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The GREAT BATTLE of our time

The GREAT BATTLE of our time

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Project Blog by rickyard

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About the Project

For years, I have dreamed about the possibility of making a big battle,a huge game... a game to remember... The great battle of our time. One of those legendary games that when the years go by remain in your heart. One of those stories that you explain to your grandchildren. And it began 20 years ago. Obviously I haven't been immersed in this battle for 20 years, building just for this battle or painting and collecting just for this battle... but it has taken me 20 years to finally decide that 20 years collecting Lord of the rings minis that were not painted it's been enough... and there were many figures to paint. So I needed a huge excuse to finally paint them. And so the battle had to be equally huge. It finally took 20 long hours to play the game. Let's explain it.

This Project is Completed

How it all began

Tutoring 8
Skill 11
Idea 12
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How it all began

With a mat.

It all began just when, six months ago, I bought a beautiful mat from PLAYMATS.EU

I wanted to have a desert themed mat, simply because in my gaming group we use to play Dune Imperium and wanted to play, in a possible future, that beautiful and engaging Dune Role playing game, that I already own. And there was an idea floating in the air about expanding my Bolt Action range with some desert rats and som DAK (I swear I didn’t know that Warlord Games was going to release such a GOOD boxed set, -gentleman’s war- in the near future…)

But after choosing my beloved desert mat, it occurred to me that I could buy one of those double mats, with some generic grass for my Star Wars Legion games…

And then something happened. Something Called…

And so the HYPE began...And so the HYPE began...

The Old times

Tutoring 7
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After watching the first episodes of the show, I really got engaged again with my beloved middle earth. I began to recall the old times when, after every lord of the rings movie (2001, 2002 and 2003), we eagerly awaited for the corresponding Games Workshop box set… I remembered the excitement when the cavalry appeared in the second box, the two towers, or how the siege rules were offered on the third one, the return of the king box set.

That old box still was at home. Still lots of 20 years old models to build and paint.That old box still was at home. Still lots of 20 years old models to build and paint.

That battles I had with my cousin, when we were just a couple of young adults (now we are both over 50 years old) had always been great… Yes, great but… somewhat careless…

That OLD Noch paper grass mat. Sweeping was mandatory after playing with it.That OLD Noch paper grass mat. Sweeping was mandatory after playing with it.

None of them were played in the kind of table or environment we saw in White Dwarf photographs. I tried to paint well, but the space and the possibilities were not the same as today.

And so, in our hearts STILL we had the need for the battle of our times…

I forgot how much material had been hidden in my closets... for decades...I forgot how much material had been hidden in my closets... for decades...

The New Times

Tutoring 8
Skill 10
Idea 11
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The Two Towers

Back to 2022

After buying the mat, I wanted to dust off my old Minas Tirith set, but it really wasn’t impressive enough compared to the 3 feet mat… I then began to look for more Minas Tirith-like material on the internet.

The answer came from our trusty Renedra products. I saw this:

But I needed to match the exact same colours of my old Minas Tirith walls.

So I went to my local game store with my piece of wall and began to compare it with the paints there… I found that citadel’s Wraithbone was an exact match.

I painted and built the tower. I’m planning on offer you a project about it. 🙂


The New Times

Then I needed one of those nice siege towers, and after sailing the internet again, I found prices were really impressive, and I thought I’d better give a try to do the tower my self. I did it with popsicle sticks, wooden sticks, toothpicks and some cardboard and foamboard.

I also have in mind to dedicate a project to the making of the siege tower

The New Times

Lots of miniatures to paint

And now for the main purpose of the project.

I wanted to finish ALL my old miniatures, there were still dozens of them languishing in boxes. Their scent of old and wet cardboard was intoxicating…



The first problem you encounter when you resume an old army is how to match the exact same colours of the minis you painted 15 years ago…

Luckily in these years I have painted a lot, so my experience has given me new skills that allow me to have a keen eye for paints and the tones they offer so 

That is, actually, that I had to try and repeat and repaint miniatures like crazy until some of them resembled each other.

Plastic, plastic and more plastic... and METAL!!!Plastic, plastic and more plastic... and METAL!!!
The New Times
Still loving you, old metal... but also loving my new Elrond mini...Still loving you, old metal... but also loving my new Elrond mini...

And that meant sometimes that I had to walk again to the local store to grab more paint… with minis on my bag… it is frightening how many brands and possibilities you got today compared to 20 years ago…

The New Times

The Scenario

Tutoring 9
Skill 11
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I began to look for suitable scenarios that suited the Minas Tirith siege theme, with the idea in mind to use ABSOLUTELY EVERY MINIATURE I had available…

Looking for a suitable scenario was time consuming... but fun!Looking for a suitable scenario was time consuming... but fun!

Of course none of the published scenarios fit exactly what I needed, but I found in a couple of Lotr books some clues:

  • EVERY siege scenario had, at least, a defender with HALF the points of the attacker.
  • EVERY siege scenario had, at most, an attacker with THREE TIMES the points of the defender.

