Archive for Anglo-Saxons

Saga: Avalon

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2016 by Sean

I have started a Saga campaign, based on a mysterious island in the English Channel called Avalon. I have 11 players involved so far. We did the first turn this week, with the first battles. I’m very happy it’s gotten Saga back in play at my FLGS, with 4 new armies started!  My own Anglo-Saxons hit the field, as well as some of the Irish I’ve done for a client (also in the campaign).

-Anglo-Saxons vs. Moors

-Vikings vs. Milites Christi

-Saracens vs. Bretons

-Irish vs. Vikings


Saga: In His Name

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , on January 8, 2016 by Sean


My warbands for Saga gain some spiritual guidance in the form of a Warrior Priest. The miniature depicts a bishop or abbot or other high-ranking cleric of England, armed and ready to fight the enemies of the church (or at least his church). The figure is from the Defenders of the Faith set from Gripping Beast. I chose the most armored monk with the best forthright pose. He got the sword out of the pack. A built-up base and a shield and banner finish him off. I based him on a 40mm base, thus allowing me to field him as a Warlord Priest if I wanted. His humble color scheme is completely off-set by the banner.

The banner is sourced from Anglo-Saxon icons, with a checker pattern border framing a portrait of Jesus, done in the style of Saxon art. The portrait was free painted, using the simplified color blocking of that style. I did exaggerate the line work to make the banner more visible from a distance. On the base behind him I also added a shield, with a proper Saxon cross design.


The Welsh for Saga have been done for some time, but a few games have shown the power of standards in the game. With that in mind, I figured I’d add a banner man to my Welsh force. Here he is posing with a group of Welsh fighters. The Standard Bearer will be able to stand in as a Teulu or a Priodaur (Hearthguard or Warrior, respectively). As he won’t be able to fight, his weaponry was irrelevant, so I decided to give him a bow to further make him stand out.

The banner is based on banners I’ve sourced online. I free handed the imagery, with Celtic-style swirls and simplified knotwork bordering a huge cross. I might return to the knotwork later, but it works. I’m working on more banners for the Welsh and Anglo-Danes, so will feature them eventually. The Anglo-Saxons already have their dragon-banners (sculpts from the Wargames Factory plastics, added to every unit for flavor, or for game effect should I want them).

Saga: Forging new legends

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , on April 29, 2015 by Sean

I’ve been working on additions to my Saga warbands.

My Anglo-Danish warband is made up of the same models as the Anglo-Saxon warband, in a different combination of units. The big change is the Warlord. The Anglo-Danish Warlord carries a Dane axe, so I needed a proper miniature to make him stand out from the Saxon Warlord. The model I picked is Grimbold, a Rohan character from the GW Lord of the Rings miniature line. He has the proper aggressive attitude, a big scary axe, and a good Anglo-Danish-esque helmet. Despite being a ‘fantasy’ design, the LotR movies attempted enough realism to let him segue into a historical game. He got a dark green cloak, some nice striped clothing, and some fancy scale-type mail. His base features a shield, split by his axe. One can imagine him crashing through the enemy, laying waste to all around.

I have also finished more Welsh models. Most of the new models are Teulu, the Welsh Hearthguard for the warband. They have better equipment, helmets and armor, and richer clothes. The Teulu also have a greater proportion of extra weapons instead of the mostly javelin/spear-equipped Warriors. A couple extra Warriors are mixed in.

The only thing left for the Welsh is their Warlord. Coming soon…

Saga Tournament! Let slip the Anglo-Saxon Throng!

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , on September 13, 2014 by Sean

Today the local store threw a Saga tournament. The format was for 4 games, with winner-vs-winner as the day went on. Each player got 7 points plus a Warlord. The games were fought with only 6 points worth, so players had some room to choose their force before the games began. I brought my stalwart (and numerous) Anglo-Saxons.

I had the Warlord, 4 points of Thegns (32 Warriors), 2 points of Ceorls (24 Levy) w/ spear and shield, and 1 point of Ceorls (12 Levy) with bow. Divided up for battle, they formed 1 unit of 12 Warriors, 2 units of 10 Warriors, 2 units of 12 Levy w/ spear, and 1 unit of 12 Levy archers.

Match 1: Clash of the Warlords. Versus Normans. Tense game with plenty of shooting from the Norman line, waiting for the crushing Norman cavalry charge. My bow Levy picked off a few mounted Norman Knights before being run down; however, the Normans dared to overrun into my Warlord, who promptly beat them back. Some back and forth charges and countercharges ground both armies down. In the end, my Warlord and some Warriors killed the Norman Warlord in close combat, tipping the battle in my favor (a mere 1.5 VP difference).

Match 2: Escort. Versus Vikings. This is not my favorite scenario, since the escorting army has so many advantages (bonus Saga dice, extra ‘hearthguard’-strong escort tokens). The Vikings deployed favoring one flank, but then redeployed quickly, forcing my army to redeploy quickly as well. His Hearthguard and Warriors punched a hole in my left flank, leaving a way for his escort counters. While a unit of Levies caught and killed one escort counter, the bonus Saga dice meant I could not catch the other double-if-not-triple-moving counters, and thus I lost. However, my warband made the Vikings pay for their plunder. My archers shot down a unit of Berserkers, and most of the Vikings units were dead or mauled before the end.

