Pages

Thursday, May 14, 2015

SAGA Do’s and Don'ts

One thing I love about SAGA is that locally, it keeps attracting new players.  With that in mind, I 'm going to play the role of "Average Dad" and dole out some advice to new SAGA players.

Don’t play the same warband against the same enemy in the same scenario over and over again.  I did this as a new player, only to see my Normans repeatedly whipped by the Irish. All those losses can lead a person to conclude that the game or faction is broken.  Trust me, it's not. Every faction has unique strengths and weaknesses that play out differently in each scenario and with different opponents.  Change up scenarios, change up opponents and you’ll change up the results as well. 

Do keep it fresh.  There are 7 scenarios in the original rule book and 8 more in The Crescent and The Cross.  Additional scenarios are posted on the Studio Tomahawk forum, along with variations on the originals.  Try dicing for a random scenario to play  and play back-to-back games if you have time.  Variety is what makes SAGA really shine!

Don’t let your lone warband hold you back from playing other factions.  When you get down to it, the Jomsvikings look like Pagan Rus, who look like the Vikings, who look like the Anglo-Danes, who look like the Anglo-Saxons.  The Irish look like the Norse-Gaels and the Normans look like the Bretons who look like Spanish who…you get my point.  You don't have to worry about insufferable historical purists in SAGA as they're all in Napoleonics (kidding!).  As long as your opponent can tell your warriors from your hearthguard, you’re good to go. I also recommend you proxy a warband you're thinking of painting to make sure you enjoy their style of play.  

Do use SAGA as an excuse for a deeper historical dive!  Thanks to SAGA, I've read about peoples and periods I'd never read about before.  Painting Byzantines led me to Lars Brownworth’s superb “Lost to the West.” From there, I continue to read, think and dream about the Byzantine empire.  Painting Norse-Gaels led me to the Battle of Clontarf and the story of the Vikings in Ireland. From there, I discovered the fascinating story of the Norse conversion from paganism to Christianity. Beware! Once you start down the rabbit hole, you'll likely find you cannot get back out.  
  
Don’t judge a battle board by its cover. You can’t see the strengths and weaknesses of a battle board without putting it in play.  When The Crescent and The Cross was released, I dismissed some faction out of hand because the battle boards looked weak.  The first time I played the Spanish, I moaned about their terrible board until suddenly, it clicked.  I found a sweet combination that helped steal a victory!  The Spanish have gone from "terrible" to my current favorite faction.  Take a chance and you might find a new favorite too.

Do try this game with your favorite beverage of choice.  It's not so hard that you have to be a Jonathan Nash (A Beautiful Mind) to manage the rules.  Field of Glory, I'm looking at you!

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough painting.  Setting the bar too high for yourself can result in a warband that you never finish. Block paint or block paint, wash/dip if you like. The key is to keep moving forward and put a warband on the table, not win "Best Painted of 2015."     

Do have fun!  After all, that’s the reason we all come out to play!

On the painting front, I finished 8 more jinetes for my Spanish warband, including a linen war banner.  My 4th try is my best yet, I think!  I worked up from black to hull red to red/yellow to the highlights. I followed Michael's advice and painted in a wet-brush fashion so some of the black base color peeks through.

I also finished a pagan and Muslim priest for our upcoming SAGA campaign. At some point, I'm going to have to paint up a bard as well.  The fellow in black took a couple of tries to get right.  I tried neat, dark triads but at the finish line, he had turned grey.  Out came the black paint for a reset and just the lightest touches of grey over it.  This was a time when less was better!




52 comments:

  1. Splendid looking jinetes, standard looks pretty good too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great advice for beginning Saga players there Monty, I love playing Saga for all those reasons, its a great game and I too have been reading a lot about the history
    I have got a Multi-player game this weekend and shall be using my Anglo-Saxons, should be fun
    Great painting on the preists and standard bearer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mark! If we weren't separated by an ocean, we could get a game in.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Sin and I love the HOUSE!

      Delete
    2. Thanks man we're proud to have great blogs like this on our Blogroll. I never visit BoLS anymore, as I much prefer just surfing our lists and reading well-written, enthusiastic posts like this as opposed to stoopid negativity.
      Two of our House writers, Beat Ronin and Von (the Beard of Doom) are getting into SAGA as well. They're all amped up about it.

      I'm currently trying to remain uncorrupted, but jeez- this game seems to be grabbing even the grumpiest, old-school gamers by the boo-boo and making them act all silly like they're new at this...
      By grumpy I mean Von.
      If he's happy AND spending money on a game it's GOTTA be good.

      Please, tell us more 'bout this. SO far most bloggers write 'SAGA is awesome! Here's my stuffs! I'm gonna go play naow' and then they disappear...
      I might hafta come up with a term for this.
      SAGA-itis, maybe.
      :)

      Delete
    3. You've got it. The crazy good thing is that SAGA is pulling in Warhammer and Warmachine players. I've never seen historical rules that pulled in the fantasy gamers like this.

      This is inspiration for a new post. I just need to sit down and write it! Thanks for your comment and the inspiration, Sin.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Millsy! It's about time I strung together a few words.

