1-day Saga in Central London 2014
Vikings vs Carolingian Franks
The end of a three game competition was upon us, and the opponents were the Carolingian Franks, again another army that I had no idea about whatsoever. Oh well, they seemed to have some shooting infantry and some men on horses - but the battle board would again be a complete surprise.
This scenario was all about contesting the middle of the table, so I had organised my men into a smaller number of big hard units, I think - probably not counting the Hearthguard as Beserkers maybe too?
Battle Board Analysis
Expecting to be imminently attacked by the fast moving mounted enemy Hearthguard (Milites) my first battle board had more melee abilities than usual.
Three units could move, with three dice in the top 2 left hand boxes - plus one accompanied by Harald
The always-useful Attack Pool gave me an additional defensive or attacking dice in any subsequent melee
Asguard was also a defensive dice, upping the armour on one unit
The Franks had used one of their funky abilities to do something to my battle board, probably blocking out the Activation Pool space which otherwise would have allowed me to re-roll a Zed and gain an extra dice in the process
And immediately the Milities attacked - charging into the heart of the battleground to assault my men who it appeared had already lost a couple of figures to shooting. Both sides had a bit of fatigure, so the battle would be brutal for sure
Battle Board Analysis
With none of my abilities blocked this time, the dice fell more kindly and I geared up for a dramatic attack to wipe out some of the enemy - killing them all seemed more Viking like than just forcing them away from the middle of the table.
Two movement dice top left - a limited number of units would be involved in this one
Top centre was the ever-useful Njord, allowing me to take fatigure off of several units near my Commander
Below that, Frigg - the classic battle dice that transfers fatigure into extra combat dice for the Vikings
And, actually learning from the previous game, Valhallah and re-roll missed hit dice. The Vikings were going to hand out some old fashioned Viking whup-ass today
The game could be almost decided here and now - two good attacks on the enemy Milites and their decent troops could be all dead!
Plenty of attack dice slammed into the mounted Franks, as the Vikings dragged them from their saddles and hacked theem with their longswords and axes - A magical light fell across the table, as if the game was now illuminated by the spectral glow of Olaf the Goat-Impregnator's Ikea huge helmet!
The Vikings were triumphant! as the Milites exploded, they reigned down fatigure on nearby units as well... but now the Vikings were potentially dangerously exposed themselves - would the Franks strike back?
As Harald looked on in bewilderment the other unit of Milites galloped across the field and sought to sweep the remnant unit of Vikings from the pages of history!
But, somehow, they just about stayed alive - one figure was the only survivor, but at least he would continue to generate a Saga dice for the next turn ...
Or perhaps not... the Frankish archers had other ideas.
On the other flank another Milites vs Hearthguard battle was shaping up, as the Vikings (who all appeared to have gone shopping in the same branch of Odins Famous Wolfskin Cloak Store) gamely fought back to try and protect the right flank of the Viking army
Battle Board Analysis
Another battle board, this one optimized for taking down the units of Milites yet again.
Some Zeds had allowed dice to be re-rolled, and 7 dice now sat on the board
The previously devastating combo of Valhallah and Re-roll missed hits was there yet again - this must mean the end of one Milites unit?
Three movement dice would get the troops into position to unleash their best combat combination
Rounding things off the almost-complusary Frigg also allowed fatigue to be swapped for combat ability
The battle was fierce, and many clutched their lucky charms made of fragments of Frigg's deaf-mute female sheep! The warriors went in against the Milites, spending three bases to get extra dice through Valhallah and generating a load of hits in the process
But the Milites had survived - only just though! Both sides were reatly fatigued by now text
The Vikings by now were great believers in "if in doubt, do the most Viking-like thing imaginable" - and in this case it meant attacking the lone horseman yet again, bringing with the exhausted unit the great man himself - Harald (although with 2 defeats to his name, whoever had called him "great" clearly had pretty low standards). Harald and his men inflicted almost double-digits worth of hits on the sole horseman (who I'm now starting to realise may well be the enemy warlord as well). If he could be unhorsed, this would be a dramatic win!
He Lives! Shrugging off everything the Vikings could throw at him as well...
Elsewhere, the clash of Hearthguard against Milites had been far more surgical - both sides wiped out!
A magical light fell across the table, as if the game was now illuminated by the spectral glow of Colin The Norwegian Huntsman's twin-headed string vest! With the warlord almost the only sole source of Saga dice for the Franks, the Vikings decided that they simply had to kill him - either that or the GUinness was starting to make me rash and hasty.
