Wednesday, 19 June 2013

SAGA - A Viking engagement

On Monday night I decided to host the first game of Saga in the shed. This was the first time I had played this ruleset and it gave me the opportunity top pull out a few of the hundreds of Vikings & Saxon 28mm figures I had painted nearly 10 years ago and never played with ! In total I have around 300+ Dark Age figures painted and it was interesting to see how my painting and basing styles have improved (my opinion) over the last few years.

We decided on a very simple engagement affair with equally matched forces both valued at 5 points

These consisted of a Warlord, One Unit of Hearthguard (4 figures), 2 units of Warriors (each 8 figures strong) and a 12 man unit of Levies (Bow armed). If we understood the rules correctly this gave both forces 5 battle dice to play with.

I for my sins chose the Anglo Saxons, and Matt chose the Vikings. It became quite apparent during the game that Matt’s forces were more suitable to his board whereas the Anglo Saxons are more geared to larger units to gain their benefits. We also discovered halfway through that the Warlord receives a free activation and can drag along a unit if it is within 2 inches.

The playing areas was bordered by a beach (complete with Viking Ship and woods on the other side. Both Forces started 30 inches apart.

The following write up will be written from my perspective.

I decided that my archers would move up the right hand open side of the table thereby giving them the opportunity to fire into the opposing forces. These would be supported by the Warlord and Hearthguard. My warriors would occupy the village and seek retribution on the Viking invaders.

Moving forward we quickly realised that with a bow range of 12 inches the opportune archery fire I wanted was not going to happen unless I committed these troops to move forward. In the following round the warriors facing my levies bounded forward twice and crashed into the lightly armed troops. Lots of dice later saw half the levy force slaughtered and maimed for the cost of one viking warrior. Round one to the Nothmen.

With my levies in retreat I threw in my warlord and his hearthguard. Using the opponents fatigue (he’d moved twice and had fought a melee)to make it easier to hit my hardened troops delivered a crushing blow. However in response two of my brave Huscarls hit the dirt. Not good news. It became apparent at this point that the Vikings advantage of creating more battle dice was a big advantage !

What to do next? The Vikings were now moving into the village so I decided to send in a unit of warriors top deal with this menace. A violent struggle left no side with an advantage but casualties were severe. Matt then played the Loki dice forcing my unit of fatigued warriors to flee from the battle. Things were getting desperate for the Saxons. Throwing ion my remaining warrior unit I beat back these remnants of Matts force only to come under sudden attack from his Warlord and Guard. The second of my units bit the dust. With two units lost, my levies in disarray and half the Huscarls wiped out things were bleak. As a final act of desparation I threw my Warlord and his two bodyguards in against Matt’s Warlord.

Could I win and seize back the initiative and win the day....NO. The combination of my fatigue and his superior battle dice won the game. In two hours we had fought a thoroughly entertaining game. We lerarned a great deal about what work and what doesn’t. We realised that despite having similar forces available the unique flavour of the battleboards does create differing game plays. Forward going we will need to adapt the unuts to match the boards. Saga has now joined the list of Shed Wars.

Until next time:

Note: Figures are a range of Foundry, Gripping Beast, BlackTree, the buildings are from PMC.


  1. Saga is a great game and I'm willing to bet you are not the only gamer to drag long forgotten dark ages minis out of the closet to play it!

    A couple of notes for your future games. Your Warlord is free, so you were actually playing with 4 points - which happens to be a perfect size for starter games...

    ... although Anglo Saxons will suffer a bit at that level (assuming you are using the Anglo-Saxons from the Northern Fury supplement and not the Anglo-Danes from the main rulebook). The Anglo-Saxons do favor large units. You'll note that although you buy troops in 4/8/12 man lots, on the day of battle you get to form those chaps into units of 4-12 as you see fit. If you are playing the Anglo-Saxons again in a 4 point scrum, try taking 3 points of warrior formed as a pair of 12-man units plus some levies. That will allow you to take maximum advantage of the big unit bonuses on your Anglo-Saxon board.

    No go forth and clear the heathens from your lands!

    1. Thank you mr cantwell for clearing this up about the warlord.

  2. Nice report and a beautiful table.

  3. Great report and neat looking game

    -- Allan

  4. Very nice! Wonderful table and figures!!