By Mark Lyon
In light of the recent changes to the NPCs, I saw that Ghan-buri-ghan comes with extra troops, and Faramir gets a boost in gold and PC size. As FP, you have to be careful not to overstretch by recruiting King of the Dead, Eowyn, and Denethor all at once (the troop maintenance can bury you), but having the extra gold boost seemed to me to make Eowyn/Denethor/Faramir a good combo to let you bring lots of troops right up the Ithil pass right off the bat. I decided to go with that strategy for the early game. I also wanted to hunt for agent artifacts and build up some key agents, and maybe a sickness squad (but decided mages would be mostly useful in artifact hunting for comm/agent/stealth artifacts and for character tracking (scry/reveal, etc.)
I wanted Celeborn to be my key general to maybe allow easy threats for 3124 and 3224. I wanted Boromir for the free hire, as that saves you 5k every time you want to create a new army, and also means you don’t have to worry about splitting off seed armies. Galadriel is bad ass (and comes with Celeborn and three mage toys). Elrond is another good mage, and if you boost Arwen, she’s also good. Making both Arwen and Celeborn champs make recruiting Galadriel and Elrond no-brainers.
Legolas thus needs stealth, since Frodo is taking the agent. I’ll have Frodo recruit Legolas so that Frodo can give Legolas the one ring. Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond will also be good emissaries squad candidates.
I boosted Denethor and Eowyn’s armies, to last against Gothmog, Mouth and Shagrat, got some WM to take down forts a bit, and also boosted Glorfindel’s army in case DS decides to strike quickly with Durin’s Bane and the Great Goblin (and boosts both of their armies). Whether and when I recruit Glorfindel will depend on what DS does. Pop loyalty improvement just means it will be easier to do 550 orders with Gandalf, Galadriel, or others.
Not much here. Send Frodo to recruit Legolas, Gandalf to recruit Galadriel, name a new emi to do NatSells, train up Frodo a bit, Natsell and do my first of many RAs to identify artifact numbers. Interestingly, it looks like DS has hidden 2212. Gotta watch that closely.
Again, quick turn. Recruit Legolas and Galadriel. Frodo gives Legolas TOR, and moves to recruit Eowyn. Gandalf casts another RA round and moves to recruit Boromir (so I can get the free hire right away, in case I need it against DS moves).
So here is the first time I get a chance to see what DS might be up to. There are no army icons at 2409, 2212, 2715, or 2119, so no immediate threats that I can see. Stick to the plan — except I just decided to change things. I realized that I can’t really boost my tax rate without a decent comm there, and I don’t want to be placing lots of camps down only to have them evaporate when I raise taxes. I also want Gandalf, Galadriel, and maybe my 30ish emi to be camping to keep my economy strong. That means I need to delay my plan to blitz Ithil by a couple of turns, so recruiting Eowyn is premature (bummer, as I just wasted a turn’s opportunity to train up Frodo by sending him there). I decide to send Galadriel (and Celeborn) to 2209 for tax duty, and have Frodo check out 3124 to see if DS has recruited Murazor yet. I have Legolas check out 3222 to see if Gothmog has been recruited. Also have Galadriel boost CG to a MT. I have Gandalf camp and stay put so he can boost the camp next turn and avoid it degrading when I raise taxes.
Okay, still no sign of enemy army icons. Murazor has definitely been recruited (Frodo found Sauron – Eeep!), but not Gothmog. Now is the time to launch the plan. Celeborn raises taxes and heads to recruit Eowyn. Also, I found the Pectoral! That’s a good one to turn my 30ish emi into a weapon right away. Beregond heads to recruit Denethor, and I send Boromir back to my capital to be my NatSell person and to hire an army in case it’s needed. I have Galadriel boost Imladris to a city while she’s there, and have her LAT the Ring of Angrenost (gives RCT) while Gandalf LATs the Pectoral. Frodo goes off to check on 3224 to see if Shagrat was recruited, while Legolas trains by stealing and moving to 3224 to kill Shagrat or drop the forts if he’s not there. (Since Frodo is a bad agent, and this isn’t a tournament game, no need to try to take out Sauron – it would have failed anyway. Had it been Legolas who found Sauron, though, I might have tried to kill him then.) My 30ish emi goes off to camp.
