Monday, December 23, 2013

Battleboards: The Steppe Tribes

This faction was introduced in issue 311 of Wargames Illustrated with a colourful article that really draws you in. There is something fascinating about a hit and run mounted faction that makes you want to consider them as a "must have" in your growing number of Warbands.

Steppe Nomads:

These guys are billed as the most 'shooty' mounted unit in the game. If they can outdo Bretons in that respect they must be good!

Lets look at who they were then move on to their Saga setup and abilities.

Gripping Beast Steppe Tribes Warriors (Copyright GB)


Covering a long period of time, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Steppe Tribes have existed from Eastern Europe (present Bulgaria and Hungary) right across to China. They were typically led by a strong leader such as a Khan or Kagan, the most notorious of these must be Genghis Khan and his ability to unite Mongol Tribes into a larger nation.

Some cultures, such as the Crimean Tatars, would only engage close quarters if the odds were in their favour. Showering enemies with arrows was a preferred tactic to lessen the odds. Warriors of the Steppe were trained literally in the saddle in the tactics of taking what they needed; raiding was common among these tribes and with it the art of war. Violence was simply a way of life. Mobility was key!

The disciplines of speed with maneuverability on horseback, the use of the bow even at full gallop and 'terror' became the "Steppe Tactics" used over and again until eventually the way of life was ended by civilising tactics (religion and settlement) and by the emergence of new technologies - gunpowder being a notable one!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tackling Mounted Factions

One of the big advantages of cavalry in Saga is their ability to run around the flanks of infantry based opponents. This can change the tactics required by their enemies to deal with them, or at least should do!
I wanted to take a look at how this can be achieved by various factions that are limited to slower movement, and what tactics and abilities can deal with cavalry in the game.

Several factions can make use of cavalry, with varying abilities. The key to all cavalry is maneuverability. In Saga, Cavalry move twice as far as infantry in a standard move, L not M (12 inches not 6 inches). This gives them a reach that can literally leave a foot based faction standing. Suddenly, objectives are at risk because the enemy has cavalry.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Battleboards 102 - The Normans

Our small Saga group has been getting enthusiastic about the game lately and we're gearing up for an epic campaign (hopefully more on that later!). The campaign has me in a quandary deciding which army to use. It's an escalation campaign, and I've got the opportunity to actually get paint on my Anglo-Danes, but I can't help but think about answering the Duke's call and join his Norman knights... On that note, let's talk Normans!

Norman Shieldwall!

I really enjoy playing Normans and they have a lot of interesting subtle tactics and an interesting battleboard. I'd like to quickly run through the battleboard and get some discussion going over the strengths and weaknesses of the Normans. First off, lets have a look at the battleboard:

Dice: Any
Discard any die to activate a unit of Hearthguard or a Warlord.
Dice: Any
Discard this die to gain 3 Attack Dice (4 Attack Dice if a 6 is discarded). May only be used by a mounted unit. At the end of this melee, add a FATIGUE to your unit.
Massed Volley
Dice: 4 or 5
Discard this die. Until the end of your turn the range of your bows is doubled (i.e. 2x "L").
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 or 6
Discard any die to activate a unit of Warriors.
Aimed Volley
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 6
Discard these dice to re-roll any Attack Dice that failed to hit the target.
Storm of Arrows
Dice: 4 or 5 PLUS 6
Discard these dice to immediately activate all of your units equipped with ranged weapons. They may only Shoot with this activation. No unit gains FATIGUE for this activation.
Dice: 4 or 5 or 6
Discard any die to activate a unit of Levies.
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 4 or 5
Discard these dice. Activate a mounted unit. If that unit engages an enemy unit with this activation, this enemy unit immediately gains a FATIGUE.
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 1 or 2 or 3
Discard these dice. If your engaged unit is mounted and is fighting a dismounted unit, immediately eliminate one enemy Warrior or two enemy Levies that are engaged in the melee.
Activation Pool
Dice: 6
Discard this die to roll two extra SAGA dice.
Dice: 4 or 5 PLUS 6
Discard these dice. If you inflict at least twice as many hits with your unit than it suffers in this melee, each hit it scored against an enemy unit becomes two hits.
Dice: 6
Discard this dice. If at the end of the melee the enemy unit(s) are forced to disengage, immediately activate for a movement one of your mounted units engaged this melee. This movement does not generate any FATIGUE.
Attack Pool
Dice: any
Discard one die to gain one Attack Die (two Attack Die if the discarded die was a "6")
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 4 or 5
Discard these dice. Activate a mounted unit for a movement. This movement gets an extra "S" movement distance and can be freely made through friendly models and units.
Dex Aïe
Dice: 6 PLUS 6
Discard these dice. Your Warlord gains five Attack Dice and may re-roll any failed to hit attack die. At the end of the melee, add three FATIGUE to your Warlord.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Swords for Hire - The 'Sons of Death'

This time another unit of mercenaries for Saga - The Gall-Gaedhil "Sons of Death".

