This weekend I'll be heading over to New Jersey to partake in the NJCON's SAGA Tournament. Each participant will need to bring a six point warband, and there'll be three rounds, each with a different standard SAGA scenario; Sacred Ground, The Challenge, and Clash of Warlords. We'll have 90 minutes to complete each round.
Apart from studying my rulebook - since I haven't played SAGA in some time - I've also had to decide what faction to take. I have six points of fully painted Vikings, Anglo-Danes, Welsh and Normans (although the Normans have some cavalry that need to be painted if I don't want to rely on foot Warriors and Levy archers). Since it's been some time since I've even looked at my SAGA miniatures, I decided to get back to the basics and go with the very first warband I owned, which came back from Ireland with me - the Vikings. Aren't they the reason why people get into Dark Ages wargaming in the first place?
My warband is going to my standard build for the Vikings. Three points of Hearthguard (with one unit of Berserkers), two points of Warriors, and a point of Levy. This allows me to mix things up a bit with the list.
Hearthguard provide a solid block of armored troops in SAGA, although the Vikings have the option for one point of Hearthguard to completely eschew armor and let the red rage take over. I generally write the Berserker Hearthguard off during a game. They tend to slam into a unit and do a bunch of damage, but quickly die at the same time. So they're a glass hammer unit, and I don't think I can count of them for any support as a game goes on.
The other two points of Hearthguard can either act as their own units or be lumped into a single unit of eight. This big unit might only produce a single SAGA die per turn, but it'll be much more difficult to remove from the table, and can be a major threat. The Viking Battleboard has a bunch of abilities to make them hit even harder, or toughen up their defenses.
The Warriors in a Viking warband are much like the Hearthguard, except they're not as handy in a fight. There's more of them, though, so they have the chance to stick around longer than a four man Hearthguard unit. And again, the Viking Battleboard can make these units into swirling dervishes of pain.
The twelve man unit of Levy was probably the hardest choice to make. I could have replaced them with another unit of Hearthguard or Warriors, but I decided to take the Levy instead. Apparently they're necessary if you're facing Jomsvikings (and while I'm not sure I will be, better safe than sorry), and you can always split a single unit into two units of six if you just want them to sit in a spot and act as a roadblock. Unfortunately, the Viking Battleboard doesn't do much for their Levy, but who wants to waste valuable SAGA dice on a bunch of slaves?
I'm not exactly expecting a stellar performance - from previous experience I'm rubbish in tournament games - but at least I'll get a few games of SAGA in, and get a chance to check out NJCON as well. Wish me luck!