Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Whiskey in the morning -a SAGA AAR

I met up with my buddies Brent and Jack for a game of SAGA over breakfast. They ran the Irish against my new Anglo Danish warband in the Clash of the Warlords scenario.  This is a straightforward match where killing the enemy warlord wins you the game. Barring that, the game ends after 6 turns and the two sides count casualties to determine a winner.  Fast and furious, just the way we like it.

Brent won the setup and made sure the Irish had loads of terrain to hide in & shoot out of. To avoid the Irish ability "Sons of Daina," where rough terrain come alive with missile fire, I squeezed my troops into the open ground.  It almost looks like they're forming square.  There was hardly room enough to swing a Danish axe!
The Irish opened with a double move into the woods with the wolfhounds, hearthguard, 2 Irish heroes and the warlord. Two flavors of breakfast whiskey appeared and soon, everything seemed a bit funnier. One of the great things about SAGA is you can tip a bit and still play.  I don't normally drink whiskey, or this early, but it was the weekend and I was playing a new warband.  Reason enough to celebrate!
The first 4 turns of the game were slow played by both sides. The Irish wouldn't come out of the woods or move into charge range.  I wouldn't move within 4" of the woods. I used the Danish ability Trapped to stack fatigue on 3 Irish units a turn every time I could.  With no obvious target, I waited for an opportunity.
Then Brent and Jack had a stroke of luck. Rolling well, they turned 6 SAGA dice into 8 on their battleboard and maxed out their 3 shooting abilities.  They stacked all 3 of the abilities on a unit of Irish hearthguard, who wiped out my hearthguard in single volley despite my Shieldwall defensive ability.  This was stunning blow and one I calculated would cost me the game.  I hit back in my turn but I was way behind with only 2 turns to pull a rabbit out of an Irish hat. Smelling blood, the Irish went all in on their next turn, destroying a unit of warriors and shredding my levy slingers. The loss of units reduced my SAGA dice from 6 to 4.

Insult to injury, they unleashed the Irish wolfhounds as well!  The dogs were the only combat I won in the turn.  Look closely at the shot  below to spot a narrow path to victory for the Danes. Deep in the woods stands the Irish warlord and his champion.
I can see your warlord from here! 
Barring my way were wolfhounds and a champion.  To have a chance, I needed to throw the equivalent of consecutive 6s to turn my 4 SAGA dice into more dice for activation and abilities.  My rolling was red hot and I turned 4 dice into 8. I went from "I don't have a prayer" to "I can do this!"  After loading up my battleboard, I sent my warriors in. They made it through the wolfhounds, through the hero and to the warlord.  They lost and bounced back exhausted. My hearth guard followed in their wake and took the Irish warlord down, earning my very first win against the Irish.  And to think, I almost conceded the game!
Never did get a shot of me from the front, you idiot!
My gaming opportunities increased greatly after my son went off to college.  SAGA, Maurice, Dux Britanniarum, Field of Glory and even Lord of the Rings have all been on the menu of late. As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I have many things to be thankful for.  One is that I get to see and participate in the Golden Age of Gaming.   These are the days, my friend! 

39 comments:

  1. Beautiful figures and quite a well-scripted victory for yourself! Whiskey drinking at a breakfast game? Is that how Minnesotans fortify themselves against the winter chill and long nights?

    Great stuff!

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    1. Lol, some Minnesotans I suppose!

      Years ago, some friends tried to give me a whiskey primer. Unfortunately, that was after a night of drinking craft beers and the experience put me off of whiskey and scotch. I did drink enough to stay warm but not enough to lose! Good try Brent!

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  2. Lovely figures and an appropriately drink-fuelled win. Serves them right for skulking too long in the woods...

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    1. Thanks Caliban, and if a few sips tips the scales in my favor, I'm in! I'll do what it takes to bring home the W!

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  3. That's a very pretty game. Nice report. I really like Saga for generating dramatic games.

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    1. Thanks Ed, and you're right! This is a game that can have some interesting swings and moments of heroism as you dice through a difficult situation!

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  4. Well done Monty! Beautiful figures and great report, I especially like the wolfhounds and the Champion, really impressive!

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    1. Thanks Phil, and I do like them a bit better when I'm running them!

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  5. What a tremendous result! Fabulous rolling Monty.

