A bit like London Buses, no sooner had I played one game of Saga this week another took place in the Shed two days later. This time my opponent was a good mate called Richard who I hadn’t actually caught up with for almost a year. It was great to catch up and roll a few dice.
We decided to play a very simple scenario suitably titled ‘For the Victor, the Spoils’. Because Richard hadn’t been to the shed for some time I decided to go the whole hog on the table and I laid out a fictitious coastal settlement complete with priory and village. The grazing animals and hard working monks were about to have their day spoiled as a Viking longboat beached. Help however was at hand as the local Anglo Dane warlord rushed to drive away the invaders.
1 X Warlord
12 Hearth Guard (in a unit of 4 – berserkers, and an eight man force)
16 Warriors (two eight man units)
12 Levy (in two six men units)
Anglo Danes (Me)
1 X Warlord
12 Hearth Guard (in a unit of 4 – dane axes, and an eight man force)
16 Warriors (two eight man units)
12 levy (in one 12 man unit)
This time I have decided to write the AAR from the perspective of the Anglo Dane Warlord (Me) – I’d be really interested to get folks feedback on this style.
October 21st in the year of our Lord 958.
A cold bitter windswept in off the great Northern sea, a prelude to perhaps a bitter winter. The harvest is now complete and my men are slumbering peacefully in the great hall. The night before has taken its toll.
The morning’s silence is broken by a commotion outside, and not before long a man, recognisable as a monk, rushes into the great hall - “A Dragon Ship My Lord”, with that his lifeless body crashes to the mead & reed covered floor. A black arrow jutting from his back.
These words galvanise my men, armour is donned, weapons and harness grabbed and we rush to the muster outside the hall. A quick prayer to our lord (and secret oaths to the old gods are made) and we make our way towards the coast. As we get closer we see the villagers rushing away from their homes and hovels. Their urgent voices telling of armoured and painted men coming ashore and forming up in battle lines. They are readying themselves in the common field alongside their ship.
Breaking my forces in two I urge my bow armed levies to seek cover in the nearby woods and a band of trusted warriors to guard our flank along the beach by the old ruins.
I, along with my personal guard would defend the field outside the priory. I make a mental note to send carpenters to fix the wooden doors of the stone building for surely if these were in place we would be able to avoid a pitched battle.
As the mist rises we see the Northern banners flutter in the stiff breeze. Their bearers edge forward with purpose.
From my position I see a body of lightly armed thralls cross towards the village. Keen that my forces are not flanked I send a small band of warriors to cut off their route. Running up the priory road they cut off this advancing party and from the sounds of friendly cheers I learn we are victorious. First blood to Christ.
Gazing across the front of the woods I see a band a fearsome North men break cover and charge across the open ground. Supported by their own bows they crash into my warriors on the right flank.
My men, the young men I have personally trained for a day such as this throw up their shield wall, but it is to no avail as arrows and blows rain down on their position. The same pagans then turn their attention to my thralls who have emerged from the woods. Again the story is the same, what can stop these dreaded savages.
Why did I not fix those gates?
Recognising that the initiative was slipping, I turned my attention to the defence of my battered force. I was given heart by the presence of my most trusted guard, my best warriors. We could still beat these invaders.
Flush with the scent of victory a band of Vikings charged forward, I kept my lines straight and these Northmen died on the points of my spears. With a cry of havoc I urged my men forward, more blood was spilled, both Heaven and Valhalla were going to be busy on this day.
Remnants of these Viking war bands streamed from the field, we could never quite finish them off.
Before we could draw breath a band of mead soaked berserkers crashed into my lines. Their ferocity was like Satan himself had joined the fight. My men were desperate, my men were dying, I should have fixed those gates.
One final push, that’s all it would take to end this battle, to drive the heathen from our shores. Could I and my guard force the day by killing the Viking chief. We charged again, For God, For Christ...we clashed, swords and axes renting mail, splintering shields and cleaving helms.
The ground sticky with blood, choked our advance. We stopped, no I stopped for I was alone, exhaustion creeping through my limbs, with a heavy heart I turned to face the invader and the remains of his force.
He smiled, he saluted and turned away. I stepped forward to strike, but my sword fell from my hand. Three dark arrows had stopped me in my path.
I to would be joining the monk, who no doubt would ask as we meet at the Lords house – why did you not fix the gates?
Congratulations to Richard for winning his first game – and yes my Warlord was killed by arrows, bar a few levies he was the last man standing