The flavour in the Danish Faction comes from the ability to utilise the Dane Axe (aka the Broadaxe). Here are the rules from page 43 of the Main Rulebook.
"Anglo Danish Warlords have double handed axes."
"Anglo-Danish Hearthguard may be armed with double-handed Dane axes."
"When engaged in melee, a unit with double handed Dane axes will not use its shields and so suffers a -1 penalty to its Armour value. Hence, if the unit an Armour of 5, it counts as having an armour of 4."
"Attack rolls made by a unit equipped with double handed Dane axes gets a +1 bonus. To hit an Armour 4 unit, you'll only need 3's. This makes them easier to hit in melee."
|Dane Axe delivers a deadly blow in the Bayeux Tapestry|
|Bayeux Tapestry: Anglo-Dane fights Norman|
Intimidation - this ability can be used to stop an enemy unit activation. If you feel your axemen are going to be targeted for shooting or an assault from a much larger unit then play this one.
Shieldwall - arguably the best ability for Anglo-Danes - your axemen can have their armour boosted by +1 in response to an enemy melee or shooting attack(!)
Hard as Iron - your axemen get a re roll any failed defence dice during their melee activation. Useful for troops with a lower armour value.
Lords of Battle - your axemen gain 3 dice in their melee for Attack or Defence.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the real two-handed axe and how are they represented in the Saga wargame?
|Gripping Beast Huscarl's|
The power of such an axe swing combined with the heavy axe head would be deadly. The Bayeux tapestry shows a huscarl using his axe to cleave a rider and mount in two (see above).
In return for the strength of the two-handed axe, the wielder is left without the protection of a shield to his front, typically slinging the shield over the back. This left him open to attack from the front when approaching combat.
To sum up, the flexibility of being able to have as many hearthguard as you want armed with double handed axes gives you the ability to field an advantage in aggressive combat style. This edge played well could be definitive if not completely game breaking. Dane axe wielding troops are not as risky as, say, the Viking Berserker but played well should give your opponent something to think about!
About the Author: "ambler" / Mike lives in the North West of the UK. After years of RPG's and GW wargaming he now plays in a long running Amber Diceless RPG and plays Flames of War at the NWGC in Stockport. Saga is a recent addition to the games-under-the-belt collection. Check out his blog: www.not2oldtowargame.wordpress.com