Last February 4th I luckily could attend the introductory tournament to SAGA that was arranged by Quino from Painting War at the Club Comandante in Málaga. It was some kind of prelude to a tournament that will be arranged at may 6th and where there will be around 40 players!! In the past event there were 20 players where veteran players crossed dice with some who are learning and have few games on their backs (although it must be said that all of them were experienced wargames during decades…).
I played three games with the following band organization:
- Warlord: standard (0 points)
- Warriors: 4 points organized in 4 units of 8 men each armed with spears.
- Naffatum: 1 point distributed in one figure by unit of warriors.
- Warriors on horseback 1 point deployed in 1 unit of 8 javelin men.
Although everybody knows that there’s no perfect configuration of a band in SAGA, due to the number of variables that intervene according to the enemy band and the game scenario, I am almost certain to have found the units that can be harder to crack in a band of Moors in different situations, almost certainly...
Firstly I had the opportunity to face Norman on a Champions of God Scenario and the Normans have the following configuration:
- Warlord: standard
- Warriors: 1 point organized in 1 unit of 8 mounted warriors
- Hearthguard: 2 points in 1 unit of 8 mounted HW.
- A Point of warriors on foot with crossbows
- One point of levies with bows
- And finally one unit of Flemish Mercenaries
He began the battle with his warlord penalized by the Moors Gold and Doubts, and moved his units across the battlefield painfully advancing. In my first turn I thrown my cavalry to harass the enemy, spending 2 dice and using the rest of dice to damage the enemy strategy. His Hearthguard rattled the hook and threw a charge through the center of the battlefield, recalling that moment to the great Castilian defeat of Alarcos, because, despite his charge and the melee casualties, in the next turn and although I had to employ thoroughly all the infantry with the Song of Drums, the heavy cavalry of my enemy was completely exterminated after being exhausted by the fires of the Naffata. With the center of the enemy army completely weakened, I continued disrupting the enemy plans turn by turn, with the Moors Gold, and Doubts. The Naffata continued doing well their work and finished the task with fury of swords and Impaling Spears of my infantry to the rhythm of the drums of war. And this ability that consumes two dice and allowed me to activate all units of lancers on foot (four units!!) was key in all games.
In the second game I confronted the Anglo-Saxons of my good friend Bernardo, who commanded by the great Athelstan had the following configuration:
- Athelstan (warlord 1p) (painted by Bernardo Ruiz)
- Mounted warriors with javelins 1p
- 1p of guards in 1u of 4
- 3p of warriors on foot in 2u of 12
The scenario played was the drunken fight to break the alliance, Battle Around the Campfire... I do not know how Athelstan would get to hire a band of Moors as allies, neither where nor when, but what is clear is that He said something while drunk of mead that angered the Moor Warlord…
The chaotic deployment and good luck of the Moors determining the initiative were decisive and Athelstan fell in the first turn, finding himself almost exhausted and, after a charge of the Moorish lancers, a singular combat was fought between the two warlords, but the advantage of the fatigues and that the luck was on the Mohammedan side this time unbalanced the fight to my side... After eliminating the enemy warlord and despite Bernardo's efforts to keep the level high, the nafatta did their work with the rest of his units and although this time they self-immolated to the first shot, caused enough damage to facilitate the work to the later charges of the Arab infantry ... of course the reduction of SAGA dice after the loss of the warlord of my enemy had much to do.
The decisive battle of the afternoon, I fought it against another band of Moors although with a totally different listing!!!
- Warlord (Ben Yusuf 1p)
- 1p warriors on camel
- 1p warriors on horseback
- 3p warriors on 2 u of 12
The Moors faced off in the Hazel Wands, where two champions fight to death in the middle of the battlefield what gave me the only advantage of this last battle. Initially the two Moorish armies began far back, groping and injuring enemy orders. But Ben Yusuf was more determined and experienced so I decided to throw my Javelin Horsemen to harass and remove from the hole the enemy units ... At the end I saw it was wrong to take the initiative, although initially I got more points than the enemy, the reserve infantry and an unexpected but suspected betrayal well cooked by Ben Yusuf give him the victory and I had to settle for the two previous victories (which is not bad)
With these games, and some more that I will play at home until I have the next project of saga ready ..., I finish the development of my Umayyad band... With clear conclusions that can advice to you if you’re thinking to beginning a Moors warband:
- The Moors never take the initiative, remain on the defensive until the enemy is sufficiently disconcerted / exhausted to throw the troops to victory.
- Get the idea that three or four of your SAGA dice per turn are going to be invested in annoying the opponent.
- Have enough infantry troop if you want to get the most of the Song of Drums ability.
- Your band will never give you the feeling of being finished....
And this is why I have already ordered 3 units of warriors with spears on foot and 3 units of warriors on horse from our beloved Footsore to implement my band of Moors up to 12points. The next stage will be to test the Andalusian troops with their shots before or after of the movement…
Author: Carlos Caston
Civil engineer by day, painter of miniatures by night. Family man at all times and wargamer when it's possible. Collector of Dark Ages 28mm scale miniatures mainly. Sagaholic and trained to survive in a zombie apocalypse.