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Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

Scenario two from the A Case of Mistaken Identity Narrative Campaign for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

PDF Download: Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden 

The Orcs thinking they have tracked down the location of a Baggins send a larger party of Orcs to attack the hamlet of Hamlingden where they believe a Baggins to live – in fact it is a distant relative of Bilbo, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.   

Forewarned Aragorn is waiting with a group of militia and has sent word to Gandalf for help. Gandalf arrives part way through the battle. 

LAYOUT 

Lobelia’s house is a hobbit hole in the hamlet of Hamlingden. The hamlet consists of one hobbit hole and a couple of cottages above ground. There are a number of vegetable gardens bordered by low fences and hedges around the hamlet that form defensive barriers. A few copses of trees can be placed around the board as well. The board is 4’ x 4’. 

Attack on Hamlingden Map

STARTING POSITIONS 

Lobelia starts just outside her hobbit hole. Aragorn and the Hobbit Militia and Hobbit Archers start anywhere within the area of the hamlet and its gardens. 

The Orcs then deploy on any board edge up to three inches in. They have had time to plan their attack and surround the hamlet.  

OBJECTIVES 

The Good player’s objective is to survive until Gandalf can get to the hamlet and cast a spell to aid their escape. Once Gandalf arrives he should make his way to the hamlet and ensure that at least Aragorn, Lobelia and half the remaining hobbits are within 6 inches of him. He can then cast an enhanced version of his Blinding Light spell, casting on 4+. If successful all Orcs on the board are blinded long enough for the Good forces to make their escape. Alternatively the Good player wins if the Evil force is defeated in the normal way, i.e. reduced to 25% plus Lobelia, Aragorn and Gandalf are all still alive. 

The Evil player’s objective is to take Lobelia captive. To do this they must reduce her Wounds to zero, but instead of killing her this renders her unconscious. She then needs to be carried to the edge of the board by the Orcs. This can be done by a single Orc carrying her. See the rules for carrying on page 109 of the Rules Manual. Lobelia is a Light Object for the Orcs to carry, a Heavy Object for the Goblins.  

SPECIAL RULES 

Gandalf will arrive part way through the battle. Starting on turn three he arrives from the Eastern board edge on a roll of 4+. 

PARTICIPANTS 

Good 

  • Lobelia Sackville-Baggins 
  • Aragorn 
  • Gandalf 
  • 8 Hobbit Militia 
  • 4 Hobbit Archers 

Evil 

  • Hunter Orc Captain on Fell Warg 
  • 6 Hunter Orcs on Fell Warg 
  • 12 Angmar Orcs 
  • 24 Moria Goblins 

PDF Download: Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

A Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game Narrative Campaign: A Case of Mistaken Identity

I have been working on a narrative campaign recently for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. It’s a fun series of linked scenarios set in and around the Shire. The scenarios start with a small number of models building up to larger battles and ending with a siege against the forces of Angmar! Can Gandalf and Aragorn protect the Hobbits from the evil Orcs and their master?

I am going to post an overview of the campaign below and also each scenario in a separate post. PDFs also available for download.

A Case of Mistaken Identity
A Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game Narrative Campaign

It is some years since Bilbo Baggins has returned to the Shire and settled down to his old life. The shadow in the East has stirred again and has been looking for news and rumours of the ring. It has heard a rumour of the ring being in the north and its spies say that the ring is with someone called Bagginses.

The campaign is a series of small linked battles.

The forces for each battle are detailed in each scenario description —it is assumed that any injuries are healed etc. However, if any heroes are killed then they return to the next battle they’re in but with 1 less Wound. If they survive the next scenario they are then returned to full Wounds.

Lost in the Old Forest

A Shire militia patrol is ambushed while beating the bounds by a party of Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs. Only the quick actions of Aragorn can save them.

Aragorn finds a scribbled note on one of the Orcs written in the Black Tongue – they are looking for Bagginses!

Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

The Orcs believe they have tracked down the location of a Baggins, so send a larger party of Orcs to attack the hamlet of Hamlingden where they believe a Baggins to live – in fact it is a distant relative of Bilbo, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

Forewarned Aragorn is waiting with a group of militia and has sent word to Gandalf for help. Gandalf arrives part way through the battle.

Escape Across the River

The Shire is too dangerous for anyone called Baggins. While Gandalf goes to make sure Bilbo is safe, Aragorn leads Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and the surviving militia across the river to try to reach the old Arnor fort of Edding Moor. They are pursued by a new Orc warband sent to finish the job the other Orcs failed.

Searching the fort of Edding Moor

Gandalf is alarmed to hear where Aragorn has taken the hobbits – he believes it is a trap and that forces of evil live in the fort. He goes in first to clear it out.

Within the ruins Gandalf must battle Barrow Wights, Spiders and Bats!

Attack on the fort of Edding Moor

Once Gandalf has attempted to clear the interior of the Fort Aragorn and the hobbits enter to seek refuge. They are joined by a group of Dúnedain to aid in their defence. But the Enemy has sent one of his lieutenants with a large army of Orcs and Trolls to seize the hobbit and destroy Aragorn and Gandalf.

A Case of Mistaken Identity Campaign Overview PDF Download

Lost in the Old Forest

Scenario one from the A Case of Mistaken Identity Narrative Campaign for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

PDF Download: Lost in the Old Forest

Lost in the Old Forest

A group of Hobbit archers and militia are beating the bounds of the shire, a mysterious fog descends, and they become lost in the woods.

Unbeknownst to them a pack of Warg Riders has been tracking them – hoping to take a Hobbit prisoner so that they can gain information as to the whereabouts of a certain Bilbo Baggins.

LAYOUT

There is an old ruin near the centre of the board consisting of a ruined house and bushes.

Woods, bushes and rocks are placed around the rest of the board.

STARTING POSITIONS

The Good player deploys the hobbits within 6 inches of centre of the board near the old ruin.

The Evil player may then deploy the Warg Riders anywhere on the long edges of the board up to two inches from the board edge.

Alternatively, if you have a square board then the Warg Riders start from North and South.

OBJECTIVES

The Hobbits’ objective is to escape off the board and avoid capture. They can escape can be off either of the East or West board edges. Half the Hobbits must escape.

The Warg Riders’ objective is to capture one hobbit and remove him from the North of South board edges (see special rules).

SPECIAL RULES

A Ranger of the North – Aragorn has been tracking the Orc Warg Riders and although on foot has now caught up with. He comes to the aid of the hobbits.

Every turn after the first there is a chance that Aragorn will appear. On a roll of 4+ at the start of the Good player’s turn Aragorn appears on either the North or South board edge.

Capture a Hobbit

The Warg Riders’ task is to capture at least one Hobbit. They will do this by reducing one Hobbit to zero wounds and then carrying them as a Heavy Object away to either the North or the South board edge.

Hobbits count as a Heavy Object and maybe carried by Warg Riders (an exception to the normal rules). Warg Rider’s movement is halved. The Good Player may not shoot at a Warg Rider carrying a Hobbit as this may risk injury, but melee combat is allowed. The prisoner is freed if the Warg Rider is slain. The prisoner remains prone for the rest of the game and cannot move.

PARTICIPANTS

Good
4 Hobbit Archers
8 Hobbit Militia
Aragorn

Evil
6 Warg Riders on Wild Wargs

Solo Wargaming: Battle Report Hundred Years War using Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games rules

This is a battle report of a small Hundred Years War skirmish I played with the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games rules. I also tried out one of the simplest of solo wargaming techniques to add a bit of AI to the game.

Solo Wargaming method: Random Deployment

In Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming book he recommends a number of different techniques to create a more interesting challenge for the solo wargaming. I’m going to call this a solo wargaming AI method as shorthand in this and other articles (until I come up with something better!)

