Anglo-Saxons seem to be a popular choice of factions for Saga. Why? Well, the colourful outfits and plenty of Warriors or Levies on the battlefield could be one answer.
Another answer could be the interesting battleboard mechanic this faction has.
Let's take a look at what the Anglo-Saxons can do and what makes them unique in the Saga wargame.
The Anglo-Saxons can field a standard Warlord who can be mounted.
Hearthguard can also be mounted.
Warriors have no special rules. These would have a lesser amount of armour (helmets and shields most probably, maybe some body armour).
Peasant levy can have bows or slings. If they don't have these they are unusual in that they will have spears and shields and have an armour rating of 4 (not the usual 3) and produce one Attack die per two figures, not three as usual in levies.
Above - Gripping Beast Anglo-Saxon Warlord
What makes Saxons special? The abilities centre around larger groups of troops for a start.
"The Muster" (Activation) - you can use this to activate ANY type of unit with just a single Saga dice. This makes it easier to get your Warriors and levy units into action. The unit must count as 10 or more models.
This ability replaces the Activation Pool (and is "multi use" per turn).
Once per turn abilities....
"Stout Hearts" (Orders / Order Reaction) - this ability artificially inflates the number of models in the Anglo-Saxon units for purposes of Saga abilities (like 'The Muster', above). For the cost of a Saga dice you 'count as' two more models than you actually have (four more for a 'rare' 'helmet' facing). It also affects some enemy abilities that rely on the number of your models in your unit (Welsh 'Strength lies in numbers'... Viking 'Loki'... etc)
"Truce" (Orders) - enables you to remove a fatigue from any of your units that has not been activated this turn. You can remove two fatigues per unit if the unit counts as 10 or more models.
"Defenders of the Realm" (Melee) - for the cost of a Saga die, you get two Attack or Defence dice. If your unit counts as 10 or more models then you gain two more Attack or Defence dice. The dice can be a mix of both types of dice.
Note: you can already see the effect of having large (or counts as large) units in your warband and there are still a number of abilities left to discuss!
"Shoulder to Shoulder" (Melee or Shooting) - this one is very powerful! You gain +1 Armour and if your unit counts as 10 or more models then you gain two extra Defence dice.
"Bretwalda" (Melee) - this one allows your Warlord to gain +1 Armour and to also to re-roll any failed Defence dice. Very nice indeed.
"The Fyrd" (Orders) - allows you to get one extra Saga die for each unit that counts as 10 or more models.
"No Surrender" (Activation) - this is a very expensive Saga ability but allows you to unconditionally remove a Fatigue from each of your units that counts as 10 or more models.
"Clash of Shields" (Melee) - you get one third (rounded up) extra Attack dice depending on the number of models that your unit counts as. A unit of 12 models would get four extra Attack dice, five if it were subject to 'Stout Hearts'.
"Overlap Shields" (Shooting/Reaction) - when shot at you will get one third (rounded up) extra Defence dice depending on the number of models that your unit counts as.
"Saxon Kingdom" (Orders / Order Reaction) - until the end of the turn, all your levy units are considered to be Warriors (while the unit counts as 10 or more models).
Above - Gripping Beast Anglo-Saxon Hearthguard
Anglo-Saxons offer a different way of playing to other factions. If you want to field a larger force and like the more powerful levies offered then you can pull off some good results. It probably takes some practice, if not a little finesse to "get it right". Keep trying with this faction and it will reward good play.
Gripping Beast have a range of Anglo-Saxon metal models and also a range of suitable plastics.
Feel free to pass on your thoughts and experiences of Anglo-Saxons on the forum....