Having invested in the Saga rules set, along with a couple of friends, at the Vapnartek show the previous Sunday I was keen to try it out. A few absences in the form of Red, Aidan and Chris meant that it would be Luke, who had painted virtually all of his Anglo-Danish warband in the last week, making use of the plastic Gripping Beast figures, with a metal warlord. My Welsh would be all metal, and are still on order, so a bunch of Bretonnians from my warhammer collection joined the fray to represent them, at least they were fully painted!
Luke had the figures, but hadn’t got the rulebook so of the three games we played the first was very much a demonstration game of how the rules worked, for me as well as him! I pushed my Welsh forwards and fed them in one at a time to cover as many rules as possible so he could see how they worked, and by the end most of the Welsh were dead (the levy surviving!) and we were ready for a serious game or two.
The first used the Clash of Warlords scenario, where the last warlord alive is the winner, or after 6 turns it goes on victory points – based on the number of models killed. The main Welsh drawback, the reduced save to missile fire (due to a lack of armour) wasn’t exposed, because the Anglo-Danish didn’t have any missile weapons, while the Danes got stuck in with their nasty axes. I managed to use my bow-armed levy to draw in and trap a unit of hearthguard in a woods on the left, before destroying them with missile fire as they left it slowly. In the centre I used more woods to good effect to position a unit of warriors to threaten the Danes main line, and to launch a sneaky attack on the flank of Lukes Warlord. We had boosted up from 4 points in the practice game to 5 in these two, and I had added an extra unit of mounted hearthguard and mounted my warlord. This proved a mistake, because as soon as the Dane warlord came within 12” I had to charge! Having worn his hearthguard bodyguard down with other attacks I launched my warlord and his own mounted bodyguard into them, pushing them back and wiping out the Danish hearthguard. It took the sneaky flank attack from the warriors in the wood to knock the warlord from his feet afterwards however. Victory to the Welsh.
The second game used the The Challenge scenario, where both warlords squared off with 12 wounds a piece in the centre, and the warbands raced to assist, or fight each other – first to die loses! The initial clash of warlords saw my Welshman (on foot this time) come off worse to the Danes doublehanded axe, and it became more cagy, with dice on the battleboards added in when a fight started. Both warbands advanced directly across the field, apart from my mounted hearthguard who went wider, and charged in on the flank of the Danish advance. They were lost, but the levies bows finished off the two units that had destroyed them. In the centre a guard of honour was forming as neither side attacked the opposing warlord, until I got desperate and a bunch of warriors threw a shower of javilins. This backfired, because not only did they fail to injure the Dane warlord, but it made it open season on mine, who, after a couple more equal fights with the enemy warlord succumbed to a Danish warrior stab in the back. The Danes being fortunate it ended there, having two models left! Victory to the Anglo-Danish.
What we learnt:
- The basic rules!
- The game is similar to chess in that you need to plan using your Saga dice and battleboard what the opposition will do in reaction to your moves, and plan a few moves ahead to be successful – tricky to do.
- Fatigue is important – the opposition use your fatigue to gain advantages in combat and shooting.
- The Welsh dice don’t roll dragons (sixes!) very often!
- Playing to your warbands strengths, which I did with the woods in the second game, can really pay off.
- The Battleboards are what make your army different from the opposition.
- Your warlord needs a bodyguard, and works best with one.
- It is an enjoyable game, and short – we got 3 games, including learning the rules, inside 3.5 hours, it also needs very little space to play, the scenarios only call for a 48” by 36” space, and with fewer models and scenery its easier to set up and pack away.
Will definitely get a few more outings, although next week we may have to turn back to the English Civil War and the fighting in plague-ridden Cheshire!
|The third game, with the warlords taken central stage between the two warbands.|
|The Anglo-Danish troops advancing towards the Welsh in the second game.|