SAGA Do’s and Don'ts

One thing I love about SAGA is that we’re always attracting new players. I’d like to share some sage advice to help make their transition a fun one.

Don’t field the same warband against the same enemy in the same scenario over and over again. I did this as a new player, only to see my Normans repeatedly thrashed by the Irish. All those losses can lead you to incorrectly conclude the game or your warband is broken. Trust me, they’re not. Every warband has unique strengths and weaknesses that play out differently in each scenario and against each opponent. Change up the scenario and opponent and you’ll change up your results as well.

Do keep it fresh. There are 7 scenarios in the original rule book and 8 more in The Crescent and The Cross supplement. Additional scenarios are posted on the Studio Tomahawk forum with variations on the originals. Try dicing for a random scenario to play and play back-to-back games if you have time. Variety is not just the spice of life. It’s also what makes SAGA shine!

Don’t let your lone warband hold you back from playing other factions. When you get down to it, the Jomsvikings look like Pagan Rus, who look like the Vikings, who look like the Anglo-Danes, who look like the Anglo-Saxons. The Irish look like the Norse-Gaels and the Normans look like the Bretons who look like Spanish who…you get my point. You don't have to worry about insufferable historical purists and button counters in SAGA as they're all playing Napoleonics (kidding!!!). As long as your opponent can tell your warriors from your hearthguard, you’re good to go. Before you paint up a whole new warband, use your current one as a proxy to make sure you enjoy their battleboard and style of play.

Do use SAGA as an excuse to make a deeper dive into history. Thanks to SAGA, I've read about people and periods I'd never read about before. Painting Byzantines led me to Lars Brownworth’s superb Lost to the West. From there, I continue to read and think about the Byzantine Empire. Painting Norse-Gaels led me to the Battle of Clontarf and the story of the Vikings in Ireland. From there, I discovered the fascinating story of the Norse conversion from Paganism to Christianity. Once you start down the rabbit hole, you likely won’t find your way back out.

Don’t judge a battle board by its cover. You can’t see all the strengths and weaknesses of a board without putting it in play. When The Crescent and The Cross was released, I dismissed some faction out of hand because the boards looked weak. The first time I played the Spanish, I complained about their board until suddenly, it clicked. I found a sweet combination that helped steal a victory! The Spanish have gone from "terrible" to my favorite faction. Take a chance and you’ll find a new favorite too.

Do try this game with your favorite beverage of choice. The rules are not so hard that you have to have a Beautiful Mind to manage the rules.

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough when it comes to painting your warband. Setting the bar too high for yourself results in a warband that is never painted. Block paint or block paint, wash/dip if you like. The key is to keep moving forward and get a warband on the table, not win "Best Painted of 2017."

Do have fun. After all, that’s the reason we all come out to play!


Author: Monty Luhmann
I'm a Minnesota hobbyist who's passionate about gaming, painting and history. SAGA introduced me to skirmish gaming and the Dark Ages. I'm looking forward to the Aetius & Arthur SAGA supplement and the chance to paint and play new warbands.


Andy Hobday

Thanks all for the feedback and nicely done, Mooterei!

Andy Hobday

Some true words Monty! I’d also add: Don’t be discouraged when there’s no battleboard for your favourite army.
I for example used the Anglo-Saxon board for my late Romans before Aetius and Arthur was released. Even with the new supplement I’d still use it from time to time as I think it fits my understanding of late Roman infantry tactics quite well.

Andy Hobday

Great advice. Thanks.

Andy Hobday

You got into lost to the west because of the Byzantines? Me too that was a good book!

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