Sunday, September 21, 2014

SAGA Storm

SAGA Storm Day at Fantasy Flight Game Center came and went, and  what a day it was! The organizers brought 12 themed battleboards, each with a scenario. More than 24 SAGA players turned out to throw dice, tip beers and have a great time playing SAGA.  This was my single favorite day of gaming ever and I've had some great games in my lifetime. Take a look at some of the tables Eric Hagen, John Stenz and Jason Meyers put up.  I only wish I could have played them all.  
You know its going to be a great day of SAGA when your first opponent is an honest-to-goodness Viking named Tor. We played The Challenge twice on account of  Tor smiting my Norse-Gael warlord in a first move strike with Viking berserkers. We rebooted and ran the scenario again with my Norse-Gaels going first. Thanks for the do-over, Tor! 
In my 3rd game, I played my old friend Mark and his Pagan Rus.  Fighting in the mountains was a natural for his Rus and my Norse-Gael went down to defeat.  Mark bought me a consolation beer so all hope was not lost.   
Next up was the Shores of Normandy with a custom Breakthrough scenario that saw each side trying to fight through the other.  The beer must have contained some magical properties as I had a great run in the late game, coming up with a victory against John's tough as nails Scotsmen.  

By dinnertime I was starting to wear down.  After a big cup of coffee, I threw in for the Grand Melee- 5 Viking type warbands on one side versus 5 non-Viking factions on the other.  In the Wooden Oaths scenario we were playing, it's one side against the other for 3 turns.  After turn 3, it becomes a free-for-all with points scored for kills.  Each side of the table ran their battleboards simultaneously, allowing us to complete this epic megabattle in just over two hours.  

I got 5 games in with my Norse-Gael warband.  I got to see a lot of my old gaming buddies and meet a lot of new SAGA gamers.  I can't wait to do it all again and with any luck, I won't have to.  We're talking about setting up a SAGA group to keep the energy and good times rolling.  An naturally, I'm thinking about painting up a new warband.  Thanks once again to the organizers and to everyone who turned out!  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flemish Mercenaries

First up today are 8 Flemish mercenaries by Gripping Beast.  Famous for their heavy spearmen, the Flemish served as mercenaries for the Franks and Normans. At the Battle of Hastings, they were part of William’s army. After the conquest of England, they offered their services to local magnates.   

In SAGA,  Flemish mercenaries can be included in a warband as Swords for Hire. The Flemish are 8 foot warriors with an Armour of 5, reflecting their heavy equipment and formation. Their movement is reduced to S in open terrain and they do not generate Saga dice. The Flemish may be activated once a turn for free. They do not benefit from any SAGA abilities. Lastly, when engaged in melee by an enemy unit or are the target of a shooting, the Flemish are treated as being in hard cover. In short, Flemish mercenaries are a slow but powerful defensive unit, useful for holding objectives and terrain.

A few weeks back, fellow blogger and painter Iowa Grognard asked if I'd paint these for him. Having followed Jeff's AWI painting for years, I was thrilled to do so.  Jeff and his wife both play SAGA and he anticipates a bidding war for the Flemish sellswords. To round out the job, I also painted two Anglo-Saxon warlords.  Basing was left undone so Jeff can match these to his current collection. Thanks Jeff for this splendid opportunity.  It is a lucky man who shares this hobby with his spouse!

We're 2 weeks away from the start of fall, a season routinely cut short by winter here in Minnesota.  I've been on the hunt for winter painting projects and I found a good one. This lot traveled all the way from Denmark to get into my painting queue. I've painted up a bit of WW II for Chain of Command but none of it ended up in my own collection.  This is my first step to fielding a WWII force and also putting Chris Stoesen's "In the Name of Roma!" to work in an East Front campaign.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Riders on the Storm

September 20th is the SAGA Storm, an all-day SAGA event at Fantasy Flight Game Center. Organizers Eric Hagen and John Stenz are porting their experience running Games Workshop events into SAGA and the results to date are impressive!
Eric created a game day T-shirt and dice. I'm in for both, of course. My only worry is that wearing a T-shirt will clash with my plan to dress Berserker-style for the day.  Eric is a master painter, battleboard creator and terrain guy. He's got 10 themed boards ready for the event, each for a specific scenario.  You might find your warband raiding or defending a Viking village, escorting livestock through the Scottish highlands or fighting on the shores of Normandy. That's only 3 of the 10 scenarios!

John and his wife are master tournament organizers. When I saw John's 40K tournament this spring, I was awed by it's size, professionalism and organization.  35 tables preset with wonderful terrain, pro-painted armies, close to 100 attendants, digital clocks, organizers on the floor and loads of swag. In contrast, we can hardly get 6-8 guys out for our historical game days. All the hard work is paying off as interest in the event is very high. All signs point to an amazing day of SAGA, great company and beer.  I can't wait!

I've been running my Norse-Gael warband to warm up for the big event.  In what may be a sign of things to come, I'm finding it hard to earn a victory with these barefoot fellows.  The NG battleboard requires good dicing during personal challenges to unlock many of their abilities. Clearly, I need to get my hands on Eric's new SAGA dice because the ones I have are broken.

There is nothing quite like a big event to power up one's painting mojo.  Even though I have WW II and Old West aging out in the queue, I'm sticking to my Dark Age painting for a bit longer.  For the last 16 Norman warriors, I chose a Reconquista color scheme.  That makes these a down payment on my future Spanish warband for Crescent & the Cross.

Just when you thought you couldn't possibly look at another Spearman, I've got an angry band of Flemish Mercenaries on the tabletop with a few Anglo-Saxon warlords thrown in.  There is a story behind that, and I'll save it for my next post.