Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A Viking reviews SAGA Aetius & Arthur

Stephen Holdeman III (aka Stephen the Viking) recently reviewed the new SAGA supplement Aetius & Arthur for our local SAGA Facebook group.  We've discussed collaborating on this blog so here is our first guest post.  Take it away, Stephen! 

To sum it up, it's an amazing supplement! Without a doubt, this is the most impressed I've been with an expansion. Our group loves how well things were done and the fantastically balanced boards! We've had a blast playing the 6 new warbands against all comers in our Kansas City group. In my opinion, the original charm of Saga is back in full force with A&A. Wonderfully useful mercenary units, unique board concepts, and of course access to models we've all been waiting to bring into the "Sagaverse."

There are probably more typos and grammatical mistakes in this supplement than the others but it doesn't affect readability. The new boards can be as simple or as complex as you like. The only section I wanted more of was content that "retrofits" existing armies to represent earlier versions of the same forces. This was a great idea to give life to factions without giving them entirely new boards, but unfortunately I think a lot of them are a swing-and-a-miss. Many of these offer little more than a new Special Character and don't quite offer changes to make playing the old factions exciting.

For those worried about balance or combining this with other supplements, every Saga supplement is tested against the original 4 warbands and each other! If you remove the historical aesthetic, you still have an amazingly balanced, competitive-as-you-like, fresh game that has no other comparison. The new factions fit so well into the game that it was like they intended to make them from the start. 
For those concerned with the chronological distance between factions, we already have a huge range with the first few supplements! Warbands are commonly going up against foes that are distanced by 300-400 years or from completely far off regions of the world, hidden from their own cultures until many years later. It would be a shame to separate such great boards from a system that was built to handle them! 
Stephen and his Dark Age crew

Stephen and I discuss editorial control of the blog

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Late Romans for SAGA

This warband sprang from Adepticon 2016 and a visit to the Footsore booth.   I knew the SAGA supplement Aetius and Arthur was in the works so I asked Footsore's fabulously talented sculptor Bill Thornhill to help me pick out an army.  13 months later, the Late Romans are painted up and in a campaign.  Bonus!  You can run this warband as Britons too.

With my SAGA painting queue 4 warbands deep, I used speed painting to finish the band in 4 weeks. I primed white, washed with Citadel's Casandora Yellow and highlighted with Vallejo Ice Yellow. Skin was done with the Foundry Flesh 5A, B, C triad.  The Little Big Men Studio shield transfers and a tight palette give them a nice uniform look.  Footsore is hands down my favorite minis to paint. I was so happy with these sculpts I ordered an Early Saxon warband too.  As they say in the UK, in for a penny, in for a pound! 

At the finish line, the warband is made up of:
2 pt levy (manuballista + 18 spear & shield levy).  I treat the bareheaded and hatted figures as spear & shield levy.  
4 pt warriors (32), all in helmets.
2 pt of hearthguard (8), all in chainmail.  
Foot & mounted warlords 

3 games in, no-one is more surprised than I that my Late Romans are unbeaten.  They are a defensive warband with the ability to take a hard punch or two a turn. The manuballista plus the ability to throw darts via the activation Plumbatae seems to drive opponents to make ill timed charges.  
The manuballista is an interesting option for the Late Romans. For 1 point, you get a ballista with a crew of 2 levy and a separate unit of 6 levy. The ballista can't move and is removed once the crew of 2 is dead. It gains a fatigue after each shooting so it exhausts after 2 shots. It has a range of 24". The number of shooting dice is 1/2 the number of models in the unit being shot at. Ideally, you want your opponent to run a 12 pack of mounted hearthguard. Oh, you also get a +1 to your shooting dice! Because the unit is so weak and draws a lot of attention, I park it in a large building with a separate unit of 6 levy to help keep it alive.  

One warband down, three more to go!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Frostgrave warband

In my circle of historical gamers, Frostgrave has become a thing.  Like SAGA, Frostgrave is a fast game, easy to learn and goes well with beer.  We had good turnout for a Frostgrave Day at the club. These low key events are a great way to learn a system, meet new players and learn/copy their tricks and builds.  I was quite happy to finish in the middle of the pack with my Illusionist.

Fantasy painting continues to be a bit of a trial for me.  Honestly, could the Illusionist or apprentice fit one more thing on their robes?  There is an invention called the knapsack, use it! All figures are from the North Star Frostgrave barbarian release.  Great stuff and if I were fearless, I'd add tattoos to the lot.  Maybe someday!

I managed a few pictures of our games.  My rubble terrain looked pretty decent all laid out.  A dusting of snow would be perfect but that would lock my options for basing in Bolt Action and SAGA. For maximum portability, my Frostgrave terrain will remain sans snow.  

Fogou Models rubble terrain is superb! I need to put in an order for their Dark Ages beehive buildings.

Last up are How it Started pictures.  The murder of Crows are from Zombicide and a great bit of color for SAGA or Frostgrave.  And Zombicide too I supposed.  I've got plenty more Frostgrave to paint but it may be some time before I'm brave enough to put fantasy up on the table.  For now, its back to SAGA and my Late Roman warband with Footsore miniatures!