Match 3: Sacred Ground. Versus Anglo-Danes. This was a fun game. We both initially just moved up to claim the terrain pieces, with one of my Warrior units camping in a wood untouched all game, while Danish archers and Warriors held a grassy field. The center hill on the other hand was the site of mass slaughter. My Warlord and a unit of Warriors and Levies held the hill, beating back and eventually annihilating 2 Warrior units and the Anglo-Dane Warlord. My trusty Levies managed to bring down a unit of Dane axe-equipped Hearthguard for only a few casualties. Unfortunately, despite all the fun stomping and stabbing, the Anglo-Danes managed to accumulate the most VP’s on the sacred ground, so I lost again. The battle was also notable for my opponent and I being nearly unable to roll the important ‘Helmet’ face of our Saga dice, driving us both crazy for most of the battle.

Match 4: Homeland. Versus Irish. The Irish and my Anglo-Saxons rolled off for defender of a large church, barn, and cottage. I ended up the attacker. We figured the Irish had been caught looting a church yard, those scamps. This was my first time playing against Irish, and I can say it was an experience. The Irish javelins took their toll on my force as I advanced, but they couldn’t stop my wall of spears. Warriors and Levies charged the cottage on the right, eventually slaying the Hearthguard with great axes inside. The center church was a messy fight, with repeated charges by Anglo-Saxons Warrior units and the Warlord. The rules for buildings meant the Irish could hold my troops up forever unless I killed them all. So I did… by the end of the battle, the Irish had lost 3 Hearthguard units, 1 Warrior unit, and their Warlord (3 units in the church alone). Despite all that, as seemed a trend today, time ran out, with an Irish Warrior unit remaining in the left-side barn, so the Irish won the game.

In the end, I had a great time. My opponents were awesome sports and fun to play. The first place went to the Irish, while second went to one of the Vikings players. I placed near the bottom in victories; however, my army won Best Painted, and I also won Best Warlord, for accumulating the most VP’s in kills over the course of 4 battles. The Man of the Match was my Warlord, who personally slew 3 enemy Warlords and helped direct several devastating charges.

I included pics of my force all collected, arrayed for battle. Til next tourney!

Saga: Battle of Brunanburh

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , on July 26, 2014 by Sean

This Saturday we played a nice Saga Meg-battle, a recreation of the historic Battle Of Brunanburh, one of the most important battles of Medieval England. In 937 AD, King Aethelstan of England lead a coalition of English against a force of Welsh, Vikings, and Norse-Gaels. He won, cementing the idea of ‘England’ as a unified nation. It was “the moment when Englishness came of age.”

We refought this with 11 points per side. We could have gone bigger, but we didn’t want the game to go on forever.  I tried to keep track of when and where key events on our game went, but I might be misremembering or placing events out of order (one always remembers notes and proper photos too late). Here’s a best-remembered report on the battle. We had a good time, and the mostly painted forces looked great on the table. The back and forth chaos of the battle really made the game enjoyable.

My side were Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Danes, Bretons, and Viking mercenaries. I fielded Aethelstan as my Warlord, along with 2 units of 12 Saxon Warriors, on the left-center flank. The Bretons were a Warlord and 8 Mounted Hearthguard, positioned on a rise to move to where neeeded. The same player also fielded a Viking Warlord and a bodyguard of 4 Hearthguard on the right flank. The Danes had a Warlord, a unit of 8 Warriors, and 2 6-man Hearthguard units (one with Dane Axes) in the center.

The other side were Norse-Gaels, Strathclyde Welsh, and Vikings. The Welsh had Owen as the Warlord, plus 2 4-man units of mounted Hearthguard, as well as 2 8-man units of mounted Warriors, positioned on  their right flank. The Norse-Gael had a Warlord and 2 8-man Warriors units, one equipped with double-handed axes, in the center-right. The Vikings were divided up to 2 players, with each having a Warlord. One Warlord brought a 6-man Warrior unit and 4-man Berserkers, on the left flank, while the other Warlord brought 2 units of 6 Hearthguard and a unit of 6 Warriors, center-left.

We played with an alternate activation, with a roll for initiative every turn, then moving down the line from the winner from left to right (our teams’ left and right). Activate a player’s force, then the next across from them on the opposing side.

Turn 1- The first turn was largely uneventful. Most movement, with some javelin fire on the Vikings left that did no damage from the Bretons. The Danes pushed forward in the center, closing with the Norse-Gael and Vikings who did the same. The Welsh initially held back, due to the Danes’ Intimidation, but still advanced. A unit Hearthguard advanced to midfield. The Saxons advanced and used Aethelstan’s special rule that allowed 1 unit to have javelins. The Warriors let loose at the Welsh Hearguard, killing 3. The remaining horseman played no more part in the battle aside from supplying a Saga die.

