War of the Ring
Darryl played as the Free Peoples, Phil as Shadow.
This time the Fellowship made rapid progress towards Lorien and rested there until full strength. Meanwhile Sauron explored a strategy of conquest in the North East: Dale, Erebor and the Woodland Realm. He mustered rapidly and sent forces from the Easterlings and Mordor whilst keeping a holding force at Minas Morgul and one at Dol Guldur to keep Lorien and the Lady Galadril under threat. It was a difficult war but with the influence of the Witch King and the support of the two armies from Mordor it was just possible for Sauron to eventually take the 5 Victory Points. Activating the North meant that he had to Muster Monsters in the North West and keep Isengard forces in the area too.
Sauron chose not to do much with Saruman, keeping Rohan at peace and instead chose to muster forces at Umbar and then march north towards Pelargir.
The Witch King marched his forces towards the Misty Mountains, threatening the Elves at Rivendell and Lorien. The Free Peoples strenthened both as well as sending Cirdan’s ships to Dol Amroth. Soon every single elven warrior was mustered. Gandalf the White moved to aid Lorien, leaving a Hobbit with the Ents in Fangorn if necessary.
The Witch King turned his Army South, supported by a large force from Dol Guldur and the Siege began. This Siege turned out to be a turning point in the game. Gandalf negated the Witch King and his Nazgul but casualties began to mount on either side. Many combat cards were played and reinforcements were necessary for the besiegers. However with the gradual attrition of the Elves and no forces left to Muster, Lorien began to weaken. Finally the Balrog arrived from Moria (combat card) and Durin’s Bane slew Galadriel and Gandalf as the final elven defenders were overrun by the Orcs. This all took time and amidst the chaos the Fellowship escaped and headed South towards Minas Tirith with Boromir and Strider in the group. At the falls the Fellowship was broken. Boromir went on to raise a mighty Army at Minas Tirith with the aid of Faramir and his Rangers.
The Witch King then ordered his forces South towards either Helm’s Deep or Minas Tirith whilst he and his Nazgul flew towards Dol Amroth in order to complete the Siege. However that battle did not go as planned. Possibly as many useful combat cards had already been used up at Lorien. The siege almost failed and it was only by raising another force at Umbar and employing the ships of the Corsairs that Sauron was eventually able to capture the Citadel. Boromir briefly threatened a move against Minas Morgul and did recapture Pelargir as well as destroying a small force of Orcs. Overwhelming forces coming from Mordor however forced him again into a defensive position.
Finally Helm’s Deep and Edoras fell before the Rohirrim could be mustered to war in adequate numbers. Without Gandalf the White the power of the Nazgul was proving too great. The Fellowship led by Strider did make it to Minas Morgul but was unable to make much progress as the Free People’s were consitently distracted by war and they were now down to just 4 dice.
Sauron was thus able to achieve a military victory before they could reach Mount Doom!