Author Topic: Khazâd du-bekâr (Dwarves, to Arms!) COMPLETE  (Read 13375 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2016, 04:37:08 PM »
(Time to Carrock-and-roll!): THE DEFENSE OF THE CARROCK

To paraphrase Cyrano de Bergerac, “I have been robbed! There is no Carrock here!”

 


There is, however, a hundred. Or close enough.

 


Not that I have nothing, but some of that not-nothing isn’t really cavalry: it’s just my (not even upgraded) battlewagon. Sooo, basically I only have one sword squad (actually axe), and one archer squad (actually axe). Morgomir is bringing 6 units along with himself, and I have to suppose they’re each more useful than my baggy wagon.

Yeah, this is going to bite. What does help, is that my side of the map starts with a fortress already on the ground as well as a mine (thanks to my having built them on the strat map long ago); and because I’ve expanded and kept my side of the map so far, I get to start with the maximum battle gold purse of 6000, immediately supplemented by income from the mine and the fort.

That means I can start building a second fort immediately. (They cost 5000.)

But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. Forts take a long time to make, and I only have two useful squads plus King Dain; whereas I can expect the computer to base rush me with its superior smiting force promptly. Since I already have two sources of income, I decide to put my builders to work on a couple of axe-towers first, sort-of in line with a guess about where the computer will be thrusting from, combined with wanting to keep my defensive firepower (and hackpower) concentrated.
 


(I also give my wagon a minihearth, and set it on defense so it won’t be charging out. Now it can serve as a portable healing buff, with a smaller radius than a proper hearth.)

Now, in hindsight I ought to be spending quite a bit of my initial purse on fort upgrades, too. But I don’t, because in my head I’m still thinking, “Once I can punch away his base rush, I want to have enough to start my second fort (down at the river ford south of that snapshot).”

 


Instead I wait until the base rush arrives (some of the units having been held back by the AI, wisely), and have clobbered my only mine so far, before building even an extra axe-tower on one of my fort’s six build-plots.

-- uh, yeah, the base rush simply ran up and around my dwarves standing guard there. sigh.

My axe hewers (the melee not the missileers) almost get wiped out in the scuffle, but enough thrown axes deal with that problem in time, and my hearth-wagon starts bringing them back. The enemy commander, Morgormir, foolishly arrives alone a few minutes later, and promptly takes a lot of axes to the face.

At this point I decide, hm, instead of building another fort-strongpoint below, why don’t I start making a proper stronghold of my own?

Thirteen minutes later, King Dain goes to the casualty house (after an ill-conceived sally across the river), and most of my troops have died. But that’s partly from having been hit by the increasing number of flame catapults I’ve put on my killzone walls.

A few minutes later, the AI desperately tries to hit me with a squad carrying the Ring of Power itself (which they had picked up on the mission to get me I guess), and after they quickly die, I run a squad out to get it and return it to my keep’s gate. This will become relevant later. ;)

18 minutes after I start Project Dainhold:

 


That wall leads from the eastern riverbank (uncrossable offmap) to my central gate. I’ve forgotten who those jokers are just standing around there doing nothing {checking}, oh a group of axe-throwers. I had them on guard duty until the wall was up and running, but they have a hidden postern gate that they can go out if I need them to hit a gate assault from the side.

Not that I need them to.

 


Central gate is throwing back sallies all by itself, no problem. That wall continues westward solidly around my side of the rivershore to the northern hills (unpassable terrain). It doesn’t have any armaments yet, because it doesn’t really need them: that gate is a magnet for AI attention.

What’s that, voice in my head? Two more towers to guard that gate? Sure!

 


By the way, my axe throwers are down there on the lower left, hitting the enemy attack from the back. They aren’t very useful at the moment anyway; I was trying to get them killed off, so I could recover command points for something else.

Eventually I send them off westward to scout for the enemy base; and having not found them, thus deducing their location (in where I haven’t looked yet), I send out my hearthwagon, too, so I can get it killed off -- plus a squad of Dale firearchers, since I might as well do a bit of damage while I’m scouting.

 


This works somewhat better than I’m expecting. My axe-throwers die (yay); my firearchers live (yay); with the help of my hearthwagon they start to recover (I guess yay?); and they have a tower I’ve power-plopped nearby to serve as a guard while they watch for enemy builders trying to re-establish some farms (or whatever those are) in the area.

This isn’t going to get the battle won, though. What I need is to build up a force strong enough to get across the river and hold its ground long enough to build a potent minibase. Who’s going to help with that? Let’s see, King Dain, a bunch of fire-archers, Galadriel the Storm Queen, maybe some pikes, I dunno that hearthwagon is also a little useful as long as I’m using it like a portable little --

-- what did you ask? Galadriel the “Storm Queen”?

Oh yes. She’s going to use the Ring of Power for good, you see. So I can buy a hulked out Cate Blanchett. This is not a bad thing. I promise.

 


Yeah, that’s Cate holding the far side of the river ford by herself.

Several squads of trolly things decide they’d rather take fire impotently from catapults, than risk trying to cross the ford with her around.

 


They make a handy test for her power; the power with which, in book canon, she basically destroyed Dol Guldur by herself even without the Power Ring.

 


You can’t see well in that snapshot because I just threw it, but that’s a tornado. Later I’ll realize that it can be selected with a hero icon (you can see it on the bottom there) and moved around the map manually.

Long story short: with increasing power here across the river allowing me to set up a strongpoint to surge from (and fall back to if I get in trouble), I eventually push down-leftward to the enemy base.


