Patrick’s Birthday Present

SAGA North Gael Warlord (4)My brother and I have taken up playing SAGA some time ago. We are both looking forward to the SAGA Grand Melee in Oerlinghaus next weekend. Incidently today is my brother’s birthday. So what better idea could I have but to augment his fierce Norse Gaels presenting him a new warlord with a two-handed axe. I sure hope I won’t need to play against him at the tournament.

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SAGA Painting the Gall-Gaedhil

With the SAGA Grand Melee 2015 coming up the pressure rises to finish the SAGA figures that I have already cleaned and now are patiently waiting to be painted. This gives me the opportunity to explain how I paint my 28mm white metal figures. I am well aware that  most people have their own painting techniques, but I also remember that I was always keen to read about other peoples ways to learn. The figures I am going to paint are the Sons of Death, a group of Norse-Irish mercenaries.

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SAGA German compendium just arrived

SAGA Kompendium battelboards

SAGA Kompendium (1)Today the new SAGA Kompendium arrived together with the 2015 calendar promised to come along with the first 200 pre-orders. Also I received the long awaited Gall -Gaedhill swords for hire. These guys will serve as an 2 point option for my Anglo-Danes or as a boost to full 6 points for the Irish.

I like to invite you to a quick first glance at the book, the battle boards, the calendar, and the figures.

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SAGA Irish update

I have done a lot of painting lately and now have run out of deflashed figures I’d like to paint. For me it normally is either painting or cleaning metal figures. Otherwise all the fine chippings get into the paint and contaminate it. So I put away brushes and paints and went on to clean the flash from my newly acquired 28mm Gripping Beast Irish. Here is the result:

SAGA Irish update (2)

Irish wolf hounds and handler

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Irish warriors

SAGA Irish update (4)

Irish heathguard

All together I found it quite easy to remove the flash from the GB figures. The Irish wolf hounds and handler were a treat to clean. No problems at all. The other Irish models all have seperate shields that need to be soundly glued onto the left fist of the figures. Some of the heathguard figures have quite fiddly parts that are somewhat difficult to attach firmly. I am unsure, if this is going to be a travelling army as I would be apprehensive of parts breaking off in transit.

SAGA Irish update (5) SAGA Irish update (14)

All the figures get their bases mounted on a 25mm washer. The warlord off course gets his 40mm washer. The washer lowers the barycenter of the figure and that will make it a firm stand on the tabletop. Also it allows storage and transportation on a magnetic mat.

SAGA Irish update (16) SAGA Irish update (17)

Next step is to model the bases for the warband. I have learned from documentaries on medieval Ireland that todays landscape of Ireland has only developed after the Norman occupation. Still, with the wet weather predominant on the island I will go for grassy bases.

SAGA Irish update (20) SAGA Irish update (19)

First I apply a layer of waterbases instant stopper onto the bases.  I use a small brush for this work. On the bases of the warlord and his champions I add a piece of hemp string cut to a 3mm strand. These will look like bushes when painted.

SAGA Irish update (13)Next step of course is priming. I use a light gray sythetic resin primer. It dries quickly and provides me with a good base coat for my painting. At this stage we can admire the 4 points warband fully cleaned, based, primed, and thus ready for painting.

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

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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!”

Hibernian SAGA

With my first warband nearly finished there is room for a new project on my work bench. I am looking for a faction that is radically different from the Anglo-Danes and from the Vikings. Also I want a colorful warband with a special flavour. My interest focused on either the Norse Gael, the Irish or the Jomsvikings.

At the Essen games fair my brother and I settled on the Norse Gael and the Irish faction. So instead of one new project we now actually share two. My brother and I both are very keen on the SAGA rules system as you can gather from this. I got to pick the Irish warband.

CIMG3434 CIMG3436  425px-Wenceslas_Hollar_-_Ireland_(State_2)

Here you get the first impression on the figures, the warlord, 8 Fianna, 8 Bonnachts, a dog handler an 7 wolf hounds for a warband of 4 SAGA points.


The warlord


The Fianna


The Bonnachts


The wolf hounds

We obtained the proper dice, the Viking and the Scottish ones. Also, I wanted to give the self made dice a go. I got eight blank black dice and fitted the Norman symbols on them. This works quite well and for a budget 1/3 of the normal price. Neverttheless I think the official dice obviously outshine the self made ones. We probably will get latter as supplemental sets for situations where we need the same dice for opposing forces.

CIMG3437  CIMG3439

I am also very interested to learn more about the historical and cultural background of my new faction. Here you find some first quick information. Also I am quite keen to find out what type of costumes would be appropriate for the Irish. I will have to do some research on this.

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.

Starting the SAGA

Starting the SAGA (2)bRecently I visited a wargames event nearby, to meet my fellow wargamers and to have a friendly game or two. Besides other and more broadly popular wargames there was a small SAGA tournament. I took the opportunity to watch, discuss the rules, and even got to play a demo game. This helped a lot to make me more familiar with the unique rule system from Gripping Beast and to renew my appetite for the age of the Vikings! 

Starting the SAGA (3)

Scottish SAGA warband

SAGA Scottish cavalry

Scottish cavalry

Three years ago I allready had made my first encounter with the then brand new rules of SAGA. The games system is built around battleboards, each specific to a single faction, where you use battle dice to activate units and special abilities. If you want to know more about the rules, you may want to read this review I found quite helpful. 

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Charlemagne and his Carolingian SAGA warband

I was quite fascinated when I came across SAGA. There is was, the opportunity to paint a manageable number 28mm figures and to actually get to play with them. Gripping Beast offers starter boxes and I chose an Anglo-Danish warband with a chieftain, 8 Huscarls, and 16 Ceorls, 4 points in game terms. 

SAGA Anglo-Danish battleboard and dice

SAGA Anglo-Danish battleboard and dice

To take part in comming tournaments I will need a 6 points Anglo-Danish warband. Thus I bought an additional pack each of Anglo-Danish Huscarls and of Geburs. This will bring my warband to 41 figures. I shall organise them as follows:

  • WARLORD with Dane axe
  • 4 HUSCARLS with Dane axe
  • 8 CEORLS
  • 8 CEORLS
  • 12 GEBURS with slings

The announcement of a private SAGA tournament scheduled for after Christmas serves to boost my motivation to get the warband ready for action. The 25 figures I bought 3 years ago are all cleaned and coated, half of them painted. The 16 new figures will go through the process of cleaning, assembling, coating, and painting due short.

Starting the SAGA (13)

Gripping Beast Ceorls with Slings

Also I want to add some terrain. I started with an Anglo-Danish dwelling from 4GROUND. I am much pleased how easy the assembly went and how convincing the result looks on the game table. Stage one of the assembly is complete. After a 24 houres period of leaving the white glue to dry I can procede to finish the house.

Ango-Danish dwelling assembly stage 1

Ango-Danish dwelling assembly stage 1

Starting the SAGA (11)

Anglo-Dane in front of his dwelling

I will leave you now as the Anglo-Danish warband is calling me to the work bench. Read more of the Anglo-Danish SAGA in future posts.