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...

One of the key elements in Saga is the use of Fatigue as a way of controlling how much a unit can do in the game and how an enemy might exploit a fatigued unit.
On the back of this comes the game mechanic that says you can only Rest (to remove Fatigue) as a units first action during that turn. Once you have rested and following actions for the unit cannot be to rest again.

The introduction of the War Banner shakes up this theory by allowing a unit with a War Banner in it to rest multiple times per turn.

Here are the rules from page 4 of "The Raven's Shadow" supplement....

"War Banners ...
During the deployment of your warband, each unit of at least six hearthguard or ten warriors may upgrade one model to a War Banner. This should be a proper model holding a standard, banner or pennon as appropriate for his unit and faction.
A War Banner model behaves like any other in model of his unit but doesn't generate any Attack Dice, either in melee or shooting. He is far too busy displaying the colors of his unit.

A War Banner may be removed as a casualty, at the owning players discretion. If the War Banner, due to the unit formation is the only model that should be removed, just exchange its position with the position of another model the unit before removing the casualty. In other words, you'll never have to remove a War Banner as a casualty unless you want to.

 If a unit is reduced to a single War Banner model, the War Banner is immediately removed from the game, as we assume that he wisely decides to carry his banner off the battlefield. He counts as having been killed in that case. If that happens in melee, any friendly unit within S will take a FATIGUE as usual.

Each unit with a War Banner may be activated to "Rally around their banner". This is a Rest activation (i.e. it removes one fatigue) but this activation may be resolved at any time of the turn any number of times. Note that this activation is not automatic and must be paid for with a relevant Activation Saga Ability or any other effect that activates the unit."

Historically, troops would rally to a banner, recognising it as the emblem of their own side, be it their chieftain, warlord or King. In Saga, the effect is to promote well being and stability, in effect a time to recuperate and regroup.

So, how to use this new Saga ability?

One of the ways that seems to be to "power up" one unit in your turn with most or all of your Saga dice and then use a combination of MOVE(no fatigue)-MOVE-REST-MOVE/MELEE. This way you only gain a Fatigue after the melee and would not leave any fatigue tokens for your opponent to use in that melee.

Another idea would be to MOVE(no fatigue)-MELEE-REST-MELEE-REST... and so on gradually wearing down your opponent and using his Fatigue to increase your odds in the fight (or exhaust the unit to the same end).

A third idea is to simply shoot at a unit multiple times but be able to be attacked and enter melee with no Fatigue for your diminished opponent to exploit. E.g. SHOOT(no fatigue)-SHOOT-REST-SHOOT-REST.

One danger of this approach is that it leaves you with few or no Saga dice to use on any other unit that turn or to have any abilities leftover to counter your opponent. A clever opponent will exploit this knowledge.

Using the War Banner to best effect seems to require skill and timing otherwise your plan may be exploited and unravel.

I hope that there are some useful ideas here. Many thanks to the forum poster's for your thoughts on War Banners.

You can link to the WWPD forum post on banners by clicking the 'Discuss' panel below.

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