Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Saga Begins

Saga is a ruleset I've owned pretty much since it was released.  I read through it initially and thought it seemed like it'd be a lot of fun.  I watched a bunch of videos of guys building forces and terrain for Saga, along with some gameplay video.  It seemed great and I couldn't wait to jump in.  The only problem was, I never actually played.  I talked about it a few times with a few folks, but it just never materialized.  I've been almost completely missing in action from the gaming scene for the last several months due to work commitments, but I was able to get an afternoon together with Robert, one of the local guys I play(ed) with pretty regularly, and who is also interested in the system.  So, I was finally able to get in a couple games of Saga.

We played two games, using the first scenario, Clash of Warlords, for both games.  Now anyone who has played me knows I don't really study scenarios very much - often to my detriment.  Usually, I just want to get the gist of the rules down, get a force painted up, and have some fun!  So, in the first game I realized very quickly that my Anglo-Danish Huscarls weren't just given some random name.  You need to protect the Warlord!  Game one was over pretty quickly with the death of my leader, John Quade the Anglo-Dane.
Vikings flank and surround the left flank

These guys never made it to the fight!

They're all around us!

The folk gave a good account of themselves, but were overwhelmed by Vikings.

So, after the Norns taught us that cruel lesson, we reset and began again.  Scenario was the same, but 
This time John Quade has lots of retainers in close proximity.
this time the Anglo-Danes had the jump on the Vikings.  My unit of 8 Daneaxe-wielding hearthguard, or as Robert deemed it, the Assassination Squad, attacked a unit of apparently doomed Viking warriors.  Truly, the feast of ravens was great this day as the Vikings were all judged by Brynhild and her lot, but in true Viking fashion, took 5 of the 8 Danes with them.  Across the field, the local fyrd tried to gain position on the marauding Vikings.  The Northmen might have been small in number, but were ferocious in battle.
The Fyrd attempts to gain an advantage in numbers.
The fighting was bloody and quick.  Neither side had time to form a shield wall as berserkers raged through the ranks of the peaceful settlers, and were themselves slaughtered in turn.  Finally, the remnants of the two armies faced off.  The Viking warlord and his remaining retainers refused to call the raid a failure even though they were outnumbered.  The Danish settlers were determined to keep that which they had not already lost.

Remnants of two armies
As the final stuggle commenced, the remaing Danes gained their seats in Valhalla.  John Quade stood alone, yet cut the heartstrings of two remaining VIkings.

John Quade stands alone
 The final act saw the two Warlords eye to eye, bloody and beaten.  Only they remained to determine the result of the day's fighting.  The rest now feasted with Odin.  Determined and resolute, neither would yield.
The final act.
Axe versus sword, the sound of steel on steel rang out once again.

Victory!

It was an awesome game.  It came down to a duel between the two warlords, every other model had been killed.  Granted, the Viking had a large advantage at the end and the game ended in a loss for me, but the SAGA was epic!  Great game which I am sure will get on the table again.