For this week’s game of Saga we decided to try something other than a standard Clash of Warlords, and went of the Catch Them All scenario from the Book of Battles. We also went for full six point armies for the first time in Age of Vikings, so had much bigger armies than normal.
The game starts with six livestock figures on the table – in our case it was four cattle and two herds of sheep. The aim of the game was to capture as many of them as we could. The amount of terrain in this game was actually quite light, with a couple of fences and a single woods. As the vikings, I had the issue that terrain really favours the Irish – their ability to attack from any available woods with Sons of Dana is a real pain. Though, re-reading it now we did play it wrong since it can only be played in reaction to a movement. If I don’t move a unit, then it can’t be attacked.
The livestock were placed in the centre of the table, and the two armies deploy from opposite corners. Apart from the fences, the Irish had a relatively clear path. I should have placed more terrain to block movement for the Irish (or moved the woods out of my way), but that would have allowed them to put in more woods or other uneven terrain.
For six point armies, the deployment was rather crowded. The Vikings left some of their units off the table, whilst the Irish crowded everyone on.
With the Irish starting, they poured out of their corner towards the cattle, in an attempt to grab as many as they could.
The Vikings did much the same, though movement had to be split to go around the woods. I had also decided to use a war banner this time, which allowed me to automatically remove a fatigue from the unit at the start of my activation. This was useful for getting the warrior unit to move quickly.
I had planned to move my archers up to near the livestock, and shoot at any Irish that came close. However, I rarely got the dice I needed to move them and there were always other priorities, so after coming on the table they never moved.
The Irish had an easier time of it, and had few obstacles to navigate around. They got to the livestock first, and started herding them towards their corner. The herding rules were quite sensible. Activating a unit to move when within VS of livestock allows you to also move the livestock in the direction that you want.
The Vikings managed to take control of two of the livestock, but the Irish soon had control of four, and it was pretty apparent there was little that could be done from that point to change the result. However, the Vikings could enact some senseless violence on the Irish. There were no points for doing so, but it felt good. I’d also lost a couple of berserkers to Sons of Dana, so there was also the revenge aspect.
In all our Vikings v Irish games, catching the Irish has always been a problem. This time they were out in the open and concentrating on moving their cattle rather than skulking around in woods and fields. So I wanted to force some melee and see how things went.
I managed to get a unit of Hirdmen and Bondi up towards the Irish mob, and selected my Valhalla and Ullr abilities. My war banner waving Bondi charged the Bonachts and I went all in. Which in hindsight was a bit excessive, but it did feel good.
With Valhalla, I sacrificed three Bondi warriors to give me +12 dice in the attack, for a total of 19 dice. Then I re-rolled the misses with Ullr and got 18 hits. The Bonacht warriors in their light armour didn’t stand a chance, though I also took three casualties which left me with two men.
The Hirdmen charged a unit of Kerns. I should have kept Ullr for this melee, since it wasn’t as effective. I still won and drove the levies off, but took two casualties myself.
The Irish began their retreat, moving off the table with their four livestock, leaving the Vikings to return home with their two. A final Sons of Dana was used to try and take out my warlord, and the Irish rolled well, getting four hits. I rolled just as well and stopped three of them, taking the last on my resilience.
So that was the game. 12 points to the Irish and 6 to the Vikings. As usual I did badly in initial terrain setup, which affected me for the rest of the game. However, it was an enjoyable game and an interesting change of pace from our usual direct clash.