Okay, still no signs of enemy armies, and Shagrat hasn’t been recruited. Plan is now on full steam ahead. Recruit Eowyn and Denethor. Beregond joins Denethor’s army, as does Celeborn. Frodo heads to recruit Faramir, and Legolas drops the fortifications at 3224 and moves to 3124 to do the same before Celeborn’s army gets there (to make it easier to threaten away). I hedge my bets by having Gandalf move to recruit Glorfindel (if needed). Galadriel goes to pick up the Ring of Angrenost, while my 30ish emi goes to pick up the Pectoral. Also, I found Maranya, so time to LAT it.
There are no signs DS is coming out of the gates to attack me, so I can forego recruiting Glorfindel for now. I decide to instead have Boromir hire an army, to build up a small force there. Coupled with Imladris being hidden and a city, I think that should be enough of a defense for now (but still could go for Glorfindel instead of others if needed). Frodo recruits Faramir, I jockey around my comm artifacts so Celeborn has them all (except Eowyn’s, which Eomer is carrying to give to Celeborn next turn), give him command of Denthor’s army, and march it to 3124. I also march Eowyn’s army to 3024 so that, unless DS does a recon, there will just be one army icon that shows at 3024, which might be assumed to be Faramir (and not both Faramir and Eowyn). I pick up Pectoral and the Ring of Angrenost, and send Frodo to fetch Maranya. Legolas sabs the fortifications at 3124, and moves back to 3224 to try to kill Shagrat if DS opts to recruit him, now that they see Denethor’s army at 2924. Gandalf moves to recruit Elrond. Beregond and Galdriel meet up at 2514 so that Beregond can transfer some artifacts and hire an army there.
First time I see a DS army. It’s under Murazor, not Shagrat, at 3224, and there’s no one at 3124 to greet me. I have Celeborn do his threat, and march forward to 3224. Eowyn joins armies with Faramir, and Farmir marches the combined army forward to 3224 as well. Legolas happens to be in the right place, so he goes for the kill on Murazor, and then moves to 3222 to try to do the same to Gothmog in case DS decide to light up Gothmog now that there are obviously multiple armies coming down the Ithil pass. Galadriel improves Caras Ghaladon to a city, and moves to 3024 to meet up with Frodo, while Beregond stays at 2514 after transferring artifacts to Galadriel so that he can hire an army next turn. Frodo picks up Maranya and heads to 3024 to give it to Galadriel. Gandalf recruits Elrond and LATs Ring of Curufin, since I’ve now found that, too. My 30ish emi (which is now a mid-70’s emi with Pectoral) heads to recruit Samwise. Boromir sends mounts to 2514 so Beregond can recruit HC there next turn.
This turn doesn’t happen, but what was intended (and I only had time to create some of my orders for the turn before getting word the game was over) was as follows. As Murazor was killed, my armies are now unopposed at 3224. Celeborn will threaten it, and then move his army to the DS capital via 3323 to block Gothmog’s army if he’s coming and Legolas doesn’t take him out. I can’t see Gothmog’s army, but know he’s been recruited as DS now own 3222. Legolas will try to kill him, but if he fails, I’ll split up the armies and block him (hopefully). Faramir’s army will then move to the DS capital via 3324, and will hopefully overrun anything that might come from the DS capital. The plan was to have both armies there and, if Legolas does his job, basically unopposed. I would then be able to destroy or capture the DS capital. Worst case, I burn a lot of troops (which are costing me a whole lot at this point), and can keep the pressure on with a second or third wave. Galadriel will improve 3024 to a MT, and perhaps move to 2924 to improve it to a city in a following turn. For now, she takes Maranya and (hopefully) learns both Weakness and Sickness. She’ll transfer it to Elrond, Arwen and/or Gandalf in a following turn.
Also, I note that Durin’s Bane has been recruited. I’m not particularly worried, as it can be at most 2000 HI, and I’ve already recruited 1000 HI at Imladris. I decide not to panic and recruit Glorfindel yet, but to stay the course and recruit Samwise (a good combo of three chars that are emis, agents, and commanders). I’ll also improve Hobbitton to a MT.
That’s as far as I’d gotten in planning.
My tentative plans for future turns, if my first wave attack didn’t win the game, was to build a sickness squad (which might also be an emi squad, so I could kill an army comm and then InfOther a PC away with the same group), and focus on hiring armies and keeping pressure on Mordor while I used Emis to take other pops away. I also was planning to start having some mages (Gandalf, maybe) learn Reveal PC, to reveal 2212, 2809, etc. I wasn’t yet sure who else I’d recruit, but had Tom Bombadil, Radogast, Ghan-buri-Ghan, and Glorfindel in mind. I had decided to see which way things seemed to be flowing before getting farther in planning beyond the initial Ithil pass attack.