Saturday, 29 July 2017

Ambush in Anorien

Anorien is a region in the north of Gondor in Middle Earth, just to the south of Rohan. This skirmish took place some time before the epic events related in the Lord of the Rings. Brothers Boromir and Faramir are still young men and were returning from patrol, having heard rumour of orc movements. After several weeks of fruitless search, they were on their way back to Gondor, when they were ambushed crossing a marshy area on the border of  Druadan Forest. A small force of orcs appeared from the trees just as the Gondorians were picking their way through the treacherous marches.

It's been a while since I played a game, so we settled on Dragon Rampant for a nice, relaxed evening of dice rolling. Matt suggested Lord of the Rings and I dusted down my Mordor force. The ambush scenario fitted the bill - the Gondor troops have to traverse down the length of the table, getting as many units off table as possible, while the orcs simply have to stop them by routing them.

The orcs came on in ragged fashion and slowly formed a defensive line between the marsh and the woods. The Gondorians moved up in a more ordered way, but it was a long way to go. On the eastern flank, Faramir rode forward on his horse, a huge troll in his path. The troll charged, Faramir spurred his horse on to meet his doom. Both combatants reeled back injured from the clash. But the odds were always in favour of Faramir and eventually he was able to cut down the mighty beast (note to self, greater warbeasts are not actually that great). In a similar clash, Gondorian knights smashed into orcs, but the orcs were unyielding (hmmm, it's not like this in the film).

On the western flank, orcs again formed ranks to block any Gondorian advance, with orc archers sneaking into the marshes and letting off an occasional volley of black fletched arrows. Howls in the distance heralded the appearance of warg riders from the woods. The Gondorians marched forward slowly, their archers taking a toll on the orcs but unable to force them back.

Knights and orc clashed on the eastern flnk many times. Eventually the Gondorians hacked down their foes, but at great cost. Faramir lay wounded and was carried away by the lone surviving knight, brother Boromir following on behind. He had spent much of the battle commanding the foot troops but then left them to their fate (always had my suspicions about his heroism).

A determined attack from the orcs resulted in the slaughter of one Gondor foot unit and slowly the survivors were cornered in the boggy ground. Picked off by arrow fire, abandoned by their leader, then charged by brutal Morannon orcs, they left only unmarked graves in the marshy ground. It was a sad day for Gondor, one long forgotten by the tale tellers.

It was a hard task for the Gondor force to break through, hampered by marsh lands and a determined defensive line. Knights can be very lethal in combat but difficult to control - they just about managed to punch through on the eastern flank. From my side of the battlefield I had an easier task - form a defensive line and then wait for the enemy to come on to infantry who are much better in defense. I felt that Boromir was far too cautious, blowing his horn to command troops but not once drawing his sword. If he had stood by his men and swung his sword, that may well have been decisive enough to force back the orcs. 

A thoroughly enjoyable evening of dice rolling, hopefully it will not be too long before we can play again. Faramir will no doubt heal his wounds and maybe Boromir will pluck up the courage to hunt down his tormentors and restore his cowardly reputation good name?


Matt Crump said...

I think I agree Boromir should have got stuck in rather than let his younger brother do all the fighting 🙂

Nord said...

He was only a youngster, perhaps he learned a valuable lesson from this encounter and found his courage. Maybe the next encounter he will set a better example......?

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