The Spoils of War

Stephen brings us up-to-date as the the club’s year-long SAGA campaign comes to a close…

War is finally over. The ravens have glutted themselves.

During 2018 we held a Saga ‘Age Of Wolf’ campaign and we now have a winner.

The background behind the campaign was that it was set in north England (sort of around the Chester area) in 1070AD. The armies we had were Normans, Norse Gaels, two Anglo-Danes, Welsh, and Vikings.

Before we come to who finally came out on top we thought we’d give you some stories from the players (or is the warlords?) on their best moments and reflections on the year’s campaigning.

The Saga of Iomhar MacAuley (and his father Olaf)

The first game against Andy was pivotal as my Warlord was killed (a 1/20 chance) losing the Who’s Next challenge, the best ability on the battleboard. In subsequent battles he would never be able to lead from the front. The best battle was against Jeremey’s Anglo Danish where a huge dane-axe melee took place on a river crossing resulting in the complete destruction of a unit of 8 Norse Gael Warriors against 6 Anglo Dane Hearthguard in one combat. This allowed a challenge on his weakened warlord which was won by the Norse Gaels and the Anglo Danish Warlord was killed outright.

Sailing home after a successful raid on the Anglo Danish recruits of Irish axemen from Donegal paid visit to our Hall and after much drinking and feasting agreed to join in our expedition the following summer to raid the Anglo Danish lands again. We were surprised to find an Anglo Danish army lying in wait with additional mercenaries and witchcraft prevented us gaining their Sacred Ground. Sensing that greater battles lay ahead, we left and whilst the Anglo Danes celebrated for many nights, it was an empty victory. Their lands had been stripped bare.

I sought vengeance for my father’s death in turn 1 and raided more Anglo Danish lands. We intercepted them escorting trade, yet more witchcraft confirmed the presence of a large body of Anglo Dane huscarls from their Allies. We heard news that a Norman force was setting sail from the south and rumours of a Viking raid from the North. The Huscarls were nearly all slain but we left without booty to face the greater threats from North and South.

Returning quickly home, we were able to intercept the Normans at a ford near the border of our lands. We learned that these Norman’s do not fight like real men and our valiant men were cut down in wave after wave of cowardly arrows. It will be a long hard winter waiting for the Vikings, we pray for storms to scatter their ships.

The Saga Of Andraes Willhelmson

It has been a mixed year for Andraes Vilhelmsson; many men have come to pledge their service, his family has expanded through marriage, his fame has grown and a firm friendship forged with Uhtred Beornson.

The year has seen battles with the Welsh, the Norse Gaels, Vikings and the Normans. The high points have been consistent victories over the Norse Gaels of Olaf Tidbit, and after Olaf‘s death at Andraes’s men’s hands, Olaf’s son Iomhair MacAulay. Andreas’s struggle against the invading Normans has not gone well, with three battles lost to Gislebert. Andreas crossed axes with Owain the Cantankerous Welshmen twice, with the Welshman besting Andraes on both occasions and he has also suffered a raid by the sea wolves.

Andraes’s Wealth and Reputation have increased, and he is now considered an Atheling; but his lands have been beset by many raids, a campaign by the Welsh and diverse floods and famine. Andreas himself has been grievously wounded in two of these battles.

Andraes will spend the winter recovering from his wounds, and will set forth again next year determined to keep the invaders at bay.

The Saga of Antoine de Gislebert

I started the campaign season with what looks like an unorthodox warband, but my randomly generated special ability (scout), meant that all my levies generated Saga dice. For the Normans this played into our hands.

