Monday, July 23, 2018

Battle Report: "Kill Radagast!"

Warg-riders engage an Ent

This past Saturday, a small group of friends visited to play some Middle Earth skirmish wargames. The scenario was based on the Battle Games in Middle-earth #79 magazine article "Kill the Wizard!", modified for Knights & Magick, and using the K&M Single Combat rules. All figs are Mithril Miniatures except for Radagast the Brown, which is a pre-Hobbit film Games Workshop mini.

At some point during the War of the Ring, Saruman decides it's time to off Radagast the Brown. The corrupted wizard sends two bands (2 x 11 figs) of Uruk-Hai and also a band of (4) Warg-riders to Rhosgobel in order to rid himself of "this meddlesome bird-tamer."

"Horns of the buffalo" tactics. Warbands split into two wings
The first two turns saw the orcs and wargs struggling through the densly-implied underbrush of south-western Mirkwood. Movement costs were doubled when in or near (2") of the trees. The Uruks crept along at 3.5 inches; the warg-riders did slightly better at 5.5" per turn.

Meanwhile Radagast, who had no such restrictions, being made of wizardly stuff, nipped into the back allotment and summoned an Ent.
The wizard's staff gave him a bonus, making success automatic.

Radagast "Root Strikes" the lead Uruk, who survies, for now.
Each of the Uruk bands had two archers in it, and they were taking pot-shots whenever Radagast left himslef in the open, which did not happen often. Due to his wood-craftness, Radagast had automatic line-of-sight, and conjured "Crushing Root" attacks against the two Uruk leaders, killing one and immobilising the other for a turn.

It was during these "root strikes" that Radagast failed his magic drain roll. Normally, in K & M, that would result in the death of the magic user -fortunately, Radman's staff of power gave him a +2 to his roll, resulting in a bad headache and urge to take a short nap.

The Great Eagle has landed....(sorry 'bout that)
On Turn 3, the great eagle, Gwahir, arrives on the board edge. "Whats all this, then?  Orc-mischief in the forest?" he sez, and then chucks himself into the backs of a couple of Uruk archers. Up to this point, those archers were feeling pretty smug at staying out of harm's way - two sharp talons the size of garden forks  spoiled their otherwise pleasant day. One archer hands his lunch to his mate, and goes down.

"Speedy the Orc" rushes to his doom
By turn 4-5, things were starting to look serious for the good guys. Radagast had summoned a second Ent, and had cast "Disturbing Omens" on himself, giving all orcs within 6" a -1 on their to-hit rolls. Still, the first ent was going down, after taking out three of the wargs and riders, and the Brown Wizard was finally in an exposed position.  The surviving warg-rider charged...

Radagasts +2 staff also makes a jolly good club, and after a brief exchange, the Brown wizard rang the rider's bell, taking him out.

"Two against one? Hardly fair, boys..."
Turn 6: more Uruks were closing in - Gwahir had been slain by two Uruks, lead by the last leader Uruk. Gwahir did manage to take out the leader, so that'll do, bird, that'll do.

Now leaderless, the last of the Uruks swept into the deep thicket where Radagast had taken to squatting. Feeling pretty kick-@ss with his staff, the wizard charged a pair of Uruks - whack, clang-clang, thump, one Uruk went down. Rinse and repeat, and both lay dead, Radagast had a healthy scratch for their trouble (took a wound, but had two left).

Uruks withdraw in shaky order.

By turn 7, it was clear to the Uruks that Saruman had got his sums wrong (again!) and they would be unable to defeat Radagast, who had placed himself back-to-back with the surviving Ent, laying on hands and healing him.

The Uruks decided to withdraw, denying Radagast his final victory point (13 Orcs dead, one shy of a clear victory. Draw Match.

Still, the Uruks knew that Radagast was still Master of Rhosgobel...for now.

Post Game Thoughts:
This was a frustrating fight for the orcs (played by Rob C. and Derek C.) It was very difficult bringing Radagast to heel, due to the disparity of movement and the disposable allied-obstacles that were thrown in their way. It was early-midpoint when the Orc players decided to use encirclement tactics, and that's when the wizard felt the pressure.

In the initial playtest, the weekend prior, my brother Chris was playing the wizard, who somehow had  received the K&M spell "sorcery blast/fireball".  This effect is more in line with a D&D Magic Missile. Wizardly firebolts flew like a gatling gun. This didn't "feel" very Tolkien-ish, and was redacted from the second game. "Crushing Roots" was substituted, which had the added bonus of immobilising the target (if they survived the ent-like crush+3 attack) for a turn.

