SAGA Grand Melee 2015 Review

GartenzaunThe open air museum of Oerlinghaus set the scene for this years SAGA Grand Melee. 28 protagonists took part in this event that was exellently staged by “Sir Wennig” of Stronghold Terrain. The dark age longhouse proved the perfect setting for this two-day event.

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SAGA Getting ready for the Grand Melee Germany 2015

A SAGA tournament will be held in September at the outdoor museum Oerlinghausen. And my Anglo Danes and I, we are going! It is said that the games are going to be played in the  Merowingian longhouse below. I shall bring along a candle.


You can find all relevant information at »Deine SAGA startet hier!«.

Obviously we will need to prepare for the event. I hope I can play a few games for exercise. As the tournament asks for a 6 point warband, I will probably take along all my Danes with no mercenaries.

SAGA Anglo-Danes (14)

As an alternative I could substitute 2 points for the Gall Gaedhil. I would probabely leave behind one group of the heathguards and the slingers. And of course it would motivate me to paint the mercenaries at last.

“We Obay” on the sheep

SAGA 2014 Julfest (2)

Just after Yuletide the Anglo-Danish warlord Jarl Sigeweard Digri of Northumbria moves along the Scottish border. Aethelwyne, Bishop of  Durham, had attended the Yuletide festivities at the earl’s court. With the weather quite mild for the season, the bishop insists on visiting a holy shrine near the Firth of Forth. Hence the earl and his warband escort the bishop and his entourage to secure a safe journey.

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SAGA Anglo-Danes 6 pts. warband

SAGA Anglo-Danes (14)You can find the proud warlord in the midst of his men. They all are ready to take on any adversary that might come along and threaten their beautiful village. Will the warband stand up to the epic endeavors of the historical Anglo-Danes? Well, they certainly will strive to do so.

On the internet one can find a lot of coverage on the events of 1066 AD during the short reign of Harold Godwinson. To those who are interested in background information I highly recommend this 2 part series:

1066 – The Battle For Middle Earth (1 of 2)

1066 – The Battle For Middle Earth (2 of 2)

And here I present the Anglo-Danish warband in detail. I can see a degree of increased expertise in painting the 28mm figures. I do think it was a good idea to paint the warlord last. That makes him stand out as the figure painted best as it befits.

SAGA Anglo-Danes (8)For the last 6 models I went for duller colors with the shields which suits well with the natural dyes I envision for the warriors of the period.

With the 6 point warband completed I might add a group of warriors / mercenaries or a hero of the Viking age later on. The warband also can serve as the basis for a later conversion to Anglo-Saxon by adding more warriors. But right now I am quite content with the Anglo-Danes as they are.

The warlord

The warlord

SAGA Anglo-Danes (12)

The warlord’s personal bodyguard of Huscarls

The Heathguard

The Huscarls

SAGA Anglo-Danes (10)

The Ceorls

The Geburs

The Geburs

So here we go, on to glory and death. Anyone near and far who dares to challenge the prowess of our warlord is invited over to a friendly game of SAGA.

“Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!”

SAGA Anglo-Danes vs. Khazad

SAGA measuring stick

My SAGA stick

As I transfer individual figures from the work bench to the ranks of my Anglo-Danes, their strength increases more and more. Now the Anglo-Danes already can muster all but the second unit of warriors and the warlord himself. As a substitute for him I dug out a heavily mailclad figure from the Metal Magic 25mm  fantasy range that I have painted decades ago.

SAGA CanuteThis will pose as Canute Sweynsson, King of England, Danemark, Norse and parts of Sweden. Also known as King Cnut the Great this character is a powerful Anglo-Danish Hero of the Viking age from the SAGA rule book. He generates 7 SAGA dice (Sic!) as long he leads his warband, and he can opt to use the Viking battleboard with any or all of the SAGA dice. This really is powerful!

Now, including Carnute, I can assemble a 6 point Anglo-Danish warband comprising

  • Cnut the Great with Dane axes
  • 4 Huscarls with Dane axes
  • 8 Huscarls with hand weapons and shields
  • 8 Ceorls with hand weapons and shields
  • 12 Gebuers with slings

Normally this would give the warband only 5 SAGA dice, thus here you see how the Anglo-Danes benefit from Cnut’s special abilities.

