Age of Magic

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Since our weekly wargaming club meets in a church hall, there was no usual club meeting this week due to it being Easter. That didn’t mean we had to skip on gaming though, especially since it was a long (four day) weekend here in the UK, so we had some time to set up for a game.

We decided to go back to Saga: Age of Magic, with another battle between the Great Kingdoms and the Undead Legions. The previous time we tried this, my Great Kingdoms army beat the Undead. This time though I was playing the undead, so it was going to be interesting to see who won.

I decided to skip the sacred grounds this time to simplify things, and we aimed for a simple battle of warlords game restricted to four turns, with eight point armies.

Great Kingdoms army

In hindsight, I made some errors (not an uncommon occurrence). The Great Kingdoms shouldn’t have got a saga dice for their sorcerer – they were using eight dice rather than the seven they should have had. I also didn’t properly read the Necromancer entry, and took a Warlord and a Necromancer (the Necromancer is meant to replace the Warlord). But oddly, I didn’t give myself a saga dice for this. However, since the rules say that the Warlord can’t use We Obey on the mindless zombies, I assumed that the Necromancer could. Since the Necromancer is a type of Warlord, not a type of Sorcerer (which doesn’t normally get We Obey), this was wrong.

The Great Kingdom army also had two monsters – a large bear (Titan) and a chimera (Scourge) – when they can only have one. Since the Titan never came into play (it was too slow, and we forgot the Manoeuvre rule until half way through) it didn’t really make a difference.

I almost also only gave myself 12 zombies (rather than 20) in my two mindless units. This is the problem when you don’t have time to sit down and read the rules properly just before a game, and don’t play regularly. It’s also the point of trying out the games – to actually learn the rules.

As before, the biggest weakest of the Undead is that a lot of their units don’t generate saga dice. Mindless are also difficult to activate (I had two units), but I think I used mine a lot more effectively than they were in the previous game (even taking into account that I shouldn’t have been able to We Obey them). They’re not great as offensive units, but as blockers they worked well.

The knights of the Great Kingdom advance over the hill

The game started with the Great Kingdom sending its two hearthguard units of heavy knights forward. This is the advantage of Saga over the club’s own fantasy rules – my dozen mounted knights can make up three whole units in Saga, whereas they’re barely a tenth of the army in FWG fantasy rules. The cost of miniatures is a lot lower.

Zombies to the front – slowly

I started by using Litanies of the Dead to activate both my zombie units to move forward. I wanted to use them as blocking troops, to basically just get in the way of the knights and hopefully wear them down. They weren’t fast though, so I also used my flying unit of creatures to block the knight’s advance.

Knights wiping out my skeletal flyers

My flyers didn’t last long, and it was possibly an unwarranted use of a unit. My zombies were more effective. The second unit of knights charged them, and I made use of Howling Pack which gives me an extra die per figure I outnumber the opponent. Since the Kingdoms had 4 hearthguards and I had 20 zombies, that was a +16D bonus. However, bonuses are limited to double the starting attack dice, which meant a maximum of +4D. I lost three zombies, they lost one knight.

The zombies were pushed back, and the Chimerea flew over to my warriors, using a breath weapon against them and eventually took them out.

Zombies trying to be effective

By now my second unit of zombies had been moved around to try and flank, and my first unit were being used to shield my warlord and necromancer. Necromancy was used to bring back some of my zombies, but I was hard pressed to go on the offensive because of my lack of saga dice.

We’d both used some magic – which had had some effect, but nothing major at this point. I’d also used my spectres, which had had no effect. The spectres are another unit which don’t generate saga dice, and can’t be used that offensively.

The main battle ended up being between the knights and the zombies. The final push though came when the Kingdom’s sorceress banished the zombies back with a Banishment spell – forcing them to clear a path for the knights to get at my hearthguards and warlord. The sorceress also used a Spear of Light spell to weaken my hearthguards so the knights could take them out.

It was then a combination of knights and Chimerea which took out both my warlord and necromancer. This was now the last turn, and I was down to a Titan, two units of zombies and a spectre. This only gave me a single Saga die, with which I could do very little.

This was a closer battle than last time, but the Undead still lost. I have some better ideas about how to build an Undead army now, but I do need different units. Fortunately Salute is coming up in a couple of weeks, so that may be a chance to pick up some creatures and monsters for several of my fantasy armies.

Samuel Penn