Thursday, 19 December 2013

SAGA TOURNAMENT REPORT - DAY TWO

Day two of the Saga tournament ... Dec 8, 2013

We kicked off again at 9:30 Sunday morning, which was nice as I needed a sleep in after a hard windsurfing session the night before !
First up was the painting beauty pageant, or as it was called ... the Biggest Beards and Shiniest Axe Competition. There were a few armies that stood out for me, clearly in front and received my vote was Rob Curry's Normans - very well painted and based. Also Bede's Normans and Russell's Vikings were very nice as well. As was Andrews Pagan Rus army (like the winter theme and shields)


Game 4 - Clash of Warlords mission.against Nick's Franks

I had Nick quickly run through his battle board with me as it look rather complicated at first glance, and I found they do look interesting but maybe a little hard to use / master. For those who don't know what the key of this mission is - Hunt down and kill the opposing side's Warlord, if neither killed, its down to VP's

Nick formed his army into one massive unit of 12 mounted Hearthguard !! (not sure what to do against this)
He also had 3 units of 8 Warriors and his mounted warlord. I stuck to my plan from day one and had 3 units of 12 Levy, a unit of 12 warriors, a 8 man unit and one 4 man unit of warriors. Upon deploying I realised that I had made a mistake of making such big units of Levy - I should of had 4 units of 9 Levy each ... this would of helped me keep my units above ten a lot longer for the "Fyrd" skill, and with his 12 man horse unit these could be quickly eliminated. Having some bowmen would of helped as well.

Just want to point out I was very lucky in this game ... very lucky indeed.

Things started as I had expected and I didn't get the first turn ...again.
Nick filled his 'Battle Pool' skill (and incidentally never removed them for the course of the game, as the Franks battle board evolves around these dice in that space. Using the Exploitation (4 extra saga dice) and Oppression skills (activate x amount of units without fatigue with X being the dice in the battle pool) Nick maneuvered his horse all around my right flank and his warriors up, forming a formidable bunch on my right. Nice !
I had to move my Levy unit across to the right to hold up his horse unit, the warriors positioned themselves nicely for a counter charge. I also put a few defensive skills up such as defenders of Realm as I knew Nicks next turn was going to be decisive.
Nicks turn saw his horsie unit and Warlord charge full on into my Levy and with his "protection" skill in place - disregard X amount of hits taken with X being 3 ... and his combat pool dice, this would be hard going.
The Mounted Hearthguard got 18 hits in total and to Nick's horror (my delight) I had managed to save 12 of them !! so only suffered 6 casualties ... I caused one or two of his horse to fall over.
My next turn and I was unable to use my Fyrd skill as Nick had used his Interdiction skill on it, as this allows him to place X fatigue on a unit(s) if I have used this skill he had Interdicted.
So  it was my turn to push my Levy into melee being against a unit of his warriors, with both my combat skills in place I manage to kill 5 of his for 4 of mine. I also push a unit into the tail end of his horse unit to good effect and kill one of them.
His next turn and once again activates and smashes his mounted Hearthguard into my small warrior unit, with a grand total of 13 hits..... he should of killed them all, but I had saved 11 of them ....... Nick took it well, while I was laughing at the situation, was hard not to ........silly dice
The following couple of turns saw Nick's horse turn my unit of 12 Levy and 8 warriors down to 1 or 2 stands left (never quite enough to kill them all) then I had a lucky break and managed to retreat his warriors enough away from his warlord, so I charged in with my warlord and unit of warriors, with Nick having only one warrior there and not being able to take sufficient hits on them to cancel the 4 hits on his warlord, I manage to kill him.
A very unlucky game for Nick as my saving throws were against him, not sure how I managed to win that one, but I will take it. I did like the Franks skills, but a little too complicated/calculated for my style of play.

Result Win.

Game 5 - Wooden Oaths mission

Next up was a 4 player game - Wooden Oaths game. Seeing as there was 16 of us, we had split in to tables of 4, with myself playing with Simon's Scots, Damien's JomsVikings and Reg's Normans.

The mission is all about having alliances that allows the option in the next turn to either break that alliance and join another or stay true to your original oath. There are two teams, being Red and Black, each with their respective dead pile- once a player kills a man, you place the dead in the teams colour you are on at the that time. The winner is the side(red or black) with the most kills ..... sounds like fun - as the mission is setup so there is a lot of shafting and swapping of sides that can take place to benefit players.
Each player has a red and a black card, and at the end of each turn, he then chooses which side by placing it face down on the table and then simultaneously you all turn over to reveal the side you are on.
This happens each turn until the end of turn 4, where upon you have to keep that alliance until the end of the game in turn 6. Also each turn you have to roll off who starts the turn with the highest going first, then after he has finished you have to roll off again, this way you don't know who's going next.

