The Dark Ages in London 2013
Vikings vs Vikings
This is a new period for me and this website, as I attempt to make sense of 4 games of Saga, the rather spiffing and fun game of dark Age man-a-mano combat from Gripping Beast. Saga is a pretty violent, decisive and quick moving game, so I'm not entirely sure how well the reports will flow, however let's see how we go - and there are lots of pictures of nice 28mm Vikings so it should be good anyway.. I've also added a new innovation, in that the Viking expressions in the battle report are randomly generated each time you load the page - so if you read this report again, any Viking Oaths in the tale, like this one...
"The story of the battle was developing as if it were being told in a tapestry woven from the threads of Steffan the Nomophobic's stinking Viking undercrackers! "
......will always be subtly different....
For this first scenario I had set my army out as follows
These chaps were my opponents - as in my first Saga tournament, and only my 3rd set of games my "I love figures but need some others to pad them out" Viking army was deployed first up in the Capture the Buildings "Homeland" Scenario. My opponents were also Vikings, and were stoutly defending the enclosures as my Vikings mustered...
This scenario needs the attacker to evict the defender from all three buildings by the end of Turn 6. The buildings give combat advantages in melee and against shooting.
The game started with my Viking levies making a rather half hearted attempt to unleash a volley of arrows onto the enemy in the building - where 2 units of Hearthguard were hiding. Not expecting to be attacked, they had advanced and shot, earning them a fatigue token for making 2 actions in one turn. By now the Viking dead were turning as rancid as a dead cat trapped for months under Arshram the Turophobic's deaf-mute tongue
Hearthguard are the best troops in the game, with 3 dice per base in combat. They are chosen in units of 4 - weaker troops come in bigger units for the same points.
The Viking battle board was looking like this. Ready to make a death or glory attack on the enemy, with lots of "more dice in combat" choices, as well as the Valhalla, which removes some of your own figures in exchange for even more combat dice. Basically the Vikings were committed to getting the enemy out of at least one enclosure in their first turn of combat, and were prepared to sacrifice some of their men to do so
The first charge by a unit of Warriors went in against the enclosure. Grown men were trembling as if at the mere thought of Steffan the chicken-castrator's grave-robbing bacon slicer!
What's happening here then?
Wanting to concentrate my forces (or more accurately, stack up all of my advantageous dice into creating instantly decisive combats) I have chosen to attack the three enclosures in turn, starting with the one on the left. With the enemy's best troops in the main building, and 2nd line troops in both enclosures I too have also committed my 2nd line troops against this first enclosure
They attacked as if possessed with the spirit of Gorm the Hydrophobic's thundering grandmother! The attack used up almost all of the dice on the board in one go !
A party of armed men numbering less than seven are thieves;
Between seven and thirty-five are a band;
More than that is an army.
But was shockingly unsuccessful, possibly because myself and my opponent may have gotten confused about how saving throws worked. Anyway, the Vikings were wiped out almost to a man, with 7 gone and one left. The enemy were still in the enclosure…
The next round of battle board looked to repeat the tactics which had failed before, but having realised that the levy would do nothing in shooting chaps in a building, they were given no dice this time
A second unit of warriors charged into the enclosure By now many men had fallen under the baleful influence of Vali's herring-sucking fishbelly
This time they dished out a load more hits…A pall hung over the battlefield like the steam on a hot day, rising from Eric the Priapic's seafaring nipple clamps!
…and, in fact, more than that even..
Success! The first building of three had been captured, as the Vikings raised their rather impressive Little Big Man transfer based standard to claim phase one out of three. Viking Gods looked down on the battlefield from the very summit of Asmund the Coulrophobic's flame-singed armpits! - but tougher tests were surely ahead….?
The by now rather depleted Viking army brought forward the unit of Beserkers, a specialist building clearance team akin to the SAS, but with marginally more nudity and less night vision equipment. A pall hung over the battlefield like the steam on a hot day, rising from Frigg's sea-spray soaked missing eye! . Would they lead the way?
