Sunday 18 July 2021

A Shortcut To Mushrooms

All was quiet in the Marish. Farmer Maggot was sat by the fire, tucking into a steaming bowl of broth after a long day's work. Outside, the dogs: Grip, Fang and Wolf, sat calmly after a filling dinner.

Suddenly Grip's each twitched and his head jerked up. Something was moving across the fields...

Matt and I decided to play the first scenario from The Quest of the Ringbearer book for MESBG as it saved Matt the fuss of sorting out an army for something else and would be a good reintroduction to the game as it was only four models a side.

In the game, Frodo, Sam, Merry on Pippin (the 'Evil' side) in this scenario, have to sneak in and out of Famer Maggot's 'mushroom field' (yeah, that concept seemed odd to us too) to steal five lots of mushrooms and return them to their stash. Meanwhile, the dogs would be out to get them, and Farmer Maggot would be roused if one if his dogs was hurt. 

The Hobbits set off with no Might, Will or Fate, but had 3 Wounds each (presumably to make the objective achievable), and a deep seated terror of Farmer Maggot and his dogs.

Very soon, the hobbits had reached the field, but the dogs arrived with a cacophony of yowling and yelping (Matt was making dog noises at this point) and set about Sam, preventing him from grabbing any mushrooms.

However, Merry and Pippin had snuck in the other way and grabbed an armful of mushrooms each meaning that the dogs, having failed to bring down Sam, had to split up to slow down the hobbits' progress.

Frodo gave one of the dogs a heavy kick, sending it scurrying back to the kennels with its tail between its legs, allowing Merry and Pippin to scurry back towards the stash.

But the noise had roused Farmer Maggot, who emerged from his house with a bellowing, "Get off moi laaaaand!" (Matt was very much in character.)

Also, before I receive complaints, no that isn't a Hobbit hole. However, the Hobbits of the Marish, which is flat, marshy land, close to the Brandywine River, are known to live in houses (look it up). Admittedly, the door is the wrong shape, but you can't have everything.

Meanwhile, back in the field, Frodo and Sam managed to battle their way into the field, sending both dogs back to the kennels.

However, Farmer Maggot was able to calm the dogs and send them back into the fray.

But by this point, both Merry and Pippin had got their mushrooms back to the stash, and Frodo and Sam were on the return journey.

It looked like they'd be no hungry hobbits tonight.

It wasn't long before the dogs were once again bounding through the field towards the hobbits, but Frodo and Sam were far enough away to get their mushrooms to the stash.

The dogs now moved as a pack and aimed at targeting one hobbit at a time, whilst Farmer Maggot came up from the rear.

It was at this point that Matt started to use the trapping rule to double his attacks if his dogs won the Fight roll, sending Pippin fleeing from the farm.

However, shortly afterwards, Sam sent one of the dogs back to the kennels again, taking this tactic off the table as Maggot was too far away to release it.

Meanwhile, Merry was backing away from the scythe-wielding Maggot, his pockets stuffed with illicit mushrooms (no, not that sort...I think...Hobbits do go on about 'the best weed in the Southfarthing' so maybe the mushroom fetish isn't about adding them to their second breakfasts).

Frodo and Sam ran interference on the dogs, trying to keep the away from Merry, whilst the Farmer ineffectually threw stones at the retreating Hobbits.

However, Fang and Wolf were too fast and targeted Merry due to the aroma of mushrooms. Frodo finally lost his nerve, but not before a hefty thwack with a stick sent Fang back to the kennels.

Maggot and Wolf rushed towards Sam and Merry, trying desperately to stop the thieves from getting away.

However, Merry won his tussel with the dog and the Hobbits made a break for it with their ill gotten gains whilst Maggot screamed into the night, "Thieves! We hates the nasty little hobbitses! We hates them FOREVER!"

A fun game, and a really good scenario for relearning the rules. It didn't take too long and so we had another go and Matt employed different tactics of keeping Maggot near the kennel to release the dogs if they got hurt and using the dogs as a pack to remove hobbits more quickly. It was a significantly more effective approach and he won that game with the hobbits only having grabbed three lots of mushrooms.

Sadly, there are no pictures of that game and everyone will have stopped reading once the discovered the result of the first game.

My plan is to play through the Quest of the Ringbearer, using a range of opponents for different scenarios, and not even having me always playing the same side, as I'd like to just tell the story than be trying to win, so Frodo, Sam and Pippin will be making their way across the Shire soon.

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