Thursday, 14 April 2011

Short Cuts Make Long Delays

Frodo departs the Shire and heads for Bree, where Gandalf says he will meet him. Sam and Pippin decide to acompany their friend, after he tells them he is on a trip to Buckland, although being inquisitive Hobbits, they know the truth of the journey.

While passing through Eastfarthing, they hear hoof beats. Thinking it must be Gandalf, and meaning to surprise their friend, they hide by the side of the road. Only when the Nazgul is almost upon them do they realise the peril they are in. Can they escape?

The first picture shows the board setup. The Hobbits start by the hedge at the end of the road (near the tree). Heading towards them is one of the Black Riders, with two more near each end of the hedges. Between the hills on the right is Gildor, alerted to the danger and rushing to the Hobbit's aid.

Here are the Hobbits by the hedge. Sentry rules are in force for the Nazgul, meaning the side with initiative can move them. This gives the Hobbits a chance to sneak away. In addition, the light of day makes it difficult for the Nazgul to see their prey, so they cannot charge unless within 6 inches.

The hobbits also need to make courage checks each turn, lest they become scared and disorientated. Sam and Frodo passed all of theirs, but Pippin failed at the start and headed towards a Nazgul. Luckily the result of the sentry roll meant the Nazgul went right by him.

The Hobbits managed to pass Gildor before the Nazgul saw them. This allowed the heroic elf to charge the lead Ringwraith and engage him in combat, hopefully buying the Hobbits enough time to escape. He failed to slay the Nazgul, but greatly impeded its progress. Without Gildor's efforts all would have been lost.

The end of the game (below). Ignoring their fellow locked in combat with Gildor, the other two Nazgul charge for the Hobbits. At this stage of the game, Frodo, Sam and Gildor had used all their Might points performing heroic moves, allowing them to move first, even when they lost initiative. But at the end, exhausted, the Hobbits needed good initiative rolls to move off the edge of the board, which they managed.

This was a very simple scenario, but managed to capture the tension of the Hobbits' escape. The presence of Gildor also helped to show that there were good forces aiding them at every step, without whom all would be lost.

At the end of the game, Sam recovered his point of Might, and Frodo recovered one point (out of two). The next scenario is the flight to Bucklebury Ferry. Time to get building a river...

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