“Seize Ground!”… A Dwarven Battle Report

Rori decided that the day would be their last in the outskirts of Annuminas. Their searching of the ruins had failed to turn up any more Barrow Wights or treasure. In fact Rori had the souring feeling that they had delayed too long. Perhaps he has been over confident that their knowledge of hidden paths in the Blue Mountains would allow the Dwarves to find the lair of the Cave Drake before either the Elves or the strange Men and Orcs following them.

The weather looked to be fair and the sun up soon, so Rori set his company to searching the last few ruins when they were surprised to see the Outlaws from Old Oak in the distance. They must be here to steal the treasure from the Dwarves!

The Dwarves move quickly, having the initiative. They secure the South East ruins. The Outlaws the seize first the North East ruins and then the North West ruins…. but they are surprised when a terrible apparition rises from the ruin, a Barrow Wight!

Five of the Outlaw archers loose at the Wight, which has failed to paralyze William Wipperwill and then rushed into melee with him, but four of them miss both William and the Wight. One Outlaw strikes the Wight but fails to injure it. William manages to defend himself.

The Wight tries to cast its spell but fails again. It charges towards William but when the Outlaw archers loose again Fancy Jack hits William in the leg, causing to fall to the ground screaming in agony.

The Wight casts its spell again, this time paralyzing Braga Big Axe. Oswald tries to transfix the Wight but fails to cast. The Outlaw archers loose again but only manage to hit Braga, who somehow survives the two arrows that hit him. The Orc, Wigduf moves up to support the paralyzed Braga with his spear, hitting the Wight but failing to wound it.

Both the Wight and Oswald fail to cast their spells. The Wight charges the helpless Brags but Oswald charges the Wight, striking it a mighty blow. It appears to be finally injured and Filibur “Firebug” takes courage from this. He uses his torch to hit the Wight and sets it alight! It bursts into flames, screams then disappears!

The Dwarves have not been idle whilst the Outlaws were distracted by the Wight. Omar has taken up a defensive position, securing the South East ruins. Brimir has secured the South West ruins. The rest of the Dwarves head to the central ruins, currently held by some of the Outlaws.

Brimir looses an arrow and hits Oswald but fate saves the Sorcerer. Bili cuts down both Bald Pete and Korg. Snorri cuts down One-Eye.

More Outlaws rush into the melee, which becomes a maelstrom of flashing blades. In the crush, Snorri gets trapped. Fancy Jack strikes Snorri a mighty blow (with one of the three underdog rerolls) and incapacitates him! Rori shouts in rage and cuts down Oswald, while Bili cuts down Victor.

The Outlaws are Broken! The Dwarves seize the initiative and Einar Lightfingers flees. Rori charges at Wigduf, throws an axe and Drops the Orc. Rori then changes direction and charges Filibur, cutting down the fire loving Outlaw with a single blow. Hanar cuts down two of the Outlaws thanks to inspiration from the Raven, Oren.

The melee continues back and forth. Rori drops Braga. The Dwarves and Outlaws push each other back in turn. Axes are thrown but fail to find their marks (three 1’s rolled in a row!) Bili cuts Edgar but fate saves the Outlaw. Rori finally drops Fancy Jack.

Still the fight continues. The fury of the fighting keeps the Outlaws from fleeing. Rori throws again, hitting Dolf but fate saves the Hillman. Bili drops Edgar. And finally Hanar cuts down Dolf… it is over for the Outlaws. Victory to the Dwarves!

The Dwarves finish their search of the ruins and still find only trinkets of marginal value. Snorri, the only Dwarven casualty of the fighting seems Blessed by the Valar, making a full recovery and getting +1 Fate. Rori and Hanar leveled, giving Rori +1 Attack and Hanar +1 Defense. For reinforcements the Dwarves got an Iron Guard… I have one made, just need to paint it up.

The Outlaws were underdogs with three rerolls. My wife quite enjoyed the reroll mechanic…. but we both forgot about it when she accidentally shot William. When she remembered she was quite frustrated with that. We set special dice aside to remember the rerolls but even with that trick they are easy to forget.

The Outlaws did well in their injury recovery rolling. All got full recovery except for three non-heroes that will miss the next fight. Their strength is made up though by three new recruits. Two more Ruffians and a Hillman.

We have been debating giving the Outlaws a 50% bow limit to help them out a bit more. But soon they will be at full strength and spending influence on creatures, equipment and most likely a mercenary. For equipment I am thinking poison arrows at the very least.

Also, inspired by the Johnathan Baker house rules we are thinking of giving bonus xp to an underdog company that actually wins.

This scenario was always going to be tough for me given my low model count but the next one plays to my strengths… the aptly named “Show of Strength”, where the company leader who gets the most kills wins the scenario. With the help of Dwarven steel and inspiration from our Raven, Oren, I am feeling rather confident….

I took the time to make some minor improvements to some of my Dwarves. Inspired by Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, I decided to use the color of the Boars on the heroes’ helmets to reflect rank. Gold for the lieutenant, silver for sergeant and bronze for heroes in the making. I added a greenstuff beard to Hanar to look more Dwarf and less short, Human barbarian. And I finished Oren the Raven.