So I went for something in between. I wanted to use my whole light side army, and planned to use like two-three times my dark side army. I used the old rules from the books I had so there was no real rules about companies or something like that… we just used points, that’s all. So the points for my light side were about 3,800 and so I needed between 7,000 and 9,000 dark side points. I had not enough miniatures for such a number of points so I chose a different approach.

I found a couple of scenarios that threw the dark side miniatures in “waves”, one after another, and so i thought it was a good idea to include that rules in our game.

Finally, the result was (combining the ideas of several scenarios) that the dark side, to obtain a victory, had the mission to place, over the wall or inside the fortress, at least 10 miniatures. Meanwhile, the light side mission was to prevent this, forcing the attackers to flee.

To allow the dark side to have the amounts of points needed, three waves of the miniatures were going to appear I planned that only orcish troops were going to be included in second and third wave. To give some emotion to the game, I wanted some light side minis to be on the floor of the battlefield, not behind the walls, so I decided that, when at least 45 dark side minis were killed, a fat group of rohirrim accompanied by some dwarf rangers would appear from a random side of the battlefield. If the light side was able to kill at least 140 miniatures (roughly half the total of dark side minis), the game was finished, and the glorious luminous elves and humans would declare their superiority over orcs and monsters…

The Scenario

The Contenders

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It was simple. Everything…


Well, not THAT simple. I didn’t want to ruin the game for the dark side, and having a Great Eagle and an Ent was really on the bad side of things for the orcs. So I decided to keep them apart for now.

After removing the bird and the tree, there were still about 3,500 points of light side miniatures.

Finally the dark side had about 5,500 points in the form of three waves.

The Dedicated League of Calembel Guardians

The proud defenders of the citadel of Calembel, south to Minas Tirith, near Harandor.The proud defenders of the citadel of Calembel, south to Minas Tirith, near Harandor.

Calembel Guardians army list:

1- Rangers (6 Gondor rangers and 2 Arnor Dunedain) – 96

2- Arnor Warriors (one captain of Arnor and 7 Arnor warriors) – 136

3- Feud Warriors (Nûmenor figures proxy, two captains and 18 warriors) – 257

4-  6 x Guards of the fountain Court – 60

5- Minas Tirith Warriors (2 captains, 29 warriors) – 401

6- Knights of Minas Tirith (one captain on horse, 6 knights of Minas Tirith) – 163

7- Gondor Avenger Bolt Thrower (with Minas Tirith engineer captain, additional crew and swift reload) – 172

8- Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet (with Minas Tirith engineer captain) – 185

9- Dwarf warriors (one Dwarf King, one Dwarf Captain, 8 Khazâd Guards and 9 dwarf warriors) – 343

10- 16 x Dwarf Rangers – 152

11- Hobbits (5 x archers) – 40

12- Rohirrim Detachment (2 Rohan captains, 14 Rohan riders, 25 warriors of Rohan and 6 Rohan royal guards) – 606

13- Wood Elves (one wood elf captain on horse, 3 wood elves sentinels, 14 wood elves warriors) – 343

14- Galadhrim Warriors (2 captains and 10 galadhrim elves) – 264

15- High Elves (1 captain and 28 elf warriors) – 394

TOTAL: 3,822 points

The Tortured Souls of Harandor

An evil group that, led by a Nazgül, raided the lands of South GondorAn evil group that, led by a Nazgül, raided the lands of South Gondor

Tortured Souls army list:

1 – Nazgül with Fell Beast – 160

2 – 2 x Castellans of Dol Guldur – 90

3-  2 x Barrow-wights – 100

4- Shade – 100

5- Uruk-hai group (4 uruk-hai captains, 9 uruk-hai scouts, 25 uruk-hai warriors and 3 berserkers) – 650

6- Dunlending warriors (7 dunlendings, one chieftain) – 140

7- Orc group (40 orcs, 3 orc captains) – 386

8- Warg riders (9 riders, 2 orc captains on warg) – 223

9- Mordor War Catapult (with orc engineer captain and Mordor troll) – 240

10- Kandish King in Chariot – 125

11- Easterlings (one captain, 13 easterling warriors, 5 kataphracts) – 252

12- Moria Goblins (3 captains, 60 goblin warriors, one Moria war drum) – 515

13- 2 x Cave trolls – 166

14- Mordor Troll – 100

15- Mordor Troll Chieftain – 140

16 – War Mûmak of Harad (with 12 warriors of harad, one haradrim chieftain and one Mahud beastmaster chieftain) – 430

TOTAL: 3,824 points

The Setup

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We decided that my cousin had to command the Calembel guardians. Just because I always pretend to be a bad guy… I always play imperials in Star wars games, Harkonnens in Dune, black pieces in chess, DM in role playing games, orcs in Lord of the rings…

He distributed most of the Gondor soldiers of his army along the walls, to be used as the main defense against the dark waves of orcs. At ground level, outside the fortress, he placed a lot of troops to be sure that my tortured souls would not have an easy access to the walls. Almost every elf and dwarf was put in the zone in front of the front door, protected by the lower stone barriers. He also grouped a host of 12 human archers in the upper side of the main tower, so that they would have a good perspective to throw volleys at the enemy. The trebuchet was deployed over the left section of the wall, and the bolt thrower was asigned to cover the right side of the fortification.