 

To be honest, this is a failed assault; most of my crew were wiped out, and Galadriel barely escaped. Still, I tornadoed the base. Yo!

I wasn’t quite ready to assault the base fully by the time the tornado recharged again, but that didn’t stop me getting more tornado practice.

As it happened, I didn’t need to beat their base to win; just set up a second fortress with plenty of upgrades at the river ford.

 


And with that, the Angmar army retreated back from the Carrock (which nowhere featured a hill shaped like a bear that I ever saw), to the High Pass.

Thus ending Week 8.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2016, 05:32:01 PM »
WEEK NINE -- THE FALL OF THE KING
---------------------------------

“Feeling better this week?” King Brand was trying to be cheerful, and not succeeding very well.

“Not really.” Well, Brand couldn’t blame Ithilia for not being in the mood for cheer.

“At least we got some rest.”

If a grim stare over battlements could count as a sigh, Ithilia quietly sighed.

“And we aren’t likely to be mobbed by as many enemy commanders this week.”

The silent sigh continued, aimed in the direction of Fangorn. Currently, only Shelob and Drogoth the Dragon Lord could reach them, both from there. Gloin had taken the Old Brown Lands, providing a buffer from attack. If he could keep it -- he had doubtless told his people to start a fortress, but Theoden and Boromir had been driven back from the Marshes into Dagorlad by a huge mass of enemy commanders and their minions.

“And Theoden and Boromir survived.”

“Which,” Ithilia half-snarled, “is more than Aragorn the fool can say.” He had lost his attempt at taking Minas Tirith from within the mountains of Mordor, and had been thrown back to the region of Mount Doom -- right into the path of one of the enemy commanders retaking Mordor’s territory. The rangers were trying to smuggle the deathly wounded pretender to Gondor’s throne back to safety somewhere. Except Gondor only had two territories remaining. King Aragorn would be a long time returning. If ever.

“At least the southern kingdom still has two territories remaining,” Brand ventured.

“Neither of them in the southern kingdom. Lorien and Moria,” she reminded him.

“Well, Gimli is guarding Lorien.”

“But they won’t allow him authority to fortify the area.”

Brand checked a sigh. “Eomer can pass on behind the enemy lines through Moria, and start raiding their interior. He’s a cavalryman, he’ll like that.”

“That could be useful,” she allowed. “So of course he isn’t doing that. He’s marching back to Lorien.” She hid her face in her hands so Brand would not hear secret elven curses.

The human king groped for something else to say worth saying. “...Theoden and Boromir can help protect Dagorlad from assault; they should be able to hold on, thanks to dwarven efforts, if -- “ Ithilia simply passed him a courier note. Brand read it. “-- ---- I... I guess I am not surprised.”

“They’re running away from the probable mass of enemy commanders about to shatter our shield wall somewhere less defended than this rotten tomb.” She kicked a balustrade. It didn’t care. Another courier arrived, warily handed her an elven script, and backed away expediently.

She bit her lip reading it. “Ah. Another large army, even larger than the first, approaches King Dain at the Carrock over the High Pass.”


 


“...he beat back heavy odds last week. And he has more troops this time, better able to -- “

Ithilia whirled and grabbed his lapels. Brand thought she might be thinking of hurling them both off the balcony to the stones below -- stones still stinking of blood.

“DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND IT’S OVER!” She shook him, no small feat for an elven woman. “No one stands to defend Dagorlad; they will be tossed aside like leaves, and then the Witch-King’s forces will ride around destroying our ability to fight!”

“...I’m sure I could get there in time, with or without more troops to help defend it. Seasoned troops, too. If you think I should leave you here.”

“And should you fall, then what? Or if they come for Gimli instead, on their way here? -- then, having slaughtered him instead, you will be in Dagorlad and I...

“Either way, I will be alone.

“I do not want to be alone, here at the end of all things.”

“...you are a widow, and I am only a rotting, dying Man. But for the sake of your lost husband, I will stay and stand with you, if you wish. As he would have wanted to do.”

Ithilia turned away to look out again. “Do as seems best to you. I am wed to death already; covered in it; sopping, soaked in my clothes with death.

“But if you choose to die with me, I will not complain. Though rather your wife must hope that if she dies... then you must go to her.”

“No wife. I never had time. Perhaps for the best now; one less heart to break.”

“One less,” Ithilia agreed. And stared her quiet sigh again, this time north to the Greenwood -- where animals long would have eaten her husband away.

[Canon-note: King Brand died standing with Dain Ironfoot in the War of the Ring, at the Lonely Mountain. Brand’s wife is mentioned but no details or name; so I feel allowed to proposition an alternative here. ;) ]
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2016, 03:29:21 PM »
(A preliminary consideration of the cesspit that will be:) THE DEFENSE OF THE OLD BROWN LANDS

Enough of the kissy-eyed angst between the designated couple, it’s time to STOMP SOME ARMIES!

Or riddle them with lots of rune-axes and flaming arrows, to be more precise. This territory is called the Old Brown Lands because it sits in a conceptual vacuum between other places Tolkien bothered to talk about; but it could just as easily be called The Land Where A Lot Of Dale Archers And Dwarven Mechanics Are Going To Die.

...well, not just as easily, and that’s depressing, so we’ll stick with OBL for short. O0

This battle, y’all. This battle. I’m having trouble even summarizing it. So while the back of my mind is chewing on that gristly (and grisly) piece of flank, I’m delaying by talking preliminary strategic factors.

