Archive for SAGA

Saga: Saxons vs. Britons

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , on November 1, 2017 by Sean

I recently played a game of Saga: Aetius & Arthur, where my Britons fought the Saxons.

The scenario was Retreat. We figured after yet another skirmish between the invading Saxons and the native Britons, the Britons were retreating back to a stronghold, pursued by Saxons. We used 6 point armies.

The Britons were a mounted Warlord, 8 mounted Hearthguard, 24 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy. I’ve posted the Warlord and Hearthguard here already. To represent the Britons I used my Welsh and some of my Anglo-Saxons.

The Saxons were led by the original trouble brothers, Hengist and Horsa. The rest of their warband were 8 Hearthguard, 16 Warriors, and a unit of Hunting Dogs. The Saxons were my friend’s army, and are in the process of being painted.

In the scenario, the defender sets up in a thin band at about 1/3 from the attacker’s edge. The attacker sets up across from him near their edge, but can also deploy up to 2 points of units from the opposite edge to cut off their retreat (they start with Fatigue, representing their rush to cut off the retreat). The defender has to get as much of his force off that edge as he can, while the attacker just wants kills. The defenders are assumed to have been running or recovering from the earlier fight, so every Defender unit has Fatigue at the start.

The Britons held the center, anchored by a cottage on one flank and woods on the other, the center a swamp occupied by the bow Levy. The Saxons started with both Warlords and their Hearthguard on the close side, with a unit of Warriors in the middle, and sent the Dogs and the other unit of Warriors around back.

The battle began with some quick movement from the Saxon on both sides, threatening my force immediately. I responded with a few retreat moves, but decided I needed to break the pursuers before they could press their advantage. The Hearthguard charged the nearest warlord, Hengist, pushing him back but unable to kill him. After a countercharge, they were able to bring him down, but at the cost of half the unit. The Fatigue across my whole army was eating activations to remove, since I didn’t want to face the Saxons in combat with Fatigue.

In response to his brother’s death, Horsa went ham on my army, cutting down most of a unit of Warriors in repeated charges. My opponent was able to use his Battleboard ability to just remove Defense dice when he had better armor than my units, easily done with a Warlord who doesn’t get Fatigues from fights. My own efforts to fight through the rear attackers floundered, with great saves by the Saxons and poor saves on my own part leading to losses or ties, keeping my forces hemmed in.

The last part of the battle had little left on the table. Horsa slew my Warlord and his Hearthguard. crushing the last few Warriors in the center. My last group of Warriors finally was able to squeeze through the gap of the rear guard and escape, a measly 5 men out of the whole army.

The last men in my army were the bow Levy left behind in the swamp. Horsa turned his attention to them, launching himself into their ranks. He cut down 4 of the Levy, but miraculously he must have slipped and sank into the murky water or something, as the Levy managed to kill him in combat. After that the game ended.

In the end, it was a Saxon victory by 3 VP’s. They killed my Warlord, 8 Hearthguard, 19 Warriors, and 4 Levy, but paid for it, with the loss of both of the Warlords, 8 Hearthguard, 15 Warriors, and 5 Dogs. This was a horrific battle, with the loss of 3 Warlords!

My Britons performed ok, but I made the mistake of fighting the Saxons head-on instead of retreating, as the scenario wanted. The Saxons did very well, chasing my units, forcing fights and cutting my men down. Their rear guard held my units the whole game, buying his forces time.

More battles in time.

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Saga: Thundering Hooves

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by Sean

I’ve finally finished the 8-man mounted Hearthguard unit for my Briton warband for Saga: Aetius & Arthur. I posted the first half of the unit earlier. They’ll also serve as Roman mounted troops as well.

The newest members include a leader type, a musician, a draco standard and a Roman signum, reflecting the mixed culture of the Romano-British models I used for the unit. I chose the standard of Legio vigesima Valeria Victrix (Twentieth Victorious Valeria Legion) which saw action in Briton in the later years of the Empire. While the unit has a roundel shield design, I added a few odd shields for individuality. The signum bearer has a small target shield with a serpent, the horn blower has a wolf, and the unit’s ‘leader’ (the second in command of the warband after the Warlord) has a unique dragon shield.

