Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Decisions Decisions

Now that the Norse Gael are finished its time to start thinking about a new project. I tried to make progress with the livestock objective markers but unfortunately we've been having a new gas boiler fitted and my little room seems to be buried under a mountain of linen and towels - originating from what used to be the hot water closet. So no painting this week and since I have a work related overseas trip looming, I don't think I'll achieve much now before the start of December...

I play a range of gaming systems but think I might keep up the SAGA momentum for a little while longer (at least I will in December). There are two more warbands that I'd like to paint up. Kyle's Norse Gael are interesting, but their reliance on Challenges makes their gameplay quite specific. I'd like the option of playing a warband that's a little broader in scope. With that in mind it's a choice between the following.



Normans (with the option of perhaps developing a Crusader warband as well). The Fireforge models in particular look very nice.



Or Vikings.

I've already assembled a plastic Viking warband (even based and undercoated them) and since I like the no frills charm of Valhalla, I suspect I'll go with the Vikings. Hopefully by the time I've finished painting them, I'll have finished aquiring all the figures I need for the Norman warband and can then get that underway.

Of course it doesn't help that some Flemish Mercenaries turned up today and they would make a nice addition to my Anglo Danes...


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Who's Next?

It's time to get the freshly painted Norse Gaels on the gaming table. John F's SAGA day will be held in Canterbury next week and includes three scenarios - two of which neither Kyle or I have played before. The three scenarios are:

Champions of God (kill as many of the enemy as possible to gain slaughtering victory points)

Battle Twilight (hold ground in table quarters until nightfall)

Sacred Ground (capture and hold three pieces of terrain)


We played the last scenario at the previous Canterbury event earlier this year. The two new scenarios are from Crescent and the Cross. So I thought we had better give them a try!

My Anglo Danes would be facing Kyle's Norse Gael. This is no simple kill the warlord. To win, the Anglo Danes need to kill as many of the Gaelic ghouls as possible. Each hearthguard, warrior and levy is worth a certain number of slaughtering victory points. Cheaper units being worth the least.

Since I could already hear the cry of 'Challenge!' from across the moors, I decided that it would be useful to position myself behind as much uneven ground as possible and selected three terrain pieces (marsh, woods and a building). Kyle wanted to get stuck in as quickly as possible so opted for just a single piece of terrain. His rocky ground was placed at the side of the table out of harm's way. The scene is set, now onto deployment.

Since I placed most terrain, my warlord was first to enter the battlefield. The Norse Gael warlord then surveyed the scene from his craggy outcrop. Units from each warband entered the fray. First one unit from the Anglo Danes, then one from the Norse Gaels. Missile armed troops positioned themselves first. If either warband had deployed cavalry these would have arrived next, with regular infantry the last to arrive.



The Anglo Danes positioned themselves between a marsh and an old fenced hovel. The warlord stood next to his Religious Advisor, carefully listening to her wise words and thinking about all of the extra SAGA dice she would allow him to roll! Next to him were his trusty Dane axe armed hearthguard. Although only a small unit of four, these professionals are lethal in combat. Another larger unit of hearthguards stood in reserve with a warrior unit forming a solid block between.



The sling armed levy waited in the marsh ready to drop as many approaching Norse Gaels as possible.



In our game, the house was surrounded by wicker fencing I painted a little while ago. This was just for show though and didn't represent a further obstacle. This scenario is played on a 4 by 3 playing area, so large rock formations were used to mark the edge of the long section.



Here's my opponant, Mighty Kyle with his Norse Gaels. The warlord positioned himself at the rear protected by four trusty hearthguards. The rest of the warband consisted of warriors most of whom were armed with Dane axes. A 12 man unit stood to the front, javelins at the ready. Behind these were a further 20 Dane axe armed warriors split into three units.



One 10 man unit was accompanied by Ox (who in this game decided to try the role of a Warrior Priest). It has to be said, all those axes do look sharp...



The two warlords rolled to determine who would go first. The heathen gods spoke and the Norse Gaels won the initiative!

Luckily for the Anglo Danes, defenders are still permitted to roll three SAGA dice...



Two helmets and a horse; three dice to strike fear into any opponant. We all know where these are going!



The Norse Gael surged forwards. They saw the danger in the marsh and sent javelins in answer. Luckily only a single Anglo Dane levy fell.

