So yesterday I posted about the Warfare gaming convention and my start in Saga.. today is the demo game that I got in on Tuesday night against one of the local "experts" on the game. I didn't get much more painted between the weekend and the game so I had a fair number of unpainted warriors standing around on my side of the table here. But my opponent, Andy, loaned me some Levies so that I can see the full scope of the game here.
A quick run down of how the game works, and honestly Andy did a brilliant job setting up this demo and the lists that go with it!
We both were playing Scots, but since I don't have their battle board, he switched over to the Irish which allowed me to try the Scots out ( since that is what I have and made sense for me to play as them! ).
We were both playing with:
- 2x4 Hearthguard in a single 8 man unit
- 2x8 Warriors
- 1x12 Levies ( mine with bows, his with Javalins )
5 points worth of troops each to play with.. which doesn't sound like a lot when compared to things like Bolt Action.. but honestly this was super easy to pick up and deal with here.
We played on his custom mat from a kickstarter he backed many moons previously.
Terrain set up was pretty simple with a hill in the middle, and forests on both sides of the table. But most of the game centered around the hill actually.
For the first few turns it was pretty straight forward with each side just moving their guys forward. We both had 6 Saga dice, which are faction specific dice that allowed us to take actions or move troops or activate special abilities. You can see part of the battle board for the Irish on the top right there.
Everytime you want to do something you need to ensure that you have put the right dice on their square in order to pull it off.
Everything in the left column are to activate the units. So unless you have a Snake or a Stag for a dice roll, you won't be able to activate the Warriors for example. Something that I faced in my game due to holding dice in other locations too long!
You can place several dice into each of these boxes here provided you have the right symbol on them, meaning that you could activate the same unit multiple times. Though beware, that if you activate them more than once in a turn, than you will get Fatigue.. which can be used against you! More on that in a bit.
The center and right columns are your special abilities. These can be used at certain times, as outlined in the appropriate faction book. Something that I am currently investigating on how to receive as the Gripping Beast's webstore doesn't have any in stock! Ebay searching is already underway! As the faction book goes into more details on how you can use the special abilities and when. Things to remember for the Scots is that the abilities highlighted in Green can only be used by spearmen ( Hearthguard on foot or warriors in this case ).
It should be noted that the special abilities can only have 1 set of dice on it. Meaning that you cannot activate any of the abilities more than once in a turn. Making it a bit more interesting to see what you can and cannot do. Especially with limited dice!
We would see that since we played with identical lists, and set up the same ( I just copied him really ) we could see some really even match ups and see the full effects of the rules here.
Things like combat. Which honestly is super simple! You just need to beat the opponents armor value to hit/wound them. Single dice.. no problems!
So things like levies being 3s, warriors 4s, and hearthguards 5s it is pretty easy going. And with saving being 4s against shooting, and 5s in melee, again things are kept simple in the game.
There are ways to complicate it through special abilities to change the values, or by using the opponents Fatigue markers against them. But those are more of the 'advanced' rules.. and by 'advanced' I mean just a little less simple than the simple rules to play. :)
With combat there is winners, losers and ties still. If you win, you stay, both gain a fatigue, and your opponent is bumped back a Small movement back. If you lose, then they stay, both gain a fatigue, and you move back a Small movement. If it is a tie, and your the attacker, then the defender stay, both gain a fatigue, and you move back a Small movement. Pretty straight forward after the first 2 fights.. if it takes more than that.. well.. I hear that Snakes and Ladders is a good game also :D
One of the biggest things that can happen, and should happen I guess, is the sacrifice of cheaper units against heavier units. Although it is harder to kill them, by taking out a few, you make future fights a bit easier.
In the above photo, my Warriors had been charged by the Warlord of the Irish, and his Hearthguard bodyguards. They wiped out my Warriors with ease, however I took 4 of their Hearthguards with me. So it was a full pt for pt trade there... except my warriors were far lower in strength at the time. This opened them up though to where my Warlord and his bodyguards of elite could do a nice counter charge there. If given the chance.
Andy would sacrifice his Levies to block my path and kill a Hearthguard in the process from his javalins. Again, putting them in the way to be sacrificed to me in order to save his own unit there.
And this is done for good reason as the Hearthguards are monsters in combat with 2 attacks each, but with the Warlord supporting them with 5 more attacks it can be pretty brutal! And we were only playing with 8 Hearthguards here! Imagine a full 3 pts worth for 12 of them in a single unit! Dammmmn....
He would attempt a charge against my mob squad with the Levy screen down, but he was no match for my impressive rolling here. And would be pushed back waiting for the counter charge!
To which he would receive, and my warlord would claim another head for his collection he already seemed to be collecting.
In the end... Andy had lost his Levy, his Elites, and his Warlord.. thus the game. With both of his Warrior units down to half strength, though this means nothing cause there is still someone standing there.
For me, one of my Warrior units was dead. My Warlord still stood with a single Hearthguard at his side. My other warriors were down to half as well, but the Levy with their impressive armor rolls had stayed at full strength on the hill the whole game. Am thinking I might like the underdogs here.. but will see as more games show up!
For me.. it was really enjoyable and a couple of times I even got giddy over trying out some combos on the board! Bit too excitable with some caffeine in my system I guess!
Now looking forward to getting the rest of Clan Cruickshank painted up, and ready to face off against the next set of invaders to my highlands.
Oh and time to start reading more of the rules and strategies of the Scots! I hear there are some Spaniards approaching that need to be dealt with!
Hope you enjoyed the little insight to the game.. expect more games to be played and more work on the Scots to be painted up! And if you play this game, let me know your thoughts on it as well!