Sunday, October 14, 2018

Trying Tribal

Iroquois vs. Huron in a playtest of the Tribal skirmish rules
 Mike Stelzer had lent me a copy of a new set of skirmish rules that he'd purchased called "Tribal" (downloadable on Wargame Vault) It is meant to reflect primitive warfare -- with combatants in small warbands more concerned with honor than enemy body count. After reading it, I encouraged him to run a game of it for us on Sunday evening. Mike agreed, and decided we would fight an early battle between Iroquois and Huron tribesmen before the arrival of gunpowder.
One of my units of Iroquois warriors advances, hunting for their Huron enemies
One of the interesting things about Tribal is that it uses no dice. As I am known as a rather shaky dice roller, this intrigued me. Instead, each player uses their own deck of cards to provide the randomization. In the back of my mind was the fact that, in my trips to Vegas and playing friendly poker with friends, I don't have the best of card luck either. I put that aside, and brought along a box of my Native Americans with hand weapons or bows.
Two lines of Indians -- ancient enemies -- advance to engage each other
Mike gave each of us a Tribal Chief or leader, a Hero, and two units of five warriors. There were six of us present. Allen, Brian, and myself played the Iroquois, while Steve, Mike S, and Joel played the Huron (Mike didn't say that -- I just decided it..ha, ha!). I was matched against Mike S, while Joel would fight Brian, and Steve battled Allen. Essentially, we ran it as three separate one-on-one games on the same tabletop.
A battle rages on the right flank, as Brian's tribe begins to slow push back Joel's
Each player draws from his deck as many units as he has (four for us, as the Hero and Leader are separate units). As you can imagine, the higher cards are better in melee. So, when I drew a slew of high cards for my first movement, I had a bad feeling. I wasn't the only one doing that, and it was only the first turn, so I still had hope that I might do better at cards than dice. Units/Heroes/Leaders can Walk, Run, or Sprint. The playing card itself is the measuring stick, with the short side being a walk, the long side a run, and two long sides a sprint. In addition to the length of the card, the figure also moves its base depth. You place the card against any figure of the unit and move it to the other side of the card. Simple, easy movement rules.
One of my units of Warriors advances to engage a depleted enemy unit
It took us a couple turns to close with each other. I decided to keep my Hero and Leader back behind the warrior units to maybe dash in and finish off a unit the warriors had damaged. Heroes take 5 hits, and Leaders 6. Individual warriors take only one hit. That is kind of the crux of the combat system, too. You fight five "exchanges," drawing one card for each warrior or wound available. A unit that has lost figures draws only as many cards as it has figures/wounds. So, if a fresh unit of 5 figures is fighting one that has only 3, the players do the three rounds of combat (exchanges). After that, the player who is out of cards draws off the top of his deck. This prevents the player from planning ahead.
I couldn't believe it when I drew this combat hand for one of my Warrior units (note the Ace already played - I received a bonus sixth card because Mike's unit had to Sprint to reach mine)
I guess that is one thing I liked. You could plan the order to use your best cards. Plus, each suit has a different combat effect. Winning an exchange with a black cards causes a hit or hits, while winning with a red card causes no hits, but allows you to affect the next exchange. There is even a difference between Spades and Clubs, as well as between Diamonds or Hearts. The unit that charges in has "Initiative," which means they get to see which card their opponent plays in that exchange first.  So, it is good to have the initiative, so you can play just enough to beat your opponent, or if you have no chance of beating that card, throw away one of your low cards against it. The winner of an exchange takes the initiative for the next round.
Mike's Hero faces off against my Leader and two warriors remaining from a battered unit
My skirmish with Mike began with one of his units of Warriors charging mine on my left. I drew decent cards, and killed two of his, while losing one. Whoever wins the most of the five rounds of exchange wins the combat. Losing units back off a Run distance. Mike S then charged in with his other unit of warriors against my warriors on my right. That was when I drew the magic hand. I was shocked when I saw it -- mostly all high cards and mostly black (which meant we would be killing their figures). It was a slaughter, and Mike's entire unit of warriors was slain.  He followed up that charge with his Hero against my same unit, causing a few casualties, and forcing them back. I think a better rule than all losing units withdrawing one Run would be to have them fall back the number of wounds they lost. Or at least the difference between the two.
If I thought my battle against Mike S was bloody, Allen and Steve were soon down to just 3 figures between them
Mike took the advantage for the next few combats, but I continued to wear him down. In the end, he had only his wounded Hero and wounded Leader left against my equally wounded Leader and Hero and three of my Warriors. He decided discretion was the better part of valor and withdrew from the field.
My Hero reinforces a warrior unit that has driven off an enemy unit, but lose one of its number
The Honor system didn't really seem to work for me. It is supposed to force sides that lose all honor points to surrender or run off. Each of us began with 4 honor, and earned more when we won a combat, and even more when we destroyed an enemy unit. No one ever got close to running out of honor. For example, I had 14 honor at the end of the game, while Mike had 7. On our side, Brian and I won, while Allen lost to Steve. So, we counted it as an Iroquois victory. Perhaps we did something wrong, but the Honor seemed to do little other than keep track of who won the battle.

