Thursday, 11 December 2014

MOORS - 6 POINT ARMY SELECTION OPTIONS ?

The Moors is indeed the next Saga faction for me, now its deciding upon an army selection for the Moors, having played a number of games with the Moors using proxies its high time I choose an army list, and place an order for the correct models in my Christmas shopping wish list .

Now you may have noticed in my earlier post last month about the Moors here , by looking at the Moors battleboard skills, there is a lot of melee skills that require you to have non-missile armed troops to enable the ability to use these skills. Also to get the most out of Fury of Swords skill, those units should be big !!

LIST IDEAS THEN :
So with this in mind I plan to make a 6 point army consisting of the following options:

1st Option
Has a Warlord with Spiritual Advisor upgrade/downgrade
5 points of Warriors comprised into 4 units of 10xWarriors each
1 point of Naffata teams - with them split each into the Warrior units for 11 teams each total

This option has only 6 Saga dice available but with the Spiritual Advisor ability to gain additional Saga dice and also being able to remove fatigue markers from units will no doubt come in handy, especially as the Naffata teams place fatigue in your own units as well as the enemy.


I have tried out these Naffata teams in a previous game to good effect The Naffata teams will allow me to place fatigue on my enemy before I charge on in, and a bonus is that although they are thrown as missile type shooting, they do not count as missile armed unless the host unit is missile armed so I wont loose my combat skills for including them. Also when facing mounted troops (thinking of my brothers armies here - as he collects mostly mounted type forces) it will be very useful option as when the Naffata team hits, it places an extra fatigue marker if you manage to cause a casualty in the mounted riders


2nd Option
Has a Warlord
1 point spent on Warrior-Priest
4 points of Warriors comprised into two units of 10xWarriors, and two units of 6xWarriors
1 point of Levy Bowmen

So this option has 7 Saga dice available, and with the Bowmen you have the ability for some much needed long range fire, should I make these Levy crossbowmen perhaps? but would gain a fatigue counter every time I shoot, is it worth it ? Im not really sure it is unless facing a faction with lots of Hearthguard perhaps, such as the ugly Joms Vikings


I like the Warrior Priest as an option, as he gains the We Obey ability (so a free activation to a unit nearby). He can gain 3 extra attacks and also gain the ability when charging with the side by side unit, thus the side by side unit gains an additional attack for every 2 models in that unit  So a Warrior Priest with 6 attacks and a 10 man strong Warrior unit with its own 15 attacks before any additional Saga abilities are added - making them dish out a huge amount of hurt ,  oh so very good indeed ! .......... and all that bonus for just removing a Saga dice from your battleboard during the orders phase.


Another option I am considering is to substitute the bowmen with some Bedouin camel mounted scouts. The camels will come in handy when encountering horse units and give me some much needed mobility. The option to take them dismounted is also tempting as they would gain a free move before the game begins. The Bedouin scouts are a fantastic javelin armed unit as you can activate for free as many times as you want (that is until the are exhausted for multiple activation's) but being warriors this means as many as four times ! in one turn - so stick on the flank and first turn throw as many javelins at a small unit as possible. The only down side is that they can not benefit from any of the owners battleboard Saga abilities.

Some Bedouin camel mounted scouts

So what do you think then ?
I am leaning towards the second option, but no doubt I change my mind , will need a few more games to be sold on the camels or dismounted scouts but the Warriors and Warrior priest is looking more like my style.


You will notice I haven't placed any Hearthguard units in the Moors lists above, I just can not see any point in them, they have to be mounted on horses and have to be armed with javelins, making them unable to benefit from any of Moor melee skills. The only benefit I can see of including them is for their mobility and limited shooting, of which I can gain this with using the camel unit, while making the army something different in the process.

I plan on using the Gripping beast Plastic Arab Spearmen and archers for my Moors - you get 40 of them in a box, so will no doubt need two boxes if I use the Archer option, as this box comes with square bases I will also have to get some round bases for them as an extra - as I strongly dislike using square bases. I don't particularly like the weight of plastic models either but it all comes down to $$$$, as the 40man box is the same price as 8man metal blister pack so its a no brainier for me. I will have to wait until the Moors army is released to get the Warlord model and a Warrior Priest type model

If anybody knows where I can gain a Priestly looking miniature I can use for the Moors - be sure to point me in the right direction.
Cheers





Monday, 10 November 2014

HOME BREWED SAGA MISSION - CASTLE ASSAULT

OUR MADE UP CRUSADE ERA SAGA MISSION -

My brother had stumbled across some old castle walls and towers we had made up years and years ago when we played the Warhammer Mordhiem skirmish game, they are still in good condition considering their age (15-18 years at a guess) and thought we could put these to good use again, will need a spruce up and a new desert paint job perhaps but has some potential. And as the new Crescent and Cross Saga book has most of the artwork photos inside showing figures among castle walls and such ...  we thought it may be a fun idea to make up some rules for a siege type mission for Saga

So we roughly laid out a castle arrangement and then sat down and nutted out some basic rules for battering rams, ladders and stuff to aid the attackers. It was a fun process, and we came up with the following.  - it was a fun action packed game with few tweaks here and there, so thought I would share, feel free to comment.

"STORM THE CASTLE" MISSION

To set the battle scene, the Muslim factions have been suffering a siege for months now, the Christians have been setting down a barrage of fire with trubuchets and catapults. Some of the outer walls are badly damaged and the warriors spirits are waning. They must soon be ready to attack, you must hold control of the courtyard at all costs and repulse the relentless attacks.

