I played Saga for the first time tonight and really enjoyed it. At heart it is, of course, a Dark Ages skirmish game featuring buckets of dice. But it's the battle-boards and the tactical options they offer that really make it.
Three of us had a go, with Caesar adjudicating (as he was the only one who had read the rules), new member Tim taking an Anglo-Danish force and myself playing some Vikings. We played with 4 point forces; a Warlord, two lots of Warriors and two lots of Hearthguard. The Anglo-Danes had a unit of men with great-axes, whilst the Vikings had the inevitable beserkers. Geoff provided the figures, some of which were not entirely accurate. Indeed some of the beserkers were fantasy werewolves, but they looked the part.
Here's the table - Vikings in the foreground, Anglo-Danes in the background:
The Vikings Warlord, and some warriors:
The Anglo-Danes seemed to have deployed in some disarray:
Beserkers, feeling a little tired. In fact they sat in this position for most of the game:
The first combat of the game. The Anglo-Danish warriors formed a column to move past a set of ruins, and the Vikings hit it hard:
They hit it this hard - six out of eight warriors killed, for only one casualty in return:
Hooray for Heimdal, and the extra Attack Dice it gave the Vikings:
The game continued like that for a few turns; we both picked off an opposing unit each turn. By the start of turn five this was all that remained of the Viking force - the Warlord, a full unit of beserkers and three warriors:
And this was the whole Anglo-Danish force - a single huscarl, two warriors and the Warlord:
As teh Anglo-Danes advanced, Loki caused their remaining warriors to flee. And then there were two ...
On the last turn the Anglo-Danish Warlord hurled himself, single-handed, against the beserkers:
We rolled a lot of dice and, with the aid of a reroll special ability, scored lots of hits. The Warlord was mince-meat, although he killed three beserkers in return:
The Viking Warlord ponders his fallen adversary:
As I said above, Saga is an interesting game, and we could see that once players were familiar with their nation's board it would play quite quickly. Combat is especially bloody, especially since the best Viking abilities seemed to revolve around stacking up loads of extra Attack Dice.
We'll try it again in a few weeks I think.