Sunday, 23 July 2017

Saga Tournament Historicon USA

Saga Tournament 2017 Historicon 

You could say this was the least prepared and furthest tournament I have ever entered. Two days before I and my friend Kiefer left for my once in a lifetime trip (now maybe twice) trip to the USA, a passing comment from my friend who had just returned from work in the States led me to find out when Historicon was being held this year. to my amazement it was being held in Fredericksburg in our second week of our holiday when we were staying in Richmond, only an hours drive away. Immediately I found out when the Saga tournament was and sent an email to Jeff the organiser in case there were any places left. Unfortunately I didn't receive Jeff's reply of acceptance until I had began my epic journey of 3 days and five planes to get to our first stop at Billings in Montana. Therefore I hadn't packed my Norman army in case I wasn't going to use them, however Jeff kindly informed me that it was no problem because they had a choice of different factions for us to borrow for the tournament.

So the big day came and we got up very early to travel up the Interstate 95 to Fredericksburg, arriving half an hour before the start of the competition. After a rather prolonged registration procedure (just take my twenty five bucks, godamn it) we made it to the competition with five minutes to spare. I chose to borrow Anglo Danes from Ralph, another of the organisers, and Kiefer my fellow traveller chose the Irish.

The first scenario was "Hostages", each player had three hostages which they had to protect, whilst trying to free their own men who their opponent had captured. My first game was against another Jeff and his Normans.

My Anglo danes consisted of 2 six men units of hearth  guards with dane axes, 2 eight man units of warriors and 1 twelve man unit of levy with slings.

Jeff's Normans consisted of 1 twelve man unit of mounted hearthguards, 2 four man units of dismounted warriors, 1 unit of eight man unit of warrior crossbow men and 1 twelve man unit of levy archers.

I placed one of the hostages with a warrior unit in the small house, on hindsight I should of placed all the hostages in there, oh well, first lesson of the day learnt.

Having never played Anglo Danes before I was pretty new to their battle board. However  due to the Normans being my first and most played with faction, I knew what abilities (a lot of shooting little pointy things) I would be facing. Therefore to try negate the shooting arm of my adversary, I used the expensive but effective ability of "Trapped" that places fatigues on three of your enemy units therefore his levy archers were soon exhausted.

With Jeff busy trying to to rest his fatigued units in the first few moves, I decided the best tactic was to attack. However with starting in the woods this took a lot longer than I expected.

Organiser Jeff came around when we were half way through our third or fourth turn to say we had ten minutes to finish the game, which came as bit of a shock. Usually in the tournaments in Spain we play for just over two hours, but this tournament we were only playing for an hour and a half which is very short time.

This meant we only had time for Jeff to complete his turn, he launched his knights into my hearthguards, luckily the dice gods were actually kindly looking down on me and Jeff lost doublé the amount of figures I did. With no more time for me to have another turn, the game ended with a draw with my Anglo Danes slightly in front with slaughter points. Second lesson learnt, make sure you know how long the game lasts.


Meanwhile Kiefer was enjoying playing with the Irish, it was his first tournament and actually the first time he has played the official Saga game. He was familiar with the mechanics of the game because he has helped me test play my Western Saga variation rules. In fact his Confederate bush whacker faction we played with before was based on the Irish battleboard.


The next game was "Foraging Party" and I was playing against Rob and his Early Saxons. Each player had a wagon full off booty that they had to get off the other player's edge of the table aswell as capturing their opponents wagon.

Rob's Early Saxons consisted of 2 six man unit of hearthguards, 2 ten man units of  warriors, 1 unit of four man unit of warriors. (I think)

Knowing know that the game time was going to be short, I quickly moved forward to take the game to Rob, however one of his warrior units entered the enclosed field in the centre of the table first. My Hearthguards went in to start wielding their dane axes, however I did forget they had dane axes and we resolved the combat as if they were armed with swords. This did come as a blessing however because he used his abililty "Death is Nothing" that meant a third of my hits on his unit would count as automatic hits on my unit. To be fair he didn't realise how rubbish my dice rolling is and I very rarely get over fifty percent of hits anyway,  however I did mange to wipe out his unit.

The centre enclosed field seemed to be more of a focus than the wagons for some reason and he sent a unit of his hearthguards in to eliminate my Dane axless hearthguard unit. However my wagon was finally over the centre of the table and into enemy territory. For some reason I haven't any photos of the end game, but basically I cleared the enemy warriors in front of my wagon using my warlord and a unit of warriors, but then in my eagness to adavnce my wagon, I left it undefended and Rob attacked it with his Warlord and the remnants of his hearthguard. It managed to fight off the first attack, but he attacked again and caused three hits, the first was automatically cancelled, the second was saved and unfortunately the last wasnt and I lost my wagon. With no time to capture his wagon, which he had prudently kept out of harms way, the game ended.

On the next table, Kiefer was having loads of fun with his Irish against Picts and actually both players managed to get their wagons off the table. Something I believed almost impossible due to the fact that the tables were a foot wider than the normal sized Saga table we usually play on. In this game he used an abilitiy where he need to roll anything but a six against the Pict Warlord to basically kill him. Now Kiefer's dice rolling is even worse than mine, thats why I like playing him,  however you guessed it he managed to roll a six.

After an hours break for dinner we resumed back on time (not something I'm used to in Spanish tournaments). Our final game  was the "Singulus Junctus" scenario. In this scenario each warlord is placed on chosen ground and loses if they move off it or are killed. My next player was using my old adversary the Vikings with the special option of Harald Hadrada and his Varangian guard.
Harald won the toss and moved first, advancing his Varangian guard straight over and destroying one of my Hearthguards units with little damage to themselves.

In the next turn I counterattacked with my Warlord and a warrior unit managing to cut the guard down to two men and make them retreat off the chosen ground. His Varangian Guard attacked again doing more damaging causing my warlord to retreat, his other units including his beserkers had also moved up and with my battle line with more holes in it than a "Arnold Palmers putting range", My Warlord was killed, it was so quick I havn't got any photos of it..

So with a pretty dismal result of one draw and two losses, I came eigth out of ten players. Although I was rewarded with a 4 point starter army of Anglo Danes as a prize which was very generous  (right now I'm just painting them to make an Anglo-Saxon army). Kiefer did well in his first tournament coming seventh, and with finishing early we still had plenty of time to explore the convention and do a little shopping in the bring and buy.
It was a fantastic tournament and very friendly, thanks to Jeff and Ralph for organising, answering any questions for us and making the tournament run smoothly. Also thanks to the other players for making us feel welcome and the games enjoyable, we had loads of fun and hopefully return in the future.


  1. That was a good tourney. I was your third game; Vikings stupidly marching up the center. Thanks for posting pics, hadn't seen any yet.

  2. Hi Art, sorry I haven't got back to earlier, I really enjoyed my trip to Montana and Virginia. Ive managed to paint and the box of Anglo Danes Ive recieved, hopefully will get a game or two with the versión 2 when it finally comes out.