Monday, December 23, 2019

A Yuletide Clash - SAGA AAR

With the holiday season in full gear, I'm still looking to get more games played before the end of 2019.

It's been a couple years since I've played Saga, and since that time there's been a release of a whole new edition, along with new expansions like the Book of Battles and the Age of Magic supplement. Meanwhile, my poor Vikings, Anglo-Danes, Welsh and Normans have been languishing away in their foam, untouched and collecting dust.

Josh (my Warlords of Erehwon opponent) just happened to have a Viking army that hasn't gotten any use, along with the new Saga rulebook, the Age of Vikings expansion, and the Viking dice. So we met up at Nerdvana for a straightforward Clash of Warlords to give Josh the opportunity to learn the new rules and for me to forget the old ones.

Josh's warband was led by Ragnar Lothbrok, with two units of four Hearthguard, a unit of Berserkers, a unit of eight Warriors with spears, a unit of six Levy with bows, and a unit of six Levy with spears (not sure if this was legal, but it was how Josh had built the models).

My Norman warband consisted of a Warlord, two units of six mounted Hearthguard, a unit of eight crossbow Warriors, a unit of twelve Levy with bows, and a unit of eight Flemish Mercenaries.

The objective of Clash of Warlords is simple - kill the most enemy models by the end of six turns. You get bonus points for wiping out entire units, and for targeting Legendary Lords (like Ragnar) or mercenaries (like my Flemish warriors).

The setting was a lushy countryside, probably somewhere by the coast in Normandy. The fields and groves were rough ground but provided light cover, while the stone walls provided heavy cover for units behind them.

Most of the fighting went down by the fields and wooded groves. The Vikings advanced across the table, their shields weighted down by the constant rain of arrows and crossbow bolts. The Levy were especially dangerous in this game, their volleys slashing down into the ranks of the northmen.

In the village, one of the Norman Hearthguard units chased down Josh's bow Levy, then danced a little with the Viking Hearthguard nearby. Eventually the two units clashed, and Josh's use of the Viking's Battle Board wiped out my Hearthguard, but not before his own men were cut down.

When the Vikings finally reached the Norman's position, it was with all the fury of a storm as Josh activated his Ragnarok ability. This decreased the armor value of every model on the table, as well at allowed the Vikings to charge without needing to spend a Saga die to activate.

My crossbowmen were slaughtered, but they managed to wipe out most of their attackers in return. And after that, my second unit of Hearthguard charged into the fray, killing the Viking Warriors.

With the mounted knights bearing down on Ragnar, the remaining Viking Hearthguard and Berserker jumped in the way. While they were trampled, they managed to each take down a Norman retainer with them. Then Ragnar lived through sheer bloody-mindedness, taking Fatigue in exchange for all the wounds the Norman knights caused, while cutting down man and horse with ease.

At the end of the fight, Ragnar had defeated his enemies, but most of his raiders had been killed or routed, leaving the Normans with a solid victory.

Both Josh and I enjoyed the game. Saga is a great set of rules for a thematic skirmish game, and I didn't run into anything in V2 that seemed to break immersion, and some of the changes are very welcome (for example, the Manoeuvre rule, which lets units outside of 12" of enemies activate without needing a Saga dice, but can't move within 12" of enemy units).

Hopefully I can bring Saga to the table more in 2020, and Josh is interested in trying the Fantasy version as a comparison to Warlords of Erehwon.

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