Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Saga: Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes v2

I soloed a game of Saga the other night to get a better feel for some of the mechanics of the game and also because I was too lazy to put away the terrain from last week, so it was still on the table. I also wanted to use my old phone which has a much better camera and I wanted to see better pictures of my shit, stuff. I won't go into great detail as this exercise is mostly for looking at cool mini's but I'll provide a little commentary. They aren't the greatest painted and I ain't the greatest photographer but hope you enjoy. 

The set up. 6 points per side. The Anglo-Danes are in the foreground and the Vikings on the far side. Same OoB's as last time except the Viking's berserkers were converted into regular Hearthguard.

The Anglo-Dane warlord, AEthelpussy, hides behind the barn.

The Viking warlord, Hengist the Hung, and his bodyguards prepare to tear some shit up.

More Vikings.

Thor's hammer, still *more* of the Norsemen, including a unit of 8 warriors and another of 4 Hearthguard.

The pride of Angle Land: the A-D's large Hearthguard unit. Their story of ultimate pussy-hood will be told later in this Saga.

Anglo-Dane warriors wishing they were knee deep in Anglo-Danish pawgs.

The warlord's hearthguard bannerman.

Vikings are sneaky.

Viking hearthguard wreck the Anglo levies, wiping out 8 of 12 on the first turn.



The Anglo-Danes swung to their left and tried to outnumber the viking right. It seemed like a sound strategy. And then they were forced to roll dice.

End of turn one. The Vikings are aggressive in the center while the A-D try to make something happen on their left. The units on the A-D right are admiring each other from afar.

4 Hearthguard, 8 warriors and the Warlord vs. 4 Levy. Hmmm...

The Anglo-Dane plan starts to unravel as the viking levies take out 3 dudes in that warrior unit with sling bullets.

The Big Unit of HG smacks their little viking counterpart, whacking all but one. Oh, but what a tale he will tell.

Warrior vs warrior. This time the vikings are victorious and force the A-D back.

But their Hearthguard come to the rescue and do some heavy damage, hitting the vikings like they owed them money.

The A-D's charge into the woods despite their losses from sling fire. Alas, they are wiped out to a man.

The vikings, their blood lust kindled, charge out and hack AEthelpussy into bite size chunks and pack him up in 'to go' bags. With no one to take the fall for him, it was over quickly.

Suddenly the A-D massed assault on their left was only 4 Hearthguard facing 4 units of Vikings and their warlord. Gulp...

The vikings are whittled down but still generating Saga dice! Meanwhile the Anglo-Danes lost 3 of 6 on the other side of the battlefield!

Uh oh.

The viking levies strike again! Attempting to reinforce their left, the A-D's tried to move that unit of warriors over only to lose 3 guys to shooting!

And now the Saga be told! The lone viking HG backs up and uses the A-D fatigue to slow them down, making them waste an activation to reach him. A last act of defiance, right?

Finally they pile in. 14 attacks to his two. He was very brave. But what's this? Needing 6's to hit they only get two... and he saves them both!!!!!

Then he hits with both his attacks and they fail both!!!!! Hahaha! Soon to be a Warlord in his own right; this guy fought off seven hearthguard and slew two of them!!!! Surely, he will be remembered in the Sagas.

Final positions. 3 turns. A lone HG bannerman remains and methinks that the unit of A-D warriors will be munched like so much breakfast cereal. Plus if I quit now, that viking HG survives to become a Warlord. (In  my mind anyway.)

A bad day for someone.

How exactly do you say 'fucked' in Anglo-Dane?

It was a fun game. I used fatigue to slow people down *a lot*. It required multiple activations to get troops into melee. Not sure if that's a good strategy or not but I had fun. Plus my old phone still works and takes much better pictures. Bully for me.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saga! Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes

I broke my Saga cherry this week with my brother Chris. I have been wanting to play this game for some time and finally had all the figures painted and some free time! Our first game pitted Vikings vs. Anglo-Danes in a 6 point match. (Essentially a point is paid for each non-levy unit in your force.) The game is simple and features three types of troops regardless of which faction you play: 'hearthguard', your household and best troops, warriors; armed and armored, still professional soldiers, and levy, the farmers and peasants forced into military duty. each faction is lead by a Warlord, (so I guess there's 4 troop types). He's a bad ass and has some special rules in attack and defense.

