Monday, 30 November 2015

Brother against brother - Saga campaign part 3

In the grim darkness of the Viking age, there is only war!

We played another game in our Saga campaign today. It was a bitter internecine showdown within our Viking alliance with my warlord, Jarl Einar, challenged by rival warlord Ivar the Irate. We're playing as part of the same faction in the campaign, but each faction has to have a top dog, right?

"Clash of Warlords" seemed like a suitable scenario to settle our differences. The only objective was to slay the enemy's warlord. My Viking warband consisted of a unit of 8 hearthguard, two units of 10 warriors, a unit of 4 warriors and a unit of 12 levy archers. Ivar's Norse-Gaels brought to the field a unit of 8 hearthguard with dane-axes, two units of 10 warriors with dane-axes and a unit of 12 warriors with javelins. Ivar was also followed by a bard who would undoubtedly spin his own fancy tale of Ivar's exploits.

Ivar's throng

Ivar himself, lurking at the corner of a building

Einar's host

Einar, always leading from the front

Ivar started the battle by rushing his javelinmen forward and pelleting Einar's archers with their projectiles. The archers lost but one man, but this was enough to unsettle the craven thralls. Several volleys were fired back, but these dropped only two of Ivar's men.

Einar scoffed. It was a mistake bringing the archers; this battle would be resolved man to man. Not a man of patience, Einar led the warriors on his right flank in an assault on the enemy javelinmen. A brave, albeit foolish, enemy champion strode forth and issued a challenge to Jarl Einar. The man was no match for the Viking lord, but was stubborn enough to take a lot of hacking before he would die. We fought several rounds of challenge combat after which both Jarl Einar and the Norse-Gael warriors were greatly fatigued. After the demise of their champion, the remnants of the Norse-Gaels crumpled easily and withdrew from the combat exhausted and with only half their number. They would be out of the fight for a long time.

My original plan had been to withdraw Jarl Einar and his warriors after this ordeal, but due to the extraordinary amount of fatigue markers generated by the challenge I was reluctant to do this, as it would leave Einar exhausted (4 fatigue markers) and the warriors vulnerable. Instead, I moved more warriors and hearthguard forward to support the mêlée on the enemy's next turn.

Norse-Gael javelinmen rush forward

Jarl Einar leads his warriors to thrash the javelinmen

The javelinmen withdraw in disorder

More Viking warriors move up

Ivar weighed the odds. Jarl Einar was within striking distance and an all-out attack just might be enough to fell him, although it would be risky should it fail. Fortunately for Ivar, the Norse-Gaels rolled a good combination of Saga dice and got quite nasty boosts as a result.

The unit of Norse-Gael warriors with double handed axes led the charge. Their objective was drive back Jarl Einar's warriors and thus leave the Viking warlord vulnerable to attack. However, the foolish and arrogant Norse-Gaels had not reckoned on the prowess of Jarl Einar's Vikings! The defending Vikings threw back the effeminate attackers with ease, felling half of them to boot!

The situation looked dangerous for Ivar the Irate, whose attack was in danger of floundering. The warlord had one last card however: his hearthguard. Ivar commanded his bodyguard to attack the jeering Vikings, himself retreating to the rear in case the attack went sour. Fortunately for the craven Ivar, his bodyguard proved unstoppable. There was little the fatigued Viking warriors could do to stop the hearthguard's onslaught and they died valiantly, taking a few of the enemy down with them.

Ivar's hearthguard followed their success with one last assault at the exhausted Jarl Einar. Jarl Einar felled the first Norse-Gael that came at him, but there were simply too many of the foe. Einar's faithful hearthguard rushed to protect their beleaguered lord, but it was all in vain. Einar's bodyguard died in a ring around their lord whilst Einar himself, struck to the back of the head with the shaft of an axe, collapsed and was taken prisoner.

Einar's warriors are beset by Norse-Gael axemen

The first wave of Norse-Gaels is repelled, but they are soon followed by Ivar's bodyguard

Jarl Einar is felled by Ivar's bodyguard

Later that evening, Einar would have to confess to the gathered warriors that Ivar was the greater warrior and mightiest warlord of the Viking alliance. This seemed enough to appease Ivar, who was by this time roaring drunk and boisterously recounting the tales of his own valour. However, this was not enough to quieten the murmurs of Ivar's own men regarding their leader's craven ways. Few could forget, that while Jarl Einar had boldly led his men from the front, Ivar himself had finished the battle hiding behind the back of his bard.

From this day forth, Ivar had earned an additional byname: Ivar the Ignoble.

Ivar the Ignoble - cowering behind his bard at the end of the battle

Friday, 27 November 2015

Spilt milk!

