We had another cracking game of Saga the other week, a three player one where the objective was to kill more enemy troops than other players (again 🙂 ). It was the first game we had played with the full 6 point warbands (my fault – I’m the only one who paints this stuff 😦 ). We rolled for sides – I got the Normans which I have been slavishly painting over the winter, while Tom got the Vikings and Nick got the Anglo-Danes. We did some random terrain generation, but the terrain rolls placed all the items in the middle of the board – being the cavalry army this would force me along the edges of the board as we were deploying in the corners.
I deployed my 12 Knights in one unit of 8 and one unit of 4 facing the Vikings, while everything else was going to move along the other board edge towards the Anglo-Danes. The first two turns were as usual taken up with jostling for position and building up abilities from all players, then in turn 3 all hell broke loose. I got the first action and unleashed my crossbowmen tooled up with some ability on the Levy archers – Tom had played a Viking ability (Raganarok) in the Orders phase which lowered all enemies armour by 1 – this meant I was hitting the Levy archers on anything but a 1. In predictable form, I rolled more than your average number of 1s and the Anglo-Danes saved the rest of the hits.
The Anglo-Danes were up next and had the necessary dice to activate the levy – needless to say, because of their armour being lowered as well, my crossbows took maximum hits and failed to save even one – typical – bloody peasants!! As Raganarok was active, the one of the Viking Hearthguard units charged my Knights and gave them a pasting due to the fact that I had no abilities left on my board (and the fact I had neglected that flank and left my best troops standing around waiting to be charged).
Next turn my mounted Sergeants charged the Anglo-Dane spears through their own infantry but rolled disappointingly in the combat and had to disengage. With the by Viking Raganarok armour-lowering ability in effect again, the Anglo-Danes rolled enough dice to activate the levy archers twice and took my mounted Sergeants down to 2 figures in 2 consecutive rounds of shooting. This raised questions on the Raganarok ability – we played that both enemies got it when the Vikings activated it, which meant heavy casualties to both the other sides but this took VPs away the Vikings so it’s not really that smart a move given that it cost the equivalent of 2 sixes on the Saga dice. Maybe next time we will play it only affects the enemy the Viking is attacking at the time.
I got the last action phase in the last turn. Apart from the Viking using his Loki ability to kill off my remaining 2 crossbowmen, the other two factions left me alone as I didn’t really have enough troops remaining to pose much of a threat. Despite losing their Warlord in a warlord-on-warlord duel, by the time the dust had settled the Anglo-Danes were ahead by 1 point over the Vikings and 4 points ahead of me. I had 3 Knights, 2 mounted Sergeants and my Warlord left and few Saga dice to roll. However, I had a cunning plan – if I could use my Warlord accompanied by the knights to charge into and wipe out the Viking Bondi facing me without loss, then charge my Warlord into the Viking Berserkers behind the spears and kill 2 of them without loss, then I could win (a long shot, but William the Bastard didn’t get to be William I without taking some risks :-)).
I had a problem though – the Anglo-Danes had an Intimidate action on their board, which could be used to stop the Warlord charging into the Berserkers because it was in the the Anglo-Dane’s interest for the Viking to not kill any Normans and overtake their total. The solution I came up with was to order a suicidal charge with my 2 Sergeants into the Berserkers which they were bound to die in – it would put the Viking score out of my reach but crucially it would give the Vikings enough VPs to beat the Anglo-Danes. The Anglo-Danes did what they had to do and cancelled the Sergeants’ charge, so in went the Warlord and the Knights. I got off to a great start and wiped out the Bondi with no loss, but with no dice on abilities on my Saga board, the Warlord was going to have to roll faultlessly against the Berserkers to stand any chance. The Viking used the Warlord’s fatigue against him and I rolled a fistful of 1s, so this gave the Viking 3VPs for killing my Warlord and also gave them the game.
Another closely fought game with all sides in the running the entire time. I’m working on painting up a 4th faction, the Scots, at the moment and hope to see them in action over the summer. What I’m really looking forward to is the Arthurian supplement, but that seems to be a while off with the Crusades up next – I saw what looked like two playtest battleboards being used at Salute titled “Moors” & “Warriors of God”, so it looks to be fairly advanced.