Friday, November 23, 2018

Orc Ambush in Rohan

Almost three months ago I found an online deal through a game trade community for a host of Lord of the Rings miniatures. They were originally produced for a Play Along Toys line released shortly after the popular feature films. I was particularly keen on these for a number of reasons. I love large-scale 54mm miniatures – I’m a huge fan of Armies in Plastic’s historical lines – because they’re just the right size for introducing kids to miniature wargaming. This particular line came pre-painted, a huge bonus considering the time to get most miniatures onto the wargaming table usually includes a huge investment in painting. And, of course, I’m a fan of Lord of the Rings, and cavalry in particular: this lot included six warg riders and 17 Riders of Rohan, including Eomer. The package finally arrived and I set about basing the infantry on fender washers for stability, matching the weapons and other accessories, and crafting several rock formations similar to those seen in Rohan scenes during The Two Towers (giving the pine bark mulch technique a try). I have a copy of Daniel Mersey’s Dragon Rampant fantasy miniatures skirmish rules that seem perfect for this kind of engagement (I’ve enjoyed his other rules, The Men Who Would Be Kings for Victorian engagements and Lion Rampant for medieval fights, and am looking forward to his Battle Ravens board game currently in a Kickstarter campaign). With everything finally complete I thought I’d set everything up on the basement wargaming table and take a few photos in advance of having folks over to give the skirmish rules a try.

Of course I couldn’t resist setting things up with some kind of narrative. I began with a squadron of Rohirrim cavalry on patrol near the downs.

A large horde of orcs makes an incursion into Rohan (the lot came with more than 30 orcs of various kinds...I mixed them up to give the group a more chaotic look).

Several orc scouts and archers await the patrol behind one of the looming rock formations on the downs.

The impatient warg riders spoil the surprise by charging the Rohirrim patrol.

The orc infantry maneuver around the rocks to try swarming the riders.

But Elves of Lothlorien emerge unexpectedly to fire into the rear of the unsuspecting orc horde.

Eomer and his cavalry arrive to counter the swarming orc horde.

The appearance of Legolas, Gimli, and Aragorn on the battlefield sends most of the orcs running.

With the holidays approaching I’m hoping to have some friends over to run an orcs against Rohirrim skirmish using the Dragon Rampant rules and this fantastic horde of ready-for-the-table 54mm minaitures. I suspect I may bring this set-up on the road to a small regional wargaming convention early next year as part of my efforts to lure kids and newcomers into gaming.