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 Post subject: The Siege of Helm's Deep Mega-Battle Report
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:45 pm 
Ringwraith
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The Siege of Helm’s Deep
An SBG Battle Report

On Sunday 19th January 2014, 11 like-minded gamers gathered together at Titans Wargames Club in Finchley to play a rather special game of SBG. Chris (WhiteWizard) from the club had nabbed the bargain of the century getting an incredible model of Helm’s Deep for £31 on ebay and we all wanted an excuse to play on it. I wrote up a scenario that would allow us to refight the whole of the siege in one massive game, we gathered our players, pooled our models and we were off!

I’m not going to go into the special rules of the scenario as they will take up a huge amount of space in this thread. Suffice to say, there were rules in place to ensure that all of the key moments from the film unfolded as you’d expect and that both the Good and Evil players were always playing in the spirt of the scenario. If you’re interested in seeing the full rules pack for the game there’s a link to the complete scenario thread at the bottom of this thread.

This was never intended to be a competitive game, it was all meant to be about the spectacle and the social aspect, everyone knew they were coming for something a bit special and there was a real buzz about doing something cool. I would heartily encourage this kind of event; I love points match games as much as anyone but if I’m honest, I always think back to those days in 2001 getting sooooo excited about refighting Weathertop, Amon Hen and Balin’s Tomb. SBG started with narrative scenarios and I think it’s these kind of cinematic events where the game really shines. If you’ve never tried the scenarios, pick up the 3 Journey books and get stuck in, you won’t be disappointed!

So, onto our Battle Report, this was a HUGE game so this will be a long thread with lots of pictures, I would suggest getting a cuppa, a biscuit or three, putting those weary feet up and relaxing - you have been warned! I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we enjoyed playing it!

Our game was a recreation of the film version so in most cases if it wasn’t in the film it wasn’t in our game! No shamans with channelled Fury, no Feral Uruk-Hai, no Guards of the Galadhrim Court defending the wall (despite Southy’s best attempts!)! We did make a few small concessions, the Good side had Hama (he gives such a heroic sacrifice at the gate of the Hornburg in the book that I thought he deserved an invite) and the Evil side received all the named Uruk heroes. Obviously we know all the scout heroes were dead by this point but the reality is we needed visually different captains so that we could tell them apart! We tried to imagine they were simply generic captains with the named captains’ rules/stats for the purposes of our game.

The armies were roughly 3500 points per side and consisted of the following (broadly, there was inevitably a bit of variation on the day):

The Legion of the White Hand


Captain with heavy armour and shield
Captain with heavy armour and shield
Captain with heavy armour
Captain with bow and shield
Ugluk
Mauhur
Lurtz
Vrasku
82 Uruk warriors with shields
52 Uruk warriors with pikes
3 Uruks warriors with banners
65 Uruk warriors with crossbows
26 Uruk Beserkers
4 Assault Ballistas
4 demolition teams (all with flaming brands)
9 Uruk warriors and a battering ram
loads of ladders

268 models
Break point - 134


The Defenders of the Hornburg


Aragorn, Armour, Bow, elven cloak
Legolas, Armour, elven cloak
Gimli, elven cloak
Theoden, Heavy Armour, Shield
Gamling
Grimbold
King's Huntsman
Hama
Eowyn
92 Helminga Warriors of Rohan (30 with bows, 31 with shields and 31 with throwing spears and shields)
3 Helmingas with banners
22 Royal Guard (11 with throwing spears)

Haldir defender of helms deep, elven cloak
65 Galadhrim warriors (22 with bows, 22 with elven blades and 21 with spears and shields

Gandalf’s Reinforcements

Gandalf the White on Shadowfax
Eomer, Knight of the Pelennor, armoured horse
Erkenbrand on horse
Captain of Rohan on horse with shield and heavy armour
28 Westfold Redshield Riders of Rohan (about 10 had throwing spears)
Westfold Redshield with banner
2 Outriders
10 Sons of Eorl

230 models

The game would last for 20 turns or until the Evil force was wiped out, the armies gained Victory Points as follows:

Evil Victory points

5 points for Breaching the Hornburg gate (or opening it from the inside)
5 points for destroying the culvert section of the Deeping Wall
5 points for moving 10 models off the South board edge or through the door to the Keep
5 points for killing Gandalf
5 points for killing Theoden
5 points for killing Aragorn
2 points each for killing other named characters - Note The King’s Huntsman is not a named character

Good Victory Points

5 points if the Hornburg Gate is not breached (or opened from the inside by Evil models)
5 points if the Deeping Wall is not breached
5 points if less than 10 Evil models move off the South board edge or through the door to the Keep
5 points if Gandalf survives
5 points if Theoden survives
5 points if Aragorn survives
5 points for Breaking the Evil army
5 points if the Evil force is completely wiped out
5 points if Gandalf can move into base contact with Theoden or Aragorn (at which point the reinforcements are assumed to have made safe the fortress)

As you can see, for all intents and purposes the game begins 30-0 to Good in VPs, it is up to the Evil side to chip away at this total throughout the game.