Yet again the two leaders clashed...
This is definately a cocked dice
Battle Board Analysis
Having re-rolled it properly this time, and sneaking towards the end game this could be a vital battle board, as my few remaining units had much now to do
5 dice this time only, and an enemy ability played to prevent a re-roll of any Zeds
Only two units worthy of using in combat, so one movememt dice and the Generals follow me
No Valhallah this time either - I simply had too few men on table to sacrifice any more
Re-rolling failed hit dice was a must, with 2 dice in that box.
Njord to try and reduce the horriffic levels of fatigue now afflicting my men after the sustained combat against the enemy Warlord
Frigg, a simple way to remove even more fatigue in a fight
With Harald leading the way, the Vikings crashed into the peasants with bows....
But these peasants were made of stern stuff - only 2 dead, but still they fell back away from the vital centre of the field.
Harald and his rather thin retinue were just about contesting the centre ground, but the Carolingians were out in some numbers too. In this scenario the peasants could not count for holding ground, so this was not quite as uneven as it looked - the big risk for the Vikings continued to be the threat of enemy bowfire, but with the carolingians reduced to hardly any dice they were struggling to move into range Grown men were trembling as if at the mere thought of Olaf the Goat-Impregnator's rune-carved serpent-tongue
Yet again Harald decided to do the Viking thing - and this time it worked! racing across the table leaving behind his retinue of just one man, Harald hacked down a whole unit almost single handedly! This was truly heroic (at last)!
Everyone was in shock - one General was now threatening to turn the game on it's head as he thought about where his Nordic Pac-man impressions would take him next
A pall hung over the battlefield like the steam on a hot day, rising from Gorm the Hydrophobic's dog-bitten furniture-assembling Allen key! . Leading his follower, Harald made a bee line for the one remaining proper enemy unit, and slammed into them with great force
The result was spectacular - Haralds retinue was slain, but the enemy were reduced to just three men. A Zed and a B in the Saga dice and Harald could use LOKI to simply take them off and win the game!
With surely it only being a matter of time before LOKI turned up, the three remaining Frankish warriors took careful aim with their crossbows. They unleased a hail of arrows at Harald, causing 2 hits - but as a general he only needed to save one...
Which, of course, he didn't
With literally no figures left on table at all, the Vikings were unable to claim ownership of the hold stone, and three Frankish crossbowmen recorded a hard fought victory for France.....
Read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Viking's Commander
Well, that was terribly unfortunate, even if I say so myself. My own prsonal heroics almost pulled an unfeasible victory out of the bag in a manner which would truly have befitted the Icelandic Saga's from which this game takes it's name, however in the end the tricky nature of the bow-armed enemy and some unlucky saving throws did me in M'lud!
At least I leant from my previous mistakes, and tried to do things which would actually win the game here - and apart from not actually doing the "winning" part I can look back on this with no small degree of satisfaction.
As for the previous two games, well, they are in the past now and no long lasting ill came of them. Lets face it, I was killed in the first game, but was still well enough to die again in this one which implies no little cleverness in my own personal progress up the ladder of military competence
And, more than anything, this game is called Saga - and I have created for myself a truly compelling narrative as a result of my exploits today - so from that point of view I regard the whole episode as something of a victory !
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You died. Your were personally killed in this game. It's also the second time this has happened across the three game tournament. Not many great leaders achieve greatness through not being present at the end of their battles, do they? Usually it's the other guy dying which most people would regard as the mark of success... so I do not think that this is you redefining what victory means - unless, perhaps, you mean that you are so unlikley to actually ever win a game of this thing that you need to define defeat as victory to taste it!
Here you cannot honestly claim to have a plan? If "use the same 3 Saga abilities every time and just fight anything in front of you" counts as a plan in your book? What do you think these other abilities are for anyway - you never manage to use them!
Valhallah itself deserves a special mention - how many games have you gotten to the end of now and run out of troops ? I make it one literally and 2 where you came very close indeed. Do you not maybe think that a battle tactic that involves sacrificing the lives of your own men may not always be the best way to approach things..?
Having seen these Vikings in action twice now I am utterly not convinced that your tactical abilities are anywhere near enough to ever aspire to do well with them. But, I may be wrong, as you also made so many stupid mistakes we have yet really to witness the fuull gamut of your ability deficit. Perhaps the next competition will prove more kind?
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?
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