The Warrior Priest was activated. The thought of this burly brute leading a charge with 10 Dane axe wielding psychopaths, made the Anglo Danes quake in fear. A spot of Intimidation was enough to put a stop to that though and the Anglo Danes breathed a sigh of relief!

The Norse Gaels had used up their SAGA dice, but were now dangerously close. Time to start flinging some stones.



Thanks to their Religious Advisor, the Anglo Danes could roll seven SAGA dice. Since two were already committed to Trapped, just five were rolled. Trapped is a nasty ability that helps pile fatigue on three separate enemy units and was now used on the Norse Gael warriors. The Religious Advisor then took a fatigue permitting the roll of two more SAGA dice. Dice were loaded up onto the levy for three shots with a couple of dice held in reserve for a defensive Hard as Iron and the remainder placed on the combat pool.


After a frantic whirl of slings, five Norse Gael warriors had fallen. It would have been more, but after the second activation the levy became fatigued and this could then be used to reduce the effectiveness of their third shot.



Oh dear, it's turn 2 and the Norse Gael are mad! Another levy falls to a javelin and the already dirty water in the marsh starts to turn red.




Blows are exchanged and the levy flee the marsh leaving the Norse Gael warriors in a commanding position.

Time for a counter attack.



The Anglo Dane warriors charge towards the marsh.



The Norse Gaels are taken by surprise and offer no challenges. After a bloody encounter, the Anglo Danes smell victory and only a single enemy warrior is left alive. Exhausted, he stumbles back towards his own line.



From the Anglo Dane shieldwall, things are starting to look promising. But why is Mighty Kyle smiling? What have I missed?!



Who's Next?



Although the javelin menace has been neutralised by warriors, this break in the shieldwall means that an eight man unit of hearthguards has been left exposed. Can I hear the sound of running feet...?



Five Norse Gael warriors come hurtling towards the hearthguard. From afar, I can hear the cry of 'CHALLENGE!!'.

Oh dear.

One of the Anglo Danes steps forward, his armour glistening in the bright afternoon sun (a bit too bright it turns out and we had to put curtains up in the conservatory. Anyway I digress). Cackling like only an eleven year old child who thinks he had just gotten one over on his dad can cackle, Mighty Kyle pushes forward some scraggy unkemp warrior. Shouldn't be a problem though. To meet the challenge, the Anglo Danes roll two dice (as befitting their hearthguard status). The Norse Gael rolls a single die. The highest score wins. Two against one, this should be easy. The Anglo Danes roll a 2 and a 4. The Norse Gaels roll a 5. No! My hearthguard champion falls. Still it could have been worse... The cackles get louder... Mighty Kyle can barely contain himself... 'Who's next?' he shouts with what can only be described as an unhealthy glee.

'Pardon?' I respond.

'We go again!' Kyle says in only a slightly more restrained manner.

'Pardon?' Again says I.

'Read the Battleboard' comes the response. Giggles have now returned I should add.



'Do you want to remove another three hearthguard? Or shall we resolve the challenge again?'

Three hearthguard! He's already killed one. Surely with the dice stacked against him he won't win again! Oops, another slaughtering victory point goes to the other side of the table. Or again! One of my rolls is a six. Ha! Mighty Kyle's grins have vanished.

'Beat that sucker,' yes I know he's only eleven. I know he's my son. But this is SAGA!

He rolls a six. A draw? 'How brave are you, dad!'. Shouldn't that be a question? It appears not. How Brave Are You is a Norse Gael battleboard ability that is played during the Orders phase and adds 1 to the score during challenges. Yes, it can increase the score beyond 6 and yes, it means I just lost again!

This is starting to get serious. I'm three hearthguard down. If I refuse the challenge I immediately lose three more, leaving me with just two. Out of an eight strong unit! We roll again and thank The Lord I get another six. This time the Norse Gaels fail to match my score and I win the challenge.

Challenges are resolved in Step 0 of the melee. The standard melee sequence now resumes. Four Norse Gael warriors against my remaining five hearthguard. Other battleboard melee related abilities can now be used and the Anglo Danes have something up their mail clad sleeves. Bringing forth Lords of Battle, the hearthguard are triumphant. All of the Norse Gael warriors are killed, but not before another two hearthguard are cut down.