I gave the signum bearer dark skin to reflect some of the recent archeology on Rome in Britannia. I figured he was either a Berber or North African recruit, or even a recruit all the way over from the Middle East. I have also read of the grave of a Syrian who was in the Roman army found at Hadrian’s Wall, so decided to reflect that.

My group and I have been playing lots of games with the new factions. I’ve played as the Saxons, Romans, Britons, and Huns, and played against Saxons, Romans, Picts, and Britons. I haven’t tried the Goths yet, since their battle board seems so weird (emphasis on balancing Fatigue, but encouraging accumulating it).

Recently we played a Romans versus Huns, using the Champions of God scenario from Saga: The Crescent and the Cross book. My friend fielded his Romans (Warlord, 8 Hearthguard, 16 Warriors with spear, 8 bow Warriors, 6 Levy with spear, and a Manubalista) versus my Huns (mounted Warlord, 12 mounted Hearthguard, 16 mounted Warriors, and 12 bow Levy). For this game I once again broke out my grisly Goblin Wolf Riders. I’d love to some day build up an actual human mounted force, but until then only my Gobbos have enough cavalry to substitute. I also use my Goblins for the Spanish faction, another potentially all-mounted army.

The game got off to a quick start, with the Huns using their board’s ability to move the whole army (with bonus distance for cavalry) right up into the Romans’ faces. I knew the Manubalista could potentially wreck my mounted troops, so I concentrated bow fire, wiping it out after its one shot (that my guys miraculously saved against). The left Roman flank collapsed within 2 turns, the Roman commander fleeing as fast as he could to the rest of his army. The Roman right flank had been held up by my Levy archers and some careful use of Fatigue from a small skirmishing cav unit.

I could have simply retreated then and there, since the scenario was based on VP’s for kills, and I had crushed half his army for a only a little damage to my own forces. Instead I decide to make it a fun game, so the Huns swung around and chased after the Warlord and got into a scrum with the remaining Roman infantry. I wore his forces down until the scenario ended. having lost a bunch of my army needlessly. However, he couldn’t make up the gap in VP’s so win for the Huns!

Saga: Fantasy- A&A

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by Sean

 

I’ve been playing the newest Saga expansion, the Late Roman-era Aetius & Arthur. I thought some of the new factions would work nicely for some of the Warhammer factions I couldn’t match up before.

Empire: The regimented order of the army and its ability to hold the line and initiate sudden strikes that the Roman faction uses would fit the Empire. This version of the Empire is an ‘earlier’ tech level of the city-states, before widespread gunpowder weapons.

Warlords are Empire nobles, career officers or blue blood royalty. They can fight on foot or mounted on fine steeds.

Hearthguard are the Knights, the elite core of the Knightly Orders like the Reiksguard, Knights Panther, or Blazing Sun, fighting mounted, or Greatswords and Swordsmen, fighting on foot. For an additional 1 point, up to 8 Hearthguard can be fielded as Cataphracts, representing the Inner Circles of the Knightly Orders

Warrior are the State Troops, loyal soldiers of the city-states. They can fight with sword, spear, or halberd (with Armor 4), or take to the field as Huntsmen, carrying bows (with Armor 3).

Levies are the Militia, the common rabble called to defend their realm. They can carry shortbows and throwing axes (javelins) or be fielded as the Free Companies. Free Companies generate 1 Attack for 2 members in melee (unlike normally 1 for 3), and have Armor 4. The player may also remove 6 Levy and replace them with an Artillery Piece manned by 2 Levy crewmen. The piece (Range 2xL) could represent any of the weapons of the Empire, like a bolt thrower or light cannon. The Artillery generates Attack dice when it shoots equal to half the members of the target, reducing their Armor by 1. Each time it fires it gains a Fatigue.

