Nostalgia Until Dusk

We’ve been a bit light on war gaming recently, due to real life events meaning most of our games are packed away, but this week we returned to some Saga. We decided to do something slightly different. I played the Anglo Saxons without King Athelread, and my opponent played the Vikings, a faction she has never played before.

We went for a random scenario from the Book of Battles, and came up with the following details:

  • Frontier Region – second player gets to arrange the terrain
  • Pincer Attack – each army starts split between corners
  • Until Dusk – 6 turns
  • Nostalgia – Warlord generates 2 saga dice
  • Carnage – survival points, with bonus points for being on the far side of the table

The Anglo-Saxons had a unit of mounted hearthguard, and a unit of 8 hearthguard infantry as their main front line troops. The Vikings took a unit of Shield Maidens, plus had a unit of warriors with a war banner. Both armies had levees armed with bows.

Viking shield maidens

Due to the Pincer Attack part of the scenario, we both started with split armies. Both our warlords were on the Eastern flank, where I also had my mounted huscurls acting as bodyguards for my mounted warlord. My strong unit of eight hearthguards were on the western flank, along with some warriors, facing off against three Viking units including the Shield Maidens.

Mounted Saxon hearthguards

The Vikings went first, though they only got to start with three saga dice. Our starting positions meant that we were actually already within charge range. The Shield Maidens charged forward at my warriors, and the battle was joined.

The start of turn one

We also made our first rules mistake. Despite both discussing that as mercenaries, the Shield Maidens could only use basic saga abilities, we both immediately forgot that. They used Heimdall (which lowered their armour in exchange for extra attack dice, which meant they got to re-roll attack and defence dice as part of their Shield Maidens ability) and also Thor. They got 10 hits and killed 7 of my warriors. My warriors got only 4 hits, and just 2 kills. The last remaining warrior fell back to hide in the woods.

There was also a bit of archer fire, which killed one of my bowmen.

My second warrior unit charged the shield maidens, getting 8 hits on 13 attack dice, but only 2 kills. The vikings killed one of my Anglo Saxons, and were forced back.

I moved by warlord and hearthguard away from the woods where the Vikings were concentrated, using my bowmen as shields against the viking bowmen. My plan was to trap the Vikings in a pincer attack from the front and side.

Anglo Saxons moving west

At the start of turn two, the remaining Shield Maidens charged my four mounted hearthguard. They used Valhalla and Thor, getting six kills on my hearthguards, wiping them out. In exchange, I killed the remaining Shield Maiden hero.

The Shield Maidens had wiped out two of my units, partly due to the fact that they had been using advanced saga abilities when mercenaries aren’t generally allowed to. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember that rule until writing up this post.

On the other side of the table, shooting was performed against my archers, killing one of them.

On the Anglo-Saxons turn, my double sized hearthguard unit charged the Viking warriors, getting seven kills and losing only one themselves. It was the first good result for the Anglo-Saxons. My warlord was now defenceless though, so he started moving around the back of the nearby woods, to meet up with the hearthguards from a safe direction.

Turn 3, and the vikings continued to harass my archers with their own, and my levees were almost down to half strength. The Vikings hearthguard then charged them, killing another three. At this point the Viking warlord began moving out of the woods with the rest of his army.

The Anglo-Saxons were now down to four saga dice, and it was getting difficult to move move and make use of saga abilities. I’d been on the back foot, never having enough saga dice left for defence, and it was getting worse. The Vikings had left a single warrior to defend the rear of their hearthguards, and my own hearthguards quickly wiped him out, but I didn’t have any activations left to go any further.

Anglo-Saxons rallying on the western flank

For turn four, the Vikings wiped out the last of the Anglo-Saxon archers, and moved the rest of their army across the table. If I wanted to fight them, I’d have to do a lot of movement. As it stood, the Vikings were definitely winning, with an advantage in survival points. I might as well try and charge in to see what I could do.

So my hearthguard unit (which still had 7 men) charged the four Viking hearthguard. For me, it was a disaster. I had fourteen attack dice, the Vikings had eleven. I got nine hits, but only three kills. The Vikings got 12 hits (they were using Thor, to get extra hits on a roll of a 6) and seven kills – wiping me out.

This left me with a unit of warriors and my Warlord. At this point there was no point me continuing, so I conceded the battle, allowing the Vikings to have their victory.

The Anglo-Saxon’s problems had started back in turn one, where the Shield Maidens had been so effective. This was mostly down to them using abilities they shouldn’t have been able to use, which when combined with their own abilities, had made them really powerful.

So, we now know what the Shield Maidens are meant to be able to do, which hopefully we’ll remember for next time.

After a few weeks break from wargaming, it had been good to get back on the table though.

Samuel Penn