Saturday, October 11, 2014

SAGA: The Confrontation

My Anglo-Danes faced Dave's Vikings for The Confrontation scenario in our SAGA league. 

In this scenario, the two Warlords have met, confirmed they still don't like each other, and following an exchange of insults, the inevitable occurs.  The set up reflects this, with two Warlords starting close to each other at the center of the table, while the Warbands hang back a respectful distance.  The goal is to score the most hits on the opposing Warlord; if a player has a score that is ten points higher than his opponent at the end of a round, he wins.  Otherwise, the winner is whoever has the highest score after six rounds.  Significantly, the Warlords can only be attacked by each other, except that lesser troops can attack a Warlord who is ahead in points.
I got the first turn, but had a poor roll of the SAGA dice (no helmets, even after using Noble Lineage to re-roll my dice, leaving me with a mix of four Horses and Axes).  I decided not to activate my Warlord, because in his Pride, he would have no choice but to charge the Viking leader if I did so.  Instead, I moved up his loyal Huscarls to help.

In good Viking fashion, Dave's Warlord struck the first blow, landing two hits on my Warlord.  Score: Dave 2, Me 0.

Having counted coup, the Viking Warlord fell back.  His four Berserkers moved up in support.

Enraged by the affront to their lord, my Huscarls charged, chastising the pagan with ten hits. The mighty Viking shrugged of the first hit (Resilience), and three of his loyal berserkers sacrificed themselves, but he still absorbed a net of six hits.  Score: 6-2 for the Anglo-Danes,

Dave is great at playing in character, and his sole Berserker, ignoring the odds, went after my Huscarls.  He died.

However, Dave's Hearthguard had better luck, slaying eight Huscarls for a loss of six of their own.  Both groups fell back to their respective lines.

Dave and I both rested our troops during the following round...

I moved my Levy archers to harass Dave's left wing.

The Levy shot down three Warriors, then fell back out of easy charge range.

Noticing that the turn limit was almost up, Dave sent four Hearthguard to attack the center of the Anglo-Danish formation.  They eliminated three Huscarls for a loss of one.

My twelve-man Warrior unit charged them in the flank, but scored no hits, and ignominiously fell back, having lost a man.  On the last turn, the Vikings then closed and in quick succession wiped out my smaller, four-man Warrior unit, and finished off the last Huscarl, losing one man in the process.  Dave was in striking distance of my Warlord...but had no more SAGA dice to activate with!

Final Score: 6-2 for the Anglo-Danes.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SAGA: Sacred ground battle against Norse-Gaels

In the latest round of the SAGA league, my Anglo-Danes took on Matt's Norse-Gaels.  It was a chance for payback after the havoc these guys wreaked on Sunday, when five Dane-Axe wielding maniacs brought down nine of my warriors, dooming me effort to defeat Dave's Vikings.

The scenario was "Sacred Ground," which awards victory points for holding the terrain features in the center of the table, in this case two hills and a wood.  

My plan was to plant my Huscarls on the left-hand hill, and then use my levy and warriors to contest the center hill.  I decided to concede the woods, since my archers would be ineffective there.
I got the first turn, and rushed my Huscarls to take the left-hand hill.
My Warlord and big unit of twelve Warriors seized the middle hill on the second turn... looking good!

Unfortunately, Matt's Warlord and Hearthguard promptly swept my Warriors off the center hill, and then took out my Warlord.  This battle was off to rough start.

However, my archers then brought down three of the Hearthguard, and my warriors rallied to finish them off.

Over on the left, my Huscarls were camped out on the other hill for two whole turns, which allowed me to rack up twenty-four victory points.  Matt threw a unit of twelve Warriors at them, amped up with the usual array of nefarious Norse-Gael SAGA abilities.  I took a chance and had the Huscarls fight back aggressively, rather than focusing on defense (which is to say, they rolled all 24 attach dice, rather than converting half their attacks to defense dice).
The Result: Twelve Warriors and nine Huscarls down, in a single round of combat.  The hill was dubbed "The Hill of Slaughter" for the rest of the game...

Back in the center, a back-and-forth struggle ensued between my Warriors, and Matt's forces.

I wiped out one unit of warriors . . . but more were lurking in the background.

More Norse-Gaels attempted to take the Hill of Slaughter, but were repulsed by the Huscarls, for the loss of another veteran fighter.

In the center, my Warriors were overwhelmed by a combined charge from the Norse-Gael Warlord and his henchmen--but one doughty Warrior escaped, thanks to some miraculous saving throws.

The archers moved up to take their turn on the Hill of Slaughter, and assisted the Huscarls in wiping out the left-most unit of Norse-Gaels.

The archers soon learned why the left-hand hill had earned such an ominous name, as eleven of them were cut down by the rampaging pagan Warlord and his Dane-Axe wielding lackeys.  In the background, you can see where Matt was busily painting reinforcements during my turns...