A note on breaking:

The Rohirrim have resigned themselves to their fate and will fight to the bitter end - The Good side is never considered broken in this battle.

There was a special rule in play that, for at least half of the game, every Evil model killed would re-enter play on a roll of a 3+. In an exception to the normal Breaking rules, the Evil side was only considered broken when there were less than 50% of their starting number of models on the board at any one time meaning these reinforcements DID help to keep the Evil force from breaking.

Deployment

All the Galadhrim archers were placed on the Deeping Wall along with some Rohirrim, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Haldir. The rest of the Galadhrim were placed behind the Deeping Wall. The Hornburg was full of Rohirrim armed with bows and throwing spears led by Grimbold, Hama and The King’s Huntsman. Thedeon, Gamling and his Royal Guard were placed on the second section of wall further back. A large group of Rohan warriors were behind the gate ready to sell their lives dearly if the Uruks broke through.

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The Legion of the White hand were deployed 13” away from the walls except for the Demolition Teams who were 25” away.

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Eowyn was deployed inside the caves at the start of the battle, the Evil side would have to break through the fortress to get to her.


We also decided to keep track of the kills for Legolas and Gimli throughout the battle to see who would win their rivalry, place your bets!

Turn 1 - Evil Priority

The game began, quite unexpectedly, with an old warrior of Rohan losing his nerve and firing a lone arrow at the horde of Uruks waiting outside the walls. He missed but it was enough to send the Uruks charging forward.

“So it begins”

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There was little movement inside the fortress, outside things were very different with every Evil model running full pelt towards the walls (except the crossbowmen of course). The shooting phase brought good success with 6 Uruks falling to the bows of the defenders, 2 of which were notched up by Legolas getting him off the mark. However, evil replied in kind and a ferocious 65 crossbow bolts were launched at the walls, even with 5+ In the Way rolls they still managed to cut down 7 of the defenders, often targeting the weaker Defence 4 archers, reducing the defenders’ missile output.

Good - 30VPs
Evil - 0VPs


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Turn 2 - Good priority

The Evil side charged towards the wall again, the ladders getting dangerously close to the walls. The defenders were also dismayed to see another 4 Uruks running on from the far board edge, it seemed there was no end to the besiegers. Desperate to stem the tide the Good army unleashed a volley at point blank range cutting down 9 evil models across the fortress with shooting. The crossbowmen were still covering the Evil advance and were able to cut down 8 of the defenders. So far the shooting was proving to be pretty even but with the Evil army outnumbering the Good by two to one and more Uruks arriving every turn the defenders would more greatly feel the loss. The Evil side weren’t done yet though, a Ballista launched a ladder up to the walls of the Hornburg to the right of the Gate carrying a Beserker into the first combat of the game. The defenders were ready for him though and cut him down sending his body tumbling to the rocks far below.

Good - 30VPs
Evil - 0VPs


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Hama steadies the nerves of the Rohirrim above the gate as they prepare for the onslaught

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The Ballista lines up another shot to raise yet more ladders to the walls

Turn 3 - Good priority

The entire evil force charged at the walls and raised about 15 ladders, they couldn’t climb hem this turn but as of next turn the real assault on the wall would begin. Desperate to help their chances, the Good side managed to kill 7 enemy models through shooting, despite facing 65 crossbow shots in return, the defenders felt the benefit of the high battlements and only 2 fell to the Evil shooting. Another Beserker charged up the ladder that had been raised in the previous turn but again he was fought off by the victorious defenders and fell to his death on the rocks below. The Uruks had also reached the Gate with their battering ram and struck it with a mighty boom, thankfully for the Rohirrim that gate was strong and the attack had no effect.