It was a good time, though. I enjoyed the tactical decision making each combat exchange picking which card to play. Winning with red cards allow you to affect the subsequent exchange. You can change the suit of either your card (Hearts) or your opponent's card (Diamonds).

There are optional rules with Skills for units and leaders/heroes. I'd be interested to try it again. It seems to have a number of possibilities. Will I use it for Native American warfare instead of my own Song of Drums and Tomahawks system? Definitely not. It is very generic and doesn't have the flavor I feel Song of Drums has for the period. But who knows? There might be another gaming period it would work well for...say, Conan the Barbarian? Hmmm....

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Advance the Colors 2018 purchases

My newest-painted Sarissa Precision 28mm MDF building is the green one that is second in line
As always, prior to a convention, I set myself a difficult deadline to achieve. I was very happy with the Sarissa Precision MDF buildings I had purchased from Wargame Tools LLC at Historicon. Terry, the owners, is a great guy, and was very helpful in acquiring some more similar ones to ship to me. So, three new buildings show up in the mail in the weeks leading up to Advance the Colors 2018. I was determined to finish them in time, and I did. Juuust barely. Here are pictures of the final one.
Close up of the gray-green building I scrambled to finish in time for the convention
I went with a pale green color for this one - another two-story row building. It is amazing how just by changing how I paint these -- along with the various designs for the windows and doors on Version A, B, C, D, etc. -- they look different. First, I spray-painted the building black. Next, I gave it a base coast of a very light, pale green craft paint called Sagebrush Green. Next, I dry-brushed it white, finishing it off with a black wash. The trim was painted in a brighter, Kelly Green.
You can see the green color better in this photograph
Due to time restraints I did not put a tiny roof structure to show where the stairs come out. It is just as easy to tell the players there is a trap door or something. Of my four Sarissa buildings, two of them have scratch-built roof structures. If I do any more, I will certainly add these. I like how it also individualizes them. I found a new use for the Woodland Scenics mixed gray ballast that I use to texture the roofs. It allows the roofs to be use as dice rolling trays! I put a coat of white glue and water over the ballast (which is glued in place by full strength white glue), so I don't think it will damage or dislodge any of the gravel.
I like how all of these Sarissa Precision city block buildings have a side door
Finally, I got all four buildings out and took a couple pictures of them lined up as a street. I really like how they look all together in a row!
The downtown city street of my 28mm MDF buildings
Since I had scheduled myself to run my Wars of Insurgency game four of the six gaming slots over Friday and Saturday, I had little time for anything else. I briefly perused the other vendors (my own First Command Wargames was attending as dealer, too, carrying Acheson Creations products). In the end, the only things I bought were items I had set aside from Bryan Borgman's Acheson products when sorting them at my house before the convention.
This pack of six chimps was exactly what I was looking for!
I had been looking for more chimpanzees, and when I saw the package of chimps in the Primaeval Designs safari animals line, I snatched the one and only pack of them up immediately. I also grabbed a Bengal tiger, though he had quite a few of those in stock.
I love this waterline resin casting of this sea dinosaur
 There was a resin sea monster - doubtless a dinosaur expert would be able to identify it -- rearing up above the water surface that I could not resist adding to my collection of monsters for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago. The final purchase was a bunch of Acheson Creations pieces that I will paint up as order markers for Wars of Insurgency. I hate the brightly-color poker chips I've been using and have been scheming to replace them for awhile. Maybe I'll get that done now that the convention is over!
I think these Acheson pieces are designed to be bases for miniatures, but they'll make excellent order markers
I will do another post with my favorite pictures from my "To Kill A President" game using the Wars of Insurgency rules that I wrote. Looks for that soon!
The First Command Wargames vendor tables at Advance the Colors (with Acheson Creations products from Bryan Borgman)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Death in a Gorilla-Haunted Jungle Clearing

