COLLECTING MOORS -2- (THE MOORS)

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:

  1. The Moors never take the initiative, remain on the defensive until the enemy is sufficiently disconcerted / exhausted to throw the troops to victory.
  2. Get the idea that three or four of your SAGA dice per turn are going to be invested in annoying the opponent.
  3. Have enough infantry troop if you want to get the most of the Song of Drums ability.
  4. 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.
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Footsore Arabs Under the Brush

I’ve had a thing for painting and playing SAGA ever since I painted my first Viking warband. Since then, I’ve painted 14 warbands and published 58 SAGA posts on my Twin Cities Gamer blog.  I’m sharing how I painted my Mutatawwi’a warband hoping it might help a fellow SAGAmite get their favorite faction on the table.  I like lots of options for each faction I paint and play and the Mutts muster out at 2 warlords, 8 Naffatun, 32 warriors and 16 hearthguard.   

Below are the Footsore Miniatures Arab packs I used to build my Mutts:

12 Arab Heavy Infantry = 3 points of foot Hearthguard.

12 Arab Heavy Cavalry = 3 points of mounted Hearthguard.  Foot Hearthguard are versatile but I also love the speed of mounted troops. That means I paint up both.

32 Arab Infantry with Swords & Spears = 4 points of warriors.

8 Naffatun. 4 = 1 point of Dogs of War Naffatun.  Naffatun are indispensable with Mutts because they dish out fatigue easily while the battleboard allows you to shed your fatigue easily.  You can only field 4 Naffatun in an Arab warband but I bought 8 so I could paint 2 sets, one in black and one in color.

Step one is to take your Footsore figures out and admire them!  The level of detail is exquisite and there is LOTS of variety in the poses.  I adore the character sculpted into each face.  After a suitable period of admiration, sort and prep them for basing. Scrape off any bits of flash or lines with an X-Acto knife or small file.  Lucky for us, there’s very little cleanup needed on Footsore figures because they’re superbly cast.  

I use Renedra’s 25mm plastic rounds for basing and attach figures using a hot glue gun. It’s fast, easy and adheres perfectly.  I use FireForge Games plastic spears but metal spears work even better.  Most hands are predrilled but for the few that aren’t, a twist of a pin drill and you’re done.

For flocking, I use a mix of Woodland Scenic’s fine, medium and large ballast (1/3 each).  Apply a coat of white glue (PVC) to the base and dip it into the ballast.  If you miss any bits, put down a spot of glue and dip again.  Once the ballast dries completely, apply a wash of 70% water, 30% white glue.  When it dries, this wash locks up the ballast for good.

Once the ballast is dry, it’s time to prime.  I use Army Painter’s Leather Brown for most Dark Ages priming including the mounted Moors below.  If you leave it intact on the spears, shoes and the back of the shields, it saves some brushwork. I use black for Hearthguard so I can easily drybrush chainmail and metal.  I use grey for the warriors for a neutral base for painting white robes. 

My warrior paint scheme is white uniforms with shields, turbans and sashes done in bright colors.  There are many ways to paint white.  You can prime white and wash for shadows.  You can paint white neatly over a grey primer or light grey base coat, leaving grey in the folds for shadows.   I use a Vallejo Khaki to Sand Yellow to White transition.  Khaki lightened with some white is my base color.

Vallejo Sand Yellow goes on next.  Leave Khaki intact in the folds for shadows.  Work in batches of 8 or more figures for efficiency.

Vallejo Oily Steel goes on all metal bits and is washed with P3 Armor wash. German Camo Black Brown goes on the back of the shields and skin.  White is liberally applied over Sand Yellow.  It’s a bit ragged but remember, gaming distance is 3 feet!

Saturated color alert! A dark base color is applied to sashes and turbans for the highlight color to pop against.  Vallejo Dark Prusia Blue is the base for Deep Sky Blue highlights, Magenta for Squid Pink highlight, and Black Red for Carmine highlights.  If you don’t have these colors, no worries, find a dark and light combo that works for you. 

The highlight color is carefully applied to the turbans and sashes, leaving the base color intact in folds for shadows.  Shields are painted with simple geometric shapes using a pallet of black, white, red and yellow.  Repeating color themes and a tight palette help give a warband visual unity.  Skin is painted last to avoid the trial that comes from getting stray paint on painted flesh.  Foundry Flesh 5A is the base, then a flesh wash, followed by Flesh 5B for a highlight.  Spears are Vallejo Iraqi Sand.

