MOAB SAGA TOURNAMENT
G'day fellow Saga enthusiasts
Today I would like to take the chance to do a little write up of the experience I had recently at a convention tournament. The event was a simple one day 3 game tournament that cultivated into a small group of 6 players throwing down dice and having an absolute blast. The tournament allowed 8 points total as a pool and each player used 6 of said points to play a game. For those of you who have played in such an event are probably well familiar with this idea, personally I loved it and felt it brought about just enough strategy between scenarios to really get you thinking. I decided to bring my Anglo Saxons for a spin hoping to get even more experience in with them and to see how they perform in a competitive environment. Since I heard they were a tricky faction to play and I love a challenge the selection only seemed natural. The force I took included:
-3 points of warriors
-3 points of Hearthguard (2 mounted, 1 on foot)
-2 points of levies (1 with bows, the other with spears/shields)
I felt this allowed me to change up my force enough in between scenarios and gave me the freedom to plan a strategy around terrain and the opposing faction.
GAME 1 vs PAGAN RUS in Clash of Warlords
The first game saw my Saxons line up before a beautifully painted mass of warriors and hearthguard backed up by a group of steppe tribesman. It was my first game against this faction but I was well aware of all the horror stories people grumble about. my plan was to not let him gain too much control over the board and use my warriors and cavalry as a battering ram to go straight for the jugula. For the most part this worked, as I aggressively charged my warband in a large mass of shields and spears across the field while steppe nomads began pelting my units with accurate shortbow fire. I had marched up to his line with everything when the winds went foul and a storm kicked up out of nowhere forcing my saxons to take it slow the following turn. This was the pivotal moment in the game where I had the choice of playing it safe, loading up on defensive abilities and letting the Rus initiate the melee or pushing for the charge and making multiple activation's to get stuck into his warlord. my lucky saga dice roll for 'no surrender' gave me the answer I needed and a bloody and ferocious battle amongst Saxon warriors and Rus hearthguard began to unfold while the two warlords locked horns. The gamble I had made seemed to have payed off for the most part until one final push from the Rus warlord gave him the strength to smite my warlord down without any retainers by his side. When the cries and winds had settled there was but a handful of men left standing by their warlord as the ravens began to circle. Overall this was a fantastic example of why I love this game. The opponents battle board made me think, the aggression I put forward left the Rus player on the backfoot with little table to maneuver and the conclusion was that of legendary proportions. I would like to thank Alan for a awesome game that was well played by all. I still like to think if I had just a little better luck in that moment I could have sealed the deal before most of the carnage occurred, alas that's the way the dice roll and the better man won on the day.
GAME 2 vs ANGLO SAXONS in Twilight Battlefield
This match up was incredibly interesting for me as the scenario was totally new and the opposing Anglo Saxon force was radically different to my own in makeup. With both of us warlords not wanting to give ground our deployment ended up quite conservative with battle lines being drawn across the center of the table. My plan in this game was to attempt to push his warband back and try to grab a sneaky table quarter before pulling back to defend winning by 1 point. Anglo saxons however....are a tough cookie to crack (something I should have foreseen no doubt). Even with my early turns aggression I was only able to push him back into his own table quarters but not enough to risk pushing further in fear of giving up my own. This resulted in a very cagey tactical ballet of sorts in which we both poked and prodded each others defenses for a chink in the armour. In the end both our shield walls proved too tough and we went home with a draw. This was a result neither of us were shooting for but goes to show just how much the scenario can completely change the style of gameplay you use. This game was by far the most difficult of the day and I give my regards to my fellow Anglo Saxon opponent who put up a bloody good fight without giving an inch (despite my overly aggressive nature).
GAME 3 vs VIKINGS in battle at the Fjord
Ah the river ran crimson this day that is all that is certain. This game was the most brutal display I had ever seen in SAGA. After deployment the vikings sprinted across both sides of the fjord and threw themselves onto the Saxon shieldwalls. The push was a very aggressive play by my opponent and something I wholeheartedly wished to return. Beyond the 3rd turn there was but a handfull of models left on the table and I was beginning to wonder if there was going to be anyone left to score points at all. on the right crossing Ragnar and his faithful hearthguard carved a path through a large group of warriors and continued into the ranks of more, while the saxon levies on the left held strong against wave after wave of berzerkers and warriors (don't ask me how this happened...they were incredible this game). The brutal conclusion of the game saw the last of Ragnars retainers fall to the combined charge of cavalry I had held in reserve and the Saxon warlord. The Viking legend himself put up a masterly fight until he was finally brought down by the Saxon warlord and his hearthguard which ultimately resulted in a quick dash across the bridge to secure victory. This game was super fast and super bloody. We were both looking over at other peoples tables who were still maneuvering around the field to get that strategic charge to happen while we had less then 15 models left on the battlefield. Todds vikings put up a great fight and truly put the fear in me with his brutal 8 man hearthguard unit. While it was bitter sweet to see the big guy Ragnar fall it was great to see my Saxon warlord claim another name. Big thanks to Todd for showing up and getting the balls out for this one, hugely entertaining and what SAGA is all about.
So after three rounds with perfectly mixed results I somehow managed to claim 3rd place and best painted. Allen from game one deservedly got first place while David and his Britons snatched up second. The day was a fantastic look into how SAGA functions as a tournament game and was a huge success. The simple win, loss and draw scenarios with a built in victory points system meant the game played smoothly straight out of the books while the 8 point army selection meant that most players never felt cheated by a scenario because you could cater to the party. All in all I would wholesomely recommend attending or organising a SAGA tournament if you have the players. The simple and elegant system of rules backed up by the individualistic battle boards meant the best man won on the day and allowed for some of the best gaming I have yet experienced.
A special thanks goes out to Hall of Heroes for putting this tournament together and providing prize support.
With this all wrapped up I will be looking at writing an article about my further more conclusive thoughts on Anglo Saxons and how i feel they play in the competitive scene.