For the Christians - Now is the time to launch an all out assault, your ladders are made, the battering ram is ready, the men are eager, your mission is to storm the walls and/or ram the gate, to take the inner courtyard and gain control of the castle area. You can directly assault or maybe use your mounted units to quickly advance and ride around to the damaged sections. GOD WILLS IT !


The table size is 4'x3' normal size. The towers and gate house are approx 6" x 6" size, the walls are 10" long. The Wall sections must be deployed within 20" from attackers table edge

The Defenders - They can only have 4 points to form their force. Must place at least 2 points of force on walls/gate/tower, the rest has to be in courtyard area.

The Attackers - They can have 6 points to choose for their force. Deploy within M of table edge.

The Attacker must have more slaughter points in the courtyard area than the defender at end of turn 7 in order to win. Otherwise the Defender wins (defender wins ties)

Walls, Towers and Gate House Rules : Units on these features gain Heavy cover
May only deploy one unit per section. Units can descend through Tower and Gate house to lower courtyard but only move S when doing so. Defending units can sally out of gate house as they wish. No mounted units on walls and towers for obvious reasons.
Attackers must break down gate with Ram to go through the gate house ... see rules below

Our old castle walls. gate house and Towers put to good use











Damaged walls can be moved through, only move 'S' and horse units gain a fatigue in doing so. Units will gain Heavy cover in this section.

Ladders from old mordhiem
days ..... needs some paint
Rules for Ladders  : only 3 units may be equipped with ladders of which has to be on foot. (3x ladders per unit max) You can only raise ladders when unit is within S of the castle wall. Once upon wall and up ladders you have to melee the defenders (if they are on that section of wall/tower that is) with half the number of attacks (due to the hard climbing). You may use your Battle board skills as normal.  If you get pushed back you must descend the ladder and try again.

Rules for Battering Ram: One point of models may be assigned to pushing the Ram, i.e. 4 Hearthguard, 8 Warriors or 12 Levy. Due to the Ram being heavily protected by a shield roof, the unit using the ram will only move 'S' but will gain one Armour bonus as long as they are pushing the ram along and battering the gate itself , so a warrior unit will be 5 to hit for shooting etc. If they are reduced to one slaughter point of models left (i.e. 1 Hearthguard figure, 2 Warrior figures or 3 Levy figures) they can no longer push the Ram





A quick battering ram we
made up for a test game
very basic but does the job!
Once at the gate they can begin ramming. To do so you have to launch an melee assault as normal against the gate itself, (but can not use battle-board skills) work out number of attacks per models as normal, to destroy gate you will need to hit it 3 times needing 6's  - this can cumulative so if you fail and only manage to hit twice you can try again only needing one more 6 (easy peasy)





Well that's the rules in a nut shell we had used, In my next post I will review the game we played - it was the Moors defending against the Crusaders faction .... it was a lot of fun with it being a very close game that came down to wire at the end. The rules worked out very good, with Andrew going for a direct assualt having no horses, and used ladders and rams to good effect taking a fair amount of punishment on the way with my bowmen shooting down on them. had ramming of gates and also plenty of silly banter while playing to make a good gaming afternoon, so stay tuned in a couple of days time for the after action report.


Cheers
Mark


Friday, 31 October 2014

THE MOORS - CLOSER LOOK AT THE BATTLEBOARD SKILLS

I have now played a fair amount of games with the Moors Saga Faction from the new C&C book, I will no doubt start collecting sometime soon, so thought I would share my thoughts about them and do wee review (similar to the Rus Princes review I had done earlier in the year, press here for link if you interested)

First a wee history lesson on the Moor faction,
The word "Moors" was the European word for Muslims of the Berber or Arab descent.
The Moors came from North Africa, what now would be called Morocco, and crossed the straits of Gibraltar and invaded and conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the early 8th century. At the peak of their conquest they controlled most of now what is called Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Parts of Southern France and southern Italy and also Sicily. The religious differences between the Muslims and the Christian European's set into motion century's of conflict between the two. It wasn't until the fall of Grenada in 1492 that saw the end of Muslim rule in Iberia. End of lesson!!



What can you have in the Moors Warband then : The Warlord is always horse mounted, You can have Hearthguard but must be horse mounted and armed with javelins. Warriors can either be on foot or mounted on horse, if mounted they are equipped with javelins. The Levy can either be equipped with bows or Crossbows.

Due to their reluctance to fight in melee the Hearthguard are armour 4 in both shooting and melee, the mounted warriors also suffer this and are armour 3 in both shooting and melee.
Looking at the battleboard they have it favors the use of non-missile type units so unsure why you would need the Hearthguard units, well except for the obvious mobility I guess.

You can also have a Crusader Age Hero available to them. You also get a Black Guard Special unit that is a Hearthguard unit that fights on foot, (I haven't really looked that much into these yet, so can not really comment at this stage) so will cover these in the next post


The Moors Saga Battle-board Skills in detail then :

Corruption : Orders/Reaction skill that can only be used immediately after your opponent has rolled his Saga dice. Pick one unused Saga dice of opponents, Roll it and add it his/her pile. Take one of your own Saga Dice and place it on your battle-board with a rare dice symbol face up.
You may look at this ability and think that it helps the enemy just as much as yourself, you would be correct but spending a common dice in gaining a rare dice reaction/melee skill such as Fury of Swords or Discord in the enemy's turn will be worth it.

