Thursday, November 10, 2011

Preparations for SAGA

When I first hear about SAGA I was very interested.  From first hints on the Gripping Beast site, it sounded good to me for many reasons:

1.  Skirmish gaming: Don't need a horde of minis, so it's easier to complete a faction, and not a big chore to start a second (or third) which is a habit of mine.

2.  One of my favorite time periods.  Set in 'Dark Ages' or Early Medieval Britain and surrounding areas.  I've always loved this time period.  I've read Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, History of the Franks, Njal's Saga and others.  People like Penda and Raedwald and Clovis are very interesting.. their clever, crafty and conniving lives would make amazing movies if modern viewers found the time period accessible.

3.  The game mechanics sounded (and confirmed after I read them) both innovative and tactical.  I like that army lists are simple but in-game tactics are varied and complex.  Too many games feel like the most important decisions are made in list-building, before your soldiers even hit the table, but not in this game.

Unfortunately, I have very little free time for my own gaming projects, and it looks unlikely to let up for many months, so this will be a slow-grow & simmer project.  I've been assembling some miniatures for 20-30 minutes a night, in the very late hours after work, to relax and make a bit of progress on the SAGA project. 

Knowing I suffer from CSFS, Compulsive Secondary Faction Syndrome, I went ahead and ordered miniatures for two factions straight away.  I chose Normans and Vikings.  The other two factions in the rules, Anglo-Danish (Saxons) and Welsh I find just as compelling, so why Normans and Vikings?  

Normans: I've wanted an excuse to pick up the Conquest Games plastic Norman knights for a long time.. now I have that excuse.  

Vikings: I figured I could do a large Viking force from just 2 inexpensive boxes of Vikings from Wargames Factory.  

So today, I'll show the progress so far with the Vikings. 
I started with one box of armored and one box of unarmored Vikings. And I'll be using a few other plastic kit bits to spruce them up. I also picked up a dynamic metal mini from Gripping Beast to use as the Warlord.  

First up: Viking Hearthguard. 
These are the elite warriors, so come 4 to a unit.  Armored warriors was a must, and I chose to give them all swords.  Swords were more expensive than axes or spears, which makes obvious sense: it has a lot more metal.  So the warriors higher up on the social scale would have access to swords... plus it will make a very easy method of visual identification on the battlefield.
You can get some nice poses with these.  Sometimes a bit of filing on the neck is needed, but it's not too hard to do. 
Vikings may also have Berzerker Heathguard.  I will probably give them double weapons or two-handed weapons to show this, and I may use some of the shirtless bodies from the celts to further sell the idea. 

Warriors: These come 8 to a unit.  I decided to go with a mix of armored & unarmored and a mix of axes & spears, but no swords. Here is a sample of the ones I've made so far:

Lastly is Levies.  Vikings can have bows or slings and come 12 to a unit.  
The WF box sets only have 8 bows and I must admit, the arms are not really designed for the bows.  
It takes selective hunting to find decent arms to use.  I'm quite proud of the 'drawing an arrow' pose: that took some angle-shaving of the arms to pull off right, but I think it adds a lot to the unit. 

I doubt I'd ever want more than 1 unit of Levy in a force, so the two boxes gives plenty of bows, but for variety, I dug up the sample sprues of Numidians that WF sent me, and found it had 4 slings... excellent!
Here are the slings next to a bowman for comparison.  The unit has 8 bows, 4 slings.

More vikings to come, and Normans to show as well.

Until then, enjoy some sound old Viking advice... 


MiniMike said...

Good luck with the project. Looking forward seeing it progress

Spacejacker said...

Very nice converting and posing, they all look both dynamic and natural. SAGA sounds fascinating, not sure if it would work solo though. Please set me straight if it does!

Ray Rousell said...

They do look like a great set of rules! I've got tons of Vikings already, but I do quite fancy buying some of GB's plastic's!!

Rodger said...

That looks like a very nice force. I do like the converted bowmen and slingers.

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks all :)

Spacejacker: not sure it'd make the best solo game- doesn't seem any way to 'auto-pilot' one faction, and so much depends on allocating your saga dice to 'buy' abilities for the turn, which is based in large part on being ready to anticipate and take advantage of what your opponent might have planned.. which all makes for a great game, but when the other opponent is you, then you know exactly what both sides are thinking. So I'm not sure about solo play.

Ray: Thanks! I had a hard time deciding between GB & WF.. I read a comparison somewhere, and both had aspects in favor of them, in the end I went with WF since it seemed a toss up for good aspects, and WF is cheaper and easier to get where I am. BTW, you won the contest, still need your shipping address for your prize :)

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