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Rocket-Toad
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:18 pm
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Gentlemen, a decision has been made.

The theme for the AoA board for next year at 'Salute' will once again be LotR and this time it will based around the 'Rammas Echor'.
Sukhe will elaborate and enlighten in due course.
Wozza will be returning to run the event and Sukhe will be bringing no less than a whopping SEVEN Shocked Mumakil with double decker Howdahs, Yehar.

Sukhe will be bringing his considerable talents to bear in the manufacture of the terrain, I will be creating the bespoke base boards for the terrain, an element we have been missing thus far.
Wozza will plan out the structure of the game itself and make sure it works for the table, which this time is down to 12 feet long by 6 feet wide.

Sukhe, take it away with your knowledge of the Rammas and it's surrounds.

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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:37 am
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OK guys, some of you will be familiar with this so bear with me - to recap

In the latter part of the Third Age, Minas Tirith and its lands were surrounded by the Rammas Echor, a fortified wall encircling the Pelennor Fields (Pelennor means 'fenced land' in Sindarin) and meeting up with the capital city of Osgiliath, where the Causeway Forts were built on the west bank of the Anduin and garrisoned, though Osgiliath itself remained in ruins. This outwall was built by Ecthelion II but fell into disrepair after his death, only to be repaired in the year leading up to the War.

His successor Denethor II ordered Osgiliath and the Rammas to be defended, despite the advice of the council who wanted to retreat back to Minas Tirith and hold out from there. As told in The Return of the King, the Rammas proved an ineffective defence due to the overwhelming Orc legions of Mordor, who penetrated the wall and laid siege to the city before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. This was due in large part to a chronic manpower shortage in Gondor.

The Rammas Echor, the wall circuit that enclosed the Pelennor Fields, didn't make it into the Peter Jackson films. In terms of architectural style, I'm taking my cues from Romanesque architecture and using the rounded battlements I developed for the Sahyun castle. I've drawn my inspiration from Hadrians Wall. When complete I'll have 6 feet of continuous rampart, a couple of breached/ruinous sections, three towers/bastions of varying designs, the main gatehouse and causeway approaches and of course the lighthouse (for the Harlond - the main harbour for Minas Tirith). There are also slight angle changes incorporated into the circuit to suggest a slight curve. Essentially its a fair amount of supposition and educated guesswork from the limited refs, but that gives the imagination freer reign...

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As for surrounding scenery there was likely to have been a DMZ around the Rammas as there was either side of Hadrian's wall - to allow for clear line of sight etc.

The gate and accompanying watch-towers of Rammas Echor were known as the Causeway Forts and were the strongest section of the entire wall. In total the wall consisted of three main gates; north, east and south. During the War of the Ring, the Pelennor Fields saw the largest battle of the Third Age, when Sauron's forces overran the Rammas Echor by blasting through it and besieged the city.

My concept is to have a raised but ruinous paved road leading up to the Causeway forts, with areas of marshland around, possibly with the terrain sloping away from the walls to suggest the proximity of the flood plain of the Anduin. This may serve to slow down portions of the attacking force.

Marsh sections made from doormat in use with my 15mm Anglo-Normans

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If we wanted to suggest the banks of the Anduin River I can arrange that as well using the river bank sections I've made...

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Or we could go the whole hog and incorporate the bridge as well... though from a gaming point of view this may be more problematic

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That's all I got, I don't want this to turn into the SB show, and some is still WIP so the quicker we can decide on what we all want to do and what we can all bring to the table, the quicker I can sit down with RT and figure out the game boards and prioritise my modelling until next April!

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Rocket-Toad
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:20 am
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That looks awesome Sukhe, I like it a lot.
Would some scenery rubble be worth strewing about before and during the progress of the battle?

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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:53 am
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I hope to have several bases of random stone rubble with which to dress the wall and either side, as well as having at least 1 bespoke breached wall section. There should also be several large lumps of landed Trebuchet ammunition to scatter around.