The most funny gambit my cousin did  was to place the main group of dwarves just in the middle of the gap between both outside barriers, exactly on the way to the gate of the fortress. Sure he though they would be hard as rocks… a good way to prevent anyone to enter the aperture between barriers using the stone road… the only way my siege tower could approach the walls of the castle…

Another small group, just four dwarf rangers, was deployed on the right small tower of the fortification, while on the left small tower, five small hobbits were ready to use their small bows to deal small damage.

The Setup

The rohirrim and the dwarf rangers were set outside the gaming table, as they would enter just when the first group of dark side miniatures had to deploy, that is, when the first 45 dark side miniatures had been slain.

Forð Eorlingas!Forð Eorlingas!

The dark side (me) simply deployed alongside the south edge, placing the mumak and the wargs on the right, the whole goblins army with siege ladders, ready for the big escalade to the left, and the center was filled with uruk-hai and orcs. The siege tower was also at the center, following the road. Being moved by no less than four trolls, I wanted to ensure that some orcs could travel on the upper floor of the tower, with the front gate safely closed, ready to attack the walls…

The Setup

Turns 1 to 4. First 6 hours of gameplay.

Tutoring 10
Skill 11
Idea 11
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First turn – The first cut is the deepest

It all began well for my dark tides of beasts.

I had the priority token, the battle began with a quick move forward of the fell beast with the Nazgûl, a swift march of the cavalry and the Mûmak, a not so swift approach of the orcs… and the leisurely stroll of the goblins.  There was a good length between my units and their prey, and I was in haste to reach close combat, because my enemy had the most powerful bows, and in large numbers.

My oponent used his movement just to go forward with his dwarves… that thoughtless sons of Durin rushed out of the defences, and were looking for trouble on open field. My cousin also moved to his left flank his Minas Tirith knights, accompanied by the wood elf captain on horse. He surely was planning to place them in an advantageous position to intercept the cavalry I had advanced.

Light side didn't move too much... they didn't seem nervous at all...Light side didn't move too much... they didn't seem nervous at all...

And then the shooting phase began… and I destroyed his trebuchet. As easy as it sounds. The explanation is simple… I used my catapult to throw a 70 pounds boulder at 60 miles per hour, and it landed exactly over the trebuchet…

Well, translated to gaming terms, it happened that I obtained a 4 with one of my shots, it landed correctly over the trebuchet, and I obtained a 4 in the damage roll. I used then the 2 might points that my orc engineer captain granted me to improve the result to six… that meant the battlecry trebuchet received 4 batter points of damage… destroyed!!!!

I know that it wouldn’t have happened with the newest version of the rules, but we don’t have any new book… so we decided to play with our old ruleset, from 2005!

We removed the model for the trebuchet, we didn’t want it to bother the possible movement and fighting over the wall… such an advantage gave me good vibes!

Aaaaaand..... it's a hit!!Aaaaaand..... it's a hit!!

Turns 2 to 4 – We dwarves are natural sprinters! Very dangerous over short distances…

Turns 2 and 3, we realized how big is a 3×6 feet mat. It was a slow advance of the dark army, and the real fight was battled in the shooting phase. I have to admit that having lost the trebuchet while keping the catapult myself gave me an edge. The elven and human bows, equated in characteristics with the orcs and goblins due to the needed use of volleys (everyone needed sixs to hit) was not able to inflict great loses on my army, while my catapult did. By the beginning of the fourth turn, my cousin had slain one orc, one uruk and one easterling on foot… while I had killed 8 warriors! including two gondor rangers and two guards of the found and scort.

I'm loving my catapult.I'm loving my catapult.

On the left flank, the Nâzgul quickly faced strong resistance: the rest of gondor rangers, accommpanied by two dúnedain from the north, began to shoot at the delicate wings of the fell beast, and the dark creature suffered some wounds. The answer that followed was a magical attack by the ringwraith, some black darts were repeatedly used against one of the dúnadan… but even wasting six precious Will points in two turns, the black rider was unable to harm the courageous man of the west. The result was that the Castellan, the Nâzgul with his fell beast, and the whole goblin escalade was trapped  between six brave warriors and some ruins!

My goblins get inside a funnel...My goblins get inside a funnel...

Meanwhile, on the right flank, Elly the Mûmak was steadily going forward. Following in her footsteps, the group of wargs moved slow, waiting behind the oliphaunt. The kataphracts and the chariot with the khandian king, instead, moved very quickly to the rightmost flank, facing the fences of the small village in front of Calembel. On the third turn, the kataphracts made an unexpected move: they jumped across the fences to try to outflank the Minas Tirith knights, followed by the slowest but dangerous barrow-wights. The knights, knowing that they had to desperately slow down the monstruous Mûmak, tried to charge her. A couple of knights lost bravery in the last moment, remaining on rearguard, while the elf captain, the gondor captain on horse and three minas tirith knights managed to attack!

The mûmak stopped suddenly, and even got hurt three times!

Luckily for those who traveled in the castle, the Mahud chieftain was able to control the monstruous animal!