Lizardmen: I figured the defensive nature of the Britons, backed by their heroic Warlords fighting on the front line, leading by example, and directing their men to victory worked to represent the Lizardmen, or at least a Saurus and Skink-focused force.

The key value for the army is Inspiration. Units within S (2″) of the Warlord count as being Inspired. Various battle board abilities only work for Inspired units.

Warlords are Scar Veterans and Oldbloods, ancient born fighters, survivors of countless battles, and direct servants of the Slaan. They can fight on foot or ride Cold Ones. The Warlord can be accompanied by a pair of Temple Guard, called Companions. They form a unit with the Warlord. The Companions extend the 2″ range of the Warlord’s Inspiration from themselves as well. If the Warlord has Companions, he cannot use Side by Side.

Hearthguard are the Temple Guard, hand-picked Saurus decked in the finest armor and jeweled weapons. They can fight on foot or ride Cold Ones.

Warriors are appropriately the Saurus Warriors, bestial reptilian soldiers of the Slann cities.

Levies are the Skinks, diminutive skirmishers and scouts. While lacking in combat ability, they can rain death from their javelins or blowpipes (bows/slings).

Savage Orcs: I decided after playing the Saxons several times, the utter mindless brutality of the Savage Orcs was a good fit. With only fighting on their frenzied minds, the Orcs rush into combat heedless of danger, determined to crush the enemy or die trying.

Warlords are the Savage Orc Bosses, hulking beasts of green muscle, protected by bone ornaments and warpaint, their belief in their invulnerability equal to true armor.

Hearthguard are the Big ‘Uns, the strongest members of the tribe. They group in mobs of their own, ready to stomp anything in reach.

Warriors are the Boyz, the common Orcs of the savage tribes. They lack the brutal strength of the Big ‘uns but make up for it in numbers.

Levy are the Yoofs, the youngest and weakest Orcs. Not yet to the level of a proper member of the mobs, they instead use ranged weapons to pelt the foe while the Boyz close in. Alternatively they could represent Forest Goblins pressed into service. They are armed with bows or slings.

 

And here is a break from Aetius & Arthur factions. I wanted to add in an older faction that I never got around to, based on the Normans from Saga: Dark Age.

Wood Elves: The mixture of archery and shock cavalry exemplified by the Normans fit the Wood Elves well enough. It does somewhat ignore some the stronger close combat units and the various tree spirits, but it will do for now.

Warlords are the Kindred, leaders of one of the numerous kinbands. They can represent Glade Lords, fighting on foot or mounted on stag or Elven steed, or even Branchwraiths or Treemen fighting on foot.

Hearthguards are the Nobles, elite guardians of the Wood Elf realms. They can fight on foot, using their swordstaves, or launch themselves into combat as Wardancers. They can also take to battle mounted as the Sisters of the Thorn or Wild Riders. Alternatively, Heardguard on foot can also be represented by Dryads.

Warriors are the Eternal Guard, the common members of the kinbands. They fight in ranks of spear on foot, or mounted as Glade Riders. One unit (of up to 8 members) can carry Elven Longbows, representing the Waywatchers. Longbow-armed units reduce their targets’ Armor by 1, but also lower their own Armor by 1.

Levies are the Glade Guard, the militia of the army. They carry bows, firing in massed ranks of black-feathered arrows.

There’s still more factions to convert to Saga: Fantasy. I’ll add them eventually.

Saga: Equites

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , on July 3, 2017 by Sean

I’ve been adding to my Romano-British force for Saga: Aetius & Arthur. I like both of the Roman and Briton factions’ battle boards, so I am designing some of my minies to be usable for either. These will be Romano-British, representing Britons and/or Romans in Britannia near the end of the occupation. In a pinch, they could even represent Goths (since at the time the Goths often were under the employ of the Romans anyway).

With that in mind, I picked up 2 blisters of mounted troops from Gripping Beast; one set of Roman armored cavalry and one of Briton cavalry. They will act as Commanipulares for the Britons or Knights for the Romans. These are the first 4 members of what will be an 8-man Hearthguard unit. I’ll also be able to attach 2 of them as the Companions for the Briton Warlord, the rest forming a 6-man unit.