Good - 30VPs
Evil - 0VPs


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Turn 4 - Evil Priority

Seizing priority for the first time in the game, the Evil force took advantage and swarmed up the ladders, attacking the defenders across the length of the Deeping Wall and the Hornburg with a vicious front-line of Beserkers leading the first assault. The defenders of the keep found themselves particularly badly beset with Mauhur and two Uruk-Hai captains leading their Uruks against a wall manned only by Grimbold, Hama and some Helmingas. The evil side made up for last turn when a hail of crossbow bolts cut down 8 Good models form the battlements. With the Evil side having charged most of the Good missile troops the Good shooting was far less impressive with only 3 Evil models falling, things were made worse for the Good side as another 4 Uruk reinforcements ran onto the board meaning the Evil army had gained more models than it lost this turn! in the Fight phase Mauhur led the attack clambering up a ladder and attacking Hama, despite winning the fight and taking a wound Hama survived and as a result Mauhur fell from the battlements and took a wound. Across the Deeping Wall the Uruk-Hai captains were proving their worth with three of them killing their opponents and taking their positions on the battlements. Legolas took some abuse from Gimli when he completely fluffed his attacks against an attacking Uruk-Hai but thankfully the walls protected him from harm. Across the rest of the fortress the fighting was fierce but the walls of Helm’s Deep protected the defenders for the most part and only 4 were killed, they made the Evil side rue the exchange with 5 Beserkers being either killed or falling to their death below. Again, the battering ram rang out against the mighty gate but it stood firm.

Good - 30VPs
Evil - 0VPs


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Turn 5 - Good priority

The defenders on the wall scrambled to engage the Uruk captains now fighting on equal turns and repel the other attackers, managing to push down 1 ladder. The Uruk-Hai renewed their attack, swarming up the ladders whilst, far below, several Uruk-Hai warriors ran forward and threw strange containers into the culvert at the base of the Deeping Wall. With the Good side largely engaged their shooting was reduced again and they only managed to kill 2 of the Evil models, with another 250 Uruks on the table and more arriving every turn, the Evil side didn’t look too concerned. In return, the Evil side kept the pressure up, their crossbowmen were standing a long way from the walls, untouched by the Rohirrim and another shower of bolts sent 9 Good models tumbling form the walls. The fighting on the walls intensified this turn with 10 Good models and 12 Evil models being cut down along the length of the fortress. Mauhur had more luck this turn, killing the warrior he was fighting and leaping across the battlements. Things were already looking bad for the Rohirrim on the wall to the far right of the gate with roughly the same number of Good and Evil models on the battlements. Suddenly, with an almighty boom, the middle of the Deeping Wall exploded into the night air, hurling Good and Evil models alike into the sky, as the dust settled a huge hole had been exposed in the wall, staring in shock, the Galadhrim behind the wall drew their swords….

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 5VPs


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Turn 6 - Good priority

Knowing they had only one chance to take the initiative, the Galadhrim charged into the breach to engage the Uruk-Hai, many of whom had been knocked over by the force of the explosion. Shooting was poor this turn with only 1 Evil and 2 Good models falling to missile fire. A huge cheer went up from the Good team as Lurtz found himself unexpectedly trapped and killed by 2 Rohan Warriors and Legolas wounded an Uruk Captain who then fell from his ladder and died on the rocks below. In the fierce fighting along the wall another 3 Uruks and 7 defenders were cut down. Once again the battering ram smote the gate to no effect.

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 5VPs


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Lurtz leads the assault on the Deeping Wall but is unexpectedly trapped and killed by two Rohan Warriors

Turn 7 - Good priority

More and more Uruks swarms up the ladders and onto the battlements whilst a huge pike phalanx pressed into the embattled Galadhrim in the breach. The shooting phase was once again relatively quiet with only 3 Evil and 2 Good models falling to missile fire. This was the turn that the Uruk-Hai were really able to start gaining ground on the walls, with many Uruks now on the battlements the defenders suffered from the loss of the defensive barrier and 10 Good models were hacked down for a loss of only 4 Evil. In addition, the right half of the walls above the Gate were almost completely overrun and Hama was hacked down in combat by an Uruk captain. The captain of Theoden’s Guard fell from the battlements onto the causeway and his body was hewn before the gates of the Hornburg. This generated a large cheer from the Evil side as they claimed their first named hero kill. Directly above the gate, Grimbold was duelling with another Uruk-Hai captain but neither was able to gain an advantage this turn. Once more the battering ram struck the gate with no effect - this was becoming embarrassing…

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 7VPs


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Damian ponders how much better things were looking when he still had a wall



Turn 8 - Good priority

Within the fortress the remaining defenders rushed to redeploy themselves as needed. Theoden led his Royal Guard down from the second battlement into the courtyard to attempt to cut off the Uruks attempting to break through to the gate of the keep. In an effort to get there sooner two of his Royal Guard leapt down to the courtyard but both failed their jump tests on (only on 1s) and then both were killed (only on 6s!) generating large laughs from the Evil side. There were now very few Rohirrim left on the walls to the far right of the fortress, sensing a weak spot, Mauhur led a band of Uruks across the bridge and towards the courtyard. The defenders of the Hornburg were further assailed as 1 Beserker had managed to break down the door at the end of the Deeping Wall and enter the courtyard. The Good side managed to kill 4 Evil models with shooting for a loss of only 3 in return. The Fight phase saw Evil gain even greater control of the walls of the Hornburg, 10 Good models were cut down for the loss of only 5 Evil models. Grimbold continued desperately fighting against the Uruk Captain, blocking the battlements and preventing other Uruk-Hai from rushing past him and back towards the Deeping Wall. Finally, as if things weren’t looking bleak enough in the Hornburg, the battering ram struck the gate and with a loud crack the timbers splintered, the Gate would not hold much longer.