At the center of the armies, that completely unhinged dwarves kept on running like crebain out of hell… the uruks and even a castellan of Dol Guldur approached from their left and center, ready to confront the Khazad-dum guards and their king, while the wargs and the chariot began to menace their right flank, where the rest of dwarf warriors and a dwarf captain were… but they didn’t seem to care at all… they simply moved forward… dwarves are natural sprinters!!!!

Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!


Tutoring 9
Skill 10
Idea 10
1 Comment

After six hours, that was the end of our first session… and we didn’t get into close combat!

I will make a recap when the battle report is finished, but allow me to say at this stage that the map was TOO BIG…

This is madnessThis is madness

Turns 5 to 6. Our second session begins.

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"...All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us"

And we decided to keep on playing six hours more… because play is not a luxury, but a necessity…


Turn 5 was Elly’s turn… as I finally won the priority roll and also won the order in which we were going to make our respective heroic movements. The first thing I decided to do was to move forward my beloved oliphaunt… with CATASTROPHIC RESULTS for the light army… with just one forward move, I managed to crush three Minas Tirith knights, their captain, the wood elf captain and of course all of their steeds!

It was a happy moment, and wouldn’t be the last!

Elly's chain of events.Elly's chain of events.

But at the same moment, across the board, my Nazgûl was having strong problems trying to get rid of the most annoying rangers you’ve ever suffered. They still resisted the combined attack of the fellbeast and the Castellan, resisting magic and hits… although one gondor ranger and one Dúnadan had been defeated, the rest still were able to stop my advance, forcing the goblins to find a path towards the centre to avoid a complete halt of the escalade.

Meanwhile, the clash at the center began. The front of Khazad-dûm guards with the king stomped the uruk-hai, resulting in some loses on both sides. The other group of dwarves, guided by their captain, confronted the easterling warriors, that had left their ladders lying on the ground and charged with the intention to offer a solid shield to pin down the dwarves. Then the wargs made a quick encirclement maneuver, performing an effective hammer and anvil tactic.

The shooting phase had been relatively ineffective in previous turns, and although some close combat had happened, the provisional casualty count was very favorable to me by the end of turn 5.

Only 8 soldiers and one kataphract were lost, while the light army had lost 4 captains (2 on horse) and 23 warriors!!


On turn six, Elly didn’t have the same luck and was forced again to stop. A group of courageous men and some guards of the fund encore charged her with strong determination, while the remains of the Minas Tirith knights, accompanied by some elves fled to the right flank to try to stop the Kataphracts and the barrrow-wights, that were menacing to outflank the group and penetrate the defences.

On the other flank, I finally decided to move along with the Nâzgul, avoiding a stranded fight against the rangers, that anyway, now, didn’t represent any problem. The goblins had found a new way to reach the center, steering out of trouble. A small group of them, following a goblin captain, left their ladder and,  leaving the main group, attacked the rangers. Toghether with the castellan there would surely be enough fighters to keep the rangers engaged. So I moved the fellbeast straight to the second line of elven Galadhrim archers. I thought they would be a softer target for his black dart… but the luck was not with my black rider, and the magic failed again.

Turns 5 to 6. Our second session begins.

The siege tower on the center still was halted, the dwarves had become a real stopper, as they were not easy to defeat… although the vision of the fearsome shade close to the uruks granted them lots of victories, lowering the Khazad guards ability to fight, their tremendous armor kept them alive, and they still bugged the way to the walls. The dwarves on the other side began to fall quickly, caught between the wargs and the easterlings, but still was not enough clear space for the tower to advance.

Some of the wargs, having not enough room to reach the dwarves, followed the chariot of the khandish king full ahead, forming a line that penetrated quickly the zone between the barricades, menacing the elves lined at the front gate. I wanted to extend the fight to the rearguard of archers.



Then I realized that although the dwarves were completely surrounded, finish them was not going to be an easy mission, so I made a hard decision. While the siege tower waited for the way to be clean, the trolls abandoned it and ran forward, searching for stubborn sons of Durin to slain, while the orcs that were inside the war machine were now commanded to go down and push it forward when possible.

Trolls just wanna have fun!Trolls just wanna have fun!
The battle was clogged and I had to use a troll plunger...The battle was clogged and I had to use a troll plunger...


Tutoring 7
Skill 8
Idea 8
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Round 7... after 12 hours of gameplay...

Tutoring 7
Skill 7
Idea 7
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At the beginning of the seventh turn the center of the battle was completely bogged, the tower was stranded due to that damned dwarves so hard to kill, and it seemed like there was not going to be an easy task. While the dwarves suffered loses, still standing their ground, the men of the feuds and the elves simply looked everything from the safety of their barricades.

The only exception was that my Nâzgul had reached the galadhrim, but that pointy-eared archers shoot the fellbeast down!   Now my left flank consisted in goblins and a castellan, and had lost the penetration and the menace that represented a nazgûl on fellbeast on the rearguard… so the elven archers took aim at the most threatening monster on sight… the mordor troll that had just left the tower behind! And then that old friends of my cousin, the dices, gifted him with three hits… and those three hits became… THREE SIXES… and so, three wounds that killed instantly my troll!!

