Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Saga Practice at Ed M's

Last Sunday Ed M. of Ed M's Wargames Meanderings Blog and I took advantage of the long weekend to play a game of Saga. We're both participating in our club's Saga game day and thought we could use the practice. Ed invited me to his gaming loft which, as you can see in the photos, is a nicely decorated and comfortable gaming space.

Ed was using his Mongol army which includes the beautiful hearthguard he recently completed and featured on his blog. Ed's army included the very effective war drummer, two six-figure hearthguard cavalry units, and sixteen mounted warriors in three units, one eight-figure and two four-figure units. Ed's army started with seven (7) available Saga dice.

I was using my Eastern Princes Russian crusader army. I fielded a lifeguard for my warlord, the war wagon, two eight-figure units of foot warriors, one twelve-figure crossbow unit and a mercenary unit if eastern horsemen. My Saga dice pool started with five (5) available Saga dice.

With hordes of mounted Mongols coming at me I picked as much terrain as the 'Clash of Warlords' scenario allowed. Ed picked a large open hill as his first choice reserving at least some cavalry friendly terrain. After placement I ended up with one area of scrub in my deployment area which I plunked my crossbows into. The rest of the defendable terrain was out of reach, and ended up mostly out of play for the game. Ed's hill choice here was a brilliant move.

Things went all Mongol early. Ed used his war drummer to good effect coordinating two charges on my exposed warrior unit. The combined attacks scored five hits. Five figures down, my warrior unit ended up limping to the rear to remain inactive until the last turn. I attempted to kill Ed's drummer with the eastern archers, but the drummer saved all hits. The eastern archers were chased away the next turn by Ed's five-figure warrior unit.

In my turn I tried to counter-attack with my warlord and lifeguard. I was rolling to hit on 3 or better and I got the above dice, plus three that scored 3 hits on Ed's large warrior unit. Ed's warriors withdrew, still able to generate a saga die. My warlord, with a fatigue on it, was counter-charged and lost a lifeguard figure and became exhausted. Ed also charged my war wagon with one of his hearthguard. He eliminated the wagon at a cost of one hearthguard figure.

As the action heated up I forgot to take some photos. Turn three I finally got my crossbows into action. They used a Saga ability to launch a very effective volley against Ed's warlord, eliminating it. In Ed's turn he consolidated his forces hoping to have enough damage secured to hold onto a win. I advanced with my crossbows and eliminated Ed's damaged hearthguard unit. Ed's fresh hearthguard counter-charged my crossbows killing seven figures, pushing it away easily without receiving any damage himself.

In turn six I counter-attacked Ed's hearthguard with my remaining warrior unit to good effect, eliminating three figures, suffering no hits myself. In the center the pesky eastern archers finally finished off Ed's war drummer. Ed's half of turn six included a rush from the flank by one of his four-figure warrior units attempting to finish off the remaining three figures of warriors from the unit that was gored in turn one. Ed almost got it, killing two of the three figures.

The game ended with me edging Ed out for points. I think it was partially due to not having any hearthguard that I was able to suffer nearly equal figure losses, but still come ahead on massacre points.

Lessons learned:

  1. The war wagon was fun to paint, and may be fun for a casual game, but it's not a very competitive unit in terms of effectiveness per army point spent. I think I'd rather have something else.
  2. Crossbows are really good if you can use them with the Crossfire battle board ability. 
  3. Crossbows are very vulnerable outside of terrain
  4. Lifeguard are fun, but I think for 1 point I'd rather have a whole unit that generates a Saga die. They might be worth it if you chose a legendary hero?
  5. You can weather a bad swing of dice and still win in Saga if you make solid choices throughout the game.
  6. 1 on 1 games are a lot of fun with a good friend to play with. We play a lot of many vs many games and less 1 on 1. I'm thinking with the right opponents and gaming systems I may want to play more head to head games.

Thanks again to Ed for hosting. I look forward to the next game!

1 comment:

Ed M said...

Crossbows--I'm still not over the trauma (shudder)!

Point #6: Agree x2. All the rest is mere detail :)

Thanks for the lesson, AJ! My Mongols are a wiser (if smaller) force for the experience.

Ed M