Monday, 1 May 2017

River Skirmish

South Bank Viking bondi advance under Danish arrow fire
Another game from our Age of the Wolf campaign. This was a strange though inevitable situation of having two players controlling four factions - my Vikings facing off against my Danes. Matt took the Danes and we played Battle at the Fords scenario. Points are scored for troops that have crossed the river at the end of the game - the river bisects the battlefield and there are just two crossing points.

At the southern crossing, the Vikings advanced rapidly under fire from Danish archers - no point hanging about to be picked off one by one. It's really annoying losing elite troops to lowly archers, so the poor bondi took the lead and the brunt of the missile fire.

North Bank Vikings line up to defend Danish probes

Over on the north bank the Vikings took a more defensive stance, lining the bank of the river and waiting for any Dane attack. This was my general strategy - to attack in the south, hold in the north. There are never quite enough Saga dice to move everything if you want to employ battleboard abilities, so I was quite happy to do this. A unit of bondi in front with a small reserve of hirdmen to plug any gaps, keeping a watchful eye on the advancing Danish Lord and his bodyguard.

South bank vikings cross the river

The decisive action was taking place on the south bank. The Viking bondi waded the crossing and exacted their revenge on the Danish archers, slaying a few and forcing the remainder back. Unfortunately this left them tired and easy prey for the Danish hearthguard. Their sacrifice was not in vain though, as the Viking Lord and his bodyguard waded across the river.

North bank Danish attack is repulsed

On the north bank, the Danish Lord finally took the plunge and surged forward with his bodyguard, crashing into the viking bondi. Ordinarily this would have been an easy combat for the Danes, but I had kept some Saga dice in reserve on combat abilities, allowing me to reroll misses. Thus, the lowly Viking bondi slaughtered the Dane elite and pushed back the Lord. He waded back to the far bank, his warriors helping him out.

South bank Vikings advance

Back at the south bank, the Vikings took up a position in a patch of boggy ground, just out of reach of the Dane archers. Dane warriors hurtled past them and attempted to cross the river, but were hacked down almost to a man by very annoyed Vikings - back into the river they went and back out again. By now the Danes had utterly lost control of the south bank. In a last gasp attack on the north bank the Danish Lord and his troops faced the viking defending line, but were no match. The Danish Lord fell in battle and limped away, jeered by his Norse tormentors. You can read about the Danish lament on Matt's blog.

Another good game of Saga. As usual, there never seems to be enough Saga dice to cover all eventualities, forcing some hard decisions to be made (or not - in the case of the Danish Lord!). Though each force is practically identical, the Saga abilities means that each plays in a very different way. This is the beauty of the game to my mind.

The campaign system is not quite up to the same standard. Setting aside the very confusing points/units system, the random fate rolls have played a large part in allowing the Vikings to steam ahead. In truth, it's not really suitable for just two players, even though we have four factions between us. It has generated some very enjoyable games, but it's not quite worked out the way we had hoped. Officially we are half way through, it remains to be seen if we will complete the whole thing. If there were a group of four or five players I think it would work much better - and to be fair this is exactly the set up the Age of the Wolf is designed for. Even if we abandon the campaign, there's plenty more Saga gaming to come.


Matt Crump said...

The river looks positively iridescent in your shots, I need some willow trees and smoke to make it real spooky .......

MichaƂ Kucharski said...

Looking really great!

Old Fogey said...

I blame the camera / lighting. Or maybe it's a Swiss battle, I remember a very blue river there on a long ago holiday!

Phil said...

Sounds great...beautiful terrain!

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