Script on the shields is a done with a Black Micron pen or a 000 paintbrush.  I tried copying Arabic script and decided squiggles work better for me.  I add grass tufts to the bases for visual interest and finish with a protective coat of spray-on Matte sealer. 

That’s it in 19 easy steps, more or less!  I still need to paint a linen banner and mounted Hearthguard to finish the warband.  These Footsore Mutts are my second Mutt warband.  My first (below) was painted in all black which is another option. I love the bright colors and exquisite detail of my Footsore Mutts so much that they’re going to the US Grand Melee with me in March.

When you paint your next Footsore warband, remember, it’s your lead and your brush.  Have fun bringing your vision to life! 

 

 

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.
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The Moors

My adventure with SAGA begins four years ago in the house of a friend, with the supplement “Northern Fury” strategically abandoned on a table so that when I passed by its side I noticed of the cover and its bloody attractive, then I get hooked to the wargames again after ten years without touching a miniature.

And this is saga, hook fast but difficult to master. Get the most of a warband is very complicated with all the possibilities that you have due to the high number of bands that you can face combined with all the available scenarios.

Take, for example, the band that I’m playing with nowadays, the Moors. It is a band in which the warlord is mounted, the HG are armed with javelins and mounted on horse and the warriors have the option of riding with javelins or fight on foot with spears. The levies have the option to go armed with bows or crossbows, with extra fatigue in the last case.

A fast look to the moors battleboard and immediately we will realize that the maximum match to the abilities is taken away having units of warriors on foot, since we have two types of abilities at our disposal, those that serve us to strengthen infantry units not armed with ranged weapons (Song of drums, Impaling spears, Dance of spears and Fury of swords) and those which serve to hinder the orders and plans of the enemy warlord (Discord, The Moors gold, Doubts, Friendly fire, and Betrayal). Apart we have a special ability: Corruption a skill that will have to be used with care since although it is very useful at some point in the battle, it can also favor our enemy...

Not forgetting that we have at our disposal a hero of the crusades as Ben Yusuf and the Black Guard, in addition to the dogs of war that would be the daylami, naffata, trucomans...

On the other hand you have to keep in mind that if your army is mostly cavalry you can turn it into an Andalusian band in which your riders will be able to fire their javelins before or after the movement as if they were compound bows.

All this said I tell you how I have evolved my band.

At first and while growing my collection of figures I started using 2 units of foot warriors and 2 units of guards on horseback with javelins. With this arrangement I faced the Milites Christi several times, and despite hampering the plans of the enemy, I was overcome by the hardly offensive abilities of the Milites, and is because you need 3 or 4 saga dice  to screw the enemy plans which left me few dice to activate offensively the units during my turns besides the weakness of the cavalry of hearthguards in front of the crossbows.

Then I tried the option to use the Blackguard, for 3 points I had a unit of 8 Heathguards armed with spears plus another 2 points of warriors on foot and a unit of levies with bows, playing six points already, but it was such a disaster the first time I faced Milites again and have not used that warband again.

At this point I thought I need more dice so I started using the Priest (Religious Advisor), 3p of warriors in 2 units of 12, 1p of levy archers and the last point as a unit of mounted hearthguards or mounted warriors as bodyguards of my warlord. This disposition was the first that began to give me some victorys, using less offensive tactics each time, reserving and remaining defensive until the moment of making decisive charges when the enemy was sufficiently diminished ... Until I faced the Spanish  and discovered that the Priest was completely useless because having many dice on the board did not bring me anything good and needed to counter the harassment of jinetes’ light cavalry. So I changed the priest for 4 naffatum (thanks to the advice of Monty Luhman)

The naffata have not stopped giving me joy and have helped me to get some victories although I am still finishing to determine my moors warband and my style of play. Being more and more defensive and trying to find the ideal moment to go on the offensive, depending on the opponent and the scenario at stake.

Nowadays I’m using 4 units of 8 warriors with 1 naffata each (5p) and another unit of warriors on horseback with javelin although I am studying the possibility of using Turcomans in their place since the fact to shoot before the move and move + C in each activation can be very unbalanced against certain enemies...

As a conclusion I can only say that it is difficult to get bored with this game, the possibilities offered by each band, considering the combinations that occur in the scenarios are many, I would dare say infinite if I take into account the time that leaves my “normal” life to dedicate to the game, without going any further I tell you that I already have one eye on the armies of the caliphates mounted figures from Footsore to prepare a 6 points Andalusi-Moors warband and increase my collection of Moors to 8 or even 10 points!!!

 

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.
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