One of the simplest methods he recommends is to randomise deployment of each force. You roll a d6 for each unit and that determines where they deploy. The battlefield is split into 5 sections:

  1. Right flank
  2. Right Centre
  3. Centre
  4. Left Centre
  5. Left Flank

Each has a number (1-5). If you roll a 6 then that unit is in reserve. The theory with this method is that a lot of the tactics employed by an army will be determined by it’s deployment. For instance if a lot of units are on a flank or flanks then an envelopment will be a good strategy.

I tried this out with the game I played – and will describe how that worked below.

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games for Historical Medieval games

I used the fan made Age of Trebuchet rules supplement to enable me to play an historical game using the Middle Earth SBG rules. I know the rules well and I think they are great for skirmish level games – nice and simple but with a lot of tactical decisions to make. I found the Age of Trebuchet supplement easy to use and it gave some flavour of a medieval battle.

Battle Report: Hundred Years War skirmish

I didn’t give the game any historical or fictional background. The forces were roughly equal, but I didn’t work out points. The aim was to use the figures I had available. So from the pictures you may notice that many of them are Wars of the Roses or Feudal era – I wasn’t so worried about that. And as it was a quick game to test out some rules and a solo wargame AI method I wasn’t too fussed about terrain – a simple green baize cloth, some trees, bushes and paper buildings sufficed. You will also notice that this is an oval kitchen table – 5 foot by 3 – but some of the flanks are minimal, but it works for a skirmish level game at 28mm.

Forces:

English

  • Sir Gilbert – hero on foot
  • 8 men-at-arms
  • 8 longbowmen
  • 4 billmen

French

  • Sir Guillaume – hero on horse
  • 3 mounted men-at-arms
  • 4 foot men-at-arms
  • 10 crossbowmen
  • 7 heavy infantry – mixed weapons

Deployment – how did the method work?

Random deployment worked out in an interesting and lopsided way in this skirmish game – there were only 4 units on one side and 3 on the other. The English men-at-arms deployed as a reserve and the other two units were widely spaced as you can see below.

In contrast the French deployed mostly on one flank – with the crossbows in the middle. As hoped this lead to influencing the subsequent strategy quite a bit. Without this random deployment I would have probably deployed most of the forces in the centre and the flanks might well have been ignored.

The French started off by sending their men-at-arms around the flank to see off the longbowmen. There was an exchange of fire – with one longbowman dying. The small unit of English billmen started their march towards the hamlet. The French infantry marched behind the crossbows towards the small wood behind the hamlet.

The French men-at-arms started getting closer to the longbows – who used their half move each turn to retreat and then fire. They only got one of the French cavalry though. The English men-at-arms could now enter the battle as there had been an exchange of fire.

Here you can see the English moving through the hamlet.

Moments before contact. The French men-at-arms are about to charge the longbows. The French infantry are on the other side of the wood from the English.

Sir Gilbert and his men-at-arms decide that the protection of the bushes and hedges might be a good idea when faced with sustained crossbow fire and the French knights!

After a couple of rounds of combat the longbows were seen off by the French knights. Sir Gilbert and some of his men went to attack the French foot men-at-arms and the others went to support the billmen who had engaged the French infantry in the woods. The loss of most of the longbows and some of the billmen meant that the English were now broken (needing to make courage tests as over half had died). Unfortunately Sir Gilbert and many of his men decided to flee the field, leaving only four brave men of St George left to face the massed French. At this point I decided the battle was over! Here’s the ending positions – even the crossbows decided to up sticks and move to get a better position to fire from.

Conclusion

I thought that the Middle Earth rules worked well for a medieval skirmish game – probably with some more miniatures on the field it could have been a better game perhaps. I also felt that I had let down the longbowmen by leaving them exposed to the French knights – they should have found the cover of the hedges next to the hamlet.

Random deployment worked well as a simple method of creating solo wargame AI – I would definitely use it again. It would be interesting to use it for a game with more units.

I will try to look at a different solo wargame AI methods next time!