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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rally 'round the Raven - Saga AAR

Hugh and I got to set up a Viking vs. Welsh smackdown.  The Viking way in Saga is to go for the jugular whereas the Welsh are shooty, hit-and-run bunch.

I knew I'd have difficulty in this match-up so I decided to try out a new tactic.  In the Raven's Shadow supplement, Saga introduced "Rally Round the Banner."  You can add a War Banner to any one unit.  The banner allows the unit to rest other than the first activation and remove a fatigue.  It's a double-edged sword.   You'll need to use an activation ability or die for the rest.  Activating multiple times in a turn means that unit will use up your Saga dice and find itself alone in the face of the enemy. Also, the banner figure does not generate attack dice.

My Viking warband was Warlord plus 1 unit Hearthguard -12 figs with a War Banner, 3 units of Warriors with 8 figs each.  The risk is that the first time Hugh kills a unit, I'll be down a Saga dice.  It's a quick strike force with a Mike Tyson punch in the form of the hearthguard with the banner.  If my right hook doesn't drop the Welsh quickly, I'll die in a hail of javelins.  Hugh's Welsh warband was Warlord plus 1 unit of Levy -12 figures, 1 unit of Hearthguard-8 figs each, 3 units of Warriors-8 figs each.

GAME 1:  "Clash of Warlords." I won terrain initiative and dropped a hill in the middle of the board. Hugh tried but couldn't get his 2 woods on the table and that spelled trouble for the Welsh.  I've never played a game of Saga with so little terrain.  Could the hand of Odin have been at work?
My warriors screened the hearthguard from javelin fire.  The Welsh javelins were deadly in the early game and I could see I wouldn't have the luxury of waiting for everyone to line up "just so" before going in.
Hugh was forming the dreaded fishhook formation and he intended to bait his hook with my Vikings!
I split my Saga dice between activating the hearthguard 3 times (plus a free activation with "We Obey") and the abilities Thor (melee 2x in a turn) and Ulllr (reroll attack dice that miss).  With this combo, my hearthguard wiped out a unit of Welsh warriors, rested, and in the next activation, wiped out a unit of Welsh hearthguard.
My 6 surviving hearthguard descended on the Welsh warlord.  6 on 1 is not a fair fight and the brave Welsh warlord went down fighting.  A quick victory to the Vikings...skol, Vikings!
GAME 2:  "Clash of Warlords" again with the same warbands.  This time, Odin was off cavorting and the Welsh dropped 2 woods in the middle of the table.  I asked Hugh if he was creating a Dark Age Agincourt. All we needed was a muddy field in the center and a charge.  Being the Vikings, I had no choice but to go up the gut and deliver.
Hugh's dicing was better in this game.  He played "The Rising Out" to activate 4 units to pitch javelins.  My warband was melting in the face of sustained missile fire and I had to go all in with my hearthguard.  I needed to chew through the Welsh hearthguard to open a path to their warlord. When my 12 hearthguard hit Hugh's 8 hearthguard, there was a tremendous crash that ended with his men wiped out and nearly all of mine!  I couldn't deliver the killer punch and was left to look about the battlefield for any chance to pull my coals from the fire!
Desperate, I sent my warlord after his.  I bumbled and pushed his warriors back to within Very Short distance of his warlord.  This allowed his warriors to sacrifice themselves and soak up hits that my warlord delivered on his warlord. My Viking warlord went down in personal combat and the game went to the Welsh.
There is some debate on the Saga forums about the usefulness of "Rally Round the Banner."  After two tries, I'd say it's moderately risky with a moderate opportunity for payout.  If you go for the kill and fail, you've probably lost the game.  Still, I think it's useful tool for the Vikings.

All in all, a great day of gaming and a good showing by the Welsh.

29 comments:

  1. I keep a banner for decoration especially against the Welsh, in my opinion these are the trickiest opponents to come up against.

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    1. Good idea, I too paint up and add banner to my warbands in Saga just for the visual. This is the first time I ran the bannerman option and ironically, my actual Viking banner got left at home as I was flocking it and forgot it on my way out the door. D'oh!

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  2. Stunning game with marvelous figures. Good going. Best, Dean

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    1. If you didn't live so far away, Dean, I'd be tempted to play WH Fantasy and see your Empire troops in person! Thanks sir!

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  3. Nice pictures and report! Oh, Odin is a fickle god, but always give you the chance to go down swinging . . . .

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    1. Brent! Odin is very fickle, leaving his followers like he does!

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  4. What a beautiful game Monty! Figures are really nice, and I do like the pictures, especially the first one...inspired work!!
    Phil.

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  5. Very nice pics and report here Monty. The captions you put into the pictures were a big help for me.

    What are you doing for you wife on Mothers Day?

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    1. Anne! Good question. I finished a Cafe Latte cake this AM and I'll be smoking ribs for dinner. I think I've moved myself off the naughty list to the nice list! ;-)

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  6. No rest for your Welshmen. Fresh off the painting table and straight into battle. Nice style!

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    1. Jonathan! As soon as I've finished up a project, the very next thing I want to do is get the bunch on the tabletop. It is a great hobby we enjoy!

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  7. Fantastic looking game, looks like it was fun as well.

    John

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    1. Thanks John. We've got a good group of players in Saga now so we're plotting out the first local Saga tournament. I know the word "tournament" is poorly received by some but to me, it means hours of back to back games against great players. So I'm looking forward to it!

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  8. Very nice report and some great looking terrain and miniatures. Makes me want to give my Welsh their first outing in Saga ...

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    1. Jonas, thanks! I bet if you asked, Michael would be happy to help you field test your Welsh. With abilities like Taunting, Michael might regret taking you up on that offer!

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  9. Great report, a very enjoyable read. Those figures look fantastic too, I've just finished touching up some Welsh for Saga myself. Still need to purchase and paint an opponent for them though.. Great Post mate.

    Cheers
    Nate

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    1. Also, I really like the Trees you use, do you make those yourself?

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    2. Nate, thanks! If you shoot me an email (mine is in my profile), I'll send you the instructions on how to make these. I learned it from a fellow at TMP and it's not too difficult.

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  10. Great report and photos. I haven't tried the war banner in any games yet.

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    1. Thanks Cyrus! Some warbands are pretty darned good without a banner but it did seem to help my Vikings. There is talk that a banner is very useful with a mounted Norman hearthguard unit as well. I might try that next. ;-)

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  11. Those games look terrific, Monty.I was briefly confused when I read you were playing Vikings; both warbands are yours, correct? I thought I recognized the banner the welsh carried from an earlier post.

    FMB

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    1. Marcus, good eye and you are correct! The Vikings are mine but the Welsh I painted for my buddy Hugh. I've been trying to be more brief in my posts and I left out that I was delivering the Welsh AND got in a game.

      I'm eyeing Dux Britanniarum and I may have to paint them a second time. So, no worries!

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  12. Greate AAR Monty !!!

    Looking forard to read more about your Viking adventures.

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael! If the Saga dice are kind to you, the Vikings can really tear it up.

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  13. I've only played a couple of Saga games, both were great fun. Thanks for posting Monty.....they look great as well.
    Richard

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    1. Thanks Tarty! There are rumors they'll move out of the Dark Ages. That could be very interesting!

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  14. A fun report and a great looking game! Real nice easy to follow game progress pictures.

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher! I appreciate it.

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