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!