Well, the chocolate eggs have all been scoffed, so another treasure hunt of sorts had to be arranged. Littlun wanted to play a tabletop game after several runs through of the boardgame Game of Life. I wasn't prepped to run a game, so suggested he just grabbed his to-be-painted Gondor warband and I would arrange a foe for him to attack. I decided upon a troll hunt as that would provide a different kind of challenge for him. I dug out one of my very old trolls (I don't have any official LotR miniatures painted to play that role yet) - and battle was joined.
This was to be an eight turn game, with the Gondor player winning by killing the troll and the troll player winning merely by surviving the eight turns. We both played as the troll; me first so he could see how to kind of play it in readiness for when he took his turn as the troll.
In the first game, I played the hill-troll that was to be hunted down as it was stealing too much livestock and killing too many farmers and their families. A small warband of Gondor troops (leader, 3 archers, 2 swordsmen and 4 spearmen) was despatched to carry out the task.
The troll was positioned approximately in the centre of the board and the Gondor troops would arrive from three different directions to trap him in the village (as shown in the first image above - the small band approaching from the "top" of the board have been cut for some unknown reason).
As soon as the troll saw the advancing men, he stooped down and picked up a convenient rock and launched it straight at the leader of the patrol, hitting him square between the eyes (he failed his Fate roll too).
Seeing the hated man-thing drop to the floor, the troll pushed his advantage and charged the Gondorians, felling another swordsman in short order. The remaining two spearmen circled round to join their comrades in making for a larger attacking force.
After a couple of lost combats, the troll began to give ground to the Gondorian troops (who all seemed to keep passing their Courage tests to charge the brute). The archers were able to sneak in the occasional shot, which usually missed, but after the first hit from an arrow, the wounds began to mount up on the outnumbered troll.
Anyway, this buoyed my son into wanting to switch sides and play the troll.
This time, he played the troll a bit safer than I did by trying to avoid my archers. However, my first turn saw a very flukey shot that caused a wound on the troll (two in the way rolls, the shot and then the wound roll were all successful). The troll responded by throwing a rock and killing a Gondorian swordsman. He moved the troll away from line of sight of the archers, so I had to redeploy them and simultaneously use my sword and shield bearing troops to herd the troll towards the farmhouse where I would hopefully be able to block him in. Unfortunately, the tables turned and the troll trapped another of my archers who had crossed the fence in order to get the drop on the troll coming round the corner. Six out of six attack rolls were successful in turning my archer into strawberry jam. Luckily, this slowed the troll enough so that my patrol could hem him in and cause him a second wound - from another archer who had just managed to get line of sight when there was a pause in the combat.
The troll then won the subsequent combat and was able to leg it round the corner of the farmhouse with the Gondorian patrol in hot pursuit, only to hop over the fence and be shot right away by the archer who was well-placed to do so!
These were a couple of fast-paced, fun games that both of us enjoyed. They both only lasted 5 out of the allotted 8 turns, and we both lost 2 warriors of Gondor in achieving our objectives. So, a draw all round.
I think the sides were evenly matched, and if the troll were played with a bit more nous then it might prove a little more tricky for the Men of the West to defeat him. The men need the troll to come to them so that they do not ned to roll for Courage, and the troll needs to pick the men off in small groups. They were both interesting games though, and I think we both learned a few tactical limitations and advantages for both style of play.