Jean Charretier, noble Norman Knight is engaged in a spot of extortio…err…tax collection on the lands granted to him by his lord in the aftermath of the great battle on Senlac Ridge. As Jean and his men go peacefully about their lawful business a band of Saxon anti-feudalist protestors emerge from the nearby woods. Their leader non other than Getwin Wefanson, one time overlord of this neck of the woods, apparently intent on a little robust Anglo-Norman interaction. Calling his men to order Jean mounts his warhorse and prepares to defend what is rightfully his…
This was our first game of SAGA and we each had a four point force.
As Lord of the Saxons I had:
Getwin Wefanson – Anglo-Danish Warlord
2 Units of four Thegns (sadly without Dane Axes)
2 units of 8 Ceorls
The Imperialist Norman lackeys included:
Jean Charretier – Mounted Norman Warlord
2 Units of Mounted Norman Knights
1 Unit of 8 Serjeants
1 unit of 12 Levy with bows
What follows is not exactly a "turn by turn" AAR. And may indeed be somewhat inaccurate in places, but it gives (I hope) the flavour of the game. I used the excellent Battle Chronicler software (it's free!) to make these images, but I'm not very good with it, so some of the pics may be a bit confusing. Sorry.
We deployed roughly as shown with the Norman Knights in the Saxon village, clearly engaged in a spot of light pillaging as the Saxons hove into view.
I went first and the entire Saxon line advanced. Cunningly I positioned them out of charge range of the Norman knights and prepared a shieldwall in case of shooting.
In their turn the Normans shot one unit of Ceorls and charged my other Ceorls through clever use of the Battleboard. The shieldwall prevented any shooting casualties, but the Knights and Warlord killed several Ceorls and sent them reeling back.
My Thegns and Warlord took advantage of the fact that Jean had burned all his dice leaving his knights a bit vulnerable. All four knights were duly wiped out, but Jean himself survived. The Left flank of the Saxons continued to advance but good arrows from the Levy killed 3 of the advancing Thegns (yikes!). The lone surviving Thegn threw himself at the Serjeants while the rest of the line re-formed.
Jean fled back to his lines and linked up with his remaining knights. The Serjeants duly pushed back my surviving Thegn before the archers finished him off.
At this point as the complexities of the rules began slowly to penetrate our dim, charge orientated minds it all calmed down for a few turns as we manoeuvred for position a bit.
The Mid-game period
Soon however type re-asserted itself and we got stuck in.
Jean led his remaining knights on a charge on the Ceorls who were pushed back. Frantically burning dice and piling up fatigue Getwin led his Thegns on a counter-attack that saw off the knights but left him with just two bodyguards. Charging the Norman Warlord it seemed certain the Anglo-Danes would triumph, but clearly Jean had purchased some very fine armour indeed, twice (!) making five out of six saves to remain alive.
So What Do I think of SAGA
This was a good fun game and as others have pointed out SAGA is clearly easy to learn, but very hard to master. The early turns saw us jumping straight into combat and burning dice with no thought for combining abilities or planning for the future. As the turns wore on we got a bit more sophisticated - although those familiar with my gaming style will realise I can only take sophistication so far. As we both play in a similar, simplistic style we agreed we’d be fine as long as we only played each other – I suspect a skilled SAGAist would easily run rings around my poorly led force.
We got several rules wrong, learned some as we went along and played way more than the requisite 6 turns as we were having fun and wanted to kill a warlord.
The game played well and was great fun, my only criticism was that you seem to spend more time working out combos on your battleboard than you do pushing soldiers and rolling dice, but that may well change as one gets more familiar with the rules.
All in all we both agreed SAGA is a game we’ll happily play again and to be honest that’s all you ever really want from a game.
In fact we’ve got another game lined up for tomorrow night. I’ll try and take the camera this time.
Jean Charretier wiped the blood from his sword and returned it to his side, pausing only to spit on the body of the Saxon at his feet. With the death of their leader the remaining warriors had melted back into the woodland. He suspected they’d be back, and when they were he’d be ready for them. But for now there was some serious pillaging to be done!