Monday, July 28, 2014

AAR: Byzantines v Scots

Here's a little photo AAR with some notes from a game I played on Friday evening.

I was using my new 6 points plastic army as Scots (four points spear warriors, two points of Hearthguard cavalry). You can find out more about it on my blog here.

The cavalry are what I would like to use as Norman Exile Knights (under "Warlord Macbeth" someday). They are plastic Conquest Games Norman Knights (these models are very flexible in how they can be used in Saga)

 The spearmen are made from Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors and I have kept them deliberately "generic" enough to use as Welsh, Strathclyde (foot), Irish and maybe a few others as well!)

My opponent, Dan, was using his own Byzantine troops. Three Hearthguard (Kavallaroi) spear-armed Knights, two Hearthguard bow-armed Knights and one unit of Steppe Nomads.

We kept things easy and went for the "Clash of Warlords" mission - just kill the enemy Warlord to win!

We chose only two scenery pieces and the table was very open. The new Saga book, the Crescent and the Cross improves terrain selection greatly, but we are using the old ways until the new book hits the streets!

Here is a photo walkthrough....

Byzantines win the deployment and get to put most of their force down after the Scots. The Byzantine Warlord hangs back (centre right mainly out of shot)

Byzantine elite cavalry - battle line ready to go!
Bows at the ready - Nomads are go!

The Steppe Nomads (bottom)  have a longer move that really helps pin an enemy down!
Turn 1: Scots dig in to see what the enemy can do.... plus their Saga dice were REALLY bad!

Scots Saga dice are appalling. They go for some defensive dice and move the right flank cavalry back several inches.

Byzantines get a poor first turn as well so on Turn 2 the Scots use their Saga dice to charge out two moves. They forget the fatigue they get can be used to slow their move and come up short. With no more dice, the Nomads lay waste to three of them.

Scots turn their attention to the right flank and move a unit out, after loading up on defence like "Keeping the Distance"

Meanwhile the lone cavalryman skulks back to his lines to avoid that all important "loss of Saga dice" from being wiped out by accurate Nomadic bow fire!.

The right flank Scots cavalry are wiped out by bow fire from two units of Byzantine cavalry archers. Scot spearmen lost two men from bow fire but double move and charge in. They roll a lot of Attack dice and kill three elite cavalry for the loss of two warriors. The cavalry fall back but now the bow can see the Scots!

Byzantines use bow and a spear charge to completely wipe out the rest of the Scot spearmen. The Byzantine Kavallaroi only lose one man. Ouch. Scots are down to five Saga dice.

Scots move forward to try and make use of the "Reach" ability. The best they can do on missiles is to move and shoot a 4 inch range javelin with this ability. The Byzantine bow can reach 12 inches and keep out of Scot range but in their own bow range. Double ouch. We could see where this was now going...

The Byzantines would shoot bows and kill a spear man or maybe two. "Keeping the Distance" slows down Scot attrition but the decline is now inevitable. Scots can only fall back by squads as they have no cavalry worth a bean and no bows to shoot back with. They brought spears to a bow fight!

Scots just collapse in defensively as the bow fire steadily comes in. Its like watching a slow version of "300".

Steppe Nomads just keep the Scots in check...

Scots spearmen get bored of waiting for the arrows (they lost two men!) and move forward quickly to use "Reach". They load up Combat Pool dice and kill two Nomads (Nomads had a fatigue!). The cost is dear as the Scots also now have a fatigue from pushing themselves too hard). Several Scots do not make it back to the lines!

At this point we called the game. Win to the Byzantines.

It was lost from early on for the Scots. This was not the match up for them as they were. To have stood a chance would have required one big cavalry unit to take on the Steppe Nomads. A unit of eight hearthguard would have really done some damage to them! Losing one spear unit and getting instead a unit of levy bow would have been good for keeping the Byzantine bow at bay I think.

Dan suggested the Scots should have tried to move two or three units "in column" at the Byzantine cavalry then using them in waves to attack the line; add on some fatigue and so on until some serious damage was done. It would be good to try this, but a lot of Saga dice would go into the Activation alone.

The Scot spearmen gain a lot on the attack from their Saga abilities, but defensively, they can only really slow down the attrition against a mobile and bow armed enemy. I have played Dan's Byzantines three times now and lost each game (different armies and scenarios). They are a tough list as they work together (bow and spear) to break the enemy units one by one. The Steppe Nomads really make the Byzantines game though, as they pin one enemy flank by shooting with great accuracy and then running at speed.

Next game...! I will try my Normans I think....


You can comment on this AAR or the factions involved on the link below....


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