Sunday 31 December 2017

Norse Invasion

With no game this week due to my regular opponent having festive duties I have managed to crack on with some of my new Norse force.

Warriors to the fore with Hearthguard behind

I have decided to use a limited but colourful paint palette as I don't want a drab army marching into battle. So I've been using red, green, blue, & white on all the figures but a different shade for the Warriors and Hearthguard. I also decided that the Warriors would lack the golden/bronze decoration of the Hearthguard, this was to help them feel less prestigious.

So far I have completed the painting on 4 points of Hearthguard and 1 point of Warriors, with 3 more points of Warriors and 2 points of Levy to go.

Hearthguard to the front
This should give me plenty of options when fielding a 6 point force but also allow me to field two 4 point armies when I introduce my brother to SAGA.

Once all the troops are painted I can then get working on the bases with the plan still to produce a snow covered base with some dead grass and perhaps the very occasional winter flower.

Sunday 24 December 2017

On a Wing and a Prayer

Despite resolving to only work on the basic troops from the Mythic battles box I just had to get stuck into one of the larger models so I have mostly completed the Bellerophon on Pegasus model.

I still haven't decided on the basing scheme so the base will need to be completed once I have that worked out. The model looks really good and the painting went together well.

As I want the mortals to have a darker feel than the immortals Bellerophon was undercoated black whilst Pegasus had a grey undercoat. My feeling was that building up to a white finish from a black start would only make for extra work.

Mick also came around this week for a SAGA game and once again the Normans faced off against the Milites Christi. The scenario started with both warlords in the centre and the rest of the warband along opposing edges.

The Knights of Lazarus

The Normans
The Warlords each started with twelve wounds rather than the normal one and the winner was the first to kill the opposing Warlord or the one with the most wounds left after seven turns.
The Normans once again fielded a shooting heavy list so I decided to get some support troops upto my Warlord as quickly as possible so they could be sacrificed if needed.

The Normans had the same thought and the outcome of the initial central tussle was that the Normans lost a unit of mounted warriors and their Warlord suffering several wounds.

The Knights of Lazarus then saw off a second unit of mounted warriors for the loss of a unit of foot warriors and managed to get more wounds on the Norman leader.
Disaster struck however as the Norman finally got a good round of shooting in and killed 5 knights, this left the larger unit with only one man left.
With a comfortable lead in wounds inflicted the Knights of Lazarus decided that a tactical withdrawal was required and they took shelter behind a wood.

With the clock running down the Normans sent in the last of their cavalry and this was bravely met by three of the remaining knights who inflicted heavy casualties.

And so the game ended with the Norman leader down to four wounds and the Milites Christi leader not having taken a single wound. Some poor rolling on the shooting front and a couple of charmed saved rolls had allowed my warlord ( I really must think of a name for him ) to come through unscathed.

To round off another busy week I have also made some good progress on my Pagan Rus. As well as getting the whole warband stuck together I have also completed some of the hearthguard, a model I will be using as a priest and part of the warlords base.

Pagan Priest to the fore
The warlord will be having a slain enemy being used as a flag pole holder added to the back of his base. Once I have enough models completed to make it worthwhile I will be adding some Pollyfila and paint mix to the bases. These will then be flocked and have snow effect added as a last stage.

The shields have been done using the Little Big Men transfers and these have worked really well and they also provided the banners.

With SAGA 2 arriving at some point in February and only starting out with the Dark Ages era armies I'm looking to get the Rus all done before then. They should also be able to double as any of the other Viking style armies if required.

Sunday 17 December 2017

Artefacts of Kyron Campaign Battle #4

Battle #4 of the campaign saw the opposing armies fighting out the Control scenario as they sought to gather supplies for the march south with the Artefacts of Kyron.

Starting Positions

The scenario works by dividing the table into 2 foot squares, 2 Victory Points are awarded if you control the square in the centre of your opponent's half, 1VP for all other squares.

Having greater numbers the Men's battle line was once again longer than the Kin's with the Kin aiming to secure victory by holding the centre and their right flank. The Men had opted to leave the fearsome Oliphant at home ( along with all their multi-bases ) and include some more hardy Foot Guards and troops of Sergeant Cavalry. The Kin had swapped out a troop of Blade Dancers for two mounted Avengers to act as chaff in an attempt to slow down the Men's mounted troops.

The Men's right flank

The Men's left flank

The Elven Army
The Kin moved first and pushed forwards to occupy the centre woods and also to get in position to move forwards on their right flank to block the Men's mounted troops.

 A miscalculation with the Gargoyles on the right left them in range of the Men's mounted archers and they plunged forward creating a great deal of surprise in the Elven ranks.

The charge created a logjam in the middle of the Kin's right flank and prevented them from being able to execute the planned advance with screening chaff units.