So, as explained in the narrative last time, I was more than a little worried that the computer would load up all the enemy commanders currently sitting in the Dead Marshes and whomp me in Dagorlad. If they brought everyone, I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to beat them back; and if I surrendered or otherwise lost the land, those commanders would be able to spread out and hit a bunch of loosely defended breadbasket territories, most importantly the three mines of Rhun. I just didn’t know if I could come back from that.

Fortunately, by now I was getting a feel for how the AI has been taught by the programmers to calculate strategic moves. From the AI’s perspective, that mega-group currently has two open targets, Dagorlad and the OBL.

In Dagorlad, Team Evil can see some dwarven troops, two of my allied captains, and a fortress already ready -- the different AI sides can’t see plans plotted by each other, so the enemy AI wouldn’t be able to see that Theoden and Boromir are running away!

In the OBL, the AI can see one hero (Gimli) with a few squads of no experience or buffing yet, and that’s it, nothing more. It can tell I’m building something, but for an assault right now that doesn’t matter -- it won’t be ready in time to contribute.

By any metric, the OBL is the easier target. And beyond it lies Dol Guldur, which the enemy AI has been coded to fixate on taking (mainly for ‘canon’ purposes I suppose, since so long as it doesn’t have a troop production facility -- and it doesn’t -- an enemy would be better advised to just take all the lands around it first and bulk up to hammer it.)

Consequently, I inferred that the AI wouldn’t throw everything at Dagorlad. It might hold a hero back to prevent a counterthrust, but otherwise it would either split forces between Dag and OBL on an assault, or go all in for OBL with an expectation of hitting Dol Guldur with everythng afterward. A split force in Dagorlad I felt okay about dealing with; so I chose not to send anything there (more than I was already bringing down in small waves from the Iron Hills through Celedor each turn).

Instead, I moved most of my seasoned and tech-buffed Dale Archers out of Dol into the OBL -- not being too worried about Shelob and/or Drogoth trying after DG by themselves from Fangorn.

And, my inference paid off. Team Evil ignored Dagorlad completely and swamped the OBL.

 


They sent seven captains up from the Marshes (leaving behind Rogosh the North Troll with some squads in case I advanced); and flapped Drogoth the Dragon over from Fangorn. He frankly worried me, since I sure didn’t want him to level up!

So, ready to receive visitors: Gloin, two novice archer squads, one novice pike squad, and (most importantly) five buffed-out archer squads arriving from Dol Guldur. And two builders.

The visitors: no less than eight builders (divided into four teams); the Mouth of Sauron (cavalry hero); the Witch-King on a wyvern (or whatever they’re called in the books); one spear, two sword, and two missile squads, and one support troll; Saruman and Sharku; the Witch-King again in cav form (on Angmar’s team, yes two WK’s); Hwaldar the Angmar barbarian; Azog the Defiler; and Drogoth the Dragon Lord.

The number of starting enemy troops could be a lot worse for me: I substantially outnumber them and my quality is near top-notch. The heroes badly outnumber me, but the computer can usually be suckered into sending its heroes weakly into strong defenses. The real problem, is the eight builders vs my two. All four sub-teams would be basing up fast, and I’m pretty sure they know how to share gold between each other, too. So they’ll be pumping out lots of troops a few minutes after starting, with continuations all battle long, and teching up relatively fast while doing so.

Oh, and I don’t have a stronghold to defend behind this time. I’ll be starting straight out in the open.

I spent most of a whole Saturday trying to win this battle. An unending nightmare of hopeless despair.

...and now I have to try to summarize it! :D

I’ll just concentrate on my last playthrough, though. Summarizing that hour and twelve minutes will be task enough.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2016, 08:52:41 AM »
I guess the Old Brown Lands are kind of the Old Brown Shoes of Middle-Earth. Great AAR Jason. Keep them coming.  O0
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Offline Martok

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2016, 12:00:18 PM »
I spent most of a whole Saturday trying to win this battle. An unending nightmare of hopeless despair.

Sounds like "fun"...  :( 


Also:  How the hell does Team Evil get two versions of the Witch-King??!  Setting aside that that obviously doesn't work from a lore standpoint, that's also gotta be unbalanced from a gameplay standpoint, no? 

« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 07:43:15 PM by Martok »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2016, 02:46:27 PM »
Thanks, Slash!

Martok, it was "fun" the way OD-Compulsives are compulsed to try to figure out whether something is an unwinnable mess or an inadvertent puzzle that if I can find just the right key to progression I can get through it.

Re the Witch-King, originally "Angmar" was introduced as a 4th evil team in the expansion, for a campaign game where, playing as the eponymous BossWitch, the player over-runs the west and creates the notorious kingdom of Angmar. But Angmar is available as a team in skirmishes and grand campaigns, and can be activated along with Mordor who also gets the WK. Consequently, he can be on the map in two places at once, unless (like any other team hero) he's defeated in a battle somewhere he can't retreat safely from, in which case he's removed from the map until the player for that team pays to get him back (whether on the strat map or in a tactical battle).

Which (or "witch"?) has the further consequence that two "Witch King" heroes can be involved in a battle, one for Angmar's Team, and one for Mordor's. Depending on how the skirmish or campaign is set up, you could even get WK vs WK! Mordor's version can fly, though; which was actually a bit of a detriment since that made him more vulnerable to missiles. The fan patch I'm using changed this so that Mordor's WK can dismount and fight on foot, like Angmar's WK.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Boggit

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2016, 03:27:49 PM »
Fear not, it looks like it is still available if you're inspired by Jason's literary masterpiece of an AAR... O0

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=battle+for+middle+earth+2+pc
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2016, 06:43:09 PM »
Worth noting, most of those are only the base game -- which does also have its own fan-patch at the link waaaay back in my first this post.