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 7VPs


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Note Grimbold single-handedly holding back the Uruks above the gate

Turn 9 - Good priority

“Aragorn, fall back to the keep, get your men out of there!”

Looking up, Aragorn and Legolas heeded Theoden’s instruction and started sprinting along the Deeping Wall towards the safety of the keep. Three Royal Guard in the courtyard charged into the Beserker leading the attack across the bridge, pinning him in the doorway and preventing any more Uruks getting through this turn. With nowhere else to go, 5 Uruks took the somewhat reckless decision to leap from the walls down into the Rohirrim waiting behind the gate, this sort of tactic was heartily encouraged by players on both sides as the Evil players displayed a complete disregard for the lives of their warriors. Fairly inevitably 3 of the Uruks died in the process but the Rohirrim behind the gate were dismayed to see 2 survive and come charging towards them. With so much fighting going on across the fortress, there were no shooting casualties this turn and so me moved straight to the Fight phase in which 6 Evil models and 4 Good models were hacked down. The Royal Guard in the courtyard were able to fight the Beserker back and protect the Keep but the Beserker that had broken through from the Deeping Wall was still alive and killing Rohan warriors every turn. In brighter news, the defenders on the Deeping Wall were able to wound Ugluk and force him to use his fate point to save another wound. The casualties were really piling up on both sides now but the Evil side were receiving constant reinforcements whereas the Good side were feeling the loss of every single warrior.

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 7VPs


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Turn 10 - Evil priority

A great cheer went up from the Evil side as the priority dice rolled to a stop giving Evil the initiative for the first time in 6 turns, seizing the opportunity they surged forward along the length of the Deeping Wall into the breach and up the ladders. All around the fortress things were looking even bleaker for the Rohirrim, Mauhur and 2 Beserkers charged into the courtyard engaging the three Royal Guard and getting dangerously close to Theoden. Countless more Uruks swarmed up the ladders to the now undefended ramparts to the right of the gate, many more threw themselves off the wall inside to engage the Rohirrim, several died but many more kept coming charging into the defenders packed behind the gate. Realising there was little he good to to retake the keep Theoden ordered Gamling and the 7 Royal Guard to retreat within the Hornburg Keep. The Good side removed the models from the table for now. A lot of the Uruk-Hai crossbowmen had now surged forward to lend extra bodies to the assault on the walls but 1 shaft still found it’s way to a Rohan archer above the gate, sending his body tumbling down to the rocks below. With the Uruk-Hai now breaking through all across the fortress, the fighting became even more intense with 7 Good and 9 Evil models being cut down. Haldir was duelling with an Uruk Captain high atop the Deeping Wall and had to burn 2 Might points to win the fight and stay alive. Meanwhile, the ongoing fight above the gate between Grimbold and the Uruk-Hai became more intense as both sides called a Heroic Strike and maxed out at F10 before both sides used their last Might points on their duel rolls to tie the fight. However, it still wasn’t enough and they both survived to fight another round. The relentless attack on the gate continued but the Uruks were unable to break through any further this turn.

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 7VPs


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As the Uruks break through to the courtyard Theoden, Gamling and the Royal Guard retreat to the, relative, safety of the Keep.


We were halfway through the game and Good had a strong foothold in terms of VPs; however, there was still a long way to go and the Uruks were starting to overwhelm the defenders. Perhaps this is the time to stretch your legs and get yourself another cup of tea and another 3 biscuits, you might want to call a friend to help you through the second half of the report - it’s about to get INTENSE.

