Thursday, 18 April 2013
The SAGA Begins
My FLGS, Gamer's World in Dublin, has recently begun to stock a range of products for the Viking Age skirmish game SAGA by Studio Tomahawk/Gripping Beast. I first came across this game last year through the blogs of a couple of friends of mine, Owen Conlan (http://www.farfaraway.org/blog) and Phil Culleton (subjecttostupidity.blogspot.com). The guys have both painted up some lovely forces for the game, so I'd encourage you all to check them out.
Having seen Owen and Phil post about the game, I decided to check it out myself. The rules look quite simple at first glance. Forces are very easy to create, as both players get a set number of points to spend. Six is a standard game, with 4 for a small game although you can use as many or as few as you like. For one point, you get 4 Hearthguard (elite fighters), 8 Warriors (standard troops) or 12 Levies (essentially conscripts). These can be arranged into units of between 4 and 12 models, which must be of the same type. You get your Warlord (warband leader) for free although you can choose to select a Hero of the Viking Age (a historical leader, such as William the Conqueror for Normans, Brian Boru for Irish and so on) who have their own special rules instead. Apart from some equipment options, models in a particular type are the same across all factions. Each faction gets its character and playstyle largely from its battle board.
Each faction has its own individual battle board. Each battle board has fifteen different abilities, which are activated using the SAGA dice. SAGA dice each have three symbols on them. One symbol is found on three sides of the die, another on two sides and the last symbol on only one side. At the start of his turn, a player rolls a number of SAGA dice dependent on the number and type of units he has remaining. He then allocates these to his battle board based on the symbols rolled, which he then spends in order to activate his units and/or use his abilities.
The other interesting rule is the FATIGUE mechanism. Units gain FATIGUE points to represent how tired the unit has become, either through being activated multiple times in a turn, fighting melee or through battle board abilities. The opponent can "spend" FATIGUE points on an opposing unit in order to make the unit less effective. Units with too many FATIGUE become exhausted which limits what they can do and severely handicaps them should they find themselves in melee.
So, I suppose you would like to know if I bought myself a warband? The answer is no!
I bought two!