Today the Anglo-Danes have to take on a Dwarven raiding party from Khazad-dum originating from the Lord of the Rings fantasy background. The 6 point warband comprises of

  • the Uzbat with a two-hand axe
  • 4 Sigin-Tarag with two-hand axes
  • 4 Naugrim with two-hand axes
  • 8 Azaghal with and weapons and shields
  • 8 Azaghal with two-hand axes
  • 8 Azaghal with crossbows

The terrain is quite restrictive with two pieces of fields/crops in the left and right centre, a house on the left and a swamp on the right of the Anglo-Danish position.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (2) SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (1)

The Khazad start the battle by pushing forward their bowmen. They suffer heavy casualties from sling shots in round 2 and 3 in the skirmish with the Anglo-Danish Gebuers.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (3)The Khazad use their abilities to advance on all sectors of the field of battle. The one handicap the Dwarfs have is the short pace of advance. They only move “S” on each activation, restricing them to “VS” in uneven terrain.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (4) SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (5)

Their advance on the Anglo-Danish left is only a distraction and developes into nothing more than a demonstration of force. The advance of the Dwarf warlord and his Naugrim bodyguard in the centre is far more threatening.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (11)The Geburs take out one of the Naugrim but now have to fall back exhausted. Nonwithstanding the warlord decides that his Naugrim bodyguards are to valuable to be wasted and lets them go hide in the crops. One only can imagine what sagas will be told in the halls of Khazad-dum on this specific feat of prudence!

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (6) The drama unfolds on the Anglo-Danish right wing when the large Huscarl unit attacks the Sigin-Tarag elite. Due to the special rules for both the elite units involed the battle rages for two combat rounds involving a total of Anglo-Danish 32 attack dice vs. Khazad 12 attack and 12 defence dice plus some abilities from both battle boards. This resulted in no casualties, one fatigue each, and a push back for the Huscarls.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (8)Then the Sigin-Tarag attack with their throwing axes killing two Huscarls. Finally the Azaghal with their two-hand axes charge into the flank of the Huscarls. This killed all but one of the Huscarls this delivers the coup de grace to the elite Anglo-Danish unit.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (9)Cnut and his bodyguard retaliate on their part charging into the now exposed flank of the Azaghal. All but three Dwarfs are killed, and the unit is pushed back exhausted.

SAGA blogpost 3 AD vs. Khazad (7)Cnut’s last option is a charge with his bodyguard into the Sigit-Tarag. As this also fails to produce any favorable results, he has to concede the battle.

The score showes a clear victory for the Khazad Dwarfs:

  • Khazad Dwarfs:    9 VPs for 9 Huscarls
  • Anglo-Danes:        5.5 VPs for 1 Naugrim and 9 Azaghal

The Anglo-Danes did not use the Viking battle board. Against the stubborn and highly resilient Dwarfs this could have made a difference. Anyway, this was an interesting and very absorbing wargaming experience soon to be repeated.

SAGA Anglo-Danes

SAGA Blogpost 2 (4)Here they come, my SAGA Anglo-Danes. As I can now muster the first 4 points it is ready for minor actions and battle borad training. Two units are still partially on the work bench, 4 Huscarls with the Dane axe, and 8 Ceorl warriors. The warlord himself will stays at the tavern until his last henchman is finished. For the time being one of the Huscarls will take his place as a deputy warlord.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (2) SAGA Blogpost 2 (10) SAGA Blogpost 2 (11)

 I am quite keen to play and thus have summoned up some effort for painting figures. Also I scrach built some low-cost fatigue markers from tiny pebble stones that I mounted on old pennies.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (1)The dice you see below I had to buy. As all gamers I love dice and also I find these specific dice fit well into the SAGA theme.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (5)Going through my stored away fantasy figures I found some figures that will fit in nicely with upcomming SAGA warbands.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (12) These fantasy berserkers I must have painted some 20 years ago. Now they will come in very handy as the nucleus for a Viking warband.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (7) SAGA Blogpost 2 (6) SAGA Blogpost 2 (9) SAGA Blogpost 2 (8)

The last two figures are an old Danish Huscarle from Essex Miniatures and a Viking type warrior from a munufacturer I cannot recall. Both have been painted some 30 years ago. I only had to finish the bases and add the standart.

SAGA Blogpost 2 (3)

I am quite sure I can find some more figures in my stored away boxes, both painted and unpainted. Also I unboxes all my fantasy dwarfs who now pose as the regular opponent for my solo training sessions.