 Disaster also stuck on the Elven left flank when the Lord on flying mount was wiped out in one turn of combat, his high armour and good nerve not being able to save him.
 The Men continued to advance across the breadth of the board but their numbers meant that some of the fighting troops got stuck behind the shooting chaff that the Elves had left alone.

On the Kin's left flank they launched an attack with two regiments of Reaper Guard and one of these managed to rout their opponent.

However on the Kin's right flank things had gone badly wrong with the third unit of Reaper Guard being swept away in one round of combat without replying leaving the Crossbow Horde isolated in the woods.

 The Dark Knights despite once again proving their worth by removing an opposing unit of knights also then got removed by a combined airborne assault by the flying carpets and air elemental. The Lycans who had move around to support the Crossbow Horde did manage to survive the initial charge by the Men's remaining knights but they sustained heavy damage.

This left the Twilight Kin with no way back to capture enough area to win or even draw so once again the Men emerged victorious.
As with the last game this was a quick a brutal affair with melee combat being joined on Turn 1 and the battle being decided by Turn 4.

The next game will be the Push scenario and will feature a river running across the table which should mix things up again.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Pantheon Interlude

A very quick update as I have managed to paint a few of the troops that came with Mythic Battle : Pantheon. I have sketched out an KoW army list for these figures and wanted to get an idea of how they would paint up. Starting with the groups of troops rather than the main character models gives some freedom to muck up if needed.

Skeleton Warriors

I also wanted something that would be quick to do whilst I waited for the Pagan Rus / Viking models to arrive.

The models are well put together so didn't really require any cleaning up but the second group benefited from a quick wash as the paint didn't quick stick to the larger surfaces on the Skeletons.

Spartan  & Myrmidon Warriors

I haven't decided on a basing theme yet for the army so at present they are just getting a plain black base.

I also started the Bellerophon on Pegasus model as it looks rather good so hopefully that may be completed by the weekend. 

Friday 8 December 2017

Milites Christi Tactica

The Milites Christi are the second faction I have gathered for SAGA and unlike the Byzantines they have a special mechanic on their board. Many of the factions created after the initial SAGA release have a special twist that helps establish their theme. The Milites Christi mechanic is called Piety and several of the abilities are more effect the higher your Piety. Piety is raised by sacrificing your SAGA dice, it requires rare or uncommon dice and one more dice than your current Piety must be spent to raise the Piety by one. As you would need to sacrifice four SAGA dice to get a Piety of four it is unlikely that you will often go above three.

The Battleboard

The effect of Piety can be seen straight away with the abilities above the Piety line ( these are your 'normal' abilities that are generally multi use on most boards ) with both the Activation & Combat pools benefiting from a higher Piety. Also as the Milites Christi do not have Levy troops the activation for them has been replaced by the Prayers ability, this ability can only be used once a turn. As Piety can only be raised once a turn then a cautious approach at the start of battle whilst you build up your power level is probably best advised. The combat pool also requires rare or uncommon dice as do many of the better abilities on the board so once combat really starts you will not want to be sacrificing dice to raise Piety.

M.C. & Normans line up for battle, the objective is
to kill the opposing Warlord.

The first ability is Armour of Faith which can be activated for only a common die and as you are likely to have at least one spare most turns it should see plenty of use. Having 2 extra defence die if you cannot activate the Combat Pool or even in addition to that is very handy. Another ability that will probably get a die left on it against shooting armies is God is Merciful, this allows you a free move ( hopefully into combat ) after taking a casualty against ranged troops. As cavalry are weak against shooting then having the option to strike back immediately against the biggest threat to your cavalry could be very helpful. 

With their Warlord hidden the M.C. right advances using the
hills as cover against the Norman shooting.

Another ability that only needs a common die and should be used most turns is Deus Vult which stops your opponent from spending the fatigue on your mounted troops to slow them down. This means you can multi-activate your chaps, build up fatigue and still get to the enemy, it also combines very nicely with another ability. By the Book allows you to convert your fatigue into attack dice so this encourages you to over activate your troops, build up some fatigue and then get stuck in. This works best when you initiate the combat as the attacker uses abilities and spends fatigue first. Using both these abilities and the extra dice for over activating means you probably won't be doing much else with your other units though.

The first M.C. unit of knights tangles with some Norman mounted
Warriors leaving both units heavily damaged. meanwhile the Norman
Warlord rides over to plug the gap.

The board also has an ability to discard all fatigue at the end of a combat, Martyrs, so potentially not only could you use all your fatigue before your opponent can spend it you can also remove the one fatigue you gain at the end of combat. Of course if the enemy cannot reach you in their turn you may want to leave it on so that your next By the Book has even more fatigue to fuel those extra attack dice. 
The last ability I actually got to use this week was For the True Cross, this encourages the use of small units or the sacrificing of a damaged unit. Being able to bring most enemy troops down to an armour of 2 ( so you hit on anything but 1's on a D6 ) is excellent and whilst it is expensive it will also mean lots of models being removed by your opponent.