Joel's Squirrels arrive first and survey the battlefield, eyeing the Central Treasure with the pirate loot
After freeing the prisoners of the Ratmen, the Raccoons and Squirrel crews agreed to share the information they provided. As it turned out, the prisoners belonged to a notorious pirate and treasure hunter -- who none mourned as he lay slain by the ratmen. However, the Raccoons and Squirrels were able to convince the freed crewmen into telling them the location of their buried treasure. They immediately set sail for the island, little realizing the Mice, Pine Marten, Jungle Rat, and Crushers crews were tailing them.
The archway of the Central Treasure was hotly contested by the Mice and the Pine Martens
According to the survivors of the pirate crew, the captain's treasure lay buried beneath a massive stone archway, decorated with stone heads staring out in all directions. Six ships anchored off the island, and six crews crept stealthily through the jungle. The haunting sounds of gorilla calls made the treasure seekers nervous, as they searched for the archway. We were playing "X Marks the Spot" from the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago rulebook. We used one central treasure and then each player placed two minor treasures. All began 31 inches from the central treasure, though only the Pine Martens and the Mice seemed to move towards it in the early going.
The Crushers' Hunter Yoti, at top, and Badger crewman Buckey eyeball a treasure to see if others will go for it
Since we had five players, I stepped in to make it an even six, using my Crushers crew that fared relatively poorly last time. In addition, I realized I had not even spent my Heritor's experience -- d'oh! Still, we had a successful outing. We decided to be flexible and move forward without making a beeline for any particular treasure. We had the Pine Martens on our right, and our nemesis the Mice on our left. With both our neighbors going all out for the central treasure, that left us with the opportunity to snatch up a number of minor ones.
Bentley secures the treasure while Yoti sneaks around the giant stone stature to stalk another treasure he spotted
I not-so-wisely sent both my Wolverine Heritor Hugh, and Wolverine Warden Jack, off by themselves, splitting my group as far as command and control. Hugh used Wraithwalk a number of times to move through thick patches of jungle with no penalty. Jack cast Beast Strength on most of the crew, after another "successfull" Beast Call. To my friends' amazement (and amusement), I continued to defy the odds on rolling up a random encounter after successfully casting Beast Call. If the last game went 6-7 turns, then this one went about the same. It wasn't until the final turn of this game that I actually rolled a 10+ on a 20-sided die to summon a random encounter. That is about 11 straight misses on a 50//50 chance!
Our nemesis, the Mice crew, snag a treasure early on...while unfortunately leaving their Warden to snipe at us again with lighting bolts!
Still, some monsters showed up after players quickly began snatching up treasures. Two gorillas and a Frog-man Warrior showed up, with each monster killing a crew members. This was a fairly lethal game, with the hated Mice losing their Heritor an almost losing their Warden. Specialist crew members from two other crews died, as well. My Crushers were doing great, though. We suffered no casualties and managed to snatch up four treasures -- the most of anyone. Along the way, we wrought vengeance on the Mice -- whose Warden continued to take Lightning Bolt potshots at us whenever he had the chance. My hunter Yoti and Warden Jack ambushed him, though, wounding him and forcing him to use Windwalk to get away.
This time we counter-attacked the Mice vermin! Yoti delivers a deep wound to their Warden, while Jack prepares to engage one of their crewmen (who would later be finished off by Yoti)
Buckey and Bentley, my loyal Badger crew members, each snagged a treasure and made it off-table. Both Yoti and the Heritor Hugh grabbed treasures, then dropped them to go Mice Hunting. Eventually, both made their way back to their treasures. With the Mice Heritor dead and the Warden fleeing the table, we decided to call it a victory and withdraw.
Two members of the Jungle Rats crew advance past a large, stone idol in search of treasure
Meanwhile, the battle between the Mice and the Pine Martens for the central treasure went back and forth. The Pine Marten Heritor grabbed it and moved off, only to be chased down by a Wraithwalking Mice Heritor. A deep gash from the Mice Heritor's two-handed sword, saw the Pine Marten summoning his crew to his aid. Two responded, but the Mice had the better of the three in the second round, as well. Frustrated, the Pine Marten Warden cast Wind Blast and hurled the Mouse nuisance away. A crossbow bolt and Raccoon arrow weakened the Mouse Heritor, who decided to flee. The Raccoon archer took one long range shot at him as he fled into the jungle and amazingly scored a hit, dropping him.
The Jungle Rats' Warden secures a treasure, which will be handed off to a crewmen to carry back to their ship 
After losing one crewman to the Frog Warrior, the Squirrel Heritor charged into the fray and cut the interloper down. Content with one treasure, the Squirrels then withdrew from the clearing. Another gorilla had appeared, and with Raccoon arrows flying everywhere, they decided to the call it a day. The Jungle Rats were dodging the attacks of gorillas, and cursed as the Pine Martens disappeared with the central treasure. They moodily and reluctantly withdrew, shaking their fists at the harassing fire of the Raccoons. All crews except the Squirrels got at least two treasures, with my Crushers taking four and the Squirrels one. As more gorilla calls rang out through the jungle, the treasure hunters decided to hurry back to their ships with what they'd found.
Although in position to contest for the central treasure, the Squirrels decided to hang back and fight off the Frog Warrior who wandered into the glade
After the game, the players decided to increase our crew size from five to six. We felt that we needed more because a crewman who takes a treasure off board is lost for the rest of the game. We made it a point to move more quickly, and have multiple players taking their turns at once if they were far away from each other. This six-player game lasted about 2 1/2 hours, which is about what we want on a Sunday evening. Two specialist crewman died and the Mouse Heritor ended up with a permanent leg injury. Otherwise, the only casualties were standard crewmen. The players seem to be picking up the rules more now, plus it helps two of my regulars have purchased the rules and read them. We don't play it often enough to remember everything, so it is a group effort. All in all, everyone seems to be having fun exploring the Ghost Archipelago -- which is the goal, after all!
Keith's Raccoons were the true spoilers of the day -- snagging two treasures early then launching arrows and casting Brambles to frustrate our snipe at the other crews