I painted up a set of Viking civilians from Wargames Foundry, which form a nice little diorama around the "tragedy of the spilt milk".

Brynhildr, Asgerd and Fenja

Oluf and Ogmond

"Lucky" Lief

Spilt milk - the start of an epic saga?
I also painted some livestock a few weeks back. Also from Foundry.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Slaves and Mayhem! - Saga campaign part 2

Our Saga campaign continued with a home brewn scenario: Slaves and Mayhem! Returning from his failed expedition to Ireland, Jarl Einar found his lands back in the north in distress. The thrice cursed craven Olaf the Orange had learned of Einar's weakened state and launched numerous raids into the Earl's lands. Einar was just planning his reprisal, when he learned that Olaf was about to strike one of his hamlets. Time to get even!

The objective of the scenario was for the Viking host of Olaf the Orange to capture civilians and burn the buildings they were huddled in. The buildings were set up in the middle of the board and neither player could deploy within 12" of them.

The battlefield - Olaf's Viking's on the left, Jarl Einar's vikings on the right

Olaf's host consisted of (from right to left in order of deployment): 6 hearthguard, Olaf himself, 10 warriors, 10 warriors, 6 hearthguard and a further 4 warriors way off on the left flank. Jarl Einar raced to meet the attackers with the following force (from right to left per Olaf's deployment): 8 hearthguard, 10 warriors, Jarl Einar, 10 warriors, 12 levy archers, 4 warriors.

Olaf's lackeys

Jarl Einar leads his bold heroes

Crème de la crème: Jarl Einar's hearthguard

I was lucky to get to move the civilians before the first turn (winning a die roll allowed the defender to move the civilians 4", on a draw they would move in a random direction). The villagers and livestock fled from the buildings nearest Olof's men on his left flank and centre.

Civilians and livestock flee

Olof had the first turn and advanced aggressively, if somewhat rashly with half his force. The hearthguard on the right rushed one of the buildings and the warriors to their left attacked the one in the centre. This took 3 actions each, which left the attackers quite fatigued. They failed to set the buildings on fire.

Jarl Einar reacted quickly. Einar's hearthguard rushed forward to form a protective screen between the fleeing villagers and Olof's men. A warrior unit rapidly occupied the building which Olof's men had been trying to ignite. Einar and the second unit of warriors advanced more slowly, ready to support the defenders. 

Olof leads his right flank in a reckless charge

Jarl Einar counterattacks - warriors occupy the central building and hearthguard form up in front of the civilians

Olof would have none of this. He led his hearthguard to assault Einar's elite troops. The fight was brutal, and in the end all six of Olof's hearthguard were felled, but so were six of Einar's men. Olof's warriors charged the central building again, which was now defended by Einar's warriors. The attackers were thrown back with minor losses and regrouped around Olof the Orange, who had become somewhat stranded after the demise of his hearthguard.

Brutal mêlée between the hearthguard units

The victors stand proud!

Jarl Einar saw that the opportunity for a decisive strike had come. Pointing his spear at the trollspawn Olof he bellowed an order to the warriors he had kept in reserve. Einar's men hit Olof's warriors with the strength of Thor (assisted by combat boosts and the enemy's fatigue) and clove right through them. The way to the orange bearded villain was now open. A few quick strides later Jarl Einar was face to face with his enemy. An epic duel followed between the two mighty warlords.

Einar cast his spear, which struck Olof's shield and rendered it useless. A henchman raced forward to yield his shield for his master, only to be struck down by one of Einar's retainers. With a beastly bellow, Olof clove the warrior in twain with his axe. Olof twirled around to meet his nemesis, Jarl Einar, but was not fast enough. Einar danced past the fatigued brute, delivering an undercut that left a streak of red just below Olof's armpit. The combatants broke off, eyeing each other for what seemed an eternity. The corner of Jarl Einar's mouth curled up in a little smile when he recognized what he saw in the eyes of his enemy: abject terror. 

It was time to settle the matter. Einar rushed the orange villain, fainting right, then left and finally striking Olaf from the right. Olaf parried the first blow, but was not quick enough to prevent the pommel of Einar's sword smashing his teeth in. Olaf the Orange fell. He would not get up again.

Jarl Einar's warriors clear the way for a charge at Olaf the Orange himself

As Jarl Einar pulled his sword out of the pile of meat at his feet, he knew that the battle was all but won. Half of the enemy host, including their warlord, had already been laid low and Jarl Einar's men still had plenty of fighting spirit left. The enemy could be allowed to scatter to the winds.

But that was not the Viking way! With their blood up, Jarl Einar led his blood drenched warriors in one last charge. The enemy warriors that had cowered at the edge of the battlefield up till then were the target. A short fight later, half of the enemy warriors were in Valhalla while the remnants fled.

