Monday, February 17, 2020

Day Trip to Dayton & the Dragons Guildhall for Saga

Pictish mounted hearthguard sit in reserve, ready for their moment to charge forward and seal victory for their lord
Two of our regular attendees to our Saga Game Days have been trying to get a once-a-month meeting started up in Dayton, too. Adrian and have set their monthly game day on the third Sunday of the month at a store in Beavercreek called the Dragons Guildhall. Since our "next generation" -- my friend Mike's son Jason and his cousins Daniel and Thomas -- actually live in Dayton, it sounds like this group should grow rapidly, too. Upon hearing Mike was going to go to Dayton this Sunday, as well, we decided to make the hour and a half drive over.
The Picts, at bottom, deployed levy archers in the right-hand woods, with warrior spear in the center and left. Across from them, the Jomsvikings deploy with warriors in the front line and hearthguard and warlord in the rear
There were two new players who showed up, Keith and Sally, and were interested in trying out the game. Adrian and Jim took them under their wing and ran a Viking vs. Viking game for them, coaching them through the rules. That left the other six of us to pair off and get in a game, as well. Since I hadn't played Mike in forever, we decided to match up in a Clash of the Warlords game. I had brought my Picts (Scots in the Age of Vikings battle board), and Mike was playing Jomsviking. Daniel wanted a rematch with his Norse Gaels against Jason's Last Romans, which left Thomas and Jenny to do another game of Crusaders vs. Jomsvikings, respectively.
On the left, two Pictish spear blocks confidently await the advance of the Jomsviking warriors
I set up a woods on either flank, while Mike place a hill off to the left side of the table. We rolled up deployment method "B", which means none of our units can be within a Medium distance of another friendly unit when set up. I placed my Levy bow in the right hand woods, flanked by my largest unit of long spearmen warriors. Behind them, was Nechtan Mac Fergus, my warlord. In response, Mike deployed his entire army. His four units of warriors were spaced across the front of this battlelines, while the two hearthguard and warlord were behind in reserve. I deployed one of my other warrior long spearmen units in the left flank woods, another one in center reserve on the baseline, and on the far left reserve, my small unit of four mounted hearthguard.
Jomsvikings prepare to open the battle with charges, unaware most attacks will be hurled back by the Pict spearmen
We took our first turn to begin consolidating, using the "Maneuver" to bring the reserve units up towards the front. I began pushing forward on both the left and right with my spearmen, as well. Mike advanced all across his front except for the unit of shield maiden warriors opposite my Levy, who lurked out of range. On my next turn, I advanced my bowmen to the edge of the woods, but did not shoot them, figuring I could wait till next turn. The large spear unit on the right edge closer to the bowmen to protect them.
Nechtan Mac Fergus orders a spear block forward to protect his levy in the woods
Mike immediately proved his Jomsvikings were going to be aggressive. He not only charged with a warrior unit in the center, he also advanced twice to charge his shield maidens against my levy. Not only was this my first time playing against a Jomsviking warband, it was his first game against the Scots. He'd heard about our great defensive abilities, but had not experienced them, yet. In the warrior on warrior matchup, my spearmen lost only one man but devastated his unit, killing six of the eight figures. Mike had poor luck in the woods, too, as he killed only four bowmen at the cost of three warriors, though. First blood definitely went to the Picts, as the combination of the "Long Spears" and "Counter-Attack" abilities on our battleboard meant we took few hits while inflicting grievous losses on the Jomsvikings.
Hulking huscarles hurl themselves on the center spear block, who will lose half its number and be driven backwards
I followed up, edging my spear closer to his shield maidens, but declining to do a second move because of the fatigue it would take. Mike took advantage of that to ignore the larger spear unit and chase down the levy for another attack. He scored enough hits to reduce it to five figures (no longer generating a Saga die), but suffered more losses leaving the maidens vulnerable to my much larger warrior unit. On the far left, Mike brought another warrior unit within spitting distance of my warrior unit in the woods on the left. I took the bait on my next turn and charged them, killing five of eight, while losing only one figure. In the other woods, the spearmen charged in and killed the last of the shield maidens.
Hoofbeats herald the arrival of the Pictish riders who will trample the huscarles who threatened to break the center
At this stage, Mike's four units of warriors had been devastated. One was completely destroyed, while the other three were down to three or fewer figures. He brought up his second line of two hearthguard, however my spear units were still near full strength. We used "Reach" in an attempt to soften them up, destroying the remainder of one warrior unit and causing only a single casualty on one of the hearthguard.
The vicious bloodbath on the other battlefield between Jenny's Jomsvikings and Thomas' Crusaders
All along, I had been declining to give him the "Wrath" tokens that Jomsvikings can get when a player decides to cancel the Saga abilities he is attempting to play. I simply let him play what he wanted, preferring the danger of the his chosen action over the unknown danger of what he'd do with the Wrath tokens later! On my end, I often sacrifice dice to move my own units to make sure that I have the appropriate defensive/offensive abilities on my board ready to be used. In fact, I try to limit the engagement tactically to no more than two melees per turn. One of those will normally use the Long Spears and Counter-Attack combination, while the other will be mostly defensive with "Hold at Bay" and closing ranks when charged.
Although they did not secure outright victory, Jenny's Jomsvikings fared better today than Mike's
Like a good Viking, Mike was undeterred and hurled on of his hearthguard units at my center long spear unit, whittling it down to four figures and shoving it backwards. Now was the time for the warriors to get some assistance. Once again, I used Reach to soften up the enemy and then charged my small unit of mounted hearthguard into the depleted enemy hearthguard. They were destroyed at the cost of one of my mounted troopers. Mike was quickly running out of offensive units. When his next hearthguard unit was beaten, he had little left except for his warlord. After one of my warrior units destroyed one of his remnant units (you receive bonus victory points for completely destroying enemy units), he conceded the game. We counted up the points, and Nechtan Mac Fergus' Picts had triumphed over the Jomsviking invaders 26-10.
My Pictish warriors have won the day with their doughty melee abilities -- they look good and fight well in Saga!
In the other three games, Jason's Last Romans had pin-cushioned the Norse-Gaels to death with their missile fire. Daniel had suffered a similar fate earlier that week when the two had played a game. The rematch went no better for him, and the Last Romans triumphed 22-5. On the other battlefield, Thomas and Jenny were having another knock-down, drag-them-out fight between Crusaders and Jomsvikings. Two weeks earlier, they had fought to a bloody draw. History repeated itself, and this match ended in a draw, as well, with Thomas scoring 23 points and Jenny 21.
Pictish noble troopers ride in to save the day with a devastating charge
The new players had a blast, they said, and really enjoyed Saga. Sally had defeated her significant other, Keith, earning bragging rights in the household. Once again, Adrian and Jim proved they were the most generous hosts ever, buying five $20 gift cards for the players. I snagged one of them for beating Mike, while Jason, Keith, Sally, and Jenny won the others. I immediately used it to purchase more Pegasus hobbies terrain -- this time a modern bridge for my 28mm urban city.
What I bought with my gift certificate (courtesy of the immense generosity of Adrian and Jim!)
As the six of us retired to Cassano's for celebratory pizza, Adrian and Jim were setting up a game for themselves. Adrian's Saracens would face Jim's Eastern Princes, though we left before the battle got underway. So, with 10 players in attendance, the second Dragon Guildhall Saga Game Day was a success! If you're interested in attending, mark the third Sunday down in your calendar and join Adrian and Jim and the rest of the crew at noon. It was a fun day, and I'm glad Jenny and I decided to drive over for it. Thanks to all the players, and especially Adrian and Jim for their generosity!

No comments:

Post a Comment