Tainted Others and Basti

We had two new armies facing off against each other this week in a Saga: Age of Magic battle. They were actually old figures, repurposed for Saga. Because they were repurposed, both armies ended up being whatever we could represent with the figures we had, rather than having been purchased and painted from the start to fit a Saga warband.

The first army was my Basti army from Wargods of Aegyptus. It’s probably been over fifteen years since I painted this army, and it has never actually been used in a game.

They were done as a Lords of the Wild army, and consisted of:

  • 2 units of 4 Hearthguards with heavy weapons – Basti female skirmishers
  • 1 unit of 8 warriors with bows – Basti male archers
  • 2 units of 3 biped creatures – Sebeki warriors
  • 1 behemoth – Beloved of Sobek
  • 1 warlord – Basti female champion
  • 1 sorcerer – Basti female priestess

The second army was built from figures from The Tainted Grail boardgame. My other half got a fully painted set of these as part of the Kickstarter, and they are gorgeous. They aren’t properly based for any wargame, and understandably she didn’t want to ruin them by fixing them to bases. But they were close enough for a casual game.

These were done as an Otherworlds army. Given they have a type of dark fey/demonic theme to them, this seemed to be a reasonable choice. Most of them were flying, which turned out to be a problem for me. They consisted of:

  • 1 Warlord archdemon
  • 1 Sorcerer
  • 3 units of 4 Hearthguards – flight
  • 2 units of 2 quadruped creatures
  • Scourge – hawk of the abyss

The scenario that we went for was a random one at the beginning of the Book of Battles.

  • Rough Ground – the second player gets to put down three terrain pieces. The Lords of the Wild really wanted lots of terrain, so this was an issue for me.
  • Vanguard – mounted and archer units get to deploy first.
  • Under Pressure – after four turns, each player gets an option to end the game.
  • A Great Day to Die – no special rules.
  • Overrun – winning conditions are survival points, with bonus points for units that make it to the opposite corners of the field.

We lined up on either side of the battlefield. The Basti used manoeuvre to move the hearthguards and creatures forward. My plan was to leave my archers at the rear, and use Ambush! to attack the enemy from terrain.

The limit of Ambush! is that it can only be used from terrain that doesn’t have any figures in it. Unfortunately, the Otherworld units flew forward and landed on the hill and in the woods, negating my use of them to attack from.

In turn two, my Hearthguards made two activations to charge a unit of creatures. Boosted with Poisoned Blades and Call of the Wind, I got 6 hits on the creatures. They had resilience, but not enough to not be killed. I lost two of my Hearthguard in the process, but the Otherworld were a whole unit down.

The Otherworld’s response used a Bolt spell on my Beloved of Sobek. I soaked that with fatigue, and was then attacked by the Otherworld’s scourge. Neither killed the other, but we were both heavily fatigued. Something we forgot was that the scourge should have retreated since it was the attacker. If it had, it would have cleared the way for the Otherworld’s huscurls to charge in and finish off my Beloved.

Another otherworld hearthguard unit flew in and almost wiped out my warriors. The one remaining one retreated back, allowing them to then attack my sorcerer who was left with no bodyguards. However, she managed to roll well and cause one casualty on the hearthguards, forcing them back. She was left exhausted after her victory though.

It was a victory that was short lived. The third unit of hearthguards attacked, and she almost managed to defend against them. With no fatigue left for resilience, she took four hits and defended against three. She went down fighting having not had a chance to use any of her magic.

By turn three I didn’t have many choices left. I felt that I’d done reasonably well, but I was losing. The enemy’s ability to ignore terrain meant I wasn’t able to take advantage of it. My choice of two units of three creatures had been a good one I think – it meant I was doing better against creature and hearthguard units than the Otherworld’s units of two creatures.

I started two three by exchanging monsters – the beloved of Sobek died killing off the hawk of the abyss. I lost 2 creatures by killing a unit of Hearthguards, so I was up on the exchange front, but not enough to really make a difference.

My warlord attacked one of the Hearthguard units that had attacked my sorcerer, and I got revenge for her death, but I was also left exhausted and unable to do anything else.

When the Otherworld got to attack, my warlord went down. My last surviving warrior was attacked by a lone hearthguard – and won. He will go home a hero. However, he will be one of a few.

For turn four, I could have finished off another unit of creatures with my one surviving unit of hearthguards, but it would have not gained me much. We decided to call an end to it. I had a unit of creatures and hearthguard remaining, along with a single warrior archer.

The Otherworld still had their sorcerer and warlord, as well as two units of hearthguard. With only two saga dice, I wasn’t going to achieve anything.

So I lost, but I think I gave a good fight. The Lords of the Wild are a bit like the Irish, in that they have some nice terrain advantages. However, the flight ability of the Otherworld mostly negated that. I should have noticed that earlier than I did and changed tactics.

Samuel Penn