Turn 11 - Good Priority


There was little movement this turn as all the defenders hurled themselves into combat wherever they could in an attempt to pin the Uruks back. Things continued to look bleak within the Hornburg as the last few Rohan warriors left in the courtyard were now practically one-on-one with the Uruk-Hai. In addition the warriors behind the gate were now heavily beset by Uruks and the remaining 8 warriors on the walls above the gate were trapped between Uruks attacking from both sides. They would have been long since wiped out were it not for the heroics of Grimbold at one end and the King’s Huntsman at the end who was unexpectedly proving quite the combat beast having killed 4 Uruks by this point! With the Uruk-Hai now at close quarters within the Hornburg the defenders were able to make good use of their Throwing Spears and kill 2 of the attackers but at this stage, 2 dead Uruks really was just a drop in the ocean. Knowing that the fortress walls were almost completely overrun the defenders redoubled their efforts, determined to sell their lives dearly; Ugluk was cut down in the breach along with 7 Evil models across the board. The battlements may have been taken but the Galadhrim in the breach were holding their ground, the high fight value of the elves keeping the defenders in the fight. However, the line of blue cloaks was getting thinner and thinner and there seemed to be no end to the Uruks charging into the breach. The defenders did not get things all their own way though with 5 defenders falling to the swords of the Uruk-Hai and, most dispiritingly, Grimbold was finally cut down, freeing the way for the Uruks to overwhelm the last few Rohan warriors above the gate. As if that wasn’t enough, the battering ram smote the gate again and the timbers splintered away, one more strike and the gate would fall…

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 9VPs


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Grimbold is finally cut down above the gate as the Uruks overrun the Hornburg

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Turn 12 - Good Priority


Aragorn & Legolas finally reached the safety of the keep and joined Theoden behind the locked door. All of the defenders were desperately fighting for their lives and most of the crossbowmen were now heading for the walls so there were no casualties from shooting this turn and in fact no more shooting for the rest of the battle. In the Fight phase the superior numbers of the Uruk-Hai were finally starting to tell and 15 Good models were cut down, largely in the breach and above and behind the gate where the death of Grimbold had really turned the tide. The defenders were able to kill 7 of the Uruk-Hai in return but there was no denying the line of blue cloaks in the breach was looking awfully thin, if help didn’t arrive soon the castle would surely fall. Gimli and Vrasku were locked in a vicious duel high atop the Deeping Wall, both called a Heroic Strike to reach F10 and then both used a point of Might to turn their rolls of 5 into 6s, Gimli won the all important roll-off and Vrasku fell to the bottom of the wall but survived. High above the gate the King’s Huntsman led by example notching up his 5th kill and ensuring the last handful of Rohan warriors took as many Uruks with them as they could before they fell. Finally, with a sickening crunch, the gate was finally breached, the embattled warriors behind the gate looked on in horror at the tide of Uruks about to charge through the doors.

Good - 20VPs
Evil - 14VPs


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Turn 13 - Evil Priority

Just as all seemed lost, and the Uruk-Hai prepared to swarm through the gate, a low horn echoed through the valley, the Uruks froze in fear and surprise and the doors of the keep burst open and Theoden, Aragorn, Legolas, Gamling and 7 Royal Guard all charged forth riding down the causeway and into the Uruks waiting at the bottom. As they smashed into the wall of Uruks, ready to give their lives in one final, heroic charge, the sun crested the East edge of the valley and, silhouetted against the sunrise stood 50 horses. Gandalf had come. Gandalf’s reinforcements had arrived at the back of the Evil army, cutting them off, the Evil side would get no more reinforcements for the rest of the game, they would have to get the job done with the models on the table…With a thunderous charge the Rohirrim spurred their horses and galloped into battle, charging towards Theoden and Aragorn and attacking the Ballista crews and Uruks attacking the far left of the Deeping Wall. What followed was the most vicious Fight phase yet, Theoden, Aragorn and Legolas all led by example hacking down their foes in a thunderous charge, across the battlefield Gandalf’s reinforcements immediately made their presence felt and 19 Evil models were cut down. The fighting inside the fortress was still very much in the Evil side’s favour though, 11 Good models had been killed this turn but the biggest loss felt by the good side was the death of the King’s Huntsman who, after making his points back in combat alone, finally succumbed o the overwhelming numbers of the Uruk-Hai. The reinforcements had arrived, but was it too late?

Good - 20VPs
Evil - 14VPs


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Turn 14 - Good priority

With Good winning priority yet again, the cavalry charge continued, the horses of the Rohirrim sweeping into the Uruks along the left side of the wall. Eomer and Erkenbrand led a section of the reinforcements towards the breach in an attempt to prevent the Uruks breaking overwhelming the last few Galadhrim whilst Gandalf led the majority of the relief force towards Theoden and Aragorn at the bottom of the causeway. In the Fight phase the charging cavalry proved utterly destructive across the board cutting down 23 Evil models, the biggest scalp being when Erkenbrand ran down Vrasku. The Evil force was still making its presence felt on the Deeping Wall though, cutting down 7 Good models. The highlight of the turn was when Haldir found himself duelling with a Beserker, the Uruk-Hai got the better of the elf and brought his sword down hard on the elf’s back, Haldir dropped to his knees and fell to the ground dead. This brought a large cheer from everyone in the room, the Evil side because they’d claimed another scalp and improved their VP count and from the Good players who were was pleased to see the events of the film playing out across the board. The Good side were looking particularly concerned about the sally from the gate: Theoden had led his men in a charge against about 40 Uruk-Hai, the Royal Guard were being cut down and Aragorn, Theoden, Gamling and Legolas were facing ever overwhelming odds. If they were all to fall the VPs were suddenly switch from 20-16 to Good to 30-10 to Evil! Meanwhile, a Beserker ran through the now open door of the Keep and into the caves below, the Evil side had started moving their models off the South table edge, 9 more and 5 VPs would be theirs and there were no Good models left in the Hornburg to stop them…

