Good day, I hate painting horses. I should probably have acted upon this knowledge before buying 50+ cavalrymen for my Muslims and Byzantines.
I have to do something about this, so I got this idea. Each month I will paint at least two horsemen to completion and document the results here. I probably won’t be posting this every month, but skipping a post doesn’t mean skipping painting. You can follow this journey along and shame me when I fail and cheer when I succeed.
Here are the two I finished or October. A berber horseman and a Seljuk horse archer both from the Gripping Beast range. I did a small conversion on the Seljuk hat, an important item the plastic kit weirdly lacks. The plastic kit also has some serious gaps that need to be fixed.
Took the Byzantines out to their 4th SAGA tournament. I’ve been playing the Moors a lot in our Age of the Wolf campaign, but external circumstances forced my hand to pick the Romans. This AAR will describe my army, the scenarios we played, how the battles went, with focus on the important tactical decisions I remember. Lastly, a short evaluation of the tournament and my army will be presented. The initial strategy behind my army selection was to use Turcoman mercenaries and switch them with Javelin Levy. I totally failed to paint this as I needed more practice games. I ended up with:Read More »
I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to do the cracked, dry earth bases for my Moorish volunteers for SAGA. While the application of Agrellan Earth is simple, there are some mistakes that can be made. And I pretty much made all of them when painting 50 minis with this technique. By reading this guide, you won’t have to.Read More »
Trigger warning: This post contains shitty references to 90s hiphop.
Another wave of recruits for the Moors arrives to shake the funk in our Age of the Wolf campaign. Had a good time painting these fellows. Tried for a mix of clothing here, a couple of veterans “acquired” flaunty Moorish dress but the new recruits from Africa came with plain clothes. My only regret is giving them those long ass spears. It looks cool but they tend to impale scenery on the gaming table and are a bitch to pack. Models are from Gripping Beast and are on the bigger side of 28 mm.
Our SAGA campaign steams on and here’s a short battle report of Moorish volounteer warriors facing the illustrious Jomsviking brotherhood. This battle took place in the third campaign turn (out of six possible). Since we were both raiding this turn, Battle at the Ford was rolled as the scenario.
The Jomsvikings were lead by the infamous King Fury who took over the reigns once the previous leader was killed. Driven into the fray by his lust for riches, the Jomsviking leader had many scars from previous battles represented by the Trollhide ability, requiring two wounds to be slain. The force consisted of:
My Moorish Warband is led by a tough Sub-Saharan former merchant calling himself al-Battal Ghazi, who sold as all his property and took up the Jihad of the Sword. While lacking serious religious credentials, few can doubt that he doesn’t receive what he asks from Allah. His sense for business and logistics has led to the employment of northerners with various faiths, despite grumblings from his more puritan warriors.
The Moorish warlord has the Son of Odin (heh), Eye of the God,Scout and the Great Special Rules. In game it means he is requires two unsaved hits to die, Levys generate SAGA dice, the post game progression table can be rerolled (very useful this one) and up to 7 SAGA dice can be rolled each turn. He’s a total beast in the game. The Moorish Warband had:
The Moors had a stronger Warband in this game, and together with some above average dice rolling, they were able to reel in a victory. With few losses too. I really shouldn’t have played Betrayal though. A weak ability to play on Jomsvikings who can easily remove 3 fatigues from their Warlord with a common dice and free rest.
My Jomsviking opponent didn’t blame his dice. He found his plan flawed as he expected to move my men out of the way with Jomsborg, but this ability could only be played in my turn. He told me he could have played more cool, there was no need to rush into battle.
Post battle, the Jomsvikings faced another revolt at home, as the inhabitants of Jomsborg expect victories. Al Battal Ghazi gained some additional warriors and levies were bulked up to full strength.
I am surprised to like Age of the Wolf as it has the faults of classical British game design. These are characterized by eccentric rules married with random charts, where rolling double ones can totally ruin your life. But unlike my experience Flames of War and Warhammer 40k, where the campaigns are basically marketing ploys requiring huge amount of product to play, Age of the Wolf offers interesting games and characterful Warband development. Just don’t expect it to be fair.
I would recommend fans of SAGA to try it out but consider two things before hand. Firstly, roster management is a huge part of the campaign and there needs to be a way to update it easily and keep them accessible to other players. For gaming balance reasons, the roster management is quite complicated so prepare to dumb it down a bit.
Secondly, try to figure out some way players can get more games in regardless of their chosen campaign actions. Now, back to painting.
I brought my trusty Byzantines to test their mettle in the brutal fighting grounds of A Clash of Dice and Men II. God willing, the burning shame of placing last at the spring tournament will be avenged. I got to play 3 out of 4 games (had to omit one to make up for uneven number of players).
