The other week I had the chance to play two games with a friend of mine. Drawing inspiration a PC game from my teenage-years - "King of Dragon Pass" - I set up the first scenario to be a cattle raid into a neighbours lands. We played "The Escort" scenario from the rulebook with my Vikings aiming to escort some "re-acquired" cattle that had wandered into my neighbours territory back home. I would win if I got 2/3 cattle herds out of the burning village (my men had nothing to do with that!) and across the enemy table edge.
My warlord, Haakon the Humourless deployed on my right with a group of 6 hearthguard, 4 warriors and one herd of cows. Another group of 6 hearthguard and a herd of cows took the centre and the runt of my warband - 4 warriors and the last herd - were on my left. My friend put the bulk of his gang in centre / centre-left.
The good guys (aka my Vikings):
The bad guys:
My centre soon started veering off towards my right, whilst the hearthguard and warlord on my right moved left to support them. The enemy also advanced and pretty soon we had a brawl in the centre.
The enemy's (cowardly) warriors got a bloody nose in the first round of fighting despite outnumbering my epic heroes. Under the cover of this mighty clash of arms the cow herd was ushered towards the safety of the right flank.
My left flank stagnated pretty quickly into a staring contest. I advanced the few warriors here just enough to be a tempting target whilst putting most of my activation dice into winning fights in the centre and hurrying the cows on my right off the board.
The plan seemed solid, until the enemy brought in their next wave. I was caught wrong-footed in the enemy's counter-attack and my hearthguard took a beating from the villainous enemy (who cravenly outnumbered my elite troop).
Things started to look bad as my 12 hearthguard were all sent to Valhalla. Haakon the Humourless - now alone - considered a tactical withdrawal to be appropriately heroic and legged it after the cattle. It was now largely a running contest, with my warlord and 4 warriors trying to buy time for the two herds of cattle on my right to escape.
The craven enemy, only after seeing their overwhelming strength, took courage and chased after my brave defenders. They almost caught up with the cattle, but it was all in vain. Worn out by the sprint, the enemy were easy pickings for Haakon and his brave followers, who dispatched them with a counter-attack - thus enabling the second herd to escape and win the game for me.
The enemy warlord, Svante the Prudent, was left humiliated yet unbowed by the brave heroics of my men. Thus we decided to play a second game - one where Svante and his men would come to redeem their honour and slay Haakon (Kill the Warlord scenario).
The second game began with the craven invaders (Svante and his men) advancing into my lands in a dense mass. I had divided my forces in three due to the terrain and with a general plan of threatening the enemy's flanks.
Finally, the storm broke. The craven invaders advanced en-masse in the centre (between the two fields). I took the opportunity and charged in with my warlord and his best men - 6 hearthguards. I made short work of the startled interlopers and advanced 4 warriors to support my men.
However, my plan was flawed! I had some good boosts in place in anticipation for the enemy counter-attack, with the 4 warriors intended as a sacrificial unit to take down as many attackers as possible. This didn't quite work out and instead, a series of savage attacks by several enemy units left my warlord exposed. The craven Svante the Prudent, afraid to face the prowess of Haakon on his own, threw in his warriors against this forlorn hero. Despite a titanic struggle, there were just too many of the dastardly enemy and, finally, Haakon succumbed to the blades of the enemy. Game over.
Two good and fun games. I must admit, I played a bit poorly in both games, which I put down to inexperience. This game really requires you to think several moves ahead and husband your activation dice. In both games I deployed my forces in a very scattered manner and went into situations without sufficient preparation for the following counter-attack. Live and learn. The games were so much fun that I definitely need to try to get in another Saga game in the near future.