Following on from last month's game with Rob (HERE) we continue Balin's expedition into Moria. Once again Rob will be trying to keep his Dwarf casualties to a minimum as survivors will be needed for the final mission, but right now the scenario is a good ol' fashioned bust up! First army to drop to 25% of its starting number, loses.
This time we go full force as the reinforced Dwarf army, lead by Balin go against the Goblin hordes of Durburz, the self proclaimed King of Moria. A "chasm" runs across the length of the board with only a single bridge to forge a crossing. The chasm is jumpable, but that could slow down the charge or leave warriors unsupported if too few made the crossing.
Battle For The Dwarrowdelf
Rob took the initiative and held his army where it was. His plan was to sit back and thin out the goblin ranks with archers before mopping up the remaining interlopers. It was a reasonable tactic, but would it pay off?
The Goblins were going to be far less subtle in their methods. Full frontal assault with added troll and foul language for good measure. I knew the Dwarf archers were going to be a problem if left unchecked and the drummers would be left vulnerable in the later stages of the battle when the they would be needed the most. That said Durburz called the battle cry, the shamans whipped the Goblin masses into a frenzy and the horde charged forth!
Balin held the centre of the Dwarf line with Oin and Floi, glaring at the advancing Goblin battleline. As soon as the troll crossed the bridge, the archers took their aim and loosed. A few goblins were caught in the way, but it was the troll that took the brunt of the Dwarf arrows. As the battlelines closed, the Dwarfs grew uneasy. Backing up slightly in the face of the wounded, but very much alive (and annoyed) troll.
With the Goblins at last upon them, the Dwarfs need to hold the line more than ever against the brutal troll's attacks.
The cavern echoed to the roar of the troll as it hit the Dwarf lines. Balin and his companions were too busy dealing with goblins to tackle the troll and it cost them. A brutal backhand from the troll sent a Dwarf warrior sailing across the Dwarf front line knocking Balin and several others to the ground.
Whilst the troll began the work of pasting Dwarf warriors, Durburz entered the fray himself. Surrounding the Dwarf flank and chopping down several warriors personally, the Goblin King was proving to Dwarf and Gobin alike why he was wearing the crown.
Balin quickly found his feet and rallied his forces. He hoped to make a counter attack against the troll, but had to rebuild his failing shieldwall first. Oin was less alert. Having been knocked to the floor by a hurled Dwarf warrior, the aged Oin was set upon by Goblins looking for an easy kill.
On the flank, the Dwarf archers were over-run. Lead by the Goblin Captain who survived the encounter at Eastgate, the Dwarfs were fighting a losing battle at every turn it seemed.
His line holding, but only just, Balin sought to strike a heroic blow against the Goblin forces, he would slay the troll, thus robbing the Goblins of their advantage in strength. The loyal warriors cleared the old Dwarf a path to the beast and Balin charged. Swinging Durin's Axe with all he had Balin struck the troll. There was the sound of shrieking metal and for a brief moment the Dwarfs collectively held their breath to see the troll fall... but it was not to be. The troll had blocked Balin's strike with it's spear, the weapon now snapped in two by the axe. Balin stepped away from the brute as it glared furiously at the determined "would-be" Dwarf King.
Oin, having regained his footing and beaten back the Goblins who dared to strike him whilst prone, now looked to a new objective. The troll was making a mess of the Dwarf lines and with Balin's efforts to kill the thing gone unrewarded, Oin sought to kill the only reason the Goblin army stayed together: Durburz. Oin fought his way through the Goblin chaf and then came face to face with the Goblin King. A brutal exchange saw Oin wounded and humbled. Once again Durburz was proving to all why he and no other ruled Moria.
Wounded and their courage failing, Oin and Balin looked at each other across the battlefield. Dwarf warriors were being cut down as the goblin numbers began to take over. The troll continued it's unstoppable assault and Goblins swarmed Floi, the Dwarf Loremaster shredded to ribbons by a dozen foes. Durburz, stood atop a pile of dead and ordered the final push. The sudden surge of Goblin savagery caught Oin off guard and like Floi before him, he was cut down by a swarm of Goblin blades.
Balin, weighed down by grief and fatigue, ordered the retreat. As he held the rear guard, the troll once again made it's presence felt, striking Balin with the broken tip of it's spear. The old Dwarf was made of sterner stuff however and took the blow in his stride.
His remaining forces escaping in good order and the Goblins massing about their King, readying for the final charge, Balin joined his folk. This day, The King of Moria without question was Durburz.
"THEY HAVE TAKEN THE SECOND HALL."
This game had a few potential turning points, there are three that stand out for me. First the archers and the troll. If the plucky Dwarf archers had been able to fell the troll before it got into combat then I would say the Dwarfs would have walked away with the victory, but it hit home with one wound left. After that it was an up-hill struggle for the Dwarfs. Second, Balin's attempt to slay the troll had everything going his way... except the dice. Bad luck left the old Dwarf vulnerable and the troll still standing. Finally, Oin versus Durburz. A title fight like no other which could have massively swung the game in Rob's favour. With the Goblin King out of the way, his followers would soon start fleeing as their numbers started to dwindle. The Shamans would hold the line for a while, but not to the same degree that Durburz did. An honourable mention must go to the Goblin drummers as well. The Drum's effect on combats throughout the game allowed me to win a LOT more fights than I would have normally. Rob worked hard to get rid of it, but it was too little too late.
Once again the Goblins have made the Dwarfs pay for their trespassing and the next chapter will be written in just as much Dwarf blood as the previous. Until next time....