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    1. Thanks Birthday Boy! I've been due for some luck on the tabletop for about 2 years now!

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  6. Greate AAR Monty, lots of good pictures!

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thanks Michael, I did forget to go to the enemy side to take pics. I've gotten out of practice!

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  7. Entertaining AAR with absolutely surprising ending! Most important the figures are a joy to look at. Absolutely awesome paintwork.

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    1. Thanks Moiterei! It was very much a surprise, the kind that makes the rest of your day.

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  8. Whiskey makes everything good, even bad dice rolling apparently! (Note to self: bring whiskey next time...)

    Excellent AAR, and congrats for grabbing that rabbit firmly by the ears before wrenching it from that Irish hat!

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    1. Thanks Rosbif! I need to field test this theory a bit more!

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  9. Great AAR - looks like a fun game. The best games are those that swing one way to the other. The trick is never to lose heart - you never know when a few lucky dice rolls will be around the corner.

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    1. Thanks Dan! That is so true! I follow many blogs and I remember reading a good post that drove home that very point. I've had a long stretch where I lose quite a bit more than I win. So when my hearthguard were nuked, I thought "here we go again!" Then I saw a long shot that needed many dice for double moves and stacked abilities. Once I diced up the extra dice, it all fell into place! Good lesson to keep in mind.

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  10. Very nice looking battle! Great figs and write up too. Best, Dean

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  11. Nice one Monty! It's always good to have things to be thankful for, and life is better if we can occasionally take a moment to reflect on them :)

    This Saga is starting to look seriously appealing. I do have masses of 1/72 Saxons, Vikings and Samurai sitting in the hobby room. Hmmm...

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    1. Hey Pru! The startup for Saga is pretty light, being a skirmish game. And double plus good, the figures can port into other systems. I'm thinking of buying some Warlords Games bases to port figures into a 28mm Impetus army.

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  12. Great looking figures and AAR and congrats on the turn around!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher, it is nice to win one every now and then!

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  13. I enjoyed that whisky smelling AAR. Yep. Golden age of gaming. I'll drink to that.
    cheers

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    1. Thanks Kiwi! I get out of the house for almost a game a week, and there are still rules I want to try. Need to quit my day job. '-)

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  14. Congrats to the victory, sounds like you as a great time.
    Thanks for the excellent AAR and the nice pictures of those excellent figures!

    Cheers
    Stefan

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  15. On this Thanksgiving I'm thankful I got another great battle report from Monty, but more importantly I am thankful I learned there is such a think as breakfast whisky.

    Breakfast whisky. Who woulda thought? :)

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    1. That's what friends are for. To introduce you to, um, new vices and habits!

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  16. Excellent report, Monty, it appears that your audacious gamble paid off!

    The lesson we take from this is that the Irish can be beaten, but bring plenty of backup!

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    1. Yes, they are tough as nails. If I could EVER win the terrain draw with the Irish, they'd be much more manageable. I'd fill up the table with hills and things they can't shoot out of!

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  17. Lovely report, great photos and the way to turn around a lost SAGA game with a surgical strike!

    Only shame (reading through the earlier comments) is that you do not like Sotch... a good Single Malt is the drink of the gods. Unfortunately I get to dip into my collection far too rarely! ;-)

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    1. Burkhard! I love the idea of scotch and whiskey. It's the reality of it in my stomach that I have a problem with. Maybe more training is in order?

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    2. Bad idea... Training turns you into an alcoholic.

      But I understand what you mean. My better half cannot stomach too much either. She even says that the Lowland varieties (or what the guys at the Dalwhinnie Distillery call breakfast malts) are too strong for her stomach. (This shall by no means imply, that you are a girl!)

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  18. You know how you're always saying that I'm a bad influence, tempting you to try new games? Yeah, works both ways buddy. Gorgeous looking table.

    FMB

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    1. Thanks Marcus! You are living the life, and I need to keep up!

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  19. Great report, Monty. Brings back great memories of the morning -- I'm enjoying the morning all over again. And that was a brilliant victory! Saga is an excellent game. Looking forward to future games. Can we try your Anglo-Danes on a hill against Normans?

    Regards,
    Brent

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    1. Brent! Love the suggestion, and if we do, I'm going to wear glasses or a safety visor of some sort.

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