The tournament was 6+1 points, meaning that we brought 7 points but only 6 fight on the table. I ended up with:
Byzantines of Komes Dwellias (7 Points)
1 Mounted Warlord
3 Points of Hearthguard (8 Mounted Lancers + 4 Mounted Archers)
3 Points of Warriors (10 Warriors w Bow + 10 Warriors w Spears+ 4 Warriors w Spears)
1 Point of Levy (12 Javelinmen)
Game 1 – Jomsvikings – Battle Twilight
I got to face the winner from the last tournament with his army of invincible Jomsvikings. It consisted of:
20 Hearthguard (split into 6+6+8)
Special Rules: Armor 6 against shooting attacks. Starts the game with 1 Wrath.
My opponent plucked his boys near the center lines of each quarter. I put some the cavalry and 6 Warriors in one quarter, the levy split and took the lower quarters. The last quarter was occupied by 10 Archers and 8 spearmen. Foolishly, I put my lord with the infantry and not with the cavalry.
A possible weakness of the Jomsvikings is Sigvaldi who generates 3 SAGA dice by himself. If I could knock him out, the Jomsvikings would run out of steam. Without having my Warlord nearby, there was no way of using double cavalry activations moves from Basileus.
The Jomsvikings are very scary in combat. Their defensive abilities can subdue everything thrown at them. They can activate easily and are completely immune to shooting.
My opponent was determined that he could not win this mission from the start but he made things easier for me by splitting his force into 3 units and not 4. In this way, I was guaranteed to score in at least one quarter. Unfortunately, my opponent did a good job exploiting the bad positioning of my Warlord, netting him one victory point.
While my army had the advantage of many units, it had the disadvantage of them having specialized equipment. It was hard for me to utilize the Endless Warband rule compared to an Jomsvikings all Hearthguard army with uniform equipment. As the Byzantine battleboard demands close inter-unit-cooperation, using it in this scenario is quite a challenge.
Result: 3-1 for me. (3 points for me by winning the mission, 1 point for my opponent for taking out a Warlord). Won the battle by not fighting, the proper Byzantine way. Game 2 – Anglodanes – The Challenge
In this mission we used the revised rules where the objective is to get 10 wounds on the opposing warlord first. Units cannot engage an Warlord unless your Warlord took more wounds than the opponent. The secondary objective is to get 4 conquering points in your opponents deployment. The Anglodanish force arrayed against the might of Byzantium consisted of:
With a quick glance, the obvious mission plan is to avoid the 8 Huscarls with Daneaxes smashing into my Warlord and chopping him up like firewood.
Initially the Danes were able to play Trapped for a couple of turns, sprinkling fatigue all over my army (mostly the cavalry). I should have really found some time to paint up some banner-men.
The Danish defenses turn out to be impeccable. Exhaustion and defense dice hamper my horsemen’s efforts while the Jarl and his men run towards the woods. In the last turn of the game, I put all my activation on the Hearthguard, it’s Now or Never! and..
I can’t believe I snatched defeat from the Jaws of Victory here. Short term gratification of killing models took precedence over long term victory conditions.
But it was an enjoyable close and tense game to the last dice roll. Anglodanes are a good opponent for the Byzantines. Their fatigue and activation blocking shenanigans can throw plans off and they are surprisingly durable in combat. However, the Danes have to watch themselves from the Byzantine shooting and avoid losing too many men breaking the shield wall. Their slow pace allows cavalry to hit them in bad places. My opponent won the tournament. Congratulations Alex!
Game 3 – Crusaders – Champions of God
The final opponent fielded Crusaders. The force had:
Godfrey de Bouillon
8 Mounted Knights (Hearthguard)
4 Foot Knights with Heavy Weapons (Hearthguard)
8 Crossbows (Warriors)
8 Spearmen (Warriors) Special Rules: de Buillion can use We obey! twice, and starts the game with the Temperance virtue unlocked. de Bouillon can also allocate wounds to nearby models within 4″ instead of 2″ thanks to him being a knight exampler. Everybody wants to take one for team Bouillon.
I have played this type of mission a lot and the terrain was suitable for my army.
My opponent held off his close combat abilities waiting for my inevitable counter attack.
My opponent also attack my levy with his spearmen but they refuse to die. In my turn I counterattack with my spearmen and push his back. De Boullion stands alone..
After this huge setback, the crusaders were out of the game. My opponent was a new player, having borrowed his army. I felt like an total ass for wiping out all of his miniature dudes. A real “That Guy” way of introducing someone to a game.
I was however impressed with my opponents decision to follow the game through until his last man was cut down, without a word of complaint. It was no surprise he won Best Sportsmanship.
Result: 4-0 to the Byzantines. I finished 3/9 place overall.
My Warband did a good job most of the games but I need to play other missions than just slay the Warlord. I like the flexibility of the Byzantines but its not an easy battle board to use. Overall it was a great tournament.
Some quick words about organization. As each game had to completed within two hours, the terrain was pre-placed on each table by the tournament organizers. To avoid unfair advantages, we decided also that buildings (one of our common terrain pieces) was impassible terrain. We also had only one mission where Slaughtering Victory Points were counted at the end. Avoiding them seem to speed things up.
It was great to see new players showing up with their warbands. Also shout outs to Pedro for coming here all the way from Denmark. I suspect watching me getting molested by a piss drunk stag party later that night made up for the long trip.