Oh La La Sa ga ga Tournament
Well, the weekend's Saga tournament was perhaps the most enjoyable and relaxed tournament I have been to in a long time. Everyone had the right attitude and with many of us being rather new to Saga, everyone picked it up rather quickly which makes a for good gaming system I think. I had played a good bunch of opponents and I had some lucky breaks at times. And finishing early with games only lasting 1:45mins Andy and I even had time on Saturday night to get 3 hours of Windsurfing done down at Eastbourne beach which was great fun ... was a little tired arriving home 9pmish that night though.
I spent a good couple hours of Friday night painting up some shields for the levy units and also finished my Warlord, which considering the model (I don't like it at all) came out rather better than I expected.
I had a quick look at some of special characters some players were using, so I had a rough idea of what they did, then called it a night.
So Saturday morning, I put my army in a movement tray, placed a mix of terrain, including a building, trees, crop fields, and a river in a box - then headed off to the local gaming club. After much banter and gossip of who's taking what, we got underway about 9:30ish
Sorry no pic's ... forgot the camera
Game 1 - Challenge mission.against Rob Curry's Normans
This was going to be hard game to start with. For those who are unfamiliar with the mission you start with one Warlord in the center of the table, and then you place the opposing Warlord within 4" of him. Your Warlords both start with 12 wounds each, with the first to loose all wounds win. Also the Warlords pride rule states you can not activate your Warlord for a movement within 6" of another Warlord without engaging in melee, so you cannot back away into the safety of your battleline which is 12" away.
Rob had organised his warband into 2 units of 6 mounted Hearthguard knights, 8 crossbowmen, 12 bowmen and 8 warriors on foot. In response I had organised my warriors into units of 12, 8 and 4 with my Levy staying at 12 men each.
In hindsight I had stuffed up my deployment for this game, as I stupidly put my levy units out front with my warriors behind them - what I should of done was the opposite as the warlord can place hits on warriors using his resilience rule, thus saving my boss man losing wounds by placing hits on his men instead. I could of used Saxon Kingdom skill by making my Levy into warriors for a turn but I never got the appropriate dice to do this of course .... and at the time I didn't realize you could store one dice on a double dice skill ... pays to read the rule on that one!
Turn One, with Rob going first, his knight units charging my warlord with their charge skill so having 3 attack dice each (ouch!) but I roll some good saves, his warlord followed but only hit twice, he survived the 1st round with only one wound taken. My turn and didn't manage to get a helmet symbol (six) so my plan to use the "Fyrd" skill and "Saxon kingdom" died. Instead I moved my troops up and place "Bretwalda" skill and "Defenders of the realm" skill, which boosts my warlords defensive and attack dice to inflict 3 wounds !
The next 3 turn's there is much bashing of swords on shields and faces as we both hit each other's warlords, my problem of not getting my "Saxon Kingdom" skill still eluded me so I had to move my Levy aside to kill knights and move the warriors up to protect my warlord with the resilience rule. In the end Rob manages to get 11 wounds on my warlord before we have to call the game, I managed to do 7 wounds. He managed this with his crossbowmen, knights and warlord and his "Dex Aie" skill where his warlord gets an additional 5 attacks in exchange for 3 fatigue - it worked well. I had killed a fair number of hearthguard knights so was rather pleased, but just couldn't answer to the deadly Norman "Dex Aie" skill.
A very good game against a good opponent and was a beautifully painted army to face .. also learnt a few things that game which paid off in games to come
Result - Loss
Game 2 - Sacred Ground mission.against Simon's Scot's
Simon had the Scots, I almost had collected these guys myself as they looked like really good fun to paint with the kilt patterns and colours. Simon had "Macbeth" hero (which was fitting given Simon's surname)
Macbeth always generates 6 Saga dice if he is on the table, and allows one to take a unit of Norman knights that always get 3 attack dice each on the charge - not these guys again - So rather useful.
Simon organised his band into one unit of Norman Knights, 2 units of 12 spear-men and a unit of Levy bowmen. I stuck to my plan and used the same as the last game.
The table had a hill in the middle with a wood each side in the middle of the table. For those who are unfamiliar with the mission you have to collect points for how many models you have in these terrain areas, but the trick is you only score for those points at the end of the opposing sides turn, so you have to plan to keep them there that long. The key to this mission is you can only score a max of 8 points per terrain piece per turn - so 24 points in total all up a turn. My plan was to deploy the majority of my units in the center and place two units on the left while ignoring the right side all together until later.
