Saturday, 6 March 2021

Battle For Minas Tirith

 Geoff and I played a 72AP game of HOTT last night, using his Middle Earth armies. He ran a combined Gondor/Rohan army, whilst I had the forces of Mordor. Here's the game set up and ready to go. We both massed our foot on the flank nearest the camera, with the centre and the other flank being primarily made up of mounted.

My foot were led by the Lord of the Nazgul, on his winged beast.

Geoff's stronghold was, of course, Minas Tirith.

On my left flank my wolf-riders were faced by the massed knights of the Riders of Rohan. This was not going to be an easy fight for me.

In they went; on the far right the Nazgul in command of my centre moved in to fight Eomer.

The wolves were pushed back, whilst Eomer and the Nazgul both died (one of those rare Hero vs Hero getting a draw situations).

In the centre I'd Advanced a large command of trolls to smash the Rohan troops before them, but poor PIPs, a bit of bespelling from Gandalf and, finally, the loss of their general made it less of a mighty blow than I'd hoped.

Indeed the Lord of the Nazgul had to fly over from his relatively static flank in order to plug a serious gap in the centre.

My position was not looking good at this stage, with the wolf-riders obviously doomed, the centre paralysed and nothing happening with my foot. So I decided to go all out an simply try and win the battle with the Lord of the Nazgul. I mean I say 'win'. What I mean is 'salvage some kind of credibility'. So I sent him over to kill Gandalf. And he did. 

The foot of both sides did finally meet and there was the obligatory blade vs blade shoving match between the soldiers of Minas Tirith and the Olog Hai.

The Lord of the Nazgul destroyed some of Rohan's foot, whilst the surviving trolls attempted to take out some of their horse (and failed). 

On my left the wolf-riders had ceased to exist as a fighting force, and Rohan was reorganising to roll up my centre. And even my centre was demoralised. I was only a smidge from breaking.

Rohan surrounded some trolls in the centre, pushing me closer to defeat.

The Lord of the Nazgul went for the Rohan commander in the centre, but failed to kill him.

And the loss of the last element of wolf-riders sealed my fate.

Geoff played well, and exploited the weakness of my army organisation. I went for an all-out smash in the centre and completely blew it, leaving my 'delay the enemy' flank to be wiped out and my static flank unable to do anything meaningful. Countering his knights - he had a lot - had to be the priority and I suspect mixing the trolls into the other commands was probably the best way forward. Still, with the enemy having a magician, I did well not to lose one of the three hero generals my side had. That would have been an embarrassingly quick loss had it happened to the Lord of the Nazgul.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Roast Beef For Dinner

In my last post I said I'd give the sabre-tooth a starring role in my next game.

I didn't.

Instead I tried an alternative set of stats for some of the other beasts I have - the cattle. They don't really feel like flighty herd grazers to me, but nor do they seem meaty enough to be giant grazers. So I went for something in the middle - run them as giant grazers for reactions, but with all of their stats downgraded by one (Savagery 5+, Resilience 4+ and Bulk 3). This makes them less dangerous and easier to kill than, say, a mammoth, but offering less in the way of reward.

Anyway, I sent out my band of five hunters after them. Since they are less bulky than mammoths I used more cattle - five to be precise. A wrong move could see multiple angry cows accosting an unwary hunter.

Here are the peaceful bovines, munching some grass.

A sabre-tooth cat watched them from the other side of a thicket. It had a good view; if any were wounded in situ then the cat would advance and become dangerous.

The hunters had to kill two bovines, so went for the standard strategy of isolating one and killing that. In addition Fire was sent wide to scare off the sabre-tooth, but also to keep the bovines from scattering too far in the one direction. 

Bow set up in position on one flank of the herd, whilst Spear and Axe went round the other way. The cattle mooed ominously.

Fire lit some fires, but they quickly went out so he lit some more.

Bow shot at one of the bovines, and scored a critical wound.

It panicked and ran towards Spear and Axe.

This excited the sabre-tooth which tried to edge past the fire towards the scent of blood. But the second fire was now spreading nicely.

The wounded bovine was very angry, and it's lowing made the hunters cautious.

But eventually Spear rushed in and finished the animal off.