What a glorious day!

The remnants of Olaf's men are sent packing

Monday, 23 November 2015

Dragon ships from the mist: Saga campaign part 1

Back to the dark ages! Our club's Saga campaign has now begun and for starters, Jarl Einar and his fearless Vikings decided to raid Ireland. A blind traveller had recounted tales of the fabled wealth of the Emerald isle, which Jarl Einar just couldn't ignore. We played a scenario where my Vikings have just got off their boats and are moving inland when they get intercepted by the Irish. The side that inflicted more losses in six turns would be the winner (Champions of God from C&C).

I painted this longship for the game. I've named it Jörmungandr (the mythological world serpent).

Jarl Einar's boys started advancing through the dense terrain. On my right there was a hill, where I placed a unit of 8 warriors and 12 levy archers. To their left, I had my warlord, a unit of 8 warriors and two units of 6 hearthguard. The Irish had two units of 8 warriors in a forest on my right, two small units of hearthguard led by a warrior priest huddled in a cottage in the centre, two champions (individual models) behind this and a unit of 8 war hounds in a field on my left. My plan was to advance en mass and use my archery to force the Irish to come closer.

Deployment: the Vikings have disembarked from their ships

Different view of the deployment

Irish warriors sheltering within the wood on my right

The Irish priest and his hearthguard cravenly take shelter in the hut

I did not get far before the hearthguard on my left received a shitstorm of rocks and turd from the wood to my left. This was the "Sons of Dana" ability of the Irish, representing native rabble ambushing me from within terrain. Coupled with a couple of nasty boosts, this incapacitated three of my elite warriors!

I continued advancing and, having learned my lesson, kept a counter (Odin ability) in play for most of the game. This would eliminate the worst of the Irish shooting, but would reduce the number of dice I had available. My archers soon got within range and opened fire on the Irish warriors.

The Irish warriors moved closer, throwing javelins at my men with little effect. This was a mistake, as Jarl Einar was now within range to lead my warriors into a furious melee, which killed 7/8 of the enemy warriors.

Irish move forward to throw javelins at the Vikings

Jarl Einar and my surviving warriors were now exposed and fatigued in front of my army. The Irish threw in more troops, who pummelled my warriors with javelins and then launched an attack with their hearthguard and warrior priest (warlord). My warriors and hearthguard took losses, but so did the enemy hearthguard, who were now dangerously exposed.

Jarl Einar leads a charge which all but annihilates the first unit of Irish warriors

Jarl Einar saw an opening and, coupled with massive boosts, led my second unit of warriors against the priest of the crucified god and his bodyguard. The enemy proved easy pickings and Jarl Einar ran the enemy warlord through with his spear in an epic duel.

Duel between the warlords and their retainers in the centre of the board

However, things turned sour quickly after this. My hearthguards on my left launched a very favourable attack on the war hounds but, rolling dismally, took a beating. The remnants of the Irish warband moved forward and pummelled the Vikings with javelins. One by one the norsemen fell. My survivors were assaulted by the remaining war hounds and the last unit of Irish hearthguards who, with some lucky rolling, managed to cut down my remaining warriors and Jarl Einar.

Jarl Einar stands defiant after his retainers have been cut down

I released one last volley upon the foe, felling several more of them, and started my retreat to the ships. Jarl Einar was dragged unconscious and bloodied, yet alive, to the ships and the Vikings hastily cast off. The battle had been a tight one, but in the end I quite simply ran out of men. A 15 - 11 point victory for the Irish.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Clubhouse inauguration

Nopat & Taktiikka's (Dice & Tactics) new clubhouse was inaugurated yesterday in a spectacular fashion. We had some 50 visitors, 6 different demo games and a "bring and buy" market. It was nice to see that a lot of new people had come to check out the club and I think a few of these will be joining our club in the near future.

The games being run were Flames of War, Saga (on two tables), Dropzone commander, Infinity, Bolt Action and W1815 (a board game of the Battle of Waterloo). I think that especially the spectacular looking and easy to approach games of Dropzone commander, Infinity and Bolt Action drew participants.

Flames of War

Dropzone commander



Bolt Action

Second game of Saga

Some of our club's active members were also thanked for their contributions. Tommi was made a "knight of dice and tactics" in recognition for organizing Infinity events and activating the gaming community in this regard. Teemu was elevated to the status of "honorary fellow of dice and tactics" for having been active in organizing campaigns (Saga, Hail Caesar), demo games and all sorts of other club related events.

Tommi accepting his reward

Teemu beaming at becoming one of the fellows
The day of gaming was continued with a club Christmas party in the evening. This included sauna, drinks, good conversation and more gaming. No photos of this unfortunately :)