Playing Saga – 7th July 2016

>The Joy of Six show is only a couple of weeks away, and you may be aware that Dave Luff and I are helping out Per Broden running some 6mm Saga games.

To that end, we’ve been playing Saga again, after a break of 3 or 4 years. Last night we played a ‘proper’ game with some scenery on the table. To be honest, we simply set up the table in what we thought was an interesting set-up, not really thinking about the scenery set-up rules…more of that later.

We played a 4-Point game, using the ‘Clash of Warlords’ scenario. Dave’s Viking force included:

  • 1 Warlord
  • 1 Unit Hirdmen
  • 1 Unit Berserkers
  • 2 Units Bondi

My Norman force consisted of:

  • 1 Warlord
  • 3 Units Knights
  • 1 Unit Sergeants with crossbows

Norman deployment


Viking deployment

During the opening turn, both forces converged. 2 Units of Knights looked to reposition as the Vikings looked to be advancing down their open right flank


As the Vikings advanced, the Norman Sergeants occupied a house in the village


The Hirdmen continue to move up the street, and the Sergeants let loose at them with their crossbows, but all their bolts flew wide of the mark. (Although I did forget that crossbows reduce armour by 1 – du’oh!)


Knights move up on either flank



The Vikings advance across the field…


…whilst on the opposite flank, the Norman Knights leap the fence as they bear down on the Bondi opposing them


Meanwhile, the Hirdmen attack the Sergeants in the village


“Knock, Knock!”

The resulting combat sees five Sergeants cut down, but two Hirdmen also lay dead.


The remaining Sergeants were subsequently killed, thanks to the use of the Viking ‘Loki’ Saga ability…

…damned Viking gods…


With a loud war-cry, the Norman Knights charge into the Viking Bondi – the combat sees five Vikings fall with not a single Norman casualty. The Bondi retreat through the trees in disarray.


Meanwhile, without the chance of a decisive engagement, the Viking Warlord decides to withdraw (not very heroic at all, if you ask me…)


However, with the battle drawing to a close, the enthusiastic Norman Knights seize a last chance for glory…


The Knights could attack the Bondi using their ‘Gallop’ ability, which they did… (Actually, there was no need for me to do this, as it was the last turn and I was ahead on victory points, but doing nothing is not a very heroic way to end the game, is it?)

All together now….   CHAAARRRRRGGGEEE!!!


However, disaster strikes, as the Bondi’s shield wall stands firm and the Knights are repelled (would you believe, needing 4+ to hit, I rolled  a measly 2 hits on 12D6!) 


And that was it. Six turns flew past in the blink of an eye…


The end of the game sees both Warlords with their retinues eyeing each other warily as they disengage.

With both Warlords surviving, the final result of the battle came down to a count of victory points. With each side losing 2 Hearthguard and 8 Warriors, the game was declared a draw.


Thoughts on the battle

At the start of the evening, we didn’t give a lot of thought to scenery set up, and simply laid a table out in what we thought was an interesting manner. Dave was especially keen to get his 4Ground buildings on the table as he had had them for 3 years without them being played with once! Afterwards, we went back and reread the set-up rules – as it turned out we had far too much scenery on the table (I think we were still thinking in terms of Chain of Command, where the more scenery the better!)

Saga is actually very prescriptive on how scenery is laid on the table: you are only allowed a maximum of six terrain pieces on the board (including a maximum of four buildings). We probably complicated matters by adding a lot of linear obstacles (fences and hedges) which we then treated as uneven ground – a rule that is optional, but seemingly sensible. However, due to constantly having to cross fences and hedges, most of the units never managed to move fast enough to engage the enemy. We will probably have to rethink this for future games.

I think the one rule change that really confounded us was the changes made in The Crescent and the Cross to the way buildings work in the game. In the original Saga rules, you are allowed within a VS of a building unless that building is occupied by the enemy. In TCATC, you are not allowed within VS of any building, occupied or otherwise, unless you are either moving to occupy it or fighting in Melee with the occupants.

Compound this with the fact that we had (as we found out at the end of the game) set up the scenery incorrectly (buildings must be at least an M distance apart from each other) and it made for an ‘interesting’ result that the only way through the village was to move single-file along the dirt track, thus being a VS away from both buildings.


Viking Hirdmen ‘do the village conga’

We discussed this rule change at length during the game. I can understand why it was introduced: it’s there to prevent a particular cheesy move whereas a unit can move to occupy a building as long as it’s with their movement distance, and then be classed as being in contact with an enemy unit which is with VS of the building that they have just occupied – effectively massively increasing the charge range of an infantry unit.

However, not being able to move with VS of any building just seems to be a particularly heavy handed and gamey way to deal with this issue. We much prefer the first edition rules, as these seem to make much more ‘real world sense’.

However, the game achieved it’s goal of us playing the game and engaging with some of the more ‘fiddly’ rules. Hopefully these will be valuable lessons learnt for running the games in a couple of weeks.

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  1. Saga in 6mm – Part 10 – Pre-Show – Roll a One

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