20 November 2012

Back to the Dark Ages!

Last week I had the pleasure of enjoying Alan’s hospitality as we had planned a few weeks ago. After a delicious meal he ran an introductory game of SAGA for me, pitting his fearless Vikings against a Welsh force under my command.  It was a 4 point “Clash of the Warlords” scenario, with both of us taking 2 Hearthguard and 2 Warrior Units.

Three pieces of terrain were placed (two swamps and a large forest) which I hoped to use to break up the Viking warriors.  I combined my Hearthguard into a single 8 man ‘shock unit’ to try and overwhelm one flank, accepting the loss of a SAGA dice for the extra hitting power.
Initial Welsh deployment - strong on the left flank!
The armies advanced to contact and all was going to my plan with one of the Viking warrior units isolated by the swamps and allowing me to gain superiority by reinforcing my left flank.  At this point I found that perhaps combining my Hearthguard wasn’t such a good plan – when I got 6 hits on his 4 man unit they all died and the extra hits dissipated - but his 6 hits in return whittled me down worse in the bigger 8 man unit.  Note to self no 1: it would have been better to rush one unit in, build up the fatigue on the enemy, then send another fresh wave in to finish them off.
The Horns of the Welsh Buffalo close in, but not strong enough to intimidate the Norsemen!
The battle continued with attrition on both sides but the Welsh wore more casualties.  I got to try different Battle Board effects and suffer some of Alan’s too.  In the end it came down to the Warlords in single combat for two successive turns without result.  By this stage my Leader had only a few badly fatigued figs around him while he still had a full Warrior unit and a couple of Hearthguard, so the writing was on the wall and like a good Welshman I melted back into the forest.  Note to self No 2: javelin volleys are cool, but Welsh aren’t Norsemen so perhaps not being so aggressive in the future would work better.
Welsh retire to the covers of the woods after taking casualties
I very much enjoyed the game and while the table mechanics are quite easy to grasp, the Battle Board is clearly where the interesting dynamic is (as well as the frustrations of not having the right dice to do the ‘killer move’ one might want to).  The lack of an overall force morale mechanic was very different and perhaps more of a tournament style than what I am used too.  Then again, it made me make my own decision of when to retire so when the awaited campaign rules appear (next year I think) perhaps this will be more prevalent.  Certainly it is a game I want to play more and as the table mechanics are simple it is a system my gamer Lad could learn quickly.  I’m keen to try Normans and Anglo-Danes, and the new supplement Raven’s Shadow includes the Irish and their wardogs, so I will be interested in those too.
Great dark Ages action: a Warlord Mano-a-Mano duel !
I greatly enjoyed the evening, meeting Alan’s family and using his beautifully painted figs - his hand painted shield work is fantastic and definitely to be envied!  So much so that I’m feeling all inspired to get my own figs out and pimp their shields!  You can see his remarkably similar version of events here (link)

Note to self No 3: There is no shame in loosing your first match to a tournament champion! (link)


  1. SAGA is a game I'm getting more and more interested in, especially for the Normans and Vikings. Good to hear the Irish are making an entrance.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Fran, but for how many times is this excuse valid? :-)

  3. How I have missed your Dark Age content :)

  4. Sounds great mate. To many periods not enough time..... sigh

  5. Sounds like one of those wonderful game nights that happen not nearly often enough. Saga is a lot of fun, glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Saga is such a good game. Very easy to collect and store with the small amount of figures required. Easy to pick up the rules and not so easy to master.

  7. Glad to see some more Dark Age action. I was missing this blog series.

  8. This is the blog that got me interested in Dark Age miniatures. I'm glad to see some of that content returning. The minis look great by the way.

    1. High praise indeed - thanks!
      These are Alan's figs and yes they are lovely!

  9. Thanks everyone - it was nice to get back into some DA fun.
    More to follow I can assure you!