On Thursday Night, we scrounged up a few locals for a 4 way game of SAGA. We decided to run the scenario from the Northern Fury book, where there is changing alliances and general mayhem! So the game starts out as 2 v 2. Then, at the end of turn one, people choose a colour of card (red or black). For the next turn, it is Red Team against Black Team, with casualties counting for the respective teams. At the end of that turn it repeats, until Turn 4, when the choices are permanent! Team with the most kills at the end of the game, wins!
So to the fight, I brought Cu Eion and his Irish lads and lasses, but we also had the Rus (Vikings), some Anglo Danish and the dreaded Jomsvikings! How these four armies got to the same battlefield, I have no idea. But since they did, it only seemed right to have a scrap!
The Irish and the Rus began allied for turn 1. This is what the game looked like at turn one....
Anglo Danish archers holding a wood
The Rus (with their pretty shields) storming out from the ruined castle
Some of Cu's warband
Cu Eion himself, directing the warriors
Turn one was markedly uneventful. We were all a long way from each other, so no shooting, no nothing really. Only thing to happen was the Jomsvikings began increasing their level of wrath.....
So I chose black. What colour did everyone else choose? Red. So it is now 3 v 1 for a turn. Good....
But the only thing in my favour is that I got initiative! So, without any adieu I began to storm the castle...
The castle is ours!
Unfortunately, revenge was swift in it's retribution, coming in the form of Varangian Guard equipped with very large axes and lots of armour. So... the opposite of my Irish! Luckily they could only kill so many warriors, and I managed to kill a couple of them too.
On the other side of the board, not much was happening. Or at least there was a hill in the way so I couldn't see anything going on. Perhaps they weren't even moving at all?
Formation dancing. That's what that is.
Turn 3 began with the royal placing of the cards. I chose black (again), and was rewarded with an ally! This time some Jomsvikings were on my side.
Which was really handy, because those Russians were not on my side, and the Jomsvikings could help with that!
Cu eyeing up some Russkis
So the plan? Simple. Take and hold the castle! Oh and clear out the Russians.
How did that go? Well, it went alright. Killed a few more with Javelins, but it was really helped by this happening on the other side of the castle...
Unfortunatly for the Joms, they bit off a bit more than they could chew! The Russian Warlord was seen to cut down the Joms' leader, as well as a score of his followers.
The other flank saw the Anglo Danish finally leave their dancing formation, and actually engage in combat! They charged the women and children, thinking that they would be easy prey. Not so for the Irish! More than a few Danish ended up on the wrong side of an mad Irishwoman's frying pan....
The Anglo Danish lads finally get involved....
Turn 4 rolled around, time for another card! What did I choose? Black. So the Anglo Danish are my allies now?
But I have a plan, after seeing the Jomsvikings get so badly decimated by the Rus, surely I could do the same thing to them, but with Javelins?
Ignore the Russians, throw spears at the Northmen!
Ok, so we killed the Northmen, but the Russians and the Danish are slaughtering us!
It was at this time that the leader of the Rus with his retainers charged Cu Eion himself. Fighting to defend his country, his fallen childhood friend, his fallen pet, his homeland, with a broken axe AND with the sun in his eyes, Cu Eion sadly fell to the Russian invader, but not before taking many of the invaders with him (two, probably two).
Turn Five. What card did I choose? Black (see a theme here?) What card did everyone else choose? Black. So the victory conditions now were having the most stuff left on the battlefield!
Turns 5 and 6 were all kinds of not good for the Irish. Cu had fallen to the Rus, my warriors on the hill had been slaughtered by probability-defying bow fire from the Anglo Danish and my left flank was being accosted by many many more Anglo Danes.
"Anglo Danes, yes, we have a reservation. Here to accost we are, thank you"
The brave levies fought on, but without being able to generate many activation dice (at this point, 3), I was very much hamstrung by not being able to roll a 6 for extra dice!
Just throw more things at them! Stones, frying pans, goats!
The levies did eventually fall before the Anglo Danish, leaving even fewer alive to call the land Irish.
Dogs can't call the land anything... Run dogs run!
The rest of the battlefield saw the Jomsvikings and the Anglo Danish finally meet combat, although it was too little, too late for the Joms, the Anglo Danish were just too fresh an army to be able to fight it in two turns.
The final act was the Rus Warlord storming across the battlefield in an attempt to slay the Anglo Danish Warlord, thus claiming his right as ruler of the land. But, by the time he covered the ground, he was tired, but to his honour, he cut down two vassals to get to the enemy Warlord, only to be cut down as he swung his axe....
So ended the great 4 way game of SAGA. It was.... enlightening! I was probably too bold with my attacks, SAGA has a way of making you pay for killing enemy troops (usually at the cost of a similar number of your own), and so while the Rus and the Irish destroyed themselves and each other, the Joms took a while to arrive, but arrived piecemeal and so were slaughtered. The Anglo Danish held back, waiting for the battlefield to clear and then claimed it as their own. I could call it cowardly, but to be fair, there really isn't anyone left to make that smart remark!
There was one positive of the battle, the castle was still mine!
Look for some reports from the other protagonists, I will link them on here once I have them.
The Russian "opinion" of the battle is here
Up next? Romans. I have some to finish basing, and some on the painting table.