Blog discription

What will you find here? Ramblings from an aging gamer-miniature painter. When I first started out in this hobby computers were in their infancy and finding other gamers could only be done by going to conventions or as in my case bumping into somebody who happened to see me reading "Panzer Leader" on the school bus. Look how far we have come! The internet has allowed our small community to be able to connect on a level I never dreamed of when I was but a small lad. What I do hope you will find here is something interesting from one wargamer/miniature painter to another. I paint miniatures somewhat decently, so I will be posting some pictures of my work, and perhaps a review or two of games and/or miniatures. Most of all this is just about having fun and anything I post here is meant to be for that reason.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kirk “the main man” Douglas takes command

My friend Dave came over to do some Saga gaming (skirmish dark age rule set) this past Sunday. He brought his Welsh to battle my Vikings (led by my special edition Kirk Douglas viking figure).Two completely different armies, but if both are played to their strengths, you can always expect close games. We were not to be disappointed.

We played "Champions of God" a scenario which you basically just have to cause more causalities to your opponent than you take to win the game, but you must win by 3 or more to win, otherwise a draw.

Dave picked three pieces of terrain, two woods and a marsh. I picked a gentle hill and a bit of brush. After alternately arranging our terrain we diced off to see if either of us could move a piece of terrain or remove it. Dave failed to influence his terrain choice with his die roll, and with my plus 1 (he placed more than me) to the die roll I was able to move his marsh 6 more inches to my flank to open up my middle a bit more.

Here are the Armies starting setups below. If you want to see full size pictures left click on picture to open the photo slide review. When you have this open I've discovered that you can then right click on picture opening a menu and select "open image in new window". When you do this you will be able to use your mouse to get a closer view. This will not work if you simply start by right clicking on image, you have to first open the photo review (where the photos all open up for viewing in a row).

[above Vikings, with 12 Levy in the brush, and then 2 X 8 man Warrior units, with 2 X 6 man Hearthguard backing them up in the middle, and of course "Kirk the main man Douglas" watching over his crew in center rear]
[above those cursed Welsh with their pointy sticks, Dave selected all Warriors which I thought was a great idea. He placed a 10 man warrior unit behind the woods on his right flank backed up by and 8 man warrior unit, and then paced 3 X 10 man warrior units in his center. He choose to mount his Warlord for flexibility]

Dave won the toss to see who goes first and decided that would be me (a great idea since you can steal a victory with the last move). By going second in this scenario your allowed to roll three Saga dice to place on your battle board (think of Saga dice as orders, and the Battle Board as your command board. Depending on what you roll with your order dice, allows you to pick commands that match the roll on your command board). 

Viking Turn 1 [note all pictures below are at the end of that players turn]
Going first and being a Viking, I decided I would do a most Viking thing and go straight at him. I rolled a butt load of sixes on my first turn which meant that I probably wouldn't roll anymore for the rest of the game (and it nearly came to that). I had this great idea of going straight up and smashing him on first turn but sadly I did not pay attention to how far away his line was from mine and I ended up advancing toward his line in echelon. My warriors ended up taking a fatigue, and I hoped to weather the storm that he would unleash with all his javelin armed dudes (I used bingo chips for fatigue marking and Dave used blood stones or little jewel looking things).

Welsh Turn 1
Dave is a pretty new player when it comes to Saga, but you wouldn't have known it in this game. He played the strength of the Welsh perfectly by running up and tossing Javelins at me but not coming into melee. Dave used his Saga dice to bring the Welsh up and unleash hell (also bringing over his 10 man warrior unit to the center from behind the woods), but fortunately I had some decent save throws and I ended up taking only three warrior causalities (whew) with one of his units having activated more than once with a shoot or move so took a fatigue (you can see the blood stone placed behind that unit).

Viking Turn 2
On my turn 2 I of course rolled no sixes (on both our battle boards you have an order ability that allows you to spend that six to roll two more dice. You can keep doing this as long as you never have more than 8 saga dice on your board when you begin the activation phase). So with only six dice to work with I knew I needed to bring him into melee as best I could to whittle down his numbers so I could stand up to his "float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee" maneuvers. It was time for me to go "George Foreman" on his butt. I brought up my 6 man hearthguard and with a bunch of special dice thrown in I tried to give my selected charge target a killing blow, and wipe them out which would cause fatigue to all his units within 6 inches. But it was not to be and while losing eight he had two standing at the end. He had poopy melee dice, and if I remember he only cause two hits on me, but I saved them both! Glory and death! But this left me with a problem of being surrounded by a lot of full strength Welsh warrior units that were just itching for their turn to toss those sticks of death at me. So I risked an attack on his ten man warrior unit with my 7 man warrior unit (that you can see to the left of my hearthguard out front). There is an ability on the Viking battle board called Valhalla, where you can sacrifice a figure to gain three dice. This is what I did, but wisely only used one just so I could match his dice roll 10 to 10 in melee (sacrificing figures counts for your opponents score at end of the game as well). I caused a five hits and he saved two but Dave just kicked butt with his roll and I was lucky to escape with just one warrior. Had I lost that dude I would have had another fatigue on my hearthguard added and that would have been a bad thing. 