The game is unique in that each faction has a 'Battle Board' and special dice with characters unique to their faction on them. A player rolls the die and then places them on his board as he wishes, given their symbol. (Each faction has 15 abilities to choose from and each requires a different combination of symbols.) These abilities then are used through that turn and give certain advantages to attack and defense and some other special abilities. Each faction is different in this way and so therein lies the real dynamic of the game: using you Saga dice and Battle Boards to the best of your ability given what you roll. It's different and well thought out. It's a very popular tournament game and while I eschew competitive gaming, I am already working on some ideas for historical scenarios for one off play.

(Unfortunately, the camera on my new phone sucks, as you can plainly see.)

All games are played on a 4x3 foot surface. There is typically not a lot of terrain. This is our table. For simplicity sake, we played the buildings as 'impassable' just to avoid the extra rules associated with them for our first game. Like wise, the crop fields and fencing are just eye candy; they had no impact on play. The wood was the only 'difficult terrain' that units could enter. This gives you a defensive bonus if shot at, but slows you down to move through it.

Another view from the other side. We played a scenario that was actually a combination of two from the book. We used the alternating set up from one and the Victory Conditions from the other. VC were simple: the player with the most 'Slaughter Points' was the winner, with points being awarded for killing dudes. Better troops were worth more than lesser. No cheap victory for killing the peasants!

Chris' initial set up. He had one large unit of hearthguard (8), closest to the camera, then a smaller unit of 4 with his warlord, then a unit of levy flanked on either side by a unit of 8 warriors. For these two factions, only the levies can shoot, and even then, you get only one shot per two guys, so our units of 12 gave us 6 shots each.

My levies set up to run behind the farm when charged, then some warriors. I bravely set up my best troops behind the woods. Having no idea how lethal shooting would be, I opted to pussy out.

A unit of warriors in the woods and my Warlord flanked by two small units of Hearthguard. The dudes without helmets were a special unit of 'Berserkers'. They get 4 Attack dice per model so can wipe out an entire unit. The flip side is that they have shit armor and are very susceptible to shooting. I had to get them into action as soon as I could.

Anglo-Dane warriors emerge from the turf hut, spoiling for a fight.

Chris' Hearthguard (huscarles) lick their chops looking at the levy unit opposing them.

Chris' warlord and bodyguard. They would ultimately cut down my warlord and earn their seats at the high table in the mead hall tonight!

I spent all the dice on my Battle Board to move my berserkers multiple times and crash into this unit of warriors. It all worked perfectly until Chris played an ability that canceled their last movement. Argh! They were left high and dry, and as feared, his levy shot them all the way to Valhalla before they had the chance to strike a single blow

A unit of my warriors bravely attacks the Anglo-Dane fyrd who were still celebrating shooting down the berserkers. Chris' levies never recovered from this attack, earning multiple 'Fatigues' and hampering their ability to do anything.

Meanwhile, back at the farm. His huscarles try to do the same to my levies and whack about 4 of them and force them back. They stayed in the game but must have brought nerf bullets for their slings as they did exactly two things the rest of the fight: jack *and* shit.

A raven's eye view as the lines move to engage.

My warlord moves to engage the Anglo-Dane huscarles while his bodyguard tries to keep pace. I guess that's why he's the boss.

And my warriors go for his warlord at the same time. Uh, neither fight worked out well for the good guys.

What's this? There's more of the bloody arselings emerging from those woods!

Viking thralls keep the huscarles at bay. Self preservation more than any loyalty to their warlord being a much greater factor.

Get em!!!!!!!

Einar Bluetooth is about to meet his doom.

At about this point, he said it and then he did it. In his pants. He'll be trading stories in Valhalla tonight. I hope he's surrounded by shield maidens.

Not too many dudes left; truly a feast for crows today.

We called the game when my warlord went down though we didn't tally the victory points. I assumed I had come up on the short end and probably did but in retrospect, it was probably closer that I originally thought. No matter; we were playing for fun and trying out the system, kicking the tyres, you might say. We both came away very satisfied with the game and the tactical decisions it forces a player to make. 

There is a Crusades version of the game as well. I am currently working on a 'Saracen' force. Rumors also claim that an Arthurian expansion is in the works. I am anxious to see how the game develops. I'm a big fan.