Good - 20VPs
Evil - 16VPs


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Haldir is finally cut down atop the Deeping Wall


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Eomer and Erkenbrand ride to the aid of the elves in the breach

Turn 15 - Good priority

The relentless charge of the Rohirrim continued as the tidal wave of horses continued their charge across the plain. The Evil force were able to bring their numbers to bear against the heroes at the bottom of the causeway and trapped Theoden leading to some very nervous looks from the Good side. Another 3 Uruks moved through the door to the Keep and into the caves below. As more and more of the mounted Rohan were getting into combat their destructive potential was getting higher and higher and this turn they rode down 28 Evil models! Aragorn and Gamling both called Heroic Combats, Gamling had to use his last point of Might to win the fight but both Heroes killed all their opponents and rode to Theoden’s aid, pulling off half of the Uruks trapping him and subsequently killing them all too. Seeking a similar feat of heroism, Erkenbrand declared a Heroic Combat, killed the Uruk he was fighting and charged into another Uruk who promptly beat him in combat and wounded him - cue loud roars of laughter from the Evil side. Across the board the Evil side were able to kill 11 models, the highlight of which was 1 Uruk-hai who was trapped against the Deeping Wall by 4 elves, won the fight and killed an elf! Meanwhile, far below the fortress, Eowyn found herself attacked by the Beserker who had run through the Keep door in the previous turn and had to use both of her Might points to win the Fight, worse for the Good side, she didn’t kill the Beserker!

Good - 20VPs
Evil - 16VPs


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Turn 16 - Evil priority

With Evil getting Priority and many of the Good heroes low on Might, the Uruks were able to get the jump on some of the Good heroes and remove their charging bonus. Another 3 Evil models moved through the door to the Keep. In the Fight phase the Good side were really up against it, Aragorn and Theoden both successfully Heroic Combatted to save Gamling and the relentless charge of the reinforcements was able to cut down another 21 Evil models. However, the Evil force weren’t done yet and 12 of the Defenders fell to the savage blows of the Uruks. Most disheartening for the Good side was the Beserker in the caves once more getting the better of Eowyn and cutting her down. Worse still, Legolas found himself trapped by 7 Uruks, even the elf prince couldn’t best those odds and he was pulled from his horse and killed, much to the dismay of the Good players, Evil had just levelled the game in VPs! However, they were only 4 models from breaking and with only 4 turns left to play, everything was still in the balance!

Good - 20VPs
Evil - 20VPs


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Legolas is trapped and killed in the dying stages of the game.

Turn 17 - Good priority

Gandalf, leading the Riders of Rohan to the aid of their king, finally met up with Theoden in the middle of the board, achieving another victory condition for the Good army. As he rode to the king he cast Sorcerous Blast through the ranks of crossbowmen, killing several, as he had done for the last few turns. In the move phase the Evil side were able to move another 3 models through the door to the Keep, taking the lead in VPs for the first time in the game. Meanwhile, with Eowyn dead, the Uruks had overrun the caves below the fortress and found a way out though the caves to behind the Deeping Wall, The Good players looked nervous as this unexpected threat meant they were now being attacked from both sides! The fight phase was as vicious as the players had come to expect with 21 Evil models and 10 Good being cut down this turn. Mauhur and 3 Uruk warriors were fought off by the last remaining Rohan warrior in the Hornburg, much to the amusement of the Good army. However, at the bottom of the causeway things did not go so well with a trapped Aragorn having to use 3 Might to win his Fight and Theoden having to use both his Fate points to prevent a strike from one crossbowmen. Crucially for the Good army though, the Evil force was now broken (levelling the VPs again!) and, with the vast majority of their captains dead, the Uruks would surely start to flee.