The miniatures mix nicely together; the Late Roman legions were much more hodge-podge in their uniforms and unit designations. I also figured the Hearthguard, being of the equites social class, would have even more leeway and mixed equipment. The majority of the unit will have the roundel legion shield design, with a few unique designs mixed in. Along with the roundel, the chi-ro symbol shows up in a few places. Their clothing was procured locally, so they’re wearing British versions of the Roman tunics common at that period.

I painted the striping on their cavalry spears, since they apparently did paint them for both decoration and to protect the wooden shafts from rot. Technically, the spears might be a bit too long for this period (resembling full lances) but I’m ok with that to make them look more striking on the table.

The Warlord has been posted here before. However, after some thought and research, I decided he needed a little ‘oomph’. His original shield was a bit boring, and his javelin wasn’t really impressive. With that in mind, a weapon swap (to a proper Roman spatha) and a highly decorated shield. The Virgin will safeguard him through all future battles! The icon and the unit’s shields were all based on historical images I found.

The rest of the unit will come along eventually.

Saga: Aetius & Arthur

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , on June 10, 2017 by Sean

I’ve gotten in some games of Saga, with the Aetius & Arthur expansion. We’ve been playing the decline of the Western Roman Empire in Britannia. My regular opponents and I have been using our Dark Ages models, since they are generic enough to pass as ca. 400 AD, though it does make a stickler like myself twitch that my Saxons have the wrong shields. Oh well!

The first model I’ve done for the new expansion is a mounted Warlord. This is a Gripping Beast Late Roman General model, mounted on a 60mm base. I wanted him to stand out from his mounted soldiers. This model can stand in as both a Roman general as well as a Briton hero, and in a pinch could stand in as a Gothic Warlord (by this point in history the forces are almost nearly wearing the same gear anyway). I modeled him riding his horse down a dilapidated Roman path, next to a Roman road marker. I based the writing on a photo of a real marker from Britain.

We played 2 battles today. The first was Saxons versus Britons with the Frozen River scenario. My Saxons were using the frozen river surface to invade the lands of the Britons. We played 6-point forces. Saxons were Warlord, 40 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy. The Britons were Warlord and 2 Companions, 10 mounted Hearthguard, 16 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy.

My Saxons slowly crossed the river and fords, while the Britons turtled up waiting. The Briton battle board really encourages defense over offense. The Saxons have no choice but to advance!

The fights were very bloody, but the Saxons forced the defenders back at great cost. Eventually, the Warlord met in combat, pushing back and forth before the Briton’s lord was cast down (at a cost of a dozen Saxons). There wasn’t much left of either army by the end. The end result was 9-6 VP’s left, a Saxon victory!

The second battle was the Campfire scenario. This time I was using the Romans, while my friend stuck with the Britons. Maybe the Romans were chastising the Britons for letting the Saxons overrun the frontier earlier, or the Britons were negotiating military support from the typically arrogant Romans. Either way, things got out of hand, and swords were drawn…

The Romans had a mounted Warlord, 4 mounted Hearthguard, 24 spear Warriors, 8 bow Warriors, and 12 spear Levy. Except for the new mounted Roman Warlord, I used the Anglo-Saxons/Saxons models, with some donated mounted Hearthguard. The Roman frontier forces of the era were mostly Germans by this point anyway, right? The Britons had a mounted Warlord, 8 mounted Hearthguard, 24 Warriors, and 12 bow Levy.

The scenario requires the armies being split up among each other, which means the units are threatened from all sides. I scattered the Roman Forces in a rough circle, while the Britons had a few tight bulwarks of units. The fight began with the Roman Warlord drawing his sword and leading his nearest unit of soldiers against the British lord, cutting him down. After that the Romans had the upper hand, especially in Saga dice.

