Followers of these witterings will be aware that I have been playing quite a few games of "Saga" by Gripping Beast with my mate Alan.
I had been planning to save up my pennies to pick up a Norman Warband at the Falkirk District Wargames Club's annual show "Carronade" in May so in the meantime I have been using Alan's figures in all our games so far.
Then I remembered that at the back of one of my shelves sit some very old Viking figures.
The Citadel Vikings (complete with dodgy Horned Helmets)
I bought some of these way back in 1983 from Citadel Miniatures as part of one of the very first army deals they offered for 1st Edition Warhammer for using with the "The Legend of Kremlo the Slann" scenario that appeared in the very first "Citadel Compendium".
The members of the Brechin High School Wargames Club (of which I was a member even though I was by that time at University) had clubbed together to buy the full set of figures for the scenario which the club then ran at the "Claymore" show in 1984. There is a photograph lurking about which shows the bright orange temple that had been built for the game and the jungle trees, if I remember rightly, made out of plasticine and wire but fortunately it is not in digital form so it won't be appearing here!
So, I'm thinking why don't I dust the boys down and use them to play Saga with? In addition to the Citadel figures I also have 20 or so other Viking models from various manufacturers whom I've long since forgotten, so there was enough to make a 5 point warband and I could borrow some of Alan's multitude of figures to bring it up to a full 6 point warband. So Roll Call was sounded and these ancient warriors were summoned for their first tabletop wargame for almost 30 years.
Kremlo, however, would not be appearing in the battle as he is a frog and is blue.
So tonight's scenario was the "Homeland" scenario from the Saga Rulebook. The players bid to see who is the defender of the Village and then that player has to hold out for 6 turns or kill the attacking player's Warlord. Alan won the bid so deployed his Anglo-Danes, along with Harold Two-Bellies, who had recovered from the wounds suffered from his last skirmish (see here), in the Village and the Viking Warhost of Snorri Borrison deployed to bring fire and mayhem to the witless pastries.
The forces deployed ready for the ultimate sacrifice. Snorri Borrison (complete with war dog, courtesy of Alan) is deployed along with his personal bodyguard just to the south of the large rock formation.
Harold Two-Bellies awaits, knowing that he can always run away into the building behind if he gets too scared.
The Vikings would commence the battle. For the first turn their warriors started to move towards the prize and plunder contained in the Village
Wisely using the cover of the trees the Bondi move forward
The Viking Thralls move closer preparing to darken the skies with their arrows
Out on the right flank another group of Viking Bondi move to out-flank the cowardly Anglos hiding in the comparative safety of the building.
The Viking beserkers moved straight ahead towards the church and Snorri, with a cry which filled his foes with dread, moved forward with his bodyguard.
Then I did something stupid (and remember this is only turn 1)- I moved Snorri away from his bodyguard to join the Beserkers. This gave him a fatigue token being his second activation but I wasn't worried as there are quite a few ways you can get rid of fatigue on the Viking Battle Board.
Okay why was this stupid? Read on.....
Alan then rolled his Saga dice. I admit I wasn't really paying much attention as I was thinking ahead about what I was going to do on turn 2 when Alan announced he was going to move his Huscarls forward. Which he did - and they came into contact with my Warlord - just - but enough.
In Saga you can only contact one unit in a melee. The Warlord has a special activation which allows him to take a group of warriors into combat with him on his turn but that is the only time you can use 2 units to contact 1. You can't do it the other way round and use 1 unit to charge into 2 units. So the Beserkers just had to stand and watch the tragedy that was about to unfold.
The Huscarls each roll 2 attack dice and as all 4 were within 2 inches of each other that was 8 dice. Then Alan announces he was using "Lords of Battle"
Giving Alan another 3 attack dice - he was now rolling 11 dice to my 5. His Battle Board produced another attack dice for him making it 12 dice and then he "spent" Snorri's fatigue token to reduce his armour value from 5 to 4, thus making it a lot easier to hit Snorri.
6 hits - Snorri could ignore the first hit (Warlord's effectively have 2 wounds) and he could also transfer one of the hits to any friendly figure within 2 inches of the Warlord, so needless to say a Beserker got the chop too but it still left Snorri having to save 4 of those hits to survive.
And typically he only saves 1 of them
Lesson to self - Remember what the victory conditions are!!!!!!!!!
I had completely forgotten that the scenario could be ended with the death of the attacking Warlord! And give Alan his due, he remembered - I didn't and I walked right in to it! DOH!!
We had played less than 20 mins so we re-set the table again for another try. I'll report on that one later once I've recovered from the shame.........