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 25VPs


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The incredible warrior of Rohan who fought off 3 Uruks and Mauhur in the same turn


Turn 18 - Good Priority

With the Evil force broken and no longer receiving reinforcements the Good army were nearly level with the Evil army in terms of numbers and, crucially, still had their best heroes cutting through the ranks of the leaderless Uruks. Gandalf and Theoden rushed towards Aragorn who’s death would swing the battle irretrievably in favour of the Evil side. However, for now he was still too far away, he would have to survive at least one more turn without help. In the Evil Move phase, an Uruk captain leapt from the walls above the gate down to his warriors below so they could benefit from his Stand Fast but lost his footing, slipped and died in the fall! Elsewhere Mauhur and the last remaining Uruk Captain largely kept the Uruks in the Hornburg in the game via their Stand-Fasts and the Good side could only look on in amazement as the Evil players then went on to pass 43 out of 50 Courage tests! In the Fight phase Mauhur got revenge for the previous turn, killing the last surviving Rohirrim in the Hornburg and leaving the banners of the Uruk-Hai flying victoriously above the walls. All in all there were 7 Good casualties but the tide had really begun to turn and in the fight phase another 15 Uruks were cut down by the glorious charge of the Rohirrim. The game was completely even and Evil would win if they could kill just one more character, the Evil players had their eyes fixed on Gamling and particularly Erkenbrand who had been reduced to 0 Fate and 1 Wound!

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 25VPs


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Things get intense outside the fortress as the game reaches its climax

Turn 19 - Good priority

In the dying stages of the games, Gandalf and Theoden, along with about 20 Riders of Rohan, finally reached Aragorn and smashed into the last pockets of resistance left in the valley. The Evil force lost the resolve that had kept it together in the previous turn and great swathes of Uruks fled the battlefield with failed courage tests. In the Fight phase the Good army were now outnumbering the Evil force for the first time in the game and it showed, 18 Uruks were cut down across the battlefield for the loss of only 3 Good models. As we entered the final turn the VPs were still even!

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 25VPs


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Turn 20 - Good priority

Spurring their horses on, the Heroes of the West charged into the shattered remnants of the Uruk force and another 20 or so Uruks fled the battlefield in terror. Eomer, Erkenbrand and Gimil wiped out the last 3 Uruks in the breach, securing the fortress whilst Theoden, Aragorn and Gandalf swept through what little remained of the Isengard army without suffering any loss.


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The last turn in full swing

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Eomer, Erkenbrand and Gimli kill the last of the Uruks in the breach

Final score

Good - 25VPs
Evil - 25VPs


So, as the last dice rolled to a stop the game had finished at 25 VPs each - it was a draw! Gandalf’s Heroic charge had saved Theoden and Aragorn but the Fortress was utterly overrun and 5 named heroes lay dead in the valley.

All in all the game had taken 7 hours, running from 11am-6pm. A quick count revealed that there were only 27 Uruks (although 18 of those were hiding in the Hornburg!) and about 50 Good models left alive - What a slaughter! With only 9 Uruks left in the valley, It seemed Gandalf’s charge had well and truly routed the Uruks from the field but the cost had been huge with the loss of about 200 defenders. We worked out that across the course of the whole game the Good side had managed to kill about 350 Uruk-Hai which wasn’t bad for a day’s work! Had the game continued, the Good side still had 6 Might left with which to boss the table and none of the surviving heroes apart from Erkenbrand had taken a wound. I think the final tally in the kill-contest between Legolas and Gimli was 11-7 to Gimli but after Legolas died the whole thing felt a little distasteful and we kinda lost count (although those in the Gimli camp were keen to point out how not dying was surely victory in itself!)!

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The final positions as the game ended

All in all the game was a great success, knowing we had 11 players coming along made me somewhat nervous as that was an awful lot of hands to have around one 6x4 table. However the vast number of miniatures on the table meant that everyone had something to do and everyone seemed to be completely involved. It was great to see the events of the film play out as planned: the wall blew up, the gate was breached, the walls overrun and then the cavalry arrived to save the day. SBG is a game that traditionally doesn’t scale up particularly well, the one-on-one nature of the combats meaning that games above 1000 points often get bogged down and boring. However, the number of players meant that everything rolled along pretty smoothly and the various mechanics and reinforcements in play meant that this often felt more like several linked games that followed on from each other (an escalade, a scrap in the breach, a sally forth, a cavalry charge etc.) rather than one big slog. Indeed, it was nice to see different players pairing up to ‘claim’ and fight different parts of the battle throughout the day. I was thoroughly pleased with the result, I think if you can play a 7 hour game with 7000 points and 500 models on the table that is hanging in the balance to the final turn (1 more wound on Erkenbrand and Evil would have won!) then you should consider it a job well done. Everyone seemed to have a great day and we all headed to the pub to swap stories and favourite moments from the game. Perhaps most importantly, we were joined by 3 players who’d never been to the club or a GBHL event before, I think this kind of event is a great way of introducing new players to the game and spreading the word of this wonderful hobby of ours. It was a brilliant day with brilliant people and I would reiterate that this kind of narrative game really is where SBG shines. It was great to see everyone playing in the spirit of the game, at one point all the players (Good and Evil!) were trying to work out if it would be reasonable to have Aragorn and Gimli teleport from the breach to the causeway (via a tossed dwarf roll of course!) to better simulate the film. This kind of wanton disregard for the ‘rules’ was wonderful to see and is something to be heartily encouraged in this kind of battle. If you’ve never played any narrative scenarios, dust of all those old ‘points sink’ models that you’d never use in points match games and give ‘em a go, you won’t regret it!

