defenders of the wall. They are spread thin, and so are represented by Light Infantry.  To the north, are the  Rohirrim. 
  This game has only run 2 turns so far.  

One note:  The table may look sparse, especially when compared to Steve Jackson's movie.  Bear in mind that this is a game and it has to be playable in a reasonable time frame.  If it runs too quick, I can add more orcs.  As it is, the Rohirrim are outnumbered 6-1.

Turn 1:
The huge ram Grond, great as a forest-tree, a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains.  Founded of black steel, shaped in the likeness of a ravening wolf; on it spells of ruin lay.  Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind it walked mountain-trolls, to wield it.
The main forces of Gondor near the gate.  Only Gandalf is able to stand up to the Lord of the Nazgûl.

"You cannot enter here" "Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back!  Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!"
"Old fool!  This is my hour.  Do you not know Death when you see it?  Die now and curse in vain!"
Haradrim, orcs and trolls at the gate.
The view from the middle tower.
Théoden's Rohirrim are at the north edge of the field. 
The view from the south edge of the board.
The Military observer from Kush has a ring side seat.
Because there are always vultures at a battlefield.

The Orc and Easterling commands.  General Wartburg in his 4 wolf chariot, commands the orcs.   Gothmog in the far north commands the Easterlings.
The Goblins are commanded by Ignatz. 
King Salidan commands the Haradrim.
Trolls at the Gate.

The Riders of Rohan, read to charge.
Turn 1:

The game starts with 3 excellent initiative rolls for Rohan.
No subtlety here as the Rohirrim take the Easterlings in both flank and rear.
The Easterling dead pile.
Rohirrim advance after combat, "conforming" into the second ranks of  Easterling bowmen.

Mordor's command rolls: 
Lord of the Nazgûl, Sorcerer King of Angmar, Ringwraith, Captain of the Hosts of Mordor, rolls a 1,
The Orkan General Wartburg, a 2,
While Gothmog, who probably has more initiative, a 4.
Gothmog gets some of his forces to turn.

And gets the Easterling Juggers to countercharge.
But it was no orc chieftain or brigand that led the assault upon Gondor.  The darkness was breaking too soon, before the date that his Master had set for it:  fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him; victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it.  He was still in command, wielding great powers.  King, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl, he had many weapons.  He left the Gate and vanished.

The Haradrim were used to organized warfare.  Having time and space, they begin to redeploy.
Pulling out their foot as well as reading their cavalry.  By themselves the Haradrim outnumber the Rohirrim.
The Nazgûl's single command point was spent turning around a column of Trolls.  The others can hold the gate.

The Juggers roll well attacking Elfhelms command stand.  The end result is 9-5, winning by 4.
Causing 2 hits on the Rohirrim.
One of the scenario rules here involves the Mordor artillery.  Each piece of artillery kills one of the Gondorian defenders every turn.  If the walls clear out, then they can be climbed by the orcs.

Turn 2:
The Rohirrim continue their charge. But you could say they are faltering.  Two Easterling bow units stand.  But the Orc Ballista will be destroyed.  The Gondorian Wall Defenders will now only lose 4 units a turn instead of 5.

Elfhelm's Riders take the Easterling Jugger in the flank.

And finish them off in the main battle.

To prevent any mischief, Elfhelm's remain Eord puts a ZOC on the Goblin Wolf and Cassowary Riders.

The Haradrim line continues to bolster.
Reinforcements arrive, Mûmakil, mounted by Giants.
General Wartburg, flanked by Warg Riders.

The Lord of the Nazgûl has taken wing.
In the Mordor turn, most of the first two lines of Easterlings have been cleared.  The Rohirrim are ready to continue into the next line on turn 3.

Much to every-ones surprise*, the Goblin Wolf Riders charge.  I'll have to write an exception in the rules.  I classified them as Light Wolf, Impact, Carnivore.  This was actually an even fight.  HC +1 vs all, +1 Impact vs Lights + 0, +1 carnivore vs herbivore +1 support.

That is it for now.  So far this is playing out well.  The forces of Mordor seem to be reacting way to well and the Rohirrim seem to have more hits than I expected as of yet. 

Next turn we'll see if Prince Imrahil will dare to sally forth out the gate.  While there are a couple of Troll units there, the Great Beasts that towed Grond are a factor as well.  They are counted as Elephant Armored Mediocre.

Continued here>>>>

*Keep in mind I wrote the lists, the rules and am playing solitaire. :)


  1. Hey Phil
    Looking good
    How many points and are they equal ?

  2. The West has about 440, the East about 660.