My main fighting unit has just been cut to ribbons. Points wise, it's about neck and neck though so the game is still wide open.



Another unit of Norse Gaels charges the Anglo Dane warriors. Dane axes are frightening when used on lightly armed units.



Casualties are taken by both sides and the Anglo Danes are pushed back. But the Norse Gaels have been left exhausted. Hmm I have an ability for that!



The Anglo Danes play Exhaustion and immediately eliminate two warriors. The levy regroup and pelt the survivor.



He doesn't really stand a chance.

Kyle now starts chuckling again - oh dear - and takes quite a bit of time looking at his Battleboard and measuring distances to my hearthguard. A convoluted charge route is planned. VS away from the building... S away from the levy... Enough movement to account for fatigue slowing movement...

Suddenly the Norse Gael Warrior Priest is off! Unfortunately Mighty Kyle failed to take into account one vital thing...

Just as the Warrior Priest is about to run past the building, Mighty Kyle looks up and spies my Battleboard.



'No dad!'

'Yes Kyle!'

The Warrior Priest's charge is thwarted. Rather than leave himself sat in the open, he changes direction and runs around the house - out of range of my levy.



The levy seem to have caused an irrational fear in the Norse Gaels and Mighty Kyle decides to take decisive, if rather rash, action.



Stood on his craggy outcrop the Norse Gael warlord has decided he's had enough of the stone hurling peasants. Taking his crags with him (!) he surges forward to deal with the situation himself.



Wouldn't it be funny if the Norse Gael warlord was killed by a bunch of unarmoured levy?

Apparently quite funny for the Anglo Danes, but not so much for Mighty Kyle... The warlord fell and a single levy was left to tell the tale - several times before the game ended I can assure you!

Despite losing his warlord, Mighty Kyle was still very much in the game. The Anglo Danes needed another couple of slaughtering points for a clear victory, so it was time to send in the heavy boys.



It is turn six and the Anglo Danes haven't lost a single unit so are still rolling seven SAGA dice. The Battleboard is loaded and the Dane axe armed hearthguard dash forward. If they can eliminate the remaining Norse Gael warriors whilst sustaining few casualties themselves, the game will be won. A tall order? Not with Lords of Battle!


A challenge is issued. If the Norse Gaels win, my hearthguard will be forced to disengage. Unfortunately for Mighty Kyle his luck deserts him. The Norse Gael champion falls and Dane axe meets Dane axe. Since the Norse Gael warriors only have an armour of four, their use of Dane axes combined with my use of their fatigue brings this down to two. The Anglo Dane's axes add one to the result of attack rolls - effectively meaning automatic hits. Unfortunately the Norse Gaels use the fatigue on the hearthguard, meaning that rolls of one would still miss. Lords of Battle gives three extra attacks, whilst another attack is added to the hearthguard's standard eight through use of the Attack Pool. Twelve attack dice are rolled. Twelve attacks strike home. No saves are made and the warriors all fall dead!

Alas, as they stumble the warriors summon the strength to hit back - killing all of the attacking hearthguard...



A straight swap of four slaughtering victory points of warriors for four points of hearthguard. I haven't lost anything by this last gasp action, but do I have enought points for a win?

The battlefield is now rather bare. Facing the surviving Norse Gael Warrior Priest and four hearthguard are the Anglo Dane warlord, Religious Advisor, three warriors, three hearthguard and the lone hero levy. Looking at the figures remaining it appears that the Danes may have snatched a minor victory.

We count up the casualties. It's 16 points for the Norse Gaels and 19 points for the Anglo Danes! The Danes just scrape a win.

Great game, but I'll go to bed and have nightmares about a small voice whispering 'Who's next?'


Saturday, 1 November 2014

DIY Terrain

Time constraints mean that most terrain I put together is either bought ready made and pre-painted or in kit form that just needs to be assembled and painted. However, my days of playing Warhammer back in the 80's make me appreciate home made terrain. So I just have to post a link to Rob Hawkin's DIY mausoleum constructed from foam and plastic Halloween skulls. Great skill and a fantastic looking building!


Friday, 31 October 2014

Baggy Trousers and a Rocky Outcrop

One point of hearthguard and a warlord left to complete. The target for completion was end of October and I believe I can now announce mission accomplished!