The Gall-Gaedhil ("Foreign"), also known as “The Sons of Death” were lawless warriors of mixed Norse and Gael blood, that are first mentioned in the Irish Annals in the 9th century. They were marauding bands of adventurers and looters that joined the Vikings in their plundering expeditions.

Later, the name came to designate all mercenaries that came from the Norse colonies of the Isles where Norse and Scot blood was mixed. Their ferocity, coupled with their warrior pagan cults as Diberna or Fianna earned them a well-deserved terrifying reputation. Swords for Hire: The Gall-Gaedhil are mercenaries and may be included in any Saga warband.

Rules for the "Sons of Death"...

Recruiting the Gall-Gaedhil:
Adding the Gall-Gaedhil to your warband costs two points. A warband led by a Hero of the Viking Age may not include the Gall-Gaedhil.

Sons of Death:
This unit is composed of 8 foot Warriors. They have an Armor of 4, and each of them generates two Attack Dice. The unit of Gall-Gaedhil doesn’t generate any Saga Dice. Unlike of other Warriors each Gall-Gaedhil is worth 1 VP.

The Gall-Gaedhil must be the first unit activated each turn of their controlling player. Once any other unit of their warband has been activated, they may not be activated this turn anymore. Their activations are unlimited within a turn, and are free, so don’t cost any Saga die (but they take Fatigue as any other unit). The Gall-Gaedhil may never be targeted by Saga abilities played by their controlling player. If a Saga ability played by their controlling player targets more than one unit, the other units still are affected by the ability, with the Gall-Gaedhil being immune to its effects.

Blood calls Blood:
At the end of step 4) of any melee, any unit engaged with the Gall-Gaedhil suffers a number of extra hits equal to half the number of successful hits they scored against the Gall-Gaedhil.

After the deployment but before the first turn, the unit of Gall-Gaedhil may make a single movement.

Use in Saga:
In games of Saga, the Gall-Gaedhil make for a tough unit that can cover ground quickly and hold it

They have plenty of attacks (they get a free hit from "Blood Calls Blood") but if fatigued seemed to make for a glass hammer. They cannot receive a War Banner as a unit of only eight warriors, so being attacked immediately after making several moves would be costly (enemies with cavalry may not be their ideal opponents).

They cost two points, so would be an expensive strike force in any faction. The fact that they can't generate Saga dice but in return don't need any to activate means they could "hold on" when the rest of your force is smashed. Equally though, those two Saga they could give you as two units of Hearthguard could be used elsewhere.

They appear to be a situational unit, possibly in a faction that lacks serious hitting power (a skirmish force). They would still suffer from other effects such as the Pagan Rus "Great Winter" so you have to decide ahead of a game whether to use them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saga on a Budget - Welsh & Strathclyde Factions

By Mike Wood

Following on from other articles about getting into Saga using budget plastics, here are another few thoughts....

The really obvious one to do is the Saxons themselves using the plastic box set from Gripping Beast. One box of them could serve as a complete 6 point force of Hearthguard and Warriors, but there's not much excitement in using just one box!

One option could be to add a Strathclyde faction using the Wargames Factory Ancient German Cavalry. They look great as unarmoured men on ponies / small horses. Suitable for Welsh and Irish as well. They come in boxes of 12 plastic figures for about £14.75 in the UK or $19.95 in the USA. You can find them at the Wargames Factory website or try Ebay in the UK.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recent Saga FAQ changes

I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some official changes to the Saga rules. These are from the official Saga FAQ - September 2013 (you need to be logged into that forum to see these).

From the Excellent http://www.dagamerstable.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saga on a Budget - Vikings - more factions!

By Mike Wood

Following up on a recent article about Saga on a Budget for 2 to 4 players, here is my look at how to get more factions without breaking the bank. You could combine the contents of both articles as the figures needed nicely mesh between the two articles to catch eight good factions that should bring some real entertainment.