The Moors Gold : Orders/Reaction skill, Until the end of the turn each time your opponent activates one of his units that is more than M away of his Warlord, his Warlord gains one Fatigue.
This skill annoys any opponent - places lots of fatigue on the one of the most important pieces in the game, when combined with Doubts and Discord skills especially, it is very good. It doesn't quite work with some elite factions such as JomsVikings and the like as they don't tend to venture far from their Warlord choosing to bunch together in small groups, but once the enemy spreads his units out this skill comes into its own.

Doubts : Orders/Reaction skill,Until the end of the current turn, all enemy Warlords loose thier Determination, We Obey and Side by Side special rules. In Addition the number of Attack dice they generate (in both melee and shooting) is reduced by 2.
In a challenge Mission, and/or when the enemy Warlord looks like charging you use this to stop him in his tracks !!  Plus in a multi-player game this would come in very handy, as it affects all enemy Warlords on table.

Discord : Activation/Reaction skill, Use this ability when an opponent activates to rest. Add one fatigue to a unit within M of the resting unit (add two fatigue if Rare dice used)
This will stop the enemy units resting, especially if a rare dice is used ... heehe

Swongs of Drums :  Activate all your units that not equipped with ranged weapons
For the cost of two common dice this is very good skill indeed, and will dictate how one makes their warband units no doubt

Friendly Fire : Shooting/reaction Skill, up to half the casualties (rounded up) you suffer during step 5 may be removed from an enemy unit within M (that is not the shooting unit) instead of being removed from your unit.
Such a handy skill, you will have to be close to two units to use it but with javelin armed such as Welsh/Bretons and the like this is a must, and if you suffer only one hit the enemy has it, as hits are rounded up !

Impaling Spears : This Melee skill has a restriction where it can only be used if your unit has been engaged in melee and not equipped with ranged weapons. Your opponent can either choose :   All his units engaged have their attacks halved  OR  give a plus 2 bonus to hit on all Moors attack dice.
This is a very good melee skill, a unit of 8 Hearthguard charge your 10 Warrior unit, you opt to go all out attack instead of placing some in defence, you will get 10 attack dice hitting on 3's (instead of 5's) OR he will only get 8 attack dice of his own - either way its good !!


Fury of Swords : Melee Skill that again has a restriction where it can only be used by units not equipped with ranged weapons. Gain a number of Attack and Defense dice equal to a third the number of models in your unit.
Awesome skill ... especially combined with the Impaling spears skill above ..cue evil laugh.
Can also be useful for your Warlord and Hearthguard and even Levy for that matter, as thier is no restriction for armament type.

Dance of Spears : Melee/reaction Skill that once again has a restriction where it can only be used by units not equipped with ranged weapons. During step 1 of the melee all units engaged in this melee only generate halve their number of attack dice but gain number of defense dice equal to number of attack dice generated.
This skill is a tad different as it effects you and the enemy who charged your unit. But it will halve his attacks making him not so effective, you can combine with Fury of swords to get even more Defense and Attack dice as well.


Betrayal : Orders skill, Designate an enemy Warriors or Levy unit with 6 or less models and is more than M away from their Warlord. Until the end of the current turn, that unit is considered part of your warband. If he is not exhausted, the enemy Warlord may take three fatigue markers to cancel this ability.
Love this skill, although somewhat expensive with two rare dice needed but thats where Corruption skill comes into play as it gives one. 
Just imagine a unit of his 6 Warriors charging into his own unit of levy or small Hearthguard unit with both inflicting casualties to each unit and then placing fatigue as well on each.... priceless. Even if the warlord cancels it you win as 3 fatigue makes him pretty useless indeed with Discord and Moors Gold skill in play. The only way to effectively cancel this is to make big units but during the end game, this will no doubt come in handy.


Well there you have it, the Moors skills, pretty good overall I think. The fact that all the skills link together to get some good combinations going is the key for this faction. Now I just have to think what army style list to head down ... maybe need another post for that though I thinks.

Cheers

Thursday, 23 October 2014

SAGA GAME - MOORS VS SPANISH

Andrew and I had a 6 point game of Saga the other night - Andrew liked the look of the Spanish so I put up the Moors against it (being the historical choice and I very much like the look of the army) Since both of us decided to use one of the new Crescent and Cross armies we would be using some sub models so Andrew made good use of his Breton force to act as the Spaniards while I had a motley mix of Rus Princes and Saxons acting as the Moors.

First of all the Spaniards at first glance look quite hard to use, as most of their skills are either Orders/reactions or Activation/reactions so have to learn to predict and plan ahead, so there will be a lot of Spanish activity in the Moors turns I feel, something Andy is quite a home in doing with his Breton faction. So saying that it might appear that all the turns are muddled up a bit as you read this. Hopefully I make it easy for you to follow.
The Moors are mostly focused around disrupting the enemy by placing doubts, discord and even betrayal in the enemy's ranks. These two armies should be somewhere evenly matched being historical correct so a good game is in our midst's I think.

Andrew made up his force with a Warlord, a unit of mounted Hearthguard, 4 units of 6 mounted Warriors with Javelins, some Javelin armed Levy and some Fanatical Pilgrims (monks) .  I went with a Spiritual Advisor Warlord, 2 units mounted Hearthguard with Javelins, 2 units of 12 Warriors, and one unit of 12 Bowmen.