Four old Citadel figures that will form the last point of Norse Gael hearthguard. I particularly like the fellow on the left with the baggy trousers, painted yellow for extra effect. Rather than use Little Big Men transfers I once again tried a bit of freehand on the shields.



The bases have been completed with the same blend of spring/summer static grass. This time though I decided to only use grassy tufts (rather than heather). Although these figures were originally intended as Norse Gael, Kyle's use of a priest means that they now tip the warband over to 7 points. I therefore decided to finish them in a way that will blend in with a general Viking warband.

So, onto the the grande finale. Whither the warlord?



Here he is, stood atop a craggy rock formation. No free hand shield this time, back to Little Big Men...



Originally I had planned to paint his fur cloak grey. However, after completing the figure I realised the cloak blended in too much to the rocks. So I redid it white.


So there we have it. Six points (seven if we include the priest) of Norse Gaels, ready to join the Anglo Danes in next week's SAGA event at Canterbury. I'm hoping to give Kyle a couple of practice games with his new warband this weekend. Who knows, I may even get to write one up as a battle report.


Norse Gael Hearthguards

Here is the first completed unit of Norse Gael hearthguards.

All figures are Gripping Beast with the shield transfer by Little Big Men. 

Just one more unit and the warlord to complete... Sadly my painting skills are not up to proto-tartan or stripes. At least not yet. More practice needed! 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bless You My Child...

Well, you've all now met The Anglo Dane Albonite Female and Ox (who some have likened to Hulk Hogan...). Now it's time to meet the heavy hitters.



Not quite sure what the monk like fellow is carrying in his sack, but hey if it's edible who cares!



These three old Citadel Clerics will find their way into Christian warbands as Warrior Priests. Although they still cost a point, Warrior Priests only generate a single SAGA die (unlike the Religious Advisor's two dice). However, these mace armed heavies have a few tricks up their sleeve. Not only do they all benefit from 'We Obey' and 'Side by Side', but Warrior Priests come with 3 attacks and their own unique ability - The Blade that Punishes. At the cost of a SAGA die, this last ability increases the Warrior Priest's attacks from 3 to 6 and enables units engaging in melee via Side by Side to gain one extra attack per two models. Yikes!


Monday, 20 October 2014


Looks like I'm on a bit of a roll completing figures for SAGA. Here's another old Citadel cleric painted as a Norse Gael priest. I've suggested to Kyle that he use him as a warrior priest, but all I heard was 'but dad I need the dice!' He'll probably be fielded as another Religious Advisor then...



The shield is not free hand painted this time (if only!). It is of course from the excellent Little Big Men range.



I just hope I don't end up facing him at the Canterbury SAGA day. I can already hear the cry 'Challenge!'...


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ilford SAGA Day

Had a great time today at Ilford Wargaming Group's SAGA day. Three games were played by each of the 12 participants. In the first game I squared off against a Norman opponant in a scenario called hostages. At the start of the game 3 figures from each warband were exchanged and held in three different units as hostages. I think quite a few folks fielded levy in this game! Hostages are rescued by winning a combat against the holding unit. If a unit is destroyed by missile fire, the hostage is killed! I managed to win this one by rescuing two of my levy (against 1 for the Normans). Three points in the bag!

The second game was a variation of Chance Encounter. This time my Anglo Danes and the vanquished Normans became allies while we tried to get two baggage trains across the board to safety. We faced a combined force of Vikings (who came with a 12 strong unit of hearthguard - with an armour of 6!) and Welsh. The Gods were listening to the prayers of the Anglo Dane Religious Advisor and we not only managed to get all of our baggage across the table, but the combined efforts of Anglo Danes and Normans also smashed our opponents baggage - along with the Welsh warlord. In what turned out to be a nifty move, my Norman warlord ally used multiple dice to race from one side of the table to the other, crossing a wood and drinking all of the Viking's beer! Turns out my mounted friend was a hero character who was immune to fatigue! As you can probably guess, the Viking warlord was none too pleased and decided to take swift and decidedly deadly revenge. To cut a long story short, the Normans took one for the team but we won! Six points on the scorecard, with one game to go.

So now we arrive at the start of game three. This time, Anglo Danes, Normans, Vikings and Welsh are all friends again. We were joined by another Anglo Dane warband and yet more Vikings. Six warbands - all sat on one side of a rather long table facing another six warbands for a mega multi-player game! And here's the photo to prove it.



