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Vikings in 2013, the SAGA so far….

Last Thursday whilst in the starting stages of my ‘stomach bug’ I drove (rather than trammed it) down to the club and played 2 games of SAGA.  Those of you who didn’t notice, I had to evacuate the club pronto as my lunch was trying to evacuate me, so a 10 minute drive home to relief….

So what’s this post about?

Well, I picked up SAGA last year as an alternative rules system to play with my Viking models that I had bought to play ‘Clash of Empires’ campaign with at my local club…. which never happened as the Chap going to run it moved away.

SAGA Rules

So when he moved away I kind of dropped my Vikings, I had made around 20 of the Plastic Hirdmen (Gripping Beast figures) and based up all my metal figures (Crusader and Artizan), you can see more about this on some early posts.

When I found out that a local SAGA campaign was to start (and had players ready) I contact Matt who was running it and then signed up on the forum.

What’s SAGA then?  Well it’s a Skirmish history war game that uses some faction from the 8th to 11th century.  Lucky for me that’s the time we had Vikings living and warring here in England.

It’s written by Tomahawk Studio who don’t have an English website just yet…..

The main rulebook is not a huge book like Warhammer Fantasy as it has just 74 pages which tells you the rules, some history stuff, the factions, how to use the battleboard and finally heroes, measuring sticks and some Fatigue tokens.  So it doesn’t take long to read the rules and not that long to build an army.

That’s because it’s nice and simple.

Your Warlord is free (unless he’s a Hero – then it’s 1 point).

You Hearthguards are your best warriors, and you get 4 of them for 1 point.

You Warriors are your normal warriors and you get 8 of them for 1 point.

Lastly your Levies are, well just them.  You get 12 for 1 point.

Most games are played at 6 points, however they tell you to start with just 4.

Looking at the campaign rules on the club forum told me that we needed to create a 6 points army with a Hero.  Just before I left for the club I create my army and this is what I took:

  • Hero – Ragnor Lothbrok, King of Sweden and Norway – 1 point.

I chose this Hero because he allows all the units to move for free (see later) plus he also ignores 2 hits per unit, when he’s attacked.

  • Heathguards – 8 figures – 2 points

These guys were going to be the body guard of Ragnor.

  • Warriors – 8 figures – 1 point

The left flank unit

  • Warriors – 8 figures – 1 point

My right flank unit

  • Levies – 12 figures – 1 point

These chaps are the ranged unit for Vikings.  Seems the Vikings preferred the up close and bashing kind of war.

When I arrived at the club I started to sort out my models.  I’ve been a bit lazy (and busy) and I’ve not even undercoated these chaps yet so they look silver and plastic.  I found out I had just 8 Bondi Bowmen, yet needed 12 to make up the Levy unit.

Also I’m not that happy with the 8 bowmen I have, they’re too duplicated with 4 basic models.  So my thoughts post club were to buy some more from elsewhere, a look online shows that a few places do them, but Artizan Designs (who I have some of their models already) have some:

VIK004 – Viking Bondi with Bows

I also had problems making up the 16 Warriors as I have just 12 Bondi, so I mixed in some plastic hirdmen with them.  Therefore I need to double check and see how many more Bondi (Warriors) that I need.

Looking at Artizan Designs again I see that they do a Bondi pack that’ll do just right.

VIK003 – Viking Bondi with Hand Weapons

Plus I need some flags I think, so I’ll look around for them later – need to actually paint my models.

So back to what happened on the night.

Let’s say that I lost.  I lost both games with the first one being closer than the second.

First off I played Dave who was running a Jomsvikings army.  I didn’t know what Wrath meant, nor was it was used for but now I know.  It allows their best abilities to be used and only when you have enough points.

His army was:

  • Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson, Lord of Jomsborg – 1 Point

Sigvaldi is only allowed to take his best warriors into the battle, so that means;

  • Hearthguard – 20 figures – 5 points

Split into 3 units from what I can remember, 2 units of 8 and 1 with 4 who was his Heros bodyguards it seemed.

During the start of your turn you roll your SAGA dice.  The total amount depends on the units on the table.  You then take these dice and place them onto your battle board.  These are the abilities that you may use in this turn (you may leave them on the board for the next turn if you wish).  These abilities allow your army to do certain things.  In the case of my Vikings I have an ability called ULLR which allow me to re-roll any missed hits.

I needed this but didn’t notice it as I was still learning what was what.

Daves Jomsvikings have abilities that tell you to either remove some of your own models or allow his wrath to build which affected me on 2 turns, lucky I had some levies to spare.

Fatigue is also a very important part of the game.  Fighting or making 2 activations in 1 turn earns you fatigue.  Your opponent can use your fatigue to lower your armour, increase his armour etc.

In the end I lost, this was to the way I set up my units on the battlefield, to the way I used my battleboard (I was learning) and to the way my dice rolled and Daves did’  For example my Hero took on 1 Hearthguard and depsite the five attacks and using fatigue to lower his armour (I needed 3’s on a D6) he didn’t die.

But it was Victory points that mattered.  Counting up VP’s I think Dave got 23 and I got 13 I think.

My second game was against Garys Welsh.

The main difference here is that he had plenty of ranged attacks and mounted Hearthguard with his Hero.

His army was:

  • Maredudd ad Owain, King of the Britons – 1 point

This Warlord limits how many SAGA dice you roll in the 1st two turns, doesn’t have much effect upon Vikings but could seriously inhibit some other factions.

  • Hearthguards – 8 figures  – 2 points

4 of these were mounted and used alongside Mardedudd.

  • Warriors – 16 figures – 2 points

These were split into 2 units, so 8 per unit.  Both units had Javelins.

  • Levies – 12 figures – 1 point.

These guys were armed with slings.

Very basically I didn’t roll the terrain on this one, and it was the terrain that cost me as much as my dice.  When entering rough terrain your move is dropped to 4 inches, however the Welsh have an ability to drop that to 2 inches which happened.  They can also Taunt a unit, who then must have towards the nearest unit and of course my Hearthguard were taunted onto rough ground and then slowed.

Just to make matters worth I still had 6 Hearthguard that smashed into his Warriors (6 vs 8) and the end result was that I lost 2 Hearthguard and he lost 3 Warriors.  I was not impressed with my dice as I needed against just 3’s to hit and I had 15 dice!

In the end I couldn’t move my units up fast enough and his mounted unit made short work of my right flank, this battle was ended due to the 6th Turn finishing and my Warlord survived along with around half of my army.

Gary scored 13 VP’s and I scored 7.  Not the highest scoring game but I learned a lot on this one, and started to remember to use my Battleboard.

So that was it.

My plan for the next round in 2 weeks is to paint some of my Vikings – yes I know that’s impossible but that’s the plan, well here is the plan.

Tomorrow – glue up some shields that missed off and undercoat at least 8 of the Bondi.

During the week, paint these 8 bondi!

Easy, oh well, check back here and we shall see.

Cheers
Colin