Finally played Saga over the weekend with good friend Mark. Little did we know that after setting up the table that it was perfect for the 2nd scenario suggested in the rulebook 'Battle at the Ford'.
I played Vikings and Mark opted for the Welsh. Here's Mark learning his Welsh battle board planning bad things for my Vikings.
Yes, I was playing with unpainted models...shame on me. But the lure of trying out Saga was too great to resist and I'm really glad I did. It's been a while since I played any game and Saga was definitely the right choice.
I won the first game by rushing my Vikings forward and getting some good dice roll and being able to get some good activation to support my attack.
You can see Mark's warriors hiding in the bushes, as if it would help to delay their doom. In the end, I killed his warlord and most of his units. The game ended in around 1.5 hours and was really enjoyable.
So much so that we played a second game. We tried the 3rd scenario 'Sacred Ground' which was even nicer. Unfortunately, the Welsh were angered by their previous defeat and showed my Vikings how deadly their javelins were.
Although I got to the middle sacred ground first I wasn't able to defend it. I was also unable to take more pictures during the second game as my Vikings were hard pressed and it took all my effort and cunning to give my Vikings a last honorable stand on the hill. This time it my warlord was killed together with the majority of his forces. Only one unit of 4 heartguards survived to tell the tale.
Two games that were thoroughly enjoyable. The rules were easy to learn and didn't take long to understand. The gem of the game though is the Battle Boards and Saga dice system. You will never have enough actions/activation's so careful planning is required each turn. I won't go too much into that but you can read a more detailed explanation here by Verythrax on his blog.
A few things I will say though;
1. The rules are elegant in it's simplicity. You won't...actually you can't spend hours trying the devise the ultimate killer crush you enemy to death on the first turn list. All the units in every factions have the same attributes with some very very minor differences.
If you're one of those gamers who hate playing against the latest shiniest uber unit that cost two arms, a leg and one of your kidneys then Saga is the game for you. You will never have the feeling of being at a disadvantage at the start of the game. Never!
2. As I mentioned, the Battle Boards and Saga dice are the heart of the game. There are some funky abilities that you can do but none are over the top powerful. Deciding which to use with your ever limited resources is what makes Saga fun. When you finally land those killer abilities and are able to perform them as planned, it's just beautiful.
3. At the cost of reducing your unit's activation, Saga also has abilities that you can use during your opponent's turn to protect your troops by giving them better defenses or even thwarting your opponent's evil plans. It's worth to be careful and keep some dice on the Battle Boards but fortune always favor the brave. Though being smart is always better than dead haha.
4. Saga doesn't take too long to finish being a skirmish game and games will flow quicker once players learn their Battle Boards. Games should finish in the 1 to 1.5 hour mark. Which means more games can be played.
Saga is awesome! Give it a try. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised :)
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