Thursday, 28 March 2013

Saga Tournament Alicante March 23 2013

A few of the members of the club have started to play Saga in the last few months, so we organised our first Saga Tournament. I had picked the Norman Army as my first army because I could also use some of them for a Robin Hood game I had simmering on the back boiler for about 5 years. I had played three games of Saga at the club before Christmas, but due to playing in a Lasalle tournament  and organising the two wargaming projects in my school, I havn't had time to play or even look at the rules for a couple of months.

The last two weeks have been frantic painting the figures and actually I quite enjoyed painting 28mm rather than the usual 15mm figures I use far better on my failing eyesight.
The tournament involved armies made of 6 points and being a fan of the longbow, I gambled on using 2 Levie units of bow. This meant I only started with 5 Saga Dice instead of the usual 6. My Army consisted of

1 Warlord
1 unit of Knights (Heathguards) 4 figs
1 unit of Knights (HearthGuards) 8figs
1 unit of crossbows (Warriors) 8 figs
2 units of bows (Levies) 12figs each

On the day six players turned up from a possible ten players who initially showed an interest. The Six were;

Myself with a Norman Army
Dani with an Anglo-Danes Army
Adrian with a Viking Army
Pepe with a Viking Army
Juan Marcos with a Jomsviking Army
Kevin with an Anglo-Saxon Army

We were playing three games out of the Saga rule book , first game was the Clash of the Warlords.

Initial Deployment, The Anglo-Danes are a bit closer than I had anticipated.
We diced to see
 who was playing who and my first game was against Kevin and his Anglo-Saxons.  We had all decided beforehand that we would play with an open list during the tournament, so Kevin decided to play with all mounted Hearthguards in three different sized units. The first odd result of the day happened now because due to deployment, the Anglo-Saxon Warlord was placed on the his own side of the table but the rest of his army was deployed on my side of the table. Due to the Anglo-Saxons being possibly placed anywhere on my flank or rear, I was forced to deploy in the corner.

View from the Anglo-Saxon side facing my archers. 
I had the first go, so my Warlord and his unit of Knights charged after the lonely Anglo-Saxons Warlord before he could be reinforced. My archers and crossbows fired and brought a rain of death on the Anglo-Saxons killing four figures in one unit and two figures in the other.

Anglo-Saxons are forced to repulse against my brave archers.

Now it was Kevins turn, his right hand unit slammed into my archers, killing four of my bowmen. However my crossbow unit who must have been caught trying to slowly reload their crossbows because they were totally wiped out .  His warlord retreated away from my advancing warlord towards his other unit hurrying to reinforce him.

Starting to look a little better  with the frontal threat now down to 4 figures

 Due to my crossbow unit being wiped out on my second turn, I only had 4 Saga dice. I fired my archers and then charged (using the gallop ability) at the Anglo-Saxon unit threatening my archers. I lost two knights but once again forced them back with them also losing two figures. I now gambled by sending my Knights back who were accompanying my warlord to attack the other mounted hearthguards that had just made mincemeat out of my crossbows. They were successful and wiped out the Anglo-Saxons, however now my Warlord was all alone.

Now he's got some of his buddies the Anglo-Saxons Warlord is feeling braver.

Now it was Kevin's turn, from around the edge of the wood the Anglo-Saxon Warlord and the hearthguard unit came thundering into clash with my Warlord. I luckily managed to survive the combat managing to throw a 5 or 6 in a saving throw. 

  Having survived the close combat my Warlord was reinforced by his 2 remaining knights again. My other unit of knights that are screening my archers also move towards my stranded warlord to lend a hand. My Archers now having a clear target once again shoot and kill another two hearthguards. In the close combat that follows I kill both of his hearthguards and in turn he kills both of my Knights, My Warlord also survives on a saving throw once again.

The Anglo-Saxons Warlord final stand

Kevins warlord has no chance against my warlord and all my remaning Knights and is killed, My archers fire again and kill his remaning hearthguard. I have won my first game and have wiped out the whole of the Anglo-Saxon Army (25 points) although it could have easily ended in defeat if I had failed in the two saving throws and my Warlord had died.

The other first round the results were

Juan Marcos' Jomsviking win against Adrian´s Vikings
Dani's Anglo-Danes win against Pepe´s Vikings

My Knights hiding behind the building whilst my archers are ready to let loose their bows.

My second game was against Pepe and his Vikings, this scenario was "The Escort". A dice off resulted in the Vikings having the job of escorting the "baggage" across the table. Pepe lost the roll and so had to deploy first, therefore it was easy for me to block his path for his baggage. All I had to do was to stay in place and let him come to me.

Once again my archers were quite deadly  and caused quite a few casaulties in the advancing Viking ranks. My cavalry charged forward fron their hiding place behind the house and wiped out the warrior unit on his left flank.

It was now Pepe's turn, he attacked my cavalry with his Hearthguard unit and managed to cause a few casaulties an also push them back. From the other side of the house four Berserkers came rushing out and once again my crossbowmen were slaughtered. I realised I had been too confident and it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought the turn before.