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Another Sarissa City Block Building

Sarissa Precision City Block 28mm (Style #2) building for my modern Africa games
A week or so ago, I received a shipment of three additional Sarissa City Block buildings. Terry from Wargame Tools picked out three slightly different ones for me on his recent trip to Europe, and brought them back with him. All are three different numbers in this line, one of which I ordered with an additional floor expansion to create a 3-story building. I absolutely love the simplicity and ease with which the Sarissa MDF buildings go together. And since I need lots of buildings for the upcoming Wars of Insurgency city fight, set in a fictional, modern African country, I have been working on these steadily, lately.
Three quarter view of the building, with my modification - a small, rectangular roof structure (door to stairs)
I decided to do a slight modification on this building. Since I like how the roofs are set up perfectly for figures to fire from them in games, I added a small building to show where the staircase to the roof comes out. I probably went too "no frills" on this. I simply cut a square bass wood dowel to the appropriate height, and then placed a wooden square on top of it for a roof. A had a door (or was it a window shutter?) from one of my earlier log cabins that I hadn't used in my bits bin, and pulled it out and glued it to the small rectangular structure atop the roof. I wasn't overly pleased with how it came out, so will try something else next time.
Style #2 has more industrial style windows, I feel. The reddish-orange tint is more brick than rose, unfortunately
Since the City Block line are essentially identical buildings, just with different window patterns, I also wanted to make them different in the colors I paint them. The first Sarissa building I did was in a golden yellow stone color. This one I thought I would attempt a weathered rose color. After assembling the building and spray priming it black, I applied the first coat -- Howard Hues Middle Eastern Flesh. I like this color as it is a kind of dull, faded red with orange undertones. When I applied the base coat, I attempted to not put it on so thickly that it would seep into the laser-etched lines between the stones. For the most part, I was successful, and the black shows through as the joins between each stone block.
This view illustrates the dry-brushing I did roughly in the center of each laser-cut stone block
The next step was probably the most time consuming. I dry brushed the central area of each sqaure etched stone block with Howard Hues Colonial Khaki. This lightens and fades the orange color. I had not intended for this building to look like brick, as the etched stones are way too big for that. I was disappointed it looked a bit like brick in color, though. I should have realized it, though, as this is a very similar color combination that I've used in the past on brick buildings. To salvage it, and give it a bit more red cast, I did an acrylic wash of a red brown. This gave it less orange and more red of a look, plus softened the brush strokes of the khaki.

