Sunday, 3 April 2016

SAGA plus at Hamilton Road

Following my usual break/hiatus/collapse after Easter, Beth and I went up to the Gaming Group on Saturday. Our son, Rob joined us, especially since we were going to play some SAGA and he dearly loves to get his Vikings out. So there were games of SAGA, a game of Ronin, a game of early black powder Japanese skirmish from Osprey Publishing, and Blücher, a Napoleonic game from Sam Mustafa. Since the tax preparation folks needed the large meeting room, we had the smaller gathering room. (All the photos in this entry were taken by my wife.)
Rob noted that he had never played against me in SAGA, so we played an "attack the village" scenario. Each player "bids" the number of points he/she feels would be needed to defend a village. The lower bid wins the right to defend the village with that number of points while the other player attacks with 6 points. Rob and I both bid "4" so we rolled off and Rob won the defence with 4 points of Vikings (a warlord {free}, two units of Bondi, and two units of Huscarls.) I attacked with my Irish - two units of Hearthguard/Fianna, two of Bonnachts/warriors (one of which was 7 wardogs with a handler; the other was armed with the two-handed Danish axe), and two units of kern/levi. Rob had no bowman or slingers while everybody on the Irish side had javelins, except the wardogs. So the name of the game was missiles!

Rob looks SOOOOOOO interested.

Vikings in the paddock! (There's a phrase you probably never thought you'd hear.)

My kern advance to throw stuff at the Vikings.

Bondi on a rampage. They were trying to get into one of the houses, but the kern beat them to it.
 The houses were in an odd configuration with one in a corner of the playing surface and two others a bit out from that. The victory conditions stated that the defender would win if, at the end of six turns, one figure was left in a house. I figured I'd have trouble digging the Vikings out of all the houses, although I ended up defending one house from attacking Bondi. My javelins cause a number of casualties to the Viking force and two Bondi were lost to "the sons of Dana", a battle-board ability that permits me to attack one unit if it is in short range (4"/10cm) of unclear, non-building terrain, as if I actually had troops there. The rules make some anti-Gael slur about the hidden people throwing potatoes, but I know for a fact that is is the Sidh taking revenge on the foreigners! (Just because I don't believe in fairies doesn't mean that they don't exist!) By the second turn, Rob brought up a unit of Huscarls to engage my hearthguard/fianna and both of our warlords were sucked into the fight. Rob's battleboard allowed him to almost double the number of attack dice he could throw, but he still only hit two of my hearthguard and I saved one with my cancellation throw. The Warlord fought toe-to-toe and warlords ignore the first wound on them. I did one wound on the Viking leader and he did two on mine, killing him. The victory conditions state that if the attacker's warlord was killed, the game was lost for the attackers. So that was that. We both agreed that this one was pure luck. I had taken out seven of Rob's Vikings and he had done in three of my Irish. But since the warlord was killed, that ended it.

Andy confers with Rob and I about deployment and similar rules.

The Vikings retain possession of the beer wagon and mutton. There go the dinner plans!

My Fianna units with the warlord in the middle.

Rob and his battle board.

I'm checking out my dice while Martin looks up a rule for his game.

"Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war". (Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 1)  The dogs are cool since they move as fast as cavalry and ignore terrain. They aren't much on their own but they make a great sweep-around unit or jackal-force. 
The Irish had a good chance of winning the thing, but the warlord fell and the bhoys melted back into the country.
Meanwhile Martin prepared to take on Steven's Normans with his  Pagan Rus. Somehow the game never got off the ground. It seemed that the battle boards were too incompatible and everything cancelled out something else. Rob's Vikings fought Andy's Anglo-Danes in a later game; I didn't see the outcome. Rob had to leave early to go to his shift at the restaurant, so he couldn't get in a third game. In the meantime, I spent a good bit of time introducing a new arrival around, while Beth took photos.

The Vikings attack the Anglo-Dane settlement.

Heavily-armed and dangerous. Some of Rob's force are shield maidens.

This might be easier if someone had brought a torch.
Some of Beth's best photos were of the game of Ronin that Ralph and Bear played. The game seemed a bit complex, but it looked so fine.

Bamboo stalks

The village that saw the battle.

Ralph and Bear lay our their forces. There appeared to be only a handful of figures on either side.
Maybe as few a 5 or 6.

The scenery was choice.

The game itself.

Warrior monks

Beth liked the looks of this figure. I agree that it is rather well animated.

Samurai bowman lets loose at the warrior monks.

Beautifully painted by-standers from Ralph's collection.
I believe there may have been a swap of some sorts and these might be Bear's now.
A bridge on calm waters... soon to see conflict.

In this case, I suppose people/minor characters count as scenery.

Samurai and ashigairu confront the warrior monks.

They mix it up at a fence line. I heard Ralph refer to the one figure as "Baseball Bat Guy."

A wider view of the melee
On another table, Cecil and Rich set out French and Austrian armies for a Napoleonic game in 6mm using Sam Mustafa's Blücher rules. I must admit Napoleonics in 6mm fascinate and tempt me, but I don't think the eyesight can take it anymore.

The Napoleonic battlefield

French grenadiers... perhaps the Dutch Grenadiers of the Guard?

French troops. I'm betting on Legere.

Austrians. This is the real temptation!
Although Beth and I left early to get Rob to work and had to drive home in a serious snow squall, we had a good time. Martin, Kevin, and I agreed to play "NetEpic" next week. This is revival of the older rules for 40K Epic gaming. I have quite a bit of stuff for this (6mm) game. It should be fun!

One of the strengths of the Hamilton Road Gaming Group is the wide variety of game that CAN be played there. This past Saturday, three different games were played - three vastly different and very colourful games!

Irish kern skulking.

Viking Bondi counter-skulking.