If you read the last article and have found yourself with some spare figures, then you can read on to to build up an Irish faction. Otherwise there is now the chance to buy that box of Gripping Beast Viking Hirdmen and make 3 more factions!

Those factions are: Vikings, Jomsvikings and Norse-Gaels.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Swords for Hire - Wandering Bard

by Mike Wood

Picture this.... there is your Warlord in the midst of Battle killing his enemies, driving them before him and hearing the lamentation of the women.... but who will remember this day and the brave feats? Who will recall the stories? Well, the guys at Gripping Beast had a good idea for that. A Bard! Yes, brave 'Sir Robin', is here to recount tales of valour, honour, slaying. That sort of thing, as long as your Warlord does all the killing by themselves!. So what does a Bard do in the game of Saga? Let's take a look... 

"The Bard" by John Martin

The Bard is a "Sword for Hire" unit and the good news is - he's free!
You can add him to your Warband with no cost to points. However, all is not rosy as "free" comes at a price....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Defeating the Pagan Rus

by Mike Wood

Here's a look at the abilities that make Pagan Rus hard to deal with and how you might stop them or at least neutralise their strengths in your  Saga games.

There has been some discussion on the forums about the abilities that Pagan Rus have and how they seem more akin to a form of fantasy "ice magic" than to real life. Each Saga faction is built around the tactics and flavour of the places, culture and time that they were found in. As a result, each faction is very unique (so far) and the Pagan Rus are no different in that respect. They can be seen as very defensive in their abilities. I have read that the "Byzantines had the measure of the Pagan Rus". If so, how? Here is a look at the Strengths and any Weaknesses of the Pagan Rus and how to work around them in battle!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Morale in Saga

The free online dictionary defines Morale as "The state of the spirits of a person or group as exhibited by confidence, cheerfulness, discipline, and willingness to perform assigned tasks".

This time I am taking a look at how the Saga wargame cleverly moves the idea of Morale away from being an "abstract system" for dealing with the "human psyche" and putting it firmly and seamlessly into the hands of the players.

Excerpt from the Bayeux Tapestry

A system of Morale in a wargame is designed to give some element of calculated risk of your army "melting away" and the game coming to a more "realistic" end than just wiping out the enemy. It has been a key of every wargame I think I have played and has become a natural part of the mechanics associated with a wargame. Even if the army itself does not have a breaking point, then the individual units will have a breaking point of some sort.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Focus On.... Scot Spearmen!

The Scots spearmen in Saga should put fear in the hearts of their opponents! Here is a faction that has one big secret weapon. Men who stand and hold their ground with sheer determination. How do the abilities on the Scots battleboard give so much power to this unit. Are they unstoppable? Not if their enemies can help it! Here is a look at the rules and thoughts for the humble Scots Warband Spearmen....


The Scots were formed over time from a mix of clans and lordships in the North of Britain, being descendants of Irish migrants and the local Picts. The history of the Scots always seems bloody, with usurping and murder being the name of the game!

Scot Hearthguard (Thanes) or Warriors (Soer-Chele) armed with shield and spear making up a shieldwall was a standard tactic of the time. This helped to give some protection from cavalry and missiles. The warriors could stand and hold or push forward, with a mix of experienced warriors supporting the greener ones. Once penetrated, sheieldwalls usually fell apart quickly, as the greener warriors started to panic and flee. Battles of this kind routinely lasted no more than an hour. The Battle of Hasting made an exception to this, lasting several hours almost into darkness.

In Saga terms, some of the foot units are armed with thrusting spears and can make use of the abilities marked in green on the battleboard.The Scots battleboard is very much aimed at the spearman.

The special abilities for Scots Spearmen are covered below....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saga on a Budget for 2 to 4 players

by Mike Wood

I wanted to take a look at building Saga armies on a budget. Two key ways of doing this are first to buy plastics, as you get more bang for your buck. The other is to share to cost with two or more players. This way you can get more choice than just buying one box yourself.

Dark Age Plastics.....

The aim is to build a playable 6 point Saga army that is more than just one type of model, but keeps costs down by sharing models around (or having 2-4 factions yourself!) but still being playable.

After running a poll recently to see what the most popular armies are, the top two are Danes and Scots. After that Bretons then other including Normans, Vikings and Irish.

Two players can band together and buy one box of Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns (Hearthguard) and one box of GB Dark Age Warriors. These boxes are currently around 19 to 20 pounds in the UK.