If you want the expansion, Rise of the Witch-King, which is what I'm playing, you need to buy not only the original BFME2 but also the expansion -- which on that page is selling for over one hundred and seven pounds sterling:o :o :o
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 06:47:52 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Martok

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2016, 07:50:34 PM »
Re the Witch-King, originally "Angmar" was introduced as a 4th evil team in the expansion, for a campaign game where, playing as the eponymous BossWitch, the player over-runs the west and creates the notorious kingdom of Angmar. But Angmar is available as a team in skirmishes and grand campaigns, and can be activated along with Mordor who also gets the WK. Consequently, he can be on the map in two places at once, unless (like any other team hero) he's defeated in a battle somewhere he can't retreat safely from, in which case he's removed from the map until the player for that team pays to get him back (whether on the strat map or in a tactical battle).

Which (or "witch"?) has the further consequence that two "Witch King" heroes can be involved in a battle, one for Angmar's Team, and one for Mordor's. Depending on how the skirmish or campaign is set up, you could even get WK vs WK! Mordor's version can fly, though; which was actually a bit of a detriment since that made him more vulnerable to missiles. The fan patch I'm using changed this so that Mordor's WK can dismount and fight on foot, like Angmar's WK.

Appreciate the explanation, Jason.  It's still borked IMO, but at least it makes a certain warped sense. 




And holy hell, I forget how bloody expensive games can get when they're no longer being made!!  :o  I'm surprised EA doesn't re-release the BFME games for sale via digital-download; they were pretty fun as I recall (I still own the first one), and it's not like it would cost the company anything to "manufacture" additional copies. 

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2016, 08:17:51 PM »
I suspect there are rights issues locked up with photos, possibly voice acting, possibly music, and for BFME1 movie footage (and more voice acting) -- not sure what the "War In The North" game on Steam is doing along that line (but it sure isn't this, nor sadly a remake of the two PS2 brawlers which also tell the plot of the movie). LOTRO's closest rights would be art that kind of looks like the film actors -- but different enough that lawyers can avoid problems. Other than that, they have nothing from the movies specifically.

(Incidentally, I have also been seriously considering doing an AAR on a LOTRO campaign, which would be quite different from this.)

Edited to add: Wiki articles, although not addressing the topic specifically, suggest that I'm right about EA being unable to republish these games online due to a lapse of movie rights -- which is also the reason the multiplayer servers were shut down. This, as I painfully recall, completely screwed with the ability of the first game to be patched out of the box, since it was very difficult for years to get all the patches for the first game, which weren't labeled clearly and which came with their executables and their data packs separated from each other (across I think three packs). I still have them archived on my computer.

Today, fan patches make internet multi-player possible (LAN play has always been available), and patching BFME1 is a snap. But alas, unless and until EA renews its license deal with New Line Cinema (or vice versa), possibly also depending on what the Tolkien estate deals are with other devs/publishers for video-game adaptations, EA would seem unable to legally republish the game. Copies can be resold on the market, but their numbers will steadily decrease as the DVDs (and earlier, the CDs) wear out.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 08:33:59 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Martok

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2016, 11:59:42 AM »
That's a genuine pity.  :( 
"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2016, 10:06:36 AM »
(The Land Where Many Dale Archers And Dwarven Mechanics Will Go To Die, aka:) The Defense of the Old Brown Lands

This battle, guys.

This battle is so crammed with enemies, that the computer couldn’t fit us all in different starting areas.

 


Note the old, brown lands. And the FREAKING DRAGON LORD and his squad of goblin minions and his two builders promptly booking south to go find a place to start ruining my life.

That being said, the Japanese kanji for “crisis” combines “danger” with “opportunity”, or so I read in I think Tom Clancy somewhere. Or maybe a Drizzt novel. And this initial disaster, as disastrous as it often was in my repeated attempts at beating this fight...

 


...and I spent almost an hour and 20 minutes just trying to survive the first five minutes with enough gump to have a chance surviving the next hour...

...this actually turned out to be good for us.

Really.

No, really!

Because I brought a bunch of fully upgraded Dale Archers to a dragon fight. And they each have King Brand’s “Black Arrow” ability, which does significant damage to a single target, and recharges pretty quickly!

-- which I never once remembered they had at any useful time in the whole campaign, such as when starting with a literal dragon lord in our face. For example, now.

Still. Once I got used to the problem of starting-with-a-literal-dragon-lord-in-my-face, it wasn’t too hard to double-click an archer in order to select all of them, and then order them to attack him en masse, in case they weren’t doing so already (since other enemies were nearby on the ground to distract them).

Not too hard. Also not entirely easy, because he doesn’t just hover in one spot, and I can’t issue orders while the game is paused, so I had to manually target the flappy badass thing myself.

Moreover, I couldn’t sit back and watch the eventual fireworks:

 


because I needed to be putting my builders to work pronto, one on a citadel to the southeast, near one of the three chokepoints leading into the area (...note, one of the three narrow points, so it can only sort-of-guard one), and one on a mine which experience eventually dictated would be destroyed soon but which I needed in order to keep from cratering my expenses entirely within three minutes.

You can see the fort starting with that cloud of dust in the snaphot; my other builder is going to the nearest (so as not to waste a second of doomed-mine income) relatively safest place for the mine.

That, and a quick guard tower on a line between the central pass and my mine (kind of between my eventual fortress and the mine, too), are Stage One.

