Saturday, 20 July 2013

Saga Normans

I managed to finish my 4 point Norman warband for Saga last week. It was all ready for a game with Mr M at the club on Thursday, but I was struck down by a migraine and had to stay at home instead. Very disappointing, especially as it turned out Mr M was going to surprise me with a Scot warband I hadn't played against before! Still, there will be other times.

So here is a picture of my boys arrayed for battle:

Plastic knights from Conquest Games, metal crossbowmen from Crusader Miniatures

My chosen 4 points consists of 8 warriors with crossbows and 12 mounted knights. The knights I plan to use in two units of 6 to combine versatility with striking power. Ever since the first time I tried that with my Vikings I have always been ready to sacrifice a saga die for fewer, but larger, elite units.

So with the Normans ready, I set up a test game against my Vikings.

The idea was to test a combined arms approach with the Normans. The crossbows would fire on the Vikings as they advanced and then retreat back, allowing the knights to charge a weakened foe.

The Vikings were to use their standard tactic of "CHARGE!"

Of course, it didn't quite work out like this...


Norman Turn 1 Battleboard selection
The Normans got some poor dice, so could not use their better shooting abilities. In addition, they were out of range of the Vikings. So they opted to move the warriors forward, fire and then move back again. The extra dice were used to boost their attack dice. Unfortunately the general had deployed too far back to give them the benefit of his free activation.

End of Norman Turn 1
The Normans only managed to inflict a single casualty on the Vikings. What's more, when I look at the picture again I see the crossbows are missing a fatigue. The shoot have two as they moved, shot and moved again.


VikingTurn 1 Battleboard selection
I mulled over the Viking turn for longer than usual. I was toying with hurling the hearthguard the length of the board, but then they would have no abilities to use in the melee and I also saw the distance was far enough that the Normans could probably use their fatigue gained through movement to slow them enough to prevent contact! So I opted for a surprisingly restrained first turn moving them forward in a steady line, while keeping a couple of abilities back to use against Norman shooting and an unlikely early charge.

A tentative advance

Norman Turn 2 Battleboard selection
Slightly better, but not a lot. I managed to get the two dice I needed for a 'fatigue-free' shooting. But the extra volume of fire did little. It was at this point that I started to wonder if I should have kept the knights in smaller units as I would have been happy to roll more dice to try and get the rather tricky to roll shooting abilities...

A couple more dead Vikings. Nothing else!

This was when it all kicked off. The heathguard rumbled forward and used a free activation form the warlord. They managed to roll enough dice for the 'Activation Pool' ability to get 7 on the board when they were done.

So, due to their dispersed formation, two of the Norman crossbowmen were not able to contribute to the melee. I did have some kind of idea they were shielding the knights, but to be honest that was a bit stupid of me... So the white dice on the left were what the Normans had to roll. Needing 4+ (Normally 5+ but a viking ability reduced their own armour).

The Vikings on the other hand started with two dice each for being hearthguard (the red ones). You'll notice there are only 4 figures, but I had removed one to power the Valhalla ability by the time I took this picture.The black dice are what they gained from their abilities. 19 in total. And they only needed 2+ to hit. Normally 4+ but crossbowmen lose a point of armour and the Vikings also spent the Norman fatigue marker to reduce it again. The two saga dice pictured are to remind me that the Vikings could also re-roll all their misses (again from an ability)!

So no surprises in the next picture...:

In fairness to them, I think the Normans gave a good account of themselves by taking out two of the Viking hearthguard!


It was at this point I noticed a significant tactical error... Just out of shot at the bottom of the above picture was the Viking warlord. He had advanced with the hearthguard and was now sitting by himself within 12 inches of the mounted Norman warlord. So, if activated, the Norman leader had no option but to charge his foe. But of course, he could take his pals with him...

Norman Turn 3 Battleboard selection

Not where you want to be when you don't have a horse.

So the inevitable happened and the Normans rode into battle and trampled the Viking warlord, thereby winning the scenario. It was a bit of a letdown when you make a mistake like this in an actual game, but it also reminded me how fast the Normans can be.

The Bitter End

So what did I learn from this? Well, I think I might want to consider returning the hearthguard to 3 units of 4 and see how it affects the dice I get to use. I also really want to get some bowmen levies as they have access to an ability which lets them fire at double range, something the crossbows can't do. I still like the idea of massed fire with my Normans.

So with that in mind I think I want to set the game up for another go!


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers, buddy. Maybe I'll be able to fit in a game with you before the move. Depends how far along we get with packing!

  2. Nice looking game, great figures!

    1. Hi Phil. Thanks for the comment, pleased you enjoyed the post.