While Matt was finishing off the defenders on the Hill of Slaughter, my reserve unit of Warriors, and a last survivor from the first Warrior unit, re-occupied the central hill.
The raging Warlord ran back to the central hill, easily defeating the lone Warrior--but by then, he was exhausted (hence the four red fatigue tokens), and his enfeebled efforts against the reserve warriors were for nought.

Eight rounds having passed, the game was over.  Those four dudes were my last survivors, out of a once-mighty warband of forty-one men.  However, the final score was 41-23 in favor of the Anglo-Danes, because in all hurly-burly, I managed to keep more figures on the hills than the pagans did.  Godemitte!!!

Still shamefully lurking in the background was another unit of Norse-Gael Warriors.  If they had moved up earlier, they could have occupied the empty woods, which would have resulted in a closer score... but thankfully they never stirred.  There will be no place in Valhalla for those laggards!

I'm now 3-1 in our League, and looking forward to taking revenge on Dave next week...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SAGA Wooden Oaths Games

We are doing a SAGA league at the FLGS.  Players are loosely organized into two teams: Defenders of the British Isles, and Invaders (the latter being mostly Vikings.  Yesterday we did a four player game.  My ally Pete plays Anglo-Saxons.  I had my Anglo-Danes.  We were opposed by Matt's Norse-Gaels, and Dave's Vikings.

After a random draw for set-up, each pair of allies ended up on opposite corners of the table.  

The plan was for Pete and I to gang up on Dave's Vikings, while the Norse-Gaels were bogged down by some woods.

I charged right in, and killed 11 hearthguard and 4 berserkers on the first turn.  But 3 turns later, the Anglo-Saxons still had not arrived to help.  A unit of 5 Norse-Gaels snuck in from the right, and mauled my big Warrior unit.  The Vikings rallied, slaying my Warlord and all my Hearthguard.  (And finishing off three warriors with some confounded SAGA ability).  Still no Pete!

Pete's guys are almost there(top right)... Six more of my figures were eliminated moments later.

Once again, my levies were my MVP unit, taking down 4 berserkers, and killing the last figure from both a Hearthguard and a Warrior unit.

Pete had a tough fight against the Norse-Gaels, but I had to leave before the end.  I know his Warlord went down right before I left...  Here's that fight midway:

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All Quiet on the Martian Front: First painting

My All Quiet on the Martian Front Kickstarter box arrived today.

My three-year old saw the awesome plastic tanks and tripods, and insisted we go paint some right away.  So, here is the result, possibly inspired by Hello Kitty.

Monday, February 3, 2014

SAGA Tournament at Great Hall Games

On Saturday, Great Hall Games hosted a SAGA tournament.  We had six players, and went through three rounds.  Terrain was preset, with four different tables, each using a different scenario from the SAGA rule book.  Aaron of Great Hall did a great job arranging the tables and scenarios, as well officiating with skill and impartiality.  Thanks Aaron!
I have still not managed to finish my own SAGA Warband.  Luckily, Charles was kind enough to loan me his Anglo-Danes, which happily is the same nationality I am working on.

My first game was against Matt's Vikings, on the Tarn of Omens table.  The scenario was the basic Clash of Warlords, with the goal being to eliminate your opponent's warlord.

Matt was using the Viking hero Harald Hardrada.  This lets him field a single unit of veterans of the elite Varangian Guard.  A formidable force, with armor of 6, and Dane-axes.

This is my single pic from this game, about 3 turns in.  My Warband is to the right.  I sheltered my Levy archers behind the tarn (pond), from where they ineffectually pelted Matt's warriors with arrows.  At this stage in the game, I was feeling good about my chances, thinking my Warlord was well protected behind the line, and that I would turn Matt's left flank with the unit of warriors at the top of the picture. 

Alas, within a couple turns I had lost about half my Warriors and Hearthguard in a rolling melee in the center.  While attempting to counter-attack the Varangians, I made the mistake of leaving my Warlord in the open, unsupported.  Matt quickly seized on this error, ending the game.

My second game was against Joseph's newly (and well) painted Vikings, on the "Village of Pillage" board.  The scenario was "Homeland," which requires the players to blind bid to be the defender.  I figured Joseph, like any good Viking, would want to be the attacker, and so I guessed he would simply bid six points ( the maximum), in order to ensure I would be defender.  I therefore bid five points, so that my force would be as large as possible.  To my surprise, Joseph bid three, meaning he got to defend the village with three points of troops, while I attacked with the full compliment of six.  To win, I would have to completely clear all three buildings of defenders by the end of a set number of turns.  The Viking defenders could win by either having at least one man in a building at the end, or by killing my Warlord.
As to why the Vikings would be defending a village against Anglo-Danes, we figured this was an English village, taken by the Vikings earlier, and my guys were the vengeful local garrison, come to turf the Vikings out.

Here is the game at deployment.  My Warband is massed outside the village.  Joseph's Warlord, accompanied by four Hearthguard and four Berserkers, lurk around the corner.  Finally, a unit of eight Viking Warriors was skulking in the building on the right.