Plan A
Given that I currently have around 6 feet of wall, we'd play up the length of the 12' x 6' table. This would give us an opportunity to show artillery to good effect, narrow the attacking frontage. We could possibly use a breach and breakthrough scenario. The baddies would attempt to storm and punch through the defences taking out as many goodies as possible and then try and prevent them from rallying off the end of the table (room here for the timely arrival of reinforcements to help stem the tide perhaps?) However we only achieved 6 turns in the last big bash - would we want to go for something where we'd all get stuck in quicker? Very Happy

Plan B
Alternatively I could crack on and make up another 6' of wall sections and we play along the entire 12' wide frontage. This would allow more room for figures thus creating more of a spectacle? The gatehouse is around 8' deep, so allowing a nominal 1' belt for defences that leaves say 3' clear to allocate to the attackers with 2' behind the wall for the defenders.
If that sounds/looks too cramped then we'd go for Plan A

A word of warning. The walls are relatively low (4" to rampart level). The howdahs on my Mumakil are at rampart level, so we'd be talking about direct attacks on the battlements and defenders behind by the heffalumps banghead with at least 1 crewman having a height advantage over the wall defenders. I'm sure some of you are just itching to take a Mumak down with artillery fire - well here's your chance! hate-guns

If we decide to go for Plan B I need a decent heads up in order to make the walls AND complete the Mumakil et al in the remaining time...

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the flayed one
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:01 pm
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wow !
looks like it's going to be a pretty awesome table whichever version you go for .
stupendous senery. and i liek that the mumaks will be able to face off to the wall defenders, i guess siege towers would too.
that way the defenders do not get such an easy ride of it !

if there was any critisism of the last salute show table it would be that there was so many units on the board , it was hard to tell what was going on. let alone how you guys kept up with the action.

so i guess a long clear battle line along the wall will help in that regard.

excellent models as usual sukhe. i look forward to seeing the progress .

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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:39 pm
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I've calc'd that I currently have just under 4' of clear wall, the gatehouse is 12" wide, and I have 3 different towers/bastions each 7" across, plus an 8" and a 5-6" breached wall section on the workbench.
I can't use the lighthouse since that is at wall's end and needs a fair amount of work to complete, but making a further 6 x 8" wall sections to cover the remaining 4' of table shouldn't be too difficult a task.
If I'm canny I can probably build in removable 'damaged' sections like I did with the bridge - to simulate ellies/artillery ripping battlements off and bashing in the wall...

The length of the bridge would require us gaming along the 12" length and there is the river to consider... this may also rule out using the river bank sections which were more for the craggier Fords of Isen in Rohan, than the banks of the mighty Anduin - depends how far we wish to depart from the LoTR in terms of storyline, and that would depend on what armies we field...
Like I said before I'd love to field my Southrons again which with 7 Mumaks and a few upgrades is between 8-9K in points. Beyond that I'm easy. I don't want it to be just my collections on the table. Perhaps its time to revive the Alliance of men and Elves once more? I recall seeing some excellent Graccans, as well as Wozzas Elves and my Gondorian infantry last year?

In terms of terrain boards we could get away with mainly flat on the defenders side - perhaps with some minor undulations for scenic effect, an 8" belt of flat for the wall sections to sit on and perhaps it falling away gently in front. Nothing too fancy - that way it could act as a gentle ridge/hill crest in future battles?.
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The Rammas was essentially encircling good farmland/grazing from the edge of the largest river in ME so would have looked more sedate than the craggy highland look of the films

RT and I will need to confer in more detail of course Very Happy

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Elvenblade
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:21 pm
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I'd agree with Flay. Less is more. Putting lots of models on the table may look amazing but you end up not being able to see the wood for the trees. Also Aoa is not designed for that size of game so the play slows down too much.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:08 am
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Excellent advice there. I think we need to sit down and work out how much frontage our respective troops would occupy and scale down army/unit sizes accordingly

The baddies are going to want to push through with their reserves once breaches have been made, so we are looking at probably at least 2 battle lines there. This would still achieve the 'wow' factor with the reserves even if the main battle concentrates on the first line assault of the wall. Reserves can be fed in where necessary of course to maintain pressure on the defenders.

Some WIP pics of the three lesser towers/bastions to intersperse at suitable intervals between wall sections...
A simple mural bastion

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A mural tower

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And artillery bastion for mounting a treb or ballistae

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Since my models are 'solids' we could consider employing simple floorplans of the lower levels to which we can allocate troops to maximise the defenders' firepower as well as populating the battlements as normal-

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Wozza



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:27 pm
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Chaps this is looking good - thanks SB & Toad for getting things moving.

I very much like the concept - this is going to be a great looking game. I agree with the thrust of Elvenblade & Flay's thoughts - this years game was too big for the number of active players. A smaller game will retain the visual impact but allow more to be done, while the wall assault will focus attention and make it obvious what is going on.

Initial thoughts:

Keep it simple - no flank attacks etc, just a straight fight over the walls.

6' frontage is too short for the battle we want. It will not allow enough room for manuver. We will want to go for the 12' frontage.