For the mission we both agreed that we would have 6 turns with the winner being the one with the most slaughter points at the end - so a simple game with it being a more experimental type to try out the different faction abilities rather than being tied down in trying to kill each others Warlord or the like.

Setup positions with my Moors in front, with Spaniards top of photo
I set up with my Archers on my right flank, two infantry blobs between buildings and some rocky ground with mounted Javelin HG units behind, giving me some protection from Andys Javelins. Andy had most of his force opposite mine with his Hearthguard and unit of warriors on his left flank.

The Spaniards got the first turn, but as for all our games we play, we play with the optional rule of having the player who is second to roll 3 Saga dice, so I got to use my corruption skill whereupon I allow the Spanish to roll an additional dice but I get a rare Saga dice in return, so place on Betrayal skill to setup my own turn. I also play my Moors Gold skill where if Andy activates a unit outside M of his warlord, his warlord receives a Fatigue marker..nice
Andy's turn consisted of his Monks moving up center, and 2 units of Warriors moving down my left, also moved his Warriors on right flank (warlord gets a Fatigue). He places 3 dice into his Iberia skill.

Moors 1st turn. With my Spiritual Adviser Warlord I got to roll 7 Saga dice to start, and gaining the Betrayal skill - where I get to pick a enemy unit of Levy or Warriors made up of 6 or less models and effectively becomes mine for a turn (cue evil laugh) I then pick Andys 6 warriors on my right and charge his Hearthguard unit, but they are somewhat reluctant and only throw handbags at each other as we both save hits annoyingly !! but gain a fatigue each- Andy then moves his left warriors using his Iberia skill (he gets to activate his unit in my turn) and throws some javelins at my HG unit killing one. I then move the betraying unit again along the side of his HG so picks up another fatigue marker. Andy moves his warrior unit away again ... rude ! but oh such a good skill !


Situation before turn 2 begins



Spanish 2nd turn,  Andy moves his warlord up first and then does some move and shoot with his Javelin armed mounted units doing little in damage, as the moors have a handy shooting reaction skill "Friendly Fire" where upon the Moors get to redirect half thier hits onto a another enemy unit within M of the unit shooting.... and its rounded up so one hit and Andy doesn't save !.  He then moves his Monks forward. The rest of his Dice are placed in his numerous reaction abilities they have.



Moors turn 2   I roll two rare dice so engage my Betrayal skill again, but with this skill the opposition has the chance to cancel it by receiving 3 fatigue markers (as long as he is not exhausted) so Andy decides to do this... either way I win !!  I then place a Saga dice onto my Discord skill, whereupon if he wants to rest a unit - a unit within M of that resting unit will gain a fatigue instead, increased to 2 fatigue markers if a rare dice was used.. very nice.
I move my Warrior block up and engage the Monks, and with my Fury of Swords skill in play I kill 10 of them for only one in return, very nice. Andy now does another out of turn move with his Jav unit. I go to activate my Warrior block again but since I have now a fatigue marker Andy uses his Stunned skill and cancels this activation ! and cannot activate again this turn - rather unfriendly that !  I also move my Levy Bowmen over to the left side

Where did the Monks go !!! hiding in the house now ... hehe
Spanish 3rd turn,  Andy now has an exhausted Warlord that he doesn't rest .. hehe.
Andy activates 3 units of his mounted Javelins but has a terrible turn of shooting with only one kill (and a friendly fire casualty) for their troubles. Then places the rest of his dice in skills he intends to use to good effect in my turn ... well he hopes so.

Moors turn 3  I quickly charge into his mounted javelin unit but once again I am denied as I forgot to rest first and Andy uses his Stunned abilitie --- you would think I would of leanrt that from last turn and should of activated the unit below it .. silly mistake ... must of been the tea break I had !!  

My unit now stuck in the middle with two fatigue markers

This is what else I did - moved some units over to help out and shot
Andys horse unit with my bowmen... pewpew ... only 2 left
You will also notice all the Fatigue markers on his Warlord .. haha
Spanish 4th turn,  Andy uses his Light horse skill (love this ability)  he gets to activate his mounted horse unit and shoot one enemy with Javelins and then move to shoot again at another unit.. very handy and has some bowmen levy down and out. His Hearthguard swing around behind the building to help out his warlord. 


Moors Turn 4   I place some pretty good melee skills up as I thought I would be using my big blob of Warriors and also get Bretrayal again picking a unit of his Jav horse on my left. Andy then laughs with an evil grin and says wait up, and does an Orders reaction skill "Battle Choas" where upon he picks up all my fatigue markers and then gets redistribute them as he sees fit with the restriction of no more than 2 per unit , so quickly exhausts my Levy bow, and place 2 more on my fresh Warrior blob unit. 
So with this I could move my big Warrior unit but Andy would use his Stunned skill and make it pointless, So I move his bretrayed unit and charge into his small unit, but without using any melee skills (unit have to be non-missile type to benefit..poo) I only kill a few.
So have to leave a lot of Saga dice unsed on my battleboard, some what waste of turn and missed opportunity. Also rest my Bow unit

Spanish 5th turn,  Andy moves his mounted Hearthguard up and charges into my Levy, but he fumbles along the way and embarrassing only manages to kill two of them for 2 kills in return from two attack dice , so funny. He does light horses again but I have some lucky saves only suffering a few lost souls, but with his Burning Sun skill, where upon if you suffer a casualty you can not activate this unit next turn ... thats annoying.

