My Anglo-Saxon SAGA Warband by Dom Sore

My Anglo-Saxon SAGA Warband by Dom Sore

This article is looking at my 6 point Anglo-Saxon warband for use in Saga, the Dark Age skirmish game by Studio Tomahawk/Gripping Beast. It will be expanded at a later date for another game I'll come to later.

First up a little about the Anglo-Saxons in Saga, the main point is they use big units, a lot. Seven of the slots on their battle board effect (or have more of an effect) on units of ten or more figures. And two Sutton Hoo helmets on your dice will let you move ALL your units with ten+ figures. This won't generate fatigue either, powerful if used right or just used! For the Anglo-Saxons larger units are the order of the day.

 

I'm going to start with my Warlord and Ealdorman/Thegns (Hearthguard) and I've decided to make them mounted. Mainly as my other factions have no cavalry. I'm taking two points of Ealdorman/Thegns so I need nine figures altogether, easily done using the Early Saxon Cavalry Command, Early Saxon Noble Cavalry and Early Saxon Cavalry.

One pack of each and I have one Warlord and two points of Ealdorman/Thegns. Whether I use them as two 4-man units or one 8-man unit will depend on if I feel I need the two dice or not, they will normally be used as one unit!

My next decision is how many points of Fyrd (Warriors) do I take, three or four? It's a difficult choice, I'm going to end up with two units of twelve Fyrd (from three points) or two units of ten Fyrd and one unit of twelve Fyrd (from four points).

Now Saga events often have six point warbands with the option to swap a point between battles. With that in mind I'm going for four points of Fyrd. I'll start with three packs of Early Saxon Infantry, add in two packs of Late Saxon Thegns, and finish off with three packs of Late Saxon Fyrd.

That gives me 32 Fyrd, mix them up between the units I use. I am happy to mix between the Early and Late Saxons, not everyone updates their weapons and armour the century they became available.

 

Finally I'll get myself a point of Ceorls (levy) for when I want some ranged ability. They can be armed with spear and shield for extra melee and are a good choice but for now I'm going with bows. Simply take three packs of Late Saxon Archers, paint and there you have it, one point of Ceorls to shoot Vikings.

So that's seven points of Saxons without using any Heroes of the Viking Age. I could have introduced Aethelstan or Alfred the Great and there is even Aella of Northumbria available (no rules for him yet). I might get some different Ealdormen using the Early Saxon Heavy Infantry and Early Saxon Heavy Infantry Command. I likely will as I have an interest in playing Hail Caesar from Warlord Games, meaning the warband will need to become an army in the future. The options for command, chieftains and priests will provide plenty of options.

 As for playing the Saxons in Saga you want large units, as already mentioned, and you want to keep them that way. Saxons don't get the use of the Activation pool as most other factions do, however they have an ability called The Fyrd which allows you to roll a dice for each unit of ten or more, very useful! With big units you roll a lot of dice in melee, keep units close to each other for support and you'll be doing well. You want Sutton Hoo helmets, hopefully you can get them.

A great way to get started with an Anglo-Saxon Warband from Footsore is our Anglo-Saxon Skirmish Warband for Saga it will save you money on buying the units individually too. 

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My Irish SAGA Warband by Dom Sore

My Irish SAGA Warband by Dom Sore

If you are reading this, you are probably already aware that SAGA is the excellent Dark Ages and Crusade skirmish game from Studio Tomahawk and Gripping Beast. What I am going to do here though is tell you how I used Footsore Miniatures Dark Ages Irish to build a warband for use in Saga.

First off a little bit about the Irish in Saga to keep in mind. Every Irishman is armed with javelins with some exceptions, which I'll mention further down where necessary. They use uneven ground well, especially the dogs, and they shoot … a lot! Remember that because they are throwing javelins they shoot at the end of a move.

Let’s start with the Fianna (Hearthguard). I'm going to get 2 points, 8 figures, of these, and I want them to have Dane Axes (note: this is an exception to the javelin rule).  I could just use the 8 variants (2 packs) of the Irish Fianna with Dane Axes and its job done. I don't want to do that though because I want to upgrade two Fianna to Curaidh.

Curaidh are like mini-warlords and I find them highly useful in the game (they generate dice and get one move for free). Therefore, I'm using the Irish Heroes with Dane Axes, they've got chainmail and one carries a severed head, thus they need to be used as special characters! Now I have used 2 points and got 2 Curaidh and a unit of 6 Fianna all with Dane Axes and Multiple Attacks. The Fianna will be my hammer unit and with 6 of them they are also more resilient. I do however have 2 figures left over, so they are going into my Bonnacht (Warrior) units.

For the Bonnachts, I have 2 of the Fianna figures to which I'm going to add the Irish Heroes (different to the Dane Axes armed variants), the Irish Infantry Command, and 4 packs (16 figures) of the Irish Warriors for a total of 24 figures. That's 3 points of Bonnacht. You will want to mix up the command, heroes, and Fianna in with the javelin armed warriors, though, to add variety. The Bonnacht don't get any weapons other than javelins but that doesn't mean the individual figures all have to have one. Also, there's a bannerman in amongst those but I'll come to those at the end.

Now it's the warlord choice, and there are a few. There's the “ordinary” Warlord figure (and another bannerman) that is the ‘simple’ choice. Or you could use Brian Boru as a Legend of the Viking Age (he doesn't cost the usual point either) which also allows you to use his brother Ulf the Quarrelsome (who does cost a point and you lose the Curaidh).

Getting all those packs will give you three bannermen in total, with one already used in a Bonnacht unit, and an extra gentleman with a Dane Axe. Banners can only be used in units of Fianna that are 6 strong or Bonnacht that are 10 strong. Swap that bannerman for the extra Dane Axes you have.  If you want to use the bannermen you'll need to reorganise your Bonnacht into two units of 10 and one of 4 men, use a bannerman in each of the big units and another in your unit of Fianna. The choice is yours!

So far I have created 5 points with an “ordinary” Warlord, or 6 points with Brian and Ulf. Normally you want 6 points, so I need an extra point from somewhere. I'm going to add a Warrior Priest for a point to my normal Warlord (I've named him Padraig!). I could have had a unit of Kern's armed with slings or a unit of dogs, however they aren't ready yet I've been told (Bill is working on them).

So there is a 6 point Irish Warband, with options, that you could even push up to 8 with more Fianna. On the table, you want your Bonnacht to protect your Fianna and Warlord until they are needed. Remember your javelins, and use your banners to keep the fatigue down. You have abilities that need uneven ground to work properly, and you want to roll Swans, that I promise you!

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