Monday, September 22, 2014

AAR: Strathclyde v Franks in "Backs to the Wall"

I have had very little time for much at all recently (barring several attempts at "The Lord of the Rings LCG" game (!)  One problem is lack of space as I tidy my workroom. I wanted to try and get a game of Saga in on Friday but couldn't link up with anybody.

I decided in a two hour slot this weekend to try something new...

It was to be a solo game, me playing both sides against each other - I have no favour and love to beat up on both forces.
I only had room for a 3 x 2 board.
I wanted to try something a bit different from the usual.
I wanted to use the forces I had in a different way.... I used my Scots for the Strathclyde infantry and the Normans for the Franks. They are featured in the Raven's Shadow expansion.

So here is a photo AAR based on my idea for a scenario called "Backs to the Wall"....

Franks and Strathclyde go head to head.....

I had a small working are and a green cloth so I used the mound of junk on the back of my desk to form a steep hill behind the defenders. The attackers would not be able to get around the defenders.

Here is the scenario I came up with...


Strathclyde (6 points)...
Warlord - upgraded to Owen I (he takes an all foot force not the usual mounted guys) - 1 point.
4 x Warriors (basic arms - no missiles) - 4 points - divided up into 2 x 10 and 1 x 12.

I only had 32 warriors and one Warlord so I used the a special rule:

The Strathclyde have headed up a narrow valley to try to get to a village where help is waiting but are now trapped by approaching cavalry with their backs to a steep climb. They have sent out 1 points worth of their force over the hill to the nearby village asking for immediate reinforcement. The Franks are the attackers. They are trying to kill the Strathclyde Warlord (Owen). They saw a unit of men head over the hill and know that they have a limited time to complete their mission.

The Strathclyde deploy within M of the long table edge with the steep hill to their back (it marks the edge of the table!)

Franks (6 points)...
5 x Knights (5 points hearth guard)
1 x Warriors ( 1 point).

With 6 points of Attackers and 5 points of Defenders I allowed the defenders to take the first turn.

The Franks deploy within M of the opposite long table edge.

The Franks have just 5 turns to kill the Strathclyde Warlord. If they fail they lose.
After 5 turns, reinforcements will arrive and the Franks will have to withdraw.

I allowed the Franks to have three Saga dice on their battle board(not on Orders abilities and with no extra rolls from abilities that can generate extra dice). This represents the perceived advantage of having cornered your pray.

Also, the edge of the hill (board) behind the Strathclyde is a no go area - if the Strathclyde are pushed back and cannot move S backward, the Attacker must be the one to withdraw instead.

This makes for a fast and furious combat. The game started with some decent dice rolling! Follow the AAR to see what happened...

Both sides line up with just over L distance between them. Note: I swapped in the Warlord (centre) with the red banner after this - the blue banner goes with the big Knight unit on the left.
The Franks but two dice on "Battle Pool" and enable "Adaptation".

The actual Frank Warlord in the centre with the red banner(!)
The Strathclyde rolled their 6 Saga dice and the Franks used Adaptation to get an extra Saga dice

The Franks rolled two more banners (!) on those dice and used them to get Anticipation and Oppression.

Strathclyde (whose turn it actually is) placed their six Saga dice... and the Franks use Order/Reaction ability "Anticipation" to give protection to the Warlord and the big Knights unit to his left.

The Strathclyde use Harassment to get a phantom missile strike on the Frank right flank - 8 attack dice (As the Strathclyde under Owen get to treat the Attack Pool dice as the X for off-table support. Much better than having the units actually off table IMO!

Strathclyde "off table" missiles take care of 5 of the 8 Frank warriors.
The Franks now get to roll Saga dice... ignore the Combat pool dice - I swapped them to Hearth guard activation!

Aided by their Warlord who skulked off to the left flank, the Frank big Knights attacked then the little Knights!
The  front row of 12 Strathclyde were bolstered from their Abilities ("Doomriders") and the Knights did not roll to well. The Warriors lost 7 men and the 5 left fled at increased L to the right ("Whirlwind")

Hindsight: I forgot to remove the fatigue from the fleeing Strathclyde warriors!
Winning a fight can leave you facing the enemy about to roll their Saga dice!
Turn 2: Strathclyde Saga dice.

Strathclyde try "Harassment" again...
Four Knights

become one Knight! Ouch. Loving the off-table mystery Snipers!

Cutting a long story short - the Warlord and the Warriors charge the big Knights, the other warriors charge the little Knights.... the big Knights roll badly on lots of dice. The Fatigue counter does not help the big Knights. They lose 6 and have to retreat! The other combat is okay....

SO tired.....
Frank Battleboard....

"Retribution" allows the Franks to remove some fatigue points - which they then do!

Franks remove fatigue and charge in!

The Franks have "gone for broke" to clear the Strathclyde warriors away!

The remains of the big Knight unit do the same - they pile in and hope to do some damage....
The Frank Warlord turns up for support!
Turn 3: Strathclyde Saga dice

"Harassment" - Those phantom missiles again - one less Frank unit!
Owen (Warlord) takes out the lone Knight. The lone Warriors takes on the Frank Warlord to give him a Fatigue after combat.

"Doomriders" - Scratch another Frank Knights unit.

The lone Strathclyde warriors survived the Frank Warlord and waits for orders... The Franks roll Saga dice and their Warlord decides to move to charge Owen....

Each guy got 8 attack dice.... Owen made his Saves....

and so did Mr Frank Warlord - just in both cases.

The fatigue builds up....

Turn 4: Strathclyde got Saga dice - Warrior hero gave his live for Frank fatigue!

The inevitable - Too tired to fight, the Frank boss keels over with a spear for dinner....

The Frank Knights use both their Saga dice to make a double move and intercept the Warlord. Fatigues cancel out.

Owen fought bravely with his 8 Attack dice....

 but, alas, at the end of Turn 4, Owen I is killed by three blows. He takes one Knight with him to the afterlife!


That was a great little game. Fun and fast paced.

Owen's Strathclyde faction almost made it. Just a few too many Knights at the end. I really like the foot based Strathclyde with their use of the Attack Pool to represent off-table support. The "Harassment" ability really hurt the Franks. The "Doomriders" also helped out and so did "Whirlwind", along with the Attack Pool dice themselves when all the other abilities were used up and the wolves were at the door!

The Franks board worked better for me this time than my last outing. They have some useful abilities but still lack a little combat punch IMO. Large blocks of Knights seem to be good for Franks along with 2 or 3 dice in the Battle Pool at all times. Being able to get a Fatigue free movement ("Oppression") for 1-3 units is great - you can get cavalry 24 inches into combat with no fatigue if you have the Saga dice for initial activation as well as the "Oppression" based activation.

There were 9 Strathclyde warriors left on the table after this and only 4 Frank Knights.

I really liked this setup and will likely write it up as a scenario idea, with map, and maybe a little special rule to help the defenders as they have one point less than the attackers. I have a few ideas for that.

I hope you liked this unusual scenario.



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