Moors turn 5 I decide to show Andy, how one should charge with thier Hearthguard unit, so move my unit of 4 HG into melee with his Levy javelinmen, but with a somewhat hilarious outcome, as I too only manage to kill 2 Levy kills for 2 kills in return on my own men, fall down laughing at this point !! stupid HG units ... 
Silly Hearthguard charge into Levy ... never again.
now that the side show is over I charge my small Warrior unit into some of his Warriors and with my melee skill "Impaling spears" I have up, the enemy can choose either to halve thier attacks or give myself a +2 to hit bonus... Andy chooses the latter, and I wipe out the unit. 

Charging warriors
Andy gets to move his Hearthguard unit in my turn and charges my Levy again, this time with more luck killing 4 of them, pushing them back. I go to charge his somewhat unprotected Warlord but once again Andy stops that foolhardy idea of mine ... I am beginning to like/hate the Spaniards and their cancelling abilities

A blurry photo of Andys HG unit pushing my Levy back in melee 

Spanish final turn,  Andy places dice into Broken command skill (more about this in my turn) he also shoots his Levy Javelins at my diminished HG unit killing them both .. sad.
He moves his Levy to now protect his warlord as well.

Moorish final turn  Andy once again interrupts my orders phase and with broken command skill, if I roll more than 5 Saga dice (rolled 6) I can not activate that many units equal to and above this - so two units being the Warriors..... nasty nasty bugger. especially after I have placed Saga dice into my warrior units
With not much to do as Andy will no doubt deny me anything fun things like melee, I decide to recklessly charge my Warlord/Spiritual advisor into his single HG figure to finish him off, using my Fury of swords skill I manage it just.... although very lucky not to get a hit in return, as the Advisor is some what useless in melee.

Final positions at the end of game .. so much carnage..... good fun
The final score was 18-15 points to the Moors ... Very close and fun game, those Spaniards are a hard bunch to encounter, especially as they have most of thier skills come alive in their opponents turn. I see Andy collecting these as he loved using them.
Also think Andy made the mistake to take the fatigue on his warlord when he cancelled my Betrayal skill, as it left him somewhat useless in his game, as he had 6 fatigue markers on him throughout the rest of the game and couldnt rest him due to my doubts skill.

The Moors were a pleasure to use, their Discord, Corruption, and Moors Gold being my favorite as it disrupts the enemy something awful. I can easily see myself running these guys. Changes I would make is to remove the two Hearthguard units and place more Warrior units, so I can make more use out of the Songs of Drums skill (move all warriors for 2 common dice) and also the melee skills there are to be had with this Battleboard.
I like the Spiritual advisor Warlord, good value but has to be protected.

Well, I hope you made sense of this, rather long after action report I admit but had good fun playing the game and then reporting it.

Cheers
Mark

Monday, 6 October 2014

SAGACON 2 TOURNAMENT - AFTER ACTION REPORT

The Pagan Rus force I used
Always ran it with an single 8 man Hearthguard unit
 two units of Warriors 9 strong and one Warrior unit at 6 strong
with 12 man Levy javelin unit

Well back from another great Saga event that took place a few weeks ago in my home town of Upper Hutt. We played 5 games in all with the final one being a 4 man multi-player game which was really fun to play.

I took the Pagan Rus force which preformed well, at times my Saga dice let me down while at other times they came through in spades. My Warlord led from the front and got himself into the thick of the melee as much as he could.

DAY ONE :   sorry no photos, I quite forgot about it unfortunately - but have some photos of the Pagan Rus I used.

Game 1 vs Bede Bailey and his Crusaders.
We played Clash of the Warlords mission, Bede had the new Crusaders Faction from the new Crescents and Cross book, he had his Warlord, an Enlightened Priest, 2 units of 6 mounted Heathguard, 8 mounted warriors and 8 foreign mercenary's.

Bede deployed his mercenary's and mounted warriors out front to screen his 2 units of 6 knights. Bede spent the first few turns rolling for his virtues, he spent 6 dice to roll for virtues with 6 common dice appearing - not a good start but he gained the Temperance virtue. The next turn saw Bede roll another 6 dice for virtues this time gaining the Justice virtue, I was at this point seeing the mistake I was making and letting him get his virtues in order, so I quickly begin to move up with my Levy and with Barren lands skill I shot at some mounted warriors killing 3 or 4 of them, also moved my warlord with side by side Warriors engaged his 6 Knights, my Warlord used Biting like wolves with Khargan skill and managed to wipe the unit out himself as he got 8 automatic hits !, but Bede killed 8 of my Warriors in return.
Next few turns saw the Mercenary's charge into the Levy killing half for little return, Bede then charged his warlord and knights into my 9 man unit of warriors killing most of them, this left my Warlord pretty vulnerable as he didn't have enough bodies around him to cancel his hits with, so Bede seeing this then charges his warlord into mine killing with his Ascalon and Birth of Kingdom skills ... very nasty with 5 extra attack and 5 Defense with re-rolls ... so hard. So I lost this game with my warlord dying to the Crusaders Sword - but he did manage to get 8 kills, so placing him on top of the list for most Warlord kills mini comp