Playtesting the Sorcery Blast

The "Crushing Roots" attacks were fun - it had a 1.5" area-of-effect  and an 18" range with no line-of-sight restrictions. Only once caught two orcs simultaneously. One survived, the other suffered a "Gruesome Death" effect as they were "eviscerated by the boughs of a mighty oak". The Uruks spread out a bit after that, and wouldn't you?

"HEY! No smokin' during workin' hours!"
We also need to add rules for riderless wargs - a simple morale check to stay in combat or flee would be fine. Once a warg-rider went down, the warg was lifted off table. This should be corrected.

By and large, an amusing game. The lads did well, especially when considering this was their first time out the gate with Knights and Magick. It was suggested that perhaps the Uruks could do with a troll as added muscle, which is worth looking into. In the Two Towers book, there is a scene with a disgruntled troll in Saruman's servce, airing a grievance in the Black Speech.

I'm thinking of adding "Disgruntled" rules to allow a troll to strike or Go Slow on a borderline morale roll. Hah!


Saturday, July 21, 2018

"Send out your warg-riders!"

Here's a little preview from today's game - some of Saruman's warg-riders sent to raid Rhosgobel.

I digitally removed some of the yellow tint - the lights in the game room photograph toward the yellow part of the spectrum. The orcs were painted to look sallow, as appropriate for Saruman's half-orcs.

These are Mithril Minis - I still need one or two more for my Isengard Raiding force. Oh, and one rider was missing his spear and hand, I'll be grafting a sword on and making him the leader.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Brown Wizard and friends

Posted here are some recently finished minis, prepared for an upcoming game set in Mirkwood.

The first is the pre-Hobbit film Radagast the Brown, from Games Workshop.

Miniature: Games Workshop

I don't buy many GW figures, preferring Mithril Miniatures, but I did like look of the GW Radagast and picked him up on Ebay. I followed the GW painting instructions and I'm well pleased with the result. I almost removed the raven in favour of a small thrush, which I think is in better keeping with Radagast's character, but didn't have the extra time if I wanted the mini finished for our next game.

Next is a Mithril Mini Great Eagle. This figure originally had a couple of dwarves dangling from his talons, which I removed. Again, I followed the GW painting guide and the result was pretty good.

Miniature: Mithril Miniatures

Finally, two Huorns from Mithril.  I'm using these for Ents, as Mithril's Ents usually command ludicrous prices on Ebay, and to be honest, if you've seen one walking tree, you've seen them all. These were easily painted using woodland hues.

Miniatures: Mithril Miniatures

These have been statted-up for Knights & Magic - I will have some pics and analysis from the game up in a day or so. - Namarie'

Monday, January 1, 2018

Orc Animist and the Sons of Elrond

 Here are three more recently finished miniatures. Previously, I tried to post pics but the camera was playing up. These were taken by I*Phone.

Orc Animist by Mithril Miniatures
You don't often see many Orc magic-users. Even as an animist, this mini brings some value to the battlefield. Able to cast a pall of terror in a 9" radius, he can cause all but the most stalwart to deduct -1 from their "to-hit" roll.

The sons of Elrond. I must admit, I enjoyed painting these two models. Painting instructions from Mithril Miniature were included in their packs, and I'm well pleased with the result.

Elladan and Elrohir by Mithril Miniatures

In the GW LOTR Strategy Battle Game, Elladan gets two attacks, which I'm retaining for Knights and Magic. Elrohir wears heavy armour, which is fairly rare for an elf. I'm looking forward to trying these out later. - Namarie! -

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Elves, Orcs, Bats and a Ranger

This past November to December was a wash-out for painting minis.  I was able to get some post-Yule painting time in and finished these few minis:

Celeborn - Mithril Miniatures

Painting Celeborn was an easy task, as I followed some on-line examples

Glorfindel - Mithril Miniatures, Bat Swarm - Reaper Miniatures
 Glorfindel was part of a two-piece package, battling a ring wraith.  The pack included a painting guide, which I mostly followed. I'm not mad about the Reaper bats, but they were inexpensive and easy enough to paint.  I might go back over them with a light tan highlight.

Ranger and Great Goblin - Mithril Miniatures
Rangers are always fun, at least you know the cloak will be green. Great Goblin has been sitting on my painting table for a year, partially finished. It was nice to finally knock him out of the queue.