The battle board was very much geared towards getting someone, probably the Beserkers into action, with Valhalla (accepting they would be wiped out basically) and the Ullr "re-roll failed hits" to try and hit people even when saving within the building
But, realising that the enemy had two units in the building, not including their Warlord, the Beserkers were held back, and the remnants of the Warriors from the first attack were ushered to the front to sacrifice themselves, and hopefully leave an easy opportunity for the Hearthguard to win the game later on.
Morale was now at the bottom of Olaf the Goat-Impregnator's stinking tongue The Warriors recorded quite a lot of hits… and the small unit they were fighting was wiped out, even after allocating more dice to make saves.
Never walk away from home ahead of your axe and sword.;
You can't feel a battle in your bones or foresee a fight.
Another battle board - Only 5 dice this time, and no S-type thingies (6's). The Beserkers were already going to be rolling lots of dice, so with the enemy in cover having re-rolls seemed a better idea than sacrificing them to Valhalla.
The wolf-skin clad Beserkers rushed forwards and started hacking at the doorway, urged on this time by the Warlord himself.
The battle was fierce, and many clutched their lucky charms made of fragments of Eric the Priapic's flea-ridden Longship! The Beserkers scored a resounding victory against the rather shocked and surprised Vikings hiding in the house, and picking up a bucket of fatigue, they carried on to storm and clear the building!
What's happening here then?
Two buildings have now been captured, but the best troops in my army have been rather fatigured in the process. The remaining balance of forces is very even, but the defenders have the advantage of defending behind a wall. Attacking them will therefore be very risky, and my remaing men need to rest before attacking again
With time running out fast the Vikings moved up their bow-armed levy and tried to whittle away the last unit of enemy hiding in an enclosed field. By now many men had fallen under the baleful influence of Gorm the Hydrophobic's sea-spray soaked skull-cleaver! The number of dice being rolled was now pretty paltry on both sides as the unit count had fallen significantly on both sides.
Three dice, all allocated to mad attacking stuff. It was looking like a Beserker Hail Mary…
The battle was fierce, and many clutched their lucky charms made of fragments of Styrbjorn the Unsteady's spume-soaked smorgasbord! The Beserkers charged home, but already exhausted through their earlier efforts, were comprehensively trounced as they clambered over the walls of the village. The game ended in a draw (special competition rules..)
The tournament used some tweaked rules, allowing draws to happen
Download the tournament rules here as a pdf
The Result is a draw
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or 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 Commander
Many years ago I bought my first pile of furniture parts from IKEA, and ever since then I have been working on theories of assembly - and today those theories were exercised fully in assembling my brave warband of Viking warriors. The problem facing us was one of great complexity - digging the enemy out of a very big house (in fact, almost a blue box warehouse) is no mere "assemble a billy bookcase"-equivalent exercise let me tell you
As anyone who has ever spent days and nights sifting through an array of slightly different sized wood screws will know, matching the tool to the plan is a challenge which can often be beyond us all, even when the instructions are clear. And in your own language too. And here my ability to pick the right tools out was hampered somewhat by the lack of experience in building this particular attack, on the buildings.
Having said that, the challenge was immense, but in the circumstances I therefore think I actually did quite well.
Getting close to victory in a game where I can admit that I did not have a clue what I was supposed to do is to be frank a lot of a result - Praise Odin for good fortune again, but maybe I was only one turn of the Allen key away from a real victory, and so with better dice (available to purchased in the marketplace downstairs) victory may well have been mine here.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Hurrrgghhh! I am a Draconian Warrior of the Viking Sagas, and thou art less than a heap of s__t under the prow of my longboat! What foolishness is your claim to make an excuse based on the fact you didn't know what you were doing! How can one approach BATTLE with lack of planning - this is a matter of life and death, and it is only the slimmest margin which keeps you alive into the next game here, nothing to do with skill!
The only people here with reason to praise Odin would be your opponents, and that mainly because your stinking men started the game downwind of his noble forces!
Really this game was lost because of your lack of knowledge of the most basic rule in the game. Hits achieved less saving throws = casulaties inflicted, not, as you foolishly thought when attacking your enemy, saves rolled = men who survive! Otherwise the rules are a nonsense, and the more hits you get the better the chance of surviving!
Gaze upon thy destiny, as should you fail to understand the rules again, then with this sword I will cleave your lying maggot mouth from your swine head should you fail to be better in the next game!
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition