Ever since The Two Towers edition of the Lord of the Rings Tabletop Battle Game came out, Rich & I have been eying the Warg Attack scenario. The Wargs in this game, like most Orcish troops, have a lot of problems – low fight, lousy ranged attacks, few specialized troops like the Uruk-Hai berserkers or crossbowmen – but unlike most of Sauron’s hordes, the Wargs usually don’t make it up with numbers. Most scenarios have only 5 or so, which isn’t really enough for them to make their impact felt, unlike the Riders of Rohan who usually come in numbers like 12-15.
Well, this scenario has 20 ravening Warg riders charging our valiant Rohirrim, screening the refugee convoy. Unfortunately, the good guys field the usual suspects of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, as well as Theoden and a handful of riders. Fortunately, the Wargs have only to break through and exit 6 pieces. Unfortunately, the terrain is somewhat congested, so they are going to have to go through the good guys at some point.
We actually ended up playing this scenario twice. Kim & I played the Wargs. First time, we sent almost half the force on a wide circling maneuver while the other half tried to pin down the main Rohirrim force. On the first turn of closing, a War rider through a spear and actually inflicted a wound on Aragorn, pretty remarkable (those things hardly ever do anything even in the hands of the significantly more competent Rohirrim – the spears, although plenty more would be thrown, would have no further impact on the battle). Things were downhill from that point. Gilmi planted himself on the pass through which the flanking force would have to maneuver, and proved just as lethal to Wargs as any other orcs. Aragorn ripped through the remaining Wargs in the pinning force like he was late for dinner.
OK, so we try again, same sides. First lesson learned: keep the Wargs together; so we entered all 21 in three big mutually-supporting packs. Second lesson: avoid Aragorn like the plague – so we scrupulously stayed out of charge range where possible. This time it was a much more closely-run thing. Aragorn was running around the battlefield trying to find someone to engage, while we managed to concentrate on Theoden and Legolas, both of whom came very close to death and were surrounded from time to time. We did a much better job of keeping the good guys thinned out this time so we could try to break through. Still, no dice – but this time it was closer. We exited 4 Wargs out the 6 required and came close to killing a hero (not a win, but if any hero goes down the good guys can get at best a draw).
Lesson learned part 2: Use the shields when fighting combats you have no hope of winning. It’s a little annoying, most scenarios call for Wargs with Spears & Shields, but of course the only Warg models available have only a spear, no shield. We still allowed the Wargs to use their shields, which would have been a good idea far more often than we actually did it.
This is actually quite a neat scenario, with lots of maneuver. Still, if I played again I think I’d give the Wargs some balance – maybe an extra captain (Rich and I have both painted distinct Sharkus, which we could use). Also, I might consider balancing it out by adding one or two more Wargs to account for the lack of shields on the model, just so my brain doesn’t have to remember to use the nonexistent shield.