The movements of both armies was chaotic, but the Romans quickly redressed their ranks and tried to hold back the Britons. The Levy struck down several British Hearthguard with their plumbatae (heavy darts) and some lucky combats. The Roman defensive abilities served them well. On the other side the Britons were wearing the Romans down, both holding their own lines and performing repeated charges and volleys of bow shots. The Hearthguard performed a disastrous charge, the Briton shieldwall holding and wiping them out. Oops. Eventually though the Roman Warlord rallied his forces and crushed the flank, beating back the encirclement and winning the battle. Final VP’s were 19-14, victory for the Romans!

Saga: Gods and Monsters

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , on June 15, 2016 by Sean

I’ve been doing a few odd projects between larger ones for various clients (and myself, to prevent burnout). Some examples are a few characters for Saga: Dark Ages.

The first is an Irish (really, very Celtic) Warlord/Priest for a client’s Irish warband. He’s aggressively naked, ready to go on his rampage. Unafraid of the enemy, his only adornment, aside from the fancy hood, is warpaint. I sourced the imagery from various places, but favored spirals, swirls, and random symbols. I went for an asymmetric approach to make it more interesting. Beside him he has a trusty Irish wolfhound. His druidic weapons are bloody sickles. The miniature is from Warlord Games, from the same set as the Irish priests from the previous Saga: Celtic Lore post.

The second pic is a Welsh bannerman from my own Welsh warband. He will carry one of the force’s standards, or just ‘count as’ just for visual flavor. His banner is much less showy than the other Welsh standard, so he might be a Warrior instead of a Hearthguard. I painted the banner based on contemporary art styles. The minie is from the Gripping Beast Defenders of the Faith set. I like the idea of a local monk joining up with the warband for some proper religious fun (he might even be a brother or cousin of the Warlord).

Saga: Fantasy- Chaos Ascendant

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2016 by Sean

 

 

I’ve converted more Warhammer Fantasy factions to Saga: Dark Ages. The Chaos Pantheon gets its final member, as well as the Cult of Chaos Undivided. The rest of the Chaos factions are found in previous posts.

Tzeentch: The Franks’ action/reaction system and the ability to manipulate the battleboard on a whim make a good translation of Tzeentch’s mastery of change. The Franks faction allows you to choose from 3 Dynastic rules; the Carolingians rules probably best represent the faction.

Warlords are the Champions of Tzeentch, powerful fighters and masters of sorcery. They may be mounted on a Chaos steed.

Hearthguard are the Chosen, the fighters decided by fate and effort to serve their master, wielding the finest weapons and foul magics. They may be mounted on Chaos steeds.

Warriors are the Conspirators, a mix of Chaos Warriors and Sorcerers. Any units may be fielded as a Coven of Chaos, counting as being armed with bows (magic spells) but they wear lighter armor, reduced to Armor 3. Warriors can also be equipped with normal weapons and armor; they may also be mounted on steeds.

Levies are Cultists, lesser members of the warband. They represent hangers-on, pawns, and apprentices. They are armed with bows (though again this could represent a spell blast).

Chaos Undivided: This faction represents the mortals who worship the Chaos Gods as a pantheon of equals, praying to each in turn. This version is closer to a tribe of Northmen, seeking to achieve the favor of the gods. The Norse-Gaels faction seems a good match, with its emphasis on Challenges (trying to catch the attention of the gods) and brutal close combat.

Warlords are Champions of Chaos, leaders of Northmen tribes, or marked by the gods on the path of Damnation. They can be equipped with Great Weapons (Dane axes, flails, two-handed swords, etc.).

Hearthguard are the Warriors of Chaos, armored brutes dedicated to their gods. They may be equipped with Great Weapons (Dane axes, halberds, etc.)

Warriors of the warband are the Marauders, aggressive mortal tribesmen. They are armed with either Great Weapons (often axes or flails) or throwing axes (javelins) reducing their Armor to 3.

Levy are the Cultists, the weakest tribesmen. They are often slaves from defeated tribes or newcomers to the worship of Chaos, striving to gain favor. They carry throwing axes and javelins. This could also represent a sorcerous coven like with Tzeentch.