Stage Two? Lasso-group all my (surviving) combat units -- which eventually manages to be most of them, due to luck and expectantly-quick reflexes -- and chase after the Goblin team’s escaping builders through the bottom-left gap out of my starting plain. More specifically, Stage Two is finding and hitting their base and builders so hard that I eliminate Team Goblin from the battle. Because if I don’t, even if I delay them, they will get time to rebuild as the other three teams constantly assault me, and unlike the other three teams they can stage assaults from next door easily through two natural passes into my base area.

This eventually works! Go me!

During this time, I don’t even bother with another mine, only with another axe-tower guarding its approach.

 


This, with some rune-axe upgrades, allows me to get rid of the first minor base rush without losing my starting mine after all!

Now with two axe towers and a whole fortress (which is like four well-armored axe-towers around a well-armored mine to start with), I can send the builders around to mine up my backfield. Meanwhile, the next rush has taken the time to eliminate a goblin cave outside my central pass, but the way the AI works that squad doesn’t have the gold inside the destroyed cave as a target. So, since there’s gold in that little valley between the hills, and since I know the largest initial rush will be arriving there soon, I hike Gloin and his stack up there to retrieve the gold and foil the boss rush; while the fools who left the gold behind (because they hadn’t been ordered to get it -- who would have thought orcs would be so disciplined about following orders to the letter!?) travel on into my base to be promptly axed in the face, the-end-for-them.

 


Okay, as per my notes in that snapshot, this little high valley (above my base-plain) makes a great place to bleed off enemy capital spent on assault troops (considering the campaign from an economic viewpoint) -- if I can establish a strong enough base here.

That’s a big if. I can’t run the fort builder out here initially because of the goblin cave (now gone), the denizens of which would smack my builder or, at best, erode away my fort while it’s being built -- the basic problem being that there are few flat-ground parts in this high valley, and the goblin cave is next to the only one large enough to build my fort on. Also, the first time a base rush squad happens by, they report back to enemy HQ and the next wave gets targeted on my fort before it’s ready to defend itself (if it even gets that far with the goblin cave nearby). And I can’t detail someone to go protect the builder, because I need everyone down whomping the Goblin Team off the map asap (including the melee units to protect my precious, currently irreplaceable fire archers from any enemy goblin squads while they’re busy disintegrating base structures.)

Trust me, I’ve run the options. Still, getting anywhere in this fight will involve sealing off this central pass (and the other two passes!), and that means forting up here eventually.

Eventually.

 


But not quite yet, because while I’ve now charged up a healing cast, it doesn’t bring everyone back to full strength and those archers are still irreplaceable. So with one builder working on my final mines, I send the other up front to build a healing hearth, and pull my mega-group back to stand guard around it (foiling another rush or two meanwhile) until they’re healed back to full strength; which doesn’t take long, healing hearths are the best thing in the game for this.

The fort itself can be upgraded to provide healing powers within a very short radius nearby, and that time will come eventually, but for now I’m spending money on it adding a fifth axe tower (beyond its original four), and a hub column.

Hub columns take a long time to make, and I can send a builder to put one in the field, too (which you’ll see eventually); but even though they do nothing themselves, they are arguably the most dangerous thing in the game. Because from any hub column, I can make free walls (with their own hub columns for changing wall direction and starting new wall constructions). And with walls, I can make (not free) axe-towers and catapults. And those all will partake of any upgrades I buy at my fortress.

To be honest, I’m going to waste money, and more importantly another fortress slot, buying another hub column on the other side of the fort (which can’t be seen easily in that snapshot) -- where I should have bought only one hub instead anyway! I only need one hub for my purpose, which is eventually to seal off my left and right passes with defensive walls, and to keep from minimizing my mine income (by planting walls on ground being mined) I was going to hub-wall the left pass anyway. So building a hub column on the back-left side of my fort was silly, even though I also plan to wing out defensive walls left and right of the fort to create a kill zone for enemy task forces: I only need one hub for that, not two, but I’ll waste a slot on another hub (instead of more defensive axe-power) in order to make the end result more aesthetically balanced. Because I’m stupid that way. :P

Anyway, that’s in the future. Right now, things are going well enough that I save the game to create a base (literally and figuratively) to strike out from afterward: this is pretty much (after many tries) the best result I can expect from that start.

I will now spend four or five more hours trying to win from this ideal result.

I won’t inflict that on my readers, but I’ll start summarizing my final attempt to win from here next time.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 10:08:42 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2016, 02:06:53 PM »
(Dang near the end of all things with:) The Defense of the Old Brown Lands

Everyone caught up? Good? Okay?

Okay, while I’m doing this no less than two, maybe all three of the other teams are starting to expand into the large central plain east of my base-plain, past that high constricted valley I mentioned last time. This is bad, because all three allied teams together can (and will) easily out-produce me, so I definitely don’t want them to also set up vastly much more of an economic base than I’m going to get!

What this translates into, is that I need to quickly make two more bases. Sort of. One in that high valley to eat task forces trying to get down into my base from that direction, and one in that large central plain to my east.

By “sort of”, I mean --


-- I send my two builders out to make a sacrificial mine and four (runed up) axe towers to defend it (one of my builders just died in this snapshot while getting ready to put down a healing hearth); while --

 


-- I send Gloin and his strike force (plus three squads of temporary guest archers) out to ruin enemy settlements and ambush some incoming enemy task forces. The healing hearth (and ideally a heroic statue) I mentioned a minute ago is for providing them a fallback point to recoup at, or for their support if the enemy sends a major task force up from the south pass instead.