Turn 2- Things began to get interesting. The Danes closed with the Norse-Gaels, with some pushing back and forth. They beat back the Norse-Gael Warlord with a two-punch attack by Warriors and Hearthguard, but couldn’t kill him. The Danish Warriors were then wiped out by Vikings in the forest where they had retreated. The Bretons continued to pelt the Vikings on the flank with javelins, while the Viking mercs came up to taunt the Berserkers into combat. This combat was a slaughter, with both the Vikings mercs and the Berserkers all killed.  On the left flank, an 8-man unit of Welsh Warriors went in for a charge on the Danes; the combat only cost a Welsh Warrior and a Danish Hearthguard.  Aethelstan and a unit of Saxons charged the Welsh mounted Warriors; with copious board abilities, they killed the Welsh horsemen to a man.

Turn 3- The combat got messy at this point. The Vikings, Norse-Gaels, and Danes in the center mostly rested, with the Danish Warlord and another unit of Hearthguard advancing. On the right flank, the Bretons pounced on the Viking Warlord. They couldn’t kill him, but they cost him some Hearthguard in combat. He retreated, but was forced by his pride to attack the mercenary (traitor?) Warlord. In that duel the English-friendly Warlord prevailed. First dead Warlord of the battle! On the left flank things were bloody. Welsh Warriors charged the weakened Saxon unit, killing them all. The Welsh were then counter-charged by the other unit of Saxons, losing a few members. A unit of Norse-Gaels charged Aethelstan, but he held them off, forcing them back.

Turn 4- The big turn. The Welsh took their opportunity on the exposed Aethelstan. Their Hearthguard charged him, and with their board abilities he had no chance (and I decided to not use the nearby Dane unit to soak up his wounds, as he took ~10). With his death, the Saxon line wavered, but held. In response, the remaining Saxon Warriors cut them down with vengeance in their hearts. I didn’t take photos of most of this turn, but it was mostly some movement in the center by Norse-Gaels (including a unit that fled entirely due to the English Vikings’ Loki board ability) and Danes. Dane Heathgaurd attacked the Norse-Gael Warlord, forcing him back for a loss. The Bretons cut down the last Viking unit on the right flank to 1 man, who fled into the woods to block their path for future turns.

Turn 5- The end. The center became a bloodbath (noticing a trend?). The Danes charged into the Vikings in the wood. The fights were pretty even at first. However, the Viking counter-offensive resulted in the death of the Anglo-Dane Warlord. Another dead Warlord! The Bretons pulled more sneaky hit and run tactics by killing off the last Viking on the right flank, then pursuing the Norse-Gael Warlord skulking behind his line. They pushed him away from his retainers, riding him down. With his death, we ran out of time.

Conclusion- The VP total was 43 to 38, a win for Aethelstan’s forces! Not strictly historically accurate (seeing how Aethelstan and his brother Edmond both survived the actual battle…). Perhaps they were merely ‘knocked out’ and lived on… For England!

Anglo-Saxon Ealdorman

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , on July 9, 2014 by Sean

Anglo-Saxon Lord


My SAGA warband is completed with the arrival of my Warlord, a fine Anglo-Saxon Ealdorman.

He’s armed to the teeth of course, with a sword and spear. He stands on an ancient caern of stones to elevate him above his throng. Shields decorate the base, and a banner flutters in the breeze.

He was converted from the standard Wargames Factory Saxon Thegns box, with the addition of a cape from Warhammer Skaven Night Runners kit. His left hand got a swap so he could hold both spear and sword. His cape’s tie and the sword baldric were made from paper strips, with the clasps cut from plastic rod.

The kite shield was a standard cross design to tie him into the army (though the kite design differentiates it), while the eagle design on the round shield is a grab from some Saxon references. His clothing got extra decoration with dog’s teeth trim. With the red cape, he really stands out.

Maybe now that he’s painted, he’ll have some more luck in battle…

Saxon Cattle War!

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by Sean


I’m nearly complete on work for my Anglo-Saxons for SAGA. The only member of the warband left to do is the Warlord himself. These pics are from a game this week (taken by my phone so forgive the quality). My good ‘ol Saxon boys took on some no-good Saxon boys in a disagreement over some cattle or something.This was the Escort Scenario, with my friend Richard as the ‘attacker’, escorting some cattle (and a single very confused German dancing bear).

The first pic is two of the Thegn units and some Ceorl levy bowmen, with the Warlord ready to move in the back. He’s the unpainted one on the 40mm base. He’ll be done soon.

The second pic is the other units, a Ceorl levy spear and another Thegn unit guarding the crest of a hill from some of my friend’s Thegns.

The third pic is the enemy Angle-Saxon shieldwall as it advanced, with Thegns and Ealdorman (Hearthguard), with the Warlord and their prizes forming a center.

My troops performed poorly and a few great uses of Saga abilities and great rolls crushed my line very easily. Oh well, we didn’t want those cows anyway…

Just to note, my army is mostly made of Wargames Factory’s Saxon Fyrd and Saxon Thegns, with a few metal peasants from Harlequin. Richard’s army are Gripping Beast’s Saxon Thegns.