This gives you 44 Armoured Saxons to use and 40 Unarmoured figures.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Review of Redoubt, Perry & Gripping Beast Models

by Mike Wood

I recently purchased some "non-military" models for Saga. Here's a look at what I got and the overall quality of the models. The aim is to use them to make baggage bases for the Saga mission "The Escort". That scenario requires three pieces of "baggage" to be moved across the board. I have already looked at Carts in two earlier posts, here and here.

The following manufacturer/suppliers were used....

Gripping Beast are here.

Perry Miniatures are here.

Redoubt Enterprises are here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Focus On ... The Bretons ride out and Shoot!

Sometimes it's as though the supplements for the Saga wargame were released so quickly that it seems as if the player has jumped from those in the rulebook to those in "The Raven's Shadow" or "Varjazi & Basileus" very quickly. It's time to backtrack and take a look at the Bretons from the earlier release "Northern Fury".

Perry Unarmoured Spearmen Advancing / Attacking

The Bretons were descended from a group of peoples that fled England when the Angles and Jutes invaded. They fought hard for their land into the 10th Century. Along the way they faced Normans, Vikings, Franks, Carolingians and the Saxons. They used tactics inherited from their British ancestors.

Saga takes its inspiration for the Breton battleboard from the fact that the force represents one that uses hit and run tactics with lots of Javelins. Unlike the Welsh, who are primarily an infantry skirmish force, the Breton battleboard has been written very much with a strong accent on mounted troops with deadly missile delivery from those javelins. Melee is catered for by being avoidable to some extent.

The Breton Warlord and Hearthguard (Machtierns) are mounted with Javelins. The warriors (Soldiers) may be mounted and if so are armed with Javelins. The Levies (Skirmishers) also have Javelins. The mounted troops suffer an extra -1 to their armour in melee as they are primarily a skirmish force.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Swords for Hire - Angry Monks!

by Mike Wood

One of the more unusual options available to the Saga wargamer is a unit of Monks. Not your usual fare? We take a look at the 'Sword for Hire' unit of Monk Levies and their Rules in the Saga wargame....

They may not be the ultimate in combat units, but they do have a couple of side-effects that may be of use to some Saga players.

Gripping Beasts unit of Monks

Here is what Gripping Beast has to say about the role of Monks in the Saga Wargame....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Swords for Hire - Hereward the Wake

Usually it is the Heroes of the Viking Age who change the feel of each faction through their special abilities, here it is this unusual addition of a 'Sword for Hire' special Hero character that changes the composition of your Anglo-Dane force in the Saga wargame.

Hereward killing Normans

The Legend surrounding Hereward the Wake has grown up over the centuries such that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. He was an exile, outlaw and resister against the Norman occupation. In ways that parallel the tale of Robin Hood, he was seen as a Hero in the struggle against an oppressive power.
The name "Wake" seems to have been attributed to Hereward hundreds of years later, possibly meaning "the Watchful". 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Byzantine Basileus Vs. Viking

by Eric Lauterbach

Joe Moore and I wanted try out his new Byzantine Basileus Saga army which is all Hearthguard!  We threw out some terrain and got the armies engaged in a hurry.

The Table

The Vikings 3 Warriors and 1 Hearthguard

Monday, August 26, 2013

On your Cart! - Part 2

by Mike Wood

Following on from the last post about the 4ground carts, I now have three presentable baggage pieces for the Saga wargame. They were based and had beasts of burden added. Each base is 10cm by 5cm, the maximum allowed for "The Escort" mission in the main Saga rulebook.

The Bases were textured then painted with brown Vallejo paint. Then static grass was added, grass clumps glued in and some fake water effect added to the ruts.  I would like to revisit them as I can see some problems, but for now they seem at home on the game table.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

AAR - Vikings vs. Scots

by Eric Lauterbach

Another grudge match of Joe Moore's beautiful Scots and Eric's Vikings.   It was a ugly affair.  Not much fancy happened in this fight. We met in the middle and shield wall vs shield wall blood bath began.
The Table

Scot Hearthguard

Monday, August 19, 2013

AAR - The Escort - Vikings v Anglo-Danes

When two forces clash over a baggage train, who will prevail? In "The Escort" a 6 point Saga Viking faction is protecting a convoy of carts as they cross dangerous territory. A band of Anglo-Dane hearthguard is trying to stop them. Who will be victorious?

