Author Topic: Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River  (Read 166 times)

Delvidian

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Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River
« on: April 08, 2017, 07:29:47 AM »
My son and I played a modified version of the Blackthorn River scenario from Harbinger magazine the other night. Alex is 21 and is annoyingly good at games (he beat me in our very first game of Stratego, the little @#%). We mustered 1500 points each of our factions, no flying units and a limit of 2 Large units. The victory conditions for this scenario are A) control the bridge and the ford location for 2 turns or B) menace the general by getting a unit more than halfway into the opposing deployment zone. The way the scenario is written, there are 3 possible ford locations but the actual One True Ford (which sounds like a Brave New World reference) isn’t revealed until contact.

Our builds were:

MONSTERS & MERCS (Me)
Half-Orc Spearmen (x2)
Wildmen Horse Archers (x2)
Hill Giant (x1)

UNDEAD (Him)
Skeleton Trolls (x2)
Zombies (x3)
Skeleton Cavalry (x1)
Skeleton Spearmen (x2)

I’m still focused on learning the rules, so I only took three photos.

BEGINNING
Things looked rosy for the M & Ms at the beginning of the game. In the first turns, I’d already put my Hill Giant on the bridge and found the ford, on the far side of the river where neither of us had much of a presence, and planted a unit of Wildmen Horse Archers on it. Instead of sending my rightmost cavalry to the other side of the river, I set them up to give covering fire on the bridge. My son and I both burned through Command Actions quickly during this part of the game. We had designated the river’s edge as point objectives because it didn’t seem right to designate the middle of the river as an objective, since only the ford location would allow access.



MIDDLE
The middle of the game saw my Hill Giant facing off against his Skeleton Spearmen on the bridge and my Wildmen Horse Archers vs. his Skeleton Trolls at the ford. You can’t see the Horse Archers in the photo because the Trolls obliterated them quickly. Instead of holding the ford with the Skeleton Trolls, my son sent them toward my deployment zone to go for the "Menace the General" victory condition. You can see my Half-Orc Spearmen on an intercept course.



END
Here’s where my M & Ms fell apart. The Hill Giant, deep in the red at this point, routed and ran off the bridge and into the Half-Orc Spearmen, who then failed their rout check. Though I was able to stop his Trolls from reaching my deployment zone, my Wildmen Horse Archers were not going to make it to the bridge in time. He won by satisfying the first victory condition, having units on the ford and bridge unopposed for 2 turns. He makes me proud, that boy.



Since I’m new at this, it would be helpful to know: What would you have brought to this scenario and why? What would you have done differently?


« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 10:27:43 AM by Delvidian »

Fingolfin

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Re: Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 09:20:04 PM »
Nice Report! I do have some questions and comments.

END
Here’s where my M & Ms fell apart. The Hill Giant, deep in the red at this point, routed and ran off the bridge and into the Half-Orc Spearmen, who then failed their rout check. Though I was able to stop his Trolls from reaching my deployment zone, my Wildmen Horse Archers were not going to make it to the bridge in time. He won by satisfying the first victory condition, having units on the ford and bridge unopposed for 2 turns. He makes me proud, that boy.

How did the Hill Giant hit red so quickly? He was up against spearmen, true, but your son must have either had great luck or been showering the spearmen with red cards. If it was the latter, you must have had a command card advantage.

Since I’m new at this, it would be helpful to know: What would you have brought to this scenario and why? What would you have done differently?

I would have dropped the Wildmen Horse Archers and added Ogres. The Wildmen are great at finding the ford but are bad at holding it. Ogres, while more expensive and less mobile, are much better if your opponent is looking to contest the ford. I might also have switched the Hill Giant for a Earth Elemental.  It hits less hard, but it has approximately the same staying power for a lot cheaper. If you are looking to contest the bridge and the ford, the Elemental is probably a solid choice.

I hope that helps!
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Delvidian

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Re: Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 06:38:22 AM »
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How did the Hill Giant hit red so quickly? He was up against spearmen, true, but your son must have either had great luck or been showering the spearmen with red cards. If it was the latter, you must have had a command card advantage.
I rolled well the first couple of turns, when the Hill Giant/Wildmen Horse Archers knocked out the first unit of Skeleton Spearmen, but after that my dice went stale. He focused his cards on killing the Hill Giant. I prioritized my cards on the Horse Archers on the left side because I didn't have a unit close enough to plug that hole. I may have also mistakenly let him get that (+0) +0/+2 Holding bonus vs. Large for at least an extra turn after the Charge. Duh. At first I thought "There's no way he is going to take out the Hill Giant," and then that thought turned to "Okay, but I've got my own Half-Orc Spearmen to take their place." I've played two full games of BFW thus far, and I can say with certainty that I didn't use my cards as well as I might have in either game.
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I would have dropped the Wildmen Horse Archers and added Ogres. The Wildmen are great at finding the ford but are bad at holding it.
You said it.

Quote
I might also have switched the Hill Giant for a Earth Elemental.  It hits less hard, but it has approximately the same staying power for a lot cheaper. If you are looking to contest the bridge and the ford, the Elemental is probably a solid choice.
I had the Earth Elemental in my original build but then swapped in the Hill Giant because I wouldn't be able to give the Elemental a Standing Order Modifier or directly control him. I was worried he'd overshoot the bridge objective or be lured away from it. Given the  conga line my son set up at the bridge, that probably wouldn't have been a problem.

Thanks for the feedback, Fingolfin. It shortens my learning curve to hear how experienced players approach these decisions.



 

RushAss

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Re: Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 02:38:08 PM »
Great to see this! 

Since I’m new at this, it would be helpful to know: What would you have brought to this scenario and why? What would you have done differently?

Fingolfin was certainly on to something concerning the Ogres.  Ogres are just such a good deal for the points.  But if you really wanted to claim that bridge, just plop a big fat Hydra in front of it and watch it eat all comers.  No doubt it would eventually go down, but it would gobble up a ton of bones and rancid meat before it did so.  Just be warned that you'd probably have to downgrade a Half Orc unit to Wildmen Swordsmen who are not the greatest infantry troop in the realm, but for 142 points they are not a bad deal.  Just make sure you PAY THE MANTM*

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Delvidian

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Re: Monsters & Mercs vs. Undead: The Battle for Blackthorn River
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 04:19:53 PM »
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But if you really wanted to claim that bridge, just plop a big fat Hydra in front of it and watch it eat all comers.
That would've been worth doing just to see the look on his face. Shock and awe!