A Saga to report as Red escaped deepest North Wales for the second week running and choose a Dark Age skirmish game as the evening’s entertainment. I parcelled up my Welsh and some scenery and headed over to Broughton in good company and set up a 4ft by 3ft table for a 1 vs. 1 game. As I debussed my, mostly foot, troops expecting to see Red’s Vikings begin to muster I glanced upwards and saw with shock what appeared to be a mounted terracotta army forming! No wonder he had been so keen to play Saga because what I was going to face was his latest creation; The Mongol Horde! Within 6 points he could bring 49 models to the table, and they deployed in 4 units of 12 warriors and one warlord – all mounted. Against this my warband could find 45 courageous men, and this included peasants! Fortunately it also included my 8 Teulu, or Hearthguard, and this eventually made a difference.
Defend the homestead!
We played two scenarios, and the first to be rolled up was actually The Challenge, but with the massive threatening wave of enemy I was already looking to the (lovely and authentic looking) set of buildings and fences of the local settlement for safety, and it became very much a battle to defend the homes of the peasantry against the ravening horde! Red’s Mongol’s failed to take advantage of my warlord standing mostly unsupported in the open for the first couple of turns, and I yanked him away and into the settlement as soon as I could to join up with the unit of 8 teulu and the 16 warriors (one unit of 12 and one of 4) behind its fences. The mounted warriors I had thrown forwards who bought this time with their lives took a few of the Mongols with them. Left outside the fences were the peasantry bowmen, who took every opportunity to sprinkle the enemy horsemen with arrows.
As the Mongols moved in to deal with this pest I saw a possible opportunity and my warlord and 12 warriors hurdled the fence and sprinted out to take a bunch of the horsemen in the flank. The Mongol warriors were too canny for this aggression to work and quickly leap away, but in doing so left their warlord unguarded and my warriors charged in and dealt him 5 wounds. My own warlord, with the immortal offering of going to fetch “help” ran back to the settlement and left the warriors to be swamped and cut to pieces by the Mongols response. The peasants and their bows were only saved the same fate when they became exhausted and reduced to such a small number that they played no further part and were ignored.
The settlement began to look more and more like a combination of the film The Thirteenth Warrior, Little Big Horn and Zulu as the Mongol horsemen surrounded it completely and traded arrows with welsh javelins with the attackers coming off worse by some stretch. With too few Welshmen to guard every inch of the fencing they eventually broke through and circled the remaining defenders, but unfortunately this included the numerous untouched hearthguard who, with their enemy finally within reach of a sword, sliced into the Mongols, felling many of their number. With their ranks decimated, and the fencing defeating their arrows, the Mongol warlord called a retreat and the welsh survivors let out a cheer!
|The Welsh arrive to protect the farm.|
|Mongols - thousands of 'em!|
|Swiftly surrounding the farm.|
|The warlords face off before the welsh warlord makes a cunning escape leaving his warriors to die, and not for the last time.|
|A goat herd who reckons anywhere else would be a good place too be.|
|The welsh warriors give the Mongol warlord a bloody nose, but the rest of the Mongols are on hand to retaliate.|
|The welsh Teulu - delighted to have someone to stab at close range finally!|
The Journey Home
With the homestead obviously such a dangerous place with all those horrible horses about the welsh decided to gather all they could carry and head for a more defendable position, but were then attacked on the road in The Escort scenario. Aptly the roll of a die had decreed that Red was attacking again and as I closed ranks around the carts (and the very vicious goats and lady-with-baby combination at the back) the Mongols swept forward once more. This game was a 4 point one due to time constrictions, but still very hard fought for that. I decided to keep my troops together and force my way through with warriors and my warlord at the front, trusting that the Mongols would prefer to stand off and dance and fire their arrows rather than mix it up.
Unfortunately Red had learnt his lesson, and soon the circling wolf pack struck to hamstring the rearmost oxen in melee and I had to abandon a cart. My warriors closed up the gap at the back as my welsh edged along the road between two copses of trees, and my Warlord and 4 hearthguard cleared a bit of a space in front of them. The Mongols now realised that in performing their encircling manoeuvre they had reached too far behind and to the sides of the escorted column and I had a clear run to the edge of the table. They were unable to fill the gap as my leading oxen cart headed off into the sunset while my hearthguard and peasant bowmen sacrificed themselves to save its contents of 2 barrels, a pregnant zombie, a man carrying two buckets, and a rat. In desperation, and with my warriors ranks wearing thin, the Mongol warlord launched several vicious attacks with a large party of his mounted warriors, and broke through to attack the goats and lady-with-baby. The latter gave him a bit of a kicking and he drew off again, only for another group of his, by now dwindling, horsemen to finish off what he had started; knocking down the goat herder and stealing the four-strong flock. With this action, and finishing time upon us, a draw was declared.
|Another speedy manoeuvre by the Mongols to surround the carts, but they've left a handy gap.|
|Luckily for them they are able to scrag some goats before the Lady-with-baby could bash them,|