I’m not being idle (God knows) back at my base-plain either! I’m slowly working up a barrack, range, and forge, and slowly upgrading my first fortress; plus sealing off my southwestern pass with a hub wall, although at this point I haven’t even started trying to wall off my northern pass yet.

You might recall from the snapshot a moment ago that I’ve also got a hub column built in the high pass area; that’s for sealing off the southern route into the high pass, which in turn will provide me some hubs to start expanding my ad hoc stronghold southward.

 


Here Gloin’s task force have come back to heal, although I have to use a heal power on them since I still haven’t gotten a hearth up yet. You can see on the far left that I’ve started to wall off the southern approach to the high pass, although the terminating hub has also already been severely damaged. (I can use my repair power on it, or if it survives long enough dwarven mechanics will automatically go out and tap it back to full strength.)

On the far right, you can see the arrival of the first of the enemy’s own artillery pieces, and there are no curses in the tongues of dwarves, elves, or men, for how much trouble enemy arty gives me in this game. Sure, I get to build what I expect is the strongest mechanical arty in the game (once upgraded -- the elves get ents which are the strongest organic arty I expect); but dwarves totally lack the one thing necessary to decisively beat artillery when I don’t yet have my own catapults on the field: strong fast-movers, i.e. fliers or cavalry. I have goat-wagons, but while fast they don’t hit hard and are so brittle I can’t expect them to survive a counter-arty mission, maybe not even long enough to trade piece for piece!

With the central “lure” almost sealed off now from the south, and Gloin’s task force able to go out into the plains to hunt for new buildings and intercept incoming enemy arty, it’s time to wall off my far northern pass.

 


I find a goblin cave nearby, which is fine: once I get the wall up, I’ll build at least once wall-pult for support and it’ll smash that place automatically.

This snapshot, by the way, marks the first time I have ever clearly seen that my giant octo-wall networks do cost me resources. Just not a lot for the bang I get spending those bucks. The walls slowly build ‘upward’, out of the ground, starting from the hub I dragged the ghost-plot out from, so as long as I remember he’s down there I can easily get my builder back in. Builders are NOT used in expanding walls like this, by the way, only for setting up the initial hub column.

This goes on for a while. About 25 minutes after starting my final attempt at being the mission from the ideal save point, I’ve also walled out a nice killing zone along the main track into my base.

 


In the middle of that snap, you can see that I’ve selected a wall section with two free sections on either side, to buy a catapult there. By now, I’ve bought most of my fortress construction upgrades so when that cat arrives, it’ll fling fire rocks automatically. You can see along the upper-right edge of the snapshot that I’ve long since made a row of ensconced axe-towers and fire-pults (each of which shoots two flaming rocks per shot, remember :smitten:), and that’s why the ground is so scorched. There’s a “postern gate” in one of the walls, which the enemy can’t see, which lets my troops in and out automatically without fiddling about opening and closing, so I can get them to the hearth to recover. But it won’t let my rolling catapults out, and I’ve foolishly been preparing my forgeworks in my backfield to set up for that (although also to buy troop upgrade tech for new squads, especially new Dale Archer squads which you may be able to see arriving from the left offscreen.)

Toward the far right of my northern wall, I save up enough money to put down my next fortress.

 


If you’re thinking, “Why bother?” my main answer is: because my range for extending a wall network for an ad hoc stronghold is limited to a radius centered on the nearest fort. This will allow me to continue moving my wall network to the upper right corner, where I suspect one of the teams is camping. Also, once I upgrade my fort sufficiently, I can buy a Mighty Catapult for it, which only shoots rarely but which can hit hard from a long way out.

Also, the enemy will start concentrating on this, and so less by proportion on trying to reach my mines.

Also, it can help protect a new forge over here, from which I can send out catapults through proper gates in the walls (since I neglected to design that egress previously  :uglystupid2: ).

Every once in a while I try a push with Gloin’s task force toward the southeast, where I know from prior experience the enemy has lots of basing (though no stronghold capability like me). Here’s one such attempt for an example:

 


It does not end well, like most such attempts, but I eat a lot of enemy units along the way.

Pay attention to the minimap in the lower left, though. All the red is me; anything not Old Brown is enemy. You may notice there’s an enemy blob in my base. That’s because my wall trying to seal off the southwestern pass into my base isn’t fitting tightly against the hills -- something that can only be ascertained by trying to send a squad through the area, annoyingly -- and squads are leaking through. I’ll be taking steps to nullify this. But even more importantly, I need to remember that enemy squads may have already knocked down a couple of my mines!

 


Not this mine, though, in my upper left corner! Gollum spawns over there, or randomly stealths into the area perhaps, and my mine’s archery tower spots him. Soon afterward, Gollum is shot down, and drops the Ring of Power. I’ll be sending a freshly made Dale Archer squad to go pick that up (while they’re busy outfitting with mithril, banners, and fire), and return it to my first fortress presently. This is a major boon for my side! -- it means I can summon the Storm Queen soon.

While the enemy is busy with three catapults murdering my new fortress at standoff range -- which won’t really hurt me at all, just cost me some of my plenty of income to replace -- I manage to push Gloin’s task force down to the main enemy base for the first time!

 


Since I have one charged up, I throw a free near-instant axe-tower down, which gets the attention of a lot of enemy catapults, giving me a chance to move up into anti-catapult range.

To be honest, this doesn’t work: Gloin gets sent to convalesce, and I pull back the task force in on a path to High Valley Base that will allow me to zorch a number of the enemy’s resource nodes along the way.

Oh, and the surviving enemy arty has been punching away my northern base area (including my upgraded fort), almost back to High Valley Base. You’d think my elevated catapults up front on my fortress would outrange them, but no.