Wood Elf Maiden - Mithril Miniatures
Wood Elf Maiden had to be repaired, as I've had this mini for two decades.  She broke off at the ankles, which was an easy fix. I might paint some leaf anklets to further mask the join.  The result was better than I expected - the picture doesn't do her justice.

These minis are all part of a Mirkwood/Dol Guldur Knights and Magick scenario I'm working on.  Still have a batch of Lothlorien elves to paint. Til' next time - Namarie -

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Small Woodland Skirmish

While painting continues for the larger, battle-sized project, I have been trifling about with some skirmish scenarios using the reprinted release of Knights and Magick from Heritage Miniatures.

Knights and Magick is a great, old school "nuts and bolts" rules set, where forces are assembled from the ground up, assigned quality level, armour class, and weapons and all paid for with points or credits. A unique '0 - 15" hit system is used, combined with some charts, to determine casualties. If a hit is successful on doubles, the result is a 'gruesome death' - no saving roll vs. constitution and any friendly troops witnessing must make a morale check.

With the amount of detail and customisation available, Knights and Magic fits right at the intersection of skirmish scale and role-playing game, which is where I'd like to be.

In our youth, my brother and I used to play the knickers out of Knights and Magic, and when a chance visit brought him to me door, we managed to get a game in...much to the dismay of my rangers.

Setup was fairly simple 105 points of five ranger "heroes" vs. 123 points of fourteen orcs, backed up by a single 23 point troll. The rangers would get to defend a hilltop ruin, while the orcish troops would have the benefit of attacking at night.

First turn or so, the rangers used their longbows to kill two or three orc archers, while the main orcish force advanced through some dense wood to hit the flank of the hill.

Orcish archery was mostly ineffective throughout the game, while that of the rangers was moderately effective. The troll was on the rangers before archery could make itself felt.

Turn three and four: The troll charged up the hill slope, while Ælfwina, the apprentice ranger, counter-charged the foul creature. Winnie actually scored a hit, but the troll rolled his save. Winnie was not so lucky, and she went down before the Troll's spiked club. 

Brandon, son of Brand, leapt to the side of the fallen girl. So to did Grÿsr, son of Gÿr. To no avail, though they hacked at the troll, both were slain (my brother's dice were afire and he kept making con rolls).

Finally, with Orcs were circling the hill, Crisagon, son of yet-to-be-revealed-in-this-picture, stood forth against the troll. My brother then uttered words that chilled me to the marrow, "You know, there has yet been a 'gruesome death' in this game."  I quailed as he reached for the dice. Double threes. Crissagon's head burst like a melon.  Ew...nasty.

The battle was over, all the rangers dead. The forest belonged to the Orc.

It was a pretty awesome game. And took about 90 minutes.

Post-game thoughts:
My brother called the game "brutal", in that his orcs had to cross three turns worth of killing ground. Once they closed to melee range, the balance would swing back to them. The troll was quite the wild card - in previous games, the troll had been dispatched by piling on the rangers. Best laid plans, and all that.

One point brought up was I had skint my rangers by only giving them a +1 weapon bonus with their favoured weapon. Bro pointed out if I raised it to +2 (for 1 point each) then all the rangers would have had +1 on their remaining weapons. 

Noted, adjusted, live and learn.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Repainting Mithril Miniatures

Súza Hey Dol!

It's been a few years since I began my LOTR/Arthedain project, but having settled into a new house and sorting out my miniatures, I've taken up the gauntlet again (as it were(.

I've been working on some skirmish forces and repainting some of the older Mithril miniatures that were part of the discontinued RPG line.

Removing the paint is complicated by the presence of the special Mithril undercoat - which I have never found to be all that special, and in fact am of the opinion it was a device to impede piracy (rather a good thing).

My first attempt was to follow a recommendation in The Miniatures Page, and use Simple Green as an overnight bath.

Mithril Miniatures
Mithril Miniatures

The results were mixed, with a lot of green paint left on the cloak and hair recesses. Possibly using a stronger solvent like Pine-Sol or Flash will give a better result...

Here's the same figure after an overnight batch of Pine-Sol. Even without the pine oil (removed from the product in 2012), the Pine-Sol did a much better job. Readers may note that the sword fell off - it seems the Pine-Sol dissolved whatever glue was used.

Mithril Miniatures
Mithril Miniatures

The figure will now be washed in dish soap, mended with epoxy, primed with metal prime, and painted, after which she will join my band of Arthedain Rangers for a skirmish game against the forces of Angmar.  Until next time - Namarie!