Raiding can be a tough business. As of late it would seem that every halfwit from the north with a boat has set his course for England and, as Jarl Einar has discovered, it can be tricky to find a village that hasn't been plundered at least twice already!
This was the story of our Saga campaign game. Jarl Einar's Vikings beached right next to a defenceless Anglo-Saxon village only to realize that it had just been plundered by a rival band of Jomsvikings! The foe was still at hand and thus a brutal fight for the spoils ensued.
We fought a modified version of the "Sacred Ground" scenario in which the three objectives were placed along the length of the board so that each player had one objective in his deployment zone. 0 points would be awarded for units in one's own objective zone and double points for units in the enemy's objective zone. Jarl Einar had two units of 6 hearthguard, two units of 10 warriors and a unit of 4 warriors. The Jomsvikings, led by Eric Bloodaxe, counted a unit of 12 warriors, 8 warriors, 4 warriors, 8 hearthguard with dane-axes and 4 hearthguard without.
|Jarl Einar's vikings disembark from the ships and move to attack the Jomsvikings plundering the village|
|A few guardsmen are left near the ships|
Jarl Einar gained the initiative and immediately began advancing with his host. A unit of warriors was rushed towards the hill but otherwise the force advanced together. The Jomsvikings rushed forward more chaotically, with the two most powerful units racing for the hill. Jarl Einar's warriors reached the hill first and started collecting victory points. The Jomsvikings tried to make a mad dash for the hill but were slowed down when I didn't let them use some of the Jomsviking activations (a special Jomsviking ability that they can either activate or gain wrath tokens). This made them very mad.
|Both sides rush for the hill|
|Jarl Einar's vanguard reach the hill first, with the rest advancing more steadily|
|Angry Jomsvikings with big axes|
Things were going according to Jarl Einar's plans and he immediately launched an assault with his warriors and a unit of hearthguard on his left flank to eliminate the large unit of warriors. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan. Einar's warriors rolled badly and the Jomsvikings rolled well and what was meant to be a crushing blow turned out to be a very costly affair for the Vikings.
A unit of Jomsviking hearthguard wiped out the remnants of Jarl Einar's warriors, who took a heavy toll on the attackers by using their "Valhalla" ability. The Jomsvikings then piled onto the hill in large numbers ready for the Viking's counter-attack. The large unit of Jomsviking hearthguard considered the position secure and set off to loot Jarl Einar's ships (their double point objective zone).
|The large unit of Jomsviking warriors (in the foreground) are assaulted from two sides...|
|... the assault fails miserably and the remaining Viking warriors are massacred ...|
|... the outnumbered Vikings take out two Jomsvikings in a blood frenzy|
With his force quickly dwindling, Jarl Einar had to do something bold. He mustered his few remaining hearthguard for one more assault onto the hill, which was already starting to become quite slippery from all the blood spilt. With oaths, curses, promises of gold and glory (= loads of nasty Saga abilities) Jarl Einar led the assault. The hearthguard clove into the Jomsviking warriors and annihilated them. One traumatized survivor was allowed to flee so that he could spread tales of the furious prowess of Jarl Einar.
With his henchmen dead or fleeing, Erik Bloodaxe was easy pickings for Jarl Einar and his boys. Erik did his best but, in the end, he didn't even put up much of a fight and was ground into minced meat by the angry Vikings.
|Brutal melee about to start|
|Erik Bloodaxe meets his end|
|The hill is securely in Viking control at the end of the game|
Despite this dramatic chain of events, there was little Jarl Einar could do to prevent defeat. In the distance the Jomsviking hearthguard had reached the ships and easily despatched the four warriors left to guard them. The Jomsviking looted the ships before setting fire to them and escaping to the hills (my opponent gained double points for his hearthguard at the ships so there was no way I could match his victory point total at the end of the game).
|The ships are captured by the Jomsvikings|