 


So, yeah, I needed to get back anyway.

I also learn, somewhat by accident, that this nonsense has been happening:

 


I have to wonder if the map designers put that little bit of pathing beyond the rock, just to screw with people who thought they had sealed off the approach between the rocks. Admittedly, there haven’t been many survivors of that trek, but enough have gotten through and out of range of my wall defenses that they’ve surreptitiously nicked a few of my mines already! Well done, AI. Well done.

Oh, and the enemy has been exploiting a path around what I thought was the map edge down here, too.

 


I’m sealing it off for sure -- the next squad on the way in turns around and leaves -- but that’s one of my mines going down in my backfield nearby, because some squads have been getting in. When those mines go down, they not only affect how much money I can work with (and rebuilding them not only costs money but they rebuild naturally at level 1 so I’m losing relative income from upgraded mines during the time it takes for them to automatically level up), they also affect my command points which affects the number and quality of units I can buy to replace losses. This is how I dealt with the northern leak eventually, btw.

 


Which is what I should have done in the first place. (That spur will get some armaments, of course, once it’s up.)

...yeah, that’s a bear caught between the rocks and my hard place, a clause that sounded a lot better in my head before I typed it. It could have been a beaver. I mean just one of the environmental animals meandering around in the game. Wolves and bears don’t really attack anything, although I think they can have dens with treasure in them as environmental hazards.

My southernmost wall spur is doing partly-well against an arty-reinforced thrust:

 


About fifteen minutes before the end, I had managed to box in a large section of plains west of that shot, with plenty of fire catapult and axe towers to cause trouble for incoming enemy assaults, who started focusing down here for some obscure AI calculation.

This distraction allowed me to march Gloin’s task force around the map, thwomping the enemy’s supply points. But I didn’t try assaulting the main enemy base again until I could afford to call Galadriel, and until she arrived with Gloin’s group.

 


I hates enemy arty so much.

I came pretty close to not winning this assault either, despite Tornado!Lady on our side, but 


...after eroding more than half their base (and I noticed no fortress had gotten up this time), the AI called it quits.

This was my first large win where I didn’t ever get around to using catapults, and I think I struggled because of that. Also because of having to build my own stronghold in the teeth of four freaking teams.

64.7% casualties on my side; they lost a touch over 5100 troops.

And yet, this wasn’t the riskiest move I made this turn.

No, that was putting my King Dain Plan finally into effect:

 


My Dain Plan had always been to send him up in a run around the north end of the Misty Mountains, into the Goblin Team heartland (nicking one more of Isengard’s lands along the way). From there he should be able to remove the Goblins as a team eventually, and start collapsing the Angmar team.

But I hadn’t run him yet, because I didn’t feel safe yet leaving the Carrock to fend without him. And I still didn’t; but I reasoned that my AI ally must be sending Theoden to do that instead, and if that happened I wouldn’t be able to properly reinforce the areas taken for the Dwamaafe Team. So, despite a very large Goblin army still waiting in the High Passes, I started Dain on his Long March Around. And, much to my relief, Team Evil pulled back their Goblin army, evidently worried that they couldn’t beat Dain with a fortress at the Carrock (having tried that once already) and not realizing Dain was leaving.

The Gundabad territory, despite its reputation, ended up being just a snowy vacation for the king.

 


Once I did some, ahem, recon in force, it was simply a matter of marching the king and his single novice squad of archers around west of my base, and eliminating enough enemy buildings and builders for them to retreat.

In case you’re wondering whether this means we’ve finally started coming back from the brink: it doesn’t.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2016, 04:26:14 PM »
WEEK TEN -- FORTH, ITHIBRANDILAS
---------------------------------

“...they’re calling us what?!

The elven commander squinted. “Ithibrand. I suppose because we seem to be in joint command. It’s a term of affection, I feel pretty sure, not of disrespect.” She squinted in the direction of a squad at rest downrange, her ears twitching, not noticing the lovely shade of nonplussed purple her fellow commander’s face was turning. “Pretty sure. Not entirely. They can’t tell I’m listening from this far away, so I think their remarks are cordial enough, but cordially amused, so...”

King Brand was still casting around for how to explain the implications of the portmanteau, in a way that wouldn’t end with the deaths of a squad or two -- which would be bad for morale -- when a courier ranger arrived for Ithilia.

“Gloin has held,” she sighed in relief and reported to Brand. “And Dain has marched on Gundabad, at last.”

“Before Theoden could beat him to it, no doubt,” nodded the Lakemen King. “I trust he left the Carrock strong enough to hold against a determined Goblin attack; and I hope Theoden turns around for Dagorlad again. If he would strike out from there, Gloin might be able to follow and lend support!”

“Boromir will be attacking Fangorn again, with Eomer coming down from Lorien,” added Ithilia, pointing to where the Gondorian hero was preparing to leave Dol Guldur.

“That means Gimli will stay behind to parry any attempts by the enemy to cross over and take Lorien again from Fangorn. He must be chafing at that, defending a land he can’t even oversee proper fortifications in.” Brand shook his head. “He wouldn’t even be allowed to do that in Moria, to their west! -- those are the only two lands remaining to the captains of Gondor and Rohan!”

“Ironic,” agreed Ithilia. “Lands of dwarves and elves, held by humans who would prefer grand cavalry sweeps. I wish I could feel more assured that our human allies would securely take Fangorn this time. My other human allies I mean,” she added with a smile to Brand.

Brand had never seen her smile since meeting her. Not really, not like this.