My troops closing in.  In his next turn, Joseph probably would have won the game, as he arranged his SAGA dice to allow the Berserkers to charge my Warlord via a series of multiple activations, with a bunch of nefarious Viking SAGA bonuses added in.  Luckily, I had left a SAGA die on the "Intimidation" special ability, which allowed me to cancel the second of three activations Joseph needed to get his Berserkers into contact with my Warlord. 

Thwarted, and knowing the unarmored Berserkers would be easy prey for my waiting Levy archers, Joseph hurled them into my mob of twelve Warriors.  I think the four Berserkers managed to down seven Englishmen before being sent to Valhalla.

What the Berserkers could not finish, Joseph's Warlord did, single-handedly slaying the five Warriors.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take any more pictures of this epic battle.  In subsequent turns, my Warlord charged in with the Hearthguard on the right, and gave the Viking Warlord and Hearthguard honorable deaths, out in the open where the Valkyries could find them.
My Warlord then led his surviving Hearthguard to storm the building, rooting out the eight Viking Warriors who cowered there, and slaying the final Viking on the last turn of the game.  Whew!  Meadhall reclaimed (and probably in need of a cleaning)!
For the final round, I moved over to the "River of Blood" board ("Battle at the Ford" scenario), against Pete's Anglo-Saxons.  This scenario is played for a set number of turns, the winner being the one who has more troops on the opponent's side of the river (i.e, you want to keep the bad guys on their side of the river, while crossing as many of your guys as possible).  The Anglo-Saxons are similar to the Anglo-Danes in many respects, both have some defensive abilities, but the Saxons favor large numbers Levies and Warriors, because their SAGA board predicates several special abilities on having units of ten figures or more.  I was interested to see them in action, because I'm planning on adding extra figures to my Anglo-Danish warband  to allow it to morph into an Anglo-Saxon force.

Turn One.  I tasked a unit of six Hearthguard and massive unit of twelve Warriors with defending the bridge on the left, while my Warlord led my remaining forces in an effort to secure a bridgehead on the right.  As luck would have it, the Anglo-Saxons had basically the same plan, so the game proceeded very symmetrically, with each of us attacking on our respective right flanks, and defending on the left.

I placed my Hearthguard at the end of the left-hand bridge, where they could all fight against a two-man wide column of attackers.  Ten Anglo-Saxon Warriors were the first to make the attempt.  They acquitted themselves well against my Huscarls, each side losing three men in the first clash.  On the next turn, I moved the surviving Hearthguard back to the right, and sent the twelve fresh Warriors in to relieve them.

Meanwhile, on the right, Pete move up a unit of twelve Levies armed with spears and shields to defend the other bridge.  I softened them up with a few volleys from my bow-armed Levies, before sending a unit of six Hearthguard across the bridge.  Although Pete ably boosted his Levies' abilities by using the "Saxon Kingdom" SAGA ability (temporarily making the Levies fight like Warriors), my Huscarls contemptuously forced their inferiors back, killing all but three in the initial struggle.
In later turns, my Warlord came over the bridge too, and the Levies were routed.  Pete moved up a block of ten Warriors to halt the Danish advance, but (following some more good shooting from my Levies) they too fell before the Dane-axes (though not before the last Saxon Warrior heroically dueled with my Warlord.  There is a place in Valhalla for that Saxon, should he care to take it!).
I neglected to take further photographs of the action on the left, which is too bad, because it was very interesting.  The now-reduced unit of Anglo-Saxon Warriors charged the newly arrived Danish Warriors, but had the worse of it, losing six men for only three Danes.  The sole surviving Saxon fell back, but could not leave the bridge, because the Anglo-Saxon elite, some eight Hearthguard, were already crossing the bridge from the other side.  In good SAGA fashion, the last Saxon Warrior, perhaps ashamed, charged alone, only to fall harmlessly against the Danish shieldwall.  Pete's Huscarls came over the bridge next, and they were fearsome, managing to wipe out the remaining Danish warriors in two turns, for a loss of four of their own.  This left them on my side of the bridge--four Hearthguard against my three.

The last turn.  On the right, four of my Warriors and the twelve Levy archers poured across the bridge, giving me a total of ten victory points (3 points for the Warlord, 1 for a single Hearthguard, 2 for four Warriors, and 4 for twelve Levies).
On my left, my three Hearthguard, the only Anglo-Danes left on that side of the river, charged the four victorious-but-tired Saxon Huscarls in the flank, which meant only three of the four fought back.  SAGA and attack dice flew, and at the end the last man standing was an Anglo-Dane.  Accordingly, I won the game 10-0, but had the game continued, Pete's Warlord would no doubt have crossed the river and exacted vengeance.

As this is a SAGA of warriors, we didn't bother to rank everyone--you either won the tournament, or you didn't!  Matt won with a perfect record of 3 wins, triumphing in his last battle against Adam's vicious Irish, over on the Village of Pillage board (I suspect the Irish were out of their element in an urban environment--they are by all accounts almost invincible otherwise).  I believe a good time was had by all, and thanks are owed to Great Hall Games for hosting, and to Aaron for organizing the tournament, acting as umpire, and setting up a great selection of boards and scenarios.  Thank you!