It turns out that at this point in the tournament, only two warbands are in with a chance of winning first prize. Since I had won two games and had 6 points, one of the contenders was my Anglo Danes!


The last game was a slaughter fest, with one side of the table battling the other and warbands keeping count of kills. The side with the greatest number of kill points (from all warbands combined) would win the last game, taking another 3 points.

And the winner was...



The other side!


Another Welsh warband was sat opposite me and next to them (middle of the photo) were the Milites Christi. The Welsh fielded a unit of 12 javelin armed and mounted hearthguard who, it's fair to say, gave my Anglo Danes a jolly good spanking!! An opposing Saracen warband also did bad things to some Vikings (helping to earn the Saracens a prize for bloodiest warband). Since the opposite side had won game three, the Milites Christi took another 3 points for a total of 9 and first prize. Congratulations to Ian Mackay for a well earned victory!

It was a great day and an interesting way to play SAGA. The second game in particular was very enjoyable with lots of cooperation between the two allied warbands.

A big thanks to Dave Clarke and everyone else at Ilford for organising such an enjoyable and smooth running event.


Edit: Ilford Wargaming Group have published some more photos of the event on their website.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Norse Gael Warriors Sharpen Their Axes

Three weeks to go before the Canterbury SAGA day and another point of Norse Gael warriors are completed.




Two of these metal figures have shields cast onto their bodies. One shield is quite small, while the other has some of the warrior's hair obscuring the top. Rather than mess around trying to cut LBM transfers to the correct size, I decided to try a bit of free hand (using simple designs). Here's one of the shields showing some battle scars.



Just two points of hearthguard and the warlord left to do. These have all been base coated and shaded, so just highlights and detail left. We are on the homeward stretch!


Last week Kyle and I helped run a SAGA participation game at SELWG. It was a great event and there was lots of interest in Crescent and the Cross. Friday Night Fire Fight Club supplied a really nice desert board and we ran with four points of Saracens against four points of Crusaders. Sadly, I didn't take any photos - much too busy showing people how to play! Well at least it stopped me spending too much money at the trade stands. Luckily Wargames Illustrated were there and took a photo of the show. If you know where to look, you can even see one of our games in progress.


Tomorrow I'm of to take part in Ilford Wargaming Group's SAGA day. This is a full on tournament with the last game being a 16 person mega battle! I'll try to grab some photos from this one. Only the Anglo Danes will be attending (Kyle being otherwise engaged), but my ADs will be taking their newly painted Religious Advisor.



Religious Advisors cost a point, but generate two SAGA dice and allow warbands to roll a total of 7 SAGA dice at the start of Orders (instead of the normal 6). During the Orders phase the Religious Advisor can also aquire a fatigue to allow the warband to roll two more dice. This fatigue is then discarded at the start of the Activation phase. Looking forward to seeing how this works out tomorrow.



Monday, 6 October 2014

Onward Christian Soldiers et al...

For a bit of fun, I decided to take a priest along with my Anglo Dane warband to face David H's Normans at last week's Friday Night Firefight Club. Having seen my Religious Advisor in action, I honestly don't see how any warband can even consider marching without one! Which figure to paint though?



I'll write some more about using priests in SAGA once this batch of figures is painted. You'll notice 'Ox' at the front (a little out of focus in this shot I'm afraid). He'll be joining Mighty Kyle's Norse Gaels. The other figures give me good selections for an unarmed Religious Advisor, mace armed Warrior Priests and the Enlightened Druid. Most of these figures are old Citadel Miniatures and have lots of character. I wasn't sure about basing, but in the end decided to go with standard circular slotta bases.

I've also been working on some objective markers for different scenarios. Meet the herd!



I now have Soay sheep, Iron Age pigs and highland cattle. You'll see I've kept the Norse Gael theme running here. The livestock are all under coated and I'm planning to paint them in order to provide a break from warriors and hearthguard. Lastly, here's a couple of baggage items for a future cart model.



These resin pieces are sold by Colonel Bills (not Aintsy as I first posted). They are single pieces and have given me an idea for making changeable baggage pieces for different warbands/scenarios.

Another point of Norse Gael warriors has its base coat and wash completed. Hopefully I'll get time to apply highlights and final detail later this week. I might just get these done in time for the Canterbury SAGA event in November...