Simon got the first turn and moved his knights onto the hill with units mostly in the center and one spear unit on the right side. I started by have a cracker of a Saga dice roll and got 3 six's, so activated "Stout hearts" and the "Fyrd" collecting another 5 saga dice to roll (awesome) placing them on "No Surrender" which allows a free activation to all units above ten models with no fatigue given (love this ability) so with these in place I activate my units twice and move up to the left woods and center hill. Simon stacks up points for his knights on hill and warriors in woods on left.
Simon charges his knights into my big Levy unit killing 6 models to my one knight, but then decides to leave the wood with his warrior unit and places pressure on the hill in the middle by moving up and using the "Reach" skill, which is very effective as it generates a javelin attack for how many models you have, so kills another 3 stands. My turn I get "Saxon Kingdom" skill again so full charge ahead, resulting in me killing all the knights and dominating the hillside. Also charge the spear-men but due to their defensive skills cancelling my attacking bonus this is made pointless. Simon makes use of his bowmen and whittles my levy down to reduce their numbers below ten so my defensive reactions are not so good, then charges in with warriors with some effect, but still on the hill ! so I get full points for it.
The remaining turns see a fair amount of melee happening, with some of Simon's bowmen firing arrows overhead to good effect, but the numbers are in my favor and without Simon moving his bowmen into the left woods (too busy shooting every turn) he was always playing catchup for points. So a good win to me.
My dice came through for me in this game and I had made good use of my skills and placed my warriors in good spots for counter charges. Simon's always been a good player to play against being a very skillful wargamer all round so was a satisfying victory.
Result - Win
Game 3 - Battle for The Fords mission.against Hayden's Byzantines
Hayden is new to tournaments so was pleased to play against, as its always good to play someone new.
He was running a Byzantine army which was on my wishlist to play against as well, as I was interested to see how they were run and what skills they use. - I was not disappointed !.
The mission places a impassable river in the center of the table with two fords/bridges across at points 12 " away from edges and each other, with the objective being you score points for each model of yours over the fords at the end of the game. Sounds easy enough - a lot of fisty cuffs at the fords and then stroll on over!
Hayden had 2 mounted Hearthguard - which he formed into one unit of 8,
One spear armed warrior unit - which he formed into two units of 4
One Bow armed warrior unit
One Javelin Levy - which he formed into two unit of 6
and a Steppe Nomad Horse Levy unit
I stuck to my winning format of last game and used the same organisation.
Hayden had the first turn (will I ever get to go first?) Moves his Steppe horse up onto the left side bridge, with Hearthguard close behind them. Moves his Levy units and bowmen up as well on right side, then uses his "scouting" skill and activates 3 of his Levy units for free (such a handy skill and now see why he split them up) and shoots some of my levy.
My turn and I move my units up on the right side (being my punch through force) and move Warlord and 2 levy with warrior on left (being my defend this ford side) My Levy assault into the steppe horse , but Hayden activates "support archers" skill and shoots his Hearthguard at me as they are within 6" (I didn't realize they had bows even) and kills a few. then activates his "Strategikon" skill - this allows the Hearthguard to support the Steppe in melee as well (Love this skill and Hayden used it so well) so left me with more dead Levy - ouch. Next turn sees more pointy sticks and arrow shafts heading my way over the river at my Levy units, but on the left I manage to keep his units on the bridge as my blocking force are doing their jobs well with the "Overlap shields" skill in place. My turn sees the warlord charge into the Steppe but fails to hit and almost loose him to that nasty "Strategikon" skill again. On the right my levy gets into combat with the javelin levy and makes them retreat to the side. I then activate them again and chose the bowmen but due his "mutual support skill" it leaves no choice but to target the Levy again.
The following turns sees off my levy (down to one man each in two units) and my left side is staunch in their defense (mostly due to the warlord blocking the bridge) but in my last turn I manage to push a fresh 8 man unit of warriors across and fight in melee and win pushing Hayden's bowmen back - so giving me some points in his half. It was a real close game in the end. I do like the Byzantine's skills, as they all about supporting each other, and they do it so well.
Result - Win
So 3 games against 3 great opponents with myself coming away with 2 good wins at the end of Day one ... not to shabby for me. Andy and his Pagan Rus is doing rather well on 3 wins and will be up against Damien's JomsVikings (also on 3 wins) for the decider game of the tournament the next morning. I was told I will be against Nick's Franks .... this is going to a very hard game I feel, as Nick is a very good wargamer ... and the Franks battle board looks way complicated ! ... I will be very chuffed if I manage to win that game.
Will type up game 4 and the big multi-player game this weekend and post early next week sometime.