Monday, December 15, 2014

Saga event at UK Pick N' Mix 2014

This last weekend saw the Annual Pick n' Mix Event held in the UK at the North West Gaming Centre, Stockport. Among various historical games was a small SAGA tournament.

I want to say a big thanks to the guys (and gal) that attended. It was a three round event using 6 point factions.

From my side of things, after setting up, I ran my Normans (so as not to duplicate the other factions - at least I am familiar with them).  Joe ran Spanish, Collette ran Scots (with Kenneth as boss!). James and Rob both ran Saxons and Christopher ran Danes.

'Battle at the Ford' winding down....

Setting up Game 1...
Game 1 was a "Clash of Champions".

The object being to get 4VPs more than your opponent  at the end of the game from killing stuff.

My Normans faced the Scots. Despite having my unit of mounted warriors nixed by one of 'Warlord Kenneth's' special abilities, I still managed to make some gains and early on looked good.

Death of a Warlord....
That said, the Scots took advantage of an opening and their abilities and killed my Warlord.

From there on it seemed downhill and the kills piled up.

By the end of 6 turns the Normans had killed 15 points and the Scots 18. A Draw (just!)

From the other games....Joe beat Rob (19-5 VP's) and James and Christopher drew (3-1 VP's).

Clash of Champions....

After lunch (and a welcome break from the cold for some as the venue was freezing as UK temperatures were pretty low that day) we continued...

Game 2 was "Battle at the Ford".

The Saxons would turn out tougher than the Normans thought.
Seven turns to get as many of your units over the river as possible.

I faced James' Saxons. Both sides set up troops near the Fords as expected.

I put my crossbows left of centre and my bows nearer the right side.

The Saxons had their slingers in a wood near the centre of the river.

Knights stuck - Saxon slingers wait to finish them off.
James got to grips with this scenario better than I did and scored some kills from shooting.

I tried to move my Knights up the right to cross the Ford and break the deadlock.

They did "ok" for a short time but then inevitably, were ganged up on (I could have risked moving them back and getting "slung at" or carry on.

Brave attack to get some ground....

Last Gambit - 8 Warriors became 2!
I carried on and lost the unit.

My right flank was weak and so I moved some troops to that side of the board.

From then on, James kept me at bay and finally used his Saxon abilities to push 4 units across the river on the last turn (I just couldn't hold them back).

A win for the Saxons (7-0 unit VP's)

From the others, Collette's Scots beat Rob's Saxons (8-0 unit VP's) and Joe's Spanish beat Christopher's Danes (4-0 unit VP's).

At this point, the only player with two wins on the day was Joe (6 points so far).

I had  a Draw and a Loss (3 points). Rob was trailing last with two Losses (2 points).

The last game was going to be about who came second!

Game 3 was "Sacred Ground"....

Mike's Normans v Joe's Spanish...
Basically, scoring was capped at 6 VP's per terrain piece per turn. Scoring for units only based on unit type at the end of each others turns. "Sacred Ground" is a strange game but seemed a better choice than "Homeland" or "The Escort").

Norman Warriors about to "Gallop" into the Spanish...
I started off my game by getting a decent foothold on the big hill.

I then used my Warrior cavalry to tire the Spanish large block of warriors. I killed 9 of 11 models. Turn 2 saw me with 6 points to 5.

This left the wood on my left with nothing to attack the occupying Spanish warriors.

Mega-block of Spanish badness. Slow but tough.
Joe's Spanish then maneuvered (in my turn I think) - very confusing with the "reactive" battleboard.

They got onto the centre hill and added to the throng of cavalry!

Joe also now controlled the other two objectives.

I had committed my force to the centre, and could not shift the block of mercenaries on the wheat field to my right and I had no troops left on my left to get to grips with an enemy in the middle of a wood!

The Spanish mercenaries were slow moving but almost impossible to shoot (and shooting on the right flank was all I had!)

Once Joe had four scoring units on the objectives to my two, it was game over on Turn 3 or 4 - I couldn't shift the other units and even if I did I could never get the points to overtake him by the end of the game.

The Spanish would shortly fill this hill up!
None of the games took that long to come to a conclusion. Rob and James played Saxon on Saxon. Rob won. James who having gone second could not get a foothold. Collette and Christopher's game also ended quickly (Scots v Danes, Dane win).

The day ended with a clear victory for Joe - three wins out of three (9 points). Collette, James and Christopher were joint 2nd (6 points); Rob took 3rd place (5 points) and I crept in last with 4 points.

The sweet taste of Victory (!)
The Event organiser, "Hammy" awarded Joe his Pick and Mix SAGA prize and the day ended, just before we all succumbed to frostbite on a very cold day "at the mill".

Thanks to everyone for turning up and playing. You were all friendly, knowledgeable and great sports.


The gamers seemed pretty happy. Some feedback was that the last game should really be switched for something else. "Sacred Ground" has some strange rule about scoring in the opponent turn that seems to disadvantage the second player. My main issue is that once you start to lose you might as well quit as you can never turn the game around as scores are cumulative turn to turn. One solution is to only score at the end of the game (last man standing on the terrain pieces scores - it's an idea...).

Another idea was to search out the Crescent and Cross scenarios and find another one to use!

I now need to go and look more at some of the Heroes you can use - I had not considered Kenneth for Scots before. I also need to look at the Saxons. They seem to have some good abilities that made them useful in the "Ford" scenario.

'Flames' EW style...
I enjoyed preparing the games, setting up and playing - I had a good day.

The other events looked entertaining.

Thanks to 'Hammy' for running Pick n' Mix once again. The mince pies were most welcome!

Hope it is warmer next December!


PS: I had an enquiry about Skraelings and Steppe Tribes. Look forward to playing your Skraelings...?!


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