      Delete
  5. Very sound advice Monty! Considering your track record with SAGA is doesn't get much better. Your Jinetes look great btw!

    I use to have issues with highlighting black until I used Vallejo German Grey a long while back and still use it to this day. For a real low key highlight you just use the German Grey by itself and if you want a stronger contrast then add very small amounts of white until satisfied.

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christopher, thanks so much for your advice. I've got German Grey. My problem is accepting a painter can be subtle. If I feel like my highlight is too subtle, I highlight up and then ruin it with that last jump. I'll put this to use!

      Delete
  6. Do you remember what miniature company you got the Islamic priest from Monty ? He looks perfect model as a Spiritual Advisor for my Moor force

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I picked him up as a surprise figure mixed in a large buy of Byzantines at TMP. Almost everything in the box was Gripping Beast so I suspect he is too. I'm not 100% sure if he's still to be found. I'm off to look!

      Delete
  7. Very good advice Monty. SAGA really is a game of hidden depths, and there's a lot to explore. I see you didn't take your own advice about setting the painting bar too high! Those figures are outstanding :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul, you're so right! I can play a faction over and over and then suddently, a bulb goes off over a certain play or combination.

      Delete
  8. When painting black, I mix my own chromatic black. The one that works best for me is a black with purple as it's base note. In that way, you can avoid ending up with a chalky looking grey as your final highlight. It works by using a blue/black as well.

    Nice looking figures Monty and I too think you've set the painting bar rather high!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne and good advice that I'll put to use when I paint up an Arab warband!

      Delete
  9. Excellent advice, Monty!

    I'm fielding my 4 point Welsh warband tonight for my 3rd ever game of SAGA. Hopefully I'll get a lot more games out of them, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johnny, good luck with the Welsh! And if you ever want a tip about a killer build for them, shoot me an email. It's devilishly tough!

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Thanks Michal! You are on a painting tear.

      Delete
  11. Excellent advice in your post. Well said sir.
    Very nice painting.
    cheers

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great advice, SAGA is an excellent game full of depth. I've had lots of fun teaching my son the rules - although given the number of times he has won it appears the tables have now turned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, there is nothing quite as fun as being able to share a passion for this hobby with one's son or daughter. I miss those days! And yes, it doesn't take long until they beat us.

      Delete
  13. Nice post Monty, I've taken it all on board !! =D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nate, I may not be done writing about SAGA!

      Delete
  14. Excellent advice and one of the better blogosphere posts I've read in recent memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very kind to say! I've been so deep in painting that my posts have been light lately. It feels good to post up a good one. THANKS!

      Delete
  15. What a great post, you are really lucky to get to play SAGA on a regular basis.

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John and I'll admit I'm jealous of how often you get to play Chain of Command. Love that game too!

      Delete
  16. Great advice my friend, and fantastic paint job...great flag as well...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely new additions, Monty. I've only played SAGA a few times and have always lost! Your sound advice has convinced me to keep my copy of Crescent & the Cross.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dean! I lost almost all my early games. But it comes around and then gets under your skin. Locally, we have a great bunch that keeps growing. I can't say that about any of the other historical rules I play.

      Delete
  18. Having only just received my copy of SAGA I'll shall take heed of yon words of wisdom and try not to bugga things up. Best cruise the rest of your SAGA posts for any other jewels of enlightenment ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're in the same kettle it seems! And I see we both love Impetus as well. Good luck Dave!

      Delete
    2. Cheers Monty, fortunately I have a few experienced SAGA players around and my local gang (staunch Nap boys) are interested. I will need to get a couple of warbands painted first but I think they will take to it readily, the blodd thirsty so and so's. Impetus is a great little set of rules Monty, deceptive on first read through but deep down it really does have mileage. I've read through your other SAGA posts and picked up a lot, thanks.

      Delete
    3. Good luck on your new adventures!

      Delete
  19. Well done, Monty. Mixing things up is a great way to learn, as well as to keep everything fresh! Please do share more of you insights in future posts.
    Brent

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you very much for the advice!
    After your post I will finally buy the C&C!
    Panagiotis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave! Your ability to turn ordinary things into gaming terrain and
      mods is very impressive. Now I want to make a statute!

      Delete
  21. Nice advice for Saga Monty! Maybe it's time to give the game another chance?

    That's some lovely additions to your forces. That banner looks great and I really like the brown cloak on that pagan priest.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ah, well done Monty! They look splendid. The banner came out great.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Superb jinetes - gotta love the flag!!! The two characters are very impressive, too! Greetings from Iberia! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Excellent post and I agree completely with your very sound advice. If you're like me you will lose a lot to start with but learn a lot and quickly get better. Love those Spanish as well, beautiful paint job!

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's been awhile since you posted and I just wanted to pop by to say you are missed.

    Hope all is well with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne! I have fallen off the blogging train, in part because I've had a bit of an issue with my vision. I've cut my surfing and commenting waaay back and my painting too. I can still paint but not like I used to. No worries as it seems to be slowly coming around. I hope all is well in your home!

      Delete