The elves shoot the fellbeast, and is slain!! And then they saw the troll...The elves shoot the fellbeast, and is slain!! And then they saw the troll...
My cousin should be forbidden to play games with dices XDMy cousin should be forbidden to play games with dices XD


Sometimes luck changes sides…

As Gandalf said: “You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?”

And then I decided to shoot TWICE with my catapult over their high elves archers… CRUSHING FOUR OF THEM!!!


Round 7... after 12 hours of gameplay...

On the right flank, things got troublesome for the forces of light. Behind the village houses, there were only a couple of Minas Tirith knights and a reduced group of elves and an elf captain,  resisting the group of kataphracts and the two barrow-wights… the spectres paralyzed the captain and one knight with terror! Although the poor guys were not able to hurt anyone, they still resisted without a harm!

The kataphracts and the Barrow-wights find strong resistance!The kataphracts and the Barrow-wights find strong resistance!

Near from there, Elly did another ghastly carnage!!

Moving forward, heading for the fortified walls, our Mûmak killed six soldiers, including three elves, two feud men and one Guard of the Fundin Corp.

But in the next light side movement phase, a big group of elves with elven-made swords, supported with some wood elves with spear, charged Elly! A lot of damage was dealt to the poor oliphaunt, but she endured the pain and didn’t fail the stampede test!!!

As poor Elly had resisted enough, the first warrior od the dark army could reach the wall!!

It was a victorious moment, Elly had finally get to the end zone, and the first fighters on board were ready to attack!

The first warrior to disembark from the impressive oliphaunt was the Mahud chieftain, fiercely attacking the walls. With the support of a haradrim warrior with a spear, the mahud gained a foothold among the enemies!

Oliphaunt am I, Biggest of all, Huge, old, and tall. If ever you'd meet me You wouldn't forget me. If you never do, You won't think I'm true; But old Oliphaunt am I, And I never lie.Oliphaunt am I, Biggest of all, Huge, old, and tall. If ever you'd meet me You wouldn't forget me. If you never do, You won't think I'm true; But old Oliphaunt am I, And I never lie.
The mahud was brave enough to throw himself against the defended walls...or maybe he was just unconscious enough!The mahud was brave enough to throw himself against the defended walls...or maybe he was just unconscious enough!

On the center, the first dark units reached the barricades of stone, and began to harass the defending soldiers there.  The fight against the dwarves was drawing to a close, and durin’s sons mission was to sacrifice their lives to buy time for the rest of the allies… of course it was a mission accomplished… still on the center a couple of dwarves resisted against all odds, completely surrounded by enemies.

Rounds 8 and 9. The death of the Wonder of the South...

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8

The round began with the light side winning the priority roll. During the movement phase, the Calembel guardians attacked in every flank.

The remnants of the elves on the barricades charged the trolls to prevent them to advance to the walls… they did their job, but with heavy loses due to the brutes hammers. Meanwhile the group of dwarves had been wiped out…

…all of them? No! It was still ONE dwarf captain around, and it survived for the rest of the round. In response to such tenacity, the siege tower finally decided to veer off course to evade the ongoing combat… even the last of that sons of Dúrin would pester to the end…

On the left flank, there was another character as weary as the day is long. The LAST dúnadan still was trying to slow down the march of my troops… as if they weren’t already slow enough…

On the right flank, the skirmish resulted in total annihilation of the kataphracts, and the barrow-wights proved to be no match against the knights and the elves, althought their extremely high armor allowed them to hold off their enemies for a bit longer.

The soldiers that were on the fortress at last began to suffer serious casualties, because I used the majority of my ranged weapons there. There were closer targets, but all of them were engaged in combat with my own soldiers, and I got a super-power that consists in obtaining rolls of six whenever there is any possibility to hurt myself. My enemies also had good successes using bows, because the hobbits from the tower killed one of my spearmen… the one that was supporting the Mahud chieftain on the walls!

And then It happened…

The pointed-eared cowards attacked again poor Elly… and finally, after supporting more hits that she could stand, the wonder of the South, the greatest of Mûmaks, the Oliphaunt of my dreams… WAS KILLED!!!

The result was extremely annoying… NOT A SINGLE WARRIOR over the oliphaunt survived the falling damage!! ALL haradrim were dead in the accident, they dropped like flies… including the Haradrim chieftain that still was on the upper part of the Mûmak castle. The sole survivor of the collapsing Mûmak was the Mahud beastmaster, that just went down the beast the round before… he couldn’t believe his luck… althought being completely alone on top of a wall, with your back to the void, surrounded by enemies, was not a very pleasant expectation…

The rules suggest that you use some difficult terrain to represent the body of the mûmakil if it becomes a casualty, so we used a beautiful green hill that reminded me of a wonderful tomb of a giant king…

Rounds 8 and 9. The death of the Wonder of the South...

Situation at the end of second session, after 12 hours of gameplay.

Rounds 8 and 9. The death of the Wonder of the South...

