To start this blog with some kind of intelligent discussion (that will more than likely erode with days to come) I decided I would bash the keyboard with some of my Anglo Saxon musing for the fantastic tabletop game that is Saga. After playing several games at both 4 points and 6 points I have found the faction challenging and rewarding at the same time. For those fellow Anglo Saxon players out there ill attempt to break down what has worked and what hasn't worked thus far and give thoughts on the faction overall (from my opinion of course).
Composition and Saga dice
The immediate draw for me to join the ranks of the Anglo Saxons was the diversity of options in the warbands composition. This means I can field cavalry, warriors, and archers in the same force which makes me a happy warlord. The Anglo Saxons are also capable of fielding melee equipped levis, which can prove to be a formidable and efficient unit under saxon kingdom.
On the saga dice front the Saxons suffer from being forced to run large units and end up with less saga dice overall being generated each order phase. In larger games this isn't noticeable initially but after you lose a unit or two you will notice your saga dice begin to decline.
The first thing I had noticed with the Anglo Saxons is there tendency to group together in larger units of between 10-12 models to make use of all their abilities and as such warriors and levy are the favored selection of men to fight in your warband. To add to this majority of their abilities offer largely defensive benefits to ensure you maintain any numbers advantage as well as the 10 man threshold to boost the aforementioned abilities. This as I have noticed is a double edged sword due to the length of time it may take to grind an opponents force down with your warriors. having large units on the table limits the amount that you can accomplish over a turn without taking on too much fatigue, and in turn you will find your force surrounded and hounded from multiple assaults. Solid abilities like 'defenders of the realm' and 'shoulder to shoulder' offer powerful means of keeping an anchor unit of warriors alive if used together and should be able to repel most offensive moves (bar loaded bezerkers) however at a hefty cost of 3 saga dice. So its obvious the Anglo Saxons require a little more finesse than pushing models forward and rolling dice than I originally expected from the 'horde' faction of Saga.
Combat the weakness
It is of my understanding that while the Anglo Saxons need larger units to benefit from their abilities it is how the supporting units of hearth guard and the warlord act that can swing the battle your way. I believe it is important to note that wasting any units simply for kills is not advised. The Saxons posess amazing defensive abilities at your disposal to keep units alive, to this effect your warriors are your anvil and hearthguard and warlord are your tactical hammer. Let the warriors and levi take the fight to the enemy and hold ground while the warlord leads from the front with hearthguard striking at weak contingents of your opponents force. Mounted hearthguard fill this role beautifully by giving you options in threat range. The warlord loaded with bretwalda followed closely by warriors is nigh unkillable and can be used as a battering ram into opponents lines.
While this does not work every time, I have personally found the amount of success I have with the Saxons largely hinges on the performance of the hearthguard in tandem with the warriors.
To sumarise these ramblings from the little experience I have mustered, the Anglo Saxons are the stalwart and surgical warlords dream. If you enjoy playing large solid defensive groups of warriros that grind down the opponent while key pieces strike weak elements of the opposing force you will enjoy the Saxons. If you expect them to throw down hundreds of models, roll perfect saga dice and steam roll opponents you will likely have problems. To finish off I would like to stress that the above thoughts and opinions have been built around how I have played them thus far and are likely subject to change as I try new things. In addition others may have completely diffrent interpretations on how this faction works and I would love to hear about them.
Hope this has been helpfull to some Saxon warlords out there.