I want to say a massive thanks to all 10 of the guys who game down and played in such a great spirit all day, special thanks to everyone who supplied minis and to Chris for the use of his awesome Helm’s Deep model (with extensions from Tom!) - same time next year? :-)

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The Good and Evil players at the end of the game. From left: Tom (Dwarfendale), Sean, Sam (Southern Dunedain), James (denied by Southy), Chris (WhiteWizard), Damian (errr, Damian), Godolphin, Stephen, Tom, Hector, Damian (Dr Grant)




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If you're interested in learning how the game was played, the full scenario rules pack is in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=27657

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Last edited by Dr Grant on Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: The Siege of Helm's Deep Mega-Battle Report
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:11 pm 
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Amazing Report, one of the best I've ever seen!
I am highly impressed by your gaming table, your gaming group, and so on... ;)
One thing I noticed while viewing the pictures: Are some of those on square bases?

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 Post subject: Re: The Siege of Helm's Deep Mega-Battle Report
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Just to add a picture.

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At first light on the fifth day, at dawn look to the east!

Nice report Damian, thoroughly enjoyed reading it even though I knew the outcome. I to loved the cinematic element of it, proper enjoyable. I also loved the cavalry charge, it far surpassed my expectations.

Special thanks have to go to you aswell for organising it all before and then running it on the day...even if you did side with the white hand >.> :P

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Brilliant report & pics of an epic scenario! This definitely requires a re-read tomorrow morning with a fresh cup of coffee at hand. As I said before, we will most likely invoke many similar meta-rules for our forthcoming Helm's Deep scenario, so your playtesting is much appreciated. We only wish we'd have a couple of more players in the large battles...
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Truly awe inspiring battle report simply amazing.

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Great write up and very enjoyable read as well!

Great miniatures, and pictures!

Although it was interesting to read that this happened in February apparently. :wink:

All joking aside, good job I hope you get to do another game like this in the future, maybe find a bargain Minas Tirith...

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 Post subject: Re: The Siege of Helm's Deep Mega-Battle Report
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Looks like fun!

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Amazing! Loved that table, it was so huge!!
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This was a great read, and I echo SouthernDunedain's sentiment thanking you for organising and running the event on the day, as well as everyone who contributed models!

I would say that as one of the new players involved in the scenario, it was actually the perfect way to be introduced to the game in spite of the daunting scale of the game, since I was helped out in all phases by the experienced guys on my team, and feel like I really learned a lot through doing it.

Hope to play a game with you again soon, once I've painted some models.

James

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Stunning report and terrain! :yay:
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Wow. That was amazing! Well done to everyone for playing and giving me such an enjoying battle to read about, but especially to Damian, for... everything.
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Guess I should also say sorry to James (Tom_Foolery) for denying his chance for fame :lol: Was a pleasure to meet you buddy 8)

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And now you know why I like LARGE armies. The spectacle, immersion in the action...
I like small games too but there's nothing like a big ding-dong battle to clear out the cobwebs.
Great terrain, loads of painted minis and everyone had a blast, and to cap it all, detailed and informative battle report. You couldn't beat it with a stick.

One question (if I may be so hasty): no Huorns? As it lasted 7 hours already, that would have been a bit much. But next time... (Siege of Isengard - BAROOM!)

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There was a forest on one edge of helms deep which I suggested should represent the Huorns. But to be fair, there were hardly any uruks left to run towards the trees and that point and those that did were run down by Gandalf and Co.

I think discussions for next year involved ended with suggestions of helms deep or the Battle of Five Armies.

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Wow, this is amazing... this and Celevue's campaign at the same time. Looks like Christmas came early (or rather took a quick U-turn)!

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Super write up Damian and great day meeting up with everyone, looking forward to the battle of the five armies next year! :-D
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Wow that battle and report were truly stunning! Well done everyone who was there seemed like a ton of fun!!

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This a fantastic battle report, of almost professional standard. Whilst I don't like Rohan or Isengard, I was still sucked up into the narrative of it. I'm glad you still do written ones to, as I can't stand videos.

Happy gaming 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:19 am 
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This is awesome. Great photos, miniatures and very well produced and written.

Next up....Minas Tirith?
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So awesome, but damn I wanted the uruks to win...
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