The Vikings have to get two carts off the far table edge, to help they take the first turn..... Anglo-Danes line up to stop them. The terrain will not make this easy as the carts cannot travel on uneven ground. The Vikings choose to start with the hill to their back. The Hill would make it hard to get off the table if the table sides were reversed!

The Vikings move several units forward.....

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sagatapestry at 100

If you haven't already spotted then it is worth a mention that there have now been a hundred items posted on this website. A truly great effort from a number of contributors. Thanks to all who have written, read and supported Saga on WWPD

It's been over a year since I was drawn into the world of "Saga" through the WWPD forums.  Who would have thought that from an initial "interest" it would go so far....

Monday, August 5, 2013

On your Cart! 4Ground Carts for Saga

One of the scenarios in the Saga basic rulebook  is called "The Escort". For this you need three items of "baggage" that need to be guarded by one of the players. You could use some peasants, animals or boxes and bags based up, but one possible way of representing these items is to use carts. I bought three varieties of cart from www.4ground.com and wanted to show how they look when assembled. The rules of the scenario allow for each baggage piece to have a base size from 4x4 cm up to 5x10 cm.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Swords for Hire: Steppe Nomads

The recent Saga supplement Varjazi & Basileus contains an interesting little unit available to some of the factions.These Steppe Nomads are an upgrade that can add some flexibility.

Steppe Nomads - Swords for Hire (Copyright GB)

Steppe Nomads were tribes of peoples moving across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Their skills and abilities with bows and horses along with a cruel nature made them ideal mercenaries for various armies, including the Rus and the Byzantines.

Monday, July 22, 2013

AAR: The Challenge - Normans v Anglo-Danes

This was a four-point grudge match....  "Baron Henri Deux surveyed the area, apart from some grain in the process of being harvested there was nothing to be said for this piece of land. In the distance he could see a band of men approaching on foot. So, this was to be the ground he would revenge himself on the Dane Warlord Meikson for the death of his Father. He and his men moved forward. Peasants scattered to the wind as the Norman horses trotted up to their fields.

The two mighty Warlords approached each other, leaving their forces behind. They nodded to each other then called Challenge. This would be to the death.... let battle commence!"

The mission was simple, get as many wounds on the enemy Warlord as possible. Kill him if you can. In an hour or so, one side should be victorious.

The forces line up - Anglo-Danes hugging the hedge....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Box Opening: Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors

After getting my first box of Gripping Beast's plastic Dark Age Warriors, here is my review of this product.
Firstly, the box itself is fairly slim and is complete with a set of square plastic Renedra bases. A useful addition to the box. Second are some assembly guides.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Focus On Heroes: Artgal, King of Alt Clut

Artgal is one of the two Heroes of the Viking Age that can be fielded by the Strathclyde faction in SAGA. You can find his details in the Saga supplement The Raven's Shadow on page 20.

Photographer - Alan Hughes Looking north across the River Clyde towards Dumbarton Castle
View North across the River Clyde toward Dumbarton Castle

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review of Saga supplement Varjazi & Basileus

Having got my copy of the latest Saga supplement Varjazi & Basileus I wanted to give those who are considering purchasing an overview. I won't go into full detail of battleboards and history here. Mike Haught did an excellent job of covering the Pagan Rus Battleboard in his recent article so I won't go over that here either.

more SAGA!
So, what do you get for your money? The main booklet is 16 pages cover to cover, thin by previous standards. It also comes with a colourful folder that becomes a wallet for storing all your supplements and Battleboards. This is a nice feature that helps makes up for the fact that this book contains only three factions, one of those being a reprint of a magazine article.

However, those things aside, this supplement has the usual glossy, colourful and easy to follow style of its predecessors. My biggest issue is trying to pronounce the title which does not trip off the tongue (!)

The Battleboards are still nice and solid with clear text. There are no special features of the Battleboards (no Wrath or similar). I only spotted one minor typo on these boards (what's an ordres phase...?)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Black Tree Designs Norman Knights

During the last round of Black Tree Design 50% sales, I picked up three bags of Norman Knights.  One command pack and two packs of armored knights with swords.  The command pack included a nobel with a sword, a musician and a standard bearer.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Homeland AAR: Normans v Anglo-Danes

After his recent success near the Fjord, Baron Harry lacked the men to continue on toward the Anglo-Dane village and sack it. He turned and headed back to his camp to collect reinforcements. Sadly, he no longer had all his Knights to choose from and so chose from what forces he had available.

