This post is going to irritate die hard fans of War of the Ring. Apparently in some circles there just are some things you cannot do. Like seeing opportunistic FP player killing Gandalf, and then you, as a Shadow refuse to bring in any minions to play and win… So, if you feel strongly about the way to play WotR, stop now. 🙂
We have recently tested a theory that revolves around not taking the ring into Mordor, but rather walking in with an army instead. We heard from many people that it cannot be done because nobody does it, and therefore it is impossible. Hence, a challenge was thrown.
We’ve now tried several games (most against same opponents who knew exactly what to expect) for the name of science. If you, as FP read the victory conditions in ASL way, 4VP wins for FP, regardless of how many VP Shadow has, as long as it is less than 9. So, don’t get too emotional about your cannon fodder. You can hand out a lot of locations. We can disregard ring victory condition as it is completely irrelevant.
If you skip ring moves, and use the will of the wests, and swords for more productive cases, you will have saved 15-17 dice for moves alone. You would probably get revealed due to various reasons around 6 times, or more so we can say that you have 21-23 extra dice that allow you to operate armies, leaders, and in case of will of the west, some more productive things. Naturally you will not have, because game will end much before that.
We can easily see that all the southern regions can be lost and should not be bothered with, except for rising (elite) armies. Same goes for Rohan.
So, first thing to do, get some more dice. Get fellowship going, but without Frodo. move as quickly as you can to get Aragorn in play, and while doing that, Activate Rohan on the way. If you can have Gandalf White, good. If you can soften up Orthanac, excellent (leave one hobbit in the forest for that). Also leave someone to activate North and Dwarves, especially if right cards come to hand. You will not need either if you play fast and aggressive enough. Shadow cannot bottle your Aragorn/strider in any fort when you start early.
Then, build some Army around Aragorn/Gandalf (reroll deterrent)/Hobbit (a witch king deterrent) -combo, and have some secondary army to supply losses, and then go to hunt some Orc. You have to leave some token resistance to various places to force Shadow to siege, so don’t run pool entirely dry. You also may wish to expect the Elven ships, and Dunharrow to get you Umbar when Shadow thinks it’s all clear. This has been done number of times, so it is not impossible.
While doing that, don’t forget to bottle up Gunbald and Moria as soon as possible to wait for picking them up. Two defenders will not risk losing open battle against one regular and one elite and one leader. Any counter measures against the bottled up situations will eat Shadow’s resources elsewhwere so it’s all good. If Saruman is not in play, and Shadow is not inclined to take him, take Orthanc instead, it’s easy as heck.
Because of the evolution of this tactic, Saruman and Orthanac very seldom do anything but stay put. It has been lost too many times.
In fact, Gandalf White+Aragorn+Hobbit+some leaders and 5 Elites & 5 regulars can beat any practical fort shadow can put against. Shadow cannot stuff all elites in forts, so there is seldom more than 5HP worth, most likely 1HP to 3HP which means in average ~30DR, which is highly unlikely because usually there are cards in play. One to three rounds of siege usually suffices in most cases and the key is to use cards that preserve your forces, not to cause hits.
1HP was a recommendation of hardcore WotR player who said that the idea is not to stop, but force you to spend die to siege. Trouble is that if you have two forts with 1 or two each, you’ve lost before you even start playing. Forts defended like this sort have fallen for a single elite unit so it is a pretty boring gamble.
Last game and result in 7 turns (she left Morannon empty because she wanted to build barrier on front and did not expect marching day and night or Scouts in preceding battle). No way this is unique situation:
Now, this sort of destroys the whole idea of the game, and takes fun out of it. I hate competitive play, but now this has grown so darn obvious to ignore.