Welsh Turn 2
Dave slid his 10 man warrior unit he brought over from behind the woods behind his 7 man warrior unit to keep it safe from my slingers in the brush (I ended up never shooting the as I was always to busy using my Saga dice for command in the middle). He then used his other units to try and shoot up my hearthguard way out in front. He caused two causalities, but what he forgot to do was to move back his now 2 man warrior unit out of the way. I said silently to myself I have you now my friend! Striking these boys and eliminating them in melee would cause his other units within six inches to take fatigue and I could use these with my other units brought up to battle to my advantage.

Viking Turn 3
Having lost my last surviving warrior out of a unit of 8, during shooting on Dave's past turn, he successfully brought me down from rolling six Saga dice, to five Saga dice. Of course I rolled no sixes so had to do with only being able to assign five Saga dice. So what should a Viking player do when down a Saga die, why ATTACK of course! This was going to be tricky. My idea was to hit his now only two man warrior unit and destroy it. This would cause several of his units to have another fatigue added on and this would allow me to bring up my depleted warriors and Kirk the main man Douglas up to take out his 10 man warrior you see at the top right of this picture. So with everything riding on how my hearthguard did against his two warriors they charged home. I had eight dice to his two. I caused four hits! Surely his unit was about to die!!!!!!!..............................................................
then tears appeared on my cheeks as he promptly rolled four 5's and 6's to save every single hit placed upon him (on six sided dice you need to roll 5 or 6 for saves in melee). The only consolation was he caused no hits to my hearthguard and they had to fall back. Sadly this unhinged my plan and I could not continue my turn as planned and simply had to see how things went in his turn. I thought for sure this was game over for me. 

Welsh Turn 3
Dave had me on the ropes, but could he put me away? He pulled back his 2 man warrior unit and then brought up his 10 man warrior up into the slot that he had behind his 7 man warrior unit. He proceeded to shoot the crap out of me and I was lucky to have one hearthguard left (not losing a Saga die if I had lost him was big), and only lost one warrior next to Kirk. It could have been much worse, but I survived and that was a key element as to what was going to happen next.

Viking Turn 4
I had to be smart this turn so as not to get myself in a pickle and lose more Saga die, going below 5 really hurts. Of course, again, I rolled no sixes. But excuses the winner will not have, so I used Kirk's We Obey (The Warlord gets to activate once per turn for free and a unit within 4 inches of him) and pulled back Kirk and the one man hearthguard unit. Now I brought up my fresh 6 man hearthguard unit to take a pop at his now exposed 10 man warrior unit he brought out a little to far and was able to reach him in two moves. Here I can't remember, but I think this was the turn Dave did not have a command die on Holy Ground (a reaction move that he can use once on one of my units moving to slow them down). The nice thing the Vikings have on their battle board is a command called Frigg, this allows a unit that is engaged in melee to remove one fatigue from itself and add one attack die. It's almost like having foot cavalry if you know what I mean. It doesn't quite work on defense, but if your the attacker it's sweet! So I steam rolled into his 10 man Warrior unit and using an ability to re roll misses once caused him to lose 7 warriors. He struck back causing a few but I was able to save all but one. This was another moment on the battlefield where losing more than one could have had dire consequences to the Vikings.

Welsh Turn 4
Dave used this turn to pull back his 3 man warrior unit (he was learning) and bring forward his 10 man warrior unit and bring up his seven man warrior unit. I can't remember if he took shots or not (sure he did) but if so it looks like I saved them all.