At the village, Meikson had received news of his fathers death at the hands of the Normans. Now being the new Warlord, he would not let his village be sacked. Hastily sending to his Uncle Alfarr for reinforcements, he then sent the peasants to the hills and waited for whatever men he could gather to his banner. Would they arrive before the Normans? One thing was sure, the Normans would pay dearly to take this village!

Note: in order to keep the narrative going, we decided to run a modified Homeland scenario. The Anglo-Danes were automatically the defenders with one point less than the Normans to reflect the situation and the Homeland rules on defending. As the Normans had recently lost so many Knights, we decided to run with 4 point forces (3 for the Danes) and making use of the troops leftover that were not used in the first game.

Special Rules: "War Banners" were used from the Raven's Shadow supplement. The optional rule on the second player having 3 Saga dice to start with was used (Raven's Shadow page 26).

Anglo-Dane Forces:
Meikson, eldest son of Meik (Warlord)
Hearthguard (8 with banner)

Norman Forces:
Baron Harry the Youthful (Warlord)
Mounted Knights
Warriors (spear and shield)
Warriors (crossbows)
Levy (bows)


Normans prepare to sack the village.... maybe there is someone at home to defend it though?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Focus On: Pagan Russ

I was fortunate to get a copy of the latest SAGA supplement: Variazi & Basileus. I'd like to have a closer look at the Pagan Rus from a stricly gaming perspective. I won't go to deep into the history because, frankly (no pun on powerful French kingdoms intended) I don't know much about these people or their story. So I'll leave you in the capable hands of fellow Sagamites, the internet, and books to help fill you in there.

In the meantime, fellow blogger Dux Homunculorum has done a great job reviewing the Pagan Rus and some of the other new factions in the game. If you don't follow his site already, you should!

Let's look at their abilities. I've paraphrased them to avoid tedious copying, but let me know if I've misinterpreted anything!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Norman Crossbow Conversion - Part 2

Some time back I put an article together about converting plastic Norman infantry to be crossbowmen. You can find that article here.

Having recently completed my Norman army I wanted to finish off the crossbowmen modelling project with my end result. So, here are the long awaited crossbows....

On the command... fire.....

Monday, May 13, 2013

Clash of Warlords AAR: Normans v Anglo-Danes

As sunlight streamed over the hill, light glinted off the fast running but shallow river. The Dane Warlord surveyed the scene, knowing that the Normans would most likely cross at the ford in front of him then follow the road to his village. He and his grim faced Hearthguard were not about to let him sack their village. They were all prepared to die to stop the advance..... then the click of hooves and the glint of sunlight on armour. The Knights had arrived on the opposite side of the field.....

This was a four point Saga AAR to really get the feel of the rules. I had just finished 6 points each of Danes and Normans so we chose from what was available:

Anglo-Dane Forces:
Meik the Grim (Warlord)
Hearthguard (Dane axes) 

Norman Forces:
Baron Harry the Youthful (Warlord)
Mounted Knights
Mounted Knights
Mounted Knights
Crossbow Warriors


Normans win the deployment roll but end up putting down their troops before the Anglo-Dane Hearthguard-only warband! Sometimes, it pays to be the best.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Dead Do Tell Tales.

I picked up Old Glory's "The Slain Casualty Pack SVS-10" to add some flavor to my SAGA battles.  I really like the pack which goes for $25 USD without discounts and you get 20 figures and Shields.  I love the look of casualties on the table it really makes for a great pictures. My idea when I purchased them was to use them as fatigue markers but what I will do next is print them on paper and scatter them as the battle goes.  I do not mind if you do the same as well I have attached pics of them below.  Make your own WWPD pizza markers.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Clash of Warlords AAR: Fast and Furious!

On an ancient battlefield, the forces of Jhon the Dirty and Steveaux the Fluffy face off in a titanic struggle of might vs. tailored pants.  Clash of Warlords was the flavor of this Saga game.  We did a four point battle:

Viking Forces:
Jhon the Dirty
Levy Archers

Norman Forces:
Steveaux the Finely Groomed
Mounted Knights
Mounted Warriors
Crossbow Warriors
Archer Warriors

The Vikings strategy:  Line up.  In a line.  The Normas hide in woods and generally prance about.

Steveaux, of the ambiguous gender sings and serenades his retinue.  How positively... womanly!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bannermen! War Banners in Saga

With the release of the Saga Supplement "The Raven's Shadow" last year came a new rule for using War Banners in your Saga faction.

