Another weekend, another game of Saga. This time we decided to play the “Kill the Warlord” scenario with the same two 5 point forces which I used in the solo game last week. The Anglo-Danes had a unit of Levy archers, 2 units of Coerls (Warriors) and 2 units of Huscarls (Hearthguard – one unit with axes), while the Normans had 3 points of mounted Knights (Hearthguard) and 2 units of Sergeants (Warriors), one unit armed with crossbows the other with spears. Nick however decided to split his Knights into 3 units of 4 instead of 2 units of 6 as I had done, a decision which was to prove crucial to the number of Saga dice he got later on as he could lose a unit and still roll 6 Saga dice. I resisted the urge to split my levy archers in two and that turned out to be a good decision as well.
The Normans chose 1 as their terrain number (predictable for cavalry) while I chose 5 (predictable for infantry facing cavalry) so 3 terrain pieces it was. A large area of rocky ground and 2 forests went down and I was quite pleased with the end result because I thought my levy bowmen could hide in the rocky ground which counted as hard cover, while the layout of the terrain would channel the Norman cavalry. The Normans split their cavalry between the flanks, 2 units of 4 on one flank with 1 unit of 4 on the other and their crossbows seemed to have the same idea as my levy archers about occupying the rocky ground.
The Normans got the first turn and activated a unit of Knights with “Gallop” straight into my left hand Coerl unit. Luckily I had placed a dice on “Intimidation” and cancelled the move – then the Knights activated normally but they were just outside charge range, so both cavalry units moved up ready to pounce next turn. The Normans also moved their crossbows up to the edge of the rocky ground and their left-hand flank cavalry moved towards my right flank. I sent my axe armed Huscarls to cover the cavalry on the right flank, and moved the exposed Coerls back out of charge range of the other Norman cavalry. The levy archers fired at the crossbows and took down 2 – not bad at all!
Next turn, the Norman crossbows activated first, taking down 2 levy. They activated again intending to shoot at my levy archers with the “Storm of Arrows” ability, but a dose of “Intimidation” from my Anglo-Danes saw off this attempt. The Norman cavalry on both flanks again edged forward while building up battleboard abilities to put on their charges next turn. Not to be outdone, I noticed that the cavalry on my right flank had moved within charge distance of my Huscarls with axes, so I put down some combat abilities on the battle board and charged the cavalry. I came close to wiping them out, but 1 out of 4 escaped for the loss of 1 Huscarl. My archers meanwhile took down another crossbowman.
Then came the Norman charge against my left hand unit of Coerls. They were tooled up with “Stamping” – I had “Shieldwall” and “Lords of Battle” but still lost the melee (lousy dice rolls) and fell back, though the Normans had to take 3 fatigue due to “Lords of Battle” . The crossbowmen continued their archery duel with my levy but even though they were hitting on a 2+ I managed to save all the hits. In my turn I slammed my Huscarls into the Norman cavalry I had fatigued in the previous melee, but surprisingly lost despite a few choice abilities and had to fall back. My axe Huscarls raced to get back to the action from the right flank while the levy downed another crossbowman.
The Normans retaliated by counter charging against my Huscarls with “Charge” and “Stamping” abilities and my unit ceased to exist – I was now down to 5 Saga dice. Using “Follow Me” my Warlord took a unit of Coerls against the weakened Knights and wiped them out for the loss of 2 of their own, However the way the combat had ended there were no figures close to my Warlord, so no-one could absorb his wounds.
Even though they had lost a unit the Normans still had their full 6 dice and, with my Warlord left out on a limb, right on cue the Normans rolled 2 “Flags” which allowed them to put dice on the Dex Aie ability (Warlord gains 5 attack dice and re-rolls any failed to-hit rolls – arghhh!). He tried to rest first – I stopped that nonsense with “Intimidation” but couldn’t stop the “Obey me” move as no dice had been expended, so the cavalry and Warlord crashed into my Warlord with not a Coerl or Huscarl in sight to absorb a wound – oh dear.
I picked this moment (for the first time ever I think) to remember that Anglo-Dane Warlords have an armour of 4 because they are swinging Dane axes – DOH!! As it turned out, even with the nearest unit of 6 Coerls had all been within 2″ (unlikely) my Warlord was dead meat as 8 kills got past my saves, so it was game over. I really enjoyed this game even though I lost – we’re getting to know the battleboards better so there is some planning going on now rather than just random activations. The next step up will be to play with 6 point Warbands (I’m working on it!) and then to paint the Scots Warband for my son to use in our Easter game when he’s back from Uni – where I’m going to find the time to do all this is another thing!