Motivation of land would also help as the higher this went the more levy units I could have. Initially this was a problem in that I had to generate money to buy land as campaigning with mounted knights and levy is very difficult, so I tended to raid my opponents.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Campaign season 4 wasn’t looking good…. I had already lost a raid against the Welsh when we were in turn raided by the Anglo Danes. I took a chance and played the 4 point encounter with myself, 1 unit of warriors with x-bows and 3 units of levy bowmen. If I got into close combat it wasn’t going to be pretty for the levy, but luckily I only lost my warrior unit and ultimately won the game. 3VPs

Campaign season 5, I ended up defending this season. This would have generated no VPs except the Anglo Dane’s were up for revenge and raided trying to stop a baggage train. Although some of the baggage was looted, the game finished as a draw. 1 VP

Campaign season 6 was the turning point. Raided by another Anglo Dane warband, we fought challenge scenario…wrongly. We played it differently to the official errata and I should have lost, but my opponent stated that we keep the original result, as the battle would have undoubtedly been fought differently. I rounded off the campaign with a resounding victory against the Norse Gaels. 4 VPs

The Saga of Owain the Wolftamer

I started cautiously and decided to play a devious game. I was lucky at the start because I gained three wealth and my aim was to acquire wealth! Which meant I started as a aetheling with the post-battle benefits that brings.

It was at the Cavalier show in Tonbridge that things started to get political. I overheard Jeremey and Andy (the two anglo-dane players) having a sneaky discussion about forming an alliance. And I could have sworn that I heard them plotting to attack Tony’s Normans. So I decided to deflect attention away from myself and emailed the other players letting them know of such skullduggery.

And I had been partly correct.

Next turn Andy and Jeremey did indeed declare an alliance. But they attacked me!

This meant I had to face two opponents, on the same day, both with reinforced armies. I wasn’t confident.

Somehow, though, I managed to win both games! It was from this turn that Owain became the Wolf Tamer (he’d previously been Owain the Cantankerous because I rolled the ‘Quarrelsome’ personality trait). I gave him a warbanner, and made one up especially for the campaign (yes, I know it looks more like a pair of angel’s wings than two clipped wolf tails. I could re-paint it, I suppose…). I think this banner will be used in other games, outside of the campaign, just to remind Jeremey and Andy of their infamy and how they lost. They deserve nothing less.

This then set me up for the rest of the campaign and put me in a strong position.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
The Saga of Unhtred Beornson (and son Erik)

The campaign season ended as it had started with the spilling of Norman blood. Our Lord Uhtred Beornson rallied the land to face the first unprovoked attacks of the Norman aggressors. But the lands were ravaged and soon the vultures were gathering on our borders. Lord Uhtred mustering a force strong enough to challenge these other threats launched successive attacks against the Welsh bandits and godless Norse Gaels, but the omens were bad and despite a strong alliance with the fellow Anglo-Danes of Andraes Vilhelmsson, Lord Uhtred was slain during a bloody encounter with the Gaels. Bearing our lord’s body back to Elmslac his first born Erik Uhtredson took up his father’s axe. As the campaign season drew to a close Erik turned towards the Normans determined to seek retribution. Blades clashed, shields were splintered. Many Normans and Danes were slain, Erik fought with the ferocity of his ancestors slaying a number of Norman knights single handed. Supported by his chosen warriors, several blows were landed on the Norman Lord Gislebert, but as the sun set it wasn’t enough. Returning to their lands as the first snows of winter fell, the exhausted warriors reflected on a hard fought campaign.

To The Victor Go The Spoils

Firstly, our immense thanks go to our friends at Gripping Beast. What each player did was put a fiver in a kitty to get a prize for the winner. Winner takes all. I then contacted Gripping Beast, told them about our campaign, and asked if we could have a deal on a copy of the Saga 2 rulebook and Age Of Vikings supplement. They very generously agreed! Great stuff.

And so the winner was…Tony Gibbs with his Normans.

Yup, the result was quite a historical one: the English (Anglo-Danes) had come out poorly, with the norse still nibbling around the edges but not really having it in them to make a firm hold, whilst out on the Celtic fringes they are still independent (for the time being). Top of the heap, though, are the Normans.

And with that, we have now gone over to Saga 2. Tony won the books, and I have it on good authority that Santa may have visited others as well. As I write this, we are yet to have a game of the second edition, but there is an upcoming session in the club diary. So if you want to play a bit of Saga (or anything else) you’d be more than welcome to join us.

Author: Brigadier Tony

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