Walls of the size we have here are not breached in the course of a single day. They must be pounded over a long period before a viable breach is created, following which it must be assaulted. I would favour having the two breached wall sections in place at game start, the battle representing the assault which follows their establishment. The attack will actually be over the whole of the wall, not just the breaches, which will give us some good variation.

We need some seige rules. I believe there were some draft rules about which had had some testing, I will see about obtaining a copy. They may well need to be simplified for ease of use and speed on the day.

All of this will be dependant, as always, upon numbers of people avaliable to assist. If we do not get the numbers, we will need to revert to a battle on a 6' frontage.

Will post more thoughts when i have any!

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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:40 am
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Wozza,
Welcome aboard!
I agree a general assault along the entire 12' length of wall is in order. As I said I have 2 breached sections under construction and plan to have a number of others with removable central chunks to create more. Tolkein mentions that the Rammas was breached in several places -either by muscle, missile or general wizardry/chemistry, but that after the Battle of Pelennor Fields the wall still acted sufficiently as a barrier to pen in the baddies for general extermination.
I've had a look at my inventory and can create a continuous wall which has the gatehouse and raised causeway roughly in the centre, flanked by a wall bastion and tower on each side separated by approx 22" of wall sections with about 6-8" of wall between the tower and the table edge at both ends.
I'd envisaged the 7 Mumaks making a general assault along one half the wall and the gatehouse (purely for the reason that the Mumaks will not fit under the arches of the gateway - a wise design feature on the part of the Gondorians!). Orcs will be t'other side (and sundry other baddies - the walls of Gondolin were assaulted by an army of Dragons - now wouldn't that look cool!)) supported by Troll gatecrashers. Southrons would use the smashing capabilities of the Mumaks against the walls, battlements and defenders while the Orcs would rely on Trolls, artillery and possibly 'blasting charges'.
Siege rules would include ladders and movable archers Mantlets. There would be a smattering of artillery on the defenders side. I might even get my 2 Gondorian Trebs built in time...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:53 pm
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Just to give you gents a taster - a very quick shot to show the height advantage the Mumaks lend to this fight... A Mumak Vs the wall bastion which is the same height as the majority of the Rammas wall...

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Rocket-Toad
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:13 am
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Defenders do get the option to duck down and fire through the arrow slits once the Mumaks get close to them, I'd certainly be making myself as small as possible in terms of being a target, while still being able to fire on the approaching enemy.
I'm with Wozza on the game set up, more frontage is better for gaming and as a spectacle.

What sort of base lay out will you be requiring Sukhe?

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mawdslio wrote:
The Creature Creation Formula is the thing I dont like most about the system. I have never seen anyone think I need another unit of chaff on the table, lets point them up, the CCF tends to create all kind of supermonsters.
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Sukhe_Bator



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:28 am
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This is the sort of thing I had in mind. All wall sections/towers are numbered and there is a slight degree of curvature on the wall to factor in when designing the terrain boards. Broadly speaking we want an 8" to 12" belt of level ground to place the wall on with level sections in front and behind the main gate on which to place the causeway and road sections. Once I've laid out the wall templates and figure out the exact configuration I can send a plan and the templates to RT and he can lay out the boards...

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The direction arrows are not significant - hell we all know where the baddies are going! Laughing

Victory conditions might be awarded for
1) Preventing Baddies breakthrough by end of play
2) No of wall sections towers still in Goodies hands at end of play
3) No of VPs Baddies across wall onto Goodies half of table
4) No of VPs Baddies in Goodies Deployment zone/table edge

I'm hoping we can get in several more game turns than last year. I estimate with current deployment It'll take at least 4 turns for the bulk of the Baddies to reach the wall particularly if difficult ground halves RaF movement, and -1/4 Skirmishers movement. On one hand you want that to give the defenders a chance of thinning the ranks with missile fire... but we also want to see some serious carnage on the walls too! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:06 am
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Work in progress
Currently on the workbench - 2 wall sections, 6 breach sections, 1 bastion, 7 Mumaks and crew and 3 Regts Haradrim

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2 permanent breaches, and 4 wall sections with removable centre portions...

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Rocket-Toad
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:39 pm
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Looking good hombre, send me the templates when you are ready and I'll get down to brass tacks on the table sections production.

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The Creature Creation Formula is the thing I dont like most about the system. I have never seen anyone think I need another unit of chaff on the table, lets point them up, the CCF tends to create all kind of supermonsters.
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