Vladimir - the Pagan Rus Warlord
Game 2 vs Rhys Mudgeway and his Joms Vikings
Playing the new Last stand mission, Rhys's Warlord was Sigvaldi (Hero that starts on Wrath 1) with 5 units of Heathguard. This mission finds each player bidding for turns in which they think they would kill the entire opposing warband (not counting the Warlord) with each player bidding between 2 and 10 turns each - the lowest bidder would be the attacker. I bid 10 turns as I wanted to defend, and so did Rhys ! we rolled another dice with highest having no option but to attack with Rhys rolled a 6.
This mission also has the Endless warbands rule for the attacking force - this is when you have lost figures you can recycle them back on the board as long as they are a legal unit between 4 and 12 - this told me to only kill 3 in the first melee engagement then !
I set my army up in the middle of the table, Rhys then deploys in 2 groups of 8 and one of 4 Hearthguard in a huddle off to the left on his side. The game saw me move away from Rhys slightly and using my Frozen skill, I had limited his ability of moving twice with his big unit much to the annoyance of Rhys. I attacked his Hearthguard with my Hearthguard and Warlord killing 3 of them with my Warlord. My Levy shot at his Warlord killing him (which was a nice surprise) I also shot my levy at another unit giving him a new unit of 6 to bring on, which he did on the opposite edge - but this worked in my favour as I have a skill if a unit is more than M away from any other unit I can place as many fatigues on it for it to become exhausted !! this being 4 being HG models.... nasty
The game saw many melees with lots of Rhys models finding thier way back on the table for more action, at end of turn 10 I had only 5 warriors left !
Now I want to point out that  Rhys is only about 10-12 years old at a guess and this being his first Saga tournament I thought Rhys did extremely well, given the abilities I had available to me, and with the exception of my last turn I never let him above Wrath level 3, this is the key to battling the Joms I feel.

Vladimir and his 8 strong Hearthguard unit behind him

Game 3 vs Reg Newel and his Normans
This was Cross the River Fords mission, Reg had William the Bastard, 1 unit of 8 mounted Heathguard, 8 crossbow armed warriors, 8 bow armed warriors and 12 bowmen Levy ... so lots of shooting..... I feel Reg is not going to like my battleboard skills one bit after this game!

Reg deployed with only 8 crossbow warriors on the left side with all the rest of the force on the left with his Knights behind the levy bowmen. His deployment suited me as I could bottle up the left with my Warlord and Hearthguard and Levy , and deploy the Warriors on the other side to advance on the crossbowmen. Reg went first getting in some good shots killing 5 warriors on the left and 4 on the right. My turn saw a great winter descend on the battlefield so all movement and shooting was limited to S range - that and the Frozen skill stopped the shooting until I got into position over the ford on the left and placing my warlord and his bodyguard of Hearthguard on the right ford. Reg moved his Levy forward and shot at them but with my cold winds skill (gains fatigue for every 5 and 6 rolled) they soon become exhausted. The game saw me move my Warlord rage into battle with his Levy bow, then into the Warrior bow as well. In the end he accounted for 9 kills. I had moved my Warlord and Hearthguard and 2 units Warriors over the river giving me a comfortable win.
This was the perfect opponent with the perfect mission giving that I had Great Winter, Cold winds and Frozen skills , Reg should of moved his Levy out the way earlier and charged with his Knights, but I guess with Frozen skill up I would of easily stopped this with the second activation being cancelled and not being able to activate them again - must of been a tad frustrating for him.

So a very good day one in the end with 2 good wins and also 20 Warlord kills to his name

Warrior unit
Some more Warriors of the Pagan Rus

DAY TWO: Forgetting that daylight savings started that morning and having to rush to get to the venue being a good hour late, we missed the beauty pageant and only just made it in time for the first game..... phew

Game 4 vs Alex Martin and his Vikings
This was the new Assault at Dawn mission with Alex having the Harold Viking Hero and 5 units of Heathguard - my god.. why does everyone I face seem to have so many Hearthguard models !
This mission has each player using hidden unit markers, designed to keep you guessing what unit is what and gives a feel of there being dense fog on the battlefield. But with using markers they do not count as units as such so therefore do not contribute to gaining any Saga dice so with this in mind Alex quickly decided to reveal 3 of his units in turn one (the Pagans could see them clearly through the mist) moving up to reveal my Levy unit. My turn saw my Warlord, warriors in a building and 2 unit on my left reveal themselves. Spent the next few turns having a few melees involving Alex's Hearthguard charging my warriors with it balancing towards Alex, my Levy ran forward and hurled their Javelins, then my Hearthguard got involved with my Warlord killing another 4 himself. Next turn Alex went berserk with rolling some 5 rare dice and getting Ragnarok skill among others, from here it was downhill for me, as I couldn't roll any saves. With only my warriors in the building and a few others surviving.  Well done to Alex with a good solid win going his way

My Warlord is now on 24 kills (which I think was top spot) YAY!

The Levy Javelin men

Multiplayer game : This game was not part of the tournament standings which was wise, as it allowed everyone to play in a not so serious manner and bash about for fun - well that's what I did at any rate ! getting into the thick of it and mixing it up somewhat.

Wooden Oaths mission - a 4 player game where upon there is the red team and the black team, first turn 2 players are teamed up and sit together on one table side, player rounds are drawn randomly during the game turn. On turns 2, 3 and 4 players are able to secretly swap teams or stay the same colour. So you may end up with 2 against 2, 3 against 1, or even peace - where everyone picking the same colour ! On turn 4 you stay the same team until the end on turn 6.