Once again, printed off wooden floor patterns to put on the inside floors. The walls on the inside were a light gray -- nothing fancy. Just something to have a little color when the roof or second floor is pulled off to move figures into or out of for game purposes. Next up -- the three story building!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

TT Combat 28mm MDF Apartment Building

TT Combat Apartment A - a 28mm laser-cut MDF building I picked up for my modern skirmish - with 20mm figs
I purchased three 28mm modern MDF buildings to use with my 20mm Modern Skirmish games. I've found that an advantage of my 20mm miniature scale is that I can use buildings from both 15mm and 28mm and the figures don't look out of place. I bought them from Terry at Wargames Tools LLC, who is a great guy to work with. He always had awesome stuff at his booth at conventions.
The big problem with this kid -- the second story does not come apart from the first! See my corner supports for a work-around scratch-built floor
I built the Sarissa Precision building that I'd purchased at Historicon 2018 earlier, so it was time to build one of the two TT Combat Apartment (A and B) I'd picked up. First off, I found the kit had a LOT more pieces! There were lots and lots of individual pieces that need glued in for the windows. What wasn't in the kit was what disappointed me most: There is no second floor. Nor is there a way to remove the second floor from the first floor. You CAN take off the roof, but the first and second story walls are solid state. Hmmm.
Those incised lines are decoration - not a seam, so the building is 'solid state' other than its removable roof
As any gamer knows, the whole point of having buildings with removable roofs is so you can put figures in them! It baffled me that TT Combat would do it this way. My only previous experience with their line is my cargo container ship. And it wasn't constructed in a way to make it easy to remove the bridge from the second and first floors, now that I think about it. I decided to create me own second floor, rather than just bag it and call the two $25 purchases a loss. I cut four pieces of bass wood of the same height to put in each corner of the first floor. I then cut a piece of black styrene plastic to rest upon the supports and be the second floor. I was fairly happy with my work-around, and got back to painting.
My scratch-built second floor (with printed patterns glued on)
For MDF buildings, I spray paint them flat black first. Then I put on a base coat (a craft paint sky blue for this one), and then dry brush a lighter shade (white in this case). I then do the trim and windows, which would be a medium blue with dark orange accent. The stone portions I painted in medium gray with light gray dry brush, which I thought would go well with the light blue. Next, I had to decide how to paint the fence/railing in front of the building. After doing some Google Image searches, I decided to go with a wrought iron look. I painted over the spray painted black with more black to ensure all the nooks and crevices were filled. Then, I brushed on some highlights using Iron Wind Metals Steel.
A close up of the front and the first floor windows, with 20mm African Militia from Liberation Miniatures firing out
Once the entire model was painted, I mixed up a black wash and brushed it over the entire thing - both blue and gray stone portions, as well as the wrought iron. There is some decoration incised on the outside of the building between the first and second floor. I went back and forth on it, and decided not to paint it. I thought it would look to gaudy painted in a bright color, and felt if I did it in the same faded blue, it would be too overpowering. Perhaps I made a mistake not doing this. Perhaps not.
I like the stone and plaster look design of the Apartment Building (with a close-up of the flower garden)
Finally, it was time to do the roof (whose blue and gray portions were painted alongside the building itself). I once again used Woodland Scenics mixed gray ballast for a roof surface. I did it on the Sarissa Precision building, and really like how it gives some 3-D texture to the MDF building. Finally, I flocked the area between the railing and the building to be a flower garden. I built up the grass with fine brown ballast and turf earth from Woodland Scenics. Then, after flocking with Blended Grass, I placed tufts of purple and yellow flowers on top of the grass. I really like how it gives it that final touch.
Militia on my second floor - plus the two wood pieces you can see I epoxied into the floor so you can lift it out easily
Well, not quite final touch! I also had printed out wood and rug patterns that I'd found on Pinterest on the internet. I trimmed these to the correct size, and glued them down with white glue to be my floors. I really like how they brighten up the interior and give it an almost finished look, despite their obviously being no furniture.
The roof, with its Woodland Scenics coarse mixed gray ballast textured floor
By this time, though, I had happened upon my next biggest disappointment with the kit -- one that was no fault of TT Combat. Since the second story is solid state with the first, the building is too tall to fit in my terrain boxes! Noooooo!! Honestly, this may be a deal breaker for me with this build. I am seriously considering selling it after I use it in my game at Advance the Colors next month. The scenario is a city fight, and I will need all of my buildings to fill the table, I imagine. So, if you are interested in this building, contact your realtor, as it just might be for sale...!
Militia stake out their turf in my modern skirmishes in Africa