On the start of the second turn my archers fired at the Berserkers and then my Warlord and his knights charged what was left of the Berserkers. I wiped them out but it was messy and I picked up a few fatigue points. There was one Hearthguard Viking figure left on my right flank so I decided to move forward to clear him out of the way to cut down the number of Saga dice Pepe could use.

It was the Vikings turn and his Levies archers rushed around the side of the house to finally shoot their bows, My warlord had now lost his bodyguards. The Viking Warlord who had been hiding behind the house now saw his chance and rushed out to attack my Warlord. Both Warlords died in the ensuing close combat, also my last remaining Knights unit with its 3 fatigue counters was lost as well. 

This meant both of my archer units were stuck as they cant generate any saga dice, however Pepe ran out of time trying to bring over his baggage train, only managing to take one over my table edge, the other not wanting to go around my archers tried to force their way through by attacking my archers (we couldn't find a rule that said baggage could not atack) but failed in the attempt.
Therefore it was classed as a draw so now I was on 4 points.

The other second game results were

Kevin´s Anglo-Saxons win against Adrian´s Vikings
Dani's Anglo-Danes drew against Juan Marcos' Jomsviking

So after 2 games there was three of us on 4 points and in contention for first place

After a nice meal in a Tapas bar near to the club, we arrived back to play the final game. I was paired up against Juan Marcos and his Jomsvikings. I made some changes to my army for this game. I put all my Knights in one unit and exchanged one unit of archers for a unit of warriors. This was so I could still start with 5 dice.

I ended my deployment first and so was able to throw my saga dice first. I did well and threw a flag dice a couple of more times to get a total of seven Saga dice. However I totally made a mess of it by giving away to many dice in activating my archers and crossbow men. They both fired twice but against a Warlord they need a six to hit. The few hits I managed to get on him, he easily rolled saving throws and so my archer and crossbow units were heavily fatigued without any reward.

My unit of Knights then charged and with 24 dice did a bit of damage, (I needed to get 12 hits to kill his Warlord) . I then used my Warlord and we obey rule to attack him again. My warlord threw 5 dice and didnt cause a single hit, my knight fared a little better and at the end of the melee his Warlord had 10 hits on him.

It was now Juan Marco´s  turn and his Jomsviking charged to rescue their leader. His Berserkers caused great casualties on my Knights and his Warrior unit caused 3 wounds on my Warlord. His Warlord was now out of harms way and I knew it would be dificult to reach him again. We then checked the victory condition to see what had happened if neither Warlord is killed. We both read the instructions wrong and thought that the Warlord with the least wounds wins.

            Knowing that with less wounds I was still in a good position to win, I moved my warlord quickly out of harms way, using my Knights as a rearguard.

         The Jomsvikings now advanced wiping out my Knights, I moved up my Warriors with spears to face the on rushing Jomsviking warriors who were attempting to reach my Warlord.

The spearmen did their job and held up the vikings with large casualties on both sides 


                      My Warlord was now safe hiding behind the woods in the corner of the table. It was now we found out from the other players that we had read the rules wrong and it was the Warlord who had suffered the most wounds and survived, was the actual winner. We had played it totally wrong and obviously I wouldn´t have been such a coward with my Warlord, but now it was too late to correct our mistake.

After finishing off my spearmen, his remaining warriors attacked my warlord but were too weak to make alot of difference. The game finished on turn 6

The other games finished

Kevin´s Anglo Saxons win against Dani´s Anglo-Danes
Pepe´s Vikings win against Adrian´s Vikings

Therefore the table finished as follows

Phil 7 65
Kevin 6 41
JM 4 67
Pepe 4 54
Dani 4 38
Adrian 0 62

Myself receiving first prize with my Normans

Second was Kevin with his Anglo-Saxons

Third was Juan Marcos with his Jomsviking

                                        A group photo of all the participants at the end of the day.


This was a very enjoyable tournament, Saga is a great set of rules because they are relatively simple but hard to master (It was mostly luck not skill, that I won.) The games are relatively short and a lot can happen in one turn. You don´t need a large number of figures to play and there are plenty of different factions to choose from.
     For the next tournament I feel we are going to have to change the scenarios because some did not give a balanced play. Maybe we should use the Lasalle setup as an example.

Decide who wants to be attacker or defender.
Attacker has 6 points of troops and Defender has 5 points of troops.
 Defender chooses wether to choose which side of the table he wants and deploys first or lets attacker choose and deploy first.
Attacker places an objective in the deployment zone. Defender may move the objective slightly.
Units are placed on the table
If the attacker captures the objective or destroys the defenders army its a win for the attacker.
If the defender´s objective is not captured after turn 6 then it is a draw.
If the defender destroys the attacker´s army then it is a win for the defender.

   The Normans on the face of it seem to be a weak army because normal warrior infantry do not get any bonus and also the abilities seem quite expensive without much gain. However playing to their strengths archery and mounted cavalry, can win battles.

Thanks to everyone for taking part and hopefully we shall have more players in the next tournament.

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