There has been some discussion on their potential use on the battlefield on the WWPD forums recently so I thought now would be a good time to recap on the rules and put forward some of the theories on their use in the game.

Gripping Beast Viking War Banner party...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Comparing cavalry models -Normans v. Strathclyde

A little while back I think I posted that I had chosen to use Wargames Factory (WF) Ancient German Cavalry model to stand-in as mounted Strathclyde Welsh for a new 6 point Saga faction. This meant buying 4 packs of WF horses each with 12 models (plus another model from somewhere for the Warlord!)

A word to the wise - make sure you are happy with the scales of the models involved before buying....

comparing plastic model horses

Monday, April 8, 2013

Saga Warlord Contest Roll of Honour

The Painting Contest is all over so here are all of the entries. A big well done to Joe Moore who takes away the prize for most popular entry. Joe chose a box of the upcoming GB plastic Dark Age Warriors. Good choice, I am tempted myself.

The quality of the entries was very high and a lot of work went into them. Thank you to all for entering your Warlords and to all those who took the time to vote on a favourite. They all looked like winners to me!

Here they are in all their glory..... you magnificent painters....

Joe Moore - winner

Monday, April 1, 2013

Frankish History 101

Frankish History 101

The Franks are an ethnic group from northwestern Europe.  The Frankish kingdoms dominated the history of medieval Europe. In Saga we see the Franks in their Carolingian form, defending the heartlands against the Viking invasions, and their early Capetian form, marking the transition into the French monarchy.

The Merovingian Franks
Merovingian territories. (From Wikipedia.)

The Franks were one of the largest and most successful of the Germanic tribes to settle in Roman territory at the end of Antiquity.  They occupied what is now northern France and eastern Germany, establishing their kingdom there.  Their early king, Clovis, converted to Catholic Christianity, not the Arian Christianity of most other Germanic tribes.  This adroit move gained him the support of the local Roman churches. It also set the stage for the lasting Frankish alliance with the Pope.  The Frankish kingdoms often split and recombined, as kings divided their territory among their sons, and civil war or conquest brought them together again.  Nonetheless, they maintained a common Frankish identity.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Glory Viking Long Serpent Ship

- by Eric Lauterbach

At Fall-In I picked up the Old Glory "Long Serpent Ship" and due to a bizarre - for Virginia - snow day have finally painted it up. I had looked at several plastic kits and laser cut wooden versions of Viking ships and none of them thrilled me. Knowing what a beating my wargame toys take moving from game to game, I did not want a plastic kit. The best solution seamed to be go with resin ships from Old Glory.  Turns out Old Glory has the Viking ship in two versions: one with crew: SVS-12 and one without: SVS-12s. The with crew sells for $65 dollars and the without crew sells for $35 dollars, this is before any discounts which you can get 40% if you join their army club.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saga Painting Contest is Closing Soon!

Just a reminder that the the closing date for the Saga Warlord Painting Contest is this Sunday, 24th March. Later that day you will be able to vote on the best entry. The most popular entry will be announced as part of the WWPD4Vets day on March 30th. The winner will receive a blister of their choice from Gripping Beast's Saga range (posted out to the winner anywhere in the World - so get those entries posted up now!!)


Please click on the link below to post pictures of your Warlord.


Finding an Irish Wolfhound

One of the more unusual units to be found in the factions within "Raven's Shadow" is the Irish Wolfhounds pack and handler.

As a change to to the usual history or tactical articles I wanted to point out some of the possible sources for models for the above unit.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Focus on Heroes: Macbeth, King of the Scots

A look at the Hero, Macbeth, available in the Scots list for the Saga wargame from Gripping Beast.

I guess I am not the only person hearing the name Macbeth and picturing an ambitious tragically flawed character from a Shakespeare play? So, how does the real man stack up with legend and of course, his role in the Saga wargame....

NEW: Gripping Beast Macbeth model is now out (edit 04/2014)...


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Normans vs Vikings- Clash of Warlords!

Tom and I got a game of Saga in one night recently.  He brought his Vikings, and ran them in 1 big unit of 8 Hearthguard, and 2 units of 12 Bondi plus a 12 strong levy archer unit.  My Normans were my usual configuration of 2x4 mounted Hearthguard, 1x8 mounted hearthguard, 8 crossbows, and 12 archers.  The mission was Clash of Warlords.

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