And then another milestone occurred. The light side had finally killed enough soldiers to trigger the reinforcements. The dark side had reached the limit of 50 miniatures killed, and althought the light side had severe loses (almost 80 enemies defeated!!!) my cousin had been able to slow my assault. And the rohirrim had to join the fray…

Out of turn sequence: The fate of Melian.

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 9

Melian was a great archer. He was even among his own people, famous for their feats with the bow across Middle-earth.

But when Melian saw the enormous stone burst the brains of her friend Estel and a couple more of his mates, he thought that none of them were going to get out of there alive. There they were, on top of the walls, so happy, all the men of Gondor. “Let’s help them” said Estel a week ago.

Look where you are now, man. Well, elf.

So when the second stone whistled through the sky at full speed against them, Melian was the only one who moved his right foot slightly back… imperceptibly to human eyes… but not to the eyes of his companions. Like a spring, they all decided that they would be safer behind the wall. What followed was a succession of wailing, shouting, and unmartial howling, asking those inside the wall to open the door, for Varda, or for Yavanna, or whoever, but please open the door.

The Gondorian Gentlemen, althought lacking the style of their edain ancestors, are polite enough to let them in.

But the companions did not have enough just sitting inside the fortress, sharing some Lembas and having a rest… they had to get up the walls, to keep fighting. And so Melian followed him.

“Death is just another path, one that we all must take.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.

The Fate of MelianThe Fate of Melian

Third and last session. 8 hours long.

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 9
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“It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.” - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

As we said in the last entry, the time had come for the reinforcements to arrive, it was finally going to happen. Therefore, knowing that the battle was going to get complicated, we decided to meet soon on a Sunday for a last, longer session, in which we could end the battle. So we got together soon, around 11 in the morning. We kept on playing until noon, when my wife called us for a wonderful seafood paella that she cooked. After finishing the red wine and the coffee (and lengthening the after-dinner like lazy hobbits) we resumed the game… we didn’t know it was going to last until 10 pm…

TURNS 10 and 11

But first things first. The Rohirrim were entering the battle and all I could do was seeing how they came from EVERYWHERE accompanied by that irritating dwarf rangers… yes DWARF and RANGERS… (my two favourite knightmares toghether on each single mini…)

Reinforcements from the light side get into the fray quickly, while dark side ones are too far...Reinforcements from the light side get into the fray quickly, while dark side ones are too far...

On the right flank, the last barrow-wight was slain, completely surrounded by elves and the remains of gondorian cavalry. Anyway it was completely impossible to survive the attack that came across the border of the table: the rohirrim cavalry appeared, and with a swift move across the small settlement, they tried to reach the easterling and Khand archers from behind!!

Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden! Dire deeds awake: dark is it eastward. Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded! Forth Eorlingas!  Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden! Dire deeds awake: dark is it eastward. Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded! Forth Eorlingas! Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!

On the left flank the goblins,  that had finally killed the last human ranger, found a bothersome replacement in the form of rohirrim and dwarf rangers. Again the slow pace of their advance toward the walls slowed, it seems that, for now, they were not going anywhere.


Third and last session. 8 hours long.

Meanwhile, in the center of the battle, the Mordor army had lost momentum. The elves and the Arnor warriors had made a counterattack, destroying the remnants of the cavalry and advancing to meet the trolls again. Despite the efforts, the uruk-hai army, which had finally slit the throat of the last dwarf captain, was steadily advancing, followed by the siege tower and the orcs, so it was only a matter of time to kill all light side soldiers outside the walls…

The cavalry, which pretended to be the spearhead of the central attack, was finally surrounded and sacrificed...The cavalry, which pretended to be the spearhead of the central attack, was finally surrounded and sacrificed...

Regarding the shooting phases, the most important highlight was that the light side lost most of its archers on the main tower, and even some soldiers from the left tower had been wiped by the catapult, including some dwarf rangers and the elven archers that hid behind the walls (see Out of turn sequence: The fate of Melian.)

It was a hard time for the human bowmen...It was a hard time for the human bowmen...

TURNS 12 and 13.

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 5

“We are never late. We arrive precisely when we mean to.” — J. R. R. Tolkien

Problem with dark side reinforcements was their speed. Or perhaps the problem was the table size. Or perhaps it was they appeared too late…

The fact is that most of them were not going to fight, so my chances of victory, despite having massacred the enemy, were slim.

The dunlendings and the rest of the orcs were simply going to be completely useless… they were not going to get to the fortress before the orcs were going to be slain…

“Not all who wander are lost.”  — J. R. R. Tolkien“Not all who wander are lost.” — J. R. R. Tolkien
The wargs were getting to fight, the rest were NOT...The wargs were getting to fight, the rest were NOT...

Despite it, my wargs, being very fast, managed to get close to the light side army in no time. The rohirrim army didn’t notice anything until it was too late! In a few rounds my wolves caught up with the Rohan riders from behind, and with another magnificent maneuver that will be remembered for a long time, the nasty strawheads were trapped between my uruks and the direwolves!

TURNS 12 and 13.
"So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?" - Théoden in Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

On the left flank, things simply got worse for the elves that tried to defend the barricades. With the goblins coming through the stone wall, the uruks coming from behind and some easterlings harrassing them between lines, they were defeated to the last man… (well, elf).