At my table I had Nick with his Franks led by Charlemagne, Bretts Welsh led by Maradudd, and Haydens Byzantines. I was teamed up with the Byzantines and deployed nice and close to him with the idea of a wee back stab and swapping sides ... nice levy and armour 3 horses looks like a easy fight, and I want to team up with the Franks as they look a hard bunch with two units of mounted Hearthguard.
The game was a real hoot to play and saw a turn where everyone was at peace and then the next turn where upon everyone was against me ! The welsh player used his Taunt skill very well and saw me charge the Franks Hearthguard, as well as the Byzantine's players Steepe unit charge into the Welsh warriors ... very amusing. The others turned on me one turn ... I dont think they liked my skill "Endless Wastes" , "Frozen" and "Barren lands" that much .. hehehe. On turn 4 everyone ended picking the same colour so it was everyone for himself ! .
On the final turn my warlord used his Eastern Anger skill, where upon any unit within M of my warlord receives 6 shooting attacks Friend or Foe (including the warlord himself !)
So ended up killing 4 Frank knights, some warriors and 5 warriors of my own !
I love this skill when it goes off, scares everyone silly including myself - so have to use wisely. My warlord then had 3 attempts at killing Charlemagne but he rolled very good saves.. poo

Needless to say I come in last place, with the Welsh coming out the victor for this mission ... dam his taunting powers ... I think the Franks come in 2nd ... I was well behind in points !


Prizegiving of the Tournament

Russell (using Vikings) come 1st place
Brett (using Welsh) in 2nd place
Alex (using Vikings) in 3rd place
I came in 5th Place .. so rather pleased with that.
my brother was back in 8th place with his Bretons


AND for the Most Warlord Kills Prize going to ....... Me !!!  on 24 kills ... my closest rival on 22 kills so rather close.

and I took home a very nice Drinking horn trophy (I think my brother still has some of his home brewed Mead of his .... so no doubt be drinking it sometime soon with this)
also took home a 4Ground 28mm Norse Hovel/Workshop building as a prize, which was nice, I hope to have this assembled soon - will post some pics when finished.


My drinking horn trophy !

Cheers
Mark

Thursday, 2 October 2014

SAGA - ANDREWS BRETON FORCE

With Sagacon been and gone (my After Action report to come soon on this) my brother Andrew has now finished painting his Breton force - so I thought I would take some pics and post/share them on here. Force consists of his mounted Warlord , 2 points of mounted Hearthguard, 3 points of mounted Warriors and some foot Levy. Entire army armed with Javelins.

Andy runs the Warriors in 4 groups of 6 warriors and one unit of 8 Hearthguard

I think they come up looking very good with some good use of colour and all hand painted shields.  I especially like the Hearthguard and the all White/grey horse unit.


Overall of army


The Warlord out front with Hearthguard behind

Hearthguard unit - all hand painted kite shaped sheilds

Some more Hearthguard

Warrior units with round sheilds

More Warriors

And yet more warriors

The foot Levy - always running hard to keep up with their mounted betters

Cheers
Mark

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

SAGACON 2014


I will be attending a 5 round Saga tournament this weekend called Sagacon. The tournament will be held in my home town of Upper Hutt and has 12 players registered which, while not as many as last year, will still prove to be good local turnout for the tournament. I will be using the Pagan Rus Warband from the Varjazi and Basileus supplement book. Andrew (my brother) will be using a mounted Bretons force

We had to give our Warlords each a name so hence fourth the Pagan Rus faction will be led by the mighty Khargan "Vladislav the 'Orrible".
Vladislav and his 8 trusted and most loyal Varjazis men with their best chain-mail armour and winter pelt coats will as always be rearing for a good scrap. Also his 3 strong units of his tough warriors loyal to his house will be assembled and ready to fight for their Lord. The Khargan has also demanded that the slaves of the village will join in the fun, no doubt they will bring along their javelins to chuck at the enemy before they scamper away and let the real men start their fighting in the dreaded sheildwalls of battle.


I have been using the Pagan Rus faction for a while now in games against my brother, so hopefully I will have a good understanding of the Rus battle board for the tournament. That's the key for being good at playing Saga games I feel, to have a good knowledge of own battleboard and a decent understanding of your enemies board so know what nasty tricks he can get up to.

So far we have the following factions involved :
Crusaders (from C & C book)
Normans led by William the Bastard
Vikings led by Harald
Vikings led by Harald
Welsh led by Maradudd
JomsVikings led by Sigvaldi
Anglo-Saxons
Byzantines
Vikings
Carolingian Franks led by Charlemagne
Bretons
and Pagan Rus

So, looking forward to the weekends gaming ahead of me being the only Saga tournament for the year, hopefully I can get some wins in there, but with only having played against my brother since last years tournament (get to play once or even twice a week lately) it should prove interesting to see how other players will play their warbands and what tactics they get up to.
I would ideally like to set up a Saga games night maybe each fortnight to play different people, but everyone always seem too busy during week nights, and the local wargames club meets on Saturdays which is a sailing day for us so can not attend, frustrating but oh well you cant have everything.

So wish me luck ! unless your a local and playing that is ...
then some smack talk in order instead !

Cheers
Mark.


