Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Further SAGAs - especially Robert, Johnsson's saga

The Hamilton Road Gaming Group met last weekend to work through the Dark Ages rules called SAGA. There were quite a few of us and we all seemed to have a good time. My son, Rob had been itching to play, but his work schedule had been preventing him. This week, however, he didn't work until almost dinner time and he came down to the group.
The first game was between the Irish warband I had put together and a Viking one Bear and Andy helped Rob put together. This was his first game and only my second. There were some surprises in store.
Andy and I took all the photos.

A view of my Irish Bonnachts and Fianna with the Re (warlord) advancing.
Andy gives Rob some advice since it is his first time out with these rules.

Javelin armed Kern - whose worth was surprising. Playing your abilities table right can make such normally weak, javelin-
armed troops quite deadly. I had two Kern units (12@), two Bonnacht units (warriors, 8@), and two Fianna elite units (4@) for a six point game.

Fianna with a fatigue on them.

The warlord poses for the camera. He's a Re, but not the Ard Re. (King, but not High King)

There HAD been 8 Viking Bondi (warriors) there a short time before, but a volley of javelins with some interesting use of abilities on the battle board left three standing.

... and then there was one. I'm sold on the use of javelin armed Kern for the Irish.
They won't work so well all the time but they surprised me in this game.
Better yet, they surpirsed Rob!
Rob's warlord and Hearthguard (Jarl and Huscarls)

The bow-armed "thralls" as the Vikings call their peasants.

The viking "Bondi" warriors
The goal of the game was "Kill the Warlord". I charged Rob's warlord and his Huscarl guard with my warlord and his Fianna. The warlords killed each other so the game ended in a draw. I was quite surprised as to how well the javelin armed, unarmoured Kern did in the woods. They turned out to be deadly. SAGA can be a bloody set of rules. The movement and fighting mechanics are simplicity itself, but the big difference in initiative and command and control found on the Battle Board. My next step is to find my wolfhounds for the Irish who can have them as a part of one of the units. That might be fun.
The second game saw Rob play again, but using Normans this time. Bear fought him using Vikings.

The Norse advance. ("You fight against your grandfathers, you rascals!")

The Normans prepare to advance... but it's lunchtime!

Rob is no longer hungry, but the Normans are!

Rob studies the Battle Board to allocate his moves and special abilities.


Knights preparing to turn the corner on the Vikings.
Norman crossbows counting as warriors.
SAGA covers the period of the so-called Dark Ages into the period of the Crusades.
The Norman "peasant" archers take a corner to flank a target.

Crossbows and knights.
I honestly don't remember the outcome of this game; I was engaged in conversation with some other folks. I DO know that the next game was again Rob against Bear, but this time it was Jomsvikings vs. Jomsvikings. Jomsvikings are a bit different from regular Vikings. Since they are set up in the game like a sort of pagan "holy order" they have a special "wrath" component, that somehow builds as they take casualties. They are also an all-melee-all-the-time army; they have no archers and appear to have no missile weapons.

Bear's Jomsviking Jarl and Huscarls

Jomsvikings attack.

Terrain is only a minor annoyance to these guys.

Rob's Huscarls with the Jarl in the background

The two sides mix it up with Danish axes.
Rob's Huscarls, Bondi, and Jarl begin their advance.
The stripe-y thing on the table is a 12 inch knitting needle painted to show movement rates, with the thing blocked out at 2 inch lengths and a 6 inch length. An Andy construct.

Plenty of axes in evidence among these Norse ravens.

Viking archers from the pervious game.
Rob got his fill of playing, which was good since his work schedule keeps him from much table top games. He has some Viking figures and I'm engaged in painting them. He says he prefers the regular Vikings to the Jomsvikings, whom he finds to be complex in the running (which he doesn't like) and without missile weapons (which he would prefer to have.) He hasn't looked at the other Viking list - the pagan Rus for the east-bound Vikings or Varangians. I find the Irish and interesting faction to play, and I hope to fight Martin's Byzantines with my Byzantines some time soon. Beth had a Welsh warband prepared, but hasn't had the time and place to play it as yet. I find SAGA interesting, and I'm still working out the battle board thing. I find that tricky as in subtle to play, not tricky as in "Ah-ha, tricked you!" or grossly strange - like a certain company's "killer army" rules changes. 
Next week, I'll be reenacting, but the week after that, Martin and I have tentative plans to roll out the Pike & Shotte rules for another 30-Years War game.

No comments:

Post a Comment