Viking Armies

Most of the Saga that we’ve played has been for Age of Vikings, so I have a number of Age of Vikings armies. Most of these were built from figures I bought for some Warhammer Ancients: Shieldwall games almost 20 years ago. Some I also used for a Cult of Ulric army for Warhammer Fantasy (6th edition). So most of my figures from this period were very dark ages focused.

Despite having a few problems with the Warhammer system, one thing I do like about it is that it scales really well. You can play a 500pt battle, or a 2,000pt battle or a 10,000pt battle and it all works. The size and number of your units can grow, but the game remains pretty much the same.

Saga is different. It’s designed for 6 point battles, with 8 points being about the maximum recommended. Beyond that though it doesn’t really scale that well. Which means I can’t put together a massive Viking horde and use it all in one game. Which is a shame, since I have a lot of Viking figures – enough for a twelve point warband.

12pt viking warband, including a shaman and a unit of shield maidens

That band doesn’t include an army led by Harald Hardrada. He could add a further 3pts to my army size (with his double sized unit of hearthguards), bringing it up to 15pts. Almost enough to do three parts of an Epic Saga game (where an army is split into three different warbands).

I had a lot of wolf-skin clad figures, many of them with large axes – left overs from my Cult of Ulric army. The Vikings don’t allow heavy weapons, so I needed a different army to put these into. The Jomsvikings seemed to fit the bill nicely. Their legendary warleader meant I could build a 6pt army out of just 21 figures.

7pt Jomsvikings

I then extended this with a couple of units of warriors with axes but no wolf skins. Since that got rid of the legendary warlord, the total army points for this is 7pts.

The second army I built were the Irish, which were partly new figures and some standard saxon/viking levies. Most early battles were fought between the Vikings and the Irish, which the Irish won most of.

Irish Warband, 11pts

With 11pts of figures, the Irish have a number of options available to them. They have the option of a unit of dogs, a couple of Curaidh heroes and a mercenary unit of Gall-Gaedhil (which I haven’t had an opportunity to use). They have three units of mounted hearthguard, and levies and warriors with javelins.

After that, came the Anglo-Saxons. I had a lot of mounted viking/saxon figures, so with the use of Athelstan as a warlord I was able to make them the core of my Anglo-Saxon army. With 24 mounted warrior figures, these are normally organised into two units of 12.

Anglo-Saxons, up to 13pts

Alternatively, there are 24 infantry warrior figures, which can also be fielded as two units of 12. The Anglo-Saxons get bonuses for having large units, so I tend to field larger units than normal.

Many of my Anglo-Saxons are still mounted on their old square Warhammer bases. At some point I want to rebase them on circular bases, but I’m not sure when I’ll get around to doing that.

It may be more effective to turn some of the warriors into Levies. Since Call to Arms can make levies as aggressive as warriors, this might be a tactic worth pursuing.

After building the Vikings, I had enough left over for a small army of Anglo Danes. Again, a lot of these figures had two handed axes, so most of them have heavy weapons. This is just a standard 6pt army which I haven’t used yet but which might be useful for teaching saga.

6pt Anglo Dane warband

After this, I still had figures left over, but these were very definitely more suited to an Age of Invasions army. I was going to cover all my armies here, but have decided this is long enough as it is, so I’ll cover the Age of Invasions and Age of Magic in different posts.

For a detailed list of all the units in each warband, I’m putting together army lists over on my other site.

Since I also use these figures for Lions Rampant, I also need to detail my army lists for Lions Rampant. That scales a little better than Saga, so it might allow for larger armies.

It might also be fun to go back to detailing them for Warhammer Ancients, though since I’ve converted most of the figures to round bases, I’m not sure how well they’d work with Warhammer.

Samuel Penn