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Ride of the Men of Goddodin

Lord Gwendawg summons his forces to meet the Roman invader
Messengers riding on tired steeds brought word that men were marching on Gododdin. It strained belief, but the word was they were Romans -- returned to Britain to claim it as their own, again. Lord Gwendawg, Shield of Gododdin, scoffed at the idea of the past coming to life again. Surely, they were another Briton kingdom claiming the mantle of Roman rule -- or another trick by the Saxons to seize yet more land. So, the good Lord Gwendawg called out his hearthguard, who mounted their steeds and put on their mail, his warriors, who shouldered their shields and struck their javelins against their oaken faces to show they were ready to repel marauders yet again. Calling up bowmen of the local levy, Lord Gwendawg marched to meet these "Romans," and send them reeling from the lands of the British kingdom of Gododdin.
Some of my 28mm Dark Age troops from various manufacturers, assembled as a Welsh Saga army
We had been talking about doing Saga as a group for months, and a number of our regular gaming group had bought the rules and were painting armies. I owned quite a few individually-based, 28mm Dark Age figures already -- Vikings, Picts, Saxons, Irish, and my favorite, Britons. So, when I received the new Saga rules in the mail I decided I would play a Welsh army, which is what they categorize those Briton kingdoms that fought against the takeover of the Saxons and later Viking invasions. Strathcylde has always been one of my favorite kingdoms from Dark Age Britain, but the Saga army lists stipulate all figures are mounted for this army. I own only 12 mounted 28mm figures, so that wasn't happening! The Welsh list allows you to mount your Warlord, Hearthguard, and Warriors at your discretion, though, so I chose that army.
The invaders -- Steve's Late Romans with their shield decals from a surviving primary source from Roman times
The local Saga organizer and gamer extraordinaire, Andy, had set up a Sunday morning/afternoon Saga day at Game Table Adventures in Newark, OH. We ended up with only four players showing up, so I matched up against Steve P, and Andy and Jim squared off. Steve is a veteran Saga player, but I am a relative newbie. I'd played the old rules twice, and this would be my first time with the new rules and lists. Steve chose the Late Romans, so we were historically off by quite a few centuries. However, it was a friendly, learning game, so neither of us cared. We set up the Clash of Warlords scenario from the back of the new rulebook. Both of us placed a number of terrain pieces -- marshes, rocky areas, woods, and scrub brush -- till Steve decided that my Welsh army would be able to make better use of the terrain and ended the placement phase.
The invading Romans on the left, Lord Gwendawg of Gododdin's army on the right
He deployed half of his army first, then I deployed my whole army. He followed this up with deploying the remainder, and taking the first turn, albeit rolling only 3 Saga dice instead of his normal six (by the deployment rules). Both forces had to spread out -- we weren't allowed to deploy within a Medium move of a friendly unit. Steve spread from edge to edge, while I massed more in the center in depth. Steve's force contained:
Late Roman Army
  • 1 Foot Warlord
  • 1 Foot Hearthguard unit of 8 figures
  • 3 Foot Warrior units of 8 figures
  • 1 Levy unit of bow of 6 figures
  • 1 Levy unit of Ballista
Facing him, Lord Gwendawg of Gododdin had brought:

