Reining in his horse, the warlord Majik ibn Battuta al-Waqaa shook his head as he regarded the hostile lands all around his small force. A giant rocky hill loomed on the left, while a dark, tangled forest to his right. Ahead, where his army had to pass through to get home, were two more wolf-haunted forests. The howls of the packs roaming beneath the tangled branches made his cheetah Scirocco pace nervously, the delicate links of her chain scraping against the rocky ground. This was not the type of terrain that favored his mounted Moorish warriors. He prayed that Allah would see he and his men through, and that they could find a way to return home to Cordoba.
Moorish mounted hearthguard skirt the edge of a forest in an attempt to encircle the enemy
|The core of Adrian's Pagan Rus - 8-man hearthguard, warlord, Shield Maidens|
|Two 6-man units of Pagan Rus warrior infantry creep around the edges a wolf-haunted woods|
|Decisive moment - the Moorish Cavalry prepares to charge the Pagan Rus' toughest unit|
|After the charge, the victorious Moors have pulled back on the left to regroup, enemy eliminated!|
|Adrian's final gambit falls short - Moors withstand the charge of his warlord and Shield Maidens|
|Jim B, left, teaches his friend Mark the finer points of Saga in a first-round game|
|Second round action: Bob's Crusaders tangle with Jenny's Vikings in the woods|
Majik stroked his beard and gazed across at the burly Pagan Rus warlord with new respect, "Hmmm..." One of my mounted hearthguard units was hung out to dry, frozen, and facing his Shield Maidens. Knowing his cavalry would be left within the maidens' charge range, Majik ordered a warrior infantry from the center to support them. Shield Maidens, in general, don't like to sully themselves against warriors, receiving no bonuses against them. All that succeeded in doing was pinning a giant bullseye on them for his hammer unit. The hearthguard double moved forward, laughing off the extra fatigue as they eyed all the melee abilities Adrian had lined up for them on his board. I forget how many dice he ended up rolling, but he fueled it with a succession of abilities, beginning with "Wrath of the East," "Blood Feud," "White Wolves," and "Black Bears." In the end, he inflicted 20 casualties and also had five bonus defense dice. The warrior spear disappeared under their flashing axe blades. However, Adrian chose not to charge the frozen cavalry unit - having used all his Saga abilities in that melee. He did pull the hearthguard back a move, leaving them with two fatigues.
|Toward the bitter end of a slugfest - mounted Crusades charge Vikings on foot|
|Consistently difficult opponent on Saga Game Days -- Jenny's Vikings (with new measuring sticks!)|
The next turn was the final one - Turn 5. Adrian knew he was down on points. Of his two remaining major weapons, he trusted his warlord the most. He sent him in to charge one of my cavalry units (the victorious one had actually pulled back to stay out of any charge ranges of the Rus). The warlord killed four of the Moorish riders, but Adrian has played Saga enough to know that would still leave him short on points. He sent the Shield Maidens in, as well. They were unable to cause any casualties, whereas we killed one of them. Adrian conceded at that point, but I played out my final turn to see if we could rack up any shooting kills. Par for the day, our shooting was poor and the score did not change. Majik pulled off a narrow victory, 9 1/2 to 8.
In the other battles, Bob's Crusaders continued their slugfest run. He and Jenny played Clash of Warlords, with the Crusaders outlasting the Vikings, 26-22. In the third battle, Jim B had also switched armies. He commanded Vikings against Dave E's Romans. They ended up in a 24-23 tie, with the Romans up by one point but not enough to avoid a draw. It was a long day, but fun. With COVID getting worse all throughout Ohio, who knows? It may be our last chance to enjoy some Saga fun on the tabletop for awhile. Crossing our fingers, though, and we can meet again on the first Sunday of December in Columbus!
Here are the results of the Round 2 battles:
- Mike D's Moors defeat Adrian J's Pagan Rus in Battle of Heroes, 9 1/2 to 8
- Bob B's Crusaders defeat Jenny's Vikings in Clash of Warlords, 26 to 22
- Dave E's Romans and Jim B's Vikings fight to a tie, 24-23, in Clash of Warlords