My wife and I are not keen on how flying creatures work in BC and SBG. Having to land every turn means they long distance hop rather than fly. We are debating some house rules on that because it just makes no sense for Oren to keep landing just outside a big melee rather than circling overhead.

Speaking of the Horseclans my mother recently sent a belated birthday package for me, including some Horseclans books. I am currently rereading the series. I loved them as a teen but I think I ignored a lot of the books and just focused on the armor and fighting. There are several problematic elements of the story and characterizations that reflect values out of step with contemporary views. Some of the passages and views expressed make me down right uncomfortable. But I do like the attention to detail on the armor, tactics, strategy and politics. The mix of fantasy and post apoc sci-fi is neat too. I would like to wargame the Horseclans world but one, I do not need another distraction from Middle Earth and two, my wife is not a fan of the Horseclans world at all. Quite the opposite. A shame really as I would like to try to make some appropriately aged ruins and kit bashing minis to match his description of Freefighters, Confederation troopers, Kindred and Witchmen Broomtowners.

I used to love this image of Bili “the Axe” Morghun as a teen. Now, after years of research, gaming and historical re-enacting I know how problematic this image is. Still… it looks cool…


  1. I like your wife’s outlaw company, very menacing. Totally agree on the way flying creatures are handled in SBG/Battle Companies – I don’t understand why the nazgul come with a flying base if they are treated as being on the ground for combat. That lack of using the z axis is why I didn’t the buy X-wing game – they had nice pre-painted models and Star Wars is almost a given for playing but only having two dimensions bothered me.
    I know you aren’t on Facebook (smart move, me either) but do you look at reddit? there is a thread on home rules for Battle Companies right now https://www.reddit.com/r/MiddleEarthMiniatures/comments/hod0gy/battle_companies_rewrite/
    If you aren’t on there I will point them to your thread on the one-ring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Outlaws are not my wife’s company per es. In fact she goes out of her way to not get attached to them. Once the Dwarves and Outlaws get caught up in the narrative we will chose which Evil NPC company we fight each game.

      We will be looking to add a new Evil NPC Company after each narrative scenario, based on that scenario. That way models painted for that scenario will have a role in future games.

      I am not on reddit but my google search research sometimes turns up things on reddit. That is how I found the cool xp house rule. I will have a look at the reddit thread you suggest and I appreciate the heads up on it.

      X-Wing did not tempt me much but Armada did. In the end I passed on it though when we got a very good EBay win on some Dropfleet stuff. I just have not had time to do much with it yet. I read a lot online about how most space games lack that z axis aspect you mention and therefore play like wet navy games.

      Liked by 1 person

    • An interesting thread. I agree the reinforcement system feels increasingly unbalanced the more we play. As does the warrior progression system ( hence why we give warriors that level but can not progress D3 Influence). And the hero ability system. My wife is more than a little frustrated with how often I have managed to roll +1 attack versus her lack of rolling it for her Elves.

      My Dwarves do seem rather fortunate in their post game rolls. It hits my points value but it has made them pretty tough on the field. And while I took the risk to delay recruitment my first recruit is a 15 point Iron Guard (strength 4, 2 attack model in Dwarven armor with throwing axes). For 4 Influence…. the same The Outlaws paid to have a 5 point Hillman when they rolled a 1.

      Rewriting the reinforcement system seems a bit daunting however given how adjusting it can throw the whole influence system out of whack.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Its good to see Bret helping you out with the more technical aspects of BC. He would know much more than I do and Reddit could be a good lead though I’ve always found that putting yourself out there on Reddit is a bit daunting.

    I thought this was another well-written report with great photos. The Ruffians really do seem cursed which is something I’ve heard others say in battle reports. Its funny how it works where a particular force just has a really tough time and I think trying with some fresh minis after a bad loss is a great way to potentially get around that even if it is more of a psychological solution than anything else.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I quit Facebook, the last thing I want to do is get involved with reddit. I am willing to pick up things that appear on a search but I do not want to get drawn into actually engaging with that platform.

    We decided to up the Outlaws bow limit to 50%, I just need to get the minis sorted. With some concealing cloaks on selected heroes and bows, think of them as Robin’s Merry Men but Evil.

    Even though they are having a hard time of it, I like how the Outlaw personalities are becoming real characters in their own right. It has me tempted to start a Fiefdoms company.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reddit is more anonymous than FB and people can be mean there or that is my impression. Sadly, I don’t think the FB groups for MESBG aren’t all that interesting. Most of the focus is on points matches and tournament play so there isn’t a lot of content for people who like narrative play.

    I think a Fiefdoms company could be really cool and I would look forward to seeing you paint those up!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reddit I have heard has a reputation for nastiness but yeah fair point on being more anonymous than Facebook. From what I see still active on The One Ring competitive points play seems much more popular than narrative play.

    Before we started Battle Companies we did a lot of work on Rohan models since they were among my wife’s favorites. I was sure she would use a Rohan company when we started Battle Companies, so her decision to play Lothlorien took me by surprise. I knew she liked Galadriel though so I should have seen it coming.

    And she was surprised I chose Dwarves for my first Good Battle Company as she was sure I would chose Dol Amroth. So we have considered starting a new Good Battle Company each. Of course that could delay things a bit as I would want to introduce two new Evil companies to match them against.

    Liked by 1 person

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