Not a clever thing to do close to the herd; two of the cattle, disturbed by the death of their fellow, charged him and Spear was wounded.

The sabre-tooth had almost worked past the fire now, and some bovines were scattering in his direction.

Fire waved a burning brand over his head and made some noise, causing the cat to seek shelter in the depths of the thicket, out of sight of the hunt. Only an extreme reaction would now bring it out.

The surviving cattle scattered in response to the flames as well, and one was soon isolated from the others.

The hunters chased after it as it ran wildly in one direction then another.

Spear found himself isolated from the other hunters by a wall of angry cattle. Wounded as he was a direct confrontation was not advisable. (Actually his activation rolls were terrible, and the cattle kept eyeing him up and 'roaring', keeping him out of the action for now).

The isolated bovine was now really angry, and charged Axe, wounding him.

Axe scored a hit back, causing the enraged animal to attack Bow, who dodged out of the way.

As it fled, Bow wounded it again, and it ran back into the herd. Spear tried to work around the herd to intercept it.

But Bow was running fast too, and brought it down with a second arrow,

This caused the surviving bovines to react, putting Bow, who was close to them, at risk of an attack, but the cattle chose to run.

So the hunt was reasonably successful, with six Bulk gained against two hunters injured. This particular setup for teh bovines worked nicely and I'll probably try it again.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

New Beasts And Another Hunt

I actually managed to build up enough enthusiasm to do some painting the other day, and did a few more beasts for 'Palaeo Diet'. Al of these are figures I bought from MY Miniatures last year - I still have others to do. They're 15mm, naturally.

Sabre-tooth cats. These will work nicely as Pack Predators but are big enough to become Apex Predators if the game requires.

These Elasmotherium are a nice Giant Grazer alternative to mammoths.

Finally I got some horses to act as Herd Grazers. They're disappointing casts to be honest; I think the molds are on the way out. The legs on a few were badly cast and seem brittle. But they painted up OK and look the part. In the catalogue they are listed as zebras, which have that proper wild horse look.

I set up a game using some of the new figures. Once again I sent out for hunters, Axe, Spear, Bow and Fire, and this time they were stalking a herd of seven horses, looking to bring down at least two of them.

A predator lurked in one of the corners. The terrain meant that there was a hill between the predator and the horses, so if the hunters could do their work efficiently and out of sight  the cat would not approach them.

The horses were in a hollow by a watering hole. The terrain and all the placement of beasts and hunters was randomised, so it was good fortune that the hunters had the herd trapped in a relatively confined space.

Fire was sent on a wide sweep to prevent the horses crossing the hill to the other side of the watering hole, and also to deter the sabre-tooth. In addition he would, once the other hunters were in position, startle the herd and drive them towards an ambush set up by Spear and Axe near the woods. Bow lurked on the flank ready to use his archery to keep the horses from breaking away through the gap between the woods and the rock outcrop.

One horse had got nervous and had broken away from the herd. Meanwhile Fire tried to start a fire, but it wouldn't spread; obviously the grass was too wet.

In the end Fire simply shouted and moved close enough to the horses that they could smell the smoke from his burning branch. A few of them ran for it, and one was ambushed by Spear and wounded.

This set of a general panic in the herd, and they stampeded towards the smaller rock outcrop. Axe ran alongside them ...

... and brought down the wounded leader.

This caused the survivors to stampeded in the opposite direction, towards Bow, who wounded another.

The herd was well and truly trapped between the hunters now. However the one wounded by Bow was in the centre of the herd and would be hard to finish off.

As the hunters closed in they caused the herd to break up, and one horse crested the hill to come into Fire's part of board, and also within sight of the sabre-tooth.

Fire moved quickly to place himself between the horse and the predator. Meanwhile the other hunters chased after the horse. Bow wounded it with an arrow, before Spear sprinted over and finished it off.

The hunters had the meat they needed, but just needed to be sure that the sabre-tooth was kept away.

Spear advanced on it, and caused it to react. Started by the nearby Fire, the sabre-tooth fled, leaving two tasty horse carcasses for the hunters to divide up.

I felt sorry for the sabre-tooth not getting an outing, so might give one a starring role in the next game.

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