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:
Meik the Grim (Warlord)
Hearthguard (Dane axes)
Baron Harry the Youthful (Warlord)
|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.|
|Anglo Dane player Deploys Hearthguard.|
|Normans deploy ready to cross the stream.|
|Turn 1: Norman Battleboard|
|Turn 1: Anglo-Dane battleboard - Note: Raven's Shadow optional rule page 26: second player gets 3 dice to assign to their board at the start of the game|
|Danes Intimidate the Norman Knights but they just choose to Terrify the Axemen on their charge across the ford....|
|Melee.... gone! Too many successful attacks onto men with axes and no shields!|
|The Norman Warlord urges his bodyguard forward to press the advantage.... crossbows walk down the hill and stop next to the uneven ground of the shallow river.|
|The situation at the end of Norman Turn 1|
|Turn 1: Anglo-Danes - they have one less Saga dice.|
|Dane Hearthguard and Warlord charge into the Knights for Revenge.... and destroy the Knights in one swift turn of combat.|
|The Normans ponder their next move with one unit down.|
|What the Danes had left....|
|Turn 2: Normans assign Saga dice.|
|Normans charge into the Hearthguard from two sides and destroy another brave band....|
|Turn 2: Anglo-Danes: they have little option but to shed some Fatigue and wait for the onslaught.|
|Danes kill some but not all of the Knights....|
|Turn 3: Normans: Going for the melee as best they can....|
|Another band of Dane hearthguard fall to the Normans, but now they have very little left themselves....|
|Turn 3: Anglo-Danes: Activation and combat!|
|The Dane Warlord and his bodyguard give it their all... and survive another turn due to the Warlords good luck and stamina.|
|Turn 4: Normans: going for it....|
|The Warlord drags his crossbows into the fray again. His remaining Knight "Terrifies" the Dane Warlord. The Normans Warlord uses the Dane's fatigue to inflict more hits.....|
|Surrounded and tired by the charge of the Norman host, the Anglo-Dane Warlord cannot hold back the attacks and falls under a storm of swords and crossbow butts.....|
This was a fun game and pretty close to the last turn. A couple of rules were forgotten in the heat of battle, disengaging after fatigue is assigned and the fact the Dane Warlord had a two-handed axe! Neither made too much difference to the outcome as the game was simply one of following up with melee each turn anyway. With hindsight, Norman Levy bowmen may have been more use in the game for shooting, but would not have generated a much needed Saga dice. Every dice counts in a 4 point game!
The small 4-man units even of hearthguard seem very fragile. I would strongly consider using units no smaller than 6 in future or 8 if Warriors.
The Norman special abilities of Terrified and Gallop are really useful and pretty much helped seal the fate of the Anglo-Danes. The Anglo-Danes made some use of Intimidation to slow down the approach of the Normans, but ended up relying on Shieldwall to save them, which ultimately failed due to their fatigue being used against them. Once the Danes lost some of their Saga dice it was always going to be an uphill battle to get the Saga dice combo's needed for their more powerful special abilities or to Rest before attacking.
The author has his own blog which he tries to update several times a month at www.not2oldtowargame.wordpress.com. It features painting, modelling and battle reports for Flames of War, Saga and other games.