Welsh Army of Lord Gwendawg
  • 1 Mounted warlord
  • 1 Mounted Hearthguard unit of 8 figures
  • 2 Foot Warriors units of 12 figures
  • 1 Levy Bow unit of 12 figures
The Roman ballista at top center has devastated both my archers and the Warrior unit in the rocky area to their left
Steve cleverly placed his ballista in front of my Warrior unit that was out in the open. He used his Saga dice rolls to fire off a couple shots each on two turns. Lord Gwendawg's men had never encountered such fearsome weaponry as the Roman ballista. Steve's rolling was fantastic, and my saving was abysmal. Five warriors were killed on the first turn, and five archers on the second (after I forced marched them to the center to cover the heavier units. Of my 33 figures, pretty much 1/3 were dead in the first two turns from what was essentially half of a Levy unit!
The first target of our advance - a small, 6-figure unit of Roman Levy archers in the woods
The Warrior unit immediately took cover in rocky ground, while the archers used two moves to fan out across the center (where they took it on the chin!). The mounted hearthguard moved up behind the archers, while the Warrior unit which had begun in the scrub emerged and advanced quickly towards the woods where the Roman archers were hiding. When we got within Javelin range, we tossed out missiles, causing five hits on the archers. My friends all laugh at my die rolling ability. However, what they don't realize is that I am not simply a bad die roller, I am streaky. When Steve saved all five hits that the archers took, that was the nadir of the streak. It would go up from there.
Gododdin's heroes leave the scrub brush and advance towards the woods, supported by the warlord and his bodyguards
 One of the really cool things about the Welsh army is that it has all kinds of great abilities on its "battle board" -- which simulates command and control. We had two very dangerous reactions -- Our Land, which allows me to move or charge in response to any enemy movement, and Guerrilla, which allows my troops to make a missile attack on enemy moving unit which comes within a Medium move (charge range, essentially). This made Steve very cautious, and his Warrior units lurked on the periphery of the battlefield rather than press forward.
The heroes enter the woods, and fight off the attacks of hearthguards to the left and warriors to their right
And then, the heroes of Gododdin strode forth. My Warrior unit which had emerged from the scrub entered the Roman archer's woods. Steve moved up his foot hearthguard and then charged them. I used my "War Dance" ability, and his fatigue for a second move to make it harder to him my warriors. The streak reversed itself, and my Warriors slaughtered his men who dared enter the wood to attack us. Steve lost six of his eight figures, while I lost only one. Steve's warriors then charged from the other side against the same Warriors. Much slaughter was done, but the Romans were driven back. On my turn, I rested my heroic Warriors, then charged them into the archers, who they drove from the woods in panic. One unit had devastated three enemy units.
After the charge of the mounted hearthguard and the warriors in the woods -- only scattered enemy remain in the center
Now, it was time for the ride of the men of Gododdin. My mounted hearthguard thundered across the field and slew the remaining Roman hearthguard. Meanwhile, the archers had been firing at the ballista crewmen themselves, and had succeeded in disabling its ability to fire. It needed one more casualty to be destroyed, but never again would it wound Gododdin's sons. The Warriors in rocks emerged and threw javelins at the Roman Warriors who had edged forward to support the ballista.
The end game -- only two Warrior units on Steve's right would be left to contest the field after the riders of Gododdin would slay the enemy warlord, and Lord Gwendawg revenged himself upon the ballista by killing its remaining crew
Here was where Steve made a fatal mistake. His first move was to bring his far right flank Warrior unit closer to the action. I used Our Land again and responded with a charge of the mounted nobles of Gododdin -- against his Warlord! Although it ended up taking us two turns of combat to slay his leader, this was the loss the broke the heart of the enemy warband. With only two units producing Saga dice (his two right flank warrior units), Steve conceded.
Sound the trumpets in victory! The men of Gododdin, and Lord Gwendawg - shield of the kingdom - triumphed!!
My heroes of the game were obviously the foot warriors who strode into the woods and defeated three enemy forces. The mounted hearthguards also were crucial to my success, slaying the remainder of his hearthguards and his warlord. My lucky streak changed from dismal to inspiring just when I needed it! It was a fun game, and I look forward to getting in some more games of Saga soon.