Friday, 12 September 2014

NEW SAGA BATTLE TABLE TOP .... AND ALFRED THE GREAT MODEL PAINTED UP

Having to play most Saga missions on a 4" x 3" table size, Andrew and I thought we would make up a purpose built top to play on. It would save us the hassle of marking out the table edge every time, and it would look good if we match the colour to our terrain and figure bases.

So with an old 10mm MDF sheet cut to length and some Polyfiller and paint added we have a table to play on. I think it come out rather well, placed some grass tuffs and some pebbles in places but kept it to a minimum, with the idea of being able to place terrain on top when required. Certainly gives the game a much better look and defined area when playing.

The Table top

With some terrain placed on top

Close up of the tuffs and stuff
Also got my Anglo-Saxon Warrior - Alfred the Great all painted up




Wednesday, 10 September 2014

CRESCENT AND CROSS SAGA BOOK - A QUICK REVIEW


A few weeks ago now, I got my copy of the new Saga Crescent and Cross book that has been recently released, and have I have to say its very very good ! needless to say my brother Andrew and I have had numerous games trying out the new factions involved - my pick is the Moors, they have some really neat abilities, I also like the Crusader Faction as well.

The artwork on the cover and inside looks very nice and being a hardback book is also a bonus. They have completely redone/rewritten the rules to make it more clear and far easier to read. The Artist of the book has done an excellent job - love the image of the Milties Christi character. Also the photos of the models and terrain is epic, love the castle and damaged walls, could be a taste of what the later crusades could be about.

Those of you who have read the old rule-book you will quickly notice they have replaced the old Ragnar advice box with a new some what classy Islamic character Hashim ibn Khalid ibn Abad ..... he reminds me of the Antonio Banderas character Ahmad ibn Fadlan in 13th Warrior movie. They have kept the friendly figure of Ragnar with his advice box in the book, but they have placed him only when there is new or additional rules to the old Saga rule book calling him the old Veteran.....  The only thing about the new character, he doesn't give a quick guide or low down of what he thinks of each faction, which I think is sorely missing.


The new battle-boards look great with their new layout in my opinion, as they have taken the common abilities and put them across the top, which leaves more room for each of the abilities text so makes it clearer.

There are 6 new factions covered in the book which are evenly split between the Christians being the Crusaders, Milites Christi and Spanish, and the Islamic factions being the Saracens, Moors and the Mutatawwia

The Moors: - are all about influencing your enemy through corruption, discord, doubts and even betrayal ... my favorite
The Saracens: - depend a lot on rolling two D6 for their skills, so has a nice randomness to it. Depending on the skill and what you rolled it could be very helpful but with some skills also benefiting the enemy where the lesser dice is given to them.
The Mutatawwia: - are a bunch of suicidal religious fanatics, their battle board has skills where you place the required dice but you also need to sacrifice one of your men from that unit to benefit from that skill, sounds crazy I know, but in doing so they gain a martyr token, which they can use to bring figures back as part of a melee/reaction. Not so sure about this faction - you would have to be calculating player to make sure you dont loose uncessary points in order to do some skills. They only have Hearthguard and Warriors in their force.
The Spanish: - they cancel certain activation for both shooting and movement and also can remove the opponents Saga dice from his battleboard, Nasty! . One skill I like was the Light Horses skill where you can shoot with javelins before you move, then move and shoot again with javelins and the units armour is reduced by one NICE.
The Crusaders: - These have Virtues, where upon yu gain by rolling Saga dice before your turn begins, but with rolling dice for this you then limit the dice rolled you can roll on your battleboard. You can only use skills that you have the virtues to do so with.
Milites Christi: - These have a piety level (similar to JomsViking wrath I guess) they raise this level by placing dice in thier prayers skill (which can only be used once), which when more dice from this skill is discarded than your current piety you gain one level.The remaining abilities depend on what level you have the more benefit you gain.
They also only have Hearthguard and Warriors in their force

Priests - I have yet to try these Priest rules out in a game but they do look interesting - you can also take them in the Viking age game but they would be called Shamens & Soothsayers or Druids and the like. You can also replace your Warlord with a Priest, this is probably the option I would take as it doesn't cost you a point, where a priest is a point.  There is 3 variations of Priest you can take - one is a warrior priest, one enables you to roll extra dice, and one enables you to change the face of dice in the orders phase.

You also get some fancy new Dogs of War units - Bedouin Camel Scouts, Daylami, Troubadour, Turcopoles, Naffatan teams and Fanatical Pilgrims to name a few.
Naffatan Teams , these guys are simply crazy and somewhat dangerous to friend or foe, but man they can dish out some hurt !! Andy placed them in his Saracen army and had used them to very good effect.



Camels are a great new addition and the models look great, and have some cool rules, they drop an armour value for mounted in shooting but also in melee as well. When they engage horse mounted units in melee they make the horse unit halve there number of attacks ... nasty. Another new rule is that when Horses enter uneven terrain, they receive a fatigue marker at the end of the movement, camels do not suffer this penalty, its nice to be a camel.


Also Levy crossbowmen - they have a special rule where, when they shoot they get a fatigue counter at the end of the shooting. I can see them get exhausted quite fast.



The Moors, I can easily see these guys fast becoming my next faction I collect. They have some really cool ability's with the new plastic and metal figures look great.
I plan to go in to more detail in separate post once I have more time.

Thanks for reading
Cheers