“...I think we should split up!” he volunteered, his voice cracking a little.

“...what?” Her delicate elven eyebrows scowled. Brand felt himself flush, and that (he told himself) was exactly why it was time for them to split up. Courting a widow this recently would be improper in any case, and this immortal creature... that could only end in tragedy. Mooning over her wouldn’t help anything either. He should have found a wife already. “Why?!”

He swallowed. “As you say, I don’t trust my fellow Men to take and keep Fangorn properly. Whereas, I don’t trust Theoden to guard Dagorlad properly in case the enemy wisely tries a strong thrust that way this week. Dol Guldur has proven it can withstand minor assaults from a foe without us...”

“No it hasn’t!” she reminded him. “One or both of us have been here every time!”

“...but we can leave orders how to most efficiently proceed this time, and the enemy cannot possibly send enough troops from Fangorn -- their only line of attack -- to take it. On the contrary, we should hope they try, so that they will have nowhere to retreat if I recover Fangorn for y’us. For us. I mean for our alliance.” Yes, definitely time to be away. “Right now the strongest threats are against Gloin in the Old Brown Lands, and against Dagorlad who has no one to defend it. And you’re far more experienced than I am. It makes sense that you go. And that I go the other way.”

She pondered that a moment. He bated his breath and waited to hear his doom.

“Of course,” she nodded. “I see your reasoning clearly now; forgive me, I was a little distracted before.” His heart lurched, stopped. He willed it to continue, and cursed his gross stupidity over and over. A king should have more dignity than this. Next, he would be writing forlorn poetry in a journal!

Also, his men needed to stop getting ideas.

 

ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Khazâd du-bekâr
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2016, 04:26:55 PM »
WEEK ELEVEN -- KEY STRATEGY
---------------------------

“So, noble lady,” the human horse-king ventured. “What news from the north and the west?”

Ithilia tried not to be sullen. Theoden had certainly helped protect this gateland to Dwarven industry, when she and he had arrived to find some of the enemy setting up camp in the region. Together they had quickly routed the foe. Maybe a touch more quickly than if Brand had followed her here -- Theoden rode a swift steed. And after all...

“Our human allies recovered Fangorn forest, as expected. As expected, a strong Goblin force now approaches Lorien through Moria, which it took without resistance.”

“Tsk, so we still have only two lands in control; both forests.” Theoden shook his head. “Well, nothing could have been done to stop it I suppose. All we can do is make do.”

Ithilia added tartly, “Gimli, expecting this problem, stands ready to defend Lothlorien, although without support in the land -- “

“ -- he will doubtless be overrun, I understand.” The king, she saw, was preparing to ride. Where to?!

“ -- he must fight extra hard for a victory,” she finished. “Afterward, perhaps he can retake Moria. And hold it.”

“Perhaps.” But Theoden clearly didn’t expect that to happen. “Perhaps Eomer, my nephew, and heir to my throne, can now retake Rohan. And hold it.”

“Brand will do his best with his troops, even though he will not be allowed to fortify properly, to hold and keep your rear line secure. And to save your rears when you fail again,” she managed not to add.

“Well, once we have Rohan back, we can take Fangorn again, I’m sure,” he reassured her. “First things first.”

“And so, will you be riding through the Old Brown Lands to help that assault?” she asked. “The couriers will want to alert your men to your immanent arrival.”

“I have full confidence in Eomer -- and I suppose Boromir, who, if he can help retake Rohan, will be that much closer to retaking Minas Tirith, too.”

“Then you will stay here, and help me defend the dwarven holdings?”

“No, not hardly, child!” he laughed. “Cavalry are for advance, not defense! I shall see if I can drive the enemy out of the Dead Marshes again!”

“...they... but...” The purblind fool?!

“They have been routed from Dagorlad; if we are ever to retake the Marshes, and seal off Mordor again, we must strike while they are reeling. Good cavalry strategy, is the only cavalry strategy.”

“...indeed,” she had to agree. “And more good if you also had some cavalry!”

“Perhaps I will find some along the way. Tis better than sitting here and doing nothing. Our enemy still holds forty territories, and -- “

“ -- thirty-nine. They now hold thirty-nine. King Dain has taken Forodwaith.”

“Really! Splendid fellow! Not much of a fight I expect; and if one does not have cavalry, still the principles apply: circle around and strike from the rear! I had thought to do that myself, but, alas.”

“But now you will not be circling around to strike from the rear.” Ithilia decided not to mention that Dain had had to fight rather harder against the goblin fortifications than even he had anticipated; by all accounts from courier so far, his had been the toughest fight of the week.

“No, no, running down routers while I can. Also a key strategy.”

And so, calling for his squire, Theoden King soon rode away.

And soon again rode back. Routed.

 


[Gamenote: I seriously thought about raiding Gimli to take Moria, forting it up, and letting the enemy army bounce off my fortifications elsewhere while I slowly retook and forted up Fangorn and Lorien, this time as proper dwarven holdings. But I worried I might be left with no Gondor/han allies at all, which could theoretically be worse than having them ‘help’. ;) Besides, a close squint at the map will show one large Angmar army coming in from Moria, and that large Goblin army coming back through the High Pass to attack the Carrock. If Gimli has to deal with one of them, better the one who might be attacking a dwarven fortification! So in fact I abandoned Lorien for the Carrock. I felt pretty confident that I could leave enough of a garrison to keep Team Evil from event considering another attack on the OBL this turn, so with the loss of Lorien expected, I moved Gloin out of the OBL to help my allies retake Rohan.]
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.