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Riders of Theoden vs the Black Gate Opens in Recon.

I couldn't believe how long it's been since I ran Rohan- and in particular the Riders of Theoden. I was pretty excited to put them on the table! Andrew brought the Black Gate Opens with his new love for the Mouth of Sauron. We rolled for scenario and came up with Recon. We almost re-rolled since that feels like a big advantage for Rohan... on the other hand could two hurling trolls win the day? In the end we stuck with it, even assuming it might be a tougher fight for BGO.


Before you read on, know that we are also doing video battle reports now, and this game is our first! Please do us a solid and subscribe, like, and comment on our channel so we get bumped by the almighty algorithm?


Andrew's Black Gate Opens list.
                       


I know most people go all Royal Guard, but I actually am really glad I had 9 bows in this game. I think a mix of riders and RG works; but this is also a limitation of my collection.

The board at the bottom of turn one. 3 of my 4 warbands have arrived, but I'm still waiting on some. Not one of Andrew's warbands arrived initially!

Dernhelm- definitely just a regular ol' man of Rohan.

Gamling!

On turn two, the rest of my warbands arrive, but with initial early board control I just fan out waiting to see where Andrew arrives.

Theoden leading his Royal Guards!

Finally Andrew's warbands arrive and the board is set! I sort of like how this scenario makes deployment part of the game.

Orcses. Andrew has to fan out because my warbands are both spread out and highly mobile.

Turn three. I now enter full blown Rohan skirmish and start picking orcs off with bow fire.

Andrew continues forward, and... the skirmish continues.

Look at this beautiful skirmish line! We get fairly lucky having downed 6 or so orcs by this point; closing the numbers gap.

At this point I was waiting to lose a priority roll so I could charge in... but it just. did. not. happen. So I kept falling back farther and farther while hoping to keep whittling Andrew down.

I seriously "win" priority for at least 6 turns in a row.

Still just skirmishing. I think I've taken down 8 or 9 orcs by now, but I am a little worried that the fight is developing on my side of the board rather than Andrew's. But with two big trolls I just cannot charge in on a turn I won priority.


On my far left, three brave horsmen are holding down the flank.

Finally on my right I see an opportunity for Dernhelm and two Royal Guard to charge in. They kill several orcs and one Royal Guard loses a horse.

As I continue to win priority, my left flank continues retreating. Thankfully, Andrew advances slowly- avoiding getting into throwing spear range each turn as I back up to 12.1" away.



On the right, Andrew decides not to send his troll after Dernhelm; writing those 3 models off. The two Royal Guards head off for the board edge while Dernhelm turns back to participate in the fight.

I'm still losing priority, but I know once I win it I can really pounce on Andrew as his forces are so isolated and chunked up.

But I do keep losing; Andrew's big block of Morannons in the bottom left is particularly scary.

I've got no heroes and no banner on my left flank while Andrew has 14 Morannon orcs. My plan was to hit hard and break him and watch those orcs fall away; but now I am nervous because of all of the "won" priority rolls!

I work on shifting forces left to deal with that block.

Guess what? On turn... 9? I lose priority! Andrew considers falling back but he's losing too much to my skirmishing so doesn't.

Forth Eorlingas!

The charge is pretty good overall. We do some serious damage...

We cut down tons of orcs and do some heroic combats. Andrew careens towards broken.

We win priority now- which is what we want! We continue slamming riders into orcs on the left.
 
On the right, Eomer charges the Beefy Chiefy troll. Theoden and Gamling charge an orc and Theoden calls Death! Eomer strikes, Gamling calls a combat, and Theoden strikes. Andrew calls a clever combat with the mouth- who wins the roll off and kills the Royal Guard I sent to tie him up. He then peels of Gamling and knocks him off his horse after Theoden killed his orc. Eomer lost the fight to the troll chief and spends all three fate to stay on his horse.
 
With Andrew broken and me able to tie up his heroes... morannons just melt away to failed morale.

With that, Andrew is quartered....

Theoden and the Mouth of Sauron square off. Theoden wins but causes no wounds. Eomer beats the beefy chiefy but only strips off 1 fate. And with that, the rest of the fights don't even matter so we call the game. In the end, Rohan got 2 models off the board for 5 VPs, and broke Mordor without being broken for 3 VPs. Making this game's final tally an 8-0 for Rohan.

Closing Thoughts: Well, we sort of knew this might be pretty lopsided for Rohan unfortunately. Sometimes it's still good to play it out and be reminded? I guess? It was a refresher for me on how to play cagey with Rohan and that bit was at least a little bit fun to see play out but.. whoof. Andrew was in a real pickle here.

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