To kick off the gaming year 2015 we had a small Saga tournament/games day on the first Saturday of the year. After a few no shows the playing field was reduced to just 4 players so we decided to keep it quite casual with everyone playing a game against everyone else. A bit longer post so bear with me :)
I came with my trusty Anglo-Saxon list of Alfred, a Troubadour and 5 points of Warriors. Everyone else had lists from the new Crescent & Cross book and the scenarios were mostly picked from there as well. Nobody had really played any of the scenarios before and there was quite a lot of learning to be done.
Game 1: Battle Twilight vs. Mutawwi'a
In the first game the Warbands battled for the control of table quarters with 1 point awarded for each controlled quarter and the first to reach 6 points winning the game. Straight off my opponent neglected to read the scenario rules very well and deployed everything within two quarters that I could contest while having two off my own. My joy didn't last long when I realized that the control wasn't calculated like the regular victory points, but rather with every single group of 4 or more giving points. So my clever idea of deploying my Warlord and Troubadour to take points didn't take me very far. All in all my 12 man Warrior groups certainly weren't the smartest idea for the scenario.
First round we both received a single point when I had one quarter occupied by a group of warriors. I also contested one quarter away from my opponent to limit his points to one.
With second turn starting I took advantage of the Endless Warbands rule which allowed me to bring lost troops back on any table edge. I promptly brought back a 4 man Warrior unit as far from any enemy as I could and moved to take that table corner from my opponent. After some clever manouvering I ended up with 3 points. On my opponents turn he unsurprisingly brought back a large unit next to my 4 man one and proceeded to wipe it out. Still after the turn I was contesting that quarter giving him only 1 point.
So even with the more fun ending I managed to take the game 6-4 in 3 turns.
Game 2: Grudge vs. Milites Christi.
The second game was a custom scenario called Grudge where one enemy unit was randomly selected to yield three times the victory points. Winner would be determined by the side who received 5 more points than the enemy. I got a bit lucky that my troubadour got selected as my enemy's Grudge unit while a 8 man warrior unit was chosen as my Grudge unit.
A mounted force is pretty much the worst thing that an Anglo-Saxon force can fight against and the Milites Christi are especially bad. With the option to stay back over 3 moves away he could safely build up Piety and use his battleboard to nullify all my combat abilities on the turn that he charges. The fact that only one ability reduced the Piety level makes this a very strong board and in my eyes at least the best in the whole game. You really need to move in on turn 1 so that your opponent doesn't have any chance of building up Piety safely and that is extremely hard to do unless you have a mounted force yourself.
I deployed my troops in the classic Anglo-Saxon way in a small bunch to force the enemy to come to me. I also moved one unit into the building to stop them from occupying it. This proved to be a bad idea as it just allowed the Crossbowmen to take potshots at me during the game and there wasn't really anything in his Warband that could take the building as mounted troops can't enter buildings.
After turn 2 it became apparent that I needed to take iniative as my opponent was just building up Piety to make one crushing attack in the end so I went out with my Warriors. The first try ended in a disaster when I only managed to take out 1 hearthguard and lost 7 warriors. Next turn I took more casualties and things were looking quite bad. Luckily no lost Saga dice. I decided to go all in and attack with another Warrior units killing 7 hearthguard. However the warrior unit was attacked next turn and taken down to one warrior.
With the last turn coming my opponent decided to move in to kill my troubadour and take enough points to win the game. I used my Saga dice to get more defence dice and against all odds he survived 6 hits. With only my turn left I tried to kill anything that was close by.
This game really was a battle to the death with me losing nearly all my Warriors. However I did take quite a few hearthguard with me and ended up with a 13-12 game. However it was only enough for a draw.
Game 3: God Will Recognize His vs. Crusaders
The last game was against a new player running Crusaders. The scenario used the Endless Warband rule again so bloodshed was guaranteed.
As always I deployed in one corned safe from missile fire. My opponent moved up with his Pilgrims boosting them to Warrior stats. However I had loaded my board with defensive abilities and only lost 1 man while taking out 10 of the pilgrims. This move had left his Warlord exposed so I quickly rushed out to kill him as a Warlord cannot be brought back. Not surprisingly 11 Warriors took him out quite easily, but were then attacked by 8 mounted hearthguard. I got a bit lucky with my rolls and had plenty of defensive abilities left to protect myself so only ended up losing a few Warriors and wiping the whole Hearthguard unit out. On my turn I cleaned up my area by killing of the two remaining pilgrims.
The 8 Hearthguard showed up again and immediately charged the 6 remaining warriors who were wiped out immediately. I had been waiting for this and brought the 12 Warriors back again and went in to kill the 8 hearthguard again.
On the other flank the mounted and foot warriors of the crusaders made efforts against my Warriors there, but I managed to beat back each assault with the help of my battle board abilities. In the end I took out his 8 hearthguard twice, his 8 mounted warriors twice, 8 foot warriors once and the 12 pilgrims while loosing a 12 man warrior unit twice.
A clear 36-13 win for me. I played to the strenghts of the Anglo-Saxons quite well forcing my enemy to come at me from a distance one or two units at a time while being able to keep most of my Saga dice on battle board abilities. I was also helped by the fact that my opponent was new to the game and made some basic mistakes like leaving his Warlord out in the open.
With two wins and a tie I ended up tied for first place, but won the tie breaker as I had killed more units during the day than my the other player. So after 3 games I took our club championship trophy with me! A rather decent start to the year with a nice casual games day/mini tournament.
The Anglo-Saxons are turning out to be my favorite list to play. I had previously tried using Levies with Anglo-Saxons, but they were just rubbish. With Alfred, a troubadour and 5 Warriors in 3 units of 12 and a unit of 4 I am able to take in 8 Saga dice every turn while my opponent has to roll a dice every turn to reduce his and most of the time ends up with only 5 dice. As an added bonus I can always leave one Battleboard ability on the board even after using it so it can effectively give me 10 dice for the turn. This really allows me to dictate the game and always have the upper hand in fights. The bad sides of taking a Bard are also mitigated by the fact that you never want to get Alfred in a fight anyway as he is absolutely rubbish compared to any other Warlord. He is a mastermind after all, not a fighter.
This list works especially well against other foot lists as it's far easier to have their units separated and coming at you one at a time. An overwhelming attack with one of your units to wipe out enemies and then surviving their attack with your defensive boosts is the way to play this list. Against lists like the Milites Christi it struggles a bit, but better positioning and more aggressive play should help out. I have yet to loose a single game when using Alfred and I've only played a few ties with them. Pretty powerful stuff and I have to admit it's maybe a bit cheesy at times too.
On another note a Flames of War mega battle was running at the same time pitting about 9000 points of Germans versus the Soviets in a Barbarossa game. Pretty epic stuff with the Germans managing a breakthrough in the end and the Soviets retreating after a failed morale test.