“Show of Strength”… 8th Battle Report in Journey to the Blue Mountains

On an old road heading from Annuminas, on a fair evening, the Elves of Fingaerion’s Spear come across the Taken of Minas Morgul.


Despite being at a slight disadvantage, Fingaerion decides that an engagement against Arnakhor is called for as a show of strength given his recent return to the journey North. Arnakhor is ready for a fight and both companies spread out into skirmish lines whilst steadily advancing towards the other. Both Fingaerion and Arnakhor limping from leg wounds.

Under the cover of the moonless night, which hampers the Elven archers, the Taken slowly advance… except for Azgarzir. The Morgul Knight spurs his mount into charging the Galadhrim sergeant Cailon. At first this seems a decided affair as the armored horse seems to slam into the Elf but miraculously Cailon moves aside just in time (wise use of the single underdog reroll they have for this match). He fails to wound his opponent but the steed recoils from the Elf.

Evil takes the initiative and in his rage Azgarzir makes a foolish decision. He charges his mount back towards Cailon… and is met with a counter-charge by the Elves! He is isolated alone and vastly outnumbered as the Elves swarm around him. Both Spectres fail to mesmerize their prey. Faeril the Wightslayer turns his spear on Azgarzir’s horse and the mount falls to the ground.

The Elves take the initiative. The Spectres fail again to ensnare anyone with their Fell Lights. Anduniel looses an arrow but misses. Cailon looses at Arnakhor but instead drops Nagduf. The Spectre Idrahil’s ghostly blade cuts down the Elf sergeant Randil, whilst Azgarzir fells Iareth.

The fighting continues. Anduniel is cut off from the main group of Elves. Arnakhor and the Spectre Barahil push her back but fail to wound her. Azgarzir looks to be overcome but with a mighty blow he wins the fight instead. However he does not wound his opponents. Gazbag hits Faeril but fate keeps the Elf from falling to the blow. Cailon is similarly saved as Maubag slashes him.

Now the Taken seize the initiative. Idrahil fails to mesmerize an Elf. Arnakhor strikes Anduniel a mighty blow and she falls. Shagduf the one-eyed Orc archer jabs Cailon with an arrow and the Elf fails to the ground.

The Elves are broken. Fear seizes Faeril and he flees. With this the two remaining Elves decide to withdraw. The fight is over, victory goes to the Taken.

The Post-Game phase saw the following…

Fingaerion’s Spear received 2 Influence Points, for a total of 4.

The Taken received 4 Influence Points, for a total of 4 as well.

We chose to hold off spending these right away.

The fallen Elves recovered from their injuries…. except for Cailon, who was lost in battle! The next scenario will see if he can be saved as both the Spear and the Taken seek to find him.

Faeril leveled, rolling Heroslayer and now gets +1 to wound heroes.

Anduniel leveled and chose the Path of the Scout. She then rolled +1 Defense.

Iareth leveled but failed to be recognized.

Of the Taken, Nagduf was injured and will miss the next skirmish as he recovers.

Arnakhor leveled and rolled Rally to Me, adding 3″ to his Stand Fast ability.

Azgarzir leveled and rolled Horselord.

Maubag leveled but failed to be recognized.


Shagduf leveled and was promoted to Orc Tracker. I say promoted but his points value went from 6 to 5, giving up his armor (+1 Defense) in exchange for +1 to his shoot value.

To be honest it does not feel like much of a promotion.

Much like when my wife has one of her Wood Elves promote to be a Galadhrim, giving up their Elven Cloak for heavy armor…. and with our house rules going from 7″ move to 5″ move. At least for her though she goes from an 8 point Elf to a 9 point Elf.

Despite the age of Battle Companies there still seems like some weird inconsistencies which might be considered editing errors or poorly thought out balancing.

Take for example the Lothlórien special battle company hero skill, it is a “free fate roll” that succeeds on a 6, yet the other companies that have a similar rule all save on a 5 or 6. I know Lothlórien is a powerful company choice but this seems a very odd way to try to introduce balance. I figured a house rule to make it 5 or 6 for Lothlórien would be fair and I was confirmed in this when my wife went from “yeah, I will never use that” to “hmm, do I take Heroslayer or the new special skill? Hard choice but I think I will go with Heroslayer.”

To me balance is about difficult choices. If it is too good to miss out on or so bad you would never take it, then it is imbalanced.

As for the scenario, a surprising result.

Admittedly the random chance roll of it being night helped but my mistake not to withdraw Azgarzir after his first failed charge was a big one. I should have rode off into the dark and then charged back into the Elves once they were engaged with the bulk of my troops. Or picked off stragglers mesmerized by the Spectres… although the high courage of the Elves weakens the effectiveness of Fell Lights.

As for the night rule, we went with the night rule in one of the scenarios in the Second Edition Battle Companies book. We used 6″ missile and spell range but we did not use the “+1 strength to missile weapons at night because they are harder to dodge” part of the rule. I was surprised charge range was not limited in the rule but because of that I decided to recklessly send in Azgarzir unsupported. That could have been my undoing. We did debate the idea of a horse charging at night but decided to go with it in the end.

Both my wife and I were surprised how the dice rolled in the main melee. It was not so much that I rolled high but rather that my wife rolled low. We were both surprised yet again by how vulnerable minor heroes can be to regular warriors. My wife was frustrated by the crowd control available to me through Terror and Fell Lights but I think with her high Courage she overestimates the risk posed by the crowd control. And she dislikes how powerful 2 attacks are on heroes. Both Gazbag and Azgarzir have 2 attacks thanks to lucky leveling rolls. Normally I would have chosen an extra wound over an extra attack because I am a naturally defensive player but I will admit I am glad I chose otherwise in these cases. The extra attacks have proved vital to deal with the higher Elven Fight values.

Feel free to let us know your own thoughts, opinions, tactics and experiences in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  1. The result is quite surprising and you know where my allegiances lie. I was expecting an Elf victory but not this time!

    The only information I can offer is that I have heard a lot of people say that Battle Companies can quickly become imbalanced and an army with a few early wins can start crushing their opponents. I’m sure that some factions are just more powerful than others in BC too. That is one concern I have with the system as it seems like a lot of work to keep armies balanced if some are gaining more resources or strength than others. You may have to try doing some house rules or strengthening the other factions so that they do not fall behind but again, possibly someone like Bret may know more about this than me. I’ve just seen it discussed in the GBHL Facebook group. Either way, I look forward to more battles and the terrain looked great in this one once again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We will have to watch and see if it gets too imbalanced. The goal right now is to do the four official GW Battle Companies campaigns then start introducing the companies into games with regular SBG games. As long as the narrative is good we are less concerned with competitive balancing.

      Liked by 1 person

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