The result of a For the True Cross charge, 4 Norman Warriors
removed and the miraculous survival of the M.C. knights. The Norman
Warlord is left close to the knights so he has to charge them.
Repent, Sinners looks to be a excellent way of clearing lots of levy troops, with my regular Norman opponent favouring 2 points of Levy archers then it has the potential to cause massive damage to the Norman shooting line. Blasphemous War Cry would likely only be used in the last turn of a game or perhaps as a last throw of the dice gamble when all has gone wrong. Potentially you could generate a large number of extra dice but as always only upto twice the number generated by the unit itself. This is my Body is a good ability for when your opponent leaves a lot of Melee abilities with dice on in your turn, being able to render them useless should turn the advantage in your favour. Again only useful when you initiate the combat as the attacker uses their abilities first. Finally we come to This is my Blood which for a mass activation ability is pretty good, these can be tied to a radius around your Warlord on other boards. You also get an extra 4" of move for your mounted troops so it helps them reach out to the enemy. 

Having killed the 2 knights left from the first unit the second
unit of knights charges in and kills the Norman Warlord, he
did take 3 knights with him though.
Whilst the Milites Christi can take crossbowmen the battleboard really offers nothing to help with shooting so this is a melee focused army. Having the ability to get your mounted troops to make multiple activations that cannot be slowed down and then convert the fatigue into attack dice once they arrive would seem to encourage a bold use of the cavalry. Of course being overly bold may lead to the loss of all your best troops, so a careful balance will need to be struck. In the one game I played I included an Religious Advisor as he allowed me to roll seven SAGA dice rather than the normal six. As you need to sacrifice dice at the start of the game having an extra one to burn meant I was not overly disadvantaged by the Piety mechanic. I also of course had to make sure that my warband generated seven dice so I went with 3 points of Hearthguard, 2 points of Warriors and the Priest organised as ( the warlord is free ) :

Warlord - 2 SAGA dice generated
Priest - 1 SAGA dice generated
2 * 6 Hearthguard ( mounted knights ) - 2 SAGA dice generated
1 * 8 Foot Warriors - 1 SAGA dice generated
1 * 8 Foot Warriors with Crossbows - 1 SAGA dice generated

This gave me seven SAGA dice and when later on in the game I lost a unit of Hearthguard I was able to use the Priest's ability to roll one extra dice at the expense of gaining a fatigue to keep the number of SAGA dice rolled up at seven.

If I wanted to paint more cavalry then I would consider getting some mounted Warriors as they would get to use most of the good abilities, perhaps that will be one for the future as I have some Vikings to paint now.

Sunday 3 December 2017

Knights of Lazarus

The good thing about SAGA is that as it is a skirmish game you can build an army pretty quickly, especially if you aren't going for a super detailed paint job. So it hasn't taken very long for my second warband to be completed. The Knights of Lazarus looked after lepers and also had a number of leper knights . The main draw for me was they had a rather nice green & white uniform which makes a change from the normal red or black with white.

The army was built from 1 box of Fireforge Templar mounted knights and one of foot knights and then a Gripping Beast General and mounted Priest.

So as well as being quick to paint the army was cheap to purchase. The two boxes give enough troops for 12 Hearthguard and 24 Warriors in SAGA speak, which nicely equates to 6 points. The mounted priest gives the option to either run a seven point warband or drop a point of warriors.

The transfers have worked really well and I was able to use some with plain paper to knock up some banners to go with the units. I use them just to add colour to the units but SAGA does allow units to have a banner bearer who does not fight but does allow the unit more flexibility in resting.

Like the Byzantines the main strike force of the warband is it's mounted troops and the infantry play a supporting role. It is possible to have the warriors as mounted troops as well but I'm not sure I can face painting more horses for the moment.

The model kits from Fireforge are really good with plenty of options in them. I liked the spears the infantry came with so much that I have ordered some spear sprues for use in the future. They make a good solid plastic spear that stays nice and straight, I find the metal ones always have a  bend to them.

The only real oddity was the length of the cavalry lances which seems very long, I'm sure they are scale accurate they just look a bit over sized.

Now of course the real bonus of being able to complete an army quickly is that you can start planning the next one. With SAGA 2 inbound then many of the existing battle boards will not be updated straight away. As it happens neither the Byzantines or Milites Christi will be in the first army book released so I have decided on a Pagan Rus army. The Rus are an all infantry force ( hurray ! ) who have a heavy norse influence, so I could also play Vikings with them.