Sunday, 4 May 2014

Legionary 2014 - what a SAGA.

I have often felt that the best way to learn a set of rules is to play them; not just as a Sunday afternoon experiment but by going the whole hog and entering a competition.

So yesterday, I found myself leaving home at 6.55am to drive to Exeter to play SAGA at the Legionary show staged by the Exmouth Wargames Club. Despite being a bank holiday weekend the A303 wasn't too bad and I made good time, arriving in around 2 hours from my home near to Devizes in Wiltshire.  With my newly painted Vikings ready for action it was appropriate that the podcast I decided to listen too was mostly about Vikings and the exhibition currently running at the British Museum.

It was a small competition with just six of us playing.

My first game was against a very kind opponent called David who was using Welsh. He was kind as he explained much about the game after  I had told him I have only ever played three games over a two year period, using a different army each time, and losing all of them.

So how would the Vikings do against Welsh? Not an force I knew anything much about and I'd not even looked at the SAGA  battle boards for anything other than Vikings or Normans before the weekend. Normans as that was an army I have painted and thought I'd use until I spotted that the battle board required many combinations of dice to get 'the good stuff' and as the competition was for a 4 point army I would only get six dice a turn. So a hasty painting of Vikings was called for.

Here are my Vikings (mostly berserkers in the shot) facing Welsh at the start of the game.

Athough I came second it was a good game. The Welsh javelin armed skirmishers did a fair bit of damage to me - especially from uphill. They 'taunted' my berserkers making them charge uphill and all but wiped them out!

My second game against Mike also found me facing Welsh - but with a different troop combination. As there were objectives in each game I decided to make a rush towards two fairly early on. This was a different tactic to my first game where I had opted to go past the objectives, eliminate the enemy and return to collect the spoils of war. As that failed it was time to try some thing new.

 So charging a sheep and a monk we rolled the die to see what would happen; a six in each case! This made the monk turn into a fighting bishop with good armour and five attacks - he killed three beserkers - and the sheep turned out to be an vicious ram killing a warrior.

It wasn't a good game for the Vikings. In one attack I rolled 16 dice needing 4 or above. A 50:50 roll you would think. No I got 12 come up with  1s, 2s and 3s.
 Needless to say I came second again!

My third and final game was against Franks. Two units of mounted Hearthguard and one unit of foot warriors. OK you ask where is the other point of troops? As it happens the mounted Hearthguard were 1.5 units each (6 figures each). This game was against Ralph who was really good at explaining things - especially as I haven't bought the supplement with the rather tricky Frankish battle board. Not that it would have helped if I had.

 Here come the mounted Hearthguard..

Well, in this game I came second once again. So after three more games I still have my 100% success rate of losing at SAGA unblemished.

Did it matter that I lost? No. It was great fun, I made some new friends and enjoyed playing something different.

What did I learn? LOTS! And the most important lesson is that Beserkers may best be left at home.

Finally, the rather nice buildings are produced by Adrian's Walls


  1. This is also how I really got to learn Saga, at a comp, well it was a disaster I lost all the games came dead last and had a great time. I knew exactly how to lose with Vikings and have since lots heaps of games!!! thrill love the game.

  2. Nice looking game, beautiful minis!

  3. Alas there is no Saga competition at Legionary this weekend.