Viking Turn 5
Finally I rolled some sixes so was able to have more orders this turn. At this point in the game I needed to have what was left of my units work closely together, and even more important smash his 10 man warrior unit and hopefully inflict some damage on his 7 man warrior unit so he wouldn't be able to shoot me up as well and grind me down. I had enough Saga dice to set up this turn for a good one two punch. I used Njord which allows all units within 6 inches of Warlord (including Warlord) to remove a fatigue. This allowed me to take my hearthguard and move them just so that they were closest to the two man unit than any other (if you activate for movement a second time within short (4 inches) you have to contact the closest enemy unit within short. I did this in an attempt to destroy his two man unit so it would cause fatigue on all his units within 6 inches. Having moved a second time I incurred a fatigue which Dave used to raise his armor to a 5. I rolled 10 dice and scored 4 hits... yes! But could Dave save them all again? This time a small tear formed on Dave's cheek as he failed to save all the hits and they went down not causing any back to me. This was perfect, now I had the set up I was looking for. I attacked his 10 man warrior unit (I had to as they were within VS (2 inches)). I rolled in and still had an ability to use that allowed re roll of my misses. Having a fatigue from previous battle and another added up from moving a third time, I was a little in trouble with how this melee could turn out (I lowered his armor with his fatigue and he used my two fatigue to raise his back up and to lower me) I ended up causing 10 hits (including re rolls) and Dave was only able to save two, but he didn't have such a great roll back at me and I had a super save roll so he only caused one loss to me. I then used Kirk and my warrior unit to do a side by side into his 7 man warrior unit, and even though I suggested not to, Dave wanted to split his dice between the Kirk and warrior unit instead of having them all go against my warriors. In the end it did not matter as Dave had a not so good melee roll and I saved all but one which Kirk fluffed off. 

Welsh Turn 5
I thought Dave might still have a chance to bring his 8 man strong warrior unit out of the woods and bring them up for a last ditch effort but instead he went for the glory and did a side by side with his warriors to attack my hearthguard. He was able to do this because he could not reach my Warlord (Warlord's pride, if you activate and can engage in melee with enemy Warlord you must do so) but could not get around the my unit without coming into VS (you can not attack a different unit if you pass within VS (2 inches) of another unit. He ended up killing two of my hearthguard and he lost two of his warriors so they had to bounce as it was a tie in losses.

Viking Turn 6
Turn 5 for me ended up being the turning point, and though I rolled no sixes for Saga dice this turn I didn't need them. I was able to destroy his 1 man warrior unit causing another fatigue on his Warlord and then use my hearthguard to attack his Warlord. I caused 4 hits to his Warlord but he wasn't able to save enough and not able to fluff enough off, fell on the field of battle. I was able to use my 5 man warrior unit to mop up his 3 man warrior unit on hill, and that was all she wrote. 

The final situation
At this point Dave didn't bother doing his last turn as he could not cause enough causalities to me to reverse the situation. I ended up with 22 points to his 16.

In the end we both made a few mistakes, but had a grand time. A few timely die rolls for me helped me turn the tide on game turn 5, otherwise this was a very close run thing. Dave played the Welsh very well. Like all of us when we learn this system you have to play a few games to get a feel for your board. Every time Dave has played he has gotten a little better. Also it's important to know what your opponents board can do. You don't need to memorize all the battle boards, but I think it helps having your opponents battle board in front of you so that you have an idea of how to plan things with your own.

If you've read this far, as always I appreciate you taking the time to do so.



  1. Great game! Every time I play I learn something different. This was the first time I went up against 6 man hearth guard units. I would highly recommend Saga to anyone who has not played it. Just paint up 4 points worth of units (less than 40 figs) to start and enjoy.

    1. I agree with you Dave, Saga is a great skirmish game. I’m excited about the new edition coming out next year with updated battle boards.


  2. Awesome read! But I have to say ...I feel very sad for Dave. I was kinda rooting for him. Love you Bro😂

    1. Thanks Terri, I’ll give you that five bucks the next time I see you;)

      Don’t feel too bad for him he beat the crap out of me the last couple of board games we played.


  3. Sounds like there's a lot going on with Saga. Would love to give it a crack one day.

    Cool report as always, Kevin!

    BTW, what game does that Eastern Front map in the background of photo 2 belong to?


    1. Based on what I think I know about your gaming and ability to do face to face games, you might enjoy Lions Rampart more. Similar too Saga but command is different and I think more solitaire friendly.

      That game sir would be “EastFront” by Columbia games. It’s a block game, and has hidden movement. Takes time to play. If I remember right there are some AAR’s for it on Boardgame Geek.

      Cheers bro

    2. Oh and PS
      If you do decide to get into Saga I would wait for the new edition thats coming out in 2018, along with re done battle boards.

    3. Thanks for the info, Kevin. Birthday's coming up, so I might put in an order for LR for that. Cheers!

      Regrading the boardgame, I have WestFront, which is probably why it looked sort of familiar, but not quite...

      BTW, MMP are bringing out a new chit-pull Barbarossa game based on the A Victory Lost engine. It's on pre-order now. Think I'll have to crack and get it!