Although the rangers and Rohan soldiers killed many goblins, the sheer number of those ugly creatures kept them busy. The overwhelmed dwarves could do nothing to stop a small group of Moria orcs from reaching the center zone… the only remains of the light side army there were some Arnor men, that tried to resist without any comprehensive formation. Maneuvering between friends and foes, they placed a ladder against the walls!

I really don't understand how they got there... but it seemed like a Blood Bowl match...I really don't understand how they got there... but it seemed like a Blood Bowl match...

TURNS 14 and 15. Losing faith in victory.

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
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The turn began with a small victory for the dark army… the escalade finally had arrived to the fortified walls of the city!!!!

Well… the remains of the escalade…

Because only TWO of the ladders arrived to the objective.

On the right flank, some uruk-hai made the ascension to the battlements, after going across the fallen body of the mûmak. The problem with that band was that in previous turns they had been decimated by elven archers, and they only began with one ladder and 8 uruks… so the force (that now consisted in 4 uruk-hai) was not, in theory, enough to conquer the right side of the fortress. The original plan was to bring them after the initial attack of the haradrim over the mûmak, but that attack had terribly failed, so when the 4 uruks arrived, none of my haradrim soldiers were over the walls, and so it became obvious I couldn’t take the wall with them…

Or perhaps… was it possible?

Let’s not forget two of them were Captains…

"It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two." - Eowyn, The Return of the King

On next turns, even some of the rohirrim warriors (a captain and his Rohan guards escort) walked pass the uruks! Perhaps it was simply a matter of my cousin not considering 4 soldiers something to  take care of…

“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

It was not a matter of ignoring four uruks… the Rohan guards had another mission, they were going straight to counter-attack the left flank, where some goblins had been able to get near the wall and the siege tower was about to reach the fortress!!

Luckily, I had some trolls to place between them and their prey…

TURNS 14 and 15. Losing faith in victory.

On the left flank, the goblin escalade had been wiped out, but the fantasy football match (see previous entry: TURNS 12 and 13.) had allowed one ladder to reach the walls. On that side of the battle, things were getting better for me and my dark minions, because the siege tower was finally getting there!!

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Turn 16

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 6
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On turn 16 things got even worse for me. Although the losses in the cousin’s army were extremely heavy, with every turn it was clearer that most of my reinforcements were not going to reach the battle on time to make any difference. The second reinforcement wave was just arriving, and the limit of killed units for me was really close…

Would the dark army loose 15 more soldiers, the battle would end immediately, because we didn’t want to keep on fighting the rest of the turns, knowing that once an orc army is below half its original numbers, their extremely low courage doesn’t allow them to have any chance of winning…

On the other hand, the army of light was not going to roll for courage at any time, the special rules of the scenario would allow them to fight to the last man, they would fight defending the city until the end…

But let’s not anticipate defeat!

On turn 16, most of my reinforcements were not going to reach the walls... the board we chose was too big...On turn 16, most of my reinforcements were not going to reach the walls... the board we chose was too big...
Perhaps we should have played on a smaller board... it would have been more exciting, specially on last turns... Perhaps we should have played on a smaller board... it would have been more exciting, specially on last turns...
Some of the reinforcement units even took abandoned ladders... but they didn't finish the job.Some of the reinforcement units even took abandoned ladders... but they didn't finish the job.

No retreat, baby, no surrender - Bruce Springsteen

Although things got complicated, I never gave up, because I still could envision the possibility to have ten soldiers over the walls… let’s remember that that was my main goal!

If I was able to disembark with just six soldiers over the walls on the left flank… perhaps the four urks on the oposite side could survive long enough… and my goblins had also placed a ladder… and the siege tower was arriving just right now!!!

First things first… I began the attack through the merlons!

And the attack was  A GREAT SUCCESS!!!And the attack was A GREAT SUCCESS!!!

Now If the left flank was able to keep the pressure and disembark quickly…

With the siege tower really close to the walls, and uruks that could begin to climb the ladder if we got rid of the Arnor defenders, the fortress was in real danger!!With the siege tower really close to the walls, and uruks that could begin to climb the ladder if we got rid of the Arnor defenders, the fortress was in real danger!!

TURN 17... that was the last...

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” - Yogi Berra

The last turn was very exciting... both contenders could win...The last turn was very exciting... both contenders could win...

And then came the great moment… the moment that we had waited for hours, days and weeks… the moment the tower finally arrived to the walls of the fortress!!!

With great enjoyment, I proudly opened the front ramp of my siege tower, checking the movement was smooth, and that the magnets I installed worked perfectly…

Next thing was moving forward my completely crazy uruk-hai berserkers!!!!

Go! Go! Go!Go! Go! Go!

It was a possibility, It had to be in this turn, but If I managed to place at least a couple of berserkers over the wall, and JUST ONE uruk-hai from the ladder next to the tower, I would have SEVEN miniatures over the walls… that was very close to my mission of placing TEN of them… I COULD DECLARE AN HEROIC ATTACK!!!

My berserkers could fight against the first line of soldiers over the walls, with two attacks each it was relatively easy to win both combats, specially considering I had the support of the spears from the orcs behind them… so three dices against two on each combat.