I am randomly teamed with Reg's Norman's on Team Red (thank you - as he has a lot of shooting) which makes Damien and Simon our enemies in team black ... well for the time being that is.
Simon places his force in the top right corner with Damien in the top left, Reg places his 2 bow units facing Simon's bowmen, with his crossbowmen in a central wood, with two units of knights on either side of the wood. I am in bottom left corner, with over half my army facing Damien's JomsVikings and 2 units in the center half close to Reg's men in the woods.
The first turn saw Simon go first, where upon he charged his knights somewhat recklessly into Reg's bowmen unit and they dismissed the knights by killing them all for only 3 of their own losses ... Simon's dice were horrible - enough said.
My turn and I move my warrior unit up into building opposite the Jomsvikings with Levy next door (love buildings and will be taking more of them to tournaments), my troops in center edge closer to unsuspectingly towards Reg's knights and crossbowmen. Reg shoots at Simon's spear-men and takes killing a few, also charges his knights in and kills another small amount and then activates them again to retreat back to his line (nice) At the end of turn one there was a lot of dead in the red teams pile. The next turn I picked to be in the Black team (as I wanted to pick on Reg's Knights and well I felt like being traitorous) but to my horror Damien had picked the red team, damn, but lucky for me Simon stayed Black so I was now teamed up with him. That turn saw Simon charge into Damien's warriors, Damien charging into my Levy and counter charging Simon's spear-men, with more cross bolts and arrows firing across the field between the Scots and the Norman's, and myself charging into Norman knights and Damien's Hearthguard to some effect, the Red pile is growing ever larger .... time to change back to the Red side.

At the end of this turn we (after Simon had suggested it) thought it would be funnier if we randomly choose what sides we were on, so the next turn saw all of us on the same side !!! so all we could do was better position ourselves and rest units that needed too ....... the next turn saw the black team have Simon, Damien and myself against the lonely Norman player ... haha , I charge his knights then his cross bowmen taking a few from each. Damien is too far away to do anything useful and Simon throws some javelins due to his Scottish Reach skill.
In the end the Red teams dead pile was counted out to points value and then split between Simon, Damien and myself being in the red team This was not good, because even though the red pile was significantly larger than the black pile, Reg didn't have to split any points - so Reg came out the winner .. well deserved

Anyone who plays Saga and hasn't played this mission before, has to give it a go. The game was a real hoot to play, with everyone swapping sides to begin with and then us switching to a random draw, making it quite funny indeed.


The results of the Weekends gaming.
1st place  on 4 wins was Damien's JomVikings (After a very close game with Andy's Pagan Rus)
2nd equal with 3 wins each was Bede's Normans, Andy and Myself.
Best painted went to Rob Curry's Normans.
Most Warlord kills (with over 30 kills) went to Alex Byzantine's - he also came in last place with no wins.
(My Warlord could only manage a meager 7 kills !)

So all in all a great weekend.

Everyone have a good Xmas and new years


Friday, 13 December 2013

SAGA TOURNAMENT REPORT - DAY ONE

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.
Cheers







Friday, 6 December 2013

TOURNAMENT THIS WEEKEND

SAGAcon tournament tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. Have only played 5 games so far but it should be fun. Painting wise I haven't finished as much as I had hoped for, having finished just 3 units of Levy. I was hoping to get my Warlord done and maybe a small unit of warriors ... but to much happening this time of year, what with Christmas and summer fast approaching

There is an array of different armies going, which is good to see, which include
1 x Viking warband - only one which surprised me - with all Hearthguard units
3 x Normans - well represented with this many , of which one has 53 models and mostly made up of shooty stuff and a small horse units - going to be hard
2 x Byzantines
2 x Jomsvikings
1 x Scot
1 x Norse Gaels
1 x Anglo-Danish
1 x Franks
1 x Irish
1 x Pagan Rus
2 x Anglo-Saxons - my fellow Anglo-saxon player has a somewhat different army to me with 5 Warrior units and a single Levy unit, will be interesting to see how he will run it.

I think the Normans will be a hard opponent with all the shooty bits, as will the Irish. A fair amount of players have taken Hero's as well. I could of taken Alfelstan but maybe next time, best to keep it simple for now.
Maybe of been better off with buying a unit of bowmen, and a mounted warrior unit as well maybe, but I guess that's the mistake of buying an army before you play it, you dont know any better!

We had to name our warlords for the tournament, so with this I announce "The Mighty Thadeous" with his small band of sixty warriors/levy band of Wessex men.

The tournament is only 4 rounds now, with missions as follows
The Challenge
Sacred Ground
Battle at the Ford
and Clash of the Warlords

With a another end game (separate from the tournament results) being a 4 player Wooden Oaths Multi-player game - so this should be a lot of fun and has separate prizes.

Will post the results next week, with some photos and an AAR report of games played..
Cheers
Mark