AND  THEN… my pie in the sky got down and crashed at the speed of light…

Because I decided to resolve first the hardest combat, that was ongoing on the ladder next battlement: dices flew, the chips were down, the die was cast… the stupid uruk didn’t win… and had to retire… down the ladder…

Dices flew, and then the stupid uruk fell down… and dragged the uruk below, dices flew, and the other stupid uruk fell down… and dragged the uruk below, dices flew, and the other stupid uruk fell down… and dragged the uruk below, dices flew…

The resulting damage of the uruks falling killed two of them...The resulting damage of the uruks falling killed two of them...

The setback caused by the uruk domino was definitive. Seeing that the light side only needed to kill 11 dark side soldiers to win, I decided to try the combats left on the wall of the right flank. That was my second mistake: it turned out to be a disastrous combo, which killed almost all of my uruks! The elf captain personally killed an uruk-hai captain and the rest of the pointy ears surprised me with slow, methodic and psichopatic killing… al but one uruk captain were exterminated -the captain was precisely the first in… and the last standing. That action meant three more kills, and there was no possible way to get 10 models on the walls before losing 8 minis elsewhere. For example, on the left flank, some elves and arnor soldiers still kept on killing goblins. So a decision had to be made…

Walls empty of dark servants... my hope was lost...Walls empty of dark servants... my hope was lost...

The other combats of the round had been really terrible for the dark servants of Sauron, so I thought at least give a try to the main assault… the berserkers going down the tower.

But this one was going to fail too. Receiving my berserkers there were a couple of Minas Tirith captains (one of them ressembled a lot the son of Denethor, the eldest, the one who sliced off orc heads in Osgiliath before breakfast).

TURN 17... that was the last...

The result of the siege tower attack was just a wound in one captain, but nothing definitive enough…

So, having lost almost every temptative to conquer the walls, having only one mini reaching the goal, and seeing that my enemy needed only 8 kills to win…



Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The combat had been really GLORIOUS… after WEEKS we finally finish the game. My personal thoughts about this great battle is that it’s been a pleasure and a different experience from a normal game. I am a person that normally enjoys the game without considering If I am losing or winning… but in this case, such a philosophy was completely needed.

So, althought I have to admit that there were some tense moments, in the end what it really made us happy was just to have a good show, to see that wonderful battle develop in front of us, to enjoy every corner, every small maneuvre, every single fight, every anonimous soldier…

BUT… If I had to recreate again that kind of battle I would for sure change a couple of things for the sake of gameplay…

We really didn’t like what happened with reinforcements getting from the bottom, and having to move across a board SO long. We should have placed the fortress on the longer edge, and the reinforcements would have arrived more close and so would have arrived more regularly. With that size of gaming mat, and considering how many turns were required, the reinforcements finally were completely useless… except for the second wave of wargs, that managed to capture the Rohan cavalry from the back. OR we could have allowed the reinforcements to appear from the flanks, so that they could get quickly to the walls…

So the BIG escalade and the BIG fight for the walls we hoped for, never happened… so I lost every possibility to win…

Anyway, the damage done to the light side army had been really impressive. There were more than 230 minis when the game began… by the moment I conceded, only about 50 soldiers were alive… while the dark side had only lost about 150 minis!!

The survivors...The survivors...

Of course, the fact that the light side army was divided, and that a great part was somewhat helpless outside the fortress,  was the reason for such an slaughter. And we have to take into account that the more expensive units (Mûmakil, Nâzgul…) potentially more difficult to destroy, were on the dark side.

If I had to choose a MVU (most valuable unit) of my army, it has to be for sure the Mordor Catapult… there were countless times that it hit in the middle of the enemy’s ranks, killing two, then killing four, killing a couple more… its destruction ratio was very high!! This and the destruction of the trebuchet on the first turn, made that catapult the best unit!

I have to recognize that the most funny part of the game has been the front assault of the dwarves to the middle of the dark army… it’s been a glorious charge!! I really didn’t expect such a movement, thinking that every enemy unit would search for shelter behind a wall or between the battlements. So that brave -and completely crazy- move blew my mind. The sight of those sons of Durin ramming my army and preventing my siege tower from advancing was very inspiring… it is exactly what one would think a group of dwarves would do!!!

Well… I really don’t know what else to say. If you have read the whole project, congrats! it’s really a tour de force, specially considering my lack of proper english vocabulary and grammar, I am sorry for the spelling and expression mistakes, I’m sure there are many!!

And of course I have to thanks my cousin, for A LOT of things.

For encouraging me to make this battle…

But also for showing me for the first time, when I was a child, a Tolkien book… and for telling me that D&D was not a clothing brand… thanks to him I still love fantasy, science fiction, and even I owe him the wonderful job I am dedicating my life to.

And of course, special thanks to the beasts of war… for the good company, for the great and inspiring contents, the projects, the articles… and the golden button! and the runner-up at the anual competition!! to me these prizes are priceless!!! Thanks for encouraging me when the